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Feb 2013

So Damn Many Things: Transmission 17, 2013 February 20

random_eric_and_bedlamites_time-splice.jpegKid Catharsis flies solo once again, dropping humanitarian-aid packages in the form of excellent tunes for the people. It is a quietly awesome show, without much incident--few mishaps, and no angry callers. We should note that Eric Random doesn't get as much love from listeners as The Breeders, but it was ever thus.

I often feel, with scant reason, as though BOMBAST could go completely off the rails any given week. I remind myself often, "you've had [fill in number here--currently 17] shows, and that's good, no matter what happens." It is good. I can't say that I have 17 cassettes of the old programs from long ago, or that they would sound as varied and interesting as these programs have. When I say that the reasons for these elegiac musings are "scant," I mean: I have only heard positive things about the show, and the "updating" of WRFI's live schedule is happening at a pace that would make a glacier laugh, if glaciers could laugh.

The creeping doubt must be caused by workflow issues. As I write this, for example, I don't know whether the number of future shows I have planned is "zero" or "three," but am certain it is not "one" or "two." Does that make sense? Of course not. I have no idea how the Great Ones do it, but it was ever thus.

Certainly the Great Professionals had/have "producers," but, like the Prime Mover, I apparently produce myself. One live host on WRFI has interns, which initially strike me as a good idea, until I consider that these fresh-faced youngsters earn "academic credit" at a local institution of "higher learning." HA HA I AM NOT GOING DOWN THAT PATH. "FTS," as the kids say. Still, I could exploit the hell out of some youthful enthusiasm, because I never know how this show is going to come together each week until somehow it does.

If I might channel Oprah momentarily, a thing I "know for sure" is that "Physical Evidence" is my port in the storm. The next few installments are set, with a good mix of un-assimilated treasures from epochal bands and woefully under-appreciated salvos from bands known only to "the 500."

Which brings us to Eric Random, percussionist to the stars. IIRC I first saw him credited on a Cabaret Voltaire B-side, which seems as plausible as anything else. Pick up any early-80s record by an avant-funk-industrial band from the North of England, and there he seems to be. We can only hope he got paid up front, because I would think the royalties from these records, and his own, probably finance a rice bowl or two every month. It is not justice; it is simply life. Nevertheless Time-Splice is unique and multi-faceted, and well worth the extended time tonight's program gives it. I previously assumed, given his connection to CV and that this LP appears on the Doublevision label, that Random recorded this at Western Works--it has that same unusual, late-night ambiance that suffuses all of the great Cabs records--but have discovered that it was instead recorded at a place used by Eric Clapton and Take That! The apparent lesson is that style conquers all. By the way, how the hell have we produced 17 broadcasts without playing Cabaret Voltaire?! This is what interns would be good for--saving me from yelling at myself.

BOMBAST playlist, 2013 February 20, 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.

  1. Massive Attack: "Be Thankful for What You've Got" [Wild Bunch / Virgin]
  2. Night Plane: "Gold Soundz" [Soul Clap]
  3. Pavement: "Two States (Live at Brixton Academy) [Matador]
  4. The Fall: "Nate Will Not Return" [Cherry Red / MVD]
  5. X: "True Love Part 2" [Elektra / Rhino] / "Listening Parlour"
  6. Tony Allen: "Asiko Revisited" [Comet]
  7. Steve Hauschildt: "Accelerated Yearning" [Kranky]
  8. Dominik Eulberg: "Die Blaue Sekunde" [Traum]
  9. Savage Republic: "For Eva / Anatolia" [Les Temps Modernes]
  10. The Born Losers: "Angels Never Die (Dirge)" [Mean Disposition]
  11. Wild Billy Childish and the Spartan Dreggs: "Lemonade Stand" [Damaged Goods]
  12. Eric Random and the Bedlamites: "Second Sight" [Doublevision] / "Physical Evidence"
  13. Eric Random and the Bedlamites: "No-Man-Trash" [Doublevision] / "Physical Evidence"
  14. Eric Random and the Bedlamites: "Father Can't Yell" [Doublevision] / "Physical Evidence"
  15. Eric Random and the Bedlamites: "Himalaya Sun (Setting)" [Doublevision] / "Physical Evidence"
  16. Chico Mann: "His Favorite Thing" [Soundway]
  17. Religious Girls: "Charity (Old Arc Remix)" [Alien Transistor]
  18. Bessie Smith: "Faraway Blues" [Columbia / Legacy] / "Listening Parlour"
  19. Stereolab: "Brakhage" [1972]
  20. Jessica Kenney and Eyvind Kang: "Ordered Pairs II" [Ideologic Organ]
  21. Brian Eno and David Byrne: "Regiment" [Sire]
  22. Bunny Clarke: "Be Thankful" [Attack]
  23. The Upsetters: "Dubbing in the Back Seat" [Attack]
  24. Starkey: "Distant Star" [Civil Music]

