December 31, 2009

More Songs I Loved in 2009

Top 10 records of mine coming soon....

The Fugazi like riff in this MM song makes me happy (around the 2 min mark)

December 28, 2009

Ice Flow Nowhere to Go

Mighty Boosh how I love you...and not just because of your jazzy one pieces with snow boots. I hope Public Enemy covers this one day.

December 27, 2009

December 23, 2009

Ho Ho Hum

My family took all holidays quite seriously but it was Christmas in particular that brought a level of bliss to my parents like no other time of the year.

Candles and wreathes weren't just placed every window, we had garlands up the banister and on every chandelier, two massive trees decorated to the point where every single branch bent downward from the weight of an ornament, each table surface was covered with candles and holiday themed knickknacks, and the centerpiece to it all was a pint sized ceramic snow covered village that lit up as if an entire glowing thriving town was miniaturized in the name of St. Nick.

Our house was Christmas. It looked liked it, it smelled like it, it sounded like it and spirits were high, especially once Christmas Eve was upon us.

My father prepared a ridiculously decadent Christmas Eve meal and before bed we prepared cookies for Santa served alongside a glass of milk, hung stockings, and my favorite part of the day was the final event.

I call it an event because my mother reading out loud was a miraculous event. She read aloud magnificently, as if everything... be it a box of cereal or a street sign was a masterpiece penned by Shakespeare himself. She was a gifted, musical speaker and each Christmas Eve ended with her reading two books aloud. The first was The Night Before Christmas and the second was Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. My mother felt it went beyond the very notion of a holiday classic and according to her, it was the most perfect literary piece about Christmas known to mankind. Even well into my teens this tradition continued and ever since, no Christmas feels complete until I hear or read this classic Thomas piece.

That being said the holidays now are especially difficult for me, mostly because my family as masters of the season, raised the bar for celebrating Christmas to an obscenely high unattainable level. My parents passed away this decade and with it all of their magical traditions and decorations evaporated. The only other family member who experienced an entire childhood based around these things was my brother Chris and he passed away 9 years ago. The inventors and my holiday partner are all gone now and while there are so many reasons to grieve for the lost of loved ones this time of year, it is this simple memory of a Child's Christmas in Wales being read by Mother while my Brother and Father sat near by that makes my heart ache the most.

Luckily rather by accident I came across an LP of Dylan Thomas reading his story in a used bin of a record store a few years back. Having in my possession the author reading his own work by no means outshines the memory of my Mom's rendition but if there was a version to stand in for her, well this is the next best thing. I was hoping someone would have posted the Dylan Thomas version on Youtube but it isn't there however there I did find a version. The glorious song-like quality my Mother brought to the piece is missing but the wonderful words are still there.

Enjoy and happy holidays.

December 22, 2009

A-1 Records - NYC

"in order to find diamonds, you gotta dig in the coal and get your hands dirty."

The Belly of the Beat from Gasface on Vimeo.

December 17, 2009

December 17th, 2009 : Cause + Effect : Cocteau Twins

The Cocteau Twins were a band that captured my imagination from a very young age. I discovered them in grade school during my first trip to NYC while at a record store that over the years would become a favorite of mine for all of my teenage and early adult years.

Rebel Rebel was a small store in the Village that specialized in imports, something I had no idea existed. Previously I had exposure to one music store and it was mostly an electronics store that just happened to stock a few records and they certainly were not fancy imports. Rebel had HUGE sections for bands I had never heard of before and the Cocteau Twins section was filled with some 20 records at the time. Pre-Internet and with no concept of what the music scene in the UK and Europe was about, I browsed their LP selection with awe. There was so much exotic music to pick from but the Cocteau Twins records stood out as being the most mysterious and intriguing of all. Years later I grew to understand the mastery behind the artwork of 4AD but as a tween the CT records looked feminine yet not too girly...perfect for the 8th grade me.

The record clerk (who I should add became a great friend and was Gary from Ladybug Transistor) noticed my long pauses at the Cocteau Twins section and asked if I needed some help. I explained that I had never heard the band before but I was curious and the store was kind enough to play them for me. I think it took a mere 30 seconds for me to be hooked. I bought my first album by CT that day and pretty much bought one more every time I visited the store from that point on.

