Category Archives: LISTENER-APPROVED

June 30: SPECIAL GUESTS in the studio

This week’s Break Your Radio show is here WSG: a baker’s dozen helium balloons, returning co-host Jennifer Lee, hip-hop starlet One Thought, and our very quiet music director.

LISTEN (2 hours):
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We start with lots of soul, get into some old-school jams, and indulge in a few digressions. We celebrate the impending Fourth of July by reciting “America the Beautiful” over machine gun fire and the tinkling of classical piano.

Herein, also learn what Lord Buckley’s voice would sound like on helium (sped up from 33 to 45 rpm). A note to trivia hounds: Frank Zappa edited the Lord Buckley album that I found in our music library, “A Most Immaculately Hip Aristocrat.”

Playlist
Artist = “Song title”, Album title. [Notes.]

Things got chaotic in the studio. This list surely lacks some trax.

1. Roger Taylor = “Future management”, Fun in space.
2. INF = “Soul check mate”, Music for crime scenes.
3. Von Ryan’s Express = “Squat pot”, Von Ryan’s Express.
4. Johnnie Taylor = “The users”, She’s killing me.
5. Luther Ingram = “My honey and me”, I’ve been here all the time.
6. Redbone = “Sweet lady of love”, Come and get your Redbone: The best of Redbone.
7. John Lennon & Yoko Ono = “Cleanup time”, Double fantasy.
8. Exusama = Baroquin, Excusez-moi!.
9. Family of God = “Watch with mother”, Family of God.
10. Elastica = “Indian song”, Elastica.
11. Family of God = “2nd touch”, Family of God.
12. Eels = “Beginner’s luck”, Hombre Lobo: 12 songs of desire.
13. Animal hours = “Submarine”, Do over.
14. TRAFFIC = “Rock & roll stew”, The low spark of high heeled boys.
15. The Guess Who? = “Maple fudge”, Wheatfield soul.
16. The Orb + Lee Scratch Perry = “Soulman”, The observer in the star house.
17. Sleepy Kitty = “THE HOAX”, Projection room.
18. Potpourri of Pearls = “Shadow on my shoulder”, Why does coco cry?.
19. Little Lapin = “Silent tears”, Little Lapin.
20. Courtney Barnett = “Kim’s caravan”, Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.
21. Hot Chip = “White wine and fried chicken”, Why make sense?.
22. Nocturnal Sunshine ft. Chelou = “Believe”, Nocturnal Sunshine.
23. Andreya Triana = “Clutterbug”, Giants.
24. INF = “Bubble gum heist”, Music for crime scenes.
25. The Sixths w/ Melanie = “I’ve got New York”, Hyacinths and thistles.

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June 23

In which I realize that three squared does not equal twenty-seven.

(2 hours)
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Scattered throughout the show are a few of the bands that I caught at the NXNE music/comedy/film/etc festival in Toronto. Not included here, though worth checking out, are brilliant comedians who gave me belly laughs, namely Ashley Barnhill and Nick Thune.

[Aside: I missed this crazy choreographed event with David Byrne, tune-yards, Nelly Furtado, et al. in Toronto by a mere one day. I don’t want to talk about it anymore because it makes me sad and frustrated to have missed it. Console me.]

Stay tuned to the end to experience the mesmerizing hypnosis of found sound from a casino. JACKPOT.

Playlist
Artist = “Song title”, Album title. [Notes.]