Next time: a hastily-made classic. Enjoy the music! --kid catharsis

Feb 2013

Head-Bobbing and Chills: Transmission 16, 2013 February 13

Consider this program a belated seasonal gift. This past Wednesday was actually "World Radio Day," whatever vagueness that was designed to accomplish. But that doesn't pay the bills at Hallmark. As we all know, without necessarily wanting to, it was tantalizingly close to the Feast of Saint Valentine. Lady Catharsis joined me for a night of "love" songs, and Catharsis Junior [who now tells us she wants to be called "Dragon Girl" for radio purposes] sat in a corner and kicked [due to martial-arts aspirations, not anger] until my microphone broke.

I leave it to those who are qualified to decide these things whether the ensuing two hours constitute "High" or "Low" comedy. There are numerous mishaps that a half-trained monkey could avoid, such as the "Listening Parlour" music running halfway through a subsequent song or two, "Bombast" fading back in during Billy Bragg, CDs not being loaded properly, and on and on. But some fancy words are also spoken, although it seems I slipped an "anybunny" in there somewhere. I am relieved to hear that, as it does with other disturbances, my brain is doing its best to shield me from any awareness of Diana Krall's existence.

Lady Catharsis threw down the gauntlet with this week's selections, so with "Physical Evidence" I dropped the number 1 and called for a fastball. In choosing releases for this feature, I am occasionally surprised by what slips through the cracks and doesn't find its way to the Amazon .mp3 store, or whatever. I feel like many of my favorite records are of interest only to about 500 people, and I would expect those to remain meatspace exclusives, but it is odd for a band that seemingly Any Sensible Person would like not to have all of its music assimilated.

The Breeders began as an "indie supergroup," or at least that was the perception. The three major contributors--Kim Deal, Tanya Donnelly, and Josephine Wiggs--still played "second banana" in other bands [Pixies, Throwing Muses, and The Perfect Disaster, respectively], and "Pod" ostensibly demonstrated what it would sound like for them to take charge. Never mind that it was Kim Deal's band, and that once again Donnelly and Wiggs were supporting players, or that none of them played drums on this album that was seemingly about little more than drum sound. It was a thing. It garnered substantial interest for what was effectively a side project, mostly because Pixies were huge, and Deal, having supplanted Kim Gordon as Indie Chick #1, was seeing her vocal ambitions crushed by Black Francis--or at least that was the popular " wisdom."

The-Breeders-Safari-138373.jpgTwo years on, things had changed. The Perfect Disaster had broken up. Donnelly had left Throwing Muses. Pixies, apparently, were simply playing out their contract as U2's "support act." And out came "Safari." The Breeders now sound like the musicians consider the band a day job, and not a moment too soon, given the circumstances. This EP is not the most concentrated distillation of the Breeders' essence [but we've all heard "Cannonball" about 5 million times by now], nor is it the most raucous thing they recorded, but it is much too good, and too pertinent for this evening, to pass up. A special bonus for internet listeners--you don't have to suffer through the 26 seconds of dead air between the first and second track, which occurred because I left the cd player in "single" mode instead of putting it into "continuous." Enjoy these minor touch-ups while you can. If we continue down this slippery slope, within a couple of months all the talking breaks will be auto-tuned or something.

