Sunday, January 14th, 2007
... midnight - 3:00 a.m. ...
KZSU, 90.1 FM
(HEY!... some news about the local band
The Molecules is listed below... )
The objective was to shift through as many genres as possible. Patsy Cline
and Shriekback in the same set; how can you go wrong with that? In the past,
I'd do this in segments -- a cluster of country, a cluster of hard stuff, etc.
This time, I wanted to try faster shifts, more abrupt changes, while
maintaining a sensible flow. It's closer to what I'd often do with the show
in my earlier years, a mode I'm hoping to rekindle in my regular programming.
While I didn't fall back on my safety valve (King Crimson), I did toss in a
Godley & Creme track because it came to mind when planning that set. Godley &
Creme's albums, particularly L and Freeze-Frame and
Ismism (also called Snack Attack) are my secret weapons at the
station. Overall, less indie rock than usual.
I'm thinking of trying to do these patchwork late-night shows regularly.
Tentative name: "Rorschach's Dance." Artsy, ooooh.
ARTIST -- "TRACK TITLE" -- ALBUM TITLE (LABEL, YEAR)
Horizontal lines denote microphone breaks.
Sparks -- "Dick Around" -- Hello Young Lovers (In the Red, 2006)
A great single that makes for a colossal show opener, as it's got that
big wall of vocals like "Bohemian Rhapsody." And like that tune, you have to
wait a bit for the really good part to kick in -- the churn of metal guitars,
doing simple but really loud riffs. I love this song.
Frank Zappa -- "Yo' Mama" -- Sheik Yerbouti (Zappa Records, 1978)
* The Carter Family -- "Amber Tresses" -- The Carter Family (Sphere, 2006; orig. released c.1977)
Not the Carter Family, but a set of sisters who happen to be
named Carter. The year 1977 is a guess... it's a '70s reissue of some kind.
Light country fare.
Sparks -- "Perfume" -- Hello Young Lovers (In the Red, 2006)
Forgot to back-announce "Dick Around" before launching into the 12-
minute Zappa track. If there's a band that needs the on-air mention, it's
these guys (30 years of going unnoticed in their home country), so I gave them
* Dead to Me -- "Something New" -- Cuban Ballerina (Fat Wreck Chords, 2006)
Local punk band. This is one of their less aggressive tracks, kind of
poppy. Such nice boys.
Tim Berne -- "Hip Doctor" -- Sanctified Dreams (Columbia, 1987)
From Berne's short stint with the big time at Columbia. Whether it was
his own choice or via A&R pressure, the second track on the album happens to
be of hit-single length, three minutes. Of course, it opens with curly improv
trumpet noises from Herb Robertson that are far from "radio friendly," but it
does get into a happy little groove. Sort of. Anyway, Berne and Columbia
soon parted ways, but that little bit of extra exposure did wonders for his
career -- something for which we should all be thankful.
* Bela Lakatos and the Gypsy Youth Project -- "Dimo" -- Introducing Bela Lakatos and the Gypsy Youth Project (World Music Network, 2006)
Fun modern Hungarian/Romanian stuff. This one's an a capella number,
for a particularly cool sound. Weird lyrics, though -- the English
translation, in part, goes: "The car is coming, tooting toward Becs / Aladar
is sitting in it / There's a boot and a stick under his armpit / So is he
driving to Becs."
The And -- "I Fall to Pieces" -- Day (J-Bird, 1997)
The Movie Stars -- "Fall to Pieces" -- Head on a Platter (Whirlaway, 1990)
Six Finger Satellite -- "Fall to Pieces" -- Law of Ruins (Sub Pop, 1998)
-- 1:00 a.m. --
Michael Nesmith & the First National Band -- "I Fall to Pieces" -- Loose Salute (Awareness, 1990; orig. released 1970)
A set based on a song title. I'd expected to find more variety, more
unrelated songs called "Fall to Pieces" ... but no, all I dug up was cover
after cover of the Patsy Cline classic. The exception was Six Finger
Satellite's gloomy, ominous, but not quite downtempo electronica. Of the
other versions, Michael Nesmith's is the most faithful to the country
ethic, and The Movie Stars, who were apparently local, were IMHO the
best, with a crisply poppy sound like the Continental Drifters' more upbeat
And then there was The And, as mentioned, kind of an MTV-wannabe
band in a post-MTV world. They're actually the ones that started all this --
I'd found the CD in the library a few years ago, gave it a listen, disliked it,
end of story. Except the band name stuck in my head -- apparently that
part of the concept worked -- and years later, I looked up the CD in our Zookeeper music database,
saw the "Fall to Pieces" track (not knowing for sure it was the Patsy cline
tune) and did a search for the title. Boredom leads to some really pointless
Patsy Cline -- "I Fall to Pieces" -- Live at the Opry (MCA, 1998; recorded 1961)
Live rendition, like it says, with Hank Snow doing the classic radio-guy
introduction. (You know, "A lady who's climbing up the pop charts...")
