Category Archives: 08 – August

August 31

Again, with the deep well of WCBN wisdom that floats around the station. A couple of conversations inspired the meanderings in this show:

(1) A long-haired man named Tony serves the station by serving our servers, and he’s the man who turned me on to Glenn Branca. Glenn is known for composing music that’s performed onstage by gazillions of (10-100) electric guitar players. simultaneously.

(2) Tony and I also got to talking about a genre in our music library that we label with black and yellow tape. (oh, but how much controversy surrounds this idea of genrefication in our freeform radio station; see the jazz? episode of Break Your Radio.) It seems as though anything that “sounds weird” gets tossed into this “experimental” bin that’s labeled black and yellow. Tony, however, illuminated another angle of the origin of this genre that he calls “20th Century Classical”–he argues that if the musician takes his or her compositions quite seriously, then we respect their wishes and their art by adding it to the 20th Century Classical collection. An interesting perspective, and one which I explored a bit in these two hours.

(3) Some station members and I discussed indecency, which we are wont to do. I complained that rappers should be more creative about redacting their rhymes–simply bleeping out the words is lazy and isn’t fooling anyone. Ben argued that the censorship itself is unnecessary and upsetting. In any case, Kristin intrigued me by mentioning that N.W.A. put out an alternative album to the language-violation-riddled “Straight Outta Compton”, with nearly entirely new lyrics that omit the dirty words. nice. If the clean version doesn’t do it for you, Paul says that you can find edits lurking around the interwebs that contain only the curses…

(2 hours)
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August 24: Ladies!

Another show that’s chock-full of ladies only! These ladies are sweet, creepy, kitschy, silly, hilarious, operatic, earnest, and they rock.

The opening act, My Brightest Diamond, happens to be from nearby Ypsilanti and presses her albums with Asthmatic Kitty Records. She’s an inspiration to us all.

May I be so forward as to state the facts here? Inara George has the best voice in the world. Her many projects speak to that fact: Lode (brilliance from the early ’90s), the bird and the bee, The Living Sisters, her collaboration with Van Dyke Parks…Are there any more truffles in the wilderness that my nose hasn’t sniffed out? Lord, I hope so.

Ruth Wallis’s “Boobs” is always a hit, while Yma Sumac is indispensable.

And here’s the kicker. It just so happened that the DJ following my set, the venerable Reverend Andrew, was able to lure a real, live, French pianist into the studio for an interview! How very appropriate. Furthermore, Lise planned to perform for free at a metal workshop (replete with LATHE!) in Kerrytown, using a piano that Metal co-owner Claudette purchased especially for Lise’s phalanges. It was fantastic to hear about the show firsthand–I made sure to be there, as performances in nontraditional venues really blast my caps. The setup on Friday night was beautiful, along with the performance. You won’t hear Lise in the recording below (look for her here, instead), but two hours of other ladies surely will make up for that.

(2 hours)
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If you like this episode, you’ll looove the first-ever Woman Show on Break Your Radio.

You can’t stop, can you? Here’s yet another.

August 22: Special edition of Break Your Radio

What makes this show so special? Three hours of musics, stories, and comedy at an absurd time of day (3-6am). In the radio world, 10pm to 6am is our “safe harbor”, during which time the FCC is asleep and doesn’t mind us broadcasting inappropriate language. Children and the faint of heart, this episode may not be for you; however, this is the perfect show to stream when you can’t or don’t want to sleep.

It begins with a couple of hilariously inappropriate tracks: Lynda Barry and “pussy stank”. The show continues with comedy, generally, with some music tossed in there: Lynda Barry, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Sandra Bernhard, Charles Bukowski, Eric Bogosian, Steve Martin…This was the first time I’ve had a chance to explore much of the comedy we’ve got at the station, as a lot of it contains “indecent material”. It was the first time I’ve ever heard (of) Eric Bogosian, which for me was a meaty treat of a discovery.

I will never, ever tire of Reggie Watts’s “My history thus far”, although I try to play the 15-minute track sparingly on the radio. Amazingly, trolling the interwebs doesn’t seem to bring it up anywhere.

I’m fairly certain that this is the show during which I answered a phone call from a woman who must have been looking at the paper to start off her Monday morning:
“Hello, this is WCBN.”
Getting right into it, “Hi. I’m doing a crossword puzzle, and there’s a four-letter word starting with ‘F’–‘What ichthyologists study’.”
“Fiiissshhh! Glad to help, ma’am.”

(3 hours)
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August 17

The station identification that leads this show derives from a recording at the Toledo Speedway Night of Destruction. It just so happens that the Night of Destruction, with its school bus figure eights and race car bowling and other fun times, is nearly upon us–the annual event is on Friday, September 2 this year.

Listen for something like a cinematic medley, which includes tracks from Kollywood (filmed in the Tamil language) and Bollywood (old-school style).

Another highlight is a live performance by Andre Williams, Bettye LaVette, and Nathaniel Mayer, a powerful Detroit triplet, as you will hear.

The rest of the show is just buttah.

(2 hours)
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August 3: jazz.

freeform? idunno. just a wholllllotta jazz. maybe you can catch some nuanced freeform within the jazz vein, if you look for it. but who’s looking?

One thing that’s incredible about being at CBN is the deep well of resources we have in our music library and in the community of people who love music. Through our email list, Saturday morning DJ Dave M. sent around a little something about Eric Dolphy. To my shame, I wondered, “Who’s Eric Dolphy?” Perhaps to my credit, I explored the music library and pulled out several of his albums, sharing a couple cuts with the intent to Break Your Radio.

A thing about this music library we’ve got is that it overwhelms the senses—it’s visibly huge, the shelves droop with variegated and flaking album spines, it’s tactile, it even smells like…well, let’s just say that there’s more than enough to distract someone like me who’s angling for show material. I ended up pulling out jazz albums willy-nilly because, for this or that reason, it’s a rare day on which I have the stamina to tackle the wide and deep and intimidating and indefinable jungle that some label as jazz.

What happened? I played multiple lengthy tracks and still didn’t have time to read any liner notes until after the show. You want to know something I learned? That there are people in the world who transcribe jazz solos for study. That, my friend, is a method of quantification in the jazz jungle.

Heavens to betsy, there’s so much to hear and to learn.

(2 hours)
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Do you have another two hours? Check out this episode for more thoughts about jazz.