J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Playlists, podcasts and music from WQFS Greensboro's J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Friday, February 02, 2018

Long Player #4 :
Alabama - Feels So Right
Alabama - The Closer You Get..

The scene is some academic summer camp or another when I'm seven years old. We're eating lunch in the cafeteria and one of the older kids, for whatever reason, asks me who my favorite band is. My answer?


I remember this very vividly. I also remember the other kids kind of snickering for some reason. (Though it probably explains why I remember it. I was always a sensitive soul.)

The music in my household growing up was predominantly country radio. That and NPR and talk radio. Neither of my parents are the kind of music heads that I would become, but they enjoy good music. And so I had my ears full of the stuff on the radio in the 80s - Alabama, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Ronnie Millsap, Kathy Matea, Aaron Tippin and on and on. And it's interesting to see how these things manifested themselves in my adult listening experience. Who knows if I would've given Son Volt the time of day in high school if not for the country influence.

I turned away from country radio and embraced rock around the time of the Garth Brooks revolution, so I've always sort of tagged him as the dividing line between more traditional country and the slick pop that defines the radio genre now. But I had a bit of an awakening about this when tackling these two albums. Garth, rather, was mastering something that had been in the works for some time. But let's get back to Alabama.

Alabama's first album was released in 1976, so by the time we get to 1981's Feels So Right, their second for a major and fifth overall, they were hitting their peak. Let's review how good the 80s were for this band. They released 9 studio albums (not counting a 1985 Christmas album) in the decade, only one of which (1980's My Home's In Alabama) didn't reach #1 on the Country albums chart. Every one of these 9 albums is certified platinum - the two I'm discussing today, 4 times platinum each. They never had another number one album after the 80s. They didn't have one before. So clearly, the 80s were something pretty special for the boys from Alabama.

It's a bit of a fascinating story. The three main members are all cousins, having started the band under a different name in 1969. So it probably explains a lot of what I found out by actually, for the first time in my life, listening to a complete album by them: they were just as rooted in the genre-hopping classic rock of bands like the Doobie Brothers as they were their country lineage. There are songs that dive into muted soul and r&b exercises, some that come close to out-and-out rocking a bit, and the ones that actually come fully into the country mode. The only part of an Alabama album that always hues close to the country playbook are the lyrics. But even there, they're just a Southern state reference away from it being a pretty down-the-middle pop exercise.

Two things I've thought about a lot while listening to these albums, beyond how enjoyable I've actually found them, is that while I like them, I'm not sure I'd actually go up to anyone and say: "Dude, but seriously. Check out The Closer You Get." If not for the obvious attachment of nostalgia to my childhood, I don't know that I could successfully argue that you were missing out on anything by not diving into the Albama oeuvre. Want to better understand 1980s country radio? Well, then, absolutely, come on aboard. Otherwise, you're good.

The other obvious problem, as you can see in the photo, is the Confederate flag. Four of their best selling records from this period have the flag predominantly featured. This one on the cover of Feels So Good is relatively subtle compared to the near dominance of it on some of the other covers. It's the kind of thing that makes me a bit unsure of how to treat this part of my musical background. I literally don't own another record with that image on it. But Alabama's songs are pure pop songs mostly rooted in love stories. There's not a whiff of politics on any of it, which is, of course, why the flag is there. It's just a cultural totem, probably more commercial choice than ideological one. The flag disappears by the late 80s, though it makes a small appearance on an early 90s greatest hits collection cover.

So how to deal with that? It's troubling, but I also can understand it not as something inherently racist here - but just inherently, and willfully blind to what it could be otherwise. If you're only surrounded by people who embrace the flag from the 'heritage' perspective, maybe you just don't think about it. I don't know if the members of Alabama were ever questioned retroactively about their use of the flag. (That great discussion Tom Petty gave about his band's use of it for the Southern Accents tour is a pretty great example of someone owning past ignorance and doing it gracefully and respectfully.) But it'd be a good question to ask them at some point. At the same time it makes me hesitate to even keep the one record around. Or to pull it out. Or to even try to make an argument for why the music on it is solid. Regardless, let's rank the songs:

Feels So Right

10. Woman Back Home
9. See the Embers, Feel the Flame
8. Ride the Train
7. Hollywood
6. I'm Stoned
5. Feels So Right
4. Burn Georgia Burn
3. Old Flame
2. Fantasy
1. Love in the First Degree

The Closer You Get...

