Monday, October 18, 2010

One the Program Today ...

"What does it mean to be able to enjoy uncertainty?"

The above quote comes from this article by Bill Bahng Boyer, where the ethnomusicologist explores the relationship between Western conceptions of human subjectivity and technology, looking particularly at the change in the musical experience in light of the development of the iPod shuffle. I don't want to say too much about the article here (other than that you should really read it). However, it has inspired me to finally do something on my show that I have thus far been unwilling to do. For tonight's show I'm giving up control to my iPod, pressing shuffle and then pressing play. Each set I play tonight will be initially determined by the shuffle function of my iPod, which will randomly choose the first song of each set. Following this, I will do my best to make a 15-20 min. long set arising out of the randomly chosen song.

This could prove to be difficult, or extremely easy, depending on what ends up coming up randomly (and no I won't be censoring anything), as I will still also be determined by Can-Con rules and the fact that I'm supposed to be playing mostly new material. I'll post the playlist first thing tomorrow, and will have further comments then.

Wish me luck!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Back in Business

In order to truly start blogging, one must begin at least one post with "Well it's been busy lately. Back to normal activities." Well it's been over a week since my last post, so here it goes. I've been busy lately. To make it up to you, here is what I've been listening to lately.

New Releases

The Bad Plus: Never Stop

ver Stop is first album by Minneapolis trio The Bad Plus to feature only original compositions. After making a name for themselves for wonderful jazz arrangements of pop classics like Tears for Fear's "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" or Rush's "Tom Sawyer", here The Bad Plus re-display their own pop sensibilities with originals such as the title track "Never Stop" or "Beryl Loves to Dance". While clearly still living firmly within the jazz tradition, these are songs that could easily be re-done by countless pop artists. As such, the record serves well to draw attention to the line connecting the likes of Monk, Oscar Peterson or even Cecil Taylor with Prince, Janelle Monae and, at times, Rihanna. A great jazz record, that ought to be remixed by Timbaland (I'm totally serious).

Mount Kimbie: Crooks & Lovers

Surprise! Another great electronic album. Seriously, when did electronic music get so freaking good? First it was the likes of Pantha Du Prince, Actress, and Four Tet pushing awesome records at the beginning of the year. Then came in T++, Vex'd, Flying Lotus and Baths with equally strong records. More recently it's been artists like James Blake and Teengirl Fantasy that have been providing strong beats to excite the masses. It's a good time to be a fan of electronic music for sure. With regards to Crooks & Lovers, an album that is currently skyrocketing up my list for favorite records of the year, it's their re-working of the more formulaic elements of dubstep (something which has resulted in the horrible label "Post-Dubstep" being used to describe the bands sound), that sets them apart from others. This is dance music first and foremost that proves to be a rewarding listen time and time again.

Other new releases I'm currently loving:
the new Deerhunter and Women records (obvie)
Dave Holland Octet - Pathways,
Salem - King Night,
Zola Jesus - Valusia EP

Currently looking forward to: New records from Darkstar, Panda Bear, Blank Dogs and Tomboyfriend. Especially Tomboyfriend!! What a wicked name for a band.

Nostalgia! Nostalgia! Nostalgia!!

Matador at 21

Enough has already been said with these release celebrating 21 years of one of America's most beloved record companies that I won't go into too much detail here. I will say though, that Matador at 21 has done what all good compositions ought to do, in that it has encouraged me to go back and listen to some of my favorite Matador releases over the years. The past weeks have been filled with records like Helium's The Dirt of Luck, Yo La Tengo's Painful and I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One, Guided by Voices, Chavez, Pizzicato Five and a host of others. That and the release comes with it's own set of poker chips!!

That's all for now!

Monday, October 4, 2010

When Baseball Meets Pop Culture

UMFM is currently going under some major renos, and tonight the studio will be in the process of moving across the hall. This means of course that there will be no show tonight. Tomorrow I will be previewing some of the artists that I have been listening to a lot recently as a means to make up for this.

In the meantime, let's get ready for some post-season ball. For some reason, Baseball and and independent music seem to go hand in hand. Bob Pollard (who is a regular at Boston's Fenway Park) is currently working on the soundtrack for an upcoming documentary on Pete Rose. Stephen Malkmus is OBSESSED with fantasy baseball. Craig Finn has his Twins, while The John Darnielle and Eddie Vedder have their Cubbies. There's Yo La Tengo, who supposedly got their name from an inside joke running around the New York Mets locker room shortly after the whole Bill Buckner incident. And then there's local peggers like John K. Samson and Michael Petkau (not to mention local film director Guy Madden), who too are baseball nerds.

Needless to say, Baseball and pop music, for some weird reason, seem to go hand in hand. Here are some personal highlights of mine.

To start, it's not music. But who can resist Mr. T. "One, two, three strikes you out!" Classic.