Get your retail on at WFMU's online store! Find the perfect gift for that special record nerd or freeform radio fan in your life.
All orders placed by Dec 13th will arrive in time for Chrimbus. Consume!
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Get your retail on at WFMU's online store! Find the perfect gift for that special record nerd or freeform radio fan in your life.
All orders placed by Dec 13th will arrive in time for Chrimbus. Consume!
Here's a 45, complete with damaged picture sleeve, that I was surprised to find among a batch that I bought online a few years ago. From 1981, it's a group promoting themselves as "The Normal Majority" with two smug, idiotic songs promoting the elimination of feminism. The b-side of this record appeared on this side many years ago, as part of a compilation, but without any of the images, and without the a-side, which is at least as ridiculous as the b-side.
I'm sure this is meant as humor, and maybe you'll find some in it, but to me it falls completely flat. I'd love to think that this was meant as satire (although even then, I'd consider it a failed attempt), but at the same time, I'm fairly sure there's not a chance of that. The address on the back, where you can join their club, indicates that they meant every word.
The one thing that does not surprise me about this record is that it came out of Techny, IL. I grew up two miles east of the tiny hamlet of Techny, which was founded by an extremely conservative religious order, and was still, in 1981, dominated by their facilities. While those facilities certainly contained gorgeous architecture, flora and grounds, they also housed men who, while not married themselves, probably held views about marriage which were quite similar to those on this record. (Techny is no longer a separate community, having been annexed by its neighbor, Northbrook, about a decade after this record was released.)
Don't miss out on the best record shopping weekend of the year! Luxuriate in the presence of hundreds of thousands of records and CDs, great films and live music, plus tons of live WFMU broadcasts!
WFMU Record Fair
Nov 22nd - 24th (Fri - Sun)
125 W. 18th St, Manhattan
Early admission ($25): Fri 4-7pm (includes unlimited re-entry all weekend)
Regular admission ($7): Fri 7-10pm, Sat/Sun 10am-7pm
Bring in your Record Fair postcard or this coupon for $2 off admission!
- Shannon & the Clams: Sat 3-6pm
- Liquor Store: Sat 3-6pm
- Blowfly: Sun 1pm
- Jeffrey Lewis & the Rain: Sun 3pm
- The Mystery in Old Bathbath - a puppet movie by Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Sat 10am
- MeanEnsemble: Raymond Scott's Perfect Musical World, Sat 2pm
- Everything's Coming Up Profits: The Golden Age of Industrial Musicals, Sat 4pm
- Andrew Bird: Fever Year, Sun 4:15pm
Live WFMU Broadcasts from the Record Fair include Miniature Minotaurs with Kurt Gottschalk (Fri 3-6pm), Put the Needle on the Record with Billy Jam (Fri 7-8pm), Downtown Soulville with Mr. Fine Wine (Fri 8-9pm), Michael Shelley (Sat 11am-1pm), Fool's Paradise with Rex (Sat 1-3pm), and The Cherry Blossom Clinic with Terre T (Sat 3-6pm).
See you at the Fair!
Don't miss out on WFMU's 3rd annual Radiovision Festival this Saturday, October 19th, at the Scholastic Auditorium (557 Broadway) in NYC! Tickets here.
Radiovision celebrates radio's future as it takes on new forms in the digital age for the medium's fans, tinkerers, and future thinkers.
This year's guests include:
FIlmmaker Adam Curtis (keynote speaker)
Alexis Ohanian (co-founder of Reddit)
Julie Klausner (comedian)
Bob Garfield (On the Media)
James Del (Gawker Media)
Tom Scharpling (WFMU)
Check out the full schedule here, and we'll see you on Saturday!
WFMU's Studio of Tomorrow silent campaign to raise enough money to open our 100-seat radio theater to the public is gaining steam! Help us make our goal by October 31st by making a pledge below!
Earlier this year, WFMU reclaimed the ground floor space of our building* and renovated it on a shoestring. But right now the space is just an empty room with a stage, and we now need to bring it up to code and purchase some basic audio equipment so that we can open our doors to the public and start hosting events.
*(previously, we rented it out to a business that closed shop)
Station Manager Ken explains it all in the video below:
This year, I saw two Independence Day-themed exhibits, of which it would be easy to categorize one as real and one as not, except that, technically, both are “real.” Or maybe one is just as much a figment of meaning-projection as the other. I can’t decide.
The first display was at the New York Public Library, which was showing an original draft of the Declaration of Independence, as written by Thomas Jefferson, along with one of the original 14 copies of the proposed Bill of Rights. Both these documents are extremely rare, and the Library has never exhibited them together before. Because they're so fragile, they were on display for only three days, July 1–3.
