August 30, 2012

The Peel Effect


If you give a rat's ass about independent music and are over the age of 25, you probably already know who John Peel is and if you aren't familiar with his name, shame on you! He is probably one of the most important music DJs in the history of rock and roll and his influence over the UK airwaves changed music history forever.

Tonight from 7PM to 9PM we will try our best to pay respects to a man who is a hero within the field of radio and underground music by not only sharing the details of his remarkable life but by focusing on one particular aspect of his life that has fans like me particularly obsessed with.

About a year after John's untimely death in 2004, a small wooden box was discovered among his massive record collection. The contents of this box was the beginnings of what Peel considered his favorite and most personally significant 45 RPMs in his record collection. Dubbed "John Peel's Record Box" his selection of a mere 142 singles was never intended to stop at that number however since he passed away before he could complete or update the box (as we all know a true record nerd never worships the same group of records forever), this specific collection leaves almost as many questions as there are answers.

What we are left to ponder for eternity is a wildly diverse group of records spanning from just about every possible genre of music. Not all of these records would be considered the best songs of all time however they were important to John for one reason or another. This evening it is out goal to highlight a large portion of the material found in his record box (our personal favorites!) while filling in the back story as to why that particular 7" made it into his special grouping.

Stream us live from 7PM to 9PM anywhere in the world and only at WRIR.

August 26, 2012

The Sundays on a Sunday

Enjoy this lovely '97 live footage of the Sundays.

August 22, 2012

"Is Nothing Sacred?" The Wes Anderson Soundtrack Show Wrap Up

You can view the set list of songs I played for the Wes Anderson show on the WRIR site and you can download the show and view / listen to other older Cause & Effect shows here. YAY!

August 21, 2012

Universe People Signs to Little Black Cloud Records

In case you missed reading this on my record label site - I signed a new band!

Once upon a time there was band from Seattle, WA called Welcome on Fatcat Records that I liked a lot. I mean A LOT. 

In fact I worshiped their album  Sirs   so much  that I named it my favorite record in 2007. I loved them for their strangely wonderful combination of raw '60s mod garage Rock with the cool Kim Deal side of the Pixies blended in. They delivered an unbelievably interesting combination of something old and new but they sadly  faded away. leaving fans like me hoping that someday an offshoot band would sprout up. 

Enter Universe People in 2012 and one very happy me.

Welcome's female bass/volcalist player Jo Claxton has a new band and I enjoyed their songs so much I pretty much begged to put them out. I worship their angular female fronted energy that has the power of UK Riot Grrrl bands like Huggy Bear with a post punk dose of The Fall added in. 
(Also for fans of  Delta 5 Country Teasers, Wire, Dolly Mixture, The Stranglers,  and  The Breeders  off the top of my head )

So there it is. We have a new member of the Little Black Cloud Record's family : Universe People!

Their debut album will be released February 12th
,   2013   but in the meantime enjoy their  band page  and follow them on  Facebook . A video is in the works right now for their first single so stay tuned for that in weeks to come! 

Read on for their official bio:

Once upon a time, Jo Claxton accidentally wandered from her hometown of Sydney, Australia and ended up in Seattle, WA. In 2010, several years and several bands later, she approached Kellie Payne to play bass and sing with her. The idea was to make simple, angular songs based around sweet but stark girl-vocal harmonies. Jo had recorded six demos in her basement in the winter of 2010 to get things rolling. Next, Jo needed some drums, so she contacted the ever-popular drummer about town named Dave Ramm. This was in a vanishingly small window of time when he was not actually in a band, in March 2011. Universe People were born and began playing out in Seattle. Early in 2012, they recorded 10 songs for a full length LP at the all analog Pool Recording Studio, in Portland OR.

Dave also plays drums in Wimps, and Kellie plays drums in Eyes and Teeth.

Don’t mistake Universe People for a Czech-Slovak UFO space cult. But they could melt your brain and take you to outer space if you let them. Let them!

August 16, 2012

August 16th 2012 : Cause & Effect : Wes Anderson

There are a million reasons why people love or hate Wes Anderson film's but one thing I think we can all agree on is that the music found in his films are as memorable as any script, actor performance, or eye candy captured by his camera. In short, the music of Wes Anderson films are as powerful and meaningful as the movies themselves. People tend to give Anderson or his co-writers all the credit for these soundtracks but in truth there are two other men who truly deserve the applaud for the bulk of his work: Mark Mothersbaugh (score composer and yes, the guy from Devo) and Randall Poster (music supervisor - my hero!).

What this means is while Wes Anderson has his specific tastes in music and vision for how each film should sound, these other two men (and the list of helpers has expanded in recent years) bring his vision to life. Mark creates music especially for his film (AKA the score), often working on these songs as Wes casually sits near by on a couch working on the script. And Randall's job within the film has many layers, he doesn't just find the right music to fit the story and characters but he then places it in the right places within the film, and then something that is perhaps the least glamerous aspect of this job, securing the rights to use that piece of music in the movie. Licensing the songs is a critical and difficult task that requires detective work and some serious social skills as occasionally the perfect song was written by band that has long broken up and the band members haven't spoken to each other in years and want to keep it that way.

