Songs About Radios Radio

6 04 2009

Check out the new vodpod “Songs About Radios Radio” in the sidebar, which should launch a playlist shuffling all of the music that has been featured so far on Songs About Radios. If you’re bored and looking to discover new music, it’s an efficient way to catch up on what I’ve been posting. It’s an ugly little widget, but it will have to do until WordPress upgrades it or allows vodpod embed code in the sidebar. Please let me know if it isn’t working. Enjoy!


My Trip to Boston (In Music)

22 03 2009

Posting has been a bit slow around here lately since I’ve been out of town the past two weekends. I’m not sure what it says about me that I’m generally busier when I’m on vacation than when I’m actually at school and working. Last weekend took me back to Boston to look at a potential law school for next fall. Here are a couple songs that came up for various reasons during my trip:

The Standells – Dirty Water (Download) (Buy It)″

“Dirty Water” is of course the quintessential Boston anthem. Gritty garage vocals meet a bouncy, almost Sesame Street-ish guitar riff that perfectly captures the feel of walking through Boston neighborhoods on a warm afternoon. As my plane touched down in Boston for the first time in six years, the first time since I spent four years there as an undergrad, I couldn’t help but recall this song’s refrain – “I love that dirty water / Oh, Boston, you’re my home.” Suddenly, and with an intensity that I hadn’t anticipated, I felt like I was back home.

Bruce Springsteen – Thunder Road (Reposted from Parallel Lines #2) (Buy It)″

Saturday night I might some nice folks from Princeton and discovered over some drinks that the only music we could agree upon at all was Bruce Springsteen. But how can you go wrong with people that love “Thunder Road”?

Neko Case – Deep Red Bells (Download) (Buy It)″

Later that night, still trying to find people at the law school who shared my taste in music, I ended up in a conversation with a country music fan and tried to recommend some alt country. I feel like Neko Case has universal appeal, so she’s a great place to start in terms of building common ground between people with very different musical tastes. Anyway, the country music fan wasn’t interested in hearing any Neko, but it did spark another conversation when the girl sitting next to me said she had heard…I think she said The Tigers Have Spoken, or maybe it was Canadian Amp, either way, one of those Neko Case albums that I’ve been meaning to check out but haven’t yet. And then there was an interesting moment where someone asked if we were talking about Nico Muhly. So, at the very least, if there aren’t too many indie rock fans in Boston, someone’s listening to avant garde classical music.

I deliberately avoided choosing a song from Neko Case’s excellent latest album, Middle Cyclone because I plan to post on it later.

Destroyer – New Ways of Living (Notorious Lightning and Other Works version, with Carey Mercer from Frog Eyes) (Download) (Buy It)″

Monday after the law school admitted students program ended, I had a chance to make it into downtown Boston. I was hanging out by Faneuil Hall waiting for my former roommate Mike (whose apartment I was staying at) to get off of work, and decided to check out the CDs at the Newbury Comics that’s apparently moved into Quincy Market since I last visited. I wasn’t really planning on buying anything, but when I saw a used copy of Destroyer’s incredible EP, Notorious Lightning and Other Works, for only $2, I decided I had to have it. Notorious Lightning is 6 songs from the more or less boring LP Your Blues, stunningly rerecorded to feature the shaky guitar of Frog Eye’s lead man, Carey Mercer. I already have the EP as mp3’s, but this was a great find, and I love the album enough that I feel like I should legitimately own it.

The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound (Reposted from the Best of 2008) (Buy It)″

This came on the radio as Mike was driving me to the airport to leave Boston, and I insisted we keep it on. Mike kept repeating the part that goes “Young boys…”

Jumped the Gun…

9 03 2009

If I had posted my Coachella mix like three days later, it would have included this song:

Chemical Brothers – Setting Sun (Download) (Buy It)″

Guess I also gotta go check out this Etienne de Crecy with his giant cube light show, and the Orb, and keep my fingers crossed that maybe two of the three go Saturday night opposite the Killers and the hole left by Amy Winehouse’s cancellation (no loss!)

Update: Chem’s on Saturday! Etienne de Crecy and the Orb on Sunday – hopefully one or the other closing out the festival after the Cure/MBV (like Justice last year) so no more conflicts. Maybe the other opposite Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who I’ve already seen twice? Also, these were all apparently in the works before the Winehouse cancellation, so it looks like a replacement subheadliner may also be in the works.


7 03 2009

The good news is, I’ve figured out how to embed an imeem playlist on wordpress using vodpod. The bad news is that in the process I accidentally created a post using a random imeem playlist that I found online and was using as a test. So if you’re subscribed to my RSS feed, nevermind the last post…and stay tuned for my Coachella 2009 mix, as soon as I work out a few technological issues.