10. Lovin' Man
9. Dixie Boy
8. Dixieland Delight
7. Alabama Sky
6. Very Special Love
5. Red River
4. What in the Name of Love
3. The Closer You Get
2. Lady Down on Love
1. She Put the Sad In All His Songs

Next Week: Oh, boy. We go further down the questionable road with not one, not two, but three Woody Allen stand up albums: Woody Allen; Woody Allen, Vol. 2; and Standup Comic : 1964 - 1968


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Long Player #3:
The Afghan Whigs - Black Love

The Afghan Whigs are not only one of my favorite bands, but they encompass one of my favorite rock band trajectories: One solid album to get their footing, three or so increasingly stellar albums afterward, a really good swan song, and then at least ten years later, a reunion with record(s) that match the originals in quality. There are obvious exceptions to this rule, but in a lot of ways, I feel like 5 is the optimal number of albums that one group of musicians ought to record together. (This does not include EPs.) Call it the Pavement Rule - one great debut (Slanted..), three increasingly great follow ups (Crooked Rain.. through Brighten the Corners) and the good swan song (Terror Twilight).

I go back and forth on which Afghan Whigs album is actually my favorite; I tend to cycle between the main focus of today's piece and 1993's Gentlemen. Both are superb and pretty much perfect in their own ways. But there's a little phrase that's been tucked away on most every project Greg Dulli has laid his hands on these past three decades: "Shot on location at" That's what all these albums say in lieu of "Recorded at.." And Black Love is without question the most cinematic of the Afghan Whigs' original run.

Both albums also share one of my favorite lyrical conceits - a returning theme. Dulli is great at opening with a line ("a lie...the truth...which one should I use?" in "Crime Scene Part One") and then returning to it in a slightly different context later (on "Blame, Etc.").

The album is paced and structured pretty perfectly. The slow build of "Crime Scene Part One" leads into the soaring blitz of "My Enemy," to the propelled slinkiness of "Double Day" and the raging "Blame, Etc." All of this makes the fifth track, "Step Into the Light," one of the best examples of tension relief on most any album I've ever heard. It's perfectly placed an executed.

"Going to Town" has some of my favorite Dulli sin/hell-based lyrics ("When you say, 'Boy, we got hell to pay' / Don't worry, baby, that's okay / I know the boss") and "Honky's Ladder" has a perverse sing-along chorus that best exmplifies something I noticed for the first time on this recent listen. The guitars at the center of the Afghan Whigs music, played by Dulli and Rick McCollum, always seemed just the slightest bit off-key. Like the pegs needed just a slight turn more. But I realized now that they give the music its gleefully off-kilter sound. The sound of chaos straining, on the verge of boiling over. And more than that, they echo the voice of Greg Dulli. Dulli's voice is a powerful one. He can take his voice up into falsetto brilliantly, but can hover somewhere between a growl and a yowl, sounding like someone with just a bit of rasp trying to re-create some of the best soul crooners of the 60s and 70s.

The album ends with another thing that I think is a marker of a great record: an ending triptych. "Bulletproof" into "Summer's Kiss" into "Faded" is as engaging a closing set of songs that you could ask for. Especially as "Faded" fades out into the same el-train/subway noises that the record opens with, bringing it all full circle. There's not a wasted noted or effect on this album and it's truly the Afghan Whigs at the peak of their prowess as a band.

The copy of Black Love that I own is the 20th anniversary reissue from last year and it includes some extras - none of which are that interesting, honestly, aside from a cover of New Order's "Regret" which is pretty transcendent and could've fit in somewhere on the original album I think. Dulli's work as an interpreter of other people's work - making it into his own - is without parallel in indie-rock.

Should I rank the songs? Maybe. Black Love works so well as a piece, that I hesitate to do so, but here goes nothing.

11. My Enemy
10. Night by Candlelight
9. Double Day
8. Bulletproof
7. Summer's Kiss
6. Crime Scene Part One
5. Honky's Ladder
4. Going to Town
3. Blame, Etc.
2. Step Into the Light
1. Faded

Next Week on Long Player: Alabama - Feels So Right and The Closer You Get..


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Long Player #2 :
Ryan Adams - 29

If it weren't for the idea of Ryan Adams, I'm not sure where his songs would land him. To be clear, what I'm talking about here are the ways he's overshadowed his art in his fairly lengthy career. The stage tantrums, the run-away prolificity, the stunt albums. All of it has created a bit of a haze around Adams for me over the years. The high points are really incredibly high, but they also come so early in his career that it's easy to forget. For me, Whiskeytown's Stranger's Almanac and his debut solo album Heartbreaker, while obvious and championed to death, really are his finest hours. But they also earned him enough goodwill to engender the support for albums since. Everyone hoping that the next would be that great return to excellence.