1. Lucius = “Turn it around”, Wildewoman.
2. Hop Along = “Powerful man”, Painted shut.
3. Alabama Shakes = “Future people”, Sound & color.
4. Ava Luna = “Steve Polyester”, Infinite house.
5. TEEN = “toi toi toi”, The way and color.
6. Pins = “Got it bad”, Wild nights.
7. Matthew E. White = “Holy moly”, Fresh blood.
8. Acorn = Influence, Vieux loup.
9. Roisin Murphy = “Uninvited guest”, Hairless toys.
10. Tubes = “Muscle girls”, Love bomb.
11. Papas Fritas = “Hey hey you say”, Helioself.
12. Nick Diamonds = “Something about the moon”, City of quartz.
13. The Roots = “The seed (2.0)”, Phrenology.
14. Young Fathers = “27”, White men are black men too.
15. Justin Walter = “Western tears”, Lullabies & nightmares.
16. Andreya Triana = “Lullaby”, Giants.
17. Girlpool = “Before the world was big”, Before the world was big.
18. Prinzhorn Dance School = “Reign”, Home economics.
19. Michelle Blades = “Risk fruit”, Ataraxia.
20. Nessa = “Gigue by Blavet”, Nessa.
21. Tyondai Braxton = “Boids”, HIVE1.
22. Damaged Bug = “Grape basement”, Cold hot plumbs.
23. Nuyorican Soul = “Habriendo el dominante”, Nuyorican Soul.
24. Money Mark = “Another day to love you”, Change is coming.
25. Shamir = “Make a scene”, Ratchet.
26. Shokazulu = “Pie”, EP.
27. Adrian Rew = “Horseshoe Casino, Cleveland, Ohio”, Slot Machine Music.

We’re back online! new new new radio show

If you’ve drifted off, then WAKE UP because have I ever got a new show for you, after lo these many periods of time.

It’s not that I haven’t been playing music for you–you can Break Your Radio every single Tuesday night at 10 til midnight by tuning to 88.3 FM in southeast Michigan or streaming live anywhere on the planet via wcbn.org.

But opportunities to Break Your Radio have been as ephemeral as the electromagnetic waves received moment by moment and emitted just as quickly through the speakers in your radio or computer, only to disappear once more into the ether.

But HOORAY, each episode once again will be memorialized on this very website for your aural pleasure.

Thanks to Chicago Alex for making this happen. THANKS, Alex, for listening all this time and for asking me so nicely to replenish your RSS feed every week. You’re not a spy from the FCC or a major record label, are you?

Please enjoy the June 2 edition of Break Your Radio:

(2 hours)
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Playlist
Artist = “Song title,” Album title. [Notes.]

1. [Broadway Stars] = “Some enchanted evening,” South Pacific soundtrack.
2. Punch Brothers = “Who’s feeling young now?” Who’s feeling young now?.
3. Punch Brothers = “You are,” Antifogmatic.
4. Elaine Purkey = “Who’ll watch the homeplace,” Mountain music, mountain struggle.
5. Joan Collins = “Sleep,” The Joan Collins beauty and exercise record.
6. Stephanie Greggains = “Chariots of Fire – Cool down,” Thin thighs, hips & stomach: Aerobic shape-up III. [Contains 16 page photo instruction book]
7. Barbie Allen = “Cool down stretch – Just the two of us,” Dance/Exercise.
8. DJ Jester: the Filipino Fist = track 2, River walk riots.
9. Jib Kidder = “Lossy Angeles,” Earzumba/Jib Kidder split.
10. Bobby Troup & Trio = “That darn cat,” Original music score from the sound track of the motion picture: That Darn Cat.
11. Dean Martin = “June in January,” The Dean Martin Deluxe Set. [More than 30 of his greatest hits!]
12. Warren Covington and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra = “Orchids in the moonlight,” It takes two…to cha cha tango samba merengue mambo rumba.
13. Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass = “So what’s new?,” What now my love.
14. Kenosha Kid = “Map of the universe,” Inside voices.
15. Jel = “Thnk4U,” Late pass.
16. DJ Mayonnaise = “Post reformat,” Still alive.
17. Illuminati Congo ft. Del the Funky Homosapien = “No no,” All eye see.
18. K-Chill = “Boom booms 93,” Get ya funky off.
19. Govind Bolo Gopal Bolo = “Nandbhawan Nandlal Thumak Chalan Lage,” Krishna Bhajan.
20. Frank Zappa = “Dirty love,” Apostrophe/Overnight sensation.
21. Janet Jackson = “What have you done for me lately,” Control.
22. Courtney Barnett = “An illustration of loneliness (sleepless in New York),” Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

This week was an especially auspicious time to start all this up again, as the exceedingly lovely Gina Gettum brought her brightness and her veggietables to bear during the show.

