We had some snow yesterday and today, so I stayed home and drank cocoa and gaslighted the dog. But other people had places to go and tried to get to them on Metro North, which turned out to be a big mistake.
Here's the story: The 8:49 train from Port Jervis to Hoboken departed at 11:48, so right away you know there was a problem. Nevertheless, there were 8 passengers and 3 crew on board. The train was trundling along through the snow and sleet, and then a tree fell across the tracks. So the crew decided to back the train all the way back to Port Jervis, but then another tree had fallen on the tracks behind them, so they couldn't go backwards, either. Instead, they just sat there—FOR 11 HOURS—until some firemen from a nearby town came along and dug them all out the next afternoon.
I mean, wtf, okay? All the reports I've been able to find on this say that everybody was stuck on the train "with no communications." Does that mean not one passenger had a cell phone? What about the crew? Don't they have radios or walkie-talkies or something? Plus, excuse me, but doesn't anyone at Metro North notice when one of their trains just doesn't show up? How come none of the reporters on this story think this is odd? What about the passengers' families? Didn't anyone try to find any of these missing people?
A train can just disappear, and there's no way for the crew to contact anyone—Is this common knowledge? Am I the only one who wasn't aware of this? Or does this sort of thing only happen on the New Jersey lines? At least that's an explanation I could accept.
Thanks for reading my blogpost this time, and thanks to B. Sansverie for the nice photo of Metro North tracks.
UPDATE: I think some Listener-Readers may be missing the point just a little bit. So how 'bout this: A Greyhound Bus was stolen from Manhattan last Sunday and sat at a bus stop in Queens for three days before it was "found." Queens=the New Jersey of the Boroughs?
UbuWeb Radio (avant garde gems as selected by Kenny G, proprietor of the great ubu.com)
Do or DIY (sound collage, found audio and pop culture relics as curated by Ms. Vicki Bennett / People Like Us)
In addition to our live streams, v2.0 is packed with all of WFMU's on demand offerings including recent archives of your favorite shows and our full slate of podcasts. For shows where the DJ keeps a real time playlist, you will be able to view track and artist information in time with our archives.
Perhaps the most requested feature we've received since v1.0 of our app launched is the ability to play audio in the background... Version 2.0 of our app will allow you to play both live streams and archives in the background via Safari so you can do other things on your phone while listening.
There are many other new features packed into the app. Some highlights:
You can now favorite songs within the app and purchase them directly from iTunes.
View our Twitter feed, station news, upcoming specials, schedule information and Beware of the Blog from within the app
Adjustable buffer settings to help even out AT&T's wonderful service in the tri-state area
DVR-esque functionality for the live streams. If you hear something you like, you can rewind the stream a few minutes without losing any new audio
While we've packed a lot into this version we still have some fun things planned for future upgrades so say tuned. Special thanks go out to Brian, our awesome developer.
Last but not least: an Android version of this app is almost ready and should be hitting the marketplace real soon.
Let us know what you think in the comments... Happy streaming.
Despite the sheer volume of bands in Brooklyn, it's pretty easy to get bored and complacent with whatever the pervading "trend" or "style" is. On paper, relatively new band Tough Knuckles wouldn't really jump out at me as anything exciting... Velvet underground influenced lo-fi pop? Eh, whatever, play me something I haven't heard... Wow, was I wrong. Tough Knuckles is a really good band.
Tough Knuckles play a brand of fuzzy minimalist pop that is super infectious upon first listen, the kind of songs that sound incredibly simple but are incredibly catchy and just really great. Influenced by Ariel Pink and Gary War, these slacker indie kids seem like they don't care and deliver the jams. Totally recommended for lazy snowy day listening.
Unless you forgot (perhaps you've read too much revisionist historiography):
Rock and roll is evil.
Perhaps most interesting in this film is the way the car out-acts all of the paid actors. The special effect where the car fixes itself is actually pretty good, so you can tell where most of the money went. It's probably one of John Carpenter's worst films, with the visual panache of a one-legged dancer; the panning is graceless and the palette a consistent rust-manure. But it is enjoyable. You have to love a movie bold enough to begin and end with "Bad to the Bone" (before it was used in everything from Terminator to Married With Children). Even perennial favorite Harry Dean Stanton puts in an appearance. Plus, some of the car fetishism recalls Kenneth Anger's Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965). Twin engines become excited breasts. The trunk becomes a firm ass to be caressed. And the cockpit is full of all kind of yummy knobs and levers with which one can pleasure the warm and vibrating lover. Mmmm. No wonder it makes a girlfriend jealous.
