Just kidding! I pretty much hate maintaining a blog. Who does that any more?
It is not that we are all too busy, it is that we are all totally preoccupied with electronics and social media so we think we're too busy for anything else. If I were a wacky conspiracy theorist I'd think it was all part of a plot to keep us placated so we don't notice all the outrageous shit going on around us. That's nothing new though. We're awfully fickle if you think of it that way I guess- religion, sex and TV aren't enough to keep us doped any more, so now we need fakebook, yootoob and listicles.
So anyway here's some shit I really dig right now:
- Ice-T's "Final Level" podcast
- METZ - boy, were they hot last Saturday night (4/18) at The Loving Touch in Ferndale, Michigan, which is incidentally possibly the best venue I've ever seen noisy, screamy live bands shred your eardrums while still sounding really good. Props to the people who set up the sound system, the acoustics, and the people who do the sound engineering there
- Some of the stuff Thrill Jockey has been putting out recently, like Oozing Wound. Especially Oozing Wound. The new Lightning Bolt is pretty rad, too.
- The new Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. They still got it, baby. Playing this week (4/22) along with Bloodshot BILL!!!! AND Danny & the Darleans!!!!!!! At the Blind Pig, in Ann Arbor
June 4 marked the 25th anniversary of China's violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, and sure enough pictures appeared all over people's fakebook pages to remind us if we did not remember. It reminded me that 25 years ago I had a job at the Charles Cinema in Boston, where I worked with a spicy mix of local high school and college kids. Two of my co-workers were Vietnamese from Brighton High who hooted and snorted when they heard about Chinese people being killed. It was still many years before I would go live in Vietnam and realize the deep animosity the Vietnamese have for China, but this naively unexpected response was an excellent introduction.
By the way, did you know that less than one year prior to the Tiananmen Square massacre, as it is called, government suppression of demonstrators in Burma resulted in the deaths of an estimated 3,000 people? That government is also still in power.
Anyway, the movie theater where I worked in 1989. These are the only pictures (taken from a blog called ghostlife) I could find on the entire internet, and they don't do it justice, but there you go. I didn't have a camera of my own until a year later and at the time I never wanted to photograph this sticky, stinky, neglected theater where I got paid $5/hr to loaf around.
On March 17, 1989, the 70mm 6-track dolby restored print of "Lawrence of Arabia" opened at the Charles. We were the only theater in the northeast to be showing it, as I recall, although it's hard to imagine it not showing in New York. It sold out every weekend for three months, with moviegoers coming from as far away as Montreal (an 8-hour drive) to see it. Yes, I'm sure they bought tickets in advance, but I don't remember how. I worked the concession stand mostly, or cleaned up the spilled popcorn and cups in between shows.
Everything about this film was epic (a word that is tattered and overused these days): the all-star early 1960s cast, the massive battle scenes with hundreds of extras, the larger-than-life Panavision cinematography, but most of all, the score. Maurice Jarre's overture begins long before the film itself, signaling the audience that it is time to stop lingering in the lobby and go find their seats. If you only see this film on video, you are missing its tremendous grandeur, but if you have a shitty sound system that fails to convey the soundtrack as it was intended, you just shouldn't bother at all.
A result of working nights at the Charles during Lawrence of Arabia's three or four-month total run is that even now, anytime I hear the music I see the movie in my head. When you work at a movie theater, you have a fair amount of time to peek in- officially, to keep a benevolent eye on your audience- and watch parts of the show, so I would do this whenever I got the chance. The first scene of Lawrence of Arabia I ever saw is the one I watched the most.
Even if you don't know the scenes leading up to this, you can't help but find it thrilling. It is the music which elevates this scene from being pretty cool to stupendous.
The leadup is essentially this: English officer Lawrence has assembled a group of bedouin guerrillas to attack the Turks at the port of Aqaba, but the tactics involve crossing one of the worst deserts on the Arabian peninsula, the Nefud. The bedouins with Lawrence know how dangerous this is and call him crazy; with the kind of naive arrogance you'd expect from a colonialist, Lawrence insists that crossing the Nefud is possible and convinces the group to follow him.
With amazing luck, they succeed by crossing at night, but at dawn they realize one man is missing. Lawrence insists on going back for him under the blazing sun even as the rest of the men tell him he will die trying, and this will be the end of his little war. But he proves them wrong here too, and the scene shows him meeting one of his servants, who has been waiting for him, as he emerges from the desert with the man, Gasim, who is still alive.
Next post: some more babbling about Bobby Kennedy's assassination and the book Slaughterhouse Five, or more likely, me bitching about how cold it is since I only post like every six months these days. It's warm now. It's June.
