Posts Tagged ‘Frigate’

Cygnus Radio playlist 6/28/13: The week that was the last wek of June

July 2, 2013

June calendarFranorama 2.0 airs live on Cygnus Radio from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT Fridays (9 a.m.-noon CDT, 7-10 a.m. PDT, 2-4 p.m. GMT) and in the archive in perpetuity. To get to the archives, click here.

Well, for the first time in a long time, there was no planned theme to the most recent episode of Franorama 2.0 on Cygnus Radio. But, as usually happens, some mini-themes begin to sprout from the fertile little garden that is my brain (and, by extension, my wife the laptop, upon which I write this here blog and do this here radio show):

Game Theory and Big Star: Two cult-following groups that were honored with tribute shows in Manhattan this past weekend. Actually went to the Scott Miller benefit tribute show Saturday night at the Cake Shop, thanks to Ms. Marice, who had an extra ticket. (The quick backstory: Scott, a fine pop singer/songwriter who led Game Theory in the ’80s and The Loud Family in the ’90s, died unexpectedly in April. The benefit was to raise money for his family.) The 18-song show was kinda sloppy and (especially early on) disorganized, but got better as the night went on, highlighted by a couple songs performed by Ted Leo. I didn’t get to the free show at Central Park’s Summerstage the next night — a performance of Big Star’s Third in its entirety (if not in order), headed by Mitch Easter, along with Big Star’s Jody Stephens and Ken Stringfellow, and including the likes of Marshall Crenshaw, Mike Mills and Richard Lloyd. But I noted both events on my show.

Gettysburg: Yesterday (July 1) was the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the most pivotal event in the most pivotal period of American history. The three bloodiest days ever encountered on American soil. And so I called up the two Civil War rock songs I knew of — David Kincaid (who is a Civil War re-enactor and has carved a career singing period songs in authentic replica Union uniforms) leading The Brandos through “Gettysburg,” and Richard X. Heyman’s “Civil War Buff.” (Well, five songs, but I wasn’t gonna play Iced Earth’s 31-minute “Gettysburg” Trilogy …)

That was the week that was: The Supreme Court gutting the Voting Rights Act, a filibuster in Texas that turned a heretofore-unknown state senator from Fort Worth into a national political figure (and unwitting Mizuno running shoe pitchwoman), the Supremes striking two huge blows for marriage equality, and the (still-continuing as of now) Nelson Mandela death watch. A heavy news week that made its way, in a way, into the show.

Anyway, catch you this Friday. Stay tuned. And please tell your friends to tune in while they while away at their desks or loaf or do the housework …

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Cygnus Radio playlist 6/7/13: So much to cram into three hours

June 10, 2013
Yes, Deacon Jones was briefly a recording artist.

Yes, Deacon Jones was briefly a recording artist.

Franorama 2.0 airs from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT (9 a.m.-noon CDT, 7-10 a.m. PDT, 2-5 p.m. GMT) on Cygnus Radio. For the archival link to this and all other past shows, click here.

As Al Anderson sang with NRBQ, there’s so much to do and so little time

That’s the way my latest Franorama 2.0 show on Cygnus Radio felt last Friday. How do you cram everything into one three-hour tour? Well, the way the Howells and Ginger crammed steamer trunks aboard the S.S. Minnow for their three-hour tour, I guess …

Here’s what I had to fit in — and did:

  • “52 Girls” because I just turned 52.
  • Los Straitjackets, The Outta Sites and The Big Fat Combo. Los Straitjackets, the surf combo with the Mexican wrestling masks, plays tonight (June 10) at Cafe Nine in New Haven. Chris “Sugarballs” Sprague, the drummer, was just at the Nine a month ago playing for Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys. In addition, he fronts The Outta Sites, back in L.A.; their new debut album, Shake All Night with The Outta Sites, is wonderful shades of The Dave Clark Five and The Wonders from That Thing You Do. And local semi-legends The Big Fat Combo will open the show.
  • A tribute of sorts to the greatest defensive end of all time, Deacon Jones, who died last Monday (June 3). If you grew up in a certain era, as I did, you probably thought the Los Angeles Rams were pretty cool — the white-and-blue unis, Roman Gabriel, Jack Snow, and the most famous front four in NFL history: Jones, Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier and Lamar Lundy. I often wondered whether David Jones took his nickname from a song, like fellow Hall-of-Famer Night Train Lane. I included two songs titled “Deacon Jones” (by Louis Jordan and zydeco king Boozoo Chavis, who recorded extremely down-and-dirty versions of it early and late in his life), as well as a 1965 single the Foursome recorded for Capitol.
  • In its entirety, the new CD by one of my favorite people (musician or not), Blake
    The inimitable Blake Jones & the Trike Shop.

