May 30, 2010

Sunn o))) Radio Show 6/3

The best thing about doing a weekly radio show featuring one artist or group is that occasionally they are willing to work with us to build the set list. This week Greg and Stephen of Sunn o))) have supplied us with all sorts of lists of bands to build our set around. Not only will we be playing their favorite tracks from their discography but we will also be playing a crap ton of their previous bands and collaborations not to mention all the bands they have been influenced by and the groups that their peer group is composed of. The only drawback so far is that there are so much material to pick from that I don't know how for the life of me it will all fit in just two hours. Our show Cause & Effect is on WRIR ( every Thursday from 7PM to 9PM East Coast time)

This picture was taken by me a few years ago when Sunn o))) played the church in Philadelphia. One of them had hung their robe up backstage and I snapped off a shot of it with my Polaroid. (Captiva to be more sepcific.) When I scanned in the image, I played with it a bit and this was the final result. It has in turn become one of my favorite band related photos I can taken over the years. If for some reason you want to use it or repost it, that is fine and dandy. Just give me, Lightning's Girl the credit please.

May 27, 2010

Crom Movie ! ! !

I don't know what I am more excited about - this documentary or how many talking heads in this I know and love!

Crom: All Hail Those who Fail from Peliculas Cochinas on Vimeo.

May 26, 2010

I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That) : Combine Record Collections

Take it from me, an expert on failed relationships (plus one very very happy one in the present tense) and record collecting, when you live with the one you love, I highly recommend that you DO NOT combine record collections .*

Allow me to explain myself.

First of all, when a couple decides to shack up, why does every possession they own really need to spoon the others? You are already sharing a bed, dishware, a toilet...why not keep a little of your own personal identity and give it a little breathing room of its own. I liken the co-mingling of  my records with another's to trying to cram the contents of my personal photo albums into theirs. No thank you. Not only do I associate a record collection as something wholly personal and sacred but a total reflection of who I have been and how I got there. Its like a growth chart but with a million times more depth and meaning. Why in the world should anyone surrender something so unique to one's self? To give that up would be like sanding off your fingerprints.

When I was in my late teens and for all my 20s, I thought love meant forever. Don't get me wrong, for some lucky few it is, but for many of us, you will have many loves during your lifetime. There is also a great possibility that you will also share a home with many of these loves. And when / if you split up, you will have to go through the annoying and agonizing process of dividing the things in your home.That process is devastating no matter what but what happens when both of you begin tugging on some of the same items to claim them as your own?

Most record collectors don't like to loan out their records to their best friends (we are a weird bunch) so try to imagine these very people trying to dissect their collection piece by piece in effort to stake their claim on what they rightfully believe is theirs. It isn't a pretty site. Keeping your collections separate from the start will not only be a time saver (if God forbid you are to part ways) but it spares both of you the petty creepy arguments about who should get what which when you have a collection of 5,000 or more can be days if not weeks of nightmarish back and forth. Trust me on this, I speak from experience. Again, not a big deal if only one of you collects music but if both of you are avid collectors, you haven't known war and pain until two record fanatics with one big combined music collection decide to call it quits.

Within the bubble of innocence and naivete of my youth I didn't dare dream that the love of my life could fade or leave. I seriously and stupidly thought living with a boyfriend meant a surrender of self and a fusing all that was me to the one I loved. While many of you will probably be thinking "lighten up...stuff is just stuff"....for a serious collector of really anything (comics, records, toys...), it isn't really just stuff. For me, and for many, records represent a time, a place, people; much like a photo does. BUT I don't have photos that got me through the hardest times of my life. Beyond all the memories attached to where and who I was when I was listening to a record a lot, many of these records as great pieces of art and reflections of human emotions, have brought me much comfort during my darkest days. There are very few items in my home I can say that about. There are a few books and movies but as a record collector, music has been a friend, a therapist, a party catalyst, a late night companion on a long drive....the list goes on and on. Music has been nearly everything to me at all times. Truthfully, how many things in your life can you say that about?

