Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Episode 50: The Final Show

     Over the last 20 months, I’ve been conducting an experiment. The main questions I was attempting to answer were the following. (1) Would it be possible to do an adult-centered radio show (rather than an obscurantist indie-snob show) drawn entirely from my own CD library? (2) Could I do said show without ever repeating a song that I had played on a previous episode? And, in the end, (3) would I find or develop a significant audience in the process? That is, would I be able to open listeners’ ears in the way that some of my favorite DJs of the last few decades—e.g., Vi Francis on Fisk University’s WRFN, Dick Shannon on Nashville’s WKDA and Matt Swanson on Vanderbilt University’s WRVU in the 1980s; Liz Copeland, Martin Bandyke and Judy Adams on Wayne State University’s WDET in the 1990s and the early part of this decade—managed to do, unwittingly, for me?
     The answers to the first two questions are an easy “yes.” The answer to the last question, at least based on the evidence at my disposal, is a resounding “no.” In part, I think the group of people who might be most interested in my show is not coterminous with the one that regularly listens to WHPK. But I knew that from the start. Initially, I hoped that the promised, near-horizon arrival of webcasting might be the bridge between my show and those listeners. What I couldn’t have known is that the implementation of webcasting at the station is about as likely to happen as is your receiving a lot of money if you respond to one of those e-mails issuing from “Nigeria.”
     Nonetheless, the show was a lot of fun to do. I got to discover a lot of new things in the process of searching for music that would make for satisfying, sometimes revelatory shows. Along the way, I also improved markedly as a radio DJ, making the most of a frequently imperfect monitoring situation in the studio as well as not always well-maintained equipment.
     For those I can name as being among my most loyal listeners (some of whom listened in real-time, others of whom heard the secret podcast), I have nothing but heartfelt thanks for their support, feedback and commentary (this means you, Dawn, Michael, Melissa, Dan, Mariel, Lauren, Rashida and Michelle). I don't have any plans to return to radio—not even when, if ever, WHPK does start to webcast. Neither do I have the desire to produce a podcast, as some people have suggested. I’m most interested right now in getting back to the mode of listening I had before starting the show—one that was about tickling my ears and expanding my sonic world without the need to please an audience (or not piss off a program director/format chief—though there’s no evidence I ever did). Even more, though, I want to do some things that mean a lot more to me that have sadly been on the back burner for the duration of ECI’s run: writing and recording music as well as, gasp, doing the research and writing that I enjoy and that, let’s face it, pays my bills.
     So where do you go, now that ECI is no more? Well, in addition to whatever other sources you have for your music jones, you might try these, all of which I listen to on a fairly regular basis:

  • Vidro Azul. Since I described this show (available as a podcast) in a previous post, I’ll not repeat myself here. Use the link to read what I wrote.
  • Alternate Take with Liz Copeland . Many of my friends know that LC is one of my favorite radio DJs ever. Using the link included, you can hear the five previous five-hour episodes of her show. The procedure, however, is a bit user-unfriendly: you have to select a show and a date before you receive a Windows Media stream, and you always have to do so manually. But the show itself is great.
  • Morning Becomes Eclectic. While I preferred the version of this show that aired in the late 1990s, when Chris Douridas was the host, it’s still one of the best places to hear an eclectic mix of music, one that equally embraces obscure and popular artists alike. While there isn’t a podcast option that covers the broadcast program (you'll have to stream individual episodes), you can use the podcast option to hear the live, in-studio performances by bands who are visiting the Los Angeles area, using this link.
  • Pandora. This isn’t a radio program per se, but in some ways it functions like one. I include it here mostly because it can be a great way for you to learn about music similar to those things you already like, and especially tracks from other genres that you might not ever have thought to give a try.
     So ... you probably want to know something more about the track listing below. Before I can get to the show proper, there’s the matter of the song in parentheses at the top of the show. David Waldman, host of the Evil Show wanted to leave the studio a little early, so the Beth Orton track could be considered a prelude to the show I had planned. And on that show, there isn’t a track that I don’t absolutely adore. Figuring out the sequence was, as was the case last week, exceedingly difficult. In the end, the strategy that worked was placing the killer tracks at the beginning and end of each hour. Beyond there, I tried to distribute all the others in a way that sonically made sense, judiciously sprinkling noisy and/or long tracks throughout the three hours. Thus, while it might make sense to think of the last hour as containing the best of the best—and to a degree that’s true—you shouldn’t necessarily think that those ten tracks are better than the rest. Likewise, you might not want to sleep on the tracks come between the beginnings and ends of hours. What you can believe, with absolute certainty, is that the track that closes the show—all the more fitting because it comes from the last new release by the band in question—would be the one I’d want to hear if I knew that after it played I would never hear music again. It seems the most proper way to say goodbye. While I wasn’t at all sure whether I would be wistful putting the show to bed for the last time, I did almost get choked up right at the end but managed to save the sadness for the walk home.
     Thanks for reading, and thanks even more for listening. I hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I did....