A coincidental overlap involving The Breeders and Elvis Costello is that both "Safari" and "What Do I Do Now?" appeared in that "obscure" series of compilations that I referred to, the star-crossed but outstanding Volume series. There were only 17 issues of this CD-sized magazine spread out over 5 years, but every "issue" was brimming with humor, passion, and great music. Also, every cover featured a lovely fish , and this series must also receive the credit for unleashing Mindless Drug Hoover on the world. I have reservations about including these in the "Physical Evidence" series, because I am confident that many of the individual tracks have made it to the legal on-demand Internet sites, although they were exclusives at the time. I'm too lazy to do the research that would disprove this. Ask anybody. But the mastermind and dreamer behind this series, Rob Deacon, may he rest in peace, had previously managed the also-terrific Sweatbox label, which had released a few LP + magazine trial runs. We will hear from them very soon.

BOMBAST playlist, 2013 February 13, 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.

  1. Billy Bragg: "This Guitar Says Sorry" [Go! Discs / Elektra] / "Listening Parlour"
  2. Linton Kwesi Johnson: "Loraine" [Mango / Island]
  3. Lou Reed / John Cale: "Nobody but You" [Sire / Warner] / "Listening Parlour"
  4. Scotty: "Draw Your Brakes" [Mango]
  5. New Order: "Temptation" [Factory / Rhino] / "Listening Parlour"
  6. Kiki Gyan: "Loving You" [Soundway]
  7. Johnny Cash / June Carter: "If I Were a Carpenter" [Columbia] / "Listening Parlour"
  8. Dennis Brown: "Impossible" [Heartbeat]
  9. Pixies: "Cactus" [4AD / Elektra] / "Listening Parlour"
  10. Prince Far I: "You I Love and Not Another" [Joe Gibbs]
  11. Massive Attack: "One Love" [Wild Bunch / Virgin]
  12. The Breeders: "Do You Love Me Now?" [4AD / Elektra] / "Physical Evidence"
  13. The Breeders: "Don't Call Home" [4AD / Elektra] / "Physical Evidence"
  14. The Breeders: "Safari" [4AD / Elektra] / "Physical Evidence"
  15. The Breeders: "So Sad About Us" [4AD / Elektra] / "Physical Evidence"
  16. Eurythmics: "Love Is a Stranger" [RCA] / "Listening Parlour"
  17. Alton Ellis: "Can I Change My Mind" [Heartbeat]
  18. Elvis Costello: "What Do I Do Now?" [Volume] / "Listening Parlour"
  19. The Paragons: "Danger in Your Eyes" [Heartbeat]
  20. American Music Club: "The Dead Part of You" [Alias] / "Listening Parlour"
  21. Gyedu-Blay Ambolley: "Toffie" [Academy LPs]
  22. Bob Mould: "New #1" [Creation / Ryko] / "Listening Parlour"
  23. Jah Stitch: "Greedy Girl" [Blood and Fire]
  24. The Velvet Underground: "I'm Sticking With You" [Verve] / "Listening Parlour"

next week: the usual trail mix. Enjoy the music! --dragon girl's dad

Feb 2013

Croix de Bombast: Transmission 15, 2013 February 6

It was our quinceañera, and we were wearing our prettiest dress. The Durutti Column's "LC," side two this time [plus a little extra!] served as our "Physical Evidence" for the week. There were two visits to the "Listening Parlour," as usual. Life was good.

On the show, I did have what I've been thinking of as a "Cokie Roberts moment," for lack of a better reference. You can figure out what that is by listening. I can't do all your homework for you. But it does prompt me to discuss how the sausage is made.

