Friday, June 27, 2014

Robert Plant "Rainbow"

I saw Robert Plant a few years ago, and got a laugh thinking how silly some of his early Zeppelin hippie-dippy references sound (like in "Ramble On").

While it doesn't actually sound hippie-dippy or like a 60s throwback, I did have to laugh when I read that his brand new song is called "Rainbow."

You don't get much more hippie-dippy sounding than that.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

She & Him "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?"

If you're local, then you know this scene during Tourist Season . . .

You're in the grocery store.  There is a person.  Often older.  DEFINITELY a tourist.  They are standing in such a way that they are blocking the aisle and are completely unaware that you are trying to pass them.  There is just enough room for you to squeeze by, but you know that the second you try this, they are going to start walking and bump into you.

So there I was, staring at this tourist doing just this.  Staring at him.  Hating on him.

I mean really, is there ANY occasion where it is okay to wear an oxford shirt and a sport coat, with shorts?  Does that make any frickin' sense whatsoever?  How is it that when people go on vacation, they have no clue how to dress?

I was staring.  I was hating.  I was sure that if I looked down, he'd be wearing black socks.

Actually, I was wrong.  He wasn't wearing black socks.  He was wearing black sneakers, with white tube socks.  Ugh.

What do the socks have written on them?


He moved and I pushed my carriage past him.  I got about halfway down the aisle before I just couldn't let it go.  I turned around.

"Excuse me.  Sir?  Do your socks say 'I (Heart) She & Him'?"

He looked at me blankly for a second, woken from his trance of looking at flavored coffee.  Then he gave me a warm smile.  "Yes.  I love that band."

"Great band."

"My wife and I saw them years ago, in a little club, before they got big.  Have you seen them?"

I did talk about how much I liked them, though I didn't drop my M Ward story.

"Socks, huh," I said.  "Usually people get a t-shirt."

"You can get anything these days," he smiled.

Truer words were never spoken during Tourist Season.

"Have a great day," I said to him, and sped off with my carriage, wondering what grocery store weirdness my next collision might bring.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Neko Case "Thrice All American"

I got a big kick out of this Neko Case/Kelly Hogan goof on Sci-Fi and Fanboys and such.

And because I was sitting at the kitchen table on a late afternoon, I decided to go to the basement and pull out some of my older Neko Case records, like "Furnace Room Lullaby."

It's been a while since I'd gone back to the Neko Case of the 90s.  The think that struck me was that on top of loving the record as much as ever, I just couldn't get over how little-of-a-clue that record offered, as to what Neko Case would sound like in 2014.

I mean, the voice is still there.  The mystery.  The confidence.  The sly humor amid the darkness.

I guess I'm mostly talking about the country references, which are pretty much gone without a trace now.

In the late 90s, Neko Case seemed like she was going to be an enigmatic Patsy Cline for the modern age, crafting timeless, country-tinged dark ruminations.

And while the music of 2014 still feels timeless and dark, there is a complete absence of twang.

The strangest part about it is that it happened slowly and quietly, subtly.  I mean, there's still a bit of twang in Case's voice in current songs like "City Swans."  Just not in the instrumentation.

I was trying to think of another artist who so quietly, easily slipped out of country, without calling attention to it---so much so that you kinda forgot that's where they came from.

Wilco came to mind at first.  But I do recall an interview with Jeff Tweedy, pre-"Yankee Hotel Foxtrot," where he was contemplating a future "zero Country reference" record.

Maybe Joe Henry?  He was alt-country before alt-country was alt-country.  Now he makes records as timeless and dark and somewhat-uncategorizable as Case.

Anyway, just an observation.  It's nice to still be surprised by an artist.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Public Enemy "He Got Game"

Stick with me, MVY listeners . . .

I was following a Facebook thread last night from a friend whose musical tastes run shockingly similar to mine.  The post was based around late 80s/early 90s rap music, starting with The Beastie Boys amazing back-to-back records "Paul's Boutique" and "Check Your Head."  Further comments cited De La Soul, Black Sheep, Boogie Down Productions and Public Enemy, among others, as producing great albums in that era.

Then the thread host mentioned Public Enemy's "He Got Game" soundtrack, and wham! I was hit with a little bolt of lightning.

I am certain that I have not thought about that song since it played on WABN, some 15 years ago.

How certain am I that it was erased from my memory?  When the song came on I thought, "Oh yeah, the song where they sample 'For What It's Worth' a little too heavily."  While completely forgetting that STEPHEN STILLS IS IN THIS VIDEO!!!  They didn't just sample, Stephen Fucking Stills performed with Public Enemy?!?!

This isn't the kind of thing that slips your mind for a second.  Either it's there, or it's not there.

For me, it was definitely not there.  Until now.

Hey mvyradio listeners, I know many of your aren't interested in Public Enemy, but you gotta at least skip ahead to 2:20, when Stills shows up.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Patty Larkin "Do Not Disturb"

"It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child." -- Pablo Picasso

Take a second and look at the three pictures above.  Do you know what the hand-written signs say?

That Picasso quote at the top of the post is oft recited in my house. It comes up because my wife is an elementary school art teacher.

She uses the quote with her students, as encouragement, explaining to them that they have a certain talent that even Picasso struggled to compete with.

And she uses the quote on those occasions when she if offering instruction to adults, particularly the ones who say "I can't draw" or "I haven't done art since I was a kid."

Tapping in to your inner-kid-ness is a talent.

And as a parent, it can be a necessity.

Our daughter is completing her first year of public school.  Kindergarten.  Her knowledge and her skills grow every day.  One day she's sounding out the word "red."  And what seems like a few days later, she's reading aloud, slowly but surely, through "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish."

Then she leapt into spelling.  She is labeling pictures.  Writing stories.  And posting signs with important information for our family about our new kittens.

I always struggle to read these signs, and usually I have to ask my wife for help.

"Just read the letters," she tells me.

In other words, don't sound it out.  Just say each consonant and vowel, as is.  Our daughter isn't really blending letters, or writing the silent letters, or using the "soft" versions of letters.

Read it, as is.  As it sounds.

The above pictures say:

"Bubble soap" (which was a potential name for one of our new kittens)

"Smelly Section" (note the corner of the house where we keep the trash barrel and the cat litter box)

"A couple of days ago I got two new kittens.  They are fun.  One is Kiki and the other one is Jasper."  And at the top of the page it says "Toilet Paper."

On the same day I saw my daughter post this sign where she was trying to make a cat bed, I also heard the Patty Larkin track on MVY.  That song makes me happy because it mentions Paul Klee, who is my wife's favorite artist (after our kids, of course)  And yeah, I can hear how "disturb" could easily be sounded out by a 6 year old as "distubv."

As of this posting, my favorite art teacher has not updated her site about her planned 2014 Summer classes, but you can keep checking this link.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Undertones "It's Going To Happen"

A Throwback Thursday post:

It was always fun, on my old alternative show, to play throwback tunes. 

Funny to think that it was nearly 20 years ago, that I was playing this song as a Throwback, then!

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sam Phillips "Baby I Can't Please You"

A Throwback Thursday post:

Jess did a Hot Seat on T Bone Burnett last week, and that jogged the memory of this tune.

Burnett was married to Sam Phillips and produced her "Martinis And Bikinis" album, one of my early 90s favorites.

Fun fact!  The album cover picture led to her being cast as Jeremy Irons' mute terrorist girlfriend in "Die Hard With A Vengeance."

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Eric Clapton "Call Me The Breeze"

Eric Clapton has put together "An Appreciation Of JJ Cale," featuring covers of Cale's tunes as done by Clapton, Tom Petty, Mark Knopfler and others.

"Call Me The Breeze" is out as a single.

Should MVY play it?

On the one hand, does this version really add to or change your perception of the song?  Not for me.  It's a very tasteful take on the tune, but I don't feel like I'm experiencing anything new here.

And really, does anyone need to hear "Call Me The Breeze" every again?  It's one of those songs that feels a little like driving by a McDonalds---you don't have to go in, to know exactly how the food is going to taste.  Or in this case, listen to the song to know what it sounds like.

On the other hand, maybe adding the version to rotation provides a little lift to the version we play (MVY has the original JJ Cale song in rotation; we don't have the Lynyrd Skynyrd version in rotation).  Alternating versions might make the listeners listen a little harder, wondering "Which version is this?"

