Always a special treat to be back on the air after missing a show. This is the third show in a year that I’ve started with a Fugazi cover, in this case Failure taking on “Waiting Room” with their trademark grinding, implacable approach. The power of these songs, its distinctive musicality and lyrical content, is undiminished in the hands of any band bold enough to take on the material. Tonight also featured the confluence of several loyal listeners, including James in California, Underdog in Georgia, and Charley who is on South Korea time and got to take benefit from the time zone.
I meant to write the notes for this show sooner than a month after the fact, but travel plans got in the way and here I am struggling for an intro. I can tell you that hearing Sparklehorse take on Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians’ “Listening to the Higsons” for the first time, mere weeks ago, felt like someone became obsessed with the same cassette as I did thirty years ago, but actually got around to letting the hen out.
In the last few years, John Lydon, once known to the world as Johnny Rotten, has been in the news for a variety of reasons, none of them related to his music, most of them leading to unfortunate public judgements. His band’s new album makes their name Public Image Ltd a handy reminder, as it serves up a take on society more in tune with their past work than the expected yelling-at-clouds. Elsewhere! To the listeners voicing strong opinions about the adorably shrill kids’ story that ran at the top of The Final Hour — your comments were passed on to Management and that short chunk of audio root canal is gone. Well done!
Bo Diddley may have written tonight’s opening cover, and Spoon may be the one actually performing it, but the spirit of Billy Childish, whose version earworms its way through my head every year or so, is quite strong on the shambling, end-of-the-rehearsal vibe heard here. To the listeners voicing strong opinions about the adorably shrill kids’ story that runs at the top of The Final Hour — your notes have been passed on to Management.
If you want suave, it’s hard to get more suave than “Blue Velvet,” and horror-surf combo Messer Chups delivers a version that’s not only suave but also quite kinetic. From the accelerated temp to the lyrical guitar line to the luscious spring reverb, it’s a welcome spin on the old croony standard. Tonight’s show was accompanied by tremedous wind and lightning, with occasional rain.
I am proud to bring you KNOWER, despite the fact that I constantly stumble over how to announce the name of the band, trying to tease out the magical diphtong that distinguishes it from “nowhere” to the listener. I love them so much I will even respect their penchant to spell their name in all-caps. Led by Louis Cole and Genevieve Artadi and often spiced with cameos, their take on modern jazz funk / funk jazz is always on tap to fix a day going wrong.
I can’t say if this is the first time I’ve had a radio show on Independence Day, but it is the first time I’ve prepared something special for the occasion. Presenting Affairs of State, a one-hour set of music dedicated to the States part of “United States of America.” As it turns out, there is a wide representation among the 50 states (51 if you count New Model Army) in the Lacking Library, but I have selected the best 16 examples for this evening.
No pan flute, no washes of synthesizer textures, just Olivia Jean doing her best impression of a land-bound siren and kicking up the octane in the Enya original to unsafe levels. It’s a hot summer so far, with lots of great releases crowding the older stuff out of the playlist, and it shows no sign of letting up. There’s a new album from the Boo Radleys (it’s been a while!), and I am obsessing over motorik sounds from Orange Drink and Motor!k. It’s far more than will fit on a single cassette, unless you get one of those ultra-long ones that your car deck will eventually eat up.
“You missed the white crocodile,” the chipa vendor told them. The mycologist and the munitions expert gave the expected sounds of disappointment, the same as any tourist drawn to Paraguay’s Ojo de Mar would. One of them spread a blanket by the lake side while the other one got busy with entering the passcodes and unlatching the efficient-looking metal case they had extracted from the moped. Opening it once the blanket was ready, they began taking out the 3D-printed pieces from the foam molding with quick, efficient movements as the Easy Star All-Stars blared out a David Bowie song from the vendor’s portable radio.