February 26, 2010
What spells a glorious Caribbean Cruise vacation better than one spent with 2000 aging heshers there to see 40 bands like Saxon, Raven, and Sodom?
I give you 70000 Tons of Metal. It's a cruise. It's a Heavy Metal Festival.
I suspect there will be a lot of people there whose bodies haven't seen the sun in half a century.
February 25, 2010
first is a collection of stunning images done by the institute of optics at the university of rochestser. they put a vinyl record under an electron microscope to see what those grooves look like REAL close.
check it out:
See more via Synthgear
second is a pretty cool ad for technics cassettes from japan, circa the mid-80s. hat tip to Yoga Records for this one.
February 24, 2010
I am digging the new song / first single which comes from a new solo record coming May 4th (entitled Open Letter to the Scene), or so my lovely pal Pam tells me.
And what? There is a new Rival Schools record coming soon too? That's the gossip!
The video has touches of Sophia Coppola, Mike Mills , and Wes Anderson which fits the tribute to Arthur Lee rather perfectly. (And if you don't know who Arthur Lee is, shame on you!)
February 22, 2010
Let that be a lesson to you, latex gloves, handy-wipes, and antibacterial gels are a good idea when digging for records!
Thanks for passing along Tom.
February 21, 2010
Occasionally, I would walk away with an R.E.M album or something of that nature. The local record store had abandoned vinyl, so this was my only outlet other than road trips to Chapel Hill.
On one particular visit I stumbled across an LP that looked sort of like the 7 inches I had been purchasing at punk shows. It was black and white and liked like a copied cover. The album was the Texas based band The Judy's, Washarama.
I was extremely disappointed with their striped down new wave sound. So NOT punk. I wasn't one to sell music, so the album hit the shelves.
Fast Forward to SIXTEEN years later.
It isn't uncommon to find me and Lightning's Girl grabbing a coffee, stopping by Deep Groove for a record fix, and trying on vintage clothing at Halcyon on a Saturday afternoon. It is pretty rare that I walk into Deep Groove and not buy a record or ten. I never take a bag, so my albums are normally exposed to the public. This has proven to be a great conversation starter as people seem to be shocked that records still exist or excited that I am holding a record they love.
We were on our normal route yesterday. By the time we were on the way to Halcyon, our coffee was gone and I had two records in my hand. We had a tip from the Halcyon proprietor that some shirts had arrived that we would be sure to love. The day was already shaping up to be a good one.
Enter Halcyon. A customer immediately noticed the art of one of the records I was holding. It is the best kind of predictable. She made a comment about the good old days and walked off. Me and LG went about shopping and after a little while made our way to the counter to pay for our vintage prizes.
Another customer made a comment about the records in my hand.
Customer: "There is a record I really want but I doubt anyone has..."
My internal dialogue was predicting the her next response. "I bet it is some stupid 70s record. Better yet, an 80s band that you can find at any used record store in the country."
Me: "Oh yeah, what is this record you speak of..."
Customer: "It is this little known Texas band called the Judy's."
I couldn't help but laugh.
Me: "Is it Washarama? If so, I have the record you are looking for. If you want it, it is yours."
In the time/space continuum of record buying and trading I couldn't be more jazzed about the situation that occurred yesterday. I don't know how long this person had been searching for The Judy's album. I do know that it has traveled with me through 13 moves. It has been sitting in a Pepsi Cola Record crate ever since it was purchased in 1994. Was it my job to buy this record so one day I could gift it to a random person in the year 2010? That I will never know.
The whole tale warms me heart. The real question is:
Will she ever call me and actually come pick up the record?
Who knows. It is sitting in the J section of my records waiting on her retrieval.
February 19, 2010
And a few links to her:
PS: And very much looking forward to seeing this movie and she is included in the score.
February 18, 2010
You may be expecting an entire two hours of our radio show to be dream pop shoegaze (ALA Galaxie 500 & Slowdive)but think again!
This Baltimore, MD duo has a wider variety of influences than you may think and after reading quite a few interviews with them, they have some pretty darn fine taste in music overall! Thanks to this band I have discovered a Grateful Dead song I actually love, revisited a Neil Young record I hadn't played in forever, and was turned onto yet another French chanteur. Thanks Beach House!
