Back Brain Stimulator: Transmission 18, 2013 February 27


No one has volunteered for an uncompensated, unaccredited Bombast internship, which--I apologize--must be as shocking to you as it is to me. Still we press on. Since I last wrote, we reached an equilibrium in which, clearly, at least one show was prepared. So here it is. Somehow this week became all about neo-psychedelia and space-rock, but there are worse things around which a show could coalesce. How serendipitous that The Legendary Pink Dots and Acid Mothers Temple should have new releases out at the same time that reissues of both Pop Will Eat Itself and Hawkwind, playing "Orgone Accumulator," pass through their window of currency.

mybloodyvalenitneecstasyandwine.jpegI gather from your silence that I must not have explained that phrase, "window of currency." It is one of those heretofore-unspoken "rules" I follow, and which I've stopped documenting because it just angers Lady Catharsis. Anyway, "back at the old grey school," there were three "content guidelines" to which every DJ at the otherwise free-form station was expected to adhere. I need hardly say that one was, "no obscenity" [except during the "safe times," when those existed, and what obnoxious fun was then had].

The second rule concerned the stylistic territory of your show. Let us say that you applied to do a gospel-music program and were given a Sunday-morning spot, and the station advertised the show accordingly. Let us then imagine that somewhere along the line you discovered that what you really liked best was the DC hardcore scene [you know, the part of it that wasn't gospel-related], and began playing that instead. You would eventually be summoned to the Music Director's desk for a chat.

[This is one reason why I feel good about the current shows, and remorseful about the "old days"--I painted myself into a corner back then, and it was not such a great period for what I was playing. If only I hadn't been so far ahead of my time!]

mybloodyvalentineecstasy.jpegAnyway, rule #3 pertained to the "currents." The records and CDs that campus mail would deliver by wheelbarrow were received by the Music Director [how long before WRFI gets one of these?], accepted or relegated to coaster/frisbee status, dated, and placed in the "current" bins, where they would sit for 90 days before moving to the permanent library. The current releases were to comprise at least 30% of our music programming.

The Music Director reviewed every DJ's playlists [which we filed primarily to satisfy FCC requirements], not every week but more or less once per academic term, to assess our adherence to this rule. It mattered, and should have. The "current" policy was one of "our" best principles, as it represents the overlap of entertainment and information. That 30% figure could and should have been higher.

One of my colleagues at the time hosted a program that played current records, exclusively, as its only organizational concept. Young Master Catharsis looked askance at this, but YMC was a pedantic douche who fetishized aesthetic uniformity and production values. Now that I am just a pedantic douche who doesn't much care, I grasp the brilliant simplicity of this idea. Such a show moves forward, perpetually, without conscious effort.

Now, if I could just minimize effort and pedantry [INTERNS! I am telling you. Especially if they are willing to ask the tough questions, like, "Who cares about Sucking Chest Wound?"], I could arrive within shouting distance of perfection. If I could just stop making such willful programming choices, and stop conceptualizing so damn much, BOMBAST would achieve perpetual-awesomeness-in-motion. For now we have to settle for "as much current music as I can fit around my own crazy impulses."

Clouding this picture is the phenomenon of reissues, which were not so numerous in the Old Days. Does a reissue constitute something old or something new? The display racks of nearly every independent record store I have visited [large sample size there] would indicate the latter, not that commerce is a reliable guide. It feels a bit like "cheating," but at whose expense? I see The Kidz walking around in their music t-shirts--The Velvet Underground, Led Zeppelin, Joy Division, etc.--and reflect that no college students in the 1980s sported Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby tees, which would have been the equivalent of today's pop-culture nostalgia.

mybloodyvalentinestrawberrywine.jpgIn light of this, what would my hypothetical young Interns demand that I play, if not the likes of U Roy and Hawkwind? [I know, I know, "Mumford and Sons"--but, let us be frank, such interests would rule out a second interview.] Or, for that matter, tonight's wonderful [but not presently reissued] piece of "Physical Evidence?" As I say on air, no one needs me to share the new My Bloody Valentine. But, since someone decided that we have reached the end of history, I figured that we could fold the past into the present without much complaint, and remind ourselves that the MBV story is: not just about post-rock, but also about rock; not just about taking 22 years to release an album that sounds pretty much like the last one, but also about moments of spontaneous greatness not to be reprised.

Oh--[hey Jezebel, I am friendly and available]--and it is also not just about Kevin Shields, who gets all the interviews, but Bilinda Butcher as well, the second guitarist / vocalist and secret weapon, heard here in the first recordings the band made after she joined. This is the moment MBV became what we now know them to be, whatever that is. Before they nearly bankrupted Creation Records while making Loveless--setting off a chain of events that finally gave us Oasis--and by the way, for the sake of truth in advertising, should they not have stayed with "Lazy Records?"--the band had occupied the space where the Jesus and Mary Chain used to live, and made it better. Strawberry Wine and Ecstasy are special achievements, records that are at once breezy and hard, childlike and sophisticated. "Never say goodbye as we chase the clouds away"--chills and happy tears, simultaneously.

Technical notes: signal levels were a bit all-over-the-place, but get better as the show progresses. Other than that, it was a night without errors! "Striving for excellence in content and technique"--it is part of our mission.

BOMBAST playlist, 2013 February 27, 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.

  1. The Legendary Pink Dots: "Immaculate Conception" [Rustblade]
  2. My Bloody Valentine: "Never Say Goodbye" [Lazy] / "Physical Evidence"
  3. Pop Will Eat Itself: "Orgone Accumulator" [Optic Nerve]
  4. John Talabot: "Destiny (feat. Pional)" [Permanent Vacation]
  5. Ramones: "I Don't Wanna Go Down to the Basement" [Sire] / "Listening Parlour"
  6. Gyedu-Blay Ambolley: "Adwoa" [Academy LPs]
  7. My Bloody Valentine: "The Things I Miss" [Lazy] / "Physical Evidence"
  8. U Roy: "Come on Deh" [Clocktower]
  9. Greg Foat Group: "Have Spacesuit Will Travel Part 2" [Jazzman]
  10. Hawkwind: "Orgone Accumulator" [EMI]
  11. King Missile: "She Had Nothing" [Shimmy-Disc] / "Listening Parlour"
  12. Ergo Phizmiz: "Fingerwings" [Care in the Community]
  13. Philip Gorbachev: "Where Is Rony Douglas?" [Comeme]
  14. Smersh: "Herman" [Dark Entries]
  15. Sucking Chest Wound: "Who Shot the Pope?" [DOVentertainment]
  16. Seawash: "Revolution" [Delsin]
  17. My Bloody Valentine: "(Please) Lose Yourself in Me" [Lazy] / "Physical Evidence"
  18. Acid Mothers Temple / Melting Paraiso U.F.O.: "OM Riff from the Melting Paraiso U.F.O., Part 1" [Riot Season]
  19. Ulrich Schnauss: "Her and the Sea" [Scripted Realities]
  20. My Bloody Valentine: "Clair" [Lazy] / "Physical Evidence"
  21. The Legendary Pink Dots: "Immaculate Conclusion" [Rustblade]

Next time: chansons. Enjoy the music! --kid catharsis

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