Sunday, October 31, 2010

Creeping Death

Happy Halloween! I was hoping to have a new episode of CompCon out tonight, but no such luck. Picked up our new laptop Thursday and downloaded a demo of Propaganda podcasting software; it works great and I put together a whole show, but I'm having trouble installing the actual version. Hopefully I can figure that out in the next day or so.

We went to a wedding last night; my old roomie Mike finally tied the knot. Deb and I had a great time, but we had to be good because we were running the Devil's Chase 6.66-mile race in Salem today. The weather wasn't too chilly and we both had good races. We came home and got the girls ready for Halloween. The temps dropped considerably by the time we got out there; it was damn cold out! But the girls loaded up on candy and we got done in time to see the end of the Pats-Vikings game.

At any rate, here's a good Halloween song for you. I heard this on WBCN late one night and it freaked me the hell out. Super frickin' creepy 1971 tune by the Texas band Bloodrock. Here's the original sans video:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mixology: Vacation Volume '91

Mixology is a recurring feature in which I take a look at one of the many mix tapes I made over the years. Some are better than others, but all of them are fun to revisit.

Vacation Volume '91 (8/10/91)

I actually made this mix to listen to while on vacation up in Maine. My girlfriend's family had a cottage/campground on an island in Greene, so we were heading up there for a week. Unfortunately, it was the week that the first Lollapalooza tour came through the Boston area, so I missed that historic show with Jane's Addiction, Nine Inch Nails, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Living Colour, Butthole Surfers, Rollins Band, Body Count, Fishbone and Violent Femmes. I was pretty bummed, but what could I do? I caught the next two years of the festival, but I always regretted missing this one.

Still, it was a good vacation, as I recall. I didn't do much swimming because not being able to see to the bottom of the lake kinda freaked me out, so I did a lot of lounging around. I remember I was reading Crosstown Traffic: Jimi Hendrix & the Post-War Rock n' Roll Revolution by Charles Shaar Murray during the vacation and listening to my Walkman a lot.

At this point in '91, I had just moved in with my girlfriend, which was the first time I'd ever lived with a woman. I think it was more of an adjustment for her than me, actually. I know my mother wasn't too thrilled with the whole "living in sin" thing, but that was no big deal to me. We found an apartment in the Centerville area of Beverly that was pretty nice, but we ended up moving across town about nine months later.

This was also around the time that my buddy Chris got married. He was the first of my college friends to get hitched. Just hung out with him last weekend; he and Carolyn are coming up on their 20th anniversary next year.

It's safe to say 1991 was a great year for music, but not just because Nevermind and Ten came out then. At this point in the year, I was listening to Elvis Costello's Mighty Like a Rose a lot, but also Lenny Kravitz's Mama Said and Living Colour's EP Biscuits. Metallica would release "The Black Album" this week; I dug it at first, but it was nowhere near as good as their previous albums. The coming months saw the release of Guns N' Roses' Use Your Illusion double-album, Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger, Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend, the Pixies' Trompe Le Monde, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik, U2's Achtung Baby, Teenage Fanclub's Bandwagonesque. Just a sick string of albums (not so much the GNR, but certainly everything else).

Pretty much everything on this mix still holds up, with the possible exception of R.E.M.'s "Shiny Happy People." Hard to listen to that song anymore. Of course, there's also one of the great one-hit wonders of the early '90s, "3 Strange Days" by School of Fish (I would include the video, but stupid EMI won't allow embeds). Just a transcendent summer song. It's amazing that the band was never able to follow it up in any meaningful way. Nevertheless, that song definitely takes me back to the summer of '91. Good times.