Some people find the recommendation of  keeping collections separate blasphemous but it is usually because A) they aren't record nerds or B) they have never had to split up a big collection of anything with another. I recently met a couple in the record store I work at who had between together for 15 years. I listened to their conversation about the various records they had pulled out and one thing became increasingly clear. They had not nor did they ever combine their record collections. They assured me that it was something they never intended on changing. Each collection represents a map of their life, a one of a kind personal history that tells its own story, and each one of them has it placed in an order unique to their own taste. They revel in a joint passion that carries a boundary on a shelf. They enjoy helping the other curate and grow their magnificent separate collections (which inevitably they do share by listening to them together in their home.) When asked about buying doubles, they weren't ashamed to admit that knowing one of them already owns a record doesn't prevent them from buying it again. Much like their outlook on their relationship, two IS better than one.

* If you are one of those people who only own 30 records or something, this post doesn't really apply to you. (Not to belittle you but that isn't a collection, that is more like a box of donuts.) This post is for those of you with at least a hundred or more.

May 20, 2010

May 20th, 2010 : Cause & Effect : The New Pornographers

Somewhere around 1992 I was living in the upper portion of a retired Jersey City funeral home. It was an unusually large apartment so when a friend at Revolver Distribution recommended that I check out a Vancouver touring band called Superconductor that contained 8 members, it wasn't completely surprising that few other locals could offer a floor large enough for them all to sleep on post show. My consistently shameful memory makes this story ultimately hazy but the moral of this story is the band that featured at least 2 bass players, 5 guitarists , and a drummer, many of whom went on to be life long friends / good acquaintances: Keith from Scratch Records, Sean from Nominal, Joe Preston from Thrones / Melvins, and Carl  Newman who went on to join Zumpano, and The New Pornographers.)

During the mid '90s I briefly lived in Seattle which isn't exactly neighbors with Vancouver but it was close enough to warrant multiple visits that allowed me to see Zumpano play several times (they were on Sub Pop and in turn came to Seattle as well) and witness first hand the musical stepping stones of an incredibly gifted master pop song writer.

The last piece of this puzzle lands in the early 2000s where an old friend (Phil) from my Dahlia Seed days became the semi permanent touring sound guy for The New Pornographers and so my accidental connection to the music of Carl Newman continued. I have been fortunate to see NPs play some 5 or 6 times as well as having spent some time with them in DC. Besides the obvious and ridiculously brilliant talent oozing from the entire band, my memory and favorite aspect of the band is the people themselves. I heart The New Pornographers from the inside out. They make me laugh until my sides hurt and I am thrilled to have a chance to spend two hours taking a magnifying glass to their trademark sound.

They however all dropped the ball in working with me to create tonight's set so as a thank you to their non-help I will salute them with two hours of rap metal. Hmph!

Okay, okay, I didn't really need their help any way. Tonight from 7pm to 9pm on WRIR we will be playing some the finest fun pop songs on earth, from The Monkees to ELO not to mention the endless amounts of off-shoot bands each member is or has been a part of.

May 17, 2010


I try to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Sort of.

Growing up, when I saw a kid wearing Vans, they were a skater. Unless it was a total fluke, your clothing was your identifier. Finding this clothing was impossible in southern VA. You had to go out of your way to dress in clothing that you would be ridiculed for during the duration of a school year. Needless to say, you could pick the "alternakids" of the crowd pretty quickly.

I loved this. There was no ambiguity in finding your own kind. Sure, they could be just as awful as anyone else, but at least you knew that there was some understanding of your world. If they didn't love the Pixies or weren't in the know of H-Street skateboards, at least they were willing to learn.

Fast forward to the new millennium. I am not sure if mp3s, the X games, the O.C., or urban outfitters is to blame. Let's just say that the mainstream took a liking to the very identity that myself and my peers were beaten up for just 10 years prior. I can't go out anymore and not see loads of people wearing "urban" dress as they call it these days.

