Well friends, I didn’t necessarily make good on my promise to do a “best of” post after every Nuts and Bolts Music radio show this summer. So here is the “best of” for the whole summer to make up for it. Today is the beginning of KVRX’s fall schedule, so the program will be moving from its spot Saturday nights 11pm-1am to Monday evenings 7pm-8pm. This shorter, earlier time slot will offer plenty of opportunities to do more interviews and have more special guests, which will be lovely. It airs on 91.7FM in Austin and you can stream it online at http://kvrx.org/schedule/programs/2691
JUNE 15, JOURNEY TO LOUISIANA
Inspired by a recent trip to visit a friend in New Orleans, LA. Started off by playing some bands he recommended, including the awesome funk group The Naughty Professor, and some blues and zydeco legends like Mem Shannon, CJ Chanier, Clifton Chenier, Walter Washington, Horace Trahan, Dwayne Dopsie, etc. Then, by the grace of god, the internet showed me this amazing thing called Swamp Pop. It blended cajun, rhythm and blues, country and western, and ’50s style pop music to create a beautifully Southern, local, swampy pop. The kings of which include Joe Barry (Crawfishin’ and I’m a Fool to Care), Freddy Fender (Wasted Days and Wasted Nights), and Johnnie Allan (South to Louisiana). Perhaps the best discovery of the summer. Definitely winner of the night.
JUNE 30, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER AND FORGOTTEN ’90s GRUNGE POP
This show was a fortuitous accident. That week I have just finished re-watching all of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and absolutely could not get the show out of my mind, so when it came time to decide what to play on the radio, I couldn’t help but think Buffy. And it’s a good thing I did because this show got me the best response and most phone calls of the summer.
I do feel like there is a particular genre of music that is defined by guys with long hair and oversized plaid shirts (a la Empire Records and The Adventure of Pete and Pete) who falsetto their way through heartbreak and pop choruses in catchy songs that just never-seemed-to-get-that-break-and-make-it-big that were a huge part of the aesthetic of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Thank you, Joss Whedon, for having good taste in music. Perhaps the biggest names that come to mind from this style are The Wrens, Shudder to Think, and Bif Naked. Thanks to the fictional Buffyverse club The Bronze, live performances by bands were pretty standard fare on the show, and some big names came through like Supergrass, Cibo Matto, The Breeders, Aimee Mann (who actually has a line on the show, “I hate playing vampire towns”), and even Michelle Branch. There were also the “house bands” of the show, including werewolf Oz’s band The Dingoes Ate My Baby (as portrayed by the real band Four Star Mary), the band of Oz’s brief girlcrush, THC, and Nerf Herder (the band that wrote the theme song, and plays in the very last episode when Willow sarcastically remarks that “all they could get to play the end of the world was these guys”). There are some pretty comprehensive lists of bands that played at the bronze that are worth taking a look at. There’s also a very difficult to locate CD from 1999 called Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Album.
Also there’s the BtVS musical, Once More with Feeling. Which, come on…I had to.
JULY 13, MUSIC BY COMPOSERS OF AFRICAN DESCENT
The day the Florida’s court decision to acquit George Zimmerman of the shooting of Trayvon Martin came down. This episode is dedicated to Trayvon Martin. You’d be amazed at how composers with just as much craft, talent, and musicianship as William Grant Still and Julia Perry simply weren’t and aren’t given the same access to opportunities for performance as their white counterparts. Racism works in insidious ways, including in particular the ways we experience concert music.
I also did a set of music based on the Afropop Worldwide episode “African Sounds of the Indian Subcontinent,” where they talk about the multicultural connections that invented the Bollywood sound: melodies written by Hindustani musicians, arranged by African musicians with jazz influence, and lyrics written by Muslim poets. Leading up to bollywood songs with jazz brass breaks like Ina Mina Dika.
AUGUST 3, NEW MUSIC FROM NEW AMSTERDAM RECORDS
A wonderful excuse to listen in to the entirety of Darcy James Argues’ new masterpiece for his big band, the Secret Society, Brooklyn Babylon. Also, the new project by DJ Rupture (aka Jace Clayton), where he reimagines and resynthesizes the piano works of African American composer Julius Eastman in his new album The Julius Eastman Memory Depot.
AUGUST 10, MUSIC BY FEMALE COMPOSERS
A celebration of female composers in honor of the final concert of the 2013 session of Girls Rock Camp Austin. There have been quite a few articles recently (finally) about the enormous gender gap in contemporary classical music, including this, and this, and this. Perhaps most intriguing was this article in the New York Times by noise enthusiast Annie Gosfield. So it was nice to spend some time with her music, namely Lightning Slingers and Dead Ringers, which I thought did an excellent job of incorporating non-pitched glitch noise into a work for a very solidly pitched instrument such as piano. I spent some time playing some of my favorites, like Gabriela Lena Frank, Chen Yi, and Julia Wolfe, but perhaps the best surprise was listening to the music of Pulitzer prize winner Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. I think I may have found my new favorite composer.