Also check out the new sticker on the window in our FM studio. It provides a pep talk every time you look up from the microphone.

Interview with Mirah

Mirah and I chatted on the phone, then a tiny bit in person after her show at Trinosophes this week. Listen to the phone interview (plus my whole radio show, even):

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The audio includes my two-hour radio show, plus a smidgen of the next DJ’s. Mirah stars for the first 1.5 hours, and the interview begins about 30 minutes in.

Click to READ the interview with Mirah

Playlist
Artist = “Song title”, Album title. [Notes.]

1. Mirah = “Take me out riding”, The old days feeling
2. Mirah = “Gone are all the days”, (A)Spera
3. Mirah with the Black Cat Orchestra = “The light”, To all we stretch the open arm
4. Mirah YomTov Zeitlyn/Ginger Brooks Takahashi & Friends = “Pure”, Songs from the Black Mountain Music Project
5. Thao & Mirah = “How dare you”, Thao & Mirah
6. Mirah YomTov Zeitlyn/Ginger Brooks Takahashi & Friends = “Oh! September”, Songs from the Black Mountain Music Project
7. Mirah feat. Tender Forever = “Low self control”. [video]
[The interview]
8. Mirah = “1982 (atari)” Storageland
9. Mirah = “La familia”, You think it’s like this but really it’s like this
10. Mirah and Spectratone International = “Community”, Share this place
11. Thao & Mirah = “Rubies and rocks”, Thao & Mirah
12. Mirah = “No direction home”, Changing light [video]
13. Mirah = “I am the garden”, Changing light
14. Mirah = “Pollen”, You think it’s like this but really it’s like this
15. Mirah = “Cold cold water”, Cold cold water EP
16. Thao & Mirah = “Sugar and plastic”, Thao & Mirah
17. Santigold + Diplo = “Icarus”, [Some sorta exclusive album]
18. Tune-Yards = “Little tiger”, Bird-brains
19. Kate Bush = “Army dreamers”, The whole story
20. Suzanne Vega = “Pilgrimage”, Days of open hand
21. Gaze = “Static”, Shake the pounce
22. Enon = “Daughter in the house of fools”, Hocus-pocus
23. Belly = “It’s not unusual (the usual mix)”, Moon
24. Envelopes = “I don’t even know”, Demon [which is Swedish for “demos”]

25. FKA Twigs = “Two weeks”, LP1
26. Xeno & Oaklander = “Jasmine nights”, Par avion
27. Actress = “Towers”, Ghettoville
28. Santigold = “Disparate youth”, Master of my make-believe
29. Dr. Science [the science of shampoo]

Click to READ the interview with Mirah

hugabug 12: Carrion flowers

The biggest flower in the world smells like a rotting corpse, which attracts the flies that pollinate it.
Listen to find out how and why.

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Music in this show:
1. Eels, “Flyswatter”
2. Bela Karoli, “Some things that fly there be”
3. Tin Hat Trio & Tom Waits, “Helium reprise”
4. Spanglish Fly, “Let my people bugalú” (Clay Holley and Jeff Dynamite remix)

— — — — —

Imagine the fragrance of a dense jungle full of colorful flowers. Now imagine the smell of death. That’s the stench of the biggest flower in the world. It’s called Rafflesia, and it smells like a rotting corpse.

You know who loves Rafflesia? Bugs. Flies, most often. The kind of flies that like the smells that nauseate people. The kind of flies that eat poop and lay their eggs in rotting flesh.

Rafflesia depends on flies for pollination. Yet Rafflesia does not reward its pollinators for the favor. No, it fools flies into visiting by mimicking the stench, appearance, and even the temperature of a rotting animal carcass.

The Rafflesia flower is so big that you really could stumble on it as you hike through Sumatra or the Philippines. It’s huge–3 feet across, from petal to petal. Perhaps even big enough to resemble the body of a dead animal. Some other stinky species have hairy petals, which looks deceivingly like mold or fur. Rafflesia flowers even generate heat! Higher temperatures help to volatilize the odors so the pungent aromas can waft through the forest and attract distant flies. The flower’s heat also may feel like a steaming pile of excrement or a warm dead body.