  • 12:00–1:00 a.m.:
  • (Beth Orton, “She Cries Your Name,” Trailer Park, Dedicated)
  • The Apartments, “No Hurry,” Apart, Hot
  • The Sundays, “My Finest Hour,” Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, Geffen
  • Allen Toussaint, “Brickyard Blues,” The Complete Warner Brothers Recordings, Rhino
  • Morsel, “Pieces,” Para Siempre, Small Stone
  • Dead Can Dance, “The Cardinal Sin,” Spleen and Ideal, 4AD
  • Split Enz, “One Step Ahead,” Waiata, Mushroom
  • Junior Boys, “Three Words,” Last Exit, Domino
  • Wham!, “Careless Whisper,” Make It Big, Columbia
  • My Bloody Valentine, “Soon,” Glider EP, Sire
  • The Blow Monkeys, “Wildfiower,” Forbidden Fruit EP, RCA
  • Radiohead, “Climbing Up the Walls,” OK Computer, Capitol

  • 1:00–2:00 a.m.:
  • Bob Marley and the Wailers, “Babylon System,” Survival, Tuff Gong
  • Leslie Feist, “Let It Die,” Let It Die, Polydor
  • The Waterboys, “The Pan Within,” This Is the Sea, Chrysalis
  • The Flaming Lips, “Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell,” Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Warner Brothers
  • World Party, “Ship of Fools,” Private Revolution, Chrysalis
  • The Cinematic Orchestra, “Man with the Movie Camera,” Every Day, Ninja Tune
  • Nina Simone, “I Put a Spell on You,” I Put a Spell on You, Philips
  • Apostle of Hustle, “Animal Fat,” Folkloric Feel, Arts and Crafts
  • Slowdive, “Souvlaki Space Station,” Souvlaki, SBK
  • David Sylvian, “Before the Bullfight,” Gone to Earth, Virgin

  • 2:00–3:00 a.m.:
  • The Durutti Column, “Tomorrow,” Bread and Circuses, Factory
  • The Smiths, “This Night Has Opened My Eyes,” Hatful of Hollow, Rough Trade
  • Red House Painters, “Medicine Bottle,” Down Colorful Hill, 4AD
  • Sam Cooke, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” Ain’t That Good News, RCA Victor
  • Prince, “Scandalous,” Batman, Warner Brothers
  • Blur, “Strange News from Another Star,” Blur, Virgin
  • Tanya Donelly, “The Storm,” Beautysleep, 4AD
  • Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions, “On the Low,” Bavarian Fruit Bread, Rough Trade
  • Cocteau Twins, “Pearly Dewdrops’ Drops,” The Spangle Maker EP, 4AD
  • Talk Talk, “After the Flood,” Laughing Stock, Polydor

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Episode 49

     So, here it is: the playlist for the second-to-last episode of this show. Despite my best efforts to include all the things I wanted to play, I still found myself, literally at the eleventh hour, having to omit a couple of prized tunes. Rather than say what they were, I hope you’ll find the ones I chose to keep stimulating.
     To the degree that this episode has a plan, it’s quite a simple one. The first six tracks come from fairly recent releases—three of which came out just last week. Picking which single selections to play from was particularly agonizing, since I knew that those tracks would be the last new material I would play on the show. That said, those six—my favorites from the respective albums—work really well together. And for those people who actually heard last week’s episode, the horns in the TV on the Radio track are sure to bring those in the Fela Anikulapo Kuti track I played last week to mind. For that matter, though, the Eric Dolphy-penned arrangement for the Coltrane tune also features some brilliant (low) horn writing. That track and the following one by Wayne Shorter are two of the jazz selections that always energize and astonish me. Of course, the fact that both tracks feature the same rhythm section—McCoy Tyner, piano; Reggie Workman, bass; and the late Elvin Jones, drums—may have something to do with why the horn soloists sound so great.
     Thereafter, I removed/ignored every constraint I ever placed on myself for programming this show: tracks that made appearances on previous episodes, ones that were (gasp) hits, ones that were difficult to fit in previous playlists, and ones that I was saving for a rainy day are all represented. How else can I explain the presence of the tracks by Gus Gus, Lush, Brian Eno/John Cale, Wire, Broken Social Scene and Big Star (in the former category); Lauryn Hill, The Family Stand and Juan Luis Guerra y 400 (in the second); Astor Piazzolla and Cassandra Wilson (in the third); and Nick Cave, Jeff Buckley, Neil Finn, The The, Ron Sexsmith and Siouxsie and the Banshees—plus many of the remaining tracks (in the latter)? Sure, I could say that the whole lot could be described as tunes that were revelatory to me when I first heard them, ones that either blew open my aural understanding or completely changed what I thought about artists whose work I’d previously ignored. Whatever my reasons for choosing the tracks, this episode comes dangerously close to being the perfect show: three hours of radio that I could listen to over and over. But to hear the perfect show, you’ll have to tune in next week....
     (As has been the case in the past, the tracks listed in parentheses below are ones that weren’t part of the show proper. The difference this time is that they were tongue-in-cheek selections to fill time while the last-minute sub, Bailey, gathered enough discs to start her show. Why do I write “tongue-in-cheek”? Dig the last lines of each song: “Scuse me while I disappear” and “I just had to let it go,” respectively)