Growing up on top 40 radio and the music of my parents I had never heard anything close to the Cocteau Twins. It was soft yet heavy, there was something that sounded like an acoustic guitar but it had so many effects on it that it sounded like a totally new instrument to me; something haunting that sat somewhere between a nightmare and a wonderful dream. And then the voice of Elizabeth Fraser came soaring in and it was captivating. Emotional, was in a language I couldn't understand but yet it spoke to me. With each listen in my bedroom the meanings of the songs were up to my imagination which I think is exactly what makes this band such a personal cult favorite with so many people. Their songs use a nonsensical language, at least on all the early records, and I think the combination of an ethereal angel like voice mixed with message you had complete freedom to make up your own meaning to, allows this band to owned by whoever hears them. They are your band after a few listens. The Cocteau Twins had been tagged by the UK press as the "voice of God" and even without a religious bone in my body, I can understand that comment. I never had a chance to see this band live, heck I don't even recall an opportunity arising ever, so this band has remained shrouded in mystery for pretty much my whole life.

Needless to say I took the task of working on a Cause & Effect on this band rather seriously. Like 12 hours plus seriously. If I was finally going to demystify this band once and for all, I was going to do it right. I couldn't begin to imagine what their sound was based upon so it was truly fascinating to unravel their layers and hear their influences in Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, Crime and the City Solution, and the Ronettes.

Tonight from 7PM to 9PM on WRIR (97.3 FM locally or not only will you hear their earliest influences but the bands they were sharing the scene with, many of side side projects and off-shoot bands .(including some very rare stuff) And it wouldn't be a proper show without rounding out the set with the newer bands who owe their sound to the Cocteau Twins like M83, Sigur Ros, and Mahogany.

I've never spent so much time on one show and hopefully you will be able to hear the care that went into this one. Not that we don't approach every show with care but for me, putting a band under a microscope that had rested on a pedestal for decades in my world was a challenge I wanted to embrace to the best of my ability.

December 16, 2009


NPR did a great piece on the rise and fall of the boombox. Check it out here. I was personally more of a tape walkman kinda girl but then again, I was a goofy white kid from NJ who was more into collecting shoelaces and puffy stickers. And yeah I had a rainbow painted on my bedroom wall. What of it?

December 13, 2009

Matryomin: No, Not a New Anti Depressent : A Theremin!

And possibly the cutest theremin of all time.

"Matryomin is the unique, original erectronic musical instrument invented by Masami Takeuchi in 1999. It is a type of theremin - oldest electro-musical instrument invented in Russia - shaped Russian traditional wooden doll, Matrioshka."

Thanks to Graham for showing me this today!

December 11, 2009

YOU NEED THIS : otamatone

It is an adorable giant white music note toy that is like a theremin with a mouth you squeeze open like those old school change purses. You will have to watch the video to see what I mean. They have it for sale here.

December 8, 2009

Royal -Tease

This is an incredibly interesting read about one band's fight with their old major label in regards to digital royalties. His post on the subject offers just a hint at what all is wrong with the world of majors and why DIY is really the best way to go.....

Too Much Joy Dot Com

Thanks for the read Kenny!

December 3, 2009

Cause & Effect : December 3, 2009 : Never Heard of Them

Tonight will showcase two hours of music that sit at the top of my best of list for the past decade of incredible music. Rather than reshash the list you will see time and time again with Animal Collective, Radiohead The Strokes and Arcade Fire….these are the bands that never really found themselves in the spotlight for long or to be honest, ever. Tonight’s show also serves a great reminder of just how much great music the press and hype machines miss year in and year out.

With the task of summing up a decade comes quite a bit of music that carries the weight of heavy personal attachment but what I tried to do is pick the artists the didn’t just serve up a keen single; these are artists who make records I respect from start to finish. Luckily I have been blogging about music for nearly all of this decade so my years of posts really helped me create one big list of bands and songs. Then from giant list came the enormous task of weeding out bands that I thought people would probably know well and even harder, picking the best of the best.

This is still an immensely personal 120 minutes of music but hopefully the songs will be impressive enough to stand on their own without memories of the decade attached to them.

I don't normally place my set list here but I wanted to share it with those who won't be able to catch the show tonight as well as to have it somewhere in a permanent place for myself. Its been a fucking brutal 10 years for me and these songs represent the truly positive, often life saving aspects of what I would like to remember about it.

Wanna know what I will be playing tonight from 7PM to 9PM on WRIR ( or 97.3 FM), well this is it in all its glory.