You can listen to use follow the music roots of Beach House tonight from 7pm to 9pm on WRIR. 97.3 FM on the dial (if you live in Richmond, VA) or you can stream us anywhere at www.wrir.org.
February 17, 2010
The reality is this. I have been a serious record collecting addict since I was in grade school. Thirty some years later I have spent a great deal of time in record stores and attending record fairs. I helped run a table at the legendary WFMU Record Fair for slightly under a decade and while I am aware there are many similar shows like this one in the world, WFMU is legendary for its size, wide variety of vendors, and its massive crowds. (Not to mention it is put together by one of the best radio stations known to man...but I digress.)
For Valentine's Day this year my sweetheart and I attended the DC Record Fair and I have to say two key things about it: 1) HOLY FUCK IT WAS CROWDED !!!! 2) dang was it dark. It was so packed and so poorly lit that that I gave up trying to look for records after the first hour and spent my time catching up with friends I am grateful to have run into into and enjoyed the various DJ sets.
On the long car ride back to Richmond I began thinking about all the very special personality types one finds at a record fair and formed a list in my head. Mind you, I hold a special place in my heart for this cast of characters because I am very much an active part of the circus so while this list does have a sarcastic mocking tone to it, these weirdos have also been my people for the better part of my adult life.
And I give you my Record Fair Cast of Characters:
The Linebacker- This husky type takes up 3 rows at a time and there is no way around them.
The Cutter - Sure they see you waiting to browse at a table when a spot opens up but these impatient types will shove right past you as if you weren’t even there. You may be left asking yourself AM I INVISIBLE? And the answer is yes...to these people, you are.
Duck Duck Booze - This classic character takes one look at the crowd, circles the room once, and then heads to the bar rather than look for records. How does this story end? Drunk by 3. Leaves with no records by 4 and is home passed out by 5.
Rude Boy- Manners shmanners. These people will pull records from the bin your are looking at as if you are their servant doing the dirty work for them. You know how annoying the whole waiting tour turn / getting your hands dirty thing can be.
Pokey Pup - This slow poke takes a painfully long time at every table looking at every record and price as if they were in only person in the world and their eyes were on loan from Mr. Magoo.
The Megaphone- NO INDOOR VOICE FOR THIS PERSON. Why waste time looking through records when you can just scream at the dealer to see if they have whatever records you are looking for.
Smart Phonos – This is a relatively new addition to the world of record fairs thanks to iPhones and the like. These people can’t look at a single record without checking on the cell phone for price comparison, details about the record, how rare it is…
Sitting Bull- There might be 20 people crowded at the table but this person will sit on the floor in front of the table to look at dollar records for an hour. Oh and will haggle those dollar records down. Maybe they have a foot fetish?
Too Shy Shy- This poor passive guy or gal can't seem to muscle their way towards the front of a record table. They end up looking like the runt of the litter who gets no milk from mama because the more aggressive types have pushed them out of the way. I believe if there was one character I relate to the most, this is it.
Tigger – These bouncing balls of energy hop up and down a few rows back from the table to get a sneak peek at the records they are waiting in line for.
The Coat Rack- This is A-typically a girlfriend and usually she is not into records. This poor person gets stuck holding all the crap their record obsessed buyer friend or loved one has shed for optimum shopping.
Dicker - No price is firm to this penny pincher. If haggling was a sport, these people would be wearing a gold medal.
Freshmen - New to collecting records, this guy or gal will overspend for records the rest of us know are the very definition of a dollar record.
The Peeping Tom- Their head appears for just a few seconds between the shoulders of two shoppers in front of them and it is assumed that this impatient wiggly worm is either looking at what type of records are for sale or is eyeing the same records you are.
Space Invader – This person not only doesn’t seem to understand the boundaries of personal space but has no qualms eyeing the record you have in your hands as if they are a bird of prey and you are holding lunch.
Oops I've Pooped Myself- This unfortunate walking stink pile smells like the CBGBs bathroom did at 3am on a hot summer night. They may also have a legit fear of soap.
Miracle - Any female record collector.