Tonight from 7PM to 9PM on WRIR (stream it live at the link) I will be playing music from all of Wes Anderson's films as well as going into greater detail about the people who help him create some of the best soundtracks in history of film. I will speak a little about Anderson's cinematic influences (imagine that - director's who also use music impeccably!) but most importantly, you will hear two hours of top shelf music. Wes Anderson's power trio makes the best music mixes on the planet and I am happy to organize it all into one show for you.

If time allows, I will also play a handful of songs that I have deemed Wes Anderson soundtrack worthy - things from my personal collection that I have always thought sounded like they belong in one of this films.

UPDATE: Poscast to the show is here. The final set list is posted here:

August 13, 2012

Terrible Truths make Terrific Tunes

Say that ten times fast! Then listen to their delicious new single here.

Or just check this post punk gem out.

August 6, 2012

Phil Elverum Playlist Podcast

If you missed last week's Cause & Effect with all the music hand picked by Phil Elverum of Mount Eerie / The Microphones, you can download it here.

To view the playlist and Phil's notes about his song choices go here

August 2, 2012

August 2, 2012 : Cause & Effect : Mount Eerie, The Microphones, and Phil Elverum

A recent news story on biomimicry is lingering with me as I put the finishing touches on my notes for this week's Cause & Effect. Phil Elverum of Mount Eerie / The Microphones (and who knows how many other side projects) has been kind enough to create a two hour playlist following the theme of our show by choosing songs that tell the story of his personal, musical influences. (THANK YOU PHIL!)

To explain how biomimicry ties in I should try to define it first. Nature is imaginative by necessity and design because in order to stay alive, it HAS to learn to work with the elements, its surroundings, and its own chemistry. It evolves when it has to, again, all in the name of survival. The failures over time turn into fossils and what survives still surrounds us in the present tense. These survivors are the species that have figured out the best way to push forward and keep thriving. Biomimicry is all about using nature as a model for humanity to operate. As the Biomimicry Institute states " If we want to consciously emulate nature's genius, we need to look at nature differently. In biomimicry, we look at nature as a model, measure, and mentor." 

Some of the best practices found in nature are mirrored in the music of Phil Elverum. For those familiar with Phil's epic creative outpouring, the parallels are obvious. For those unfamiliar with his work I will try my best to explain it. 

Phil Elverum as an artist is ever evolving and self renewing while maintaining a constant bond to his surroundings with a heavy tribute to Mother Nature. As a first example, one of his albums and now his current band name Mount Eerie is named after a mountain in his home state of Washington. His songs (particularly focusing on The Microphones and Mount Eerie output) and his photography often refer to his natural surroundings, reflect upon the images of his landscape, and incorporates the sounds of nature within the recordings themselves. In fact, there is barely a division between Phil's art and nature. 

To further build upon this train of thought, Elverum also writes his songs in a less traditional structured style. They tend to flow organically and move in surprising directions. His music emanates a temperamental atmosphere that unravels in unpredictable ways. Occasionally he may use a gust a wind where other musicians would place a guitar solo. or bridge. As I write this I am basking in the calm last light of the afternoon but just moments ago there was monstrous wind and pounding rain. Phil Elverum's songwriting is equally as moody and confounding. It is the gentle pitted against the wild. It is a beast suddenly tamed. It is awe inspiring and infinitely interesting.  

It should also be mentioned that Phil Elverum is a master collaborator. Using the creative talent pool found within his region (enter many of the K Records local artists, touring musicians who stop to visit him, and friends who make music within his sound spectrum), much of Phil's recording sessions include a host of special guests. Imagine a spider building a web and making the most its ecosystem based within its direct environment. If someone was wondering how they could make the most of what grows naturally around them, I suspect Phil is an expert in this approach to living, which for many artists means making making music. If you spend time enough time with Phil Elverum's diverse and mammoth creative catalog, you too will believe making music is a second nature to him. His songs reflect life, death, and all the beauty and sadness that comes with it. 

Biomimicy is about echoing nature in they way we as humans operate and while I am neither an expert in this field of thought or Phil's music, I am certain that the music of Mount Eerie and The Microphones pays deep tribute his immediate surroundings by amplifying it from a Jurassic peak.

Tune into WRIR from 7PM to 9PM tonight (Eastern Standard Time) to hear two hours of music hand picked by Phil Elverum, the artist himself! For Richmond locals we can be found at 97.3 fm on your dial and for all others around the world you can stream us live here. I will podcast the show and share the link to it here.  

And more more thank you to Phil for creating some darn fine music, picking one of my favorite Cause & Effect sets ever, and for supplying thoughtful notes that accompany each selection. Those will also be posted here on my blog and the radio station site.

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