Most radio stations that play music, especially those that have done so for decades, have music libraries. While never an absolute necessity, even in the pre-digital era--hosts could always bring in their own records--a library is a tremendous resource. One thing a library makes possible, or at least easy, is the "request." You call up the station, ask the host if s/he can play something, and it probably happens. Unless your chosen piece of music isn't in the library. Or the host is being a douche. Another, somewhat related, thing a library makes possible is improvisation. You are playing a piece of music on the air and a sudden whim strikes you, or you suddenly sense a connection to another piece of music that you hadn't considered until this moment--you can pull that record or cd from the library and play it.

[The bad thing a library makes possible is laziness, to which I was certainly prone in my past life. When you reach a certain level of experience and expertise, you can get cocky, and feel that you don't need to think very hard about what you are doing. You don't "plan" your show in any meaningful sense of the word, and you just stroll into the station, like a rock star, 2 minutes before air time, lacking only a satin jacket and a suspicious case of the sniffles to complete the sorry picture.]

Anyway, at WRFI we don't have a music library to speak of. We do have maybe 30 or so CDs, with Putumayo compilations being of particular interest to somebody--but nothing that would make BOMBAST possible even as a one-time thing. So the show, haphazard as it sometimes sounds, is "planned," and I do have to "bring in" music to play. Now. Some of it is tangible stuff from my personal collection, or that of Lady Catharsis, and some of it is, let us say, "acquired" from "places." But--let's just use a recent example--Factory Benelux, let us say, does not freely send us new records and cds on the off chance that we, a low-power FM station in the middle of nowhere, might play them. [Believe it or not, in the hard-copy-only era, this was a thing that would happen, and it was wonderful, oh my god.]

That is our hard truth for the week. Sorry if I have shattered any illusions. But like I said at the outset, I'm all grown up now, and so are you. If not, don't worry, the Easter Bunny is coming in about 7 weeks.

BOMBAST playlist, 2013 February 6, 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.

  1. Fai Baba: "Sail Away" [A Tree in a Field]
  2. Fanga and Maalem Abdallah Guinea: "Gnawi" [Strut]
  3. Rone: "King of Batoofam" [Infine]
  4. Lee Hazlewood: "We All Make the Flowers Grow" [LHI] / "Listening Parlour"
  5. Swindle: "Forest Funk" [Deep Medi Musik]
  6. Christiaan Virant: "Monkey Mind" [CVMK]
  7. Starkey: "Command" [Civil Music]
  8. Kiki Gyan: "Sexy Dancer" [Soundway]
  9. Abba: "Voulez-Vous" [Polar]
  10. The Durutti Column: "Never Known" [Factory Benelux] / "Physical Evidence"
  11. The Durutti Column: "The Act Committed" [Factory Benelux] / "Physical Evidence"
  12. The Durutti Column: "Detail for Paul" [Factory Benelux] / "Physical Evidence"
  13. The Durutti Column: "The Missing Boy" [Factory Benelux] / "Physical Evidence"
  14. The Durutti Column: "The Sweet Cheat Gone" [Factory Benelux] / "Physical Evidence"
  15. Mark Lanegan: "Stay" [Sub Pop] / "Listening Parlour"
  16. Emilia Amper: "Vals fran Valsebo" [Bis]
  17. The Ordinaires: "Kashmir" [One Little Indian]
  18. Pinkie Maclure: "Horns Off" [One Little Indian]
  19. Ham: "Voulez Vous" [One Little Indian]
  20. Sam Willis: "Foxglissandro" [Half Machine]
  21. Dakota Suite: "Lumen" [Glitterhouse]

Next time: Lady Catharsis, live! Enjoy. --kid catharsis

Feb 2013

Physical Evidence: Transmission 14, 2013 January 30

[ORIGINALLY POSTED 2013 January 31]

[UPDATE: images, audio added 2013 February 4]

It was a night of reissues and revisions.  I finally wrangled Catharsis Junior into "the studio" and coaxed a new program introduction out of her, as well as an opening to the newly rechristened "Physical Evidence" feature.  And "Factory Benelux" [in quotes because I suspect it is merely invoked rather than revived] weighs in with an assortment of post-punk classics retrieved from the memory hole.

