click here to go back to the latest episode | episode 002 | 04.11.20

episode 002 is a little scattershot. As my dear friend, Dr Carini, says- I've been in a dour mood. And I'm still trying to find my groove. Hit the play button.

So, here we are...

intro. Yo La Tengo (1995).
The first four notes of Blue Line Swinger.

01. Mission of Burma (1982)
Mica is a beautiful song. While Mission of Burma is often slotted as a heavy 3-piece- their early years included tape loops and engineering witchcraft by Martin Swope. Mica combines brilliant lyrics and gear grinding riffs, that are tempered by Swope's looping of guitars and vocals- giving this song, like many others, a sonic texture that had no real contemporaries.

02. Beauty Pill (2020)
In Episode 001 I played a track from the new Beauty Pill album, Pardon Our Dust. Then two weeks later they dropped a new single from an upcoming album, Instant Night. Another high-fidelity mind-fuck, that starts with that vampiric voice of Stephen Miller, and from there becomes an intricate web of electronics, a chamber group, and heavily filtered lyrics. Chad Clark is one of the most creative people making music these days.

03. Robyn Hitchcock (2020)
In anticipation of the 2020 election, Robyn Hitchcok released a single called, The President. As usual, Hitchcock takes us on a twisting and winding poem- with the imagery that makes him such a genius-level writer. Best line: When I hear the word democracy- I reach for my headphones....

04. Dream Syndicate (1982)
Too little, too late... is one of my all-time favorite songs. The song is a total downer- Kendra Smith sings with a flat affect- a slide guitar drones in the right channel, a heavy chord rings in the left channel for emphasis. This song is about the end, walking away, and not looking back.

05. Seazoo (2013) I fell in love with Seazoo when I heard their first single, Royal Tattoos. Smart, crisp, well written, well played. They have a new album out called, Joy. This band from north Wales deserves more attention.

06. Pulco / Ash Cooke (2013)
I must have stumbled across Seazoo about the same time that I found Pulco. Ash Cooke is a great songwriter- simple words, basic thoughts, backed by a minimal soundtrack that creates an immense level of tension. Maybe you just vibrate is a great introduction to the music of Ash Cooke, formerly known as Pulco. A field recording from a crowded indoor space, paired with a nylon-stringed guitar, and words dripping with sadness- that is my jam.

07. John Vanderslice (2013)
Wow- there was a lot of good music in 2013. This is a deep cut from the extensive and very intense catalogue of John Vanderslice. In 2013 he did a below the radar release, covering of the entire Bowie classic, Diamond Dogs. A brilliant engineer, Vanderslice created a gritty version of This ain't rock and roll, this is suicide. His discography is a rabbit hole, lined with many different and curious artifacts- and new stuff is coming all the time. Keep an eye out.

08. Wire (1981)
12XZU (fragment) counts as a field recording. Doesn't it? Colin Newman taunts the crowd at Montraux, that apparently JUST WANTS TO HEAR ONE SONG. He makes sarcistic apologies, but can't seem to shake the drunk punks. Some people are never satisfied. From the brilliantly overlooked album, Document and Eyewitness.

09. Emma Swift (2020)
Do not be fooled by the slick Nashville-esque production of Soft Apocalypes. A piano-driven ballad. A well measured and known tempo. But here's the trick: the lyrics to Soft Apocalypse are completely incongruent to the music. We're riding a very slow spiral down the drain. This is a pandemic ballad. The anxiety and the fear in Swift's lyrics would have paired well with a noise drone, or a fiddle, or anything- because she's writing and singing in the moment- and this is a document of 2020. There is a reason why this had to follow 12ZU (fragment). Disappointment. Wanting to move on when all forces say otherwise.

10. Nicole Lizée (2014)
Lizée is probably best known as the first composer to combine symphonic works with hip-hop turntablism. On her 2014 release, Bookburners, Lizée presents compositions that I like to call "aggressive ambient." The tones are pleasing, playful, and unpredictable. The mix on this piece, Ouijist is impeccable as the arrangement shifts between micro-movements of percussion, woodwinds, and strings- with an occasional sprinkle of xylophone, noise, tape hiss, and vinyl static.

11. Emperor X (2016)
There are many, many, very good songs on the 2016 album, Oversleepers International by Emperor X. But, Chad Matheny always has a way of slamming the door on the closing track of his albums. This one, 5-Hour Energy, Poland bookends an intense album that runs the full range of energy and emotion- which you should discover on your own.

12. Slint (1989)
Spiderland, released in 1991) is generally recognized as a lo-fi, post-punk, classic. The remastered version from 2014 included alternate takes and several live recordings. The live recording of Cortez the Killer is one of the highlights of the re-release. Timely and timeless.

As Cortez the Killer ends, we return to the final drone of 5 hour energy, Poland by Emperor X to close the program.







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