    The inimitable Blake Jones & the Trike Shop.

    Jones & the Trike Shop, back in Fresno. One of the most whimsical and pedigreed pop groups you’ll ever hear. Their first album in three years, Teasers From the Whispermaphone, is just that — a seven-song look at early and now-out-of-print discs and hints of sounds and directions to come.

  • The Remains and The A-Bones. After the show, I jumped on a train to a rainy Brooklyn to see them play at the Bell House. What’s weird is that I’m now as old as The Remains, those ’60s Boston legends via Connecticut and Jersey, were when they started their second chapter back in 1998. Anyway,  hadn’t seen Barry Tashian, Bill Briggs, Vern Miller and Chip Damiani (an old New Haven near-neighbor of mine) since I drove from Fresno to Hollywood to appear in their documentary, America’s Lost Band. That was six years, one gender and one cross-country move ago. And the last time I
    Barry Tashian and Vern Miller of The Remains at The Bell House, Brooklyn, Friday night.

    Barry Tashian and Vern Miller of The Remains at The Bell House, Brooklyn, Friday night.

    got to see Billy Miller and Miriam Linna and Bruce Bennett and Marcus the Carcass was five summers ago at the now-gone Magnetic Field in Brooklyn. It was great to catch up, let me tell ya — even if my brake master cylinder went on me ion the way home …

  • Amaglamated Muck, Eric Hisaw, New Mystery Girl, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and the Dead Kennedys. One of the weirdest sets I’ve played in a long time. Eric, a guitarist/singer/songwriter from Austin who found me on Facebook a month ago, was at the Nine last Wednesday playing lead for Zoe Muth. Played one of his new songs and something from a rock band he played with back there three years ago, New Mystery Girl, At the show, I met, at long last, Lauren Agnelli — onetime New Yorker who lives in central Connecticut now. She was in a new wave band in the late ’70s (Nervus Rex) and, a retro-folkie act in the ’80s (The Washington Squares). She now plays in another folkish group of sorts, Amalgamated Muck, and her hell of extended joblessness (which ended last year) inspired the title song of their 2012 debut album, The New Leisure Class. The Dap-Kings I played because Sharon broke the news last Monday that she’s battling stage-1 bile duct cancer. After the news broke about the government’s widespread electronic snooping on us, I played their incredible twist of “This Land Is Your Land” … into the DKs’ song about a surveillance state, “I Am the Owl.”
  • The Reducers. It’ll be a year already on Wednesday (June 12) that we lost Steve Kaika, the bass player from Connecticut’s greatest rock’n’roll band aside from The Wildweeds. Thirty-four years with the same four guys (only The Four Tops, 53 years with the same foursome, topped that). I played mostly of them, along with the three best tracks from Rave On, Vol. 1, the tribute album that his nephew back in Fresno, Jes Farnsworth (now touring Europe as the guitarist for ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted’s trio, Newsted), put together to help pay Steve’s medical expenses.
  • Birthdays living and dead. I found out just as my previous week’s show ended that it would’ve been the 50th birthday of outsider art’s link to rock’n’roll, Wesley Willis (who died 10 years ago in August), so I put him in with three Friday birthdays: Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes (50), Prince (55) and Tom Jones (73).
  • To close, the rarely heard original 1961 version of “Someday We’ll Be Together” — yes, The Diana & the Supremes swan song — by Johnny (Bristol) & Jackey (Beavers).

That’s enough fun for one week. I think I want to do it again next week, too. Tune in live or in the archives. Ciao for now …

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Cygnus Radio playlist 5/10/13: Mr. Jones, smooth sailing and ‘Stormy Weather’

May 11, 2013
Blake Jones was on top of the world this week.

Blake Jones, on top in this photo and on top of the world this week.

For the archive links for this and all my Franorama 2.0 shows on Cygnus Radio, click here. The show airs live from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT (7-10 a.m. PDT, 2-5 p.m. GMT) Fridays.

With each week, I’m more psyched about this online radio thing.