  • 12:00–1:00 a.m.:
  • My Brightest Diamond, “Dragonfly,” Bring Me the Workhorse, Asthmatic Kitty
  • The Roots, “In the Music,” Game Theory, Def Jam
  • Dani Siciliano, “Think Twice,” Slappers, !K7
  • Jessica Bailiff, “Pressing,” Feels Like Home, Kranky
  • TV on the Radio, “Things You Can Do,” Return to Cookie Mountain, Interscope
  • Junior Boys, “Like a Child,” So This Is Goodbye, Domino
  • John Coltrane, “Song of the Underground Railroad,” The Complete Africa/Brass Sessions, Impulse
  • Wayne Shorter, “Deluge,” Juju, Blue Note
  • Gus Gus, “Polyesterday,” Polydistortion, 4AD
  • Lauryn Hill, “The Sweetest Thing,” Love Jones (Soundtrack), Columbia

  • 1:00–2:00 a.m.:
  • The Family Stand, “Ghetto Heaven,” Chain, Atlantic
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, “The Mercy Seat,” Tender Prey, Mute
  • Jeff Buckley, “Lover, You Should Have Come Over,” Grace, Columbia
  • Green on Red, “Gravity Talks,” Gravity Talks, Warner Brothers
  • Astor Piazzolla, “Knife Fight,” The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night (Tango Apasionado), Nonesuch
  • Interpol, “Obstacle 2,” Turn on the Bright Lights, Matador
  • Lush, “Sweetness and Light,” Gala, 4AD
  • Hooverphonic, “Out of Tune,” Blue Wonder Power Milk, Epic
  • David Sylvian, “Taking the Veil,” Gone to Earth, Virgin
  • Neil Finn, “Secret God,” One Nil, Parlophone
  • Latin Playboys, “Lemon ’n Ice,” Dose, Atlantic
  • Juan Luis Guerra y 440, “Carta de Amor,” Bachata Rosa, Polygram Latino

  • 2:00–3:00 a.m.:
  • Brian Eno and John Cale, “Spinning Away,” Wrong Way Up, Warner Brothers
  • Wire, “Ahead,” The Ideal Copy, Mute
  • The The, “Flesh and Bones,” If You Can’t Please Yourself You Can’t Please Your Soul, Some Bizarre
  • Broken Social Scene, “KC Accidental,” You Forgot It in People, Arts and Crafts
  • New Order, “Age of Consent,” Power, Corruption and Lies, Qwest
  • Everything but the Girl, “Low Tide of the Night,” Temperamental, Atlantic
  • Ron Sexsmith, “In Place of You,” Ron Sexsmith, Interscope
  • Cassandra Wilson, “Until,” New Moon Daughter, Blue Note
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Blow the House Down,” Hyæna, Geffen
  • Big Star, “Big Black Car,” Third/Sister Lovers, Ryko
  • Cocteau Twins, “Seekers Who Are Lovers,” Milk and Kisses, Capitol
  • (Frank Sinatra, “Angel Eyes,” Only the Lonely, Capitol)
  • (John Lennon and Yoko Ono, “Watching the Wheels,” Double Fantasy, Capitol)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Episode 48