And the flies, they come. They’re attracted to the flower that smells, looks, and feels like a good place to eat and lay their eggs. These flies are foolish, or desperate, or bound by instinct, and relegate their maggot babies to a short life of starvation–because the maggots find themselves not in the rotting meat of an animal, but instead on a flower that’s inedible. The baby flies that hatch on Rafflesia cannot survive.

But the unfortunate flies have pollinated the putrid Rafflesia flower, which now can make malodorous babies of its own.

You know what’s strange is that it seems fairly common for cadavers and cheese to share odors. In the case of cheese, people exploit pregnant flies and their maggot babies. There’s this cheese from Sardinia–casu marzu–that tastes delicious because of the flies that lay their eggs in it. The maggots eat the cheese, digest it, and poop it out, helping to create the soft, leaky delicacy. You’re advised to eat it, maggots and all, while the bugs are still alive.

So next time you’re in the jungle, and you spot the rare and beautiful (but awful-smelling) Rafflesia flower…or when you have a taste of that wriggling Italian cheese…Thank a fly. Hug a bug.

— — — — —

Elsewhere in the world and on the internet:

The titan arum is another magnificently beautiful and gigantic flower that emits a characteristically fetid stench.

The “stink lily” is an edible (by humans) tuber that also smells disgusting (to humans). Here is an illustrated account of a manual pollination attempt, replete with a dog wearing a gas mask.

hugabug 7: Animals in space


Ham the chimpanzee

The United States of America launched a chimpanzee into space, and he came back to Earth with a bruise on his nose.
Listen to find out how and why.

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Music in this show:
1. NASA space recordings of Earth
2. Spanglish Fly, “Let my people bugalú” (Clay Holley and Jeff Dynamite remix)
3. John Williams, “The conversation”

— — — — —

It’s January, 1961. We know nothing about how to travel in outer space, or whether it’s even possible. The closest to outer space we’ve reached is the top of Mount Everest–just recently, in 1953!

And the trip up the mountain was very, very difficult–physically and mentally. Climbing to high altitudes makes the strongest among us weak in the body and impaired in the mind. Outer space is 11 times higher than Mount Everest, the highest place on Earth.

Can an astronaut go as high as outer space without dying or going insane? In 1961, we had no idea.

Actually, we figured that an astronaut could physically survive a trip to space. We tested that idea by launching a whole bunch of animals in rockets. Mice, fruit flies, hamsters, rats, rabbits, cats, dogs, goldfish, monkeys, guinea pigs, chicken eggs, frogs. Most of them died, but we saw that it’s possible to leave the earth and come back alive. Still, we had no clue whether our brain could function in outer space.


Baker the space monkey

So, how do you test mental capabilities in outer space without risking a person’s life? Ham the chimpanzee.

Ham learned complex tasks in a lab on Earth. The lights and levers in Ham’s training resembled, as closely as possible, the controls that an astronaut would use in spaceflight. If Ham could replicate complex behavior equally well in a rocket ship as in a lab, we figured that a person could do it.

The experiment with Ham was crucial because he was not just a passenger.

Ham was fitted with monitors measuring his temperature, heartbeat, and breathing. He experienced weightlessness…and Ham made it! He flew out to space, returned to Earth, and survived–with just a bruise on his nose. Ham performed his complex tasks in the rocket, showing that it would be possible for the first human American astronaut to travel and function in space, just a few months later.

Ham survived to a ripe old age, and his cremains are buried in New Mexico, where he’d been trained for his space mission. People still leave bananas on his grave.


Click on a pic!

The unknown grows less scary, the more we learn about it. Go where no person has gone before! Get out there and hug a bug.

— — — — —

Not to be missed elsewhere in the inter-stellar-net:

This mini-documentary produced by the Air Force

Or, if you prefer, you can learn English while listening to French music and watching old-school footage of Ham, the space-traveling chimpanzee.

