Tag Archives: starflyer 59

Records that I enjoyed in 2019.

Here are a few records I enjoyed this year. Maybe you have/will enjoy them, as well.

Spread the Feeling (Pernice Brothers)
Sure, I enjoy those relatively recent New Mendicants and Scud Mountain Boys records and Joe Pernice’s twitter feed, but it’s been forever since the last Pernice Brothers record. As bad as it may sound, I had kinda resigned myself to the idea that there may not be another one. Spread the Feeling reminds me again why I love Pernice: quotable lyrics, Byrds guitars, a little New Order, and amazing bridges. (If you’re new to Pernice, I think he’s kind of like AC Newman, when, at his best, he combines disparate influences into something coherent and unbelievably catchy.) You know, he could have easily made a really long album to make up for lost time. But instead, he made a eleven-song album that I just want to keep flipping over and starting again.

Never Know (Author of the Accident)
I don’t really know much about Allison Chhorn, Australian artist who records under the name Author of the Accident. One day early this year, Never Know showed up in a search result for shoegaze on Bandcamp. I spent quite a bit of alone time with this record, without the help of a review or magazine article. But I think that lack of attention that Chhorn receives only adds to the mystique. There’s a dreamy, almost Velour 100 or early Map vibe at time that I enjoy. Arrangements are sparse, and the recording a little homespun. And because it’s only eight songs, Never Know doesn’t feel too long. Allison, if you’re reading this, please make more music. Thanks!

Undercurrents (Hammock)
Undercurrents was a serial album, with Hammock posting a song on its Bandcamp page each month this year. (This approach kept me aware of the record all year, which doesn’t seem to happen with streaming. Nowadays, a month seems like a year and we quickly forget about new albums.) Each song on Undercurrents is nearly 20 minutes, making the entire album nearly four hours in length. The usual Hammock-y things are here: dreamy guitars, occasional cello, and delay on the drum machine. Look, there’s no way to really discuss an album of this magnitude, but it was certainly an audacious and respectable undertaking. While maybe not really necessary for most fans, it is a beautiful record and I love it.

Flamagra (Flying Lotus)
While I like Flamagra, it’s certainly not one of my favorite FlyLo albums. But when you have a kid who loves a record, you end up listening to it a lot.

Zeppelin Over China/Warp and Woof/Sweating the Plague (Guided by Voices)
A significant amount of digital ink is spilled in Guided by Voices Facebook groups about which lineup is the best, so I’m not really going to add anything significant to that conversation. But I can say that Bob Pollard has been on a tear with this new(-ish) lineup. Very few filler tracks this year, spread across three albums (one of which was a double album). I love all three of these records.

Bioluminescence (Teen Daze)
Jamison Isaak keeps doing his thing, mixing electronic and organic sounds. I feel like he might be getting better and better at realizing his vision with each release. Or at least it feels like he’s on a journey to somewhere who knows, but I’m along for the ride. Bioluminesence is a little fuzzy, a little new age-y, a little Tangerine Dream, and maybe little ambient house. And, on many tracks, all at the same time. I enjoy this kind of music to work to.

There is No Feeling Better (Mike Adams at His Honest Weight)
Thing is, most bands trade in songwriting for cleaner production and better drum sounds. Fortunately for us, Mike Adams never got that memo. The hooks and gorgeous vocals are here, like always, but the arrangements seem even more clean this time around. (I think I said the same thing about his last album, Casino Drone; Mike just keeps getting better.) Sure, it still sounds like Mike’s spending lots of time with his Starflyer 59 and early Weezer records, but there are some songs on There is No Feeling Better that are more Friends-era Beach Boys than Friends-era Beach Boys.

Life Metal/Pyroclasts (Sunn O))))
Like many people, I was excited to read that Sunn O))) would be recording an album with Steve Albini. But then I wondered why on earth hasn’t Sunn O))) worked with Albini before now? And when I listened to Life Metal, I hoped they would record again with him and then they announced their new record Pyroclasts was recorded at the same sessions as Life Metal and then oh my goodness these records are fantastic and they almost feel like two parts of the same album. If you’ve never listened to the band, it plays really slow, sludgy metal. Not that I’ve listened to a glacier move before, but I’m guessing the band kinda sounds like a glacier moving. I don’t know, whatever. You try to describe these records without sounding ridiculous. I guess there’s maybe a little more “going on” with Life Metal to make it “accessible”? You know, with organs, vocals, horses, and whatnot. But I don’t really compare the two.