Side A
Talkin' Loud and Saying Nothin' - Living Colour
Miss Freelove '69 - Hoodoo Gurus
Always on the Run - Lenny Kravitz
Ramblin' - Royal Crescent Mob
Make Out Alright - Divinyls
Bitter Tears - INXS
Shiny Happy People - R.E.M.
Playboy to a Man - Elvis Costello
Bridegroom Blues - John Wesley Harding
Night and Day - U2
Twist My Arm - Tragically Hip
3 Strange Days - School of Fish

Side B
Stop! - Jane's Addiction
Jet City Woman - Queensryche
Higher Ground (Daddy-O mix) - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Money Talks - Living Colour
Pushin' Forward Back - Temple of the Dog
Pretty Good Life - Royal Crescent Mob
Two Tongues - Blue Rodeo
Fields of Joy - Lenny Kravitz
A Place in the Sun - Hoodoo Gurus
Fifty-Fifty Split - John Wesley Harding
So Like Candy - Elvis Costello

Miss Freelove:

So Like Candy (live on SNL with sweet beard):

Monday, October 25, 2010

Walk on by

As you may know, I've been listening to a lot of my old cassettes lately, both in my car (which has a tape deck) and on my home stereo for my Mixology series about mix tapes. So I felt a pang of sadness to hear that Sony was discontinuing its iconic Walkman line of portable cassette players. Actually, first I felt a pang of surprise because I figured Sony had stopped making the cassette Walkman years ago; the company still uses the Walkman name on its MP3 players.

The Walkman first made its debut in 1979 and within a few years, EVERYBODY had one. I was rockin' a transistor radio at the time, but in 1982, I got my first Walkman (it looked like this, about 10 times the size of my current iPod Nano). I bought vinyl only, but I recorded my albums onto cassettes so I could listen to them on my Walkman at school. I remember one of the first tapes I made had Ozzy's Blizzard of Ozz on one side and Maiden's Number of the Beast on the other. Another had Robert Plant's Pictures at Eleven and Rush's Signals on the flip. I didn't have proper audio cables at first; I was just putting a little boombox in front of the stereo speakers and recording what came out. A few years later, I commandeered my dad's stereo components since he never used them anymore, but it didn't have a tape deck. I got an all-in-one receiver/turntable/tape deck to take to college and made some tapes using that, but it wasn't until a few years later that I picked up a decent double cassette deck and my quality tape-making days really began.

Of course, after the Walkman debuted, there were many imitators that followed. I picked up a new tape player (possibly a Toshiba) in '84 and gave my Walkman to my little brother. By this point, the players were getting smaller. I owned a few more over the years. I still have a Walkman that works. I remember using it when I was training for my first marathon in 2002. I had a Diamond Rio MP3 player at the time, but it would freeze up on cold days, so sometimes I brought the old tape player. Eventually, though, I bought an iPod and cassettes became a fuzzy memory, until the last year or so.

And even though the iPod has exponentially outsold its predecessor, I'll always have a warm place in my heart for the Walkman.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

King Only

Monday night, I was standing in line outside the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square when an obviously inebriated Englishman wearing sunglasses at night sauntered up.

"Who are you in line for?" he loudly interjected, punctuating his question with a warm blast of booze breath.

"Greg Dulli," said the woman behind me.

"Well, tell me about him," the drunk impatiently insisted.

"Uh, he was in a couple of bands...the Afghan Whigs, Twilight Singers," said one of the woman's friends.

"Ish he a STAAAARRRR?"

"He is to me," the woman said meekly.

"Hmmph," said the drunk before wandering off.

By all rights, Dulli should be a star, if you consider the body of work he has produced since the late '80s. The Afghan Whigs started out as a Cincinnati-bred punk combo in the vein of the Replacements and Husker Du, signing to Sub Pop and releasing two excellent albums Up In It and Congregation before making the leap to the majors. By the time its final album 1965 came out (in 1998), the band had incorporated soul and R&B influences into its dark, booze-fueled sound. Dulli moved on to form The Twilight Singers, which had a rotating lineup of players over the last decade, releasing always interesting albums that peaked with 2003's Blackberry Belle and 2006's Powder Burns. He also released a solo album, Amber Headlights, that he'd recorded in '01 but had shelved after the death of his friend Ted Demme. In 2008, Dulli and Mark Lanegan teamed up to record an album and tour as The Gutter Twins, which explored even darker themes.

