January 27, 2011

January 27th, 2010 : Cause & Effect : Broadcast Revisited

It is with a heavy heart that I am covering Broadcast again in memory of member and vocalist Trish Keenan of Broadcast who passed away quite unexpectedly a few weeks ago.

James and Trish from Broadcast were private in regards to the inner workings of their band (they were not media whores and gave a limited number of interviews over the years) however they were incredibly willing to share their passion for music that inspired them via radio shows, DJ sets, and Internet posts and their fan base has ravenously kept track of it all. In fact the band's message board is rich with a great deal of information about the music that Broadcast has been influenced by. This in turn made it incredibly easy to piece together a whole new updated show for them using these bits of information; well easy in regard to the list of material, not so easy in finding quality versions of the songs to play on air.

Luckily I have had two weeks to work on this show and have what I think is now an even better version of what aired nearly two years ago to the day. Broadcast have remarkably fine taste in music, especially rare weirdo gems from the '60s so for their fans who aren't familiar with their influences, I think all two hours of tonight's set will be mind blowing in the best way possible.

Tune in tonight from 7pm to 9pm (Eastern Standard Time)- 97.3 fm for locals, www.wrir.org for live streaming and a look at the set list in its entirety. I will podcast the show and post a link to it here after the show tonight.

Download the show here.

Look at the tracklisting for the whole show here

January 19, 2011

Kicking it Old School : NYHC

I don't know what is more remarkable - these photos from the early NYHC scene (a time when NYC was still very much a rough around he edges place unlike the upscale outdoor Disney shopping mall it has become) or the fact that these pictures were taken by actress Brooke Smith who has been in Grey's Anatomy and Silence of the Lambs.

And another fun fact about Brooke : "She shared an apartment with Jeff Buckley before the recording of his album "Grace"." 

Thanks for tipping me off to these TZA!

January 18, 2011

In Memory of Trish + The Teddy Boy Cocktail

Like so many fans of the group Broadcast, the news of her death last week came as quite a shock. My heart goes out to her family, friends, and dedicated following who I know are all left with a tremendous hole in their heart. I still can't believe there won't be decades of new music to come from Trish but at least the catalog of music she leaves behind is truly magnificent. Her influence on my me / my music (not to mention her taste in fashion and record collecting) is too massive to begin to accurately calculate and I feel humbled in trying to articulate my sentiments about her at all. I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with Warp via my years at Caroline and I am honored to have been a part of getting those records out to stores in the United States.

We all mourn the loss of people who care about in our own ways and this past weekend I had a small group of friends over to celebrate her life and her music, not just her own but hours of tracks she had compiled for various Broadcast DJ sets and mixes. For the occasion we made a special cocktail and I thought I would share it for no other reason than it tasted quite lovely and enough of them will get you feeling like this image.

I present to you the Teddy Boy which is really just a homemade whiskey sour made with love.

The Teddy Boy
Into a shaker:

2oz of whiskey
1/4 fresh squeezed lime
1/4 fresh squeezed lemon
1 tbsp of superfine sugar
shake shake shake.
Pour into a rocks glass
Garnish with a cherry and a little curl of lemon peel
Top drink off with a splash soda water for zing. 

You will be missed Trish! (Raise glass here)

January 14, 2011

Vinyl Revival

"Vinyl Revival consists of 16 high school students from a private school in Richmond, VA, involved in a one week project, studying the history, culture, collection, and appreciation of vinyl records."

Follow the progression of this project here.

The Concretes : Get Intimate With

"The Concretes add a touch of class to the otherwise fairly grotty surroundings of The Lexington’s dressing room. Stripped down to a three piece, they performed a haunting rendition of ‘My Ways’ from their current – career best – long player WYWH just hours before they took to a London stage for the first time in four years."

TLOBF Sessions // The Concretes: 'My Ways' from The Line Of Best Fit on Vimeo.