The very pragmatic reason to play it, is that any airplay or record sales that come as a result of someone hearing it on MVY, means money for the songwriter.  In this case, the estate of the late JJ Cale will benefit.

Cale was beloved by the great guitar players of the generation who followed him, but he never rose to the level of commercial success of the folks who are on this record.  Playing the album will financially support the Cale family.

But when a listener flips the dial and hears a song, they probably aren't thinking any of these things.

Instead, they're making a snap judgement---do I want to hear what MVY is playing, or change the channel?

What do you think listeners will do when they hear this one?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Toad The Wet Sprocket "The Moment"

People asked us for months, "What is going to be the first song you play on your new FM signal?"

And everyone had an opinion.

You may be a little surprised to know that even just a couple of hours before we were to go live, we hadn't picked a song yet.

A few weeks back, Barbara Dacey and I had agreed that we should air the "ocean waves" sound effect that comprised the last 20 minutes of our final broadcast on 92.7, fifteen months ago.

My first idea was that we would play "Riviera Paradise," which was the last song on 92.7.  It seemed to suggest that we were picking up right where we left off.  But then it didn't seem original enough.

While brainstorming, Barbara suggested Carly Simon's "Never Been Gone," which is perfect on a number of levels, since it is specifically about the Vineyard, and the joke that "mvyradio feels like it never was away" was pretty funny. 

But we set that idea aside, because we really wanted the first song to be something upbeat.  (Hilariously, the 2 comments I saw online about "Never Been Gone," which ended up being the 3rd or 4th song we played were along the lines of, "I can't believe you didn't play that one first!" and "Ugh, I can't believe they played Carly Simon!?!"  So I guess we did strike the appropriate middle ground)

It was Barbara who came up with the unconventional choice of playing James Brown's "I Got You."

Though it's not a tune we would regularly play, the spirit and vibe matched the moment.

But that wasn't the first song on the new 88.7.

What I knew all along was that we were going to have to turn on the new transmitter and be certain that everything was working properly, before it was safe to announce to the world that we were going to "launch" 88.7.

And we had no idea when that was going to happen.

We were scheduled to have the antenna hung on the tower, last week.  But rain prevented the contractors from doing the work.

They were supposed to start Monday, but they couldn't get a ferry reservation.

They got to the station early Wednesday, but by mid-morning, they realized that a couple of necessary cables had not arrived via UPS.  We tracked the package and found that it was on-Island, so I furiously started texting a couple of guys I know who work for UPS, to see if we could pull some strings and get it there.  It came shortly after lunch.

I kept wandering down to the engineer, who was hooking things up in the basement.

"Now?  How about now?  Are we close?"  I was like a 4 year old.

The plan, once the thing was live, was to put the ocean wave on, send out a press release to the media and send an eblast to our listeners giving them a 45 minute heads up.  Craig, the engineer, just had to finish his work to set this all in motion.

Finally, he came running upstairs, and simply gave me the thumbs up.

Craig, Barbara and I ran out to the parking lot, and put on the car radios.

88.7FM was on the air.

"Does it sound good?  It is a go?"

It was "The Moment."  Completely random that the Toad The Wet Sprocket song was the one on the air when the switch was flipped.  But there it was, coming out of our speakers.

We all smiled.  And yes, a tear or two was shed.

Toad The Wet Sprocket was on 88.7FM, which probably only had 3 listeners, Craig, Barbara and me.

I ran back inside and put the waves on the air.

The moment had arrived.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sarah McLachlan "In Your Shoes"

Last week there was a conference of non-commercial radio stations.  I wanted to go, but it was during our Fund drive for Friends of mvyradio.

I was quite interested in the forum titled "The Tori Dilemma."  The question at hand was, if you are a station that breaks new artists, but you've been doing it for years and years, what do you do when your new artists, have become established artists?  You're not really breaking new artists if you are playing the new Tori Amos, Natalie Merchant or Sarah McLachlan.  But if you don't play them, you are effectively ignoring the artists you told your listeners were important to pay attention to.

For MVY, we're not necessarily chasing a younger, more fickle audience.  We still try to break new artists, but we're comfortable sticking with the heritage acts, even if they are "old."

Hear the song on Youtube.