Saturday, March 29, 2008

Program #477

In the past I've mentioned the crucial breakthrough that will happen for Internet radio when true portability becomes a reality. Having the ability to listen in your car or through an iPod-like device will put Web radio on a level playing field with terrestrial and satellite when it comes to potential listening audience.

Almost as important, however, is ease of use. That means a radio that is no different than any you might use anywhere in your home, office, whatever. They have been available for a few years now, but haven't been all that impressive until recently. Now it seems I'm reading about new models much more frequently than in the past, as in this article I saw at rbr.com.

Take a few minutes and give it the once-over, especially if you're looking to move your Internet radio listening experience away from your computer.

NELSON RIDDLE ORCHESTRA . . . . . Route 66 Theme (opening theme) . . . . . Route 66 and Other Great TV Themes/More Hit TV Themes
MARK PICKEREL AND HIS PRAYING HANDS . . . . . The Last Leaves . . . . . Cody's Dream
HOLLY GOLIGHTLY . . . . . Without You Here . . . . . Truly She Is None Other
THE PIXIES . . . . . Here Comes Your Man . . . . . Doolittle
THE COYDOGS . . . . . Daggers . . . . . MySpace page
RICHARD HELL & THE VOIDOIDS . . . . . I’m Your Man . . . . . Time
THE FAGS . . . . . Siren Song . . . . . Light 'Em Up
CHEAP TRICK . . . . . Surrender . . . . . Heaven Tonight
THE BREAKUP SOCIETY . . . . . Robin Zander . . . . . James at 35

DEVOTCHKA . . . . . New World . . . . . A Mad and Faithful Telling
JOE STRUMMER & THE MESCALEROS . . . . . Shaktar Donetsk . . . . . Global a Go-Go
NATACHA ATLAS . . . . . Adam’s Lullaby . . . . . Something Dangerous
DAVID BOWIE . . . . . Art Decade . . . . . Low
BRIAN ENO . . . . . St. Elmo’s Fire . . . . . Another Green World
DESTROYER . . . . . My Favorite Year . . . . . Trouble in Dreams

THE YARDBIRDS . . . . . For Your Love . . . . . "The Yardbirds - Greatest Hits, Vol. 1: 1964-1966"
THE ARCTIC MONKEYS . . . . . Bad Woman . . . . . digital single
THE FOUR CORNERS . . . . . Now!, Baby!, Now! . . . . . Say You're a Scream
ZILLIONAIRE . . . . . No Contest . . . . . The Street Lights Have Been Turned Down
IRVING . . . . . Lovely, Just Like Her . . . . . Death in the Garden, Blood on the Flowers
THE TELEPATHIC BUTTERFLIES . . . . . A Passing Glance . . . . . Songs from a Second Wave
THE PSYCHEDELIC FURS . . . . . Pretty In Pink . . . . . Talk Talk Talk
GUIDED BY VOICES . . . . . Chasing Heather Crazy . . . . . Isolation Drills
TEENAGE FANCLUB . . . . . Don’t Look Back . . . . . Grand Prix

THE ROLLING STONES . . . . . Shattered . . . . . Some Girls
GNARLS BARKLEY . . . . . Surprise . . . . . The Odd Couple
THE TURTLES . . . . . You Baby . . . . . Golden Hits
RILO KILEY . . . . . Smoke Detector . . . . . Under the Blacklight
THE BEATLES . . . . . I Want To Hold Your Hand . . . . . Past Masters, Vol. 1
THE SIGHTS . . . . . Back Seat . . . . . The Sights
BIG STAR . . . . . Back Of A Car . . . . . #1 Record/Radio City
THE REPLACEMENTS . . . . . Can’t Hardly Wait . . . . . Pleased to Meet Me
THE STAR SPANGLES . . . . . Gimme An Answer . . . . . Dirty Bomb
ASH . . . . . Burn Baby Burn . . . . . Free All Angels
BUZZCOCKS . . . . . Harmony In My Head . . . . . Operators Manual

This opener was all about guitar tunes, starting with the spare conciseness of Mark Pickerel followed by Holly Golightly before moving on to the Pixies at perhaps the most poppy. A new one from the Coydogs had a similar rhythmic approach and fed very nicely into Richard Hell & the Voidoids, which features some sharp lead guitar bursts from Robert Quine. The final trio included an old favorite from Cheap Trick surrounded by a couple of bands who clearly have listened to a bit of the old Robin, Rick, Tom and Bun over the years.

New music from DeVotchKa began this next section; they like to combine a variety of instruments and musical genres in their songs. The Eastern European feel of this tune worked nicely with the Joe Strummer track that followed, with its tale of a Macedonian who went to Britain in the back of a lorry. Natacha Atlas combines the roots music of her North African and Arabic background with Western dance beats, although that was the Prague Symphony Orchestra you heard on the dreamy tune that came next. The mood was maintained with an instrumental from the first disc David Bowie worked on with Brian Eno back in the mid-'70s, and then it was on to a tune from my favorite solo Eno disc. The lead guitar on the new one from Destroyer that closed the set brought to mind Robert Fripp's liquid lead on that Eno track, which is why we heard them back to back.

Arctic Monkeys released a digital EP last fall built around "Teddy Picker" from their last full-length and one of the extra tracks was "Bad Woman," which reminds me of the Yardbirds, which is where this section began. From there it was pretty much a stream of consciousness situation, touching on some new—Zillionaire—and some old—Psychedelic Furs—alongside a bunch of others before finishing with a perfect guitar pop moment from Teenage Fanclub.

An old one from the Rolling Stones that I hadn't heard in a long time was followed by something from the new Gnarls Barkley disc. Strangely enough, the tune that popped into my head when I first heard it was a semi-obscure one from the Turtles, but I liked the way they sounded back to back. It was a similar situation with the Rilo Kiley track from last year's disc; it reminded me of the Beatles big breakthrough in America in January of 1964. The only difference is that I didn't get around to playing them together until now. From there it was on to the Sights, sounding much like the late period Fab Four, and then Big Star opening the door for the quartet of guitar rockers that brought it all back to the beginning while also bringing it to an end.

Here's another one from Arctic Monkeys

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Program #476

Don't know if you saw the announcement Chrysler made recently about adding Internet access to all of their automobiles later this year.

Obviously, my interest in this relates to what it means for radio, and Mark Ramsey makes some solid points regarding just that on his Hear 2.0 blog. It's worth reading the comments as well; clearly this is just the beginning and there remains much to be worked out detail-wise before we're all accessing Web radio in our cars much as we do AM/FM right now.

NELSON RIDDLE ORCHESTRA . . . . . Route 66 Theme (opening theme) . . . . . Route 66 and Other Great TV Themes/More Hit TV Themes
PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA . . . . .Also Sprach Zarathustra . . . . . Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra - George Pretre (RCA)
LOTHAR AND THE HAND PEOPLE . . . . . Space Hymn . . . . . Space Hymn/Presenting...Lothar & The Hand People
HARRY NILSSON . . . . . Spaceman . . . . . Son of Schmilsson
LOU REED . . . . . Satellite Of Love . . . . . Transformer
JERRY ENGLER & THE EKKOS . . . . . Sputnik (Satellite Girl) . . . . . Atomic Platters: Cold War Music from the Golden Age
JOE MEEK . . . . . Telstar (Rough Demo) . . . . . Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music
DAVID BOWIE . . . . . Space Oddity (Demo) . . . . . Sound + Vision
PAUL WELLER . . . . . Standing Out In The Universe . . . . . Illumination

