Thursday, September 15th, 2005 ... 9:30 p.m. - midnight ... KZSU, 90.1 FM
Emergency fill-in slot after sports. Goal was to slap on some long
experimental tracks and coast through the show, listening via laptop to the
end of the San Jose
Giants finals game 1. Decided to start off easy though, in
deference to the sports crowd, and ended up playing more than an hour
of folk/pop, using some of my best tricks from past years (Beth Lisick,
and "Shopping Cart," mainly). A good time.
Then, about 11:30, I switched into experimental noise. Back when I was
impressionable and young, I'd catch this kind of stuff on college radio
late at night. Hopefully I'm warping some other young minds myself tonight --
giving back, as it were.
ARTIST -- "TRACK TITLE" -- ALBUM TITLE (LABEL, YEAR)
Adrian Legg -- "St. Mary's" -- Guitar Bones (Favored Nations Acoustic, 2003)
* Al Stewart -- "The Immelman Turn" -- A Beach Full of Shells (Appleseed, 2005)
I'm an Al Stewart geek, I admit it. Great to see he's still
churning out music and drawing from his folk roots (as opposed to his
Alan Parsons lite-rock years). This is a great track, a strong tempoed, catchy
song in the sea-shanty style that Al does so well.
* Rita Hosking -- "Tall White Horse" -- Are You Ready (self-released, 2005)
Some slow bluegrass vocals. Every radio station puts a
"review" on its CDs -- really it's more of a summary, written by the
DJs for other DJs, so we can grab something on the fly and know
immediately which tracks might work. On shows like this, I love
taking advantage of that system -- I wanted a slowish, countryish
tune here, and it took seconds to find.
Call and Response -- "Trapped Under Ice" -- Winds Take No Shape (Badman Recording Co., 2004)
A gorgeous, wintry album from this local group. Most of their
other stuff has been upbeat and cartoonishly funky. Nothing wrong with
that, but this album gets a special place in my heart for its deeper,
Vance Gilbert -- "Just Can't Go Like That" -- Shaking Off Gravity (Philo, 1998)
Gilbert is an African-American urban-folkie type ... you know, stuff
that NPR would love, with a bit of a "Black" touch, if I may say so.
Pleasant, polite stuff. This was one of the earliest CDs I reviewed for
KZSU, back when I had a lot more time to explore the breadth of music
we get. Good days.
-- 10:00 p.m. --
Christine Lavin -- "Shopping Cart of Love: The Play" -- Live at the Cactus Cafe (Philo, 1993)
Awesome and hilarious. The studio version, on Attainable
Love, is understandably tighter, but this one adds some nice
embellishments and audience humor.
Patty Larkin -- "Do Not Disturb" -- A Gogo: Live on Tour (Vanguard, 1999)
I shouldn't admit it, but I tend to grab Larkin and Lavin CDs
together, not because they worked together (which they did) or because
they're both fabulous (which they are) but because they're so close
alphabetically, meaning they're in the same CD drawer here at the
station. Sad, i'nnit?
Allette Brooks -- "Silicon Valley Rebel" -- Silicon Valley Rebel (self-released, 1999)
Another one from my early days. The line "Please don't
leave us here alone in this silicon hell" from the chorus made this a
fave with some of us. Allette is a Stanford alum who sent us a few
CDs back then; we haven't heard from her in a while.
The Beth Lisick Ordeal -- "Hit and Run" -- Pass (Dunord Recordings, 1998)
Yes, the same Beth Lisick who's now famous for writing
Everybody into the Pool: True Tales. I played this CD to death
back when, and I still try to get it onto my regular show regularly
(spun it just a couple weeks ago, I think).
* Caesars -- "Paper Tigers" -- Paper Tigers (Astralwerks, 2005)
* John Vanderslice -- "Angela" -- Pixel Revolt (Barsuk, 2005)
An electronics-laden track from Vanderslice. Interesting and
still quite poppy.
* Feathers -- "Choral Fingers" -- Absolute Noon (Hometapes, 2005)
... into another electronics-packed track, very pretty and
melodic. This is an EP that shows lots of variety -- jazzy stuff,
strings (loud to the point of distraction), this one.
* Charming Hostess -- "War" -- Sarajevo Blues (Tzadik, 2004)
An awesome, heartbreaking album. What's also sad (on a different
level) is that this is the only track I've played from it so far.
What can I say -- it's a short and immediately catchy track and a
great advertisement for the disk. The longer tracks, which call for
more involved listening, are deeply rewarding and emotional, and they
draw from a superdiaspora of Balkan folk, blues, and other roots musics
stirred up by Jewlia Eisenberg. You
need to hear this CD.