This usually consists of the following items:
-Vans Classic Shoes
-Flannel Shirt
-Skinny Jeans
-Joy Division, Bad Brains, or Sonic Youth t shirt
-ipod loaded with 80gigs of music (.5 gigs have actually been listed to)

This is where it gets tricky...
I look like these impostures now! I have no idea whether or not these people are in the know about the Undertones, or they decided that the guy from 90210 looked really cool and decided to emulate that style.

When did this become cool?
Where are my fellow music dorks outside of the record stores and shows?

Hopefully this will pass and we can all live in harmony together again with our cardigans and beaten up chucks.

May 13, 2010

Cause & Effect : May 13th, 2010 : The National

Here is a little something to keep in mind when naming your band in the modern world of google searches. The more basic the name IE The National or Broadcast, the more difficult it is for people to look up your band information. It isn't so much an issue for bands when they gain popularity and rise to the top of internet search engines, but for new artists, holy crap it can be a nightmare. Hmph. Anyhoooo....

Tonight from 7PM to 9PM on WRIR we will be tackling the seductive baritone sounds of The National, a band that has become quite the belle of the ball over the past few years. In fact their new release High Violet that came out on May 10th is already being toted as one of the best records of the year.

May 6, 2010

Cause & Effect : May 6th : Aphex Twin

Sometimes it's hard to believe how fortunate I am from an electronic music history perspective. I spent over 11 years working for a music distributor that brought labels like Warp, Astralwerks, and  Ninja Tune to America. In 1996 my post-hardcore band had just broken up and I began year one (starting as a temp) at Caroline Distribution. Electronic music had been in place for years but it had yet to really cross over into mainstream America. Having zero knowledge of the genre beyond the Bjork records I owned at the time, I was secretly relieved when Astralwerks (with whom we shared our offices with) passed around an electronic music cheat sheet that basically spelled out all of the differed kinds of electronic music out there so when we began selling more and more of it, we as sales reps would sound like we knew what we were talking about.

In no time I understood the difference between drum + bass, jungle, big beat...and with each new year, our roster of electronic music labels we distributed grew. When it was suggested we do Aphex Twin for Cause & Effect I initially cringed because my gut still tells me I don't know anything about electronic music but as I began working on the show it all started coming back to me. I sometimes don't give myself credit and was pleasantly reminded that those 11 years at Caroline practically game me a masters degree in underground music, especially the genre now dubbed IDM, Intelligent Dance Music. If there was one style of electronic music I am most familiar with, this is it.

Tonight from 7PM to 9PM on WRIR I will be sharing highlights from my electronic music collection that relate back to the roots of where UK solo artist Aphex Twin AKA Richard David James came from, the artists that he has worked closely with, and then the musicians inspired by his music catalog.

Tonight's set includes music by: The Future Sound Of London, Autechre, Matmos, The Bad Plus, Thobbing Gristle, NIN, Radiohead, Ween, John Cage, Philip Glass, Iannis Xenakis, and more. 




May 3, 2010

Punk Rock Icons : Dead Moon

This documentary is a must see! (Available via Netflix)

And here is a cute interview with them from a kid's show that makes for an oddly adorable intro to the band:

May 2, 2010

Potentially the Best CD Packaging of All Time : Dillinger Escape Plan

Dillinger's new release "Option Paralysis" can be purchased now and comes as a limited box set (2,000 made and costs about $80) but calling it just a box is an insult to what this actually is. The damn thing opens on on several sides so there are multiple compartments that open to reveal all sorts of surprises.

Included in this box is:
  • The Option Paralysis album on CD with a flipside that is an actual record! Not sure I have ever seen something like this before....ever.
  • Liner Notes
  • Special Edition Photo Book
  • Flag / Banner
  • Hat (beanie knit style) 
  • TV-B-Gone (Turns off any TV)
  • Metal Luggage Tag
  • Buttons
 For a complete set of images to show how the box opens up and what all is inside it, go here.

 It looks like it can only be ordered via the Seasons of Mist web store which I can't even get to open for me today so good luck trying to buy it!