January 13, 2011

January 13th, 2011 : Cause & Effect : Iron and Wine

Educating myself as I prepare for each new C&E is probably what I love best about doing the kind of radio show I do. I picked Iron and Wine this week because Sam Beam (the man behind the band) has a new record coming later this month (Kiss Each Other Clean on Jan 25th) and it seemed like the perfect balance to the heavier show (musically speaking) I did last week.

It is impossible to know in great deal of information on every artist in so many different genres so each Cause & Effect requires me to massive amounts of research just so I can be certain I am offering two hours that is genuinely reflective and true to the artist . And just as important - not just the artist at hand but often the genre itself.

Tonight's show is no different and like each show before it, it is easy to get derailed when you discover new artists that aren't in fact new at all, but important influences to a movement of music that are totally unfamiliar to me. Iron & Wine has been incredibly fortunate to have the label and press support he has had since nearly day one so in many ways while his music is relatively well known, what drew me into this show the most is the incredible collection of artists that help pave the way for his soft spoken folk (although now he is onto a new direction) that are not as well know and have not become house hold names.

From 7pm to 9pm on WRIR (wrir.org / 97.3 for locals) I will not only tell the story of Sam Beam and follow Iron & Wine through its many incarnations but I also have the great privilege of  playing artists like Bert Jansch,, Townes Van Zandt, Pearls Before Swine, Elizabeth Cotton, and Mark Fry who are an inspiration in their own right to folk, bluegrass and all its many off-shoots. His new record is inspired by a healthy dose of mainstream '70s pop / rock so for the first time in C&E's history you will hear artists like Elton John too. Could this be the next trend in music? Are the '70s replacing the '60s -a decade of music the most recent crop of underground bands have been obsessing on? Tune in and find out!

And a little pre-game fun fact - Mr Beam attended Richmond's own VCU for a few years so we can toss a little hometown pride into the mix tonight too.

For a limited time, you can download my Iron & Wine show in it's entirety here.

January 12, 2011

Factory Records Inspired Shirts

I always wondered why more clothing companies didn't try placing a catalog number on their products to lure in the record nerds so I was pretty excited when my better half started working on a new shirt / hoodie line loosely inspired by Factory Records.

Yeah, I know, like I need music to blur into any more parts of my life, but I really appreciate the catalog number aesthetic of these shirts not to mention that I am a fan of fluX rAd's graphic design style and love the guy. Only the newer shirts carry a number on it Factory style but the old designs are really great too.

Check them out / buy them here.

And this same gentlemen also helps me with the Little Black Cloud Records stuff so the clean sleek look of the Dynamic Truths release was all him too.

My New Favorite

Kathleen Hanna has done a lot of important things over the past couple of decades but this might be my favorite of them all because you don't get to see this kind of humor and humility every day. Plus that dress.....that dress!

January 6, 2011

January 6th, 2011 : Cause & Effect : Converge

Photo by Matt Miller

My introduction to Kurt Ballou of Converge came from a show they played with Cave In; a band that I was / am good friends with. I was unaware that Kurt knew who I was at all no less that I had played in a post-hardcore group in the early '90s so I was a bit taken back with giggles when he began to sing "Milk", a song my old band was best known for, in a funny falsetto voice. Without any actual conversation this acted as a code of sorts because since we weren't a well know band, it meant Kurt was probably A) within my age group and B) was aware of the whole scene of music that came out of that time period / played similar music. Our friendship grew out of that one silly moment backstage at a show in Richmond, VA and from that point on, with music almost always being our catalyst, we have remained in touch.

Our nearly ten year friendship has been a real life version of a Cause & Effect so he was the perfect candidate to do a show for me. He isn't just a band guy, or a studio owner, he is unbelievably passionate music fan.  It brought me enormous joy when Kurt said he would  pick two hours of music that reflect his musical history and in turn help to tell a portion of Converge's story. It is rare to have this kind of personal insight to a band and I can't thank Kurt enough for taking the time to do this.