The Groper- Nope- not a 7" box, that was my breast.
Long Duck Dong – This person has a very poor grasp of the English language yet seems to ask the most questions to a dealer.
Messy Marvin- You know the kind, they pull out the records they want and leave them all over the tops of every section making it impossible for others to browse. This selfish shopper can best be spotted at your local record store.
Momma’s Boy- He is over 50, still lives with his parents, and lives for records(okay and maybe science fiction) (and comics). Don’t expect to find any social skills here unless you are packing the original Amazing Spider-Man #1.
The Obscurist- This wackadoodle is always looking for all the stuff you never have heard of or dreamed existed. Algerian goat herding yodelers, harmonica playing lumberjacks from the ‘40s, mating calls of under water Nigerian frogs… Whaaa? Your not familiar? You haven’t heard music until you hear these!
The Lucky Bastard- It’s the end of a long day at the record fair and you and your friends are exiting the premises with just a few records no less ones you paid full price for yet on the way out you always run into that one person who found every record they have ever wanted at a quarter of the price. Hmph!
Zen Master – I don’t know how they do it. After 5 hours in a stinky, noisy, jam packed room, this cucumber hasn’t broken a sweat and is still smiling. You can step on their feet and they may even apologize to you. They have to be on something, and it must be mighty powerful stuff.
February 16, 2010
February 10, 2010
What began as the usual exploration into one artist's influences has rather accidentally has turned into the cliff notes to the history of electronic music and many of its offshoot genres likes glitch and IDM.
It seemed logical enough to start with some obvious early influences to the style like Goblin, John Carpenter, and Mike Oldfield as well as the key roots to the UK artist Four Tet's sound which is in the vein of experimental Jazz like Alice Coltrane, Sun Ra, and later Miles Davis.
From there it was just common sense to pull track from artists that help shape the genre from early on, electronic pioneers (that also cross over into hip hop) like DJ Shadow, Autechre, and Squarepusher.
Before I knew it I had over two hours of music following the progression of this genre from its inception until present day. It's always interesting and exciting when your ears can hear the connection between songs but then when you go back to look into the story behind each of these songs and it turns out there is a genuine historical connection between them, for a dork like me, it becomes really exciting! For instance I grabbed an Adem track to follow Miles Davis not realizing at first that Adem was in fact a member of Fridge, the group that Kieren Hebden AKA Four Tet grew out of. Only to read further that the Miles Davis record I picked a song from (On the Corner) is considered "a strong forerunner of the musical techniques of post punk, hip hop, drum and bass, and electronic music."
As a wise man once said, "I love it when a plan comes together" and this Four Tet show really fell into place quite nicely if I don't say so myself. While mostly instrumental music isn't traditionally my favorite, some of these songs are among my favorites in the genre of Electronic music and more importantly, this show will be a great 101 for those of you who never gave this style of music much care. It's rooted in some incredibly fantastic stuff so maybe those of you who love Jazz, Rap, or even Ambient New Age, you might just discover a few new groups that share a common thread.
Tune in from 7PM to 9PM at 97.3 FM on your dial for you local Richmond types or tune in on line at www.wrir.org.
And after the show, you should head over to Balliceaux where Cherry Bomb will be DJing all night, myself included.
February 9, 2010
I don't know Duncan Brooker and Francis Gooding but I owe them an enormous thank you. Do to their incredible taste in music and due diligence, they have created one damn fine collection of rare '60s and '70s "featuring music recorded primarily for the local market, the album takes the listener far beyond the accepted township jive template into fusions with jazz, gospel, rumba, funk and traditional mining songs, all under-pinned by a gritty, uncompromising edge."
For those of you who love African music collections or are interested in the revival Affican Pop thing happening with bands like Vampire Weekend, this record isn't a just listen to. It is a must own.
I am a little bummed that the LP doesn't seem to come with the same kick ass booklet the CD version comes with but luckily the music is good enough for me to bite my tongue and be happy with the wax alone.
Out now on Strut Records.