A slideshow of pictures from LIFE Magazine of chimpanzees being trained for spaceflight

Video of a shuttle launch

— — — — —

(and if you’ve been trying to figure out a good way to tell The Liz how much you love the show…get her one of these shirts!)

hugabug 5: Honeypot ants

The honeypot ant has junk in her trunk.
Listen to find out how and why.

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Music in this show:
1. Ani Difranco, “Manhole”
2. Eddie Murphy, “Boogie in your butt”
3. Daleduro, “La poli”
4. Beatles, “Wild honey pie”
5. end credits from Bob’s Burgers
6. Spanglish Fly, “Let my people bugalú” (Clay Holley and Jeff Dynamite remix)

— — — — —

Transcript:

If you walk past a honey ant colony, you probably won’t notice it at all, because the only evidence of its existence is a small hole in the ground, which is surrounded by tiny dry clods of dirt or sand. If your scientific eye does spot the honey ant colony, though, you probably won’t notice anything different about most of the honey ants…unless you dig several feet under the hard-packed desert ground.

There, you’ll find hundreds of amber globes dangling from the domed roof of the nest, light from the hole you dug glistening in the hanging orbs. Wait a minute–those globes are dangling ant asses.

The honeypot ant has junk in her trunk.

Honeypot humong-asses grow to be the size of grapes or cherries, which is like a 2-year-old child having a butt the size of a refrigerator. And that’s exactly what these honeypots are: living refrigerators.

Honey ants live in dry areas around the world (usually deserts), in Australia, Mexico, South Africa, Arizona, Utah, California, Colorado. The lifestyle in a desert can be summed up pretty simply–feast and famine. During feast times (like the rainy season, when plants are growing and food is plentiful), ants have access to more food than they can eat.

Butt–

Everyone knows that the good times don’t last forever, so worker ants plan ahead by bringing extra food to the nest. There, extra food can be stored for times of drought and famine. Stored right there in the humong-asses of live honeypot ants.


from myrmecos.net

The sweet sweet junk in her trunk.

Worker ants in the colony tap these delish-asses when resources are scarce. The honeypot regurgitates what’s in her butt into the mouth of a hungry ant friend.

Two regurgitations actually have to happen so that food can be stored and retrieved with the honeypots. First, a worker collects nectar or animal guts from aboveground and returns to the nest to vomit the goods into a honeypot’s mouth. Next, when food is scarce later in the year, the honeypot vomits up the stored food–drop by delicious drop–into a hungry supplicant’s mouth.

The junk in a honeypot trunk might really be junk, in a sense. Sometimes worker ants harvest the guts, fats, and body fluids from worms and other scavenged animals. Most often, though, honeypots contain the sweet stuff, like nectar from flowers, fruits, and extrafloral nectaries, or the sugars produced by aphids, galls, and scale insects.

A honeypot has one function–to serve as a living refrigerator–so she has license to do nothing but dangle from the roof of the nest and sleep all day long, while her backside becomes oversize.

Sweet nectars last in her delish-ass storage space because the honeypot digests barely any food. Turns out that being lazy and dangling requires very few calories.

The nectars are so delish-ass that people eat them. Raw. You can pinch one by the head and legs, bite her butt off, and let the sweet nectar dribble into your mouth.

Australian Aborigines exhume the honeypots to satisfy their sweet tooth. During the Spanish conquest of Mexico, honeypots were sold individually in the markets of Mexico City. Honeypot nectar used to be fermented into an alcoholic drink. Badgers, coyotes, and other animals eat honeypots, too. In fact, other ant colonies sometimes raid honey ant nests and kidnap the honeypots! I wonder how the honeypots feel about imprisonment…

Like many other things in nature, once the function of a honeypot has been fulfilled, she becomes unnecessary. disposable. obsolete. In this case, when the nectar is drained from an enormass by hungry nestmates, the shrunken, withered butt never recovers, and the shriveled honeypot dies.

With that in mind, hug a bug, would you?


photo by Mike Gillam

— — — — —

Worth checking out around the internet:

An adventure in pictures–a filmmaker finds honey ants in the Arizona desert.