But I also love that because of that, every part of his catalogue has its defenders. For me, aside from the two aforementioned albums, the last calendar year that I had a lot of hope in the work of Ryan Adams was 2005 and it was precisely for one of the reasons I mentioned earlier as an overshadowing element: the prolific nature of his work.

It was announced in the spring of that year that Cold Roses, a double album, would be the first of three records released that year. A Billboard article from March of that year announced the names of the following albums as "September" (this would instead be Jacksonville City Nights) and "29." The first two albums would do really well for Adams respectively. The latter, not so much. But while I unquestionably think Cold Roses is the best of the three, 29 is a record that has held my attention and intrigue for more than a decade. I can't say for sure why, though it does share an overall feel with the album that would follow close on this one's heels, Love Is Hell, one of his other albums that I'll generally stick up for.

Here's where I'll abandon my journalistic integrity (hah) for a second and just say what I think I remember. What I remember is that Adams announced that 29 was an ode to his 20s, with one song for each year. Now, for all I know, this makes about as much sense as when Liz Phair claimed that Exile in Guyville was a song-by-song rejoinder to Exile on Main Street despite the two having different numbers of songs and, you know, the concept just not being there. So, the album opens with the title track. So does it go in reverse order? Also, there are only nine songs on the album. So does he not include when he was 20? It sounds like another case of Adams talking about something ("New album called September!") that just wasn't to be.

Of the three albums that year, this was the only one not recorded with his new backing band The Cardinals, and it's the low-key and smaller structure of this album that probably appeals to me. It's very piano driven in spots. But it also opens with a bit of a rocker ("Twenty Nine") and then goes into softer territory. Part of me wonders if he aimed to replicate Heartbreaker's similar structure as a bit of a tease.

If I were really going to amuse myself here, I would take each song and try to come up with what happened to Ryan in that year of his life. Some of these songs are personal narratives, others are character sketches. There's clearly nothing blatantly autobiographical going on here, but somewhere in his intentions, I suppose there was.

Adams' lyrics are sometimes the most banal things on Earth and sometimes utterly beautiful, but "Carolina Rain" does contain what I consider one of his clunkiest lines. "I pulled into Mecklenburg..." starts the line. Adams is originally from North Carolina, but he pretty famously doesn't hold much truck with his home state anymore. Now, for all I know, there are people here still pissed off at him enough from the Whiskeytown days that he just stays clear. But he did name an album Jacksonville Goddamned City Nights (possibly not the actual title) and wrote "Oh My Sweet Carolina" and now here's another Carolina song, so he has feelings for us, clearly.  But Mecklenburg? For those of you not native to this state, Mecklenburg is the name of the county wherein sits the city of Charlotte. There is no city of Mecklenburg in the state. Now, that's fine, and you can play with details all you want in song, but the word just scans poorly. Charlotte would've made more sense. Or Raleigh. Or something. But not "Mecklenburg." So it does me the double disservice of being a) a poor choice of words aesthetically and b) irritating me as someone knowing that Mecklenburg is not a city.
But 29 is a really good record. It's an album for contemplation and thoughtfulness. About your 20s or whatever you have in mind. Just, stay out of Mecklenburg. Let's rank the songs:

9. Voices
8. Strawberry Wine
7. Carolina Rain
6. Nightbirds
5. Blue Sky Blues
4. The Sadness
3. Elizabeth, You were Born to Play That Part
2. Twenty Nine
1. Starlite Diner

Next week on Long Player: The Afghan Whigs' Black Love


Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Long Player #1 :
AC/DC - Back in Black