Now Dulli is preparing to release another Twilight Singers album in February, but before then, he's doing a tour of small venues accompanied by Twilight Singers/Gutter Twins guitarist David Rosser and violinist/cellist Rick Nelson. Venues don't get much smaller than the Brattle, a tiny (250 seats) art movie house. Tickets were general admission so I managed to snag seats in the fifth center row, but really, there are no bad seats in the place. We were so close to the action, we could sort of make out what Dulli was saying to the other guys away from the mike.

Having seen him several times in various band incarnations, I was excited to see Dulli in a stripped-down solo format, as he was on the excellent 2008 album Live at Triple Door. He offered a balanced 90-minute retrospective of his career, playing mostly Twilight Singers material but mixing in some key Afghan Whigs and Gutter Twins tunes as well as some covers. Dulli noted that he once taken a date to see "Kiss of the Spiderwoman" at the Brattle, and later hilariously admonished some guy up front who was checking his e-mail.

After playing a cover of Bjork's "Hyperballad," Dulli said he had seen her first group the Sugarcubes 10 times, including their last show. "Well, the last show before they get back together, because everybody gets back together. Well, almost everybody," he cracked, referring to the Afghan Whigs. "There's a reason people get divorced."

Still, he didn't shy away from playing "If I Were Going" from 1993's Gentlemen, "Step Into the Light" from '91's Congregation and "Summer's Kiss" from the 1996 release Black Love. One of the new songs also featured the "Don't forget the alcohol" refrain from "Miles iz Ded," the hidden track at the end of Congregation. Dulli and crew also tore through Twilight Singers classics "Bonnie Brae," "Forty Dollars," "Candy Cane Crawl," "Teenage Wristband" (with a verse from the Who's "Pinball Wizard") and "King Only." Although he refused repeated requests from a feverish fan to play "The Killer," citing the difficulty of the piano part. Of course, he's played it many times in the past, but what the hell. We more than got our money's worth.

Craig Wedren, frontman of another hallowed '90s alt-rock act, Shudder to Think, opened the show with an excellent 45-minute solo set. He played acoustic and electric, and used a pedal-operated tape looper to accompany himself on backing vocals and occasionally add riffs or percussion. Since Shudder to Think, who I saw at Avalon back in '95 opening on the first Foo Fighters headlining tour, broke up in the late '90s, Wedren has released solo material and mainly done music for TV and movie soundtracks. His operatic voice was in fine form as he sprinkled in some old Shudder classics including "Hit Liquor," "Red House" and "X-French Tee Shirt."

Sure, Dulli and Wedren may not qualify as stars to today's rock radio listeners, or even to drunken Englishmen staggering through Harvard Square. But to their devoted followers, they never stopped being stars.

Classic clip of Dulli and Donal Logue hosting MTV's 120 Minutes in '94, pt. 1:

Part 2:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

No Guts...No Glory

Another marathon experience has come and gone. This one started out in promising fashion. I was up early Sunday, picked up a couple of my fellow North Shore Striders in Wenham and headed to Lowell for the Baystate Marathon. The weather was nice and cool, in the low 40s, and dry, with none of the strong winds that were around on Saturday.

I found a good free parking spot in a bank lot and met up with Lisa, one of my fellow runners from Reach the Beach. We were both hoping to run sub-3:45s; we figured we'd start out fairly controlled with the idea of running in the 8:20 to 8:30 per mile range and see how we were doing during the home stretch of the race. She had a Garmin and pace band and would be monitoring the pace throughout. We got off to a good start and let a lot of folks sprint past us as we tried to keep our adrenaline under control.