Just in case there was one listener out there appalled that I didn't play
Patsy in that last set.
* Gary Noland -- "My Babe's Gone Down to Do Her Glue" [Op. 80, No. 4] -- Royal Oilworks Music (, 2006)
Screwball classical? Experimental piano/harpsichord music that's
obviously classical (it's got opus numbers, fer chrissake) but falls easily
into the experimental or even jazz/improv camp. Not that that's unusual --
take Terry Riley, for instance. Fun stuff, in miniatures and 5- to 7-minute
pieces. Elsewhere you've got one called "Insurrection of the Office Slaves."
This particular track included drums -- computerized, apparently -- over
slowly crazy acoustic piano, for a particularly Cecil Taylor sound.
Shriekback -- "My Spine (Is the Bass Line) -- The Dancing Years (Island, 1990)
Appears to be a combination of then-"new" tracks and some older ones,
sort of a goodbye retrospective? Don't know for sure; i'll have to look this
up in Trouser Press. This one got rescued from our library by DJ David Bug; a lot of CDs circa
1990 arrived before we'd set up our Zookeeper database and are only now
getting keyed in. (Same goes for the vinyl; we've had Sheik Yerbouti
since its original release, but it wasn't in the database until I typed it in
* Buddy Guy with Keith Richards -- "The Price You gotta Pay" -- Can't Quit the Blues (Silvertone, 2006)
This CD comes with an awesome diagram showing who was in the band
from year to year, and where they went next. Big fun for fans of the "rock
family tree" concept.
From a 3-CD retrospective of Buddy's 50-year career. Our copy arrived
without liner notes, so I don't know offhand when this was recorded (very
recently, in any event). Amusing that Buddy sings "the price you have
to pay" on a number of choruses. It's grammatically conscious blues.
* Mars Ill -- "Stand Back and Watch" -- Pro Pain (Gotee, 2006)
Had to toss hip-hop into the mix, right? And I struck gold skimming
through the hip-hop rotation CDs. Hard-slamming stuff with a nasty piano
groove sample. Cutting, intelligent lyrics about the warped state of society.
* Cross-Border Trio -- "Sad Guy" -- New Directions (Circumvention, 2006)
Previously noted here. Opens
with an unaccompanied bassline that made a nice come-down transition from Mars
Ill, then gets into a good mid/fast groove.
* Squarepusher -- "The Modern Bass Guitar" -- Hello Everything (Warp, 2006)
A dry, crisp electronica track, making for a nicely low-key entry from
the jazz stuff.
Godley & Creme -- "The Sporting Life" -- L (Polydor, 1978)
My obsession with these guys was noted here. They make
for great late-night listening. This is a 7-minute song, one of their artsier
pop efforts with lots of phases and hummable melodies, anchored by a jazzy
electric-piano chorus. Seriously, dig up these guys' '70s albums (avoid
anything '80s with Trevor Horn on it) and/or the more "normal," accessible,
Goodbye Blue Sky.
The Molecules -- "Fuck New York" -- Steel Toe (Tragic Mule, 1991)
Classic Bay Area avant-rock, crazy stuff in that Japanoise
Boredoms/Ruins vein, but with a heavier leaning on prickly, aggressive improv.
A band that included Ron Anderson (guitar, trumpet, electronics?),
Thomas Scandura (drums), and John Shiurba (guitar;
possibly bass; no, I didn't do my research here). Anderson would eventually
leave town IIRC, while Shiurba stuck around to complete a variety of interesting projects. Steel
Toe was their first of six released CDs.
* Guther -- "A Brief Encounter" -- Sundet (Morr, 2006)
Found out today that The Molecules are back together as a trio, the
three guys noted above. They've got an album coming out, Friends, that
includes some old, unreleased footage and a DVD video. And they'll be doing a
tour that starts with two local shows:
After a handful of West-coast dates, they're then headed to Europe for two
weeks, including an appearance at the Vandoeuvre
Festival in France. It can't be easy getting the band back together,
considering how long it's been, so it's good to see them get some nice gigs.
Hopefully we'll get an interview in with them. before the 28th.
Really nice indie pop with clear female vocal. "Excellent music for a
lazy Saturday afternoon," our DJ Captain Dee describes it. Catchy,
-- 2:00 a.m. --
The Molecules -- "Blow Job" -- Morokyu (Sento, 1994)
The instrumental side of The Molecules ("Fuck New York" actually said,
well, you know) still intense and rocking. I'm embarrassed to say I didn't
"get" the title of the CD until after I'd gone off the air. I even made a
joke about how it looked like some Japanese name. D'oh!
