February 24, 2011

And the weirdest invention to ever include a turntable is.....

Ladies and gents I give you Copernitron, a device that tracks the Earth's rotation. You can read more about it here.

February 24th, 2011 : Cause & Effect : Wanda Jackson

It is nearly impossible to put into proper context what it was like for women playing Rock and Roll during the '50s. This was a wickedly conservative time, (before the the bra burning feminist movement) when women were expected to be homemakers, not out in the work place and certainly not on a stage singing energetic tunes with sexual overtones. There has been many women paving the way for ladies in Rock but at the top of that list is one Wanda Jackson; an American hero and pioneer when looking at our country's Rock and Roll history. What really irritates me is that Elvis always gets the credit  for starting Rock and Roll when there were so many people making great music at the time. To add insult to injury, women in this scene have received even less recognition.

Tonight from 7PM to 9PM on WRIR I will celebrate not only the music of Wanda Jackson but the Hillbilly artists she looked up to as a kid, the other women bold enough to play sassy sexy Rock and Roll / Rockabilly, as well as many other unsung heroes (men and women) playing the early form of Rock as we know it today.

97.3 FM  on your dial in RVA and www.wrir.org to stream live.

Here is a link to the set list from the show. I had a blast and thanks to all for nice comments called in or emailed. Glad y'all loved it as much as I did!

February 11, 2011

Manchild 5 : History of Raleigh's Hardcore Scene

Brian Walsby has a brand new issue of Manchild out but this time around it is way less comic book and much more fanzine; celebrating and documenting the DIY music scene of Raleigh, NC during the mid to late '80s.

While some of it reads like an autobiography of a California kid who fell in love with North Carolina's music scene and unbelievably promptly moved there (for most the journey goes the exact opposite, from small town on the East coast to big city on the West coast), a bulk of the book's dialogue is told members of  the band's he was friendly with: Corrosion of Conformity, Angels of Epistemology, Superchunk, Erectus Monotone, Ugly Americans, and Honor Role to name a few.

Interestingly, Honor Role has more of a guest appearance spot since they were in fact from Richmond, VA but played in Raleigh quite often. Brian didn't feel like the story could be told without including them and in my eyes this is just more proof that HR carries the weight underground legends are made of.

I think what appealed to me the most about Brian's collection of anecdotes is how it tells a much larger story; one about how a DIY culture operated before the internet and cell phones. All of the networking that took place between bands and their fans happened either in person or through written letters - letters hand written and mailed. In some ways I think the old fashioned pen pal exchange built friendships in a unique way that made the eventual face to face meetings through touring all the more poignant. I enjoyed reading these stories directly from the people who made it all happen (seriously, he must have spent years digging up all these people) and if the story isn't enough for you, there are tons of killer pictures and cartoons too.

Brian's blog / buy it here.

More about the contents of this book here.

Fuzzy Sweater Pop Goodness

Seely - "Meteor Shower"; a single on Too Pure from 1996 that sounds just as good now as it did then.

February 10, 2011

February 10th, 2011: Cause & Effect : Couples Who Rock(ed)

Just in time for Valentine's Day, I polled friends and listeners and asked them to tell me who some of their favorite couples in music history were / are. Some couples are no longer together, some co-wrote songs together but played them solo, and some are incredibly still making music after all these years. (Dead Moon, Sonic Youth, Low, Yo La Tengo, and Boris to name a few). I am also an equal opportunity DJ so the couples featured on tonight's show represent all the kinds of coupling out there, straight, gay, married, dating, split up, and a few complex ones like the Sugarcubes whose member Thor impregnated both female members of the band. Even if you don't like or support Valentine's Day, it's hard not to appreciate the songs these men and women have written.

I have also tried to keep the songs themselves a nice mix of angst to adorable so hopefully there will be a little something for everyone. This will not be an over the top love fest, I can promise you that.

Tune in from 7-9 pm tonight, 97.3 on your FM dial for RVA locals and at www.wrir.org for live streaming.  

And thanks to all who offered suggestions for tonight's playlist. It was the most people I have ever had comment on an idea for a show. You guys and gals are the best!

Disclaimer - Bob and Grant from Husker Du have denied they dated but it has been a rock and roll urban legend for years. (both are openly gay) There are many bands with this rumor attached to them, The Rolling Stones and The Smiths being two others. I wanted to include at least one of these bands in the show tonight to to represent the relationship question mark bands.

February 3, 2011

February 3rd, 2011 : Cause & Effect : Bobby Robinson

Bobby Robinson was a name I was unfamiliar with but after reading his obituary in the NY Times, I couldn't believe my ignorance. He was many things but at the top of that list was being an icon to Harlem (and a shining example of the American dream) for not only owning a legendary record store on 125th street for years but for being the man behind so many classic records from the 1950s until the '80s. I knew many of the artists ( Wilbert Harrison, The Shirelles, Dave "Baby" Cortez, Elmore James, Lee Dorsey, Gladys Knight & The Pips, King Curtis, Spoonie Gee, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Doug E. Fresh, and Kool Moe Dee) and his many labels (Red Robin Records, Whirlin' Disc Records, Fury Records, Fire Records and Enjoy Records to name a few) but somehow I missed that he was behind all of these wonderfully important things. In regards to American Music history I feel like his name should be recognizable to all, especially when focusing on the history of music made by African Americans.

While I grew up in NJ (about a 1/2 hour outside of NYC), I wasn't old enough to know what was happening in NYC until the late '80s, long after Robinson's career peek. Sadly I never had the chance to shop in his store while it was still open and I wish really I was cool enough to attend the warehouse space parties in the Bronx where some of the first Hip Hop acts in American came from but at the time I was just a middle school dork living in one of the whitest communities ever with zero links to anyone in NYC, no less embedded in that DIY party scene.

I am grateful to have this radio show to learn about all the things I missed out on and have really grown to appreciate all the incredible music Bobby Robinson had an ear for and released for other's to bring into their home or hear over the radio.

Tonight from 7PM to 9PM I will be playing examples from his entire discography spanning all his various labels and genres. Together they tell a rich and remarkable story of music made by mostly African Americans on the East Coast for nearly 40 years. Only on WRIR (http://www.wrir.org/ - stream the show live) or come back to this post tomorrow where I will have a link to the whole show.

My apologies. Due to a ridiculous number of technical difficulties tonight, there was no podcast. It was a minor miracle the show happened at all. Sigh, technology hates me.

February 2, 2011

A Killer DC Record You Might Not Know About

As far as I know, there was only one single and it came out on Kim from Jawbox's label DeSoto. 1992. Its a nice mash up of Government issue members but sounds like a more aggro Jawbox to my ears.

Tome Lyle - Guitar (Gov Issue )
J Robbins - Bass / Vocals - (Gov Issue, Jawbox, Burning Airlines, Channels ect)
Peter Moffett - Drums (Gov issue, Wool ect)

Geoff Turner - Engineer / backing vocals

This just in from J Robbins about the record : "Those 2 songs are all we did - they were the last 2 songs GI wrote and I thought they were too good to disappear forever (though the vocs and lyrics in the rollkicker version are different from the GI ones)."

Sweater-Pop Goodness : Rocketship

I stumbled across a few of their singles in my collection and realized 1) they have stood the test of time 2) should be listened to more often 3) that I am missing some of the later records and need to track them down. I wish someone would compile all their singles in one place. So terrific!