     In assembling the last three episodes, I’ve had some hard choices to make, for there’s no shortage of great music. Over a span of about four weeks, I continually added candidates for the final show to a list that in the end had over 60 items. At that point, having enough material for slightly more than two three-hour shows, I had to start the painful process of paring things down, moving items that didn’t make the cut for the final show to episode 49. Then, episode 49 was too long to accommodate the September 12 releases that I’ve been looking forward giving a spin (e.g., Junior Boys, TV on the Radio, Shawn Colvin and Dani Siciliano). In any event, the next two shows are going to be jam-packed with really great stuff.
     For that matter, though, so is this one, though it also features a compromise of sorts. As my previous posts about the final episode have made clear, there are a number of tunes I love that I’ve kept in reserve, some of which you’ll hear next week and many more in the week following. One of those tracks has been held back for an additional reason: it’s over 20 minutes long. I decided yesterday that if I didn’t get it on the air this morning, I never would. And thus it is that my hands-down favorite track by Fela is taking up nearly a third of the last hour of the show. It’s an engaging third, even though the track’s inclusion meant that other worthy things had to be omitted.
     Among the other gems on offer this week is a track from a hard-to-find release by Barbara Gogan (it’s yet another collaboration between her and Hector Zazou). There’s also a selection from the latest release by Susana Baca—who’ll be back at the University of Chicago performing previewing a collaboration with Luna Negra on 13 October. The Thom Yorke track below is the first exception to a rule I developed a few years ago: whatever song I like the least on a recording will be the one released as a single (relatedly, the song I like most will forever be only an album cut). For once, though, my tastes and those of a recording company/artist aligned. If there had been time, I would have played the extended version, but, well, you’ve read enough about time constraints, no? If you’ve got some time to kill (and you must if you’ve gotten this far), check out the video for the tune.
     I’ll say only one more thing about this show. Unbeknownst to you, I have been playing tracks by artists who’ll be represented on the final two episodes for the last several weeks. The question for you, of course, is this: “Which among the dozens of tracks are from those artists or groups?” Comparing the recent playlists with those in the archives might give you some clues. If you’re up for a challenge, you could put a guess in the comments. Still, I doubt that anyone will guess which artist gets the coveted last slot. Most of my friends would probably supply the same answer, and they would unfortunately be wrong. That particular artist or group will more than likely have the second-to-last slot. Once again, stay tuned....

  • 12:00–1:00 a.m.:
  • Stevie Wonder, “Love’s in Need of Love Today,” Songs in the Key of Life, Motown
  • Billy Bragg, “Ideology,” Talking with the Taxman about Poetry, Elektra
  • Carla Bozulich, “Evangelista II,” Evangelista, Constellation
  • Cibelle, “Phoenix,” The Shine of Dried Electric Leaves, Six Degrees
  • Public Image Ltd., “Rise,” Album, Elektra
  • Stephen Malkmus, “Kindling for the Master,” Face the Truth, Matador
  • Kaki King, “Gay Sons of Lesbian Mothers,” ...Until We Felt Red, Velour
  • Juana Molina, “Yo No,” Son, Domino
  • The Pretty Things, “Defecting Grey,” S.F. Sorrow, Snapper Classics
  • Broadcast, “Black Cat,” Tender Buttons, Warp
  • Sol Seppy, “Slo Fuzz,” The Bells of 1 2, Gronland

  • 1:00–2:00 a.m.:
  • The Style Council, “It’s a Very Deep Sea,” Confessions of a Pop Group, Polydor
  • Neko Case & Her Boyfriends, “South Tacoma Way,” Furnace Room Lullaby, Bloodshot
  • The Delgados, “The Drowning Years,” Hate, Minty Fresh
  • Daníel Ágúst, “Intersection,” Swallowed a Star, One Little Indian
  • Nina Nastasia, “This Is What It Is,” The Blackened Air, Touch and Go
  • Elliott Smith, “Baby Britain,” XO, Dreamworks
  • Vinny Miller, “On the Block,” On the Block, 4AD
  • Feist, “When I Was a Young Girl,” Let It Die, Polydor
  • Barbara Gogan with Hector Zazou, “Your Radio’s On,” Made on Earth, Crammed
  • Thom Yorke, “Harrowdown Hill,” The Eraser, XL
  • Nine Horses, “A History of Holes,” Snow Borne Sorrow, Samadhi Sound

