Category Archives: Podcasts

Episode 101: Who needs tomorrow?

Cover image from Blue Trapeze's first album, Who Were You Then?

I love jangly college rock from the 1980’s. These bands usually invoke classic 1960’s psychedelia of The Byrds or The Velvet Underground, but with the immediacy of punk. These bands were also crucial to creative music’s development, as they helped carve out the college rock niche (which would later be called alternative or indie). While not necessarily a themed show, I play several songs in this episode that belong in the canon of eighties college rock.

The last song I play this week is from Chris M. Short’s compilation, On the 45: A Compilation of Obscure-to-Semi-Obscure Power Pop/Punk/New Wave. It’s a mind-blowing collection of songs he compiled from his personal collection of obscure 45s. It’s free, so download it now.

At any rate, enjoy the show.

  1. “It’s Only Obvious” – The Orchids (Air Balloon Road | Sarah Records | 1990)
  2. “Lazy Day” – Beach Fossils (Beach Fossils | Captured Tracks | 2010)
  3. “This Fear” – Blue Trapeze (Who Were You Then? | Fullspeak | 1984)
  4. “Black Night” – Green on Red (Green on Red | Down There | 1982)
  5. “Headphones Theme Form Seemingly Infinity” – Steven Drozd (Flyin’ Traps | Hollywood Records | 1997)
  6. “Kill Another Night” – Phil Daniels + The Cross (On the 45: A Compilation of Obscure-to-Semi-Obscure Power Pop/Punk/New Wave | RCA | 1979)

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1415312/101radiofreeraytown.mp3″

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #101 (3/30/12)

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Episode 100: I’m the tick, you’re the bomb.

Last month, my co-workers voted me as the Support Staff Employee Of the Year (SSEOY) in our school. This has allowed me to throw my proverbial hat in the ring for the district-wide SSEOY award. It’s tempting to merely view the process as tooting my horn: collecting three letters of recommendation, writing an essay about my educational impact and then, next week, interviewing before a panel.

Working on my essay regarding my educational impact served as the impetus for much thought on the paradoxical topic of recognition. We all want to be recognized, but we don’t necessarily want the spotlight on us. When the principal announced that the staff had voted for me, it led me to a conversation about humility with my student. He’s in eighth grade, so I’m sure he’s never really given the topic much thought. The conversation found me paraphrasing C.S. Lewis: humility isn’t merely thinking of yourself a little bit, it’s not thinking of yourself at all.


I received some attention from friends and acquaintances when I posted my fiftieth episode, so I expect I may get notifications or mentions in social networks for my hundredth show this week. I’ve been trying to formulate a response besides an obligatory “thank you for listening,” but nothing sincere quite comes to mind. I guess it’s because this show is, in part, an exercise in narcissism. But this show is also about sharing my love of music with you all, my fellow discerning lovers of music.

I have a large collection and knowledge of music, but it’s no good if it doesn’t benefit others. I am always excited to hear that folks have learned about a band or genre through my show. It’s also been cool to get responses from some of the bands I play and discuss (solicited or not).

I don’t think it’s an exercise in false humility to step aside while the spotlight’s on me to draw your attention to the dude who encouraged me to start this blog. My friend, Ben Helt, has made trips to record stores with me, ridden in the car with me while I dissect albums and has relaxed in my living room while I play him some of my favorite chillout music. He wanted me to channel my penchant for proselytism into a podcast. Thank you, Ben, for pushing me to do this.


Knowing I was approaching number 100, I emailed some friends and asked them to choose a song to discuss on this episode. I put no parameters on their choices, and I didn’t berate them when I disagreed with their song choices. The ones who appear on this show were incredibly respectful of my time, usually preparing their stories ahead of time. I think their preparation paid off for the listener, as well, with choice stories and brevity. Thank you to Joel, Russ, Jeff, and Shane, and to my wife, Kate. You all are the best!

Enjoy.