In terms of technical matters, this latest edition of Franorama 2.0 on Cygnus Radio was the best and smoothest yet in my nearly three short months there. No glitches — the software and the mic/headset were both on their best behavior, and the voice levels were perfect. (Laptop radio is, indeed, a different world than terrestrial radio, with its higher-end equipment …)

Musically, it was smooth sailing, too. I finally started, after nine months home, plowing into my storage bin and pulling CDs to rip into this here laptop/station. The little things mean a lot. In this case: getting comfortable with processing the thousands of songs through my computer music files instead of manually rifling through records and CD cases, as in days of old. I think I’m finally there. Like everything, it takes a little time, and the more I do it, and the more I access my files, the more I remember what I have … and the more angles I can bounce into my shows. Garage meets soul meets rockabilly/roots meets country meets punk meets … the Great American Songbook.

To start the final hour, I featured a set to celebrate the 50th birthday of one of my favorite people — and one of the best pop songwriters you might never have heard — the first non-Fresno Bee person I met in Fresno in 2004, Blake Jones. This comes in advance of his new EP, Teasers from the Whispermaphone, which should be out any day now.

The only thing that came close to a glitch, but ended up being a happy accident, came right at the end of the show. Curse that social media …

Still dead, unfortunately.

Still dead, unfortunately.

I usually keep up with things on my Facebook page as I do the show just in case some news breaks (like the death of George Jones two weeks prior). In this case, a few minutes before the end, someone, or someones, posted links to Lena Horne’s obituary. I read it, saw that she had died May 9 — which would have been the day before the show — and quickly shared the post and subbed out my final song, Dave Edmunds’ version of John Fogerty’s “Almost Saturday Night,” for “Stormy Weather.”

Not realizing that she died May 9 three years ago. Something that somehow slipped past me at the time. Since she’s ageless, it wasn’t a bad choice to close the show, but still … Damn that social media!

Anyway, what is encouraging is that musicians are starting to respond to the show and send their latest recordings for airplay — just like old times. This week, Ed Valauskas, onetime New Haven scenester (with The Gravel Pit) and longtime Boston fixture, sent two new offerings from his Q Division studio — The new album by Christian McNeill & Sea Monsters, Everything’s Up for Grabs, and the new country EP by Ed’s wife, Jen D’Angora (of Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents fame), under the name Jenny Dee & Several Men of Mystery.

Anyway, if you’re a musician who wants to get some airplay here — if I like it, I’ll play it. Message me here or on my Facebook page — and I’ll send you my address. And come back and join me next week — there’s always room for you here in the studio!

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Cygnus Radio Playlist 3/22/13: ‘Please Please Me’ and other delights

March 23, 2013
Released on this date in 1963.

Released on this date in 1963.

For the archived links to this show and all my other Cygnus Radio shows, click here.

My fourth Franorama 2.0 show on Cygnus Radio was the first show of spring .. and for the first time all week, I could look out my window and see pure sunlight. And, after some stormy goings my first three shows, as I adjusted to the new and sometimes-balky software, this episode went smoothly. I felt the same comfort in my bedroom studio that I’ve felt for years in front of the board at WPKN.

And that’s a good thing, because, while I do have a general idea of where my shows are going musically, it did take some detours because of events I didn’t know about when I woke up two hours before.

During my morning romp through the Interwebs and the Book of Faces, I discovered three things that changed the course of the show:

  • This morning was the 50th anniversary of Parlophone’s release of The Beatles’ debut album, Please Please Me. And it was also the 52nd anniversary of John, Paul, George and Pete debuting as a quartet at the Cavern Club. As such, my opening set was loaded with The Kaisers (the ’90s Scottish beat band with the 1962 Cavern Club sound), The New Piccadillys (the current Scottish beat band, with two ex-Kaisers, doing one of the best remakes I’ve ever heard — The Ramones’ “Judy Is a Punk”), The Rutles … and, of course, “Please Please Me.”
  • On the sad side, I learned of the death of another mainstay of the early New Haven alt-music scene; Tom Hosier passed in the wee hours after a long battle with lung cancer. I only met Tom once — sushi dinner with some mutual friends at Miso in New Haven in August 1998 — but I heard nothing but good things about him from his many friends. He was one of the guitarists/singers in Disturbance, which was actually the first New Haven alt-music band I ever saw (Oxford Ale House, January 1980). Tom moved in the early ’80s to New York — where he lived until his final months — and for a long time booked Nightingales, the semi-legendary club on Second Avenue and 13th Street in the East Village. And Craig Bell’s CD care package from the week before proved to be serendipitous; among the discs was the CD version of the ’80s New Haven compilation “It Happened … But Nobody Noticed,” so I was able to play Disturbance’s “Somebody Move.”
  • And a news story came over about the Library of Congress’ addition of 25 more recordings to the National Recording Registry. Included were the 1949 original cast recording of South Pacific; the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack; Van Cliburn’s historic 1958 performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1; Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come; a D-Day radio broadcast by George Hicks; the first recording sent into space, recorded by Dwight Eisenhower and placed aboard the first communications satellite in 1958; Philip Glass & Robert Wilson’s Einstein on the Beach … and the three recordings that made up one set: Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence,” the best-known track from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Chubby Checker’s version of “The Twist” … and four songs from the first Ramones album.