(Is Stephen King the wealthiest novelist alive? Christine was in production before the book even came out.)
Oh god...all the TV channels are carrying some boring fucking meeting...apparently it's important since Obama is there and he's super famous and everything, but he's just talking about buying apples and oranges and telling some anecdote about his old junker car. Obviously I'm buying apples because citrus tastes nasty to me and I don't care about cars since I take the subway. So I'm changing the channel. I feel like it's a lot more productive to watch this video about New Brunswick's music scene in the early '80s instead. Know what I mean?
Lord, this one sounded too good to be true when I heard it was in the works a few months back. And it also helps confirm my suspicion that all the stuff on Judge Judy, Maury, Springer, what have you, are totally made up. On Monday's episode of Judge Judy, Teeth Mountain's Kate Levitt accused Jonathan Coward, AKA Shams, of killing her cat by throwing a TV on top of it. The witnesses are Andrew Burt from Teeth Mountain and Narwhalz, who unfortunately doesn't speak much in court but who distinctly refers to Judy as "Mama". For you animal lovers, this story is not true - although Shams does fuck around with dead birds on stage and burn them as part of these...like...satanic rituals or something. I'm not sure if they're dead when he finds them.
With WFMU's annual fund-raising bobsled ready to rock the ice beginning this Monday, please take a moment to ponder the pile of shiny loot you've saved by helping yourself to all the free music Mining the Audio Motherlode has served up over the past year. Now, as you imagine the sweaty, subterranean toil the Miner endures to create this survey week after week, help us out by tossing a few of those coins in WFMU's fundraising fountain. Thanks a ton.
(1) Chiemi Eri was an established film and TV ingénue when she recorded these "folk" tunes in 1958 with Japan's premier ersatz Latin orchestra. ••• (2) If you believe Wikipedia, the nadaswaram is the "world's loudest non-brass acoustic instrument." If you believe your ears, the sound one of these steroidal oboes makes could erotically stimulate a billion wasps. The cool thing: They're usually played in pairs. Namagiripettai Krishnan (pictured on the left, below) was one of India's great virtuosos. ••• (3) Not sure what the story is behind John Gordon's sweet Erotica Suite from 1976. Collectors say this is one of the hardest-to-find LPs on the brilliant musician-owned Strata-East label. ••• (4) Maybe Tuvan throat singing isn't as old as the hills, but it's close. Barely in their twenties, the members of this precocious trio merely sound ancient. ••• (5) A published scholar and Ph.D. lecturer, Hollis "Chalkdust" Liverpool is also one of Trinidad's most beloved calypsonians. Chalkie's win last in year in the Calypso Monarch competition was his eighth, tying him for most ever with Mighty Sparrow. ••• (6) Raw post-war gospel straight up, including one performance from a live broadcast on New Jersey radio.
Returning to Nashville from Kansas City where they'd participated in a benefit for the survivors of a recently expired Kansas City DJ named Cactus Jack Call, the stars were heading east aboard a Piper Comanche four-seater. In the pilot seat was Randy Hughes, Patsy Cline's manager and Cowboy Copas' son-in-law. Shortly after 6PM, the aircraft went down after being pummeled by high winds and powerful storms. The crash site (a marker was finally erected in 1996) is just outside Camden, Tennessee - about 90 miles west of Nashville.
WFMU's Radio Thrift Shop proprietress Laura Cantrell visited the site of the crash and recounted the experience for Vanity Fair, in a piece published last year about this time.
Today, we'll commemorate the three fallen stars with a trio of mournful and tear-inducing tribute records.
Bonus: Rusty Adams went whole hog; both sides of his record pay tribute to the deceased Grand Ole Opry stars. Dateline Disaster gets downright weird, with a DJ explaining the spooky events he experienced in the broadcast booth when he learned of the disaster in the midst of an air shift.
I would never dream of imposing my will upon any of the great musicians I've had on the air over the years (except to say, "uh, play now"), but I really wanted to title this session "Suite: Castle Blue Eyes." Why? Bad rock joke? Not necessarily, as Towering Heroic Dudes sit firmly on the wooden front porch of improvised noise; they're friendly, approachable guys, whose "organic" nature is plainly evident in their creations, which are basically lurching, giant paramecium in search of constant sonic nourishment. (Hell, I have no doubt THD have a lot more to offer socially than CS&N at their peak! Those guys were probably dicks! And why aren't THD playing the big, outdoor stage at the Sonoma Jazz Festival?)
