Thursday, August 21, 2008

Where Do the Days Go?

Wow, sorry about that extended absence. I guess the fact is that, after the hubbub and clamour and fuss of moving from one town to another subsides (which is not to say that it's all over, alas), you kind of sit back and wonder if you still are the person you thought you were when you lived in that old town. Such life changes offer handy access points to inspect life's moving parts, to dissect and to reexamine. They are perhaps the most convenient times to affect a degree of self re-invention, if in fact self re-invention is something you are interested in doing. Simply put, I guess I had to ask myself if I still wished to be an obsessive music consumer, listener, lover, worrier, thinker, postulater, pontificator and, yes, blogger. I wasn't really sure I had my answer until I unpacked the CD collection the other day. Poring over the spines, fussing over the correct alphabetization, coveting the objects as artifacts both personal and cultural, I knew I had my answer.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

But yes, I'm still a music broadcaster, or as much as I ever was, if you can call sharing a weekly jazz show on a campus radio station with 4 other guys broadcasting. Anyway, all that to say that this very minute, over at CKCU world headquarters, my first show in absentia is being presented. It's a re-edited, extended, re-cut version of the Michael White profile I did back in January, and my IMC cohort Ron is in the studio at Carleton U in Ottawa playing the digital files I have prepared and is inserting the appropriate ads (and many thanks to him for doing so). I've heard this show a hundred times now, what with the editