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Mar 2020

Five to Twelve, Almost Gone: Transmission 503, 2019 December 31

big_black_atomizer-1.jpgApologies are in order. There's a slowness to my cadence when I call this "the final live program" that can trick you into thinking those words are followed by a period. Sure enough, though, "...of 2019" follows, just to dash your hopes. I'm still here. On this night, Lady Catharsis is here as well, to shake things up, argue with me about rideshare services, sing backup to Wanda Jackson, and open the door to my abandonment of the "no repetition" policy so I can play "Kerosene" to honor the spirit and chops of Dave Riley.

I am vulnerable to nostalgia at all times, but December is the worst. In 2019 I had succeeded in not walking around in the snow listening to Cocteau Twins, probably because I no longer walk around in any weather listening to anything. More encouraging: I managed to have a 4AD-free Christmas. But events conspired to pull me back in. Vaughan Oliver died, and I surprised myself by feeling things about that. So Lady Catharsis and I, and our listeners, got to work through them. Together.

scorched_earth.jpgPreviewing all of my on-air comments here would be stupid in more than one way. You'll just have to listen and find out. But it would be fair to say I'm less than 100% positive about the 4AD back catalogue. Look, I am a recovering addict and I don't know what you want from me. If there's any such thing as periodization of 4AD fandom, I am definitely a Lonely Is an Eyesore kid. And I expect things to stay awesome all the time. They can't, they don't, and somehow it saddens me. Truly I have bigger problems in this life but you wouldn't think so. Anyway, to reach back even further, "Marble Station" is absolutely majestic and would have justified getting hooked on this stuff, had it been what hooked me.

w/r/t Vaughan Oliver my hipsterism is so cringe that, I have to say, I'm a "23 Envelope person" and not "a v23 person." Did you know there were such people? Of course not because there aren't, it's only me as far as I know. Feeling something after Vaughan Oliver's death surprised me because I have opinions, you see. Nigel Grierson's work is special. His photographs made those sleeves. Read Facing the Other Way and tell me the story about the Nantes exhibit and the end of that friendship isn't the saddest thing in the book. But I am a person of Sentiment, and death is the biggest corrective, next to correction.

Since this program was broadcast, 70 days ago now, I've gone on the air 13 times. I'm editing a sound file from 13 days ago--four shows ago. How is this possible? It's not getting better any time soon, unless the coronavirus puts us all in quarantine and gives me time to churn through the backlog.

Program notes: I notice that these shows are a lot more dynamic, literally, when Lady Catharsis is the guest. She and her records are all over the place. You can see it in the waveforms. Or you could, if you were some weirdo who downloaded the audio files and imported them into a sound editing program. ANYWAY the point I am making is really about me and my normalization of everything. Not only does my voice sound like I have a built-in compressor, my taste in music is just kind of "smooth" and "regular." You can see this too. It's a kind of aesthetic fascism, and unironically I think Vaughan Oliver is partly to blame for that!

Anyway towards the end of the show it sounds like an old KDVS program with friends, which is not a bad place to wind up.

By the way, Colourbox [or "Colour Box"] record was from 1983, not 1993. I was never confused about this. I just can't talk properly.

A final correction: the 63 transmissions we broadcast in 2019 did not make it the "quietest year" in the history of the program or whatever I called it. There were two years when I did fewer shows, including a year in which I did only 52, like a regular person. I don't know what to make of having forgotten that, but I don't like it. Circling back to the first program I did in 2019 though, I sounded so dead inside, bored with what I was doing and completely devoid of affect. I don't think I sound that way anymore. Maybe it was a good year.

BOMBAST playlist, 2019 December 31, 2100-2300:

  1. "What Is It?" | The Mighty Strinth | The Rebirth of Cool Seven | Island
  2. "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" | Ella Fitzgerald | Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas | Verve
  3. "New Year" | Big Joanie | Sistahs | Daydream Library Series
  4. "It's Getting Late" | Galaxie 500 | Today [reissue] | 20|20|20
  5. "(There Ought To Be) A Moonlight Savings Time" | Bob Richardson & His Orchestra | The Pig's Big 78s - A Beginner's Guide | Trikont
  6. "The New Fidelity" | The Durutti Column | Fidelity [reissue] | Les Disques Du Crépuscule
  7. "Re:Action" | Spirea X | Speed Reaction | 4AD
  8. "Rip It Up" | Wanda Jackson | Two Sides of Wanda | Capitol
  9. "Kerosene" | Big Black | Atomizer | Touch & Go
  10. "Marble Station" | Sort Sol | Natures Mortes - Still Lives | 4AD
  11. "Altitude" | System 7 | System 7 | 10
  12. "Shout" | Afriqua | Colored | R & S
  13. "Slo Bird Whistle" | Aphex Twin | Peel Session 2 | WARP
  14. "Find My Way" | Ultramarine | This Time Last Year | Real Soon
  15. "Breakdown" | Colourbox | Colourbox [MAD 315 CD] | 4AD
  16. "More Mess On My Thing" | The J.B.'s | More Mess On My Thing | Now-Again
  17. "Marquis Cha Cha" | The Fall | Room To Live [reissue] | Cherry Red
  18. "Burn The Bastards" | The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu | Shag Times | KLF Communications