Everything was going smoothly until mile 9, when I noticed I was getting a slight side stitch. Essentially a cramp in the rib cage, stitches occasionally plague me at inopportune times. There's no way to predict or prevent them. But sometimes I can run through them and I tried to control my breathing and do just that. It worked for a while, and the cramp went away. And then came back. I was able to keep plugging through mile 17 as we were keeping about an 8:30 pace, which would have been good for a 3:42 (a minute better than my PR in New Jersey two years ago). But I was really starting to labor and was getting concerned that I was going to need to slow down soon.

That's the added pressure of running with somebody. You don't want to hold her back from achieving her goal. So I told her to go on ahead without me. It was better for both of us. I needed to shift my goal to a more realistic one. I started doing a run/walk method of five minutes running followed by one walking, and that worked for several miles. The cramps didn't return after a while and eventually I started extending my runs. I didn't worry about my pace anymore, just finishing. I was hoping to finish around 3:50, but it became apparent that wasn't going to happen, either. Finally, after mile 23, I just decided to run the rest of the way if I could and was able to do just that and finish somewhat strong in 3:57.

It certainly wasn't what I was hoping for (and 11 minutes slower than my Baystate time in 2007), but it was still a sub-4 hour marathon and my 14th overall. In the back of my mind the whole time was the knowledge that I wasn't going to do a spring marathon. It'll be nice to recharge the old batteries and do some shorter races for a while. During the race, I started thinking maybe this would be my last marathon, but I was pretty bummed with my performance. I'm sure I'll eventually be hankering to do a fall marathon, but I'll deal with that decision later. For now, I'm just going to heal up and get back to playing hockey and enjoying running.

Next up is the Devil's Chase, a 6.66-mile (bwahahaha) race on Halloween in Salem. Take it away, drunk DLR:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mixology: Pure Rock on Wheels

Mixology is a recurring feature in which I take a look at one of the many mix tapes I made over the years. Some are better than others, but all of them are fun to revisit.

Pure Rock on Wheels (3/6/93)

The name of this mix came from an ad I saw in the Beverly Times for a party for Christian teens being held at the local roller rink. I'm guessing the "pure rock" part meant wholesome God-lovin' rock from the likes of Stryper, Petra, etc. I really should've gone down to check it out, but that would have involved actually having to listen to that crap, and probably getting baptized and/or hypmotized in the middle of the rink against my will.

It wasn't long after I made this tape that I broke up with my girlfriend of nearly four years. We had a pretty good little domestic thing going, but we had been drifting apart for a while. I didn't move out for three more months as I tried to find somewhere to live. It was awkward, but we were working completely opposite shifts at the paper and subsequently rarely saw each other anyway. Had we not broken up, there was a good chance we would have gotten married in the next year or so. As it turned out, I wasn't ready for that. Sure enough, it took me another seven years before I finally settled down.

A week after this mix was made, the "Storm of the Century" hit the entire U.S. East coast, dumping over a foot of snow on this area, but also all the way down to Florida. This was back when we had sustained cold weather and snow all winter long, so it wasn't a total shock to New Englanders. There were a few bigger storms in the years to come, like the 30 inches of snow dropped on the Northeast in January 1996 (I happened to be in Montreal at the time and missed the whole thing) and the April Fool's storm of 1997, which unexpectedly plopped 2 feet of snow on us. All I really remember about this March '93 storm was having to drive around Beverly interviewing people shoveling out their driveways. How many times can you ask people what they think of all this snow? My editor would lose his mind during snowstorms; he literally sent everybody in the newsroom out on similarly stupid assignments.

Musically, I was getting into bands like Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, Helmet and Buffalo Tom, as well as Cracker and the Jayhawks. As you can tell from this tape, my musical tastes were all over the place, in a good way. I was listening to WFNX and watching a lot of MTV's 120 Minutes, where the mellifluous tones of Dave Kendall was introducing the latest alterna-icons. It was a fertile time for rock.