LOVE . . . . . My Little Red Book . . . . . The Best of Love
THE BRAKES . . . . . In The Ground . . . . . Tale of Two Cities
JOHN CUNNINGHAM . . . . . You Shine . . . . . Happy Go Unlucky
THE ORANGE PEELS . . . . . So Far . . . . . So Far
CHRIS WALLA . . . . . Sing Again . . . . . Field Manual
SPOON . . . . . The Ghost Of You Lingers . . . . . Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
THE PRETENDERS . . . . . Up The Neck . . . . . Pretenders
THE RAVEONETTES . . . . . Blush . . . . . Lust Lust Lust
FOUR VOLTS . . . . . Hat Trick . . . . . Triple Your Work Force

MANS WIESLANDER . . . . . Roadkill . . . . . Yet
BRIAN ENO . . . . . Back In Judy’s Jungle . . . . . Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy
THE BEATLES . . . . . I Me Mine . . . . . Let It Be
DR. DOG . . . . . Ain’t It Strange . . . . . We All Belong
THE MONKEES . . . . . Porpoise Song . . . . . Anthology
SLIPSTREAM . . . . . Tonight’s The Night . . . . . Transcendental
JARVIS COCKER . . . . . Quantum Theory . . . . . Jarvis

CHEECH & CHONG . . . . . Basketball Jones . . . . . Los Cochinos
THE COUNT FIVE . . . . . Psychotic Reaction . . . . . Psychotic Reaction: The Very Best of Count Five
MADNESS . . . . . Madness . . . . . Complete Madness
STEVE FORBERT . . . . . You Cannot Win If You Do Not Play . . . . . Alive on Arrival
DEL SHANNON . . . . . Do You Want To Dance . . . . . Frat Rock, Vol. 3
THE RAMONES . . . . . Let’s Dance . . . . . Ramones
THE RAY BRYANT COMBO . . . . . Madison Time . . . . . Hairspray: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
FRED ASTAIRE . . . . . Shall We Dance . . . . . The Legendary
HARUOMI HOSONO . . . . . Sports Men . . . . . Philharmony

All of us can be said to be visionary to some degree, but some are able to think really big. Arthur C. Clarke, who was 90 when he passed away recently, was someone whose vision reached out into the universe, and it doesn't get much bigger than that. Best known as a science fiction novelist—he co-wrote the screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey with Stanley Kubrick (as well as the novel on which it was based)—Clarke also published a technical paper in 1945 that explained how satellites stationed in a specific orbit around the Earth could be used as relay stations for global communications. By the early '60s this vision was borne out with the launch of Telstar, and as they say, the rest is history. So this program's opener was inspired by the life of Arthur C. Clarke, who clearly had a profound effect on the world we live in today.

There was a mix of new and old in this next section, all of it growing out of a piece of What's New, Pussycat? I saw on TV recently, specifically a scene that has Peter O'Toole and Peter Sellers in a nightclub with many people dancing to Manfred Mann's version of "My Little Red Book." I don't have that, but the Love version is just as good, and worked well leading to a new tune from the Brakes, a band from Philly that has a live record due out in early May. From then on the connections were more about sound and sensibility than subject and lyrics, and the final couple of tracks brought in some nice noisy distortion with the Raveonettes and Four Volts.

The next set came from a desire to hear some Mans Wieslander, a Swedish singer and songwriter who has yet to follow up on Yet, his one and only disc released in the U.S. An old Brian Eno tune using waltz time was followed by the Beatles doing the same, and then it was on to Dr. Dog, another Philadelphia band who clearly has absorbed some of the Fab Four's sound into their own. A terrific piece of psychedelia from the Monkees' movie Head led to some turn-of-the-century dream pop from Slipstream before Jarvis Cocker's clever use of string theory as the foundation for a lovely song finished up.

The finale was for all the college basketball fans out there who are caught up in March Madness and find themselves parked non-stop in front of the TV as they watch the Big Dance. I include myself among that group, but from a music standpoint I also enjoy having a reason to play Cheech & Chong's wonderfully silly hit from the early '70s featuring Tyrone Shoelaces, as well as Haruomi Hosono's sardonic take on the athlete in all of us.

Here's another one from the Pretenders