Tag Archives: flaming lips

2013, so far.

Ian's been waiting all his life for the new My Bloody Valentine record.

Ian’s waited all his life for another My Bloody Valentine record!

Since the year is now half-empty (or half-full or whatever), a friend asked me for a list of my favorite records of 2013.  He felt that, apart from the new Yo La Tengo record, there was no real “slam-dunk” this year.  I courteously, yet vehemently, disagree.  So here’s a list of several records that captured my attention in the first half of 2013.  (The order here means nothing, I don’t want to rank them just yet.)  Let’s see if they stick around for my year-end list…

Thought and Language by Dead Leaf Echo

Dead Leaf Echo has been around a few years now and finally delivered the solid album that should get attention.  I tend to like any new shoegaze band, so an album like this, full of perfect and hazy pop songs, always gets my attention.

Fade by Yo La Tengo

One of the band’s best and most concise albums in a catalog full of “best” albums.  I love it.  A great starting point for anyone unfamiliar with Yo La Tengo or life itself.

mbv by My Bloody Valentine

Pandemonium ensued the night My Bloody Valentine released its new record.  Kevin Shields hinted a week earlier that it was coming, but after nearly two decades since the band’s last record, I was skeptical.  It doesn’t overwhelm with shock and awe at first, instead the band takes its time.  Shields has delivered a fairly quiet record with some classy songwriting.  Until the end, then it gets crazy.

Iceage, performing at this year's Middle of the Map Festival in Kansas City

Iceage, performing at this year’s Middle of the Map Festival in Kansas City.

You’re Nothing by Iceage

I went nutso a few months ago when Iceage released its second album and played at The Riot Room.  I kinda feel like it was as close as I’ll get to ever seeing Joy Division.  Not only is its live show amazing, but the new record is also fantastic.  A little more dry-sounding and mature than the last one, it’s also brief, demanding repeated plays.

The Next Day by David Bowie

I’d be a millionaire if I had a nickel for every time I read the phrase, “Bowie’s best album since Scary Monsters,” to describe The Next Day.  It’s kinda maddening, really, considering how much good material filled Heathen and Reality.  (Sure, those weren’t totally solid albums, but whatever.)  This new record is awesome.  With each song sounding like a different stage in his career, it almost feels like a best-of collection, except that they’re all new songs.

She Beats by The Beaches

Fuzzy, Aussie band that’s spent far too much time with its Sonic Youth and Neu! albums.  Enough said.

Without a Net by Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter turns 80 this year, but you wouldn’t know it by his playing.  Sometimes he deconstructs songs with reckless abandon, squawking away on his soprano sax.  Sometimes he composes super-ambitious, 23-minute pieces for a large combo.  At his age/stature, he could/should be the star of his own records, but Shorter seems content to step back and let listeners enjoy his insanely-talented band, as well.

The Terror by The Flaming Lips

Why am I even writing about this?  I’m not sure I even ‘get’ this record yet.  Dark, weird, lots of synthesizers and that one Suicide beat in nearly every song.  I think I just answered my question.

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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 81: Sugar Never Was So Sweet

I love introducing my friends’ bands to others.  All too often, in college, I’d attend shows with mediocre bands, simply because the musicians were nice guys.  Life’s too short to waste it on so-so music, even if it is made by friends.  So this week, I introduce Jared Collinger’s project, The Enigmatic Foe.  Please visit his Bandcamp page, where you can listen to and buy all his albums.  They’re all different, so listen to all of them.

At any rate, here’s this week’s show.  There’s no such thing as too much Muddy Waters.

  1. “Walkin Thru the Park” – Muddy Waters (Fathers and Sons | Chess | 1969)
  2. “Sugar Sweet” – Muddy Waters (Fathers and Sons | Chess | 1969)
  3. “You Don’t Respond” – The Flaming Lips (untitled 12″ | Warner Bros | 2011)
  4. “Radioactivity” – Damien Jurado and Richard Swift (Other People’s Songs | independent | 2011)
  5. “Def Surrounds Us” – DJ Shadow (I Gotta Rokk single | Verve Forecast | 2011)
  6. “Light From a Dying Star” – The Enigmatic Foe (Light From a Dying Star | independent | 2007)
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1415312/81radiofreeraytown.mp3″

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #81 (6/17/11)

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