* Graham Parker -- "Dislocated Life" -- Songs of No Consequence (Bloodshot, 2005)
Wow, Graham is back! For those who don't know, Parker was one of
the "angry young British men" circa 1979, alongside Elvis Costello and
Joe Jackson. Graham's stuff was wonderful but (IMHO) always a cut below
the others', and his career was undeservedly obscure. After putting out
some more mature rock records in the '90s (including the fabulous
Struck By Lightning and the honest-to-goodness radio hit
"Get Started. Start a Fire."), he went through
a weepy country phase in the early 2000s, and he's back to doing some
rock here. Including a track asking what everybody was so angry about
* Rusty Santos -- "This Direction" -- The Heavens (Uuar, 2005)
-- 11:00 p.m. --
* Stephen Malkmus -- "No More Shoes" -- Face the Truth (Matador, 2005)
A record full of surprising twists and turns. The Baud of Euphony, a
fellow DJ with broad and exquisite taste, recommended this track, which
starts as a pleasant enough rocker and moves into a gritty, gutty guitar
solo. The first track of the CD, "Pencil Rot," is just plain nuts.
Guided by Voices -- "Skin Parade" -- Universal Truths and Cycles (Matador, 2002)
Using this track to transition from pop into noise and experimental
stuff: The change begins here. UTAC is a nice album (Baud says he likes it,
too, which is a nice stamp of approval) that blends catchy rock songs
with all manner of sonic experimentation.
* Pelican -- "March to the Sea" -- The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw (Hydra Head, 2005)
Heavy prog-metal guitars. Other tracks on here are gentle and even
pretty, lots of major 7ths and even some acoustics. DJ Mike notes that
the prettier tracks sound like later work from the band Isis, which I guess
I'll have to check out.
* Oscillting Innards -- "Redwood City (West)" et.al. [about 10 tracks] -- California (Introgenesis, 2005)
Brutal, harsh noise. Big, in-your-face tsunamis of static separated
by ruthlessly high piercing sounds. There are 30 tracks on this mini-CD,
each one about 30 seconds long, nearly all loud and vicious. Oh, and
in a rare quieter spell, a monologue about different types of stealing.
* Chris Brown -- [Various trcks] -- Talking Drum (Pogus Productions, 2005)
Various binaural field recordings (meaning with headphones, the sounds
have direction like in real life -- not just left/right but front/back and
above/below). Lots of stuff mixed together: various world musics,
traffic sounds, human voices, recorded from 1991-99 in Bali, the Phillippines,
Turkey, Europe, Cuba, and America. A nice collage of stuff, although
72 minutes of it seems a bit much.
-- Midnight --
I played tracks 8 through 14. Track 13 included a nice surprise: an
acoustic bass playing on through the clatter. Turns out it was
recorded at Beanbender's, the late lamented music venue in downtown
Berkeley that was a haven for just this sort of stuff. You go, Chris!
Gratuitous Beanbender's-related link: www.plonsey.com.
* Martin Tetreault and Otomo Yoshihide -- "Lyon No. 3" -- 2. Tok (Ambiances Magnetiques, 2005)
Second in a series of noise duets performed on turntables. (No
vinyl, I don't think -- it's the sounds of scraping and bumping on the
needles. Think glitchy bursts of static; amplified contact-mic kinds
* Alex Cline, Koaru, Miya Masaoka, G.E. Stinson -- "Robot Mudra" -- Cloud Plate (Cryptogramophone, 2005)
Shimmering landscapes, a cool-metallic mix of drums, koto,
electronics, and other-worldly voices.
* Byla -- "Closer to the Center" -- Byla (Translation Loss, 2005)
Tim Berne -- "Impacted Wisdom" -- Nice View (Winter & Winter, 2005; orig. released on JMT, 1994)
Diving into the jazz thing now, a 38-minute track with Berne (sax),
Mark Dresser (bass), Herb Robertson (trumpet), Steve Swell (trombone),
Bobby Previte (drums), Marc Ducret (guitar), and Django Bates (keys).
You go back to Tim Berne's early/mid-90s stuff -- or any of these guys'
records, for that matter -- and you'll find all-star New York City
lineups. Great, great music germinated there.
This one's been rereleased on Winter & Winter, which is resurrecting
the JMT catalog bit by bit (Stefan Winter was the guy behind JMT, and
he's only recently secured the rights to get the music back out there).
Look for The "Paris Concert" CDs from Tim Berne's Bloodcount to come
next year or the year after -- great, great stuff.
* = Item in KZSU rotation
-- Go back to Memory Select playlists.
-- Bay Area free/improv music calendar: http://www.bayimproviser.com.