Welcome to Long Player. Once a week, give or take some holidays, for the foreseeable future (read: years?), I will be proceeding through my vinyl music collection in alphabetical order. Some of these records will be painfully obscure, others painfully well known. With most artists, I will actually devote a different column to each album I have of theirs. In some cases, I may lump several records together for one entry. Or none. I don’t know. I’ll decide as I go and will have logic to go along with it.  
In some ways, I feel like starting off with AC/DC’s Back in Black is an intimidating thing to do. In other ways, it's the most appropriate thing that could happen. Here's why. I’m taking a long, thorough dive through my vinyl collection, something more interesting to me than it could possibly be to anyone else. My LP collection is an oddity in some ways. It's not the primary way I have ever bought music, but it's not insubstantial in amount. I've gone deep on collecting certain things, and then have spartan examples of other catalogues that I managed to get cheaply. Back in Black is a perfect example of that as it's the only AC/DC album I have on vinyl. I've had chances to buy others. I haven't yet done that.
It's also an album that has been written about a million times over and the odds of me saying anything new or interesting about it border on the infinitesimal. But since I've already admitted that this writing exercise is more for me than anything else - and I'm truly hoping that people enjoy it along the way, though that's not the point - then why not tackle one of the monoliths of rock and roll?
Back in Black is of course a strange record in rock's history because of its placement at the front of the second half of the Bon Scott/Brian Johnson eras of the band. You'd be hard pressed to think of another band that lost one of its key members (especially a lead singer) only to come back immediately with a record that would become its most successful to date at the time and one that defines the band to this day.
One thing I certainly like about the vinyl era of music was the physical limitation. If you wanted to avoid spreading out onto a second LP, you were limited to around 45 minutes of music or less. This made albums fairly compact and to someone who grew up in the age of cassettes (60 minutes) and CDs (80 minutes), the smaller scale punch really stands out. I noticed that most of my favorite albums of 2016 were in the 30 – 40 minute range. And that’s not a surprise. Albums that length tend to hit with their best songs and get out before wearing you down and also prompt repeat listening as a result.
Back in Black is a masterclass in this kind of thinking. It clocks in at 42 minutes and each side basically rolls from barnstorming opener (“Hells Bells” on side 1; the title track on side 2) into hellacious rockers and fist pumping giants before settling into the slowest respective song on each side. Which is not to be mistaken for a ballad. “Let Me Put My Love Into You” at the end of side 1 is really all about setting you up for the monumental “Back in Black” on the opening of the next side. “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” at the end of the record is just a nice, heavy sigh by way of winding things up.
My 21-month old daughter came home about a month ago singing Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” I have no idea who taught her this or why, but it eventually lead me to bring up the video for the song on YouTube for her to see. Now of course I’m stuck playing that video, or the song itself on Spotify, over and over for her. (On the plus side, with the percussion instrument set I got her for Christmas, I’ve managed to get her to imitate the iconic thump-thump-pop of the song. She’s the next Janet Weiss, guys, I’m serious.) But in doing so, I’ve been forced to re-evaluate a song that I’d long cordoned off in the same part of the world as Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2” and, well, Queen’s “We Are the Champions” from the same album as “We Will Rock You.” And in doing so rediscovered what’s so engaging about it in the first place.
Same with Back in Black. The big hits on the album are massive. To have escaped “Back in Black,” “Hells Bells” or the gigantic “You Shook Me All Night Long” somehow implies a level of purposeful cultural ignorance that I would tip my hat to. Even “Shoot to Thrill,” never a single, has appeared in too many big move soundtracks to count. All of these songs come back to life within the context of the album. “Hells Bells” is an opener with few peers in rock. “Back in Black” is the same for the second side.
And “You Shook Me All Night Long” is the poppiest song on the album, earning its ubiquitous presence in our culture. I find myself singing along with it in a way that would seem tedious if I ran across it on classic rock radio. Context is everything in the case of a lot of these songs. But it’s interesting to think about in comparison with the bloated modern album. Do big singles regain anything within the span of albums like Drake’s VIEWS? Or are their purposeful single-hood pointed out all the more? And is this an effect of the era-of-bloat or more about Back in Black’s status as an unimpeachable album from front to back? Clearly the answer is the latter, but the svelte size of Back in Black doesn’t hurt.
And it is pretty perfect. Even the deep cuts (god, “Shake a Leg,” y’all – for real) are golden and carry the album along transcendentally. I read a listener review of the album over at AllMusic where they basically said “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” is the worst song on the album but only because its slow, winding-down throb just suffers a bit by comparison after the previous 37-and-a-half minutes of lightning. I find that a legitimate argument, but if that song is the worst on your album, you’re doing something right.
Plus, also, Veruca Salt’s American Thighs. I do really enjoy band lyric references in other bands’ album titles.
And, what the hell, let’s just rank the songs on this album for the fun of it. I may do this with every album, or I may not.
10. Let Me Put My Love Into You
9. Have a Drink on Me
8. Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution
7. Given the Dog a Bone
6. Shoot to Thrill
5. What Do You Do For Money Honey
4. Hells Bells
3. You Shook Me All Night Long
2. Shake a Leg
1. Back in Black

Next Week on Long Player: Ryan Adams - 29


Sunday, April 12, 2015

J's Indie/Rock Mayhem - 8th April 2015

[Welcome to another edition of J's Indie/Rock Mayhem. I was gone for a couple of weeks for the birth of my daughter, so this episode is dedicated to her. In addition to the new music, all of the older songs have a 'baby' theme to them. A bit of a stretch on some, but, you know, that's how it goes. Hope you enjoy.

Ryan Snyder will be joining me next week for Indie/Rock Roundtable, so tune in as we discuss a couple of new albums and how 2015 is shaping up as a year in music.

Now, onward.]

J's Indie/Rock Podcast: 8th April 2015 show

Theme Song - Peaches - "Rock Show"
the Sonics - "Bad Betty" [from this is the sonics, their first new album in 49 years.]
the Babies - "Baby" [from our house on the hill. i think i mistakenly called this their self-titled album on the air. my bad.]
Courtney Barnett - "Pedestrian at Best" [from sometimes i just sit and think and sometimes i just sit.]
Big Star - "When My Baby's Beside Me" [from #1 record.]
the Mountain Goats - "Foreign Object" [from beat the champ.]
the Heartbreakers - "Baby Talk" [from l.a.m.f.]
American Wrestlers - "Kelly" [from their self-titled debut.]
Pulp - "Babies" [from his 'n' hers.]
Calexico - "Falling From the Sky" [from edge of the sun.]
Mary Lou Lord - "Baby Blue" [title track from her last album, a badfinger cover.]
Wire - "Burning Bridges" [from their new self-titled album.]
Paul Westerberg - "Whatever Makes You Happy" [from suicaine gratifaction.]
Waxahatchee - "Under a Rock" [from her latest, ivy tripp.]
Teenage Fanclub - "Baby Lee" [from shadows.]
Lower Dens - "Ondine" [from escape from evil.]
Tom Waits - "I Can't Wait to Get Off Work (And See My Baby on Montgomery Avenue)" [from small change.]
Hayden - "Hey Love" [the title track from his latest.]
the Ramones - "The KKK Took My Baby Away" [from pleasant dreams.]
Broken Water - "High-Lo" [from their new album wrought.]
T. Rex - "Baby Strange" [from the slider.]
Speedy Ortiz - "Raising the Skate" [from their forthcoming album foil deer.]
Talking Heads - "Stay Up Late" [from little creatures.]
Hey Mandible - "Missing Monet" [from the arse.]
Bill Callahan - "Baby's Breath" [from apocalypse.]
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper - "Billions of Eyes" [from after.]
Nirvana - "Drain You" [by request. from nevermind.]
Vaughn Aed - "Right Near" [from ashe.]
the Decemberists - "Better Not Wake the Baby" [from what a terrible world, what a beautiful world.]
Rickie Lee Jones - "Skeletons" [from pirates.]

That'll do it for this week. Hope you enjoyed the 'baby' theme additions to the show. I'll be back next week with more great new and classic stuff, so until then, take care.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

J's Indie/Rock Mayhem - 18th March 2015

[Welcome to another edition of J's Indie/Rock Mayhem. So! As I mentioned last week, I'll be taking a couple of weeks off when this baby arrives and, ready or not, that will be sometime in the next week. The illustrious Mad Dog will be filling in for me next Wednesday night and then someone else the week after that. I'm going to try and put together a special baby themed podcast for upload during that stretch, but we'll see what time allows.

This show is pretty great, I think. Lots of great new stuff. So now, onward.]

J's Indie/Rock Podcast: 18th March 2015 show

Theme Song - Peaches - "Rock Show"
Colleen Green - "Pay Attention" [from i want to grow up.]
Teenage Fanclub - "Don't Look Back" [from grand prix.]
Aquatic Ceremony - "Meditation" [from aquatic ceremony.]
Depeche Mode - "I Feel You" [from songs of faith and devotion.]
Krill - "Torturer" [from a distant fist unclenching.]
Toad the Wet Sprocket - "Reincarnation Song" [from dulcinea.]
Shana Falana - "Heavenstay" [from set your lightning fire free.]
Kathleen Edwards - "Independent Theif" [from back to me.]
Radical Dads - "Don't Go" [from universal coolers.]
the Darkness - "Best of Me" [from the b-side of the "get your hands off of my woman" single.]
Courtney Barnett - "Pedestrian at Best" [from her first full length sometimes i sit and think and sometimes i just sit which is out next week.]
Edwyn Collins - "A Girl Like You" [from gorgeous george.]
Matthew E. White - "Rock and Roll Is Cold" [from fresh blood.]
Josh Rouse - "Nothing Gives Me Pleasure" [from under cold blue stars.]
Pyramids - "The Substance of Grief Is Not Imaginary" [from a northern meadow.]
Blossom Dearie - "The Shadow of Your Smile" [from blossom dearie live in london.]
Dick Diver - "Tearing the Posters Down" [from melbourne, florida.]
the Foreign Exchange - "Take Off the Blues" [from leave it all behind.]
Hey Mandible - "Calypso Twist" [from the arse.]
Tom Waits - "New Coat of Paint" [from the heart of saturday night.]
Diet Cig - "Harvard" [from over easy.]
the Blow - "True Affection" [from paper television.]
Tobias Jesso Jr. - "Hollywood" [from goon.]
Rock Plaza Central - "My Children, Be Joyful" [from are we not horses.]
the Replacements - "Valentine" [from pleased to meet me.]