Alas, I was about to enter a prolonged period of depression, living on my own (sort of) in Middleton and working a shitty early morning shift at the paper. These tapes (and steady doses of Beavis and Butt-head) were pretty much the only thing that kept me going for a while there. Ozzy said it best: You can't kill rock n' roll.

Side A
Start Choppin' - Dinosaur Jr.
Leave It Alone - Living Colour
Give It - Helmet
Take the Power Back - Rage Against the Machine
Youth Against Fascism - Sonic Youth
Rain When I Die - Alice in Chains
Asshole - Denis Leary
Black Gold - Soul Asylum
Courage (for Hugh M.) - The Tragically Hip
Surround - Dada
Beautiful Girl - INXS

Side B
This is Cracker Soul - Cracker
Paint It Black - U2
Long Way Down - Michael Penn
Jacksons, Monk and Rowe - Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet
Everybody Hurts - R.E.M.
One of These Days - Neil Young
Crowded in the Wings - Jayhawks
Just a Loser - Robert Cray
99% - Soul Asylum
Go Away - Living Colour
Out There - Dinosaur Jr.
Drunken Butterfly - Sonic Youth

Start Choppin':

Jacksons, Monk & Rowe:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blues Before and After

Hola. Sorry for the dearth of posts lately. Last week, I was out a lot. This week is a different story. The old Dell I've been using for the last five years is starting to succumb to age in the form of the good ol' Blue Screen of Death; when said screen appeared a few times in the last week, I knew time was growing short.

I consulted an IT buddy who recommended taking it in to have the hard drive and OS cleaned out, but that's only a short-term fix. I actually had purchased some internal memory from Amazon because the PC had been slower than shit lately; literally took minutes to start up and shut down. I was prepared to upgrade it, but my friend astutely noted that for not much more money, we could just get a new computer that would be way better. So that's what we're doing. Unfortunately, it probably won't be until sometime next week.

We've still got the laptop we bought earlier this year, but the PC had all my stuff on it: MP3s, software, files, everything. I transferred all the files over to an external hard drive, but right now, I have no way to access them. We're still having the PC cleaned up so the girls can use it. I was hoping to do a podcast Sunday night, but that ain't gonna happen now. I'm shooting for mid-next week.

Sunday, of course, is also the day I'm running the Baystate Marathon. I'm feeling pretty good right now. My knees are a little achy, but they were worse six weeks ago. I cut back a bit on the mileage and they improved. I'm hoping to run the race in under 3:45. Hopefully the weather will be nice and cool. I've already decided I'm not running a spring marathon, just to give my legs a break. I'm looking forward to doing some shorter races and trying some other ways to stay fit. But right now the focus is on Baystate and kicking ass.

Blues Before and After:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Completely Conspicuous 147: Music Geek USA

Amanda Guest joins me on the podcast to discuss music geekdom. Listen to the show in streaming audio or download it directly (right click and "save as").

The show notes...


- Check out Amanda's show Radioculars on WMWM Saturdays from 3-6 p.m. Eastern at Salem State University

- Amanda: Music geekery started when she got to WMWM

- Parents played radio for her while she was still in a crib

- Amanda's first musical memory: Manilow's "Copacabana"

- Kumar: Remember hearing War and Eric Burdon's "Spill the Wine" as 3-year-old

- As a kid, Amanda dug ABBA and Muppets albums

- Later she got into showtunes like Les Miserables, Cats

- She also liked NKOTB, Bon Jovi, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

