Tag Archives: radio free raytown

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!


  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)


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)


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

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Snow Day Rotation

Lately I’ve been researching Brian Eno’s 1970s side-projects and found the albums he recorded with Harmonia and Cluster. (If you’ll remember, I talked about Harmonia in my last episode.) They’re both great examples of ambient music, music intended to be enjoyed equally either in the foreground or in the background. I love this stuff. And not too far removed is some of Eno’s work with David Bowie…

So my brother-in-law lives less than a mile away. His frequent visits to our house provide many opportunities to discuss music with which he’s not familiar. He’s been reading through the February issue of Mojo on our coffee table and saw an article on David Bowie’s 1977 classic, Low. This provided fodder for a lengthy conversation, as well as getting me on a Bowie kick over the weekend that saw me rotating through eight of his albums.

Anyway, I haven’t posted a rotation in a while. Here’s what I’ve been jamming to this past week. I’ll let you play the which-of-these-is-not-like-the-other game.

  1. Sowiesoso – Cluster (Sky | 1976)
  2. Heroes – David Bowie (RCA | 1977)
  3. The Whole Love – Wilco (dBpm | 2011)
  4. Neu! 75 – Neu! (Brain | 1975)
  5. Tracks and Traces – Harmonia & Eno ’76 (Gronland | 2009)
  6. Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) – David Bowie (RCA | 1980)
  7. Before and After Science – Brian Eno (Island | 1977)
  8. Then Play On – Fleetwood Mac (Reprise | 1969)
  9. Point of Departure – Andrew Hill (Blue Note | 1964)
  10. The Man Machine – Kraftwerk (Capitol | 1978)
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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)

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)

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Fall bands (not to be confused with the band, The Fall)

I didn’t have time for a show this week (and I imagine that, upon Ian’s arrival, it’s unreasonable to expect them to arrive weekly).  My friend runs an excellent coffeeshop here in Raytown and, recently, Low’s music has been in heavy rotation at his store.  That, and the leaves cluttering my yard, have got me thinking a lot about fall music.

So I decided to compile a list of artists that almost excusively release make plangent, autumnal music.  For this discussion, I’m intentionally avoiding one-off fall albums.  Someone like Beck has released a couple great fall albums, Sea Change and One Foot in the Grave, but I wouldn’t consider him a fall musician.  I wanted to make a list of artists’ who always make fall music.  You know, guys like Nick Drake, whose catalog is to this season what the second chapter of Luke is to Christmastime.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but it includes artists who usually appear on my annual fall mixes.  As a courtesy, I have posted a link to a song by each artist.  The songs may not be the artists’ best, but they are surely indicative of their work.  (My choices are also limited by what’s available on YouTube.)


  1. Nick Drake
  2. Bela Bartok
  3. Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon)
  4. Grant McLennan (The Go-Betweens and Jack Frost)
  5. Simon and Garfunkel
  6. Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500 and Luna)
  7. The Innocence Mission
  8. Low
  9. Robert Deeble
  10. Junior Boys
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This week’s rotation.

I’ve been listening to a lot of good records lately, in no particular order.

  1. Strange Mercy – St. Vincent (4AD | 2011)
  2. Tango Boys – Motel Beds (Fictionband Mechanics | unreleased)
  3. Unknown Pleasures – Joy Division (Factory | 1979)
  4. The Law of Things – The Bats (Flying Nun | 1990)
  5. The HMV/Parlophone Singles ’88-’95 (disc one) – Morrissey (EMI | 2009)
  6. Home Cookin’ – Jimmy Smith (Blue Note | 1959)
  7. Siberia – Echo and the Bunnymen (Cooking Vinyl | 2005)
  8. Bounce Around – Minisnap (Magic Marker | 2008)
  9. Don’t You Rise – The Bats (Slumberland | 2009)
  10. Lo-Fi Feeling – The Tambourine Club (independent | 2011)
You can get Lo-Fi Feeling for free from The Tambourine Club’s website.
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Episode 89: Keep on Dreaming

One wall from Danny Gibson's show, Quietly Contributing

Danny J. Gibson's show, Quietly Contributing, at 1819 Central.

Attending the opening of Danny Gibson’s new art show, Quietly Contributing, last week was quite the tear-jerker.  Gibson created posters for so many of my friends’ shows.  (And many of those folks were in attendance.)  Eventually, I also employed him for some work on posters and album artwork.

To accompany and promote the show, 35 artists have donated songs to a free digital compilation album.  If you don’t already have it, get it now.  I play one of the album’s songs, from my friend Dan Billen, this week.  It’s a cute, classy tune, begging for inclusion on the soundtrack to the next Jared Hess flick.

Oh yeah, and then there’s Eddie Hazel, one of my favorite guitarists.  This is the dude responsible for Funkadelic’s 10-minute masterpiece, “Maggot Brain,” a song so overpowering that I want it played at my funeral.  I’ve been rocking his lone solo album, Games, Dames and Guitar Thangs, a lot recently.  I don’t know why it’s taken me 89 episodes to play on of his songs, but I finally did.   And you’re welcome.  Enjoy.

  1. “Wall Street” – Battles (Gloss Drop | Warp | 2011)
  2. “California Dreamin'” – Eddie Hazel (Games, Dames and Guitar Thangs | Warner Bros. | 1977)
  3. “Corner of the Sky” – Cut Copy (Zonoscope | Modular Recordings | 2011)
  4. “Let a Dreamer Dream” – Dan Billen (DJG Was Here | independent | 2011)
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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)

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

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Chris Carrabba, living and loving life

As I tweeted earlier this week, I don’t have a new show for today.  It’s been a wild week (and perhaps I’ll discuss some of that in next week’s episode), so I’m just going to post my listening rotation.  I’ve been on quite the Chris Carraba kick this week.  So here it is, in no particular order.


10.  Baptism – Lenny Kravitz (Virgin / 2004)

9.  Empire Burlesque – Bob Dylan (Columbia / 1985)

8.  Songs from the Labyrinth – Sting (Deutsche Grammophon / 2006)

7.  Past Remains – Side Walk Slam (Tooth and Nail / 2002)

6.  A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar – Dashboard Confessional (Vagrant / 2003)

5.  Truant – Alien Ant Farm (Dreamworks / 2003)

4.  Pet Your Friends – Dishwalla (A&M / 1995)

3.  Landing on Water – Neil Young (Geffen / 1986)

2.  The Land Before Time: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Various Artists (MCA / 1988)

1.  Deadbeat Sweetheart – The Juliana Theory (Abacus / 2005)

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