Come What May (Joshua Redman Quartet)
The last time Redman recorded with this quartet was on the very excellent record Beyond, nineteen years ago. And, like that record, Come What May is especially catchy. Like some of his best work, Redman’s playing here can be soulful and referential in ways that feel inviting. I feel like I’ve heard this record before, but in the best way possible. Oh yeah, and his show at The Folly this autumn was fun. I felt like Gregory Hutchinson was the star of the show, with a couple amazing, melodic(?) drum solos.

Young in My Head (Starflyer 59)
I’ve only met Jason Martin a few times. Although he’s not exactly talkative, it feels like we’ve been friends for a long time. 25 years, in fact, as he reminds us in the song “Remind Me.” And what do say about an old friend? He still tips his hat a lot to Terry Scott Taylor and Joey Santiago and keeps writing songs about getting old and obsolete, but this record feels a little different. It feels maybe a little more like a “solo” album, but it also rocks. Not quite like his jump from Gold to Americana, but Young in My Head feels more like a rock album than he’s made since Old. And is it me, or is Jason starting to sound a lot like the dude from Future Islands on this record?

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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 80: I’m Gonna Lose My Mind

I jumped at my friend’s suggestion to do a surf-themed show for my eightieth episode.

I love surf.  Heck, I’m a sucker for just about anything with jangly, reverberating guitars.  Most early surf bands lacked vocalists and snatched cool elements of country and R&B–twangy guitars and grooving rhythm sections.  Surf rock purists, in fact, won’t even acknowledge vocal acts like Jan & Dean or The Beach Boys.  (And to be fair, were you really a surf band if you didn’t even surf?)

I probably cover too much territory in this show, but I try to showcase some originators and the people they influenced fifty years later.  As usual, my choices are less then predictable, with deep album cuts and non-hits.  What counts is that I love all the music, and I hope you do, as well.

  1. “The Switch” –  The Ventures (Walk Don’t Run | Dolton | 1960)
  2. “Honky Tonk” – The Ventures (Walk Don’t Run | Dolton | 1960)
  3. “The Breeze and I” – Santo and Johnny (Encore | Canadian-American | 1960)
  4. “Chorek” – John Zorn (Masada Rock | Tzadik | 2005)
  5. “Hintergrund” – Pluramon (Render Bandits | Mille Plateaux | 1998)
  6. “Lose My Mind” – Starflyer 59 (The Changing of the Guard | Tooth and Nail | 2010)
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1415312/80radiofreeraytown.mp3″

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #80 (6/10/11)

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Episode 59: All the Millions of Times

 

Andrew Sallee approached me at a Denison Witmer concert at the Westport Coffeehouse about nine years ago. He asked, “So I’ve seen you hanging around The Billions at their shows.  Do you do music or something?” (His relatively new band, Namelessnumberheadman, had played with The Billions a couple times, and he had, in fact, seen me hanging out with them at their shows.) He then volunteered his services for any recordings I might make.

Namelessnumberheadman (photo by Kate Smith)

Since then, I’ve often wished Andrew would just leave the Northland and move to Raytown. We’d probably start a jangly, lo-fi psychedelic garage band and release seven-inch records at a Jay Reatard pace. I guess I’ll have to keep dreaming.

Until then, we get to enjoy his solo set tomorrow at the Benetti’s Fall Classic. The show starts at noon, and he’ll play with Sam Billen (Formerly of The Billions…see how this story has come full circle?) and The Sunday Paper.  He even promised to play my requested song. It’ll be a good day.

Enjoy.

  1. “My Foolish Pride” – Charlatans (Who We Touch/The End/2010)
  2. “I’m Right Here with You” – Sam Billen (Miracles/Northern/2004)
  3. “Roam an Empty Space” – Monahans (independent/2010)
  4. “I Know How You Got Old” – Namelessnumberheadman (When We Leave, We Will Know Where We Have Been/Urinine/2002)
  5. “Leigh and Me” – Starflyer 2000 (Artcore, Volume 1/Tooth and Nail/1995)
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1415312/59radiofreeraytown.mp3″

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #59 (10/15/10)

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Episode 53: Our words are our guns.

There comes a point in every relationship where you must have that one conversation. Kinda like the “Do you want kids?” talk. It almost serves as a litmus test for deciding just how close you’re going to get to that other person.

The discussion of John Coltrane is like that for me with music. He’s such a pivotal artist who transcended the label of jazz, making many complete artistic statements, instead of merely lumping together a bunch of songs for release. Some of these albums (like some of Miles Davis’ best work) can be easily understood by even the most casual listener.

He also had such a unique style. As he developed, it got labeled as sheets of sound. It’s certainly crazy, but it’s unmistakable, controlling himself just enough to fit into the framework of a song. (This wasn’t always the case. As he progressed and embraced free jazz, his music would often lose its tonal center and stray into cacophony. His live double-LP with Pharaoh Sanders is just downright scary.)