  1. “Buggin'” – The Flaming Lips (The Soft Bulletin | Warner | 1999)
  2. “Upon 9th and Fairchild” – The Boo Radleys (Giant Steps | Creation | 1993)
  3. “The Way of Love” – Charlie Peacock (West Coast Diaries, Volume 2 | Sparrow | 1991)
  4. “24” – Red House Painters (Down Colourful Hill | 4AD | 1992)
  5. “Silhouettes” – Kissing Cousins (EP 1 | Velvet Blue Music | 2006)
  6. “Closer” – Jars of Clay (The Long Fall Back to Earth | Essential | 2009)
  7. “The Hearttaker” – Starflyer 59 (Americana | Tooth & Nail | 1997)

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1415312/100radiofreeraytown.mp3″

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #100 (3/23/12)

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Episode 99: Separate Torso from the Spine

Brian Eno, c. 1977

Apart from a couple friends, I just don’t hear many people discussing important bands like Sonic Youth, Velvet Underground or Joy Division. Even folks who pride themselves on listening to stuff outside the mainstream (Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens, Sam Bean, etc.) don’t seem to have or desire a sense of musical history. I’m not asking that everyone be a musical savant like me, but it would be nice to see folks do their research and not dismiss some music simply because it sounds old.

This point in probably best illustrated in discussing the work of Brian Eno. The dude is responsible for so much huge, mega-popular music, but folks don’t seem to pay attention to him. It’s difficult to overstate his influence on bands like U2, Talking Heads, Roxy Music, David Bowie and Devo. (If you’re reading this blog, I assume you already have  an unhealthy amount these bands’ music on your harddrive.) Yet rarely do I ever hear anyone talk about Eno’s solo work.

I don’t think it takes particularly artsy person to appreciate (most of) his work. I just think it takes an inquisitive person who wants to discover the source for a favorite band’s inspiration. Alright, enough proselytizing.

Enjoy the show.

  1. “Kurt’s Rejoinder” – Brian Eno (Before and After Science/Polydor/1977)
  2. “Vamos Companeros” – Harmonia & Eno ’76 (Tracks and Traces/Gronland/2009)
  3. “Dem Wanderer” – Cluster (Sowiesoso/Sky/1976)
  4. “What Lies Before” – Highspire (Aquatic/Reverse Reverse/2010)
  5. “While the Cold Winter Waiting” – Trentemøller (The Last Resort/Poker Flat/2006)
  6. “Soul Love” – David Bowie (Stage/RCA/1978)

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1415312/99radiofreeraytown.mp3″

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #99 (2/18/12)

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Episode 98: Crucial Point Becomes a Crime

Super awesome krautrock band, Harmonia

I have a friend who claims to merely like the music that he enjoys and not necessarily fill his iPod with only good, critically-praised music. While this seems a cop-out when faced with criticism for guilty pleasures, he has certainly got me thinking this week about what influences my musical taste.

I think I can not-too-flippantly claim to liking music that I sincerely enjoy. While critics can obviously inform opinion, my taste has developed mostly through listening to lots of music. Simply put, discernment comes from listening to good records.

Hopefully that’s where this blog comes in. I hope to not only share my enthusiasm for music (It really is okay to prefer records to talk radio after college!) but also other bands and styles to investigate. You can decide what you like, but make it an informed decision. Enjoy.

  1. “Chanson Sans Issue – Ne Vois-Tu Pas)” – Autour de Lucie (Immobile | Netwerk | 1998)
  2. “Den Her Sang Handler Om At Fa Det Bedste Ud Af Det” – Under Byen & The Danish Radio Sinfonietta (Siamesisk | Paper Bag Records | 2008)
  3. “Gollum” – Harmonia (Deluxe | Brain | 1975)
  4. “Age of Consent” – The Golden Filter (Mojo Presents Power Corruption & Lies Covered | Mojo magazine | February 2012)
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1415312/98radiofreeraytown.mp3″

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #98 (2/10/12)

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Episode 97: Great Gorge

Freddie Hubbard

I don’t know how I got into jazz fusion, although I suspect Miles Davis was my gateway drug. The style almost seems so synonymous with virtuosity and excess that it scares off even the most dedicated music lover. And, sadly, there’s just so much bad fusion out there to discourage many folks from even trying.