Working out my "issues" through these posts is something from which I will try to take a break this week.  Fear not; old habits die hard, and the odds favor a relapse.  But for this week the program can speak for itself. I would rather talk about other stuff, and give you some links and pictures.

A cloud of melancholy seems to hang over Factory Benelux, not simply because of the challenging, alienated sounds they released, but because of their rumored status as the "graveyard" for those recordings that didn't "make the cut" at Factory HQ in Manchester.  Whether this was true, and how consistently it was true, is strangely difficult to nail down.  And also its loose connection with the last days of Joy Division and the sordid demise of Ian Curtis, what with FBN being the result of an "arrangement" between Factory and Les Disques du Crépuscule, a label co-managed by Annik Honoré, the exotic Belgian diplomat--perhaps the only one of her kind--who was Ian Curtis's mistress. It is a good week for melancholy, as our local weather has turned from a peaceful, photogenic deep freeze into a turgid "wintry mix" of rain and ice. And there is something strangely contemporary about these 30-year old records--not just that their under-exposure prevents them from evoking a specific past but also that I hear these sounds reflected in many current releases.

Frank Brinkhuis and James Nice have tirelessly kept the torch lit in the Internet era, publishing histories, images, and discographies, and most importantly reissuing the music.  One good use of this site is that I can exploit it to make the "calls to action" WRFI's license prohibits us from making on air, so I call on you to at least investigate. Your curiosity will be rewarded.

Often overlooked but central to the history in its own way is the work of Vini Reilly, a.k.a. The Durutti Column, whose "L.C." serves as this week's "Slipped Disc" piece of "Physical Evidence." I suspect that seldom will a brand new [re-] release also qualify for the "Physical Evidence" feature, since it is meant to celebrate music that doesn't appear in cyberspace, so we already have a special occasion on our hands. And then there are the tunes.

The Durutti Column is a shoe-in for the Bombast Hall of Legends, although the Committee has been out to lunch of late. The time will come for a full induction. For now, the "Lack of Appreciation" clause underwrites all of tonight's bother.

durutticolumnlcfront.jpegSomehow "L.C." has slipped in and out of print, and online and off, several times over the years. Were it not for things like systemic poverty, sex slavery, and drone-bombings, we might figuratively call something like this a "crime." Let's just think of it as a "puzzlement." This is a special record, containing as it does the bubbly "Jacqueline," which would have made a decent single, and the haunting "Never Known," perhaps the seven minutes without which one's experience of The Durutti Column could never be complete [but that is for next week]. Without any context, "L.C." is a great listen.

But context matters. It matters that this record is the dreaded sophomore effort and not the revelatory debut. It matters that it features a goofy painting harmless watercolor on the cover instead of sandpaper. It matters that Martin Hannett doesn't occupy the producer's chair.  It matters that Reilly doesn't team up with Donald Johnson from A Certain Ratio and chooses a drummer from a parody-rock band instead. By just about any measure, "L.C." is much "less cool" than "The Return of the Durutti Column." Reilly even sings on the record, something Factory would try [and fail] to stop him from doing again.durutticolumnlclabel.jpeg

So "L.C." is a defiant album, which makes this the perfect time for a reissue. Right now we don't know if any more new material from the Durutti Column will ever emerge. There have been rumors, but it seems more appropriate just to hope that Reilly can one day get back to living a normal life, after a series of strokes he has suffered since 2010, and do basic things like use his left hand. By the way, on a not-unrelated note, the actual significance of "L.C." is a bit of Italian slang: "Lotta Continua" [The Struggle Continues].

Reilly's financial troubles, brought on by his health issues, have been fairly well documented--much to his humiliation. Since I'm all about "calls to action" right now, why not consider adding this to your collection? It is less an act of charity than a gift to yourself. Go ahead. You deserve it.

BOMBAST playlist, 2013 January 30, 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.

