Tag Archives: r.e.m.

Episode 68: Between the Zero and the One

The Cord UnwindsIn lieu of an introduction to this week’s show, I just have some further comments on some of the songs that didn’t make the recording.

I indicate that “Shutout” hints at the direction Scott Walker would go with his solo work.  That’s only partially true.

The Walker Brothers had broken up in the late sixties, and Scott recorded several solo records before the band reunited in the mid-70s.  His first four records are quite good, but refuses to discuss the others, as they were label-demanded, failed forays into MOR adult pop.  He already had a solo career; it didn’t start after Nite Flights.

After Nite Flights, though, the quality of his output was fairly consistent.  (He was selective about what he released, only three albums and two soundtracks in next 25 years.)  “Shutout” is probably his most accessible song, so don’t expect it all to be as danceable and Bowie-ish.

As I mention in the show, Transmit Pulse is one of Andrew Sallee’s solo projects (he’s also in Namelessnumberheadman, who is playing at The Record Bar on the 29th).  Make him rich and buy his songs online.

At any rate, I hope you enjoy the show.

  1. “Shutout” – The Walker Brothers (Nite Flights / GTO / 1978)
  2. “Something Better Beginning” – The Kinks (Kinda Kinks / Reprise / 1965)
  3. “The Cord Unwinds” – Transmit Pulse (“The Cord Unwinds” digital single / Scatterplot Sounds / 2011)
  4. “She Turns to Flowers” – The Salvation Army (Happen Happened: Befour Three O’Clock / Frontier / 1993)
  5. “5/4” – Young and Sexy (Panic When You Find It / Mint / 2006)
  6. “Green Grow the Rushes” – R.E.M. (Fables of the Reconstruction / I.R.S. / 1985)

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #68 (1/21/10)

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Episode 40: It’s the Money!

When starting a tribute band, be sure to pick a band to cover that has sweet looks, as well as good songs.

I know this guy who plays in a couple of local tribute bands, one for Journey and one covering random 70’s soft pop. He makes scads more with them than his serious project.

In my observation, I’ve seen three primary motivators for starting or joining tribute bands. An overwhelming majority of the bands seem to be just slimy attempts to impress friends or score chicks. Sometimes they’re merely a way for decent musicians to make a little money (hopefully performing music they like). In other cases, however, tribute bands perform music by artists who have died or by bands that have broken up.

My friend, Ben, suggested this week’s theme: If I was in a ___________ tribute band, we would be called _______________ because of this song. After some thought, I think most of my tribute bands would fall under the third motive I proposed. Peter Gabriel and R.E.M. would hopefully make a little money (since they had hits), so the second motive would apply. In planning this week’s show, I’ve also gone as far as to think about who should be in some of these bands. Who knows, maybe one of these could someday materialize?

  1. “Shock the Monkey” – Peter Gabriel (Security/Charisma/1982)
  2. “Boulder to Birmingham” – Emmylou Harris (Pieces of the Sky/Reprise/1975)
  3. “Why Hip-Hop Sucks in ’96” – DJ Shadow (Endtroducing…/MoWax/1996)
  4. “The One I Love” – R.E.M. (Document/I.R.S./1987)
  5. “Sleepless Dreamers” – Mark Heard (Fingerprint/Palmfrond Communications/1980)
  6. “Easy Money” – King Crimson (Larks’ Tongues in Aspic/EG/1973)

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #40 (5/14/10)

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Episode 29: Fading Thoughts and Early Happenings

The Merbabies

The Merbabies in 1998

There have been few inspire me more than C. Charles Bowden. His trajectory was certainly a strange one, starting with drumming in the hardcore punk band, Focused. Then he formed The Merbabies, a collision of country music and J.Mascis. After The Merbabies’ breakup, he formed an countryish outfit, Other Desert Cities. He’s also a photographer.

I listened to The Merbabies’ EP, Indio, literally a zillion times in college. It’s amazing how great it still sounds. Sometimes I grab it before I pull Green Mind of my shelf.