Scuppernong -- "Strayhorn" -- 7" (Jettison, 1991)
Speaking of unkeyed
stuff, here's a 7" CD I unearthed while doing the search for the "Fall to
Pieces" set. (We had a Screaming Weasels single and a CD cut of theirs, both
with the song, but neither made the cut -- sorry guys, there's only so much of
that song I can take.) Very pleasant surprise. It's in that '90s
"alternative" rock vein with strong punk elements, too hard for MTV, but also
shows some pop melodicism and serious songwriting chops as they shift to
softer chords later in the song. This one deserves to be remembered; moments
like this make me glad to be doing what I'm doing, even if nobody's
* Deicide -- "Not of this Earth" -- The Stench of Redemption (Earache, 2006)
From fairly hard rock into blistering, blurry metal, the kind where
it's just a fog of noise and you (or at least I) can't tell what's going on
inside it. Picked this one because it's one of the least-played metal CDs in
rotation now. That doesn't mean it's bad; I can tell you from the jazz side,
I'll often neglect a good CD for weeks on end because it's too awkward a
fit... or for no good reason beyond forgetfulness.
* The Mark Newton Band -- "What About You" -- Hillbilly Hemingway (Rebel, 2006)
Hee hee hee. The abrupt transition from "punishingly-loud hard-stop"
to "fast friendly bluegrass" is a lot more obvious than you'd think,
especially when the bluegrass song opens with solo guitar or banjo and the
metal song stops on a dime. I use that trick relatively often,
Yes -- "Tempus Fugit" -- Drama (Atlantic, 1980)
Oh god, what a mistake. Trying for another sudden style shift, and
coming off the high of Horror on Prog Mountain
VII, I decided to toss on a Yes song. I don't like Drama, but I'll
often spin something I don't like, because hey, I might be wrong. This time,
I WASN'T WRONG. This is the album with Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes (The
Buggles) in the band, so it's subpar from square one ... but this song, in
particular, goes out of its way to use "yes" in the lyrics, a ton. It's
annoying. This can go back on the shelf for a long, long time.
* This Heat -- "Horizontal Hold" -- Made Available: The John Peel Sessions (These, 1996; recorded 1977)
Previously noted here. This one
gets an asterisk for being in "reanimation," an A-file offshoot of newly
acquired, older CDs.
Rev. Jesse Jackson -- [excerpt from Side One] -- Our Time Has Come (Constellation/MCA, 1984)
Late-night randomness. This is Jesse's speech to the Democratic
National Convention of 1984, which got released on vinyl later that year. I
picked a snippet going just for "what the-" factor rather than any particular
meaning, although I got a good one, about the need for unity among religions.
Spent about a minute and a half with Jesse, using the This Heat winddown as a
sound bed behind him.
* Gypsy Schaeffer -- "Oi" -- Portamental (Peacetime, 2006)
Band led by trombonist Joel Yennior of Either/Orchestra. Accessible
jazz with interesting, twisy composing. Nicely upbeat and a nifty DIY
atmosphere despite the presence of polished musicians. Quartet led by sax and
trombone; having no chord instrument makes for a sparser sound where the solos
stand out a bit more, kind of studious effect amid the carefree
Tom Heasley -- "Ground Zero" [excerpt] -- Where the Earth Meets the Sky (Hypnos, 2001)
The song title has that Norse capital "O" with the line through it,
so it's not pronounced "oy" like some punk-rock grunt. Not sure how
it's pronounced; probably more like "we."
Local tubist (!) who electronically alters the horn's sound to create
these lingering soundscapes. He's also included didjeridoo and voice in the
mix, and probably some pure electronics, too. This one's a particularly
* Charmless -- "Tule Fog" -- Collisionville/Charmless split 7" (Food Stamp, 2005)
Pop song. Pretty cool local band with an airy guitar-rock feel, in a
nicely stretched-out six-minute song. More incongruous a transition than I
wanted, on both sides, but it's still a nice son.
* Akemi Naito, composer -- "Sanctuary" [Claudio Jacomucci, accordion] -- Mindscape (Bridge, 2006)
A piece for solo accordion, sparse but laid-back rather than ominous.
DJ Mufaor notes that the pieces on this CD are a bit new-agey; they're
definiately more tonal than not but do have a bit of experimental touch to
them. Many thanks to Bridge, by the way, for sending us a freakin' box
of current CDs; it's taken us months to make a dent in it, and we've still got
plenty more to go.
* = Item in KZSU rotation
-- Go back to Memory Select playlists.
-- Bay Area free/improv music calendar: http://www.bayimproviser.com.