With You With Me 2:07 Welcome - Sirs - FatCat

LAX 2:02 Hot Snakes - Suicide Invoice - swami

Year Nine, Yeah! 2:20 Die! Die! Die! - Die! Die! Die! - Ok!Relax

War Machine 3:22 part chimp - I am come - Rock Action Records

My Last Hostage 3:53 The Life And Times - Suburban Hymns - Desoto

Win Instantly 4:17 Channels - Open - Desoto

Almost The Same 3:57 Clearlake - Cedars - Domino

The Long Distance Four – 2:22 – Constantines – S/T – Three Gut

Nice Chaps, Buddy 2:16 The Ladies - They Mean Us - Temporary Residence

Hideaway Tokyo 1:58 Pretty & Nice - Get Young - Hardly Art

All Night (Album Version) 2:23 Figurines - Skeleton - Control Group

Repossession 3:13 Bottomless Pit- Hammer of the Gods - Comedy Minus One

Neo-Plastic Boogie-Woogie 4:32 Mahogany - Connectivity - Darla

Fortune Map 3:06 Je Suis Animal - Self-Taught Magic From a Book - Perfect Pop

Entertainment 3:40 The Projects 7" - Track & Field

Punks 3:36 I Heart Hiroshima - Tuff Teef - Valve

Juno 5:08 Life Without Buildings - Any Other City - Tugboat

Make Out Fall Out Make Up 2:59 - Love Is All - Nine Times That Same Song - Whats Your Rupture

Tell Me 3:38 Taken By Trees - Open Field - Rough Trade

Pictures On The Sidewalk 2:17 Cortney Tidwell - Don't Let Stars Keep Us Tangled Up - Ever

Mind Idea 2:38 Jeremy Enigk - OK Bear - Lewis Hallow

Black Path 3:54 Aereogramme - Sleep And Release - Matador

Seer Believer 3:52 The White Birch - Come Up For Air - Rune Grammofon

It Never Changes To Stop 4:01 The Books - Lost And Safe - Tomlab

Hunters Map 3:06 Fionn Regan - The End of History - Lost Highway

Crooked Legs 5:08 The Acorn - Glory Hope Mountain - Paper Bag

Brother 3:43 Annuals - Be He Me - Ace Fu

Bright Ideas 2:44 Nurses - Apple's Acre - Dead Oceans

Some Other Life 2:38 Meneguar - The In Hour - Woodsist

Cough Coughing 3:22 Menomena -I am the fun blame - filmguerrero

Melody Day 4:11 Caribou - Andorra - Merge

New Language 3:29 The Sounds of Kaleidoscope - From Where you Were - Hackshop

Drive Me Home 3:19 Serena-Maneesh - Honey Milk

Susan's In The Sky 2:25 Bubblegum Lemonade Susan's In The Sky - Matinee

Nothing to be done 2:24 The Legends Up Against The Legends - Lakeshore

Sister In Love 2:43 Envelopes Sister in Love - Brille

Who exactly is Jonathan King?

My curiosity was peeked by this album. I had no idea what it was when I found the record in a used a bin but thought the combo of the cover art, the odd statement "There is no artiste on this album. The songs are the stars" was intriguing. There is a more in depth description of this concept album on the back where it goes on to explain that this record is filled with covers of classic songs "heard as they have never been heard before." There is no mention of who the group or who the man is behind these songs and so began the mystery.

The record itself, all be it tempting to call it a toss away kitsch item, really has some interesting tracks on it. "Satisfaction" (Stones) is delivered in a super mellow fashion, "Reflections" (Supremes) sounds like a string heavy Bee-Gees tune, and I swear to you that "Sweets for my Sweet" sounds like a Wolf Parade song. Needless to say what I was expecting to be a joke record isn't really a joke, I like it, I really do.

The Internet search began and I quickly learned that the man behind this album is Jonathan King. A man 10 times more complex and fascinating than I could have ever guessed. He is a British singer / songwriter / producer / label head ....that burst into the scene in the mid '60s and has managed to keep his name in the press (in the UK at least) ever since.

He has a long resume in the music world and here is just some of it:

  • He has had songs chart in both the US and UK (and yet is not a familiar name to most)
  • He founded Decca Records
  • He signed Genesis when they were still a high school band
  • Formed another label called UK Records where besides releasing artists like 10cc often recorded wildly popular singles under pseudonyms
  • He was one of the original backers and producers for the Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Hosted UK TV shows
  • Became a music journalist
  • He accused the Pet Shop Boys of plagiarizing Cat Stevens (It's a Sin - V- Wild World) and to just because he felt so strongly about it, released a cover of Wild World using an identical string arrangement used by the Pet Shop Boys to prove his point. In an turn of irony not only did the single flop but the PSB took him to court for plagiarizing them and won.
  • "In 1989 Castle Communications released The Butterfly That Stamped, a two-CD collection of King's most well-known and entertaining recordings from the previous 24 years, under all of his varying guises. This included many of his more satiric pieces, including his heavy metal version of "Sugar Sugar" credited to Sakkarin and his ska satire "Johnny Reggae," credited to the Piglets"
  • Created a message board based around promoting and discussing unknown / unsigned bands
  • Became a radio DJ
  • A huge fan of Harry Potter, created a tribute CD to the books in 1999
  • What would be a major talent without scandal? In 2001 he was accused and charged with sex crimes...molesting young boys (age 14 and 15) some 30 years ago. He was found guilty, given 7 years in prison and asked for appeal which while the trial was in motion, he was paroled from jail in 2005. To this day he claims innocence.
  • In 2007 he released a record which features a single many considered defending a very well known UK serial killer Dr. Harold Shipman.
  • In 2008 he released a comedy-documentary called "Vile Pervert - The Musical" which features 21 characters all played by the man, the myth, the legend Jonathan King.
To all of that I can only say wow. Who knew? Well I guess we all know now. And who knows what else he has done / accomplished that hasn't made it to print.

December 2, 2009

Dischord Records : Doing it wrong has never been so right.

I don't just love this clip because it is about a label I grew up loving ...okay maybe worshiping...but there is also talk about and with people I adore like Bert from Youth Brigade and Bill from Crooked Beat who owns a darn fine record store in DC.

November 25, 2009

Vacation : Montreal !!!!!

Be back next week...and hopefully with a ton of cool records found at various shops in Montreal.

Um, yeah...I pick vacation spots according to the quality of record shopping.

Mini Reviews I did for WRIR

Artist: Summer Cats
Title: Songs for Tuesdays
Label: Slumberland
Recommended tracks: 5, 1, 9, 13, 4,7
Yay or Nay: YAY!
Review: In case you haven’t notice, C86 jangle pop that is more about energy than playing perfect notes (or playing in perfect time) is back and more popular than ever. Okay, maybe it isn’t super popular among the masses but it is certainly a style of music more bands than ever are playing and lucky for the label Slumberland, it is their singnature. Upbeat, playful, and charming in a crooked smile sort of way, the Australian band Summer Cats are the Go-Betweens for the next generation.

Artist: Matt the Band
Title: Don’t Worry
Label: Slanty Shanty Records
Yay or Nay : Yayish
Recommended tracks: 2, 3, 5
Review: I never thought I would hear a record and have the opportunity to say this record is clearly influenced by Atom and his Package but ALAS that day has come. No longer a one man band, Kevin has been joined by his lady who comes baring synths. Their sound is something like Andrew W K if he wrote music for the Care Bears with the Go-Team. Move over Mates of State, this couple who rocks together also bakes cupcakes for their shows. Yummy tummy tickling goodness.

Artist: Clark
Title: Totems Flare
Label: Warp
RIYL Caribou, Ninja Tune, Warp Records Electronica
Recommended tracks: 2, 3, 9
Yay or Nay : YAY!
Review: Clark knows how to mix chunky analog synthesizer sounds with complicate beats and kooky timing. He goes from glitch hop to heavyweight house to delicate dance in a wink. If you have been as bored as I have been by electro crossover artists as of late, this is a much listen to. The only time your ears will be bored is when they are waiting for the next track to kick in.

Artist: God Help The Girl
Title: s/t
Label: Matador
Recommended tracks: 2, 10,12, 13
Yay or Nay: Nay
Review: The problem with epic stories told on a record about teen life is these tales are brought to life by people who are way past their teens, What could be less cool and off the mark than grown ups playing 60’s inspired pop tunes with a 45 member orchestra trying to talk the talk of youth using very adult voices (with the exception of a girl from Smoosh). It doesn’t work BUT when it is done by Belle & Sebastian leader Stuart Murdoch, you will have people who will give this modern day musical minus the performance on a stage major props. Sorry, I find this record 100% squaresville.

Artist: Silk Flowers
Title: s/t
Label: PPM
Recommended tracks: 4, 1, 10
Yay or Nay : Nay
Review: And you thought Interpol liked Joy Division. This Brookyln trio takes that upside down smile sound to a whole new electro level. Somewhere members of Suicide are hoping they get a royalty check from these kids. Its hard to write a review when I am doing the robot and trying to look at miserable as possible. I am tempted to file this under comedy just cause I am a jerk like that.