- Kumar: Saw Alanis Morisette at the Paradise in '94

- WMWM's sister station is WFNX

- FNX DJ got Amanda into voiceover work

- She recited MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech

- Amanda's geekdom grew as she did radio show each week

- Easier to find more obscure music now

- Music licensing doesn't have same stigma it used to

- Amanda doesn't have too many female friends who are music geeks

- Amanda: Girls don't get as obsessive about music collections

- Guys tend to have much larger music collections

- Amanda won contest to see every concert at Paradise Rock Club in October 2009

- She went to 20 shows, spent 20 to 30 hours a week at the 'Dise that month

- Shows included Bajofondo, Blues Traveler, Bob Mould

- After that month of shows, Amanda took winter off from concertgoing

- Bonehead of the Week


Wintersleep - Trace Decay

Yuck - Georgia

Ringo Deathstarr - Imagine Hearts

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The show is sponsored by Budget, the country's premier car rental service with 900 locations. Go to and save 10% off any reservation or $30 off a weekly rental.

The Wintersleep song is on the band's album New Inheritors on Tom Kotter Records. Download the song at the band's website.

The Yuck song is on 7-inch release Georgia on Transparent Records. Download the song for free at Force Field PR.

The Ringo Deathstarr song is on the album Colour Trip on Club AC30. Download the song for free at RCRD LBL.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blogs Clicky Clicky and Keeping Some Dark Secrets. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of the mighty Mark Campbell. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography at his blog.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Rock Problems

As I walked from Boston Common to the Royale with Cheese (aka the club formerly known as the Roxy) last night, I noticed a long line of people crowded outside the Colonial Theater. Turns out they were there to see Rock of Ages, a musical that's supposedly about the power of rock. Meanwhile, I was on my way to see a band that truly encompasses that spirit: The Hold Steady.

Sure, their latest album, Heaven is Whenever, wasn't quite up to the lofty heights of their first four releases, but it was still pretty good. The magical blog nerd buzz that surrounded the band for much of the last half of the last decade seems to have dissipated this year (although the album charted at #26, their highest-ever showing), but having seen the band twice before, I knew they'd put on a great show. The last time I saw the band was 2006, when I caught them at The Middle East in Cambridge in October and then again two months later in New Orleans at the House of Blues. Both shows were transcendent, sloppy and incredibly fun.

I got to the club early to catch opening act Wintersleep, a Nova Scotian band that I'd heard several times on the great hockey podcast A Foot in the Crease. The five-piece specializes in roiling, slow-building songs that grow to a glorious rock crescendo. Definitely worth further investigation.

The headliners hit the stage at 9:20 and plunged right into "Constructive Summer" off 2008's Stay Positive. While not sold out, the club was pretty packed and up near the stage, the crowd was raucous. The band didn't imbibe as much as they did when I saw them four years ago, but that didn't stop everybody else from pounding the beverages and pogoing up a storm on the faster songs.

Frontman Craig Finn still gives off the same spastic English teacher vibe, half-playing his guitar and half clapping in between delivering his tales of young love and substance abuse. Lead guitarist Tad Kubler still ripped off one hot solo after another and drummer Bobby Drake had a massive gong a la Alex Van Halen that he unfortunately never set on fire. But the band had a different feel than previous tours because of the absence of the great Franz Nicolay, whose keyboards and prodigious moustache were a huge part of the band.

The band's touring lineup features guitarist Steve Selvidge (formerly of Lucero) and keyboardist Dan Neustadt. Selvidge provided a little more heft with his rhythm parts, allowing Kubler to wail away and Finn to do his thing. Unlike Nicolay's prominent positioning, Neustadt was tucked away in the back next to Drake, but he provided backing vocals and filled in important organ and piano parts.

The Hold Steady steamrolled through 23 songs in its 95-minute set, sprinkling in songs from each album, including five from the latest release. It was interesting to see the response to older songs like "Barfruit Blues" and "Hornets! Hornets!," which featured Finn's earlier talk-singing style to songs from the last three albums like "Massive Nights," "Southtown Girls" and "You Can Make Him Like You," which featured more defined choruses and "whoa-oh-whoa-oh" vocals. The diehard fans were reciting every word and inflection of the older tunes, but everybody was belting out the choruses to the newer ones.