There's very little information on Ann Arbor's 1990s "math-rock" band JAKS, and that's a big fat shame. I don't know a lot about them besides that their name was the first initials of each member's first name
Remember how we said we were bringing back the Grind? No you don't.
Anyway, our old friend, the show's creator, got on the faeboob and said this:
"So... not to split hairs... but The Grind has never stopped being a show. It went on a brief hiatus after I left WCBN and the other DJs stopped doing it. I picked it back up a few years back and it lives on as a weekly program on WIDR fm in Kalamazoo and Core of Destruction Radio streaming worldwide. http://grindcod.blogspot.com/
Super excited to have the metal show live on at WCBN but please consider calling the show something else as The Grind is not dead!!!"
So never mind!
The show will be called THE SEIZURE EXPERIMENT.
Boy have we had a lot of fun on the WCBN internal listserv discussing this name change AFTER the name had already been changed.
LOL YOU GUYS DID NOT REALIZE WE WERE NOT ANNOUNCING IT SO YOU COULD TRY TO PERSUADE US TO CHOOSE A DIFFERENT NAME.
The Seizure Experiment has a dumblr so do not come here looking for archives.
Several events converged to result in the return of THE GRIND to WCBN.
The late-night DJ who followed the one-hour metal show "Odin's Dance Party" vanished in mid-December, necessitating either his replacement or the extension of the one-hour metal slot to three. It was too late to bother adding a new DJ- the schedule change was only a couple weeks away- so we opted for a longer metal show.
Brandok and I covered the first of these three-hour bonanzas and had ourselves a ball. I then polled WCBN staff to see if there was enough DJ interest in doing three-hour metal shows for a whole semester. There was, with the added comments that some of them also wanted to play punk, hardcore, and other loud music. Some of them referenced a long-gone show called THE GRIND, which was such a show. So without further ado...
I recently sent the following announcement to the staff of WCBN:
Poll results indicate that a 3-hour metal/thrash/hardcore/noise show would be warmly received and hosted by enough of you for me to go ahead and make it so.
Some of you may remember a show called "The Grind" which aired Friday nights 10pm-midnight. It started as a metal/thrash/hardcore/noise show that eventually morphed into pretty straight gore-death metal type stuff (just search the old playlists and you'll see.)
So, the Odin's Dance Party name will be retired and we'll be resurrecting THE GRIND.
How you interpret what a metal/thrash/hardcore/noise show would sound like is pretty much up to you; if you're interested in joining a rotation for this show (which will most likely be midnight-3am on Saturday nights/Sunday mornings) please check off Odin's Dance Party on your slotpref.
If you have already turned in your slotpref, email me and Brandok saying you want to join the rotation.
So I'm delighted to announce to you, our listener and sole reader of my blog, that THE GRIND is back and will air Saturday nights midnight-3am with multiple rotating and possibly tag-teaming hosts.
You are so welcome.
I could make a best of 2013 list but I don't bother, no I don't bother. I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I--I-I-I-I--I-I-I-I-IYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYII don't bother! Name that tune.
Handily, though, I started dating almost everything I played in the WCBN playlist back in February, so you can at least see ALL the 2013 releases I played on the show from February on. It's magical. Just click on the magical link. You know, if it ever loads.
Last Friday's set included a transition (segue, AKA, for those in the industry or who just like using the technical term) that won radio for the day. Maybe even the week.
It was proudly brought to you by COLLEGE RADIO. Nowhere else on the FM dial will you still hear creations such as this. Serendipity was a hefty contributor, as both the disks involved actually fell off the shelves on one or another of our heads so that they could be played.
Last week A few weeks ago I felt a little sick so enjoyed a very self-indulgent afternoon of mostly 1990s sludgy noise. Selections included Skullflower, Steelpole Bathtub, Union Carbide Productions, Ed Hall and Slughog, to name a few. About halfway through the show I got a call from a listener who professed to be in his early 60s, tuning in online from Florida, and splitting his radio time between us and the Bridgeport CT station WPKN. He did ramble and I had to kick him off the phone but before he went away, he praised me for playing all the progressive metal and mentioned a couple of bands I immediately forgot.
Progressive metal? Is that what they're calling it now? But wait, this guy said he was in his 60s. How could he have made it this far and not know what 'noise' was in the 1990s? Maybe he was busy raising post-punk-era asshole kids like me.
So here are some of my very favorite, uh, "progressive metal" bands and songs. For you.
And speaking of TAD, this quiz circulated the cool corners of the interwebs this week a couple weeks ago- I got it from Mudhoney's facebook- and the results seemed overwhelmingly tipped towards TAD. See how you rate. Then embark on a day-long Tad binge.