Tonight from 7pm to 9pm I will only play music picked by Kurt plus try to explain how some of those puzzle pieces fit into their story. There are some tracks I think people are expecting to hear like Rorschach or Sick of It All but a traditional Appalachian folk song played by a Gothic Americana band (who knew that was even a genre?)? I don't think so! The show is a terrific balance of the expected and unexpected and I think fans will be interested to hear which four Converge songs Kurt picked and why too.

The tracklisting will be posted as the show progresses at www.wrir.org and at the end of the show I will also post all the notes he has given me about the songs so you can read in Kurt's exact words, why he picked each song.  You can stream the show live from the station website and I will be posting a podcast within 24 hours of the show as well. I will post links to it here and on the WRIR site.

Facebook calendar reminder is here : #/#!/event.php?eid=189825827697951

Here is the link to the set list and Kurt's notes about his song choices.

Here is the download to the show from tonight in case you missed it.

January 4, 2011

Quilt- Core

This takes quilting to a whole new level. PUNK!

You can read an interview with the 18 year old female creator of this Black Flag quilt here.

January 3, 2011

The Rainman Twins

Note to self, never play music trivia with these two.

Below is part one of their story, an emotional and most curious journey to say the least. 

January 2, 2011

Perfect Timing

Peep Show season 7 might have just come to a close but IFC's Portlandia starts at the end of this month!

Bitches Brew Beer Story

For those of you who have Comcast, you can watch this Brew Masters episode On Demand. It gives the full story behind the Delaware brewery Dogfish Head hooking up with Sony Records to create a special beer for the re-release of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew.

The Ultimate Salute to Factory Records and Its Founder

I have been meaning to post about this for several months ago. Tony Wilson, Factory Records founder  gravestone has finally been completed no less by the artistic team who helped shape the look of his releases. It took three years but I can't imagine a more fitting tribute to the man.

For those who label freaks and design nerds who were oddly disappointed that his headstone doesn't carry a Factory release catalog number, Wilson's funereal casket has a solid silver plate that reads Anthony H. Wilson  / FAC 501.

January 1, 2011

2010 Favorites and Gripes

Favorites, in no particular order.

1) Neil Young - Le Noise - Reprise
I already posted a whole piece on this record and dedicated two hours of radio time to the man in celebration of such a glorious piece of music.

2) Zola Jesus – Stridulum - Sacred Bones
Lady Gaga might have all the fame and fortune but Zola Jesus does something equally dramatic and spooky but without the flare of absolute circus absurdity. If I had to pick one front runner artist from 2010 to climb from the indie world into the to spotlight of super-stardom, Zola Jesus would be it. They are powerful and moody but in a way that could appeal to a 50 year old  Siouxsie fan or a brooding teen. We haven't had a genuinely talented witchy crossover eletronic artist in I don't know how long (Fever Ray comes closest) and I am truly excited to hear how this band continues to grow in 2011, especially vocalist Nika Danilova. Her voice isn't overly melodic and she finds the perfect line between power and emotion without being sappy or a screamo victim.

I know I said this list wasn't in any particular order but if there I needed to out Stridulum somewhere, it would be in the top three for certain.

Tame Impala – InnerSpeaker - Modular
This is a first for me. I don’t think I have ever wanted to skinny dip in a recording before but I would be willing to try it with this record. It is swirling warm ocean of psychedelic goodness; layered, loud, and lush. How this Australian band of gents who look barely out of high school managed to produce such thunderous anthems I will never know but it is one magic trick I don’t want to spoil by knowing how it works. I want to accept its greatness, no question asked, and revel in the fact that this young group’s debut long player is a classic rock at its best without having been made in the 1960s.