That'll do it and I'll be back in a few weeks. Until then, take care!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

J's Indie/Rock Mayhe - 11th March 2015

[So, where have I been? Well, there are a lot of answers. I've been cranking out the radio show on a weekly basis. It's just that the podcast went away. It's been a busy 2015 for me, but if you ever don't see the podcast, don't forget that you can catch me live each week on Wednesday nights at 6 PM EST at 90.9 FM in the Greensboro, NC area or streaming at our Tunein site online.

So, I'm also getting ready to have a baby. My wife and I are expecting literally any minute now, so, I will disappear again for a couple of weeks, though I might throw up some of those 'missing' episodes in the meantime to tide you over. Regardless, I'm going to get us back on track with these shows.

In the meantime, onward. Check out the song listing below.]

J's Indie/Rock Podcast: 11th March 2015 show

Theme Song - Peaches - "Rock Show"
Sleater-Kinney - "Bury Our Friends" [from no cities to love.]
Mathew Sweet - "Sick of Myself" [from 100% fun.]
Radical Dads - "In the Water" [from universal coolers.]
Beastie Boys - "Stand Together" [from check your head.]
Swervedriver - "Setting Sun" [from i wasn't born to lose you.]
Josh Ritter - "Snow is Gone" [from hello starling.]
Shana Falana - "Anything" [from set your lightning fire free.]
the Dead Boys - "Sonic Reducer" [from young, loud and snotty.]
Dick Diver - "Waste the Alphabet" [from melbourne, florida.]
the Afghan Whigs - "Goin' to Town" [from black love.]
Cannibal Ox - "Gotham (Ox City)" [from blade of the ronin.]
Marah - "It's Only Money, Tyrone" [from kids in philly.]
Matthew E. White - "Tranquility" [from fresh blood.]
the Lemonheads - "Great Big No" [from come on feel the lemonheads.]
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper - "Vena Cava" [from after.]
the Reigning Sound - "Reptile Style" [from time bomb high school.]
Will Butler - "Take My Side" [from policy.]
Liz Phair - "Baby Got Gone" [from whitechocolatespaceegg.]
Bombadil - "Love is Simply" [from hold on.]
the Streets - "Blinded by the Lights" [from a grand don't come for free.]
Built to Spill - "Living Zoo" [from untethered moon.]
Sixteen Horsepower - "Brimstone Rock" [from low estate.]
Heron - "Sally Goodin" [from their self-titled album.]
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - "You Know We Can't Go Back" [from chasing yesterday.]
Bill Callahan - "Small Plane" [from dream river.]
Screaming Females- "Wishing Well" [from rose mountain.]
the Church - "Vanishing Man [from further/deeper.]
Helium - "Baby Vampire Made Me" [from pirate prude.]

That'll do it for this week. Hope you enjoy. I'll be back next week with more, I think. See above. Until next time, take care.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

J's Indie/Rock Mayhem - 1st October 2014

[Welcome to another edition of J's Indie/Rock Mayhem during our 15 Years of Mayhem fall celebration. This week we celebrated music from the year 2001. These next weeks are going to get so much easier for me to program as I'll largely be able to pull from my year-end Top 25 Albums lists starting with 2002. Awesome. This week's show was a ton of fun though.

Congratulations to Clay who won our gift certificate give-away to Scuppernong Books tonight. If you haven't been to Scuppernong, it's a fantastic book store and well worth your time when you're in downtown Greensboro. Thanks again to them for being nice enough to donate.

Now while the gettin's good, onward.]

