Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pledge Drive Reminder and Explanation

Well, as anyone who has went to check out this blog lately can tell, there has not been a whole lot of updating done. My apologies for that, but due to restraints of time, accessibility to the web, and other factors I have simply not been able to produce the weekly updates I had originally promised for this site. Another issue that affected this lack of updating was the seeming lack of interest for the blog, which truth be told, mostly falls on my shoulders for not promoting the blog enough neither on air or by other methods. Rest assured, this will change come the week of October 4-10 when CJAM officially changes its signal from 91.5 to 99.1 FM. The numbers change, but nothing else as the station will continue to provide grassroots alternative music and spoken word radio to the Windsor-Detroit region, and those who stream it online at Not only will the regularity at which this blog is updated will increase, but so will overall promotion of the site and of the Fear of Music program. In the meantime just hold tight, and tune into CJAM this upcoming Tuesday, September 29, where I will be hosting the annual pledge drive show for my own program at 1pm, as well as fill in earlier at 10:30am for Dave at Revolution Rock.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Play List: August 18, 2009

Les Paul – Lover (When You’re Near Me) (Les Paul: The Legend and the Legacy)

Bon Iver – For Emma (For Emma Forever Ago)
Mount Eerie – Between Two Mysteries (Wind’s Poem)
Radiohead – These are My Twisted Words

Pissed Jeans – False Jesii, Pt. 2 (King of Jeans)
Pissed Jeans – Spent (King of Jeans)
Jay Reatard – It Ain’t Gonna Save Me (Watch Me Fall)

87 Things for the Future - The Ride (...of the Divine Magician and Actor)
Junior Boys – Caught in a Wave (This is Goodbye)
YACHT – Summer Song (See Mystery Lights)

Mos Def feat. The Ruler - Auditorium (The Ecstatic)
Tanya Morgan – So Damn Down (Brooklynati)
Awol One & Factor – Destination (Owl Hours)

Japandroids - Avant Sleepwalk (All Lies EP)
of Montreal - Computer Blue (Purplish Rain)
Destroyer – Bay of Pigs (Bay of Pigs)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Album of the Week: Pissed Jeans - King of Jeans

No genre of music has managed to both continuously elate and repel me as much as hardcore punk. Within the confides of hardcore seems to exist a dichotomy in which bands are either ground breaking, intense, and exhilarating or completely banal, derivative, and uninspired. What separates the cream from the crap is usually an element of deviation, innovation, or thematic importance. Minor Threat instigated straight-edge philosophy into the genre, Husker Du experimented with classic rock templates, while Flipper slowed down the rhythms of their songs from hardcore’s usual breakneck pace. And while innovation seems almost lost to us within the new millennium, there are still some groups who continue doing service to the genre. I present to you as evidence Allentown, Pennsylvania’s Pissed Jeans. Some fortunate souls may have stumbled upon their 2007 release Hope for Men, probably only due to its release on Subpop records. Those expecting another spirited indie-pop release akin to the Shins or Postal Service would be greatly shocked to instead hear abrasive guitars, a pulverizing rhythm section, and barking/yelped vocals by one Matt Korvette, who lyrical content often dealt with rudimentary and every day subject matter such as eating ice cream or cleaning up the house. Pissed Jeans follow it up with the aptly titled King of Jeans, a release that takes the template of their previous work and manages to increase the volume, tenacity, and humour of their previous material. Korvette is back singing about unconventionally everyday subject matter from wanting a back rub to watching an R-rated movie, but with such gusto and vehemence that he makes the subject seem profound in importance. The songs themselves are a little more constructed this time around with more electronic effects, distorted guitars, and overdubbing than their previous release. It sounds like the type of release the group labored over, one that expands upon what they have done before yet codifies their love of hardcore legends Flipper and Black Flag. King of Jeans is neither bloated nor excessive because of this extra detailing; this record remains, and even surpasses Hope for Men, in its intensity and barrage of noise. Fans of SST’s back catalogue ought to love this, and for any jaded former scenesters who stubbornly declare hardcore a dead genre, this album is a sure “shut the fuck up” just for them.

Listen To: She is Science Fiction, Spent, False Jesii, Pt. 2

RIYL: Black Flag, Flipper, Circle Jerks

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Play List: August 11, 2009

Tinariwen – The Tamashek People (Imidiwan: Companions)

The Unicorns – Tuff Ghost (Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?)
Islands – Rough Gem (Return to the Sea)
Extra Happy Ghost!!! – Mash Up: Neither Being nor Nothingness (How the Beach Boys Sound to those with No Feelings)

Tara Watts - In the Backyard (About Love)
Doug Paisley - What About Us? (Doug Paisley)
Lee Harvey Osmond - Queen Bee (A Quiet Evil)

Jon Hassel – Aurora (Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street)
Jon Hassel – Time and Place (Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street)
Fortunately, Everything Dies – Let’s All Worship Ridley Scott (Censored)

Pissed Jeans – She is Science Fiction (King of Jeans)
Future of the Left - The Hope that House Built (Travels with Myself and Another)
High Watt Electrocutions – Ode to Snake Charming (Desert Opuses)

M83 - Graveyard Girl (Saturdays = Youth)
Amon Tobin – The Hunt for Ray Sphere (inFamous)
DJ Food – The Illectrik Hoax feat. Natural Self (One Man’s Weird is Another Man’s World)
Clark – Future Daniel (Totems Flair)

Cymbals Eat Guitars - ...And the Hazy Sea (Why There Are Mountains)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Album of the Week: John Hassell - Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street

Over the course of three decades, trumpeter and minimalist composer John Hassell has become a figure difficult to describe. Though his works are often compared to Miles Davis because of his extensive use of editing and electronic treatments in post-production, his reputation stretches far beyond that of just an electric-jazz studio composer. Hassell has studied under the avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, worked with Indian vocalist Pandit Pran Nath, played on the first recording of Terry Riley's seminal composition In C, and has collaborated with Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, the Talking Heads, La Monte Young, David Sylvian, and Ry Cooder. He has tread the waters of jazz to avant-garde to New Wave, while his minimalist compositions have always veered towards the ambient, placing the importance of texture and space over melody and rhythm. And then there is the "Fourth World", a term coined by Hassell to describe his unique mix of minimalist techniques and amalgamation of electronics to traditional Asian and African styles of playing. Hassell continues to experiment with primitivist/futurist sounds on his latest full length Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street. Though I’m as sick as the next person of jazz being labeled “easy-listening” music these days, there is something very relaxing and ethereal about this release. Perhaps more indebted to Eno than any other artist, Last Night is filled with the type of atmospheric soundscapes and deep textures that set-apart works like Music for Airports and Apollo. The album opens with the glow of “Aurora”, a crescendoing piece that slowly reveals itself with the growing intensity of Hassell's playing. It’s follow up, the exceptional “Time and Place” is propelled by a snaky-slow funk rhythm, while the sounds of violin, guitar, and organ fade in and out of the backdrop. The eleven minute title track is perhaps the best summary of Hassell’s signature sound, as his trumpet is treated with so much echo that it becomes indistinguishable from its surrounding accompaniment. This is gaseous music that shifts, fluxes, and never limits itself. Thirty years on Jon Hassell continues to make breath-taking and groundbreaking music, reinventing the genre that birthed him, and blurring the line between what is jazz and what is not.

RIYL: Miles Davis, Brian Eno, Stockhausen

Listen To: Aurora, Time and Place, Last Night the Moon Came Dropping its Clothes on the Street

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Play List: August 04, 2009

Talking Heads – Mind (Fear of Music)

Hide – Run Rabbit Junk (Hide Your Face)
Reynada Hill – Cosmic Dare (Ask DNA)
David Bowie – Quicksand (Hunky Dory)

Japandroids – Wet Hair (Post-Nothing)
Japandroids – The Boys are Leaving Town (Post-Nothing)
Talking Heads – Memories Can’t Wait (Fear of Music)
The Stooges – I Wanna Be Your Dog (The Stooges)

Stiv Bators – It’s cold outside (L.A L.A.)
The Delgados – I fought the Angels (Universal Audio)
Forgotten Rebels – Elvis is Dead (In Love with the System)
John Foxx - Underpass (Garden)

Desastro – Biophelia (Moondagger)
Shuntaro Okino – Skywriting (Last Exhile OST)
Origa - Rise (Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. OST)
Talking Heads - Air (Fear of Music)

Akino Arai – Voices (Sori No Mori)
Budo Grape – Swimmer (Juice!)

Album of the Week: Japandroids - Post-Nothing

After hearing every new sub-genre, synth-flavoured, elaborately orchestrated release in the indie cannon from the past five years or so, it seems the part that is often left out of the indie-rock equation is the rock. Sure, I may be one of the set to enjoy a genre defying track or meaningful lyric more than a guitar solo, but sometimes it seems as if the genre has forgotten its foundation by noise-makers like Husker Du, the Replacements, Sonic Youth, and Dinosaur Jr. At least it did until recently. A trend seems to have come about where groups no longer seem afraid to plug into their amps and hurt some people’s ears: Titus Andronicus, No Age, and Cymbal Eat Guitars are all indebted to this resurgence of volume and intensity into indiedom, but it is Vancouver’s Japandroids that are truly ahead of the pack. The garage noise duo, consisting of Brian King and David Prowse, seem spiritually kindred to punk forefathers the Ramones. Like their New York processors, the Japandroids produce unapologetically fast, loud, and na├»ve songs about road trips, going to shows, and girls, yet never fall into the pits of machismo indulgence nor stupidity. The music of the duo’s full length debut Post-Nothing is deceptively simple, in that though the music may seem straight foreword it works with themes and ideas more complex than they initially appear. “Wet Hair”, which arguably holds the album’s most over the top lyric about moving to France to French kiss some French girls also holds an admission about futility (“She had wet hair/say what you will/I couldn’t resist it”). The opener “The Boys are Leaving Town” is so ambiguous with its mantra-like repeated lyric “The boys are leaving town/Will we find our way back home?” it doesn’t dispel itself easily as either an escapist anthem or existential query. And then there is “Young Hearts Spark Fire”, not only the group’s most shinning moment to date but also the song that best summarizes the band’s ideology: “I don’t wanna worry about dying/I just wanna worry about sunshine girls.” It’s a return to rock, or perhaps better put, a return to the fun that rock can make a listener feel even when dealing with heavier topics. It’s all utterly catchy, exuberating, and will definitely make you smile.

Listen To: Young Hearts Spark Fire, Wet Hair, The Boys are Leaving Town

RIYL: No Age, Mclusky, Titus Andronicus