Busted Circuits and Ringing Ears (documentary)
On Wednesday, August 28, 2013 I was lucky enough, with fellow WCBN DJ Brandok, to dial Mark Arm on the telephone and speak with him for half an hour about such topics as interesting opening bands, shitty wines, and penis graffiti. Mudhoney are playing at the Magic Stick in Detroit on Friday, August 30 along with Easy Action and Protomartyr.
Fans of this blog- I know you are legion- already know I enjoy Protomartyr. I didn't want to offend anyone on the air, or turd up the interview by talking a lot, so I held back on this commentary: live, Protomartyr are...not thee most interesting band to see. They kind of look like three kids and their pissed-off dad (on vocals) standing on stage practicing. That is fine with me because not everyone can bring the circus to town.
We asked Mark if he would name some bands that have opened for Mudhoney recently that he liked. Here are some of them:
"Hot Lunch" by HOT LUNCHWet Blanket demo by METZWinehand by TAR HALOS
And here is our delightful conversation with Mark, shaved down a little so it sounds almost like we know what we're doing.
Enjoy this built-in MP3 player because it took me about an hour to get one that worked. P.S. It might not work in some browsers. Never mind, I don't have time for this shit.
Did you use to chant this when you were a kid?
Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother 40 whacks
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father 41.
Is this just a Massachusetts thing?
Today is Lizzie Borden's birthday, which my good friend Gabrielle pointed out (hi Gab!) on faceboob. This woke up some memories and she posted a video of this Boston band from the 1980s, Lizzie Borden and the Axes.
Well, you know what happens when someone posts a utube video on fartbook. Down the rabbit hole......but before you watch those videos, listen. If you aren't from Boston you might find this interesting.
In the 1980s, at the dawn of MTV, the greater Boston area did not have cable TV for a reason I either don't remember or don't understand. So instead, we had V-66, a local UHF channel anyone with a TV could get, albeit with dreadful reception in some places. What was so cool about having a local music video channel during the time music video was an exciting new art form was that loads of local bands made videos and got airplay.
V-66 only existed for a year and a half, but after local independent commercial radio station WBCN, much of my early exposure to local rock and roll was thanks to this short-lived local music video channel. And now, the rabbit hole.
Why hello. It is hotter and damper than a sweaty crotch here in Ann Arbor, and many other parts of this great nation of ours, but will you hear me complaining? No you won't, because I fucking love it when it gets this hot.
The Onion wrote this article today. Look! But for real, some people really have a higher heat meter or something.
Anyway, July in Ann Arbor means seventeen thousand fat sweaty hogs from places like Ohio and Pennsylvania trundle out here in RVs and giant trailers to see and participate in the annual Art Fair that occupies our town at this time of year. Locals mostly hate it- at least the locals I know do.
I'm ambivalent about Art Fair. Of course there's a lot of shitty art, tents selling crap that is not art (electronic cigarettes, cable TV) and an influx of people from elsewhere which pushes up the shitty driver index by a million. But like I said last year, football Saturdays are worse, and they add up to far more days than Art Fair.
Enjoy the hot weather, because it'll be winter again soon. You can dance around your living room to this wearing only your underwear.
Ian MacKaye will be gracing our burg with his presence this evening, as half of his current two-piece with Amy Farina.
I never saw Fugazi when I was a teen and they were a thing but I remember when they played a heavily sold-out, overcrowded, people-climbing-in-the-windows fire hazard show at Mass College of Art. Everyone I knew went. Some got in. I'm not playing Fugazi today. I'll play something else from Ian's (and Amy's) oeuvre instead. Like this:
Maybe some of this:
My first year of high school was mostly a horrible experience, but I connected with a kid who wasn't in any of my classes by writing out all the lyrics for "Filler" on a desk and discovering the next day that he had responded with another song which I don't remember now. That's what teens do, they write out song lyrics in places they hope someone else will see and relate somehow. When teachers see, of course, then you get suspended for defacing school property and using profane language, but you can't please everyone.
While we're slamming down memory pit, remember this album? Oh my god it's still so good. Shitty quality upload but oh well. Go and buy one yourself if you still can. Faith (w/ Alec MacKaye) first, Void starts at 12:28.
I keep starting new posts and then not finishing them because I get bored or too busy. So to summarize:
- The Beastie Boys' fifth album, "To the Five Boroughs," is an underappreciated masterpiece.
- Rockabilly is not really a genre of music in its own right.
- "The Chitlin' Circuit and the Road to Rock and Roll" is a tremendous book that you should read.
- WCBN is doing the 33 1/3 book reading series again!