Artist: Cass McCombs
Title: Catacombs
Label: Domino
Recommended tracks: 3, 2, 5, 8
Yay or Nay : Ya(wn)
Review: What makes this American label proclaimed “troubadour” so special? Well he is on a hip well respected label and has opened up for Modest Mouse as well as the Walkmen which is code for I can’t tell you what makes this man’s music terribly special and unique. A touch of Paul Simon, Sufjan, Red House Painters, Gravenhurst, I wouldn’t call Cass a musical leader of the pack but that doesn’t make his music bad, either, it mostly just makes him run of mill decent or great for rainy days and early AM.

Artist: Tiny Vipers
Title: Life on Earth
Label: Sub Pop
Recommended tracks: 3, 7
Yay or Nay: Nay
Review: A female Bill Callahan AKA Smog, and great for those of you who are turned off by the vocal styling of Karen Dalton or Cat Power. There is less smoky drama to her voice but she is no less haunting and still heavy with sadness. Warning : this record if listened to during one sitting will make you sleepy and yes this is a polite way of telling you that for some this spells boring times ten.

Artist: The Most Serene Republic
Title:And the ever expanding
Label: Arts and Crafts
Recommended tracks: 1, 2, 4, 8, 11
Yay or Nay: Yayish
Review: There aren’t many labels I can do this with but I am pretty certain if you blindfolded me and played me a bunch of new indie rock – all the ones with charming handclapping massive sounding pop songs are probably all on Arts & Crafts. This label really has corned the market on this good clean fun boy/girl rock. Broken Social Scene, Stars, Los Campesinos…TMSR is a perfect fit to the label’s now trademark sound. I still haven’t liked anything as much as their debut but like always there are a few keepers to be had and track 8 sounds like Shellyan Orphan for you old school alt rockers.

Artist: Magic Magic
Title: s/t
Label : self released
Recommended tracks: 1,2, 5,6
Yay or NAY: YAY!
Review: I am not gonna lie, I thought there was a girl in this band but alas, just a gent with some an incredible set of lungs on him. Imagine an Arts and Crafts band pop sensibility with just enough ooomf to excite BBC radio. One more note. I have played 10 CDs today at the record store and this is the only one a customer has asked to know more about. I am picturing them on a mix with Broken Social Scene, Flaming Lips, Camera Obscura and Radiohead. Magic Magic is a band an 09 band to watch and a must listen.

Title: s/t
Label: Saddle Creek
Recommended tracks: 1,3,5,9
Yay or Nay: Nay
Review: The band's name is a DJS worst nightmare only because their band name is tough on the mouth. Pronounced double – yoo – double you vee – double double yoo zee. Now that we have that behind us I can tell you they sound like next generation nowave which means a less exotic Blonde Redhead or a less headache inducing Marnie Stern / Deerhoof.

November 19, 2009

November 19th, 2009 : Cause & Effect : A Place To Bury Strangers

In an effort to balance out the calming quiet sounds that last week's set was comprised of, this week we are going to blow the speakers out of your home and car with two hours of music based around the low end rumbles of chainsaw guitar bands.

Blue Cheer might have been called the loudest band in the world but that makes A Place To Bury Strangers the loudest band in the solar system. We are talking heavy to the point of volcanic earth splitting distortion. This New York City band creates a wall of sound more epic than the Great Wall of China and that signature style of the band also ties into the the guitar pedals of founding member Oliver Ackermann. He not only uses a ear shattering variety of them but he makes them himself and runs a company called Death by Audio who makes pedals for such rock and roll luminaries and U2, MBV, and Lighting Bolt.

Not sure what exactly a shoegaze band sounds like verse a shitgaze band? Looking to get schooled on the difference between space rock and psych rock? Tonight will be the night!

So many great bands in tonight's set: Spacemen 3, Telescopes, Skywave (pre APTBS), Lily's, The Cure, MBV, Crystal Stilts, BJM, Big Pink, Cocteau Twins, and plenty of other guitar bands that offer the best white noise around!

PS: Want to hear three songs from my favorite record of the year? Tonight will be the night!

Listen live from 7pm to 9pm on 97.3 FM in RVA or stream us live at

November 18, 2009

Amoeba Co-founder Writes Book for Teens

I was actually looking for the "record store girl" article from the Onion, when I came across this article about Amoeba Music co-founder Yvonne Prin's upcoming book - "The Vinyl Princess". The book is about a 16 girl who goes to work in a hip record store in Berkeley while starting her own music blog.

Since the book isn't out until December 22nd, there haven't been many reviews. But if you're thinking of a last minute gift for that hip teen niece, you have a very good option.

November 17, 2009

November 13, 2009

Friday Flashcard : Name That Metal Band

I haven't done one of these in a long time but this band's logo made me want to bring this themed post back from the dead. And you know, what could be more metal than bringing something back from the dead?