J's Indie/Rock Podcast: 1st October 2014 show

Theme Song - Peaches - "Rock Show"
King Tuff - "Black Moon Spell" [the title track from the latest. really enjoying this record a lot so far. t-rexy.]
Ash - "Burn Baby Burn" [from free all angels. the first of our 2001 songs of the night.]
Purling Hiss - "Learning Slowly" [from their latest, weirdon.]
New Order - "Crystal" [from get ready. i like new order - i wouldn't say i love new order. but i have always, unequivocally, loved this song. 2001, man.]
Sloan - "You've Got a Lot On Your Mind" [from commonwealth. sloan just fires on all cylinders all the time it seems.]
Propaghandi - "Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes" [the title track from their 2001 album. played this a lot the year it came out.]
Oasis - "Talk Tonight" [from the new expanded edition of (what's the story) morning glory? this was originally a b-side and then included on the masterplan and now it reappears again on this re-issue. the b-sides this band produced during this stretch are ungodly. the masterplan really is probably the second best oasis album after morning glory.]
Stephen Malkmus - "Jenny and the Ess-Dog" [from his self-titled debut solo album. 2001! i played this song a lot and it still makes me chuckle.]
Christopher Owens - "Oh My Love" [from a new testament. digging this. we'll hear more.]
Ryan Adams - "Firecracker" [from 2001's gold. i was disappointed in this record when it came out. and it's still not among my favorite, but this song is pretty perfect.]
Mazes - "Vapour Trails" [from their new album wooden aquarium.]
Dilated Peoples - "Proper Propaganda" [from expansion team. the last we'll hear of dilated in this rundown of years, but back-to-back years they produced amazing hip-hop albums. 2001 again.]
the Rural Alberta Advantage - "Our Love..." [from mended with gold.]
the Strokes - "The Modern Age" [from is this it. there may not be a more 2001 album than this.]
the Asteroid No. 4 - "Back of Your Mind" [from their new self-titled album.]
Pulp - "The Trees" [from we love life. what is, sadly, looking more and more likely to be the last pulp album was released in october of 2001. so, so good.]
the Cash Brothers - "Nebraska" [from how was tomorrow? from 2001 and probably the best song these guys wrote. they were a good band though. this whole set of songs if from 2001.]
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - "American Skin (41 Shots)" (live) [from the live at madison square garden album. this song still shakes me to the core. and it is even more relevant now. it could be argued that this is the most important song springsteen has ever written. i'd buy that argument.]
Radiohead - "Pyramid Song" [from amnesiac. hardly anyone says positive things about this album, but i like it.]
Spoon - "The Fitted Shirt" [from girls can tell. could this song rock any more?]
Lucinda Williams - "Walk On" [from where the spirit meets the bone. check out my interview with lucinda over at aquarium drunkard.]
Guided by Voices - "Chasing Heather Crazy" [from isolation drills. 2001. for real. this album, y'all.]
Leonard Cohen - "Did I Ever Love You" [from the new album popular problems.]
Fugazi - "The Argument" [from their 2001 album of the same name. sadly, also, probably their last album. god, what a way to go out though.]
Superchunk - "Rainy Streets" [from 2001's here's to shutting up. thought this might be their last, but no!]
Glen Phillips - "Darkest Hour" [from his debut solo album abulum. a beautiful song about his father's death. just lovely.]

That'll do it for this week. Come back next week as we explore 2002 and get into more great new music. Until then, take care.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

J's Indie/Rock Mayhem - 24th September 2014

[Welcome to another great edition of J's Indie/Rock Mayhem as we continue to celebrate 15 years of Mayhem on WQFS. This week I gave away a $15 gift certificate to the awesome Hippo Records new and used vinyl over on Spring Garden Street here in Greensboro. Terence actually won the trivia question via Twitter, so it makes sense to follow me there so you might have a chance to win.

This is a great episode, so enjoy the musical flashbacks as I dug into music from the year 2000 that got play on my radio show.

Now, onward.]

J's Indie/Rock Podcast: 24th September 2014 show

Theme Song - Peaches - "Rock Show" [my theme song was released in 2000. just so you know.]
Purling Hiss - "Forcefield of Solitude" [from weirdon.]
Helium - "Baby Vampire Made Me" [from the pirate prude EP.]
Broncho - "Class Historian" [from just enough hip to be woman.]
Radiohead - "The National Anthem" [from kid a. class of 2000.]
Perfume Genius - "Queen" [from too bright. man, this song is seriously good.]
Liz Phair - "Support System" [from whipsmart. 20 years old this past week. still amazing.]
the History of Apple Pie - "Tame" [from their forthcoming album feel something. really digging this. excited to hear the full album.]
Dilated Peoples - "Work the Angles" [from the platform. class of 2000.]
Lucinda Williams - "West Memphis" [from her forthcoming double album where the spirit meets the bone. look for my interview with her over at aquarium drunkard early next week.]
Michael Penn - "Don't Let Me Go" [from MP4: days since a lost time accident. class of 2000.]
the Rural Alberta Advantage - "Runners in the Night" [from mended with gold. this is a super solid song. we will hear more.]
Yo La Tengo - "Cherry Chapstick" [from and then nothing turned itself inside out. class of 2000. thanks, still, to emily for turning me on to them.]
King Tuff - "Eyes of the Muse" [from black moon spell.]
the New Pornographers - "Letter From an Occupant" [from mass romantic. class of 2000.]
Goat - "Goatchild" [from commune.]
Jurassic 5 - "Lausd" [from quality control. class of 2000.]
Whirr - "Clear" [from their new album sway.]
Ryan Adams - "To Be Young" [from heartbreaker. class of 2000.]
Hiss Golden Messenger - "Saturday's Song" [from the new album lateness of dancers.]
Steve Earle - "Transcendental Blues" [the title track from his 2000 album.]
M. Lockwood Porter - "I Know You're Gonna Leave Me" [from his forthcoming album 27.]
Sleater-Kinney - "All Hands on the Bad One" [the title track from their fifth album. class of 2000.]
Outkast - "Gasoline Dreams" [from stankonia. super class of 2000. enjoy, those of you going to see them in atlanta tonight.]