  1. “Sovereignty” – The Merbabies (Indio/Jackson Rubio/1998)
  2. “Something Took Me Over” – Brilliant Geographers (Waving From a Ship/independent/2008)
  3. “Snowing in Sydney” – Cowboy Indian Bear (Cowboy Indian Bear/independent/2009)
  4. “Dick, Dale, Rick and Ricky” – Compulsion (Comforter/Interscope/1994)
  5. “Radio Free Europe” – R.E.M. (Murmur Deluxe Edition, Disc Two: Live in Toronto, September 7, 1983/I.R.S./2008)

Oh yeah, I’m taking suggestions for the next episode’s theme. Leave any ideas in the comments section of this post. I will have Episode 30 ready in two weeks. For now, enjoy this week’s show.

Radio Free Raytown – Episode 29 (2/12/10)

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Episode 27: Across the Road From Hope

Sir Bono

I was reading an article about some UK underground industrial/noise/avant garde band in a recent edition of Wire and became aware of just how ridiculous it was. (After my revelation, I continued reading, mind you.) You see, I spend a lot of time with my shows talking about off-the-wall musicians, but trust me, I do like some very popular artists. Unfortunately, many times, I am still rather picky with what I like by those big artists. It’s all about the songs, and not necessarily the performers, right?

  1. “Shoot First, Leap Second” – Annie (Sci-Fi Cannon Blue(s)/Bulletproof/1999)
  2. “One Step Closer” – U2 (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb/Island/2004)
  3. “This Life” – Bruce Springsteen (Working on a Dream/Columbia/2009)*
  4. “Joyless, Joyless” – Minus Story (The Captain is Dead, Let the Drum Corpse Dance/Jagjaguwar/2004)
  5. “163 Hillcrest” – R.E.M. (All the Way to Reno/Warner/2001)

Radio Free Raytown – Episode 27 (1/29/10)

*In listening back through this show, I discovered it sounds like I say that Springsteen’s  “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” is the best song Brian Wilson ever wrote. I’m not sure whether it’s the attack on my vocal’s compression or the bitrate of the MP3 that made it sound as such, but I should clarify that what I say is actually that it is the best song Brian Wilson never wrote.

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A band worth keeping tabs on.

A friend of mine gave me The Trouser Press Guide to New Wave Records for my birthday last week.  Finding it strange that the book only discussed the first two Husker Du records, I looked in the front and found that it was published in 1983.  (It was first published as a hardcover in December 1982, so it doesn’t cover anything actually released in 1983.)  It’s a great book that covers new wave bands, and bands that influenced new wave bands, from roughly 1976 to 1982, and it’s interesting to see how opinions/criticisms have fared over 25 years.

I found this write-up interesting, prophetic and a little funny.  R.E.M. had only realeased their EP, Chronic Town, when the book was compiled.

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Driving. Rotation. Pacifico. Freddie Mercury.

I started my job as a Pizza Hut delivery driver on Sunday. (I cooked and delivered pizzas through college, so there was no learning curve. It’s okay, while I look for a real job.) The hours are horrible if you enjoy a happy marriage, but I have had some joy in driving around and listening to music. I just don’t think enough people really listen to music in their cars these days. Everyone’s distracted by their cell phones, or they just listen to the crappy radio with commercials screaming at you, breaking up what few songs are played. Anyway, my rotation this week, in no particular order…

  1. Joy Electric – Ministry of Archers (2005)
  2. Starflyer 59 – Dial M (2008)
  3. St. Vincent – Actor (2009)
  4. Joy Electric – Curiosities and Such (2009)
  5. Marty Wilson-Piper – Nightjar (2008)
  6. Pet Shop Boys – Alternative, disc 2 (1995)
  7. TV On the Radio – Dear Science (2008)
  8. Pacifico – Thin Skin and an Open Heart (2009)
  9. Martin L. Gore – Counterfeit EP (1989)
  10. R.E.M. – Murmur (1983)

I really dig the new Pacifico album. Matthew Schwartz sounds like he’s singing for girls but also not singing for girls. Sure, most of his songs could appeal to the self-enlightened teenage girl who thinks that the Juno soundtrack rivals Abbey Road, but there are many more points of reference in his music than trendy, chick-friendly schmaltz. He’s a really good singer, channeling a lot of Brian Wilson at times, with a cavalcade of background vocals. I also hear touches of The Posies, Starflyer 59, and maybe the Go-Betweens(?).

On a complely unrelated note, my brother-in-law was on a Queen kick yesterday. Now I can’t get “Save Me” out of my head.

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