There isn't a lot of creativity in metal logos these days. I might go as far as to say we have hit a wall within this art form in general. Upside crosses, barbed wire, daggers or some kind of weapon, blood or thorn like letting...blah blah blah. Yawn. So, when I see a metal band stepping out from that stereotype, I feel drawn to applaud them, even if their music isn't brilliant.

That brings me to the flashcard of the week, an unsigned one man band from Germany who has taken a bold step in the band logo but has softened that wild step apart but also including the must have picture of self in the forest and a picture of drinking beer. Check and check.

Kayser - the sole member, I salute you sir for taking your metal art in a most interesting direction. Don't worry, the great music part can come later.

Click on the comments section to see the name of the "band" and the link to the site.

November 12, 2009

November 12th, 2009 : Cause & Effect : Kings of Convenience

We are on day three of steady rain and wind here in Richmond so what band could be more perfect for soft light and the gentle tapping of drop after drop than Kings of Convenience and the musical family tree. Coming to us from Bergen, Norway they have been card carrying members of the quiet is the new loud movement since 2001 and continue to explore the more hushed side of indie rock bathed in folk.

Tonight from 7PM to 9PM we will explore the music that has influenced their playing style style and production values (Simon and Garfunkel, Nick Drake, Donovan), more modern influences such as The Smiths, Arthur Russel, Badly Drawn Boy and Belle & Sebastian, and then showcasing many of the bands in their sound circle. (Fink, Taken By Trees, Jens Lekman, Jose Gonzalez)

While there is a touch of sleepiness and melancholy among this set of music, there is still an undeniable toe tapping force behind all of the music. I am not sure if anyone has been lulled to rock before but we are going to try our hand at it tonight.

You can listen to us on the dial in Richmond at 97.3 FM or stream us live at

November 9, 2009

Ace Hotels: Vinyl Junkies Welcome

A turntable in every room makes perfect sense to me! Check out the interview with Alex Calderwood, the man living up to the idea that home really is where your records Portland, Seattle, New York, or Palm Springs.

November 6, 2009

Guitar Boat!

Thanks Chope for passing this along.

November 5, 2009

November 5th, 2009 : Cause & Effect : The Pixies

Just when you think you know a band or a song, occasionally when placed into a new context, it comes to life in a whole new way. I thought I knew the music of The Pixes but when studying more closely their musical roots and the bands who owe their careers to them, I found myself listening to some very classic songs in a whole new way. Gun Club, Talking Heads, Nirvana, Husker Du, Iggy Pop, Nirvana, Radiohead...they all gain an exciting new context when placed under the header of The Pixies.

Tonight from 7PM to 9PM on WRIR we will be playing the music of The Pixies as well as their multiple off shoot bands PLUS some familiar songs along side some lesser known bands who all are clearly inspire by The Pixies.

You know that whole familiar musical style of massive dynamic shifts from quiet to loud and back again? Well The Pixies pretty much wrote the how to manual for that sound.

Listen to us on the dial in Richmond at 97.3 FM or stream us on

November 4, 2009

November 2, 2009

5 ans de graffiti sur la maison du Gainsbourg

Artist Arnaud Jourdain has created a stunningly beautiful video documenting 5 years of graffiti at Serge Gainsbourg's former residence in Paris, France.

October 30, 2009

American Hardcore = Sausage Party

The first time I saw the film American Hardcore all I could think was where were all the girls?

There were women in the scene and yet the movie had practically left them out completely. Even more interesting to me was when I mentioned this to male friends who also saw the film I was amazed at how none of them picked up on this at all. I then realized they didn't notice because women were often pushed to the sidelines by this male dominated scene so why would a community who placed such little importance on women suddenly pay attention now. To put it simply, they wouldn't

A friend recently posted a link to a college thesis called "Not Just Boys' Fun" - The Gendered Experience of American Hardcore by Siri Brockmeier and as the title suggests, it investigates just that. It is a long but interesting read and hopefully something that will be be expanded upon more deeply in book form at a later date.

The paper brought back many memories for me as well as got my gears turning in regards to how I felt about hardcore and why I preferred other music scenes. In high school and my early twenties the second and third generation of hardcore was in full swing. I liked some of the music, had friends who liked the music, and on record it was something we all shared as a group of friends in spaces where I never felt lesser for my gender. The problem was shows. The minute this music was being produced from a group of people standing on a stage, I felt as if the scene turned on me. I went from being an equal outside of a venue to a lesser being pushed to the back of the room, turning into a coat rack or key holder for the male friends I had gone to the show with as they opted to join the pit. I tried fighting my way to the front of shows but not only were there rarely any other girls in sight, you became a target for others meaning boys in the crowd got their kicks by punishing me or other girls for crashing their sausage party. They used violent dancing techniques that bordered on boxing to push you out of their world. I felt like a stain that a group of men around me wanted to remove which was incredibly disconcerting besides the fact that being threatened with violence is terrifying, especially when it is done in mass.