  1. The Names: "Nightshift" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes]
  2. Crispy Ambulance: "Concorde Square" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes]
  3. Dominik Eulberg: "Als Er Den Gleißenden Rand Seines Schattens Sah" [Traum]
  4. Emilia Amper: "Polska Fra Hoffsmyran" [Bis]
  5. Other Lives: "Take Us Alive" [TBD]
  6. Pere Ubu: "Musicians are Scum" [Fire]
  7. Blurt: "Get" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes]
  8. Steve Moore: "Feel the Difference" [Dangerous Age]
  9. Debruit: "Zef (Fulgeance Remix)" [Civil Music]
  10. Happy Mondays: "Hallelujah (Club Mix)" [Factory / Elektra] ***"Listening Parlour"
  11. John Talabot: "Last Land (Kenton Slash Demon Remix)" [Permanent Vacation]
  12. The Durutti Column: "Sketch for Dawn (1)" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes] ***"Physical Evidence"
  13. The Durutti Column: "Portrait for Frazer" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes] ***"Physical Evidence"
  14. The Durutti Column: "Jacqueline" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes] ***"Physical Evidence"
  15. The Durutti Column: "Messidor" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes] ***"Physical Evidence"
  16. The Durutti Column: "Sketch for Dawn (2)" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes] ***"Physical Evidence"
  17. Ohio Players: "Skin Tight" [Mercury]
  18. Soundgarden: "Fopp" [A & M]
  19. Born Losers: "Funnel of Love" [Mean Disposition]
  20. Mogwai: "Soup" [Rock Action]
  21. The Wake: "Judas" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes]
  22. Leslie Winer: "John Says" [The Wormhole]
  23. Wooden Wand: "Outsider Blues" [Fire]
  24. Sugar: "Man on the Moon" [Creation / Rykodisc] ***"Listening Parlour"

next time: Side 2. Enjoy the music! --kid catharsis

Feb 2013



It is [UPDATE: is no longer] sad-face time in il mondo Bumbastico.

Currently we are up against our storage limits here at the Podbean site, and the problem will not go away by itself.  Our "archive" space grows a certain amount each month, with the "reset" happening on the first of the month.  So the Immediate bad news is that you won't be getting any new podcast content from us until Feb. 1 at the earliest.  Sorry. [UPDATE: old news; January 23 broadcast is up. More soon.]

But wait!  There's more.  The Long-Term bad news is that the "certain amount" [350MB, if you'd like to follow along and do math--and who wouldn't?] will not be enough to accommodate the amount of "content" we generate on a monthly basis--especially if a given month contains five Wednesdays, as this month does. [UPDATE: all of this is true, but does not have to mean what I thought it did at the time of first writing.]

A 2-hour episode of Bombast, in .mp3 format at 128kbps, occupies roughly 115MB of storage space.  Do you see where this is going?  115MB [per epidosde] goes into 350MB [per month] 3 times tidily.  So if I would like to upload 4 episodes per month, I would have to convert the episodes at a lower rate or increase storage space.  Or--here is a novel idea--you and I could just figure out how to be happy with three episodes per month. [UPDATE: again, the math is correct, but it does not mean that a given show will not post.]

Let's review the pros and cons!

Converting the recordings to .mp3 at a lower quality would decrease the size of each episode file, enabling all the shows to be uploaded without maxing out storage space.  Personally I feel the disadvantages are pretty overwhelming.  The episodes you already hear are 128kbps, which to my ear is only "acceptable."  96kbps [the rate at which 4 episodes-per-month becomes possible] is "marginal," and anything below that is "unlistenable."

Increasing storage space would allow the uploading of every episode at the same "acceptable" .mp3 quality, but would cost money.  I won't bore you with the details, but I do pay a small amount of money for this site.  "Updating" my account [not "upgrading," apparently], to the tune of 3-4x the amount I already pay, would give me 1GB storage growth per month.  It's too much of an expenditure for a vanity project like this, and while "listener funding" would be perfectly in tune with the way WRFI operates, I am not excited about sticking my hand out and asking for PayPal donations, and god help me if I should have to initiate a Kickstarter campaign.  I have no "premiums" to offer except some unwanted toy instruments, a length of copper wire, and maybe a signed coaster.  Not even a Kid Catharsis or WRFI coaster, just, you know, a cardboard coaster from some place or other.  Clearly there are better places your money could go.