I've been listening to this session over and over, and I continue to hear new layers of communication and activity each time I do. Gentle piano gives way to violence, metallic scrabbling accompanies vocal murmurs, and sheets of digital noise drive past like suspicious white vans. Enjoy!
Tremendous thanks must go to session engineer Glenn L, who has continually demonstrated his expertise in mixing live, improvised noise with enthusiasm and sensitivity. Big thanks also to Tracy Widdess of Brutal Knitting for her ace manipulations of my sometimes dodgy iPhone captures.
I'd been listening to 'old-timey' music for about seven years when I came across a song called "Run Old Jeremiah", credited to 'Austin Coleman with Joe Washington Brown and Group'. My first exposure to this 'Ring Shout' recorded by John and Alan Lomax was on the 'American Primitive Vol. 1 Raw Pre-War Gospel (1926-36) 'compilation, one of the first releases on John Fahey's Revenant label back in 1997. And yeah, most of the selections on that compilation are, as advertised, 'Raw'. But 'Raw' doesn't begin to describe this Austin Coleman track of frenzied shouting and propulsive drumming that sounds like a guy clacking a pair of wooden branches on the portable recording equipment and the Lomax brothers' heads while a congregation of like-minded screamers howl in the background. While I'm not one for hyperbole (immediately preceding sentence aside), this song is fucking amazing: makes you wish--among other things--the Lomaxes had lugged around film equipment, too.
'Ring shouts' were religious songs based on West-African drumming patterns; while sung, performers would shuffle around in single-file clapping out complex counter rhythms. It was common during slavery, and the Lomax Brother's 1934 recording of Coleman and Brown's "Run, Old Jeremiah" during a stop in Jennings, Louisiana is possibly the oldest and most authentic recorded example.
(Unfortunately, there are only two other known tracks recorded by Austin Coleman/Joe Washington Brown & Group. Their entire output is included on Document Records' excellent "Negro Religious Field Recordings 1934-1942")
In both the 2003 and 2007 versions of the 365 days project, I posted material by Merigail Moreland, recordings which I love as much as any that I've ever heard, including various versions of "Reputation" and an amazing version of "Unchained Melody". I encourage anyone who hasn't heard these recordings to have a listen. They can be found here and here, and further tracks from those 1950's recordings were posted on my own site. These posts resulted in many nice comments, as well as contact with several relatives and others who had known Merigail.
From one of those contacts, I was sent a tape of Merigail, made during her professional career, and I promised to share that, as well. While I did subsequently post it to my own site, I had really intended to share these recordings with the far larger audience that comes here, as several people had expressed interest in hearing them. I had forgotten about this until recently, when a friend from Merigail's teen years sent me a photo of her from 1959 or '60.
So, along with that picture, here are the few later recordings I have of Merigail Moreland. A few words about them: First, the sound quality is terrible, particularly on the first (and weakest) song, although it improves in the second of the five songs - these appear to have been copied tape-to-tape with a hand held microphone. The quality of the five songs chosen is also not really to my liking, although the second and third ones are far better than the other three. Finally, I've been told that, when these tracks were recorded (around 1980), it's likely Merigail was already suffering from the illness which would end her life far too soon. While I'm glad to have them (and to share them), I don't have any illusions that they live up to the recordings she made in her teens, but did want to offer a more complete picture for those who expressed the interest.
It is likely that other recordings of Merigail exist, perhaps from her days as a caberet-style singer in the early 1960's, and if I am lucky enough to get copies of them, I'll also share them here. As I mentioned, this picture is from around 1960 or so, but it's easily the best and clearest photo I've seen of her. So despite it coming from 20 years before the songs were recorded, I thought it would be good to share it, as well, and many thanks to Merigail's one-time teen friend for sharing it.
I love depictions of the beatnik lifestyle in popular culture of the fifties and sixties. Hilarious bastardizations appeared everywhere, in comic books, pulp paperbacks, LP covers, comedy sketches, film scenes, radio comedies and on down the line. That's why you should revisit the great website Like, Dreamsville and that's also why you should watch this fun Paramount cartoon from 1960.