I went to see them after work on Tuesday, when the library was open late, and stood in line for 45 minutes, which was totally worth it. It’s hard to write about the experience without sounding like a Frank Capra film. The crowd was large and diverse, and noticeably respectful. Even standing in line, everybody was polite and patient, which is something I don’t recall ever experiencing in an NYC queue before. The crowd fanned out once we were admitted to the room where the documents were in three displays: Jefferson's two-sheet (front and back) Declaration, sandwiched in glass inside two separate vitrines, so you could read all four pages; and the large, printed Bill of Rights (one of only 14 original copies known to exist) laid on a slanted backing inside another, much larger display case. Even though people were allowed to crowd around the displays at will, there was no bad behavior that I saw: Everyone waited patiently for their turn and looked as long as they liked.
As the last hours of the festive Independence Day long weekend pass us by, here's an appropriate record for the holiday. It's a piece of patriotic drivel written by someone named Michael Quirk, and titled "Have You Thought About Freedom Lately?". Quirk himself recorded the piece at some point, and his version can be found a few places on the internet. But for this release (which the record label oddly shows to have a running time which is over a minute more than its true length), the artist is Eddie Paul:
(Whether or not this is the same Eddie Paul who is well known for customizing cars... I have no idea.)
For the flip side, Michael Quirk performed another one of his compositions himself, titled "Lonely Men in Blue":
You know how whenever anyone brings up the topic of US sonic weapons and music torture, someone always says, “What do they do, just turn on WFMU? Hahahahaha.” No? Maybe you hang out with smarter people than I do. On the other hand, WFMU has always been a leader in the irritainment industry; some of my favorite DJs, people I’ve been listening to for decades, do shows I’ve never been able to listen to all the way through. So I got to wondering—what is on the playlist when our government wants to break the will of its enemies? (“Enemies” being defined in the broadest sense, of course, in that the term has included US citizens minding their own business in their own homes.)
Manuel Noriega vs. Van Halen: Noriega was Military Governor of Panama from 1984-89, when elections were held with results he didn’t like. Also, he refused to help Oliver North with the whole Nicaraguan Contra thing. (Noriega had been working with the CIA since the 1950s.) Meanwhile, US troops stationed around the Panama Canal were conducting a series of ludicrously named “operations,” and then a Marine Lieutenant got killed, and then the US invaded, which was condemned as a flagrant violation of international law by the UN. Noriega fled to the Vatican embassy in Panama City, where US troops laid siege in Operation Nifty Package. (I am not kidding about that name.) They stood around outside playing high-volume rock music, specifically the Van Halen song “Panama.” A week later, Noriega surrendered.
Last night I saw Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, and now I’m convinced that Pussy Riot should be in jail, which I think was not the filmmakers’ intent.
The video shows three strong feminist women and their history of activism, culminating in their action in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The three who were arrested—Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich— are not the only members of their political collective, although you wouldn’t know that from the film. They also are not “girls,” they are young women in their mid-20s and early 30s, they are wives and mothers, they are educated and intelligent enough to have devised an ideological basis for their political protest. Yet since their arrests, they’ve been portrayed as “girls” who “didn’t realize” that defiling a revered place of worship would offend anyone, which is complete bullshit: The whole point of the action was to offend as many people as possible. If people weren’t offended, they wouldn’t pay attention. Well, they’re paying attention now; they’re paying attention all over the world.
The women of Pussy Riot must have realized there were likely consequences for their actions. Just as Edward Snowden was prepared to accept the loss of his well-paid job, the end of his comfy life, and his possible extradition to the US to face treason charges, so Pussy Riot should have been prepared for arrest, trial, and conviction. They say they are feminists: Let them act like feminists. Their prison sentences are the proof of everything they’ve said about Russian repression. Let them take the consequence of their actions like strong feminist women, not disingenuous, apologetic little girls. In the words of Sammy Davis Jr. “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”
Be punk, Pussy Riot: Be strong.
UPDATE 6/18: So what I was trying to say was unclear, and that is the fault of my writing. Mostly I was objecting to the documentary's portrayal of "girls," but also there's the rather alarming footage of the three prisoners apologizing and saying they "didn't mean to offend anyone." This is contrary to their otherwise strong statements--contrary, in fact, to their actions. The obvious injustice of two years in prison for their protest is what has called international attention to the very repression they were protesting. I have friends who participated in ACT UP's protest inside St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1989; no one went to prison, but it brought international attention to the AIDS crisis and forced the government to begin dealing with it. I hope Pussy Riot's Punk Prayer will turn out to be as influential. Also, one week on, Edward Snowden looks less like a hero. -B.