February 6, 2010
There was a small slightly out of tune piano that sat in the living room of my grandparents home. I had seen and heard plenty of instruments as a child but this piano was the first one I was allowed to touch and explore. For some reason while a child's plonking away would be pure torture to any normal adult, my Grandmother didn't seem to mind. Not only was she willing to teach me the basics of how the notes were organized, I was given the opportunity to experiment with all of them for an extended amount of time. Her patience was epic and while I never learned to officially play it, I could fake my way through several pieces (classics like the "Nadia's Theme" from the Young and the Restless) and in hindsight was my first lesson in how music worked. My parents loved music deeply, took me to classical performances and the likes as a very small kid, but it was my Grandmother who offered me hands on training and was willing to expose me to a musical instrument first hand... no less with the patience of a saint.
What I didn't realize as a child was that my Grandmother's father wasn't just an exceptional piano player with a passion for music, he wrote sheet music and poetry. Actually he didn't just write music for the piano and shelf it, he was a published multiple times and apparently made quite a name for himself. A few of his pieces are still being published today and his original pieces show up on Ebay and sheet music sites from time to time. Frederick Keats passed his love of words and music as well as the ability to create it to his daughter only to eventually be passed onto me.
Some families pass along recipes and quilts, I have the deep appreciation for music and almost 150 years of my family producing it pumping through my veins. The beauty of this is not lost on me and I am proud to carry on the tradition.
It's unbelievably sad to say good-bye to my Grandmother today but as painfully sentimental as this sounds, the part of her that lives on in me ...pretty much owns me.
February 4, 2010
Some bands are a seasonal thing for me and I find my ears crave Air the most when snowy weather hits. I also find myself getting sentimental about the group because I had the honor of working with a great number of their earlier records when I worked for the distribution side of their label Astralwerks.
I fell in love with them instantly because they truly delivered this perfect complete package of dreamy space-age modern pop songs, their art work was impeccable, and let's face it, they aren't exactly uneasy on the eyes. (Plus touring outfits? Yes!)
I also have a comical memory of seeing them play in DC at the 9:30 club and wondering if the whole crowd hadn't taken some sort of love drug. It was a very coupled audience and everyone was getting frisky around me during the show. It was like a PG-13 audience orgy, so weird.
Anyhow, so for those of you not living in Richmond, we have been buried in snow and there are rumors of more to come this weekend. This icey magical landscape offered the perfect backdrop as I pulled songs for this week's Cause & Effect and revisited the Air catalog. Tonight from 7PM to 9PM we will be basking in out of this world synth sounds (occasionally new age sounding in fairness) as well as space-age goodness by Tomita, Jean Michel Jarre, Pink Floyd, Neu, Stereolab, Mellow, Brian Auger, Boards of Canada, and a whole lot of other fantastic artists!
If the snow and cold weather is stressing you out, tonight's show will offer you the ultimate relaxing experience. Sit back and enjoyed the ride.
You can listen to us at 97.3 FM on the dial or at www.wrir.org.
February 3, 2010
February 2, 2010
Kinda blows my mind to go from this:
And let's not forget about the classic lyrics of NWA's Gangsta Gangsta
"Here's a little somethin' bout a nigga like me
never shoulda been let out the penititary
Ice Cube would like ta say
That I'm a crazy mutha fucka from around the way
Since I was a youth, I smoked weed out
Now I'm the mutha fucka that ya read about
Takin' a life or two
that's what the hell I do, you don't like how I'm livin
well fuck you!
This is a gang, and I'm in it
My man Dre'll fuck you up in a minute
With a right left, right left you're toothless
And then you say goddamn they ruthless!
Everwhere we go they say [damn!]
N W A's fuckin' up tha program
And then you realize we don't care
We don't just say no, we to busy sayin' yeah!
To drinkin' straight out the eight bottle
Do I look like a mutha fuckin role model?
To a kid lookin' up ta me
Life ain't nothin but bitches and money.
Cause I'm tha type o' nigga that's built ta last
If ya fuck wit me I'll put a foot in ya ass
See I don't give a fuck 'cause I keep bailin
Yo, what the fuck are they yellin".....
Oh the irony of a line like "Do I look like a mutha fuckin role model?"
February 1, 2010
And for the show's intro and more details, you can go to Rocktober.com.