  • 2:00–3:00 a.m.:
  • Cocteau Twins, “Violaine,” Milk and Kisses, Capitol
  • Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Egypt 80, “Just Like That,” Beasts of No Nation, Shanachie
  • The Sundays, “More,” Blind, Geffen
  • Bark Psychosis, “The Loom,” Hex, Caroline
  • Eric Matthews, “Courage,” Foundation Sounds, Empyrean
  • Susana Baca, “Una Copla Me Ha Cantado,” Travesías, Luaka Bop
  • Neil Finn, “Dream Date,” Try Whistling This, Work
  • Talk Talk, “I Believe in You,” Spirit of Eden, EMI

Thursday, September 07, 2006

More about Episode 47

     So after getting some much-needed rest and finishing a couple of work-related projects, I can finally say a bit more about what made Tuesday’s episode so special. First off, this is the time of year when record labels tend to release a lot of their best material—perhaps just at the moment when people in their most prized demographics are going back to school (and flush with infusions of cash from mom and dad). I think I passed out of the demographic two birthdays ago, but I still love the bounty that comes with the autumn. And so it is that nearly a third of the tracks on this episode come from new releases—and the majority of those artists were being played for the first time by me. Some of them really great, and if the show weren’t coming to an end soon, you’d surely hear a lot more of My Brightest Diamond, Amy Millan, Jessica Bailiff and M. Ward, among others. Alas, there are still other new releases that I haven’t programmed yet (e.g., Juana Molina), so there are some difficult decisions for me to make about episodes 48 and 49.
     Even more notable, though, is that I did something that I’d been promising/threatening to do for a long time Tuesday morning: I played a track by George Michael. Whenever I mention how much I love a couple of his albums, especially Older, my auditors often assume his music is some sort of guilty pleasure for me. It’s nothing of the sort. A guilty pleasure is something you like despite the fact that you know it has bad qualities, despite knowing that others might think ill of you for liking it. I think that album is brilliant. Full stop. I won’t listen to it furtively, hoping that I won’t get caught. I proselytize on behalf of it, pointing out the palpable influence of, say, Antonio Carlos Jobim on the songwriting or noting the clever final track that deftly recontextualizes elements from every other tune on the album. The only reason why I delayed playing his music for so long is that station personnel can sometimes be, as one person put it, “indier-than-thou” in a way that is beyond annoying. Of course, anyone with that kind of bratty/snobbish outlook should set his sights on the final episode. Among the tracks chosen is a great object for his scorn/derision. And if he laments the sorry state of college radio (or just my show) at that point, I will simultaneously be pitying him for unnecessarily and arbitrarily limiting shutting out possibilities for enjoyment. But I digress...
     The last two new episodes are going to be, in part, housecleaning. I’m going to play a lot of things I’ve been meaning to play, even as I fold in new releases. The selections will probably seem even more disparate as I try to include all those little gems, whether they be beautiful, noisy or beautifully noisy. While the ride will end soon, there is still much to look forward to....

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Episode 47

     Had things gone the way they normally do, this post would have appeared more than three hours ago. I’ll spare you the details (which you could easily supply) and say only that my show was more than twice as long as usual. What you see listed below, including the tracks in parentheses, was as much as I could reasonably include as my show. The items not listed there, which carried me until about 6:40 a.m., were simply a way for me to get through the morning. Perhaps later in the day, I’ll amend this post (or add another) with my thoughts on this episode. Until then, enjoy imagining how the show might have sounded....

  • 12:00–1:00 a.m.:
  • Do Make Say Think, “End of Music,” & Yet & Yet, Constellation
  • Midlake, “Young Bride,” The Trials of Van Occupanther, Bella Union
  • Pajo, “Prescription Blues,” 1968, Drag City
  • Cass McCombs, “What Isn’t Nature,” A, Monitor
  • Giardini di Mirò, “Malmoe (...my supreme idea of love),” The Soft Touch EP, Contact
  • Bebel Gilberto, “Alguém,” Tanto Tempo, Six Degrees
  • Gorillaz, “Latin Simone,” Gorillaz, Virgin
  • The Free Design, “Umbrellas,” Kites Are Fun, Light in the Attic
  • Saint Etienne, “Don’t Back Down,” Sound of Water, Sub Pop
  • Sufjan Stevens, “Pittsfield,” The Avanlanche, Asthmatic Kitty
  • .O.Rang, “Mind on Pleasure,” Herd of Instinct, Echo