And there were the usual dig-em-ups that were a staple of my WPKN Franorama shows before the exile in California. Through the magic of downloads, I found four especially cool gems you never, ever hear.

One was one of my favorite cartoon songs from childhood: “Makin’ With the Magilla.” Never knew who recorded it until recently — that queen of the New York surf, Little Eva. Also, Squeeze’s “Squabs on Forty Fab” — the band’s cheeky response to the “Stars on 45” craze of the early ’80s; they recorded it as the English B-side of the “Labelled With Love” 45, which languishes in my storage space. Another was the original version of my favorite song from my favorite band’s last album — Jamaican singer Ken Parker’s 1970 single “I Can’t Hide,” raved-up by The Fleshtones two years ago on Brooklyn Sound Solution. And there was the original of one of Simply Red’s greatest hits — The Valentine Brothers, out of Chicago, with the 1982 recording of “Money’s Too Tight to Mention.”

Well, that was too much fun for one week. More to come next and every Friday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT (7-10 a.m. PDT, 3-6 p.m. GMT). Or link here to the archives. I guarantee you’ll get more work done with this show than with a six-pack of Red Bulls.

And if you have an act you feel should be played on my show — well, if I like it, I’ll play it. Just message me here or on my Facebook Franorama 2.0/Franorama World page for a mailing address. Ciao for now …

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WPKN Playlist, 1/10/13: Leading off the year …

February 7, 2013
The Suzan -- here to destroy your conceptions of Japanese girl groups.

The Suzan — here to destroy your conceptions of Japanese girl groups once and for all.

Feb. 7, 2013

Well, I’ve had a couple of previous WPKN playlists swimming around in my purse over the past month, and as you girls know, a purse is a dangerous place to place something, as most things that enter never leave. (Cue up the “BWAhahahaaaaaaaa!” and the ensuing shriek here …)

So after doing another fill-in this morning, I realized it was time to fishing for pieces of paper with journalist’s scrawl on them.

Ten days into the new year, I did my first fill-in of 2013, a two-hour drag race (10 a.m.-noon), filling in for Binnie Klein. (She said “drag” …) It was a short and sweet and fun two hours, that’s for sure. After my previous show, two days following the Newtown massacre, anything would’ve been a step up. But it was a few steps up from that.

Let’s see … Three things stick out from this show:

  • My Fresno pal Jes Farnsworth, the frontman for The Backstabbers and nephew of late Reducers bassist Steve Kaika, has a bigger job at the moment: playing guitar for Newsted, the new trio fronted by ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted. The debut four-song EP, Metal, came out two days before. And since it was Jes (who also has a tour as a gun for hire with Jetboy on his resume), I placed them in a Reducers sandwich — Frigate’s track from the tribute album on top, my track with The Backstabbers and one by The Reducers themselves on the bottom …
  • New David Bowie, who turned 66 two days before the show. We managed to get a hold of “Where Are We Now,” the first song from his first album in 10 years, The Next Day, due out in March. It’s kind of a dirgy, gloomy song, but we hear the album as a whole (as produced by his old collaborator, Tony Visconti) is a bit more spirited. His health has been rumoured to have been bad for some time (think about the non-cancerous illnesses one encounters after years of smoking), but ill or not, here he is.
  • The Suzan. I saw them the previous Saturday night at Cafe Nine. Four girls who moved from Tokyo to Harlem two years ago. Talk about shattering concepts … I thought they’d be this cutesy group playing tinny-sounding songs with phonetically sung words and saying things like “Thank you! Buy our CDs!” after every songs, such as The 5.6.7.8’s (who actually did that when they opened for Dick Dale at Maxwell’s in Hoboken in October ’93) and Shonen Knife. The Suzan led off with two songs that reminded me of Talking Heads — in fact, “Come Come” sounded like a hybrid of “(Nothing but) Flowers” and “Iko Iko.” And along the way, they channeled Blondie as well. (And oddly enough, their manager, Greg Vegas, an old friend from his days in the Danbury scene in the late ’80s/early ’90s, told me they had never heard Talking Heads …) A lot of osmosis going on and pleasant surprise.

Anyway, enough yapping. It was fun. Here you go — two more to come in the coming days:

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