I Can’t Stand the Useless Fools!

14 02 2009

I woke up this morning to a notice on my WordPress Dashboard that my ability to post had been temporarily frozen, and that I should contact support immediately. Apparently my posting of Sam la More’s remix of Empire of the Sun’s “Walking on a Dream” triggered a DMCA takedown notice to WordPress. The result was a relatively benign move by WordPress – the track was simply removed from the website – but it was accompanied by a vague and ominous warning that future DMCA notices could result in the blog being “permanently suspended.”

Now, this is not going to stop me from continuing to write music that I care about, and it isn’t going to stop me from sharing that music as context to my writing so that you, my readers, can evaluate it and support the artists you discover here. Being “permanently suspended” would be unfortunate, but it’s not a reason to permanently suspend the site on my own. It does, however, mean a couple of small changes in the way I do business.

1) I’m making backup plans: in the event that I’m suspended by WordPress, the blog will be moved to I’ve just purchased the domain name, though as long as things are ok here at WordPress, I’m not paying to host anything there. I can also be reached at in the event that this site disappears and you’re curious where to find it.
2) I’ll be regularly backing up the site now so that my content isn’t lost in the event that I get deleted
3) I’ll no longer be posting music from the British label EMI.

Why EMI? Some scratching around on the internet dug up several sites which agreed that they are responsible for the latest round of takedown notices on Blogger and WordPress. This seems to be corroborated by the fact that the only piece of music I’ve had to take down to date turns out to be the only piece of music I’ve ever posted from EMI. Okkervil River is also on EMI, but the track I posted comes from an early album released on Joust.

I’d love to let the Sex Pistols tell you how much they love EMI, but posting the song they dedicated to their first label that would violate my no-music-from-EMI policy, so you’ll have to follow this link to find it on Hype Machine.

Shameless Self Promotion (by way of promoting others…)

6 02 2009

Head on over to Zombie Public Speaking for a couple of quality Heaps recordings featuring yours truly on the keyboard/virtual Farfisa organ!

Meanwhile, Songs About Radios is happy to announce that my good friend, colleague, poker rival, and fellow blogger, Joseph Kugelmass, has recently started writing for the cultural criticism website Pop Matters, which, as far as I understand, is a pretty big deal. And how nice of him to use his second post there to promote Songs About Radios!

Pop Matters

So, I thought I’d return the favor and point you all back to Joe’s excellent first post, entitled “Tha Giggle: On Lil Wayne,” which attempts to answer the question “Why was Lil’ Wayne the single biggest musical phenomenon of 2008?” Here’s an excerpt:

Obviously, Wayne isn’t naïve; he just sounds that way. The centerpiece of his whole persona is his giggle, which he lets loose on most of his songs, and which fits in perfectly last summer alongside of Heath Ledger’s near-hero Joker. It’s another piece of anarchic, disruptive noise, and another instance of disbelief: how funny is it, really, that Wayne’s on top of the world? Eminem had the same reaction to his fame, but he took it seriously and it blew out his creative fuses. Eminem made didactic points about the schizophrenic existence of public figures, yearning to be authentic or at least smart enough to hold the strings, whereas Wayne glorifies the moment of looking in the mirror and wondering who he’ll be today

Lil WayneIf you suspected that my own brief write up of Tha Carter III was in dialogue with Joe’s, you wouldn’t be wrong. Both of us see the giggle as a symptom of Wayne’s more or less schizophrenic reaction to his own performance. For Joe, the key image is Weezy watching himself in the mirror while playfully trying on identities, taking pleasure in the freedom that his art gives him to fashion himself differently every day. The giggle is anarchic and disruptive, but, like Heath Ledger’s Joker, Wayne is still in command of when he lets it loose. For me, the key image is Weezy catching his breath. As I see it, speech isn’t a tool of self-fashioning, but a sort of out of control compulsion built into the words themselves. The giggle isn’t something Wayne does, but something that happens to him, a sort of nervous tick that interrupts his attempt to pretend that he’s in command, that he has any idea how or why he’s so good. In both cases, the idea of “authentic identity” gets disrupted, but in different ways: for Joe, because language gives us the power to endlessly reinvent ourselves; for me, because language, despite being our most personal possession, is the part of ourselves that least belongs to us.

You can check up on the latest Pop Matters posts of Joseph Kugelmass here.

But You Don’t Really Care For Music, Do You?

30 01 2009

Coachella 2009 Lineup

Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah (Download It) (Buy It)″

(Saturday needs a little work, though)