  • 1:00–2:00 a.m.:
  • The Posies, “Everyone Moves Away,” Dear 23, Geffen
  • The Beautiful South, “I Love You (But You’re Boring),” Welcome to the Beautiful South, Elektra
  • Lisa Germano, “Red Thread,” In the Maybe World, Young God
  • George Michael, “To Be Forgiven,” Older, Dreamworks
  • Kenny Garrett, “2 Down and 1 Across,” Songbook, Warner Brothers
  • Bahia Black, “Gwagwa o De,” Ritual Beating System, Axiom
  • Nick Drake, “Man in a Shed,” Time of No Reply, Hannibal
  • The Czars, “Autumn,” The Ugly People vs. the Beautiful People, Bella Union
  • Amy Millan, “Wayward and Parliament,” Honey from the Tombs, Arts and Crafts
  • M. Ward, “Right in the Head,” Post-War, Merge
  • The Cowboy Junkies, “I Did It All for You,” Open, Latent/Zoë

  • 2:00–3:00 a.m.:
  • Jeru the Damaja, “Come Clean,” The Sun Rises in the East, Payday/FFRR
  • The Cinematic Orchestra, “Reel Life (Evolution II),” Man with a Movie Camera, Ninja Tune
  • My Brightest Diamond, “Disappear,” Bring Me the Workhorse, Asthmatic Kitty
  • Mirah, “La Familia,” You Think It’s Like This but Really It’s Like This, K
  • Héctor Buitrago, “Lamente Zen,” Conector, Nacional
  • Espers, “Mansfield and Cyclops,” Espers II, Drag City
  • Jessica Bailiff, “Spiral Dream,” Feels Like Home, Kranky
  • Steel Pulse, “Soldiers,” Handsworth Revolution, Mango
  • Fiona Apple, “The Way Things Are,” When the Pawn..., Clean Slate/Epic
  • Felix Laband, “Red Handed,” Dark Days Exit, Compost
  • Glenn Kotche, “Fantasy on a Shona Theme,” Mobile, Nonesuch
  • (Cocteau Twins, “Lazy Calm,” Victorialand, 4AD)
  • (Lady and Bird, “La Ballade of Lady and Bird,” Lady and Bird, Yellow Tangerine)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Episode 46

     It’s as good a time as any to start the countdown. After this episode, there are only four more installments of ECI, and now that the playlist for the final show is nearly complete, I can finally tell you what to expect. In a previous post, I mentioned that I had two possible ways to approach episode 50 without saying what they were. The first, admittedly banal idea was for me to search the archived playlists selecting from them the best tracks that would make an interesting three-hour show. The second was for me to dig into that cache of songs so cherished that I’ve never played any of them on air—reserving them for a time when my inspiration might flag. That mental cache is filled with songs that I love more than anything else. Predictably, the tracks chosen for the final show result from a mixture of both approaches. There’s one more conceit, suggested by one of my friends as she wondered aloud how I could decide what to play: to make the show something of a listening autobiography. To a degree, the final episode will function in that way, but the sequence will be guided more by sound than chronology if I choose to go that route.
     As for this morning’s show, I’ve wanted for a long time to begin an episode with the Parliament track listed below. My playing it even sparked an interesting conversation between me and David Waldman, host of the Evil Show (the show which comes on before mine and always closes with Otis Rush’s “I Wonder Why”). Unfortunately, those whose interest was piqued by George Clinton’s lyrical suggestion to “stay tuned for Starchild” were probably disappointed to hear, instead, me talking about what a gray, dreary day Chicago had experienced. But the day was inspiration for the episode’s second track, another tune I’ve been wanting to play for a while.
     The rest of the show finds me already digging into the cache and pulling out some tracks (by, e.g., Rickie Lee Jones, the Last Poets, the Style Council, Kraftwerk, Siouxsie & the Bansheees and Elvis Costello) that have been hovering at the edge of my radio consciousness for some time. This episode features, as well, a few tracks from things that have recently caught my ear. Right now, I can’t say that one of them, the new OutKast release Idlewild is better than its predecessor (Speakerboxxx/The Love Below), but given the new album’s status as a soundtrack, I can be a bit more relaxed in evaluating it—and it is good. I managed to include tracks this morning featuring both Andre 3000 and Big Boi, respectively. With careful planning, I’ll be able to slip a few more into the remaining episodes. Doing so will be difficult, though, because there’s a considerable backlog of equally suitable material on my list at home. Even more, there are about twelve new CDs that I’ve been eagerly anticipating that are being released (and that I’ll be acquiring) over the next three or four weeks. Those releases, including albums by M. Ward, My Brightest Diamond, Pajo, Chad VanGaalen, Amy Millan and Junior Boys, are going to offer OutKast (and anyone else) a lot of competition. And that means, perhaps, that the arc for the final four shows will be one of increasing quality. Stay tuned...
     (Note: Once again, the show went a little longer than expected. The final two tracks, the ones in parentheses, were fine last-minute additions not originally included in the playlist.)

