…and a song for today

Posted in Audio transmissions on November 9th, 2016 by bill

A song for today

Posted in Audio transmissions on November 8th, 2016 by bill

The Redness and the Horror

Posted in Audio transmissions, Read it in books on October 31st, 2014 by bill

Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” has never been more resonant than it is now, in the year of Ebola hysteria.

Blood was its Avatar and its seal –the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men.

So this being All Hallows’ Eve, why not give it a read, or better yet a listen. I’ll give you two versions to choose from. Either the classic, classy British-accent version by Basil Rathbone:

Or the extra-twisted version read by old Uncle Bill:

Funky from Now On

Posted in Audio transmissions on January 1st, 2012 by bill

Every New Year’s I make the same resolution:

Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky (From Now On)

And I never keep it.

But I have a good feeling about 2012. This may finally be the year.

I’ve got blisters on my fingers

Posted in Audio transmissions, Something about the Beatles on December 8th, 2010 by bill

After reading a piece on Dangerous Minds the other day where they posted the various individual tracks of “Helter Skelter” (thanks to Lady E for pointing that out), I was inspired to create my own mix in GarageBand. I’m reasonably pleased with the results; it ended up sounding very 90s somehow, with touches of early Nirvana grind, Pixies loud/quiet/loud dynamics, and Sonic Youth dissonance. See what you think:

PLAY Helter Skelter Dub

Oh, I almost forgot: Play it loud.

P.S.: It was only after posting this that I found out today is the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death, and now I feel a little guilty for putting so much focus on a Paul song. Although you can hear John playing very raw and aggressive bass on “Helter Skelter” – which is, let’s be honest, Paul writing in a consciously Lennonesque vein. I can just picture him stamping his little feet and wailing, “I can rock out too, y’know, it’s not joost John who can do that.”

P.P.S.: Then he probably would have said something about the fridge-a-dilly.

P.P.P.S: For some thoughts about the Lennon shooting, read here.

Back to the 80s, Part 3

Posted in Audio transmissions on November 9th, 2010 by bill

The third installment of anything is usually a mistake (see: Godfather III, Spider-Man 3, Return of the Jedi, etc.), but I can’t help myself from taking one more trip back to the place where I grew up. This suite of songs continues more or less on the theme of the previous installment, i.e. disconnection, alienation, getting lost, etc.

As so often happens, this thing started out small and rapidly grew out of control. But it certainly sounds good to me. You may feel similarly, you may not, how am I to know? In any case, here it is:

PLAY Destination: Lost

Playlist and notes after the jump. Read more »

Back to the 80s, Part 2

Posted in Audio transmissions on September 15th, 2010 by bill

A recent 80s-centric post got me on a bit of an 80s kick, and in listening to a bunch of that music I noticed a pervasive theme that had previously escaped me: a general sense of things not connecting, getting lost, breaking down (interesting that this ran side-by-side with the shiny sense of newness reflected in the previous post). A lot of songs express this in the form of transportation metaphors: cars crashing, planes not arriving, and so on.

Hence, this podcasty nugget of transmissions from the Golden Olden Days. Most of the artists represented here are English, I’m not sure why. Perhaps because their national decay was slightly more advanced than ours at the time; where things stand in 2010, I don’t feel qualified to say.

To lighten things up a bit I’ve included a couple of clips from the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Though not a career highlight for anyone involved, this 1987 John Hughes film fits the theme and has a phenomenal cast, including Steve Martin, John Candy, Michael McKean, Ben Stein, and the chronically undervalued Edie McClurg. If nothing else, it connected all these people to Kevin Bacon, who has a cameo as the guy who steals Steve’s cab.

Playlist and notes after the jump.

Read more »

Back to the 80s

Posted in Audio transmissions on July 28th, 2010 by bill

As a general rule I detest 80s nostalgia, because it tends to focus on the aspects of 80s culture that I liked the least. But there is no denying that they were the Good Old Days. In the privacy of my own mind I often time-travel to that now-somewhat-long-ago era, and I always have a good time there.

One of these flashbacks was triggered the other day by the distinctly post-80s technomagic of my iPod. I like to listen to the songs on it in alphabetical order, as I am all too happy to discuss with anyone who will listen. Lately I have been in the Ns, and when a bunch of songs starting with the word “New” came up, it was hard not to notice that almost all of them were from the 80s. I guess we were kind of obsessed with newness back then—it was Morning in America after all, and while I never cared for Ronald Wilson Reagan 666, I have to admit that his version of America was pretty fun. There was a lot of energy in the air in them days. We were all going to be rich and excellent and sexy and cool… smash cut to Rodney Dangerfield on the back patio at Bushwood Country Club shouting “We’re all gonna get laid!”

And it was all bogus of course, all a big delusion that would come crashing down soon enough. But what a delusion. I don’t know if the kids today are still capable of feeling that way about the future. I hope they are, because everybody deserves the chance to be stupidly grandiose and optimistic until they are at least 18.

So anyway…won’t you join me in a quick 31-minute trip to the magical land of yesteryear? This may be a little heavy on the technopop for some people, but then that was the 80s in a nutshell, wasn’t it? Playlist and notes after the jump.
Read more »

Yes They Can

Posted in Audio transmissions, Dancing about architecture on May 6th, 2010 by bill
Can rehearsing for their version of "West Side Story"

I love the fact that there are still these huge untapped veins of great music out there. For instance, until relatively recently I never listened to the strange and wonderful German band Can. They are a truly unique group, arty/experimental/difficult on the one hand, but with a strong rhythmic underpinning and a fondness for reggae, dub, and even funk. (Yes, Germans can be funky—see also “Kraftwerk.” People forget that funk requires precision: Everything must be exactly on the beat, or it is not funky. There were no accidents, for instance, in James Brown’s music; James understood exactly where every note belonged, and if someone made a mistake, he knew it.)

Can’s music is truly experimental, i.e. not especially well edited, so you have to wade through the failed experiments to get to the good stuff. An additional complicating factor is the vocals. Can’s first “singer” was Malcolm Mooney, about as atonal a vocalist as you’re likely to find fronting a major rock band. Mooney sometimes sounds like an inebriated street person intoning chants the meaning of which are known only to himself; and yet for all that, his singing is not without a strange charm, and he delivers an utterly flabbergasting performance on the psycho-loungy “She Brings the Rain.” According to Can scholar (and former Cramps/Bad Seeds drummer) Jim Sclavunos,
Read more »

1969, part 5

Posted in Audio transmissions on February 3rd, 2010 by bill

About a week ago, I set out to create one last installment of this series that would make use of all the stuff I couldn’t fit in anywhere else. What I ended up with was an uncontrollable shaggy dog of a thing that goes on roughly forever. You may, nevertheless, find it amusing.

This crazy concoction is dedicated to crazy Dennis Hopper.


Read more »