"Washington humor takes many different directions. Sometimes the razor-sharp quip can puncture an unsound argument or cut through to the heart of a complicated issue. Sometimes, humor is the means by which a candidate charms and attracts voters to his camp. And sometimes, humor is used for no other purpose than to make people laugh...even when the humorist himself is the butt of the joke. Listen carefully and you'll hear all three types on this disc."
Today we have as evidence the first side of Cameo 1044, hosted by Chet Huntley; one of the select but large club of records with a big smilin' JFK head on it. With a lovely high-gloss coating on it, too, yumm. I like the idea of going right to the source for comedy, as opposed to using actors to portray 'Kennedys' or other characters, here's a laff record with the real deal.
I’m currently working on a Yellowman mix for my fiancée. She’s a big hip-hop fan and thus, in my estimation, a nascent dancehall fan. We work together 10 hours a week and it’s pretty much all I like to listen to when pushing papers, so she’s starting to like it whether she wants to or not. Of course, I don’t have much of a say in things until the Leonard Lopate show is over at 2:00.
Yellowman is pretty lovable; he’s one of the crudest, rudest, slackest vocalists of the 1980s, and despite releasing at least a dozen albums in 1982 alone, most of them are pretty good. However, I did start to think that 80 minutes of pure and unadulterated Yellowman might get tiresome for the unconvinced listener. So I began toying with the idea of breaking the mix up with other material that samples King Yellow, either dub mixes or hip-hop singles, or tracks that feature him as a guest. I was much aided in my search by www.whosampled.com, which, while not exhaustive, lists 7 borrowings for Zungguzungguguzungguzeng alone. I was happy to find Junior MAFIA’s rather humorous “Player’s Anthem” (video below), where Biggie's refrain paraphrases Yellow's vocalese melody, as well as K7’s Zunga Zeng. Nice & Smooth samples Yellow’s tune not once but twice, simply rapping over the same vocal loop from “Zung” on both Nice & Smooth and Dope on a Rope. (The last three tunes can be heard mixed together on a great wayneandwax post.)
law has pretty much steered clear of the grey area surrounding mp3
blogs since their rise to prominence ~7 years ago. Meanwhile, other
regulatory forces have helped the blogosphere develop an organic code
of conduct that benefits the interests of the music industry and our
society as a whole.
Last week, in what's been called #musicblogocide2k10, Google's Blogger service shut down several popular blogs
accused by the IFPI and RIAA of copyright infringement. Due to a bug in
Google's system (for which Blogger later apologized), at least one of the bloggers (the amazing Masala blog, which has since been restored) did not receive notification until after the blog's deletion.
Sure, you can blame Google for that error. But you can't really
blame them for following the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to remove
allegedly infringing content. As part of Bloggers' DMCA policy Google forwards their takedown notices to ChillingEffects.org where they are available for all to see. Chilling Effects is an incredibly useful resource conceived by Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society
(who also advise our work on the Free Music Archive) in collaboration
with a group of university law clinics and the Electronic Frontier
Foundation. Check it out, and you'll find myriad DMCA copyright
complaints like this one,
each listing hundreds of allegedly infringing Google-powered blogs, and
claiming that Google may be liable. Google has no choice but to remove
this infringing content, and from there the alleged infringer can file
This back-and-forth DMCA procedure is far from perfect. But it's
designed to protect online service providers like Blogger, who can't
possibly be expected to look into each and every one of these claims.
It's up to bloggers to defend themselves, and (as long as they are
properly informed) there's a relatively clear way to go about it. This
way, the inevitability of infringing content doesn't have to take the
entire blogging service and all its non-infringing treasures down with
Let's leave Google alone for a second (they've got other problems
right now) to consider "the inevitability of infringing content." There
is still a great disparity between the law and the other codes/norms
that govern the blogosphere, and musicblogocide is a great example of
how this plays out. Before you read on, take a look at the above
diagram from Free Culture, in which Lawrence Lessig describes the law as one of four regulatory/enabling forces acting on...let's say...the blogosphere.
Tony Coulter here, back to present you with another batch of vinyl recordings, all -- in keeping with my self-imposed rules -- found since moving to Portland, OR six months ago. Following seven select tracks from these audio finds, I'll show you a few of my favorite empty record jackets. The image above, by the way, is a detail from one of those jackets -- the complete cover lurks beneath the fold.