  • 12:00–1:00 a.m.:
  • Parliament, “P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up),” Mothership Connection, Casablanca
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience, “Rainy Day, Dream Away,” Electric Ladyland, MCA
  • Mali Music, “Spoons,” Mali Music, Honest Jon’s
  • Trembling Blue Stars, “Sleep,” Broken by Whispers, Sub Pop
  • The Beatles, “I’m Only Sleeping,” Revolver, Parlophone
  • The Clash, “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais,” The Clash, Epic
  • The Waterboys, “This Is the Sea,” This Is the Sea, Chrysalis
  • Yuka Honda, “Some Days I Stay in Bed for Hours,” Memories Are My Only Witness, Tzadik
  • Sol Seppy, “Move,” The Bells of 1 2, Gronland
  • Mono, “Playboys,” Formica Blues, Mercury
  • Rickie Lee Jones, “Away from the Sky,” Flying Cowboys, Geffen

  • 1:00–2:00 a.m.:
  • The The, “Heartland,” Infected, Epic
  • The Stone Roses, “Made of Stone,” The Stone Roses, Silvertone
  • XTC, “Summer’s Cauldron/Grass,” Skylarking, Geffen
  • OutKast, “Life Is Like a Musical,” Idlewild, LaFace
  • The Last Poets, “Time,” This Is Madness, Douglas
  • OutKast, “Bamboo & Cross (Interlude)/Buggface,” Idlewild, LaFace
  • Chocolate Genius, “Life,” Black Music, V2
  • Scritti Politti, “Petrococadollar,” White Bread Black Beer, Nonesuch/Rough Trade
  • The Style Council, “Changing of the Guard,” Confessions of a Pop Group, Polydor
  • Pavement, “Type Slowly,” Brighten the Corners, Matador
  • Mice Parade, “Milton Road,” Obrigado Saudade, Bubble Core
  • Sondre Lerche, “Days That Are Over,” Two Way Monologue, Astralwerks
  • Kraftwerk, “The Hall of Mirrors,” Trans-Europe Express, Capitol

  • 2:00–3:00 a.m.:
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Bring Me the Head of the Preacher Man,” Hyæna, Geffen
  • Tones on Tail, “Real Life,” Everything, Beggars Banquet
  • The Sugarcubes, “Water,” Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week!, Elektra
  • Nine Horses, “Serotonin,” Snow Borne Sorrow, Samadhi Sound
  • Brookville, “Today,” Life in the Shade, Unfiltered
  • Sing-Sing, “Going Out Tonight,” Sing-Sing and I, Aerial
  • The Smiths, “Unloveable,” Louder than Bombs, Sire
  • Tom Waits, “Clap Hands,” Rain Dogs, Island
  • Nick Lowe, “Time I Took a Holiday,” Dig My Mood, Upstart
  • Elvis Costello, “Brilliant Mistake,” King of America, Columbia
  • Lady and Bird, “Blue Skies,” Lady and Bird, Yellow Tangerine
  • Stina Nordenstam, “Murder in Mairyland Park,” And She Closed Her Eyes, East West
  • Robin Guthrie, “As I Breathe,” Continental, Darla
  • (Red House Painters, “Evil,” Red House Painters [II], 4AD)
  • (Sonic Youth, “Pink Steam,” Rather Ripped, Geffen)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Episode 45

