[UPDATED 2013 Feb. 01, 6:05 a. m.]
Josh Dolan co-hosts and acquaints us with the first three albums by The Slackers, taking some time out for Pixies and second-wave ska. More importantly, he pitches for a fundraising event, the "ABC Cafe for a Day," which wound up raising $2500 for Gardens 4 Humanity. No time is a bad time to contribute to this worthy cause, so if you missed it, "leave wringing of hands." And, as I wrote on the show's Facebook page, if you don't live in the area, you can always find a similar initiative close to home and support that.
This reminds me of something I've been meaning to announce. If you live in the listening area and have a non-profit or charitable event that you would like to promote, please contact me or the station and we will try--try--to get you on the air. We still don't have as much live programming as we would like, but we do have a small handful of programs on which you might promote this or that community endeavor. Get in touch via this website, or the Bombast Facebook page, or the WRFI Facebook page, or by emailing . I would assume, since you're here at this website, reading my prose, that there might be some overlap in a Venn diagram illustrating your taste in music and mine. So perhaps, if you wind up on this program, you could "pull a Josh" and provide music as well as talk. Anything to break up the Cathartic monotony. LET'S LIGHT THIS CANDLE.
Anyway, so yeah, podcast-site storage problems notwithstanding [UPDATE--I THINK I MIGHT HAVE FIGURED A WAY AROUND THESE, POSSIBLY NO PROBLEMS HERE, EXPLANATION SOON], there was indeed a program last Wednesday--just no Internet evidence of it yet, save for this playlist right here. [UPDATE--NO, THAT'S NOT TRUE, SCROLL DOWN FOR AUDIO, THERE IS YOUR EVIDENCE, HOLMES.] Aside from learning about the inner lives of restaurant staff, and that "collie" can mean something other than a breed of dog, we experienced a couple of other novel things on the broadcast. Lady Catharsis, in what I openly suspect is a gradual takeover bid, gets three segments on the night, all devoted to the same band. And I kick off a feature I've been meaning to run, called "Slipped Discs"--tentatively. So tentatively, in fact, that I can already tell you it won't really be called that.
I've been thinking about the issue of "currency" lately, and about this lecture given by Billy Bragg late last year, and about this other lecture [part of the same series] given by Pete Townshend in 2011. I conceived of Bombast as a "new music" show, and am happily committed to that. I have discussed elsewhere on this website the idea that this program will try to exist in the moment, not look backward, and allow the continual onslaught of new releases to push the broadcast where it needs to go each week--it certainly beats dead-end nostalgia. The downside of this approach, from the standpoint of radio, is that the new music is available to everyone, for free, legally or illegally--it's already out there somewhere, and listeners don't particularly need me [or any other host] to provide access to it. It is true, as Bragg contends, that the breadth and idiosyncrasy of a presenter's taste can open windows for the listener that "Spotify Radio" and its similarly dreary counterparts are not likely to open, but it is equally true that you can automatically create value for listeners by playing what they cannot easily find and hear. And that means, in most cases of recorded music, venturing into the past, when a given release didn't appear immediately on iTunes, or get leaked to the Internet beforehand, or come with a free download code.
If I might go all "Uncle Catharsis" for a moment, and invite you to sit on my knee so that I can tell you a story about the way things were--back in the olden days, when there were only four television networks and we were still using rotary phones, owning recorded music meant committing to the possession of a physical object. We now call something like this a "hard copy." Back in the day there was no need for this term, because there were no "soft" copies--a third-generation audio cassette was no more physically disposable than the "original."
And that, to me, throws light upon a shortcoming of contemporary music--not its content, but its delivery. To paraphrase Hitchens, that which can be obtained without sacrifice can be jettisoned without sacrifice. Okay, that was a really loose paraphrasing, but the point is that the availability and disposability of the digital file changes our relationship with music. A 12-inch piece of vinyl that you don't happen to like is not easily discarded--so not easily, in fact, that sheer laziness might just induce you to keep it around long enough for it to start growing on you, as many now-treasured recordings have done with me. The .mp3 doesn't stand a chance. Also, it's possible to own so many digital files, and so many isolated files removed from their original contexts, that you can "shuffle" yourself into a life of endless, shallow novelty, never experiencing a complicated structure of individual expression carried out over the course of a "long-player." Listening experiences like this one are rare and perverse today--much to Lady Catharsis's delight [one of "three bands she can't stand," apparently] but not to mine. On a similar note, Townshend wonders aloud how and where this album or this one could be heard in their entirety if released today. An unfortunate "trickle-up" effect is the likely result--knowing that no one will listen sequentially or all the way through, you simply stop making such recordings.
These things, and the fact that many quality releases, even from the CD era [how odd that that now feels like a past-tense expression], have been overlooked in the Pandorization of Everything, lead me to think that Bombast could and should regularly embody my conviction that hard copies are beautiful things.
Hop down now--because my leg hurts, and things were getting awkward between us--and let me show you this gem of a recording that inaugurates the "Slipped Discs" feature--"Jah Shaka Presents Dub Masters Volume 1," courtesy of Mango Records [UK]. We have been waiting 24 years for a Volume 2. I'm beginning to suspect it's not forthcoming. This record and I have been through a lot together--finding it in NYC while on a visit from home in California, I actually flew it back on the plane with me, and it has since endured several changes of residence, not to mention an apartment flood in the late 1990s that damaged about 1/3 of my collection at the time.
Even without such bonding experiences to endear it to me, this is a killer LP--it's easy in 2013 not to know or remember how massive Jah Shaka was before dancehall and robo-reggae took over, what with his back catalogue barely touched by the on-demand music services, so this LP is valuable evidence of a great talent, and perfect on this skank-heavy evening.
So most weeks I will endeavor to program something like this--let us say, 15 to 20 minutes' worth [the length of an EP, or an LP side, roughly speaking] of a release that exists only in "meatspace." At least I didn't come up with a feature name incorporating that term. You're welcome.
BOMBAST playlist, 2013 January 23, 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.
- Rites of Spring: "End on End" [Dischord]
- Wailing Souls: "Very Well (Dub)" [Mango UK / Digikiller] ***"Slipped Disc"
- Unrest: "Imperial" [Teen Beat]
- The Specials: "A Message to You Rudy" [Chrysalis]
- The Slackers: "Rude & Reckless" [Hellcat]
- Junior Murvin: "Police and Thieves" [Island]
- The Velvet Underground: "Stephanie Says" [Verve] ***"Listening Parlour"
- The Evens: "Wanted Criminals" [Dischord]
- Human Cargo: "Carry Us Beyond" [Mango UK] ***"Slipped Disc"
- The Slackers: "You Must Be Good" [Hellcat]
- The Selecter: "Johnny Too Bad" [Castle]
- The [English] Beat: "Jackpot" [Go-Feet / London]
- The Velvet Underground: "Lisa Says" [Verve] ***"Listening Parlour"
- Darkstar: "Timeaway" [Warp]
- Pixies: "Build High" [4AD]
- Pixies: "Evil Hearted You" [4AD]
- The Slackers: "No Love" [Hellcat]
- The Selecter: "My Sweet Collie" [Castle]
- Girls Against Boys: "Jamie" [Slate / Adult Swim]
- Aswad: "Mossman Skank" [Mango UK] ***"Slipped Disc"
- The Specials: "Too Hot" [Chrysalis]
- The Slackers: "Wasted Days" [Hellcat]
- The Velvet Underground: "Candy Says" [Verve] ***"Listening Parlour"
next time: I strongly recommend the happy pills. --kid catharsis