- Some new records I've really liked over the past few months include The Parquet Courts "Light Up Gold," The Hate My Day Jobs self-titled debut, and just this past week, Nice Hooves' self-titled debut.
- Speaking of Nice Hooves, meet my new favorite band.
- While we're on the local bands topic, Protomartyr make great records and I'm sorry to admit that I still have not seen them live. WTF???
That'll do for now. Enjoy listening to some music and then support the bands by like maybe paying for some of this booty.
WCBN has a heavy metal program again. Now in its second semester, Odin's Dance Party is probably a little different from your average college radio metal show and it's definitely nothing like The Grind, which used to air on Friday nights for a long time before its mainstay host left us and the show was retired.
Wow, it's been a while since I put new links to new archives up here. So long that many of the new links will be to old archives. Oh, well. What the hell. Here comes about six months' worth. Maybe after that I will actually write you a new post not to read. It will be about choosing records based on their appearance.
San Francisco was a cool place to go, but not in 1992. They say there was a recession going on in California then, and I barely knew how to land a job even in the best conditions. So I stumbled through babysitting, landscaping, graffiti removal, and other bullshit, and in between I wandered the streets of the Castro imagining I had enough money to get a slice and go to the movies.
Hello students. Hello non-students. Do you love the musics? If you enjoy serendipitous discovery and you need a way to blow off steam after classes/work, then get involved with WCBN.
You have a couple options.
I'm back, at last, to jaw at you again. Wow, the summer has really jetted by, and between all the fun stuff I've been doing, my job (which is also pretty fun,) and feeling grumpy again every time I look at my last post, I just haven't had it in me to write anything worth saying.
Saturday night. Minds were blown. At least, mine was. Not to sound like a cop-out, but for the one of you actually reading this blog on a semi-regular basis, I got the idea that you probably don't need seventeen paragraphs of philosophy. If you did you'd go to grad school.
You didn't ask for it, but you got it anyway: the obligatory post-bonanza writeup of the bands events party etc that were the Norton Records 25th Anniversary Ball. They didn't call it ball but it was a ball. It was such a ball that I came home ill and had to stay home from work hawking phlegm balls. Oooh I said ball/s again.
I'm revealing my age by stating that I can hardly stand going to rock & roll shows any more because of all the "hipsters."
I'm catching up on posting radio show archives and having the brilliant new idea that won't last a week that I should post whenever I add a new archive, e.g., once a week, and have the post have something to do with the archive.
Contrary to popular trends at WCBN right now, I will not gripe about how much I hate the Art Fair. In fact, I don't really mind it that much. It only lasts a few days, and in those few days I can cross downtown streets without peril (admittedly, that depends on one's concept of peril) and in general enjoy a slower pace of life in this already slow-paced small town.
Americans make great music. There might be a lot of shitty things we hate about this place, but no one can argue that we make some of the greatest fucking music ever produced by the human species. Many of us are descended from British settlers, and the language we speak is still called 'English', but now it is they who emulate us. This is no great revelation.
Sunday, April 10: Another record fair at Weber's. (Next one July 10.) I broke my usual rule of avoiding the collectibles or pretty much any record priced higher than $1.
One post per week. Maybe then you'll click on the ads enough that this will be worth my while. No just kidding. Saturday April 2 the B-Side hosted Providence's Lightning Bolt. It is my belief that much of the audience did not know what hit them.
Dear John, I guess it's been a long time since I last wrote. The thing is, I have something to tell you. It's WCBN's annual on-air fund drive, and they really need money.
Every quarter year, the Ann Arbor record show comes to Weber's Inn. The fliers in fact call it a "Monster" record show. Having only one record show to compare Weber's to - the truly monstrous WFMU record fair - I disagree with its self designation as a monster show, but it's pretty good anyway. Weber's Inn is a hotel/restaurant/convention center on the road heading west out of Ann Arbor.
One fine day in 1957, my grandmother was headed out to the general store and she asked my wee mother if she'd like anything while she was out. Having just heard Chuck Berry for the first time, my mother asked for the single "Rock and Roll Music". Imagine her horror when my grandmother returned home and deposited into her hands a copy of the Royal Teens' "Short Shorts".
Oh how pretentious. A record review. What do we think this is, Pitchfork? Oh no, it's a WCBN record review, written for the express purpose of letting DJs know what to expect before they put the disk in the player. Talk about a limited audience.
Traffic Entertainment, under license from B-Boy Records, recently released a 3-CD reissue of Boogie Down Productions' first album "Criminal Minded." I'm enjoying rediscovering this record after so many years - it came out when I was in high school - and one of my favorite things about it has always been how KRS cops Billy Joel's "It's Still Rock & Roll To Me", changes all the words and then rap-si