There was some grumbling afterward about songs the band didn't play, as there always is when an act has five albums of material to pick from. I would've loved to have heard "Cattle and the Creeping Things," "Killer Parties," and "The Swish," but that's how it goes. Most of the songs were close to the album version, although the band stretched out on "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" when Selvidge, Kubler and Finn all started playing unison space-rock solos like something out of an Outlaws show. It would have been great to hear more, but Royale shows are always done right at 11. The band closed with "Slapped Actress," which ends with a great a capella wordless chorus that everybody in the place joined in on. Perfect end to a terrific night of rock.

As the crowd filtered out toward the Common, ears ringing and clothes sweaty from bouncing around with like-minded souls, it ran into the audience leaving Rock of Ages. The latter group was well-dressed, a little older (probably my age) and clutching bags of Rock of Ages merch. It was a nice juxtaposition of the current state of the music industry: The unheralded real deal vs. the pre-packaged approximation of rock.

The set list:
Constructive Summer
Massive Nights
Hurricane J
Sequestered in Memphis
Barfruit Blues
Rock Problems
You Can Make Him Like You
Sweet Part of the City
Stevie Nix
Ask Her for some Adderol
You Gotta Dance (With Who You Came With)
Chips Ahoy!
Stuck Between Stations
Lord, I'm Discouraged
The Weekenders
Southtown Girls
Your Little Hoodrat Friend
Stay Positive
A Slight Discomfort

Hornets! Hornets!
Banging Camp
Slapped Actress

Stuck Between Stations (on Letterman):

Monday, October 04, 2010

Completely Conspicuous 146: Hey DJ, Play That Song

I'm joined on the podcast by Amanda Guest as we discuss college radio. Listen to the show in streaming audio or download it directly (right click and "save as").

The show notes...


- Amanda hosts Radioculars Saturdays from 3-6 p.m. Eastern at Salem State University

- Started working at station in 1994

- Amanda was a top 40 fan when got to college

- Station only played indie rock at the time

- Lots of uptalking at first

- First DJ name was Bob, followed by Cosmic Amanda

- First time slot was Tuesdays noon-3

- Later got the "coveted" Friday 6-9 p.m. time slot

- Online streaming means Amanda now has listeners all over the world

- Stuck with Friday nights for several years

- Left SSC and came back in 2000-2001

- Graduated in 2003, but kept doing a show

- Anyone can do a show, but preference is given to students

- Mid-'90s was a great time for music

- Only played noncommercial music, but had a playlist rotation

- Now WMWM is freeform

- Amanda plays indie rock from artists like Surfer Blood, Wavves, Thermals

- College radio has less influence now

- Feedback comes via Facebook, Twitter, IM

- Studio is all digital now; used to be mix of vinyl and CDs

- For a while, Amanda did a '70s disco show

- Bonehead of the Week


The Twilight Singers (with Ani DiFranco) - The Blackbird and the Fox

The Morning Benders - Outlaw Blues

Gang of Four - Never Pay for the Farm

No Age - Fever Dreaming

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The show is sponsored by Eastbay/ Use the following codes to get athletic gear from Nike, Adidas, Asics and more. AFCOMP15 will get you 10% off any order of $50 at, AFCOMP20 will get you 15% off any order of $75 at and AFCOMPFL will get you 10% off any order of $50 or more at

The Twilight Singers song is on the band's forthcoming album on Sub Pop Records. Find out more and download the song for free from the band's Internet home page.

The Morning Benders song is on the album Subterranean Homesick Blues: A Tribute to Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home on Reimagine Records. Download the song for free from the band's site.

The Gang of Four song is on the forthcoming album Content on Yep Roc. Download the song for free at Reverb Nation.

The No Age song is on the album Everything in Between on Sub Pop, where you can download the song for free.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blogs Clicky Clicky and Keeping Some Dark Secrets. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of the mighty Mark Campbell. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography at his blog.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.