never anything to do in this town

Mar 2020

Let This Evil Season End: Transmission 502, 2019 December 24

renzo_cesana_for_some_reason.jpgDoing a program on Christmas Eve (or at least December 24, if not technically the "eve") was really important to me when I was young, even though I would almost never play Christmas music. I always seemed to have a work shift on the 24th anyway (it's still that way and the world is becoming more Dickensian all the time)--so why not have a "fun" shift as well, I guess I must have thought. Also, especially early on at KDVS, I was only cleared to be on the air at certain times of the day, but this restriction would often not apply to term breaks and fill-in appearances. So, let's say, in my first year on the air, I probably would been authorized to spin records between midnight and 9 a.m., but I could at least have an afternoon program on the 24th of December, so that felt like liberation and "prime time." No one was listening, most likely, but what good would it have done to spurn the chance? Finally, and this is kind of sad, I think maybe doing radio on this day was a way of compensating for being separated from my friends at holiday time. Maybe this is still a thing, year-round, in the present.

So you know I'm not kidding when I say I'm excited to finally have the chance. It's been fun to do all those Festivus programs on the 23rd of December, but it's not the same. It's also true that I have developed these weird associations between the holiday and music that really has nothing to do with it. It could be music that I bought for myself in December (pouring one out for Green Noise Records, situated in Eugene, Oregon, sometime in the mid-90s, where I heard the Oval cd that serves as tonight's tinkly interstitial music--if only I had gotten the name of the album right! But, you know what, there are a lot of album titles to remember, and I'm old, so every new one I have to learn pushes another one out of my brain), music that someone else bought for me, something I heard while looking at xmas lights and just sounded right in the moment, etc. Lady Catharsis, my companion on this holy night, sort of understands, or pretends to. She's a good sport!

Since this program was broadcast, 70 days ago now, I've gone on the air 12 times. I'm editing a sound file from 13 days ago--three shows ago. I'm falling behind once again, and making the same mistake I always make, which is to jump at the chance of more airtime.

Program notes: was Bandwagonesque actually a December release? No! Surely November 19 is close enough, though, and there's no way it could have made it over here on a boat that quickly. This program is full of crazy jazz dynamics, and I blame this on the actual vintage holiday music that we try to play. Those Jimmy McGriff drums are LOUD. Take that, Steve Albini! At one point I refer to myself as an "it," which I just may be for all anyone knows. I manage to biff two James Brown songs and get mad--the self-hatred doesn't take a vacation, not even for Christmas. There's an honest-to-goodness rock block in the second hour that ends, inexplicably, with some cheesy tunes from a seasonal King record that even more inexplicably doesn't include James Brown. Finally, because there has to be an agenda, we end the evening with a junk-sick tale from William S. Burroughs that, on reflection, I'm not sure kids should have heard. Anyway, to all a good night, filled with vegetable serenity!

BOMBAST playlist, 2019 December 24, 2100-2300:

  1. "Holiday On The Moon" | Love & Rockets | Express | Big Time - RCA
  2. "Christmas Time Is Here (Uh Oh)" | Telekinesis | You Wish (A Merge Records Holiday Album) | Merge
  3. "Santa's Little Sleigh Bells" | Ruby Wright | Merry Christmas From King Records | King / Sundazed
  4. "Is This Music?" | Teenage Fanclub | Bandwagonesque | DGC
  5. "City of Christmas Ghosts" | Goldblade Featuring Poly Styrene | City Of Christmas Ghosts | Damaged Goods
  6. "Christmas Island" | Depeche Mode | A Question of Lust | Mute
  7. "Violets for Your Furs (Today I Bought You Violets)" | The Continental (Renzo Cesana) | Christmas Cocktails | Capitol
  8. "Winter Circle" | Ultramarine | Ghosts Of Christmas Past (Remake) | Les Disques Du Crépuscule
  9. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" | Jimmy McGriff | Christmas Cocktails Part Two | Capitol
  10. "Chicken King & The Prince of Dreams" | Legendary Pink Dots | Legendary Pink Dots' Christmas Special 2019 | self-released
  11. "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" | Ella Fitzgerald | Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas | Verve
  12. "Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto" / "Merry Christmas Baby" | James Brown | Funky Christmas | Polydor
  13. "Won't Be Alone Tonight" | Mike Krol | You Wish (A Merge Records Holiday Album) | Merge
  14. "Fast and Loose" | Motörhead | BBC Live & In-Session | Sanctuary
  15. "Merry Christmas Fritz" | The Buff Medways | Merry Christmas Fritz c/w Stille Nacht | Damaged Goods
  16. "No Gifts for Nazis" | Alice Bag | No Gifts for Nazis | Get Better
  17. "Christmas Questions" | Joe Ward | Merry Christmas From King Records | King / Sundazed
  18. "Lasst uns froh und munter sein Dub" | Dub Spencer & Trance Hill | Christmas in Dub | Echo Beach
  19. "Twinkle Twinkle Christmas Star" | Lillian Brooks | Merry Christmas From King Records | King / Sundazed
  20. "The Junky's Christmas" | William S. Burroughs | Spare Ass Annie And Other Tales | Island Red Label

ecstatically happy until the end of time

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