Crocodiles – Sleep Forever - Fat Possum 
I am not a dummy. I know Crocodiles sound a lot like Jesus and Mary Chain, Spacemen 3, and Suicide but they do the primal chainsaw drone guitar thing astonishing well. I mean really really well. There is always room for one more extraordinary sonic/surf/space rock masterpiece in my life.  (like The Telescopes, Loop, and A Place to Bury Strangers)
There is distorted bliss among the shards of noisy ruin and it makes me wonder if a New Orleans funeral procession was ever conducted by the Velvets, would it sound a little like this? (the theme of the record seems very death based - hence the reference to a memorial service)

Jacky Chalard - Superman Supercool - cache cache 12"
It was the packaging of this 12” that first lured me. I had no idea what it sounded like but it looked fantastic with its cut out sleeve and clear yellow vinyl that revealed a fun wallpaper like pattern on the inside of the sleeve rather than the outer jacket. I was nervous to spend the money on this limited single at first however my record buying partner in crime and sweetheart luckily risked the purchase and brought it into our home. It is freaky funk-disco yet space age far out as if Stereolab remixed ESG. Google searches don’t really shed any light on this release or Jacky Chalard (who apparently came from the French-based rock & roll bands The Mayfair Group) but in some ways, I like that there remains a few shreds of mystery in a world of instant knowledge via the internet. All you need to know is  that there is an outsider variation of Euro-disco that is fucked up in all the best ways possible. 
BXI - Boris - Southern Lord
When I heard that one the greatest metal bands of all time from Japan was teaming up with Ian Astbury, vocalist of The Cult, I was utterly curious as to what final result of this collaboration would sound like. I couldn’t begin to guess because while I know EXACTLY what Ian would deliver both vocally and lyrically, Boris is the ultimate wild card. It could be anywhere from soundscape ambience to monsterous shoegaze with every possible combination in between.  And let’s be honest, not all collaborations are a good idea.
The end result turned out to be one of the best surprises of the year. This is head banging riff rock at its very best. It is unmistakably Ian’s infamous powerhouse croon but you can hear a seasoned aged twist to his voice that moves me in the same ways as later Johnny Cash material does and his backing band just happens to be one of the best things happening in heavy music today. Old school meets new school, this is a perfect rock and roll marriage.
I can't embed this however here is a link to my favorite track from the record live :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpr0GzDyU8E&feature=related
Allo Darlin - S/T - Fortuna Pop
Camera Obscura and Belle & Sebastian are too fancy now for my twee tastes with their big budget sounding productions these days. If you don’t fancy a decadent Dubai-esque affair attached to your cuddle-core too, then have I got a UK band for you.
Allo Darlin’ share the same charming, intimate lyrical styling of Heavenly or Beat Happening (and Elizabeth ,member of Allo Darlin, is also in Tender Trap with Amelia from Heavenly too) however they play their humble pop offerings at a consistently slower pace.
It is the kind or record that makes me want to bake a cakes, nuzzle noses with my significant other, and chase my kittens around the apartment until they let me pick them up and give them a good lovely dovey squeeze. Confectionary with just a hint of Winnie the Pooh melancholy, I love love love a good stripped down to the undies, heart on the sleeve, kind of boy/girl band.  
Die Die Die – Form - Flying Nun
This NZ group has earned a top 10 slot in my favorites list nearly every year since this trio began releasing music back in 2003. Their sonic maelstrom is performed so tightly, LOUDLY, and intensely that it is difficult to digest that the jet engine stream is coming from just three lads.  
Imagine if Les Savvy Fav lost their sense of humor and focused on blasting out serious post punk shoegazery that hinted at melody behind a wall of angst. Die Die Die has done it no less back by one of my favorite record labels of all time, Flying Nun. 
Chin Chin - Sound of Westway - Slumberland
Thank you Slumberland for re-releasing one of the greatest girl rock records of all time that I wasn't cool enough to know about until quite recently. This record is fucking brilliant and they make all the 2010 wanna be Shangri -Las bands come across as the copycat hacks they really are.
Here is what the label says about the release:
"In 1985, Chin Chin's album Sound Of The Westway was released on Farmer Records, containing 12 original compositions recorded and mixed in just 7 days. Sound Of The Westway is a brilliant mix of punk-informed crunch and buoyant pop melody that shows Chin Chin to be true pioneers of DIY noisy pop. As it happens this combination of DIY punk ethic, fuzz guitars and bubblegum pop was also gaining traction in the UK with the nascent C86 scene. Featuring bands like Shop Assistants and The Pastels, C86 was a confluence of young bands who were as influenced by Phil Spector as The Ramones, and Chin Chin fit right in next to groups like The Rosehips and The Fizzbombs."
Dolly Mixture - Demonstration Tapes - Germs of Youth
Holy hell I have wanted this record for a long time. The thing holding me back was that it goes for stupid amounts of money on Ebay and I consistently have been outbid on this all girl UK post punk gem for years. There were only 1,000 pressed back in 1983 and to make it even more collectible, the only cover art is a collection of actual autographs from each member of the band. Amazing a label reissued the LP this year and they were limited to 300. I am fortunate to be a proud owner of this repress which incredibly is identical to the first press down to the signatures on the stark white covers. She shoots....she scores! This is my Moby Dick.