I eventually got fed up with this behavior and decided risking my body's safety wasn't worth trying to get closer to the stage. Besides if men weren't trying to oust me, the flipside was being blatantly man handled and molested. In a crowd it would be nearly impossible to pinpoint who was doing what to you... so suddenly a hand would grope a part of my body and it was done quickly enough that I couldn't guess who had done it. Once again, it didn't matter how much I liked the music, no assault to my body was worth it.

Eventually I pretty much gave up on hardcore. I know when I am not welcomed and what was also interesting was the lack of bonding between women who did go to these shows and their varied attitudes about what their role was in the scene. Some bought into terrible stereotypes of being clingers and groupies while others tried to practically become boys themselves. Many women felt, and this to me is still one of the most insulting aspects, that there were certain places women didn't belong within that scene and what that really meant is that they had bought into the rules of the scene produced by these sexist men. They believed women belonged in the back or on the sideline and most of all , should be excluded from the stage itself. There were almost no women playing in these bands which ultimately fueled me to go elsewhere. It isn't that I needed a female role model on the stage but why in the world would I want to support a scene that didn't welcome any woman who chose to do so?

The band I eventually joined as a singer was not what I would call hardcore although I suppose post-hardcore and emo is a sub genre. I often dealt with the same sexist stupidity that stemmed from that scene and played many a show where men (and sometimes women) would walk out because they saw a girl on the stage. The assumption was that I would suck, be weak, and couldn't offer the kind of angry release they were looking for.

Numerous times when we walked into a venue I was asked whose girlfriend I was, it never occurred to them that I could actually be in the band. I hate to say that you get used to it, but I did. Instead of being angry about it I chose to take the higher road and correct them and then just carry on.

I have never spent a minute thinking, shit I am girl, how am I going to tackle this day. If I didn't feel like an environment wasn't female friendly or inspirational to me, I left it. Instead of dwelling on feeling like an outsider or being excluded, I opened my own doors. I took it upon myself to satisfy what I felt like I was missing. If I was disappointed with the lack of women playing music in my scene then the only way to combat that truly was to become one. Judgement be damned.

I get it, not everyone is meant to be in a band and placed in a spotlight but creating a voice in a place where I before that point had none was more important to me. Since I didn't have a female hero or role model in that scene I would become my own. I didn't want to hold jackets forever. I didn't deserve to punched in the head for wanting to be in the front row while a band played. In the end could be more empowering than becoming your own hero?

Maybe the boys needed their brotherhood but I learned something much more valuable, I just needed me.

PS: Not to be a jerk but I would like to correct a false statement in the thesis. It is not Ian MacKaye on the cover of that first Minor Threat record, it is in fact his brother Alec.

October 29, 2009

October 29th, 2009 : Cause & Effect : The Cramps

Music for misfits. Rock and roll as it was meant to be: dangerous, sexy, fun, wild, and over the top.

The Cramps personified the very American idea of what R&R meant by mashing up all of their influences which wasn't just old rockabilly, R+B, and instrumentals from the 50s and 60s; it included a love for kitsch, B-Movies, horror flicks, pin up culture...the best of the underbelly in America. Weirdos had a reigning king and queen for more than three decades and Lux and Ivy were their names. (The founding members of the Cramps)

There couldn't be a more fitting band to pick for the Halloween Cause & Effect show and lucky for us, Cramps fans have bonded together to help create file upon file of the songs Lux and Ivy mentioned as admiring in interviews. Uber Cramps fan Kogar the Swinging Ape compiled them all in one place and more incredibly is willing to share these gems. A friend passed along the link to all these songs which are posted here on the WFMU blog.

Lux passed away of February of this year quite unexpectedly and I have been itching to do a show dedicated to the band ever since. Some bands shy away from talking about the artist and songs that influenced them but not The Cramps. Tonight I can't wait to share with you two hours of music that helped shape them as musicians. Lux and Ivy were serious record collecting fanatics so I am thrilled to be able to play a few of their favorites -all themed around Halloween.

Listen in from 7PM to 9PM tonight at 97.3 on your dial in RVA or stream us live at

October 28, 2009

Vinyl People

Vinyl Mini-Documentary.