That'll do it for this week. Tune in next week as we celebrate the year 2001 and I give away another gift certificate from a local business! Until then, take care.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

J's Indie/Rock Mayhem - 17th September 2014

[Welcome to another edition of J's Indie/Rock Mayhem. I'm super excited about this show as it kicks off the next fifteen weeks of celebrating 15 years of the show on WQFS Greensboro. I'm going to be giving away gift certificates live on the show to local Triad businesses throughout the Fall. Tony won tonight's $15 gift certificate to the Mellow Mushroom in downtown Greensboro. Congrats to him. Next week we'll be giving away a $15 one for Hippo Records over on Spring Garden Street, a fantastic new and used record shop. More about that next week, so make sure you tune in.

I was joined via Skype tonight by Lis Ferla to talk about the Scotland independence referendum and a particular song I was drawn to about the situation. Lis is a long-time listener and a fantastic music critic and blogger in her own right. If you aren't following and reading her already, you should. I think our conversation was really great and I hope you guys enjoy a bit of something different this week.

Now, onward.]

J's Indie/Rock Podcast: 17th September 2014 show

Theme Song - Peaches - "Rock Show"
James - "Moving On" [from their new album le petite mort. it was released in the u.k. about three months ago, but finally gets its u.s. release this week.]
Sleeper - "Feeling Peaky" [from the it girl.]
Sloan - "Misty's Beside Herself" [from their new album commonwealth. they'll be at the cat's cradle back room on saturday, november 15th.]
Primal Scream - "Culturecide" [from last year's more light. our first scottish band of the night.]

[Here's where Lis and I start our discussion. It's largely centered around a specific song which you'll see below, but also around the independence referendum in general. I think we get into some pretty interesting topics and it's an insightful discussion, especially for those of us outside the whole shebang. Check it out and I hope you enjoy.]

Ballboy - "JK Rowling Changed My Vote From No to Yes" [the song in question. check out the bandcamp page and enjoy.]
Edwyn Collins - "Dilemna" [from 2013's understated. this section is all scottish bands.]
Teenage Fanclub - "Dark Clouds" [from 2010's shadows.]
Del Amitri - "Some Other Sucker's Parade" [the title track from their 1997 album.]
the Vaselines - "Son of a Gun" [the title track from their first EP.]
Homeboy Sandman - "America, the Beautiful" [from his new album hallways.]
Verbena - "Baby Got Shot" [from 1999's into the pink. this set was devoted to songs i played a lot in my first year on the air.]
Tom Waits - "Chocolate Jesus" [from mule variations. another often-played album from '99.]
Son Volt - "Right On Through" [from 1998's wide swing tremolo. played this a lot that first year also.]
the Asteroid No. 4 - "The Windmill of the Autumn Sky" [from their latest self-titled album. not sure how new this record is - it's getting a release this month, but seems to pre-date the release by a bit.]
Placebo - "Scared of Girls" [from without you i'm nothing.]
Old Smile - "Are You Still There?" [from their new album steep blue hill which is available over at their bandcamp. pretty excellent stuff.]
Lazlo Bane - "Overkill" [from 11 transistor and yes, that is colin hay singing with them at the end.]
Purling Hiss - "Learning Slowly" [from their forthcoming album weirdon.]
Mattson 2 - "Dif Juz" [from their new album agar.]
the Church - "Pride Before a Fall" [from their forthcoming album further/deeper, their 25th in their career and their first without founding guitarist marty wilson-piper. digging this song though.]
Teenage Fanclub - "I Don't Want Control of You" [by request. from songs from northern britain, an album whose title may be dated by friday. this was a request from a listener who thought the title appropriate. i think so.]

That'll do it for this week. Tune in next week for more great new and classic music and the next installment of the 15 years give-away. Until then, take care.

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