For more than 40 years now, British guitar pioneer Mike Cooper has been scaling his way up an audacious mountain of music. Acoustic blues, free jazz improv, slack-key exotica, ambient electronics—every twist and turn of the trip has been a thrill a minute. And speaking of thrilling...
(1) Celebrating his label Hipshot's second decade, Cooper is offering for free Blue Guitar, a stunning set of new performances on National steel. ••• (2) Tender and tenacious, Don Pullen's piano playing was a physical act of love. This 1975 recording for the Italian label Horo was Pullen's first release as a leader. ••• (3) The Real Sounds were an 11-piece Zairean orchestra that took up residency at a hotel nightspot in Harare, Zimbabwe, in the late 1970s. This LP from 1987 contains one of the greatest football-match re-creation songs ever committed to wax. ••• (4) The Cuban rumba comes in three basic flavors: the old folks' favorite, Yambú; the erotically charged Guanguancó; and the countrified Columbia. Mongo Santamaria cooks up all three on this compilation that comprises two late 1950s percussion masterpieces on Fantasy. ••• (5) Disgusted by the exploitative music industry and racist America, Nina Simone planned to bolt for exile in Liberia. Fulfilling her contract with RCA, she recorded what was to be her final album in 1974. Aptly, she called the record It Is Finished, a title which quotes the final words spoken by Jesus on the cross—a stroke of grandiosity worthy of this diva nonpareil. ••• (6) Soviet-era Turkmenistan may seem an unlikely hotbed for over-the-top prog/fusion rockers, but the bands Firyuza and Gunesh Ensemble prove otherwise. Firyuza's lead singer, Dmitriy Manukyan, was once a member of Gunesh Ensemble. Gunesh, which started as a state-sponsored pop combo, evolved into a wilder bunch of young cacaphonists from the Caucasus. How strange and wonderful that the group featured, for a spell, a Vietnamese lead singer. Check out the MP3 selection, below, to hear for yourself.
Ahmed Janka Nabay, the Sierra Leonean who took Temne processional songs from the north of Sierra Leone, and turned them into digital pop recordings is releasing his first U.S. record in the form of an EP on True Panther Sounds in the coming weeks. For a background on the music from the man himself, check an interview with Janka done by Straw vs. Gold. He talks about how the music fits into Sierra Leonean history as a music reserved for witches, addresses its recent history being used to lure civilians out of the bush during the civil war, and how he wants to spread messages of peace like Bob Marley.
I've posted on Bubu a couple times at the Ghetto Bassquake blog, and these days the music and Janka are getting a little bit more of attention in the American music press. I'm gladee for that, but this time I have a different motivation for posting than promoting the music. Recently, Janka released an official video for his song "Eh Congo." To me, the most exciting part is that he puts the music back into the context I originally heard it, which is not in Sierra Leone, but a Sierra Leone gathering in the diaspora.
For me it's almost as if through this video this whole thing of musical/self discovery is coming full circle. My experience as an African was growing up in a community of Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora. This video shows family gatherings, community gatherings in banquet halls and living rooms that look very familiar, reflecting my experiences and identity. With all the negative attention given to Sierra Leone's civil war through "Blood Diamond" songs and movies, it is exciting to see my culture reflected positively in American popular consciousness.
As I get older I realize how defined I am by the experience of growing up in a diaspora community. It really shows me how culture is transferred, and what culture is in the first place. Immigrant and diaspora communities all over the world set up shop in metropolitan areas and express their culture often only in the safety of their own homes. The following (less glitzy) video is the first place I found Bubu music, apart from that gathering, after frantically searching for it on Youtube.
The subject of African diaspora communities in the U.S. has been gaining more attention in the mainstream press through another community of Africans going through somewhat of an identity crisis. Somali-Americans in Minneapolis have been facing problems of rising gang affiliation, and some young men from the central Minneapolis community going back to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab. Somalians back home are facing negative attention with talk of piracy and Al Qaeda connections. With all the negative attention it's not hard to find instances of xenophobia against the community, but for all the negative things you find on Somalia and Somalian people there are plenty of instances of inspiring positive stories. To me the diversity that Minneapolis' large African community brings is probably its most endearing feature. I hope that these glimpses into our communities that people like Janka Nabay, or Somali-Canadian rapper K'naan provide, will motivate people to "Lek we Culture", explore a little more, learn something, and not be afraid.