Okay, I’m going to stop. Stop by my house anytime for a Coltrane listening party and further diatribes. Enjoy the show.

  1. “Salad of Speech” – 100 Flowers (100 Years of Pulchritude/Rhino/1990)
  2. “Ribbed and Veined” – Cocteau Twins (Tiny Dynamine/4AD/1985)
  3. “Giant Steps” – John Coltrane (Giant Steps/Atlantic/1960)
  4. “Trucker’s Son” – Starflyer 59 (The Changing of the Guard/Tooth & Nail/2010)
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1415312/53radiofreeraytown.mp3″

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #53 (9/3/10)

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Heavy Rotation (8/11/10)

This is what I’ve been listening to this week, in no particular order. (It’s been a great week for new music, hasn’t it?!)

10. Built My Fortress – The Foxglove Hunt (Commonwall Media/2009)

9. Something Is Pressing Against it From the Sky 7″ – Long Legged Woman (Thor’s Rubber Hammer/2008)

8. Permanent Sleep – Lowlife (Nightshift/1986)

7. Lullabies to Violaine (disc one) – Cocteau Twins (4AD/2006)

6. No More Paths to Sounder Sleep – Chartreuse (Thor’s Rubber Hammer/2008)

5. A Salty Dog – Procol Harum (A&M/1969)

4. The Drift – Scott Walker (4AD/2006)

3. Light From a Dying Star – The Enigmatic Foe (independent/2008)

2. The Changing of the Guard – Starflyer 59 (Tooth $ Nail/2010)

1. The Suburbs – Arcade Fire (Merge/2010)

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Vinyl, vinyl, vinyl!

Yes, I’m copying and pasting from a Velvet Blue e-mail. I just ordered the Doug Burr and Telegraph Canyon records, so it’s okay. Everything is available at velvetbluemusic.com
THE PRIDS ‘chronosynclastic’  12″
Everyone’s favorite new band now on beautiful vinyl.  Be sure to see them on the road too, www.velvetbluemusic.com/prids has updated tour dates. + Doug from Built to Spill plays guitar magic on a track !
DOUG BURR ‘o ye devastator’ 12″
This is the first time any Burr recordings have been available on vinyl !  O Ye has been getting so much great press and it’s easy to see why.  It’s an instant classic.
STARFLYER 59  ‘old’ 12 “
First time ever on vinyl, and it’s a picture disk too !  It’s at the bottom in the distro section.  Many consider this to be the bands finest work.  Line up for the record was Martin, Cloud, Swift, and Lenz.
TELEGRAPH CANYON – ‘the tide and the current’  12 “
This sounds absolutely perfect on wax !  They have been touring like crazy but we still have some copies left.  The record was produced by W. Johnson of Centro-matic / Monsters of Folk.
THE LANGLEY SISTERS – ‘queen bee’  7″
3 lovely sisters from London make great sing alongs.  Produced by Ed Harcourt. On white vinyl, with download codes.
KISSING COUSINS – ‘pillar of salt’  12″
5 lovely ladies from Los Angeles, who lay on some guitar !  Produced by Richard Swift. On white vinyl, with download codes for the record + bonus tracks.
RICHARD SWIFT – ‘ the novelist / walking without effort’ 2 x 12″
These are almost gone !  A co-release w/ Secretly Canadian, beautiful gatefold, that comes with a cd of 4 unreleased demos inside !
HELLO VINYL – ‘2 cd compilation’
In case you missed it, we have the opposite here :  We took all the out of print Velvet Blue vinyl and put it into a 2 cd set.  Includes tracks from :  Fine China, Pony Express, Richard Swift, Broadway Hush, Fold Zandura, Bon Voyage, etc.
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Episode 11: Flying in sequence

photograph by Denny Medley, Random Photography

photograph by Denny Medley, Random Photography

With my show up at Benetti’s and my attempts to get the word out about this site, this show may be the first one for some.  I record a 25ish-minute show every week to enjoy over lunch or a short drive through town.  I typically aim to have these up every Friday.

I’m still working on trying to sync up these shows with iTunes so they will automatically download. Until then, this will have to do.

The weather has suddenly shifted, and listening to guys like Nick Drake or Denison Witmer makes sense again. Cast aside your High Llamas, Guided By Voices and Jetenderpaul albums, folks. This is fall music.

  1. Steven – Denison Witmer
  2. Hammock – Birds Flying in Sequence
  3. Eyeless in Gaza – Evening Music
  4. Starflyer 59 – A Good Living

Radio Free Raytown – Episode 11 (9/24/09)

brendanhollis@yahoo.com
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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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