You see, a funny thing happened at the end of the 1960s. Rock bands could play bigger and louder concerts, and jazz was pretty much dead. So jazz combos plugged in.  As a result, many artists’ reinventions were viewed by critics with disdain. If it wasn’t made with only acoustic instruments, it was considered selling out. Such Draconian subjectivity make it difficult to even to research the style. While there are many legendary and pivotal acoustic jazz albums, there seems to be little consensus on classic fusion records apart from Miles’ Bitches Brew. (This point is obviously a little untrue, but bear with me, as I’m painting with broad strokes here.)

Can you blame the critics, though? Many artists resorted to playing simple jazz riffs over funk rhythms, and some forged new ground in a style that would later become smooth jazz. To be honest, there are few fusion artists I enjoy. (But as might be expected, I am ridiculously obsessed with those whom I love.) Most of them are ones who made melodic, mind-blowing acoustic jazz, as well. They didn’t entirely throw out everything that made them good; they seemed to just enhance their sound with new instruments.

Because of the limitations that a 25-minute podcast imposes, I thought a list of players on these two songs would be helpful. Research the other records they played on, especially their solo albums. (But remember that very few of these artists made it to the 1980s with artistic integrity in check!) Enjoy.

  1. “Great Gorge” – Joe Farrell with Herbie Hancock, Stanley Clarke and Jack DeJohnette (Moon Germs | CTI | 1972)
  2. “Red Clay” – Freddie Hubbard with Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Lenny White (Red Clay | CTI | 1970)
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1415312/97radiofreeraytown.mp3″

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #97 (2/3/12)

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Episode 96: Painted Lies on Painted Lips

The Psychedelic Furs

The Psychedelic Furs, c.1988

I remember the day I got hip to The Psychedelic Furs. Members of the Velvet Blue Music email discussion list had jokingly thrown around the idea of the label releasing a Furs tribute album (an idea not so far-fledged, when considering Fine China’s Rob Withem would later record “Love My Way” on his Foxglove Hunt album). This was early college, and I had no idea who the Furs were and why everyone seemed so jazzed about them. To find out, I picked up a copy of the band’s 1988 singles collection, All of This and Nothing, from Streetside Records. I fell head-over-heels in love with “All that Money Wants,” and that album became the soundtrack for many shifts of pizza delivery.

I don’t know what gets me back on a kick, but this week, I’ve been on a serious Furs kick. I’ve picked up where I left off halfway into the band’s biography, Beautiful Chaos: Psychedelic Furs. I know, I’m a nerd. But you probably already knew that. Enjoy.

  1. “The Time” – 2562 (Aerial | Tectonic | 2008)
  2. “Fog” – Nosaj Thing (Drift | Alpha Pup | 2009)
  3. “All That Money Wants” – The Psychedelic Furs (All of This and Nothing | Columbia | 1988)
  4. “Love My Way” – The Psychedelic Furs (All of This and Nothing | Columbia | 1988)
  5. “Moonage Daydream” – Fluffy (Sugar Pistol | Flying Tart | 1995)
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1415312/96radiofreeraytown.mp3″

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #96 (1/13/12)

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Episode 94: I Must Move On

Ian and me, photograph by Tim Mahurin

Adjusting to my son’s birth has been rather difficult. My wife returned to work only three weeks after he was born, and he didn’t take well to a sleep schedule. (I know, I know, these are common.)

Anyway, I’ve returned to recording episodes. I can’t guarantee they’ll come weekly, but they will most assuredly blow minds. I hope you enjoy this week’s show and have a great Christmas.

  1. “I Just Don’t Understand” – Les Paul and Mary Ford (Swingin’ South | Columbia | 1963)
  2. “Don’t Like Goodbyes” – Frank Sinatra (Close to You | Capitol | 1957)
  3. “Travelers” – Aaron Parks (Invisible Cinema | Blue Note | 2008)
  4. “Cynthia Lewis” – M83 (Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming | Mute | 2011)

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #94 (12/22/11)

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1415312/94radiofreeraytown.mp3″
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Episode 93: It’s a New Generation

Thinking about The Lassie Foundation, I reflect equally on its mind-blowing output during my formable college listening years as well as all the bands it referenced in its playing (that I would, in turn, get hip to).

The band’s first EP and first two full-length albums still stand up well alongside the best work of bands like Medicine or The Boo Radleys, so it’s easy to revisit them and not just defensively snap to your friends, “Well, you just had to be there.”