Paring down the uploads to 3 per month would allow me, like a marginal student in a dreaded GenEd class, to "drop" my worst performances and provide you only with the "best."  Of course, what "best" means will differ from person to person, as I am reminded every week, and I will miss the full documentation of the ongoing slapstick, and the attendant confessionals.

Of course this is the option I am choosing for the moment, mostly because it requires the least effort and sacrifice.  Think of it this way: I am freeing up 2 to 4 hours for you on a monthly basis.  YOU ARE MOST WELCOME.  DON'T MENTION IT.

If anyone has a useful solution that I haven't considered--please don't say "webstreaming for the whole station," WE KNOW--feel free to drop me a line, which will do me the additional favor of knowing that somebody is paying attention.  Seriously--I have looked into other podcast sites, but there are only marginal differences that I can see in those that offer the same benefits that I receive here--easy conjunction with iTunes, no ads, no spam, etc.  But if you know of one, you know where to find me.

In the meantime, look for new podcasts on or around the 1st, 11th, and 21st of every month, starting in a week or so.

[UPDATE: no, no, and no. All shows will be posted--for a time. Some will be "archived" and stay here forever--in internet time--and some will be pulled down after a few weeks. I don't know what I was thinking. The BBC posts most of its programs for 7 days, and therefore you can only listen to the most recent episode of any given show. PERSPECTIVE.

Once again--I will be posting every program, "shortly" after it happens. I try to get things uploaded by Friday, but that does not always work out. This week, I plan on a Monday upload in addition to the one that happened yesterday. So we should be all "caught up."

And, a reminder--it's dead easy to subscribe to the RSS or iTunes, just by clicking the appropriate box on the right-hand side of your screen. Think of it--cathartic home delivery.]

Oh, and yes I know it is really arrogant and sad to think anyone is bothered by this.  That's another thing you don't have to tell me!--kid catharsis [UPDATE: that last bit still holds.]

Feb 2013

Slipped Discs: Transmission 13, 2013 January 23

[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.

jahshakadubmastersvolume1front.jpgHop 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.jahshakadubmastersvolume1rear.jpg

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.

  1. Rites of Spring: "End on End" [Dischord]
  2. Wailing Souls: "Very Well (Dub)" [Mango UK / Digikiller] ***"Slipped Disc"
  3. Unrest: "Imperial" [Teen Beat]
  4. The Specials: "A Message to You Rudy" [Chrysalis]
  5. The Slackers: "Rude & Reckless" [Hellcat]
  6. Junior Murvin: "Police and Thieves" [Island]
  7. The Velvet Underground: "Stephanie Says" [Verve] ***"Listening Parlour"
  8. The Evens: "Wanted Criminals" [Dischord]
  9. Human Cargo: "Carry Us Beyond" [Mango UK] ***"Slipped Disc"
  10. The Slackers: "You Must Be Good" [Hellcat]
  11. The Selecter: "Johnny Too Bad" [Castle]
  12. The [English] Beat: "Jackpot" [Go-Feet / London]
  13. The Velvet Underground: "Lisa Says" [Verve] ***"Listening Parlour"
  14. Darkstar: "Timeaway" [Warp]
  15. Pixies: "Build High" [4AD]
  16. Pixies: "Evil Hearted You" [4AD]
  17. The Slackers: "No Love" [Hellcat]
  18. The Selecter: "My Sweet Collie" [Castle]
  19. Girls Against Boys: "Jamie" [Slate / Adult Swim]
  20. Aswad: "Mossman Skank" [Mango UK] ***"Slipped Disc"
  21. The Specials: "Too Hot" [Chrysalis]
  22. The Slackers: "Wasted Days" [Hellcat]
  23. The Velvet Underground: "Candy Says" [Verve] ***"Listening Parlour"

next time: I strongly recommend the happy pills. --kid catharsis

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