Favorite local act to release a record in 2010:

Dynamic Truths - Understanding is Overrated - Little Black Cloud
I know. I know. This is cheating because I released this record on my label, but fuck it. I am proud to have been involved with getting this incredible record from the late '90s finally heard. This material was never released so it isn't exactly a reissue but it isn't a proper new release either but whatever it is, it is still my favorite thing to come out of RVA this year. 
Listen to a track from this post-punk slab of genius here
Long Arms - To Hold You - Lemon Lot Records
I haven't had the time to record much music over the past few years but I am honored to have been a part of the Long Arms release that came out this year. 
Most talked about artist:
Eddie Current Suppression Ring - Rush to Relax - Goner Records
The Matador 21 show in Vegas had a little record store area where the artists performing at the fest were able to curate sections of their own that reflected their personal picks by other bands and Eddie Current appeared more than any other band. After the 3rd or 4th time of seeing their record in the bin we felt obligated to buy it and give it a chance. Damn am I glad we did.

This song is from the last record but I think it is the best example of what this band is all about.

Favorite Rap Artist:
Dels  - Shapeshift - Big Dada
Kanye means nothing to me.

Favorite Metal / Heavy records
Tie : Thou - Summit - Gilead / Southern Lord +  / Jesu - Heartache & Dethroned - Hydrahead
I have done lots of blah blah blahing about both artists on various other sites or my own so I will just post a few videos and try not to beat my love for both bands to death.


Favorite Live Performance:
The Clean in Las Vegas during Matador 21
Thank you Matador Records for giving me an opportunity to see The Clean no less with guest players Ira and Georgia from Yo La Tengo. Not to mention Chavez and Come all in the same weekend.

Most Annoying Trend in Music : 

Chill Wave
God I get it, Phil Spector was onto something good. Now move already. Step away from the wall of sound.

Most Annoying Come Back:

The Cassette

I will never understand anyone championing something that sounds like shit and doesn't last the test of time. Why not bring the flexi back while you are trying to out cool each other with pointless nonsense that reeks of trying too hard. At least a flexi won't self destruct when it gets too close to magnet. The return of the cassette is a fun reminder that music elitists don't care about quality, in the end it is all about finding something to alienate the masses. 

Technology Fail:
Over Documenting
Thanks to every cell phone's capability to double as a camera and connect to a social network, every show is filled with people over documenting the event. Not every moment in your life needs to be photographed or tweeted about and I certainly don't think every third person at a show needs to be shooting a video which will look and sound like utter crap or snapping a low light blurry image of the band. Take a breather from your smart phone and just enjoy the moment with both your hands free.

Favorite Music DVD:
Until the Light Take Us


Who is Harry Nilsson

Favorite Music Book:

Patti Smith - Just Kids

Label Who Released a Lot of Cool Sh*t in 2010 :
Mexican Summer