     For the last few days, I’ve had an overriding sense of calm and satisfaction as the end of the show draws closer. Almost as though it were approaching from the horizon, its outlines are becoming more and more clear. A few of my close friends know something of the selection principles that will generate the final playlist. I’m still not ready to reveal anything definitive, wanting to let the mystery linger a little longer. I will say only that I know—as I have since the first episode of the show—what the last ECI song will be. In case anyone wants to try to figure out what it will be, here’s a vague hint: the track, which is nearly fifteen years old, will apparently be featured in a film that premieres in German theatres in late October. (And, for the record, that’s not why I picked the track.)
     “Yeah, yeah,” you say, “enough with the teasing: what do you have to say about this morning’s episode?” Lots, it turns out. First, big thanks go to Dawn, Michael and Jason for inadvertently giving me a number of ideas about artists to play on this show and in the future (especially the R&B tracks). Nothing like good friends to open one’s ears. Next, for at least two reasons, I’ve long been wanting to play the Joe Henderson track listed below on the show. One, it’s a great tune that features top-notch soloists playing with a stellar rhythm section. And two, the Henderson album’s liner notes (written by Don Heckman) provide some of the lyrical material for the second of the Digable Planets tunes below (the one after the slash). By themselves, the DP tunes are wryly self-referential, but, like the quotation I just mentioned, the external sonic and lyrical allusions are perhaps even more clever. The remainder of the cleverness here comes from a series of artist/tune pairings that might at first glance seem incompatible. The list of the examples runs throughout the entire show: Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth/Tanya Donelly, Digable Planets/Spain, UB40(!)/Fennesz, Grandaddy/D’Angelo, Bill Withers/Polyphonic Spree. As is always the case, though, the proof is in the hearing.
      Finally, though, the highlight of the show for me, and indeed the preceding day, was a gift from the mail carrier: my pre-ordered copy of Eric Matthews’ first new, full-length album in, what, nine years? For so auspicious an occasion, I had to play two tracks, one from the album proper and the other from the bonus EP that came with discs pre-ordered from the label. I haven’t given either of them a proper, concentrated listen, but I suspect that will happen later today. And one last silly observation. It didn’t occur to me until I was finalizing the playlist that there was a subtle style descriptor in the name of the last band played on this morning’s episode. After all, I have never had a reason to say the name out loud or be concerned about its pronunciation. Now that I have, I appreciate the cleverness of it.
     Are you sick of the word “clever” and its many derivatives yet? I am, so I’ll slink off to bed, leaving you to ponder the list below....

  • 12:00–1:00 a.m.:
  • Elk City, “Solar Girl,” Status, A Hidden Agenda
  • Television Personalities, “Then a Big Boy Came and Knocked It All Down,” My Dark Places, Domino
  • Carl Craig, “I Have Got Garlic Hanging on My Front Door,” Onsumothasheeat, Shadow (a remix of a track originally found on Marasma’s Signals, Freerange)
  • Spleen, “Un Danse Pour Dick et Bob,” Soundtrack to Spleen, Swari Finger
  • P.J. Harvey, “Goodnight,” 4-Track Demos, Island
  • Devendra Banhart, “Lazy Butterfly,” Cripple Crow, XL
  • Shearwater, “Hail, Mary,” Palo Santo, Misra
  • The Art of Noise, “Comes and Goes,” Into Battle with the Art of Noise, ZTT
  • Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, “Carmel City,” The Main Ingredient, Elektra
  • Tanya Donelly, “So Much Song,” Beautysleep, 4AD
  • Islands, “Humans,” Return to the Sea, Equator
  • Cowboy Junkies, “Dragging Hooks (River Song Trilogy: Part III),” Open, Latent/Zoë

  • 1:00–2:00 a.m.:
  • World Party, “Here Comes the Future,” Dumbing Up, Seaview
  • Sly & the Family Stone, “Frisky,” Fresh, Epic
  • A Certain Ratio, “Rialto,” Sextet, Factory
  • Joe Henderson, “Short Story,” In ’n Out, Blue Note
  • Digable Planets, “Escapism (Getting’ Free)/Appointment at the Fat Clinic,” Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space), Pendulum
  • Spain, “Ten Nights,” The Blue Moods of Spain, Restless
  • George Harrison, “Let It Down,” All Things Must Pass, Capitol
  • UB40, “King,” Signing Off, Virgin
  • Fennesz, “The Point of It All,” Venice, Touch UK
  • Sinéad O’Connor, “Just Call Me Joe,” The Lion and the Cobra, Chrysalis
  • The Pixies, “Ana,” Bossanova, 4AD

  • 2:00–3:00 a.m.:
  • Eric Matthews, “And the World Will Go,” Foundation Sounds, Empyrean
  • Eric Matthews, “Million Errors,” Foundation Sounds—Limited Edition EP, Empyrean
  • Grandaddy, “‘Yeah’ Is What We Had,” Sumday, V2
  • D’Angelo, “Alright,” Brown Sugar, EMI
  • Bill Withers, “Let Me in Your Life (Live at Carnegie Hall),” Still Bill, Columbia/Legacy
  • The Polyphonic Spree, “Days Like This Keep Me Warm,” The Beginning Stages of ... the Polyphonic Spree, Hollywood
  • Sam Prekop, “So Shy,” Sam Prekop, Thrill Jockey
  • The Album Leaf, “Twentytwofourteen,” In a Safe Place, Sub Pop
  • Massive Attack, “Butterfly Caught,” 100th Window, Virgin
  • Scheer, “Face the Sun,” ...And Finally, Schism
  • Dif Juz, “Gunet,” Vibrating Air EP, 4AD