I was happy to see Billy Miller of Norton Records represented. His table at this years WFMU Record Fair was as busy and bountiful as ever.

Vinyl People from Howard Silver on Vimeo.

By the way, if yo have never been to the WFMU Record Fair, it is a pilgrimage. It was described to me by a first timer this year as "overwhelming". I am proud to have supported it and watched it grow from the Elks Lodge in Hoboken, to a crowded church basement, all the way to the cavernous space it now occupies.

This is a shot of one side of the room. The scale of this yearly event is impressive and daunting.

October 22, 2009

Tour of Moby's studio and gear collection.

Moby explains his love of vintage drum machines, and gives a tour of his collection of analog gear. There is beauty in circuitry.

Click HERE for video.

October 22, 2009: Cause and Effect : Os Mutantes

Before I get into this week's show...

We are in the middle of WRIR's Fall Fund Drive and what I want to do is take a minute to explain why our radio show, like so many of the shows at the station are truly one of a kind and hopefully a special treat to your ears each week.

Community radio is important because it represents the area it resides in while mirroring the community that surrounds it at the same time. On a musical level we put a ridiculous amount of effort into each show so musically it is as interesting as it is accurate.

Every week Alex and I pick an artist our group to highlight on our show and then the mad rush to educate ourselves begins. We read hours of articles and interviews about the artist and build our set list from the information we learn. Whenever possible we also reach out directly to bands and labels, friends of the artist, to make the two hours about the group are as truly reflective of their musical history as possible.

One aspect I don't think people realize is the music you hear each week does not come from a massive library at the radio station, it comes from our own personal collections or often from friends, fellow listener's, or the artist themselves! Our set lists are very personal yet reflect the community we are a part of so in many ways, it isn't just our show, it is a community effort.

We understand that because each show is so different from the next, you may not love them all but we are still opening doors to styles of music, whole genres some people may not be familiar with so if we aren't wowing you one week, maybe the next one will blow your mind. I know both Alex and I discover new music we love every day because of the show and keep learning every week as well.

Tonight we will be focusing on one of the founding bands of the Tropicalia movement Os Mutantes who came from Brazil in the late '60s. Incredibly this genre of music sounds as modern as ever and continues to inspire and influence new artists all the time. Like so many powerful movements in music it was youth based and a reaction against the environment around them, a military dictatorship that was oppressing and censoring artists. Often called the Beatles of Brazil, the Os Mutantes were not only exploring the parameters of pop music by blending several kinds of styles but they were also leading a revolution of new against the old ways; a creative cultural cycle we see over and over again.

Tonight from 7pm to 9PM we will be playing both well known and lesser known Tropicalia artists as well as dabbling in the genres that they grew out of, Samba and Bossa Nova. We will then introduce a list modern day artists whose music claim to be inspired by Os Mutantes and who are carrying on their unusual mash up of traditional Brazilian music with rock, pop, and psych.

Our set will include : The Beatles, Gilberto Gil, Jorge Ben, Beck, David Byrne, Gal Costa, Caetano Veloso, Hendrix, Nirvana, and lot's of surprises along the way.

If you appreciate and enjoy the one of a kind programming WRIR brings you each week like our show, please make a donation. There are lots of great premiums, we have special items just for our show tonight, AND if you come by the station in person to make a donation, we feed you! We welcome visitors to swing by and check out the station. After all this is your station too!

97.3 on the dial in RVA and to stream live.

October 20, 2009

October 19, 2009

BBQ + Records + Free Frozen Pops = Territory BBQ & Records

Take that Kuma's Corner - there is a now rock and chow combo out there, this time in Los Angeles. In short this is a BBQ joint that has an adjoining record store and its called Territory. Fuck yes.

The shocker was discovering that an acquaintance is one of the two men who spearheaded this genius idea; Tony who used to run (still runs?) the label Tee Pee Records along side Curtis who was the singer in the band Bad Wizard.

And yeah, they offer free frozen pops on top of the magic combo of Southern eats and records.

October 16, 2009

Daniel Johnston iPhone Game

"Now available at and at the App Store. The game features a psychedelic universe filled with dynamic physics-driven gameplay, surreal enemies and challenging puzzles featuring Daniel Johnstons fascinating music and art. The first ever toon-shaded 3D puzzle platformer for the "Now available at and at the App Store. The game features a psychedelic universe filled with dynamic physics-driven gameplay, surreal enemies and challenging puzzles featuring Daniel Johnstons fascinating music and art. The first ever toon-shaded 3D puzzle platformer for the iPhone and iPod Touch. "