Wayne Everett and Eric Campuzano (the primary forces in The Lassie Foundation) were responsible for much of my musical discoveries in college.  When I read them name-drop Ride, The Boo Radleys, Loop, The Beach Boys and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in interviews, I immediately sought out any of those bands’ records I could find.  (Remember, this was still before Napster…it took me a year to find even one CD by The Boo Radleys!)

In retrospect, I was bound to be smitten by The Lassie Foundation’s work.  The band was a collective of guys from Starflyer 59, Fold Zandura and The Violet Burning…three of my favorite bands at the time.  But The Lassie Foundation was totally different than those bands; it had a cool, surfy, California vibe.  Enjoy, and remember, enlightenment is its own reward.

You’re welcome.

  1. “I’m Stealin’ to Be Your One in a Million” – The Lassie Foundation (California | Velvet Blue Music | 1996)
  2. “I’ve Got the Rock and Roll for You” – The Lassie Foundation (Pacifico | Shogun Sounds | 1999)
  3. “She’s the Coming Sun–She’s Long Gone” – The Lassie Foundation (Pacifico | Shogun Sounds | 1999)
  4. “Conquer Me” – The Lassie Foundation (El Rey | Shogun Sounds | 1999)
  5. “Look All Ways” – The Lassie Foundation (I Duel Sioux and the Ale of Saturn | Grand Theft Autumn | 2001)
  6. “Face Your Fun” – The Lassie Foundation (Face Your Fun | Northern | 2004)
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Episode 92: Wake that Sleepyhead in You

Anticipating Ian’s arrival in a few weeks (if he’s punctual), one of the things I’ve been considering is responding to and teaching discernment with coarse language.  And because I’ve been on a Sonic Youth kick recently, I’ve specifically thought about cussing in music.

I’ll spare you most of my thoughts and conversation with my wife, but I can say that I am convinced parents must model for children a healthy respect of language.  I don’t think this involves overreacting to my son when he inevitably drops a minor curse word…and on the other end of the spectrum, it obviously doesn’t mean I should mean that I should cuss like a sailor.  I guess I have some time to figure things out before he gets old enough that it matters.  You know, maybe I have enough time before then to write a book…

Enjoy the show.

  1. “No Room” – Two-Pound Planet (No Sense of History | Alternative/Stunt | 1992)
  2. “(I Got A) Catholic Block” – Sonic Youth (Sister | SST | 1987)
  3. “Surgeon” – St. Vincent (Strange Mercy | 4AD | 2011)
  4. “Natural Frost” – Welcome (Sirs | FatCat | 2007)
  5. “Salad of Speech” – 100 Flowers (100 Years of Pulchritude | EMI | 1990)
  6. “Okay, I’ll Admit That I really Don’t Understand” – The Flaming Lips (Zaireeka | Warner | 1997)
  7. “Listen, It’s Gone” – The Ocean Blue (Beneath the Rhythm and Sound | Sire | 1993)
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Episode 91: Phasers on Stun

A while back, I called up a record store in Indianapolis to order a super-limited edition 12″ single The Flaming Lips recorded with Neon Indian.  After giving the clerk, Dan, my credit card information, we began discussing uber-obscure, hazy and psychedelic garage bands.  During that conversation, I remember Dan saying he listens to so much music that he doesn’t really stick with one record for very long…say less than two weeks.

Whether it’s due to owning too much music or it’s a sort of musical attention deficit disorder, I feel much the same.  While this may be problematic to some, I find that wearing out new albums always points me back to my all-time favorite artists and records.

I love 60s jazz and 90s indie rock; they are like musical comfort foods to me.  Enjoy.

  1. “Knife Rape” – Mothguts (III | Thor’s Rubber Hammer | 2009)
  2. “Spectrum” – Andrew Hill (Point of Departure | Blue Note | 1964)
  3. “Mykologics” – Mouse on Mars (Niun Niggung | Thrill Jockey | 1999)
  4. “Kazuality” – Blonde Redhead (Fake Can be Just as Good | Touch and Go | 1997)
  5. “Phasers on Stun/Sola Kola” – Yatsura (We Are Yatsura | Che Trading | 1996)
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1415312/91radiofreeraytown.mp3″

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #91 (9/28/11)

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