Well, last time around, I shared a 1960's record brought to us by the right wing zealots over at Key Records, and that got me to thinking about this insane reel of tape I came across years and years ago, featuring the exceptionally obnoxious ramblings of Revilo P. Oliver. Mr. Oliver (who said that being named palindromically was a family tradition), was notable for being a white supremacist and a founding member of both the National Review and of The John Birch Society.
That's enough to peg him as a fringe-dweller right there, but Revilo (and I wish it was pronounced like "Revile" - a feeling which he inspires in me - but I think the accent is on the first syllable) later decided that 1960's American conservatism was just too liberal, and he joined the National Alliance - part of the National Socialist movement - that's right, Neo-Nazis.
The tape features two lengthy lectures, each about an hour long. His main focus seems to be on simply expressing a smug superiority, never really saying too much about what his beliefs are, but rather spewing insults, simplifying and misrepresenting the views of those he considers vermin (i.e. anyone who isn't Western, Caucasian, or who doesn't agree with him), and giving lengthy examples of idiocy on the part of specific individuals, which somehow are meant to indict everyone on the other side of whatever issue he's on about.
There is so much gold here, it's hard to know where to start, but I did find two statements quite telling. The first is when he just sort of states, as fact (and in passing) that the only civilization that matters is the one "that we, the white men of the Western Hemisphere, created". And the second is when he actually says, in reference to what he called the "baneful" effects of slavery, adds that the worst of these baneful effects were on the owners.
Hold on your hats, wigs and keys, ladies and gentlemen, and have a listen to a first class wacko, Dr. Revilo P. Oliver:
Listening to his rants, I find myself wondering - if ol' Revilo were still around today, would he realize that much of the progress that has been made over the last 30 years has been developed, improved and made ubiquitous by the more progressive humans of this era, and that many of the biggest problems on Earth during that period have come from the tyrants, the religiously intolerant and other representatives of the far right?
But then I think of Revilo P. Oliver's political descendants (in the Tea Party and their ilk), and recognize that even they have failed to perceive those developments - so I assume that Oliver wouldn't have noticed, either.
Last fall, Listener Mindwrecker wrote a fabulous post exploring the wonders of the 1960's far-right record label known as Key Records. I read it with great interest, because I've always picked up records on the Key label when they've crossed my past. They never fail to entertain, and can often inspire both a laugh and a touch of horror, within a few moments of each other.
I bet I have close to a dozen Key releases down in my "spoken word" section, in the basement, of which my favorite, and yet also the most depressing, may well be the one Mindwrecker already shared, by Walter Brennan.
But here another prime example, an album featuring a speech by Dan Smoot, publisher of The Smoot Report, in which he extols the virtues of Mr. D. B. Lewis, who was a manufacturer of pet foods. (Smoot, it would seem, was a true believer. Not only was he associated with the Birchers, I learn from Wikipedia that he later went on to oppose George H.W. Bush's candidacy for the U.S. Senate on the grounds that Bush's positions were essentially those of a Democrat!)
It's amazing to hear, in this speech, which took place at some point during the run-up to the 1964 election, the same rhetoric, the same ideas, and in places, close to the same slogans, as those espoused in recent years by members of the tea party and its offshoots. Time, it's sad to say, doesn't do away with all bad ideas - "those who cannot remember the past..." and all that, I guess.
If anyone is interested, there could certainly be more Key Records mayhem to come!
(album cover to come soon - I'm having issues with my scanner)
As the Christian calendar approaches its holiest days, the time is right for some holier-than-thou listening. And here's a perfect example, a two sided trip to hell from our friends at Creative Sound Recordings of Los Angeles, an awkwardly titled EP-length release "Decision for Destiny: The Region Beyond", narrated by Wayne Pyzer.
This really has to be heard to be believed. Over a variety of B-Movie sound effects, Wayne Pyzer portrays death, I guess, leading a poor soul from her wretched life right into hell, where even when she holds her head in her hands, those hands themselves are in flames. The first voice we hear is actually the dear departed soul herself, then death invites the listener along, and although he asks questions, the woman from the beginning of the record is never heard from again.
Pyzer's performance is perfect, in terms of appealing to those who already agree with him about where the wicked of the world will go (and surely, they get to decide what makes someone wicked). I can't, however, imagine that this record managed to convince anyone who wasn't already on the same page of anything at all. He performs with a smug, obnoxious, know-it-all tone, sounding very much like a fun-house mirror version of Peter Lind Hayes as "Genie, The Magic Record". But instead of enthusiastically and warmly introducing the listener to the wonders of sound and imagination (as did Hayes), Pyzer sounds like he's looking down his nose at something icky on his shoe, while introducing the listener to the concept of being too late to repent.
In a way, this record reminded me of right wing radio and television - an echo chamber for the converted. I have a hard time believing that anyone who wasn't with him before the record started was converted into any new way of thinking once it was over. It is, however, a quite entertaining little play, especially if one listens to it as if it were meant as satire, and will be the source of many a sound clip for those who like to play with sounds.
This is the second and final week of WFMU's fundraising Marathon and we are still less than halfway to our goal, which must be met by Sunday, March 17th! Make a pledge now!
Special highlights this week:
TONIGHT - Tuesday, March 12 (9pm-mid)
A.C. Newman and John Hodgman join Tom Scharpling on the Best Show on WFMU for 3 hours of mirth, music, and mayhem! Tune in to win killer prizes, and watch it all go down on our live video feed at wfmu.org. Pledge to the Best Show using this link.
Thursday, March 14 (9am-noon)
Yo La Tengo play your cover song requests in exchange for pledges of $100 or more on Hello Children with Faye and co-host Gaylord Fields! Pledge to the Yo La Tengo request-a-thon NOW from this page, or tune in to pledge live.
Congressional Republican economy terrorists have been holding the country hostage for a while now—Sequester! Fiscal Cliff! Debt Ceiling! Meet All Our Crazypants Demands or We’ll Blame Obama!—and people who don’t enjoy negotiating with terrorists have been looking for a way around dealing with them. How can we keep paying our bills if there’s no money in the bank? Well, one obvious way would be to print some more money.
Technically, the Government can’t print more money, but the Federal Reserve can. (They are not the same thing and if you don’t know this, that is because you are not a nutbucket conspiracy theorist like me. Most normal people do not know how the Fed works.) BUT: Back in 2011, a Constitutional law professor at Yale started talking about an idea to take advantage of the one way in which the Government can mint more money: commemorative coins! The Secretary of the Treasury is allowed (31 USC § 5112!) to strike platinum coins in any denomination. So all the Secretary of the Treasury has to do is to mint two one-trillion-dollar platinum coins, deposit them with the Federal Reserve, and hey presto! It’s all good. (And go to hell, Repubican economy terrorists.)
The trillion-dollar-coin idea started being talked up again a couple months ago, as the Sequester approached, and it was even endorsed by some Celebrity Economists, but in the end Jacob Lew was confirmed as the new Secretary of the Treasury and even if he tried to issue The Coin, no one can read his handwriting and the Treasury would probably just issue a couple of platinum Slinkys instead.
Still, I do believe we could apply the trillion-dollar-coin principle to raising money to support WFMU. When Former Cohost Jay and I decided to produce our own Thunk Tank currency (the Bieb, the official currency of Iceland!) we discovered that it is illegal for anyone but the Government to issue specie (coins), but anyone can issue paper money. (So we did.) Why should we continue with the annual Marathon and the Record Fair and the Secret Off-Air October fundraiser and the Superstorm Sandy Wrecked the Station Special Appeal and Station Manager Ken in a Lawn Chair Attached to Weather Balloons, going back to the Listeners for their support again and again, just because we’re a Listener-Supported station? (And God bless the Listeners, they have been fantastic!)
All Station Manager Ken has to do is issue a 1-milion Bieb note (which trades at a rate of 1 Bieb to 1 US dollar), deposit the note in the WFMU bank account, and then pay all our bills! (Or just deposit 10,000 100-Bieb notes, because I think there are plenty of them lying around the station from Thunk Tank’s overproduced Marathon premiums.) Assuming the bank that has the WFMU bank account will accept it for deposit, which maybe they will not.
Alas, the one- trillion-dollar coin is not to be. The main problem seems to have been that it would have called attention to the fact that our entire economy is based on the fiction of fiat currency and debt. So I will never be able to add the Biden Commemorative $1 trillion dubloon to my collection, and I also still have never got a Guam quarter, either, so what’s up with that? You can still use your Federal Reserve-issued currency to support WFMU, though, so go to wfmu.org and make your pledge now.
Thanks for reading my blogpost this time, and thanks for supporting WFMU.
All new and current Swag for Life members are eligible to receive our new messenger bag, and early pledgers get first dibs on adopting a WFMU DJ or fixture!
Yo La Tengo will be playing cover song requests in exchange for pledges on Thursday, March 14th (9am-noon) on Hello Children with Faye and co-host Gaylord Fields, and WFMU's Hoof & Mouth Sinfonia close out the Marathon on Sunday March 17th with drunken live band karaoke.
Don't miss out on our biggest on-air bash of the year!
Calling all WFMU fans in the Crescent City and environs! WFMU pals Euclid Records, WWOZ, WTUL, and a bunch of fabulous bands are hosting a benefit event on our behalf at Siberia (2227 Claude St, New Orleans) TONIGHT!
Hurricane Sandy caused tons of electrical damage to our equipment, and proceeds from this show will fund WFMU's efforts to prevent future electrical problems. We hope to purchase generators, power conditioners, etc.
Huge thanks to our supportive friends in New Orleans!
Check out this video of Quintron and Miss Pussycat to get pumped:
"A fella in the lobby asked me if we were going to record this album in stereo. I told him absolutely not. Stereo has two loudspeakers, one on each side of the set. The one on the right is OK, but I refuse to listen to anything coming from the left. Seriously though, if I brought home a record machine with a speaker on the left, my wife wouldn't let me in the house. Now there's a patriot for you!"
(from side two of "He's Your Uncle!")
Today we're presenting side two of this bizarre ultra-right-wing album from 1967, luridly written and directed by Vick Knight and voiced with gusto by Walter Brennan, in continuation of the first post on this subject two weeks ago. Since then I've tried to uncover more information about the KEY records label and its strong predilection towards hyper-conservative and inflammatory spoken-word albums. Join me after the jump for this entertaining record (via mp3) and the related facts and pictures that have turned up about this under-documented Los Angeles company.
I had an itch to post this during the final weeks of the presidential race, but due to the record's rather hateful (but hilarious) far-right conservative script (as read by one of my record-collecting faves Walter Brennan) I elected to wait and see how the chips fell before I dove in. Since the reptilian/humanoid candidate lost we'll now present side one of this rare little gem. Again, one of those discs that I've been DJ'ing bits of for a LONG time and I'm glad to share it in its entirety (well, side one this time anyhoo).
As written by Vick Knight in the early 1960's for Key Records (who I'd like to know more about), it spends two full sides tearing down the LBJ administration and its 'terribly destructive' policies carried over from the Kennedy years. I got quite a shock when I first bought this and heard Mr. Good-Time Ol' Farmer Guy using his normal voice for a change and ripping savagely into anything remotely resembling liberal government policies. The stark cover also struck me as quite attractive as well.
Both sides of the lp are continuous, so I broke it into eight parts when I ripped it to digital years ago, for easier DJ'ing and listening. So buckle up and hear a side of Mr. Brennan that you may not have heard before.
This week, WFMU launched into silent fundraiser mode with our 31 Days of October campaign, and it is going strong! In an effort to pay our bills without resorting to a second pledge drive, we decided it was better to come up with a month of incredible on-air specials, listener meet-ups, and events (while taking pledges online and through the mail).
This fall, we are offering some great new swag: our Turntable T-shirt designed by Nick Dewar, and a compilation of holiday music called "WFMU's War on Christmas" (CD + MP3 disc) with cover artwork by Mayuko Fujino.
Do not miss out on the holiday compilation, it contains an exclusive unreleased mix of "Jesus Christ" by Big Star, plus tracks by James Pants, Klaus Nomi, the Reigning Sound, and more!
As befits the future Savior of Humanity (or at least the Savior of Blonde Russian Gymnasts in the Duma), Vladimir Putin has been extremely busy this past summer. One of his major tasks has involved recruiting new members of the Putin Pals, his protective managerie of super-powered animal agents. Thunk Tank Cohost Jay and I often wondered why it was that the Putin Pals did not have any bird members, when their primary mission will be to defeat the insect forces of MANTIS. How is it that Putin would recruit a Were-Whale before he’d got even one bird? (Anuka, the Flying Donkey, does not count as a bird, because: Legs. Hooves. Hair. Mammal.) Naturally, the Leader was just waiting until the time was ripe, and this summer he finally judged time to be squooshy and soft enough to unveil his Craneforce. Dressing in the uniform of a Crane Obergruppenfuhrer—sort of a white hazmat jumpsuit with weird black goggles—Putin jumped aboard Craneforce One and led the baby cranes on skywriting maneuvers high in the sky above Moscow, where they wrote “Surrender, Pussy Riot!” in smoke, and also in Russian, not English. And Cyrillic. Cyrillic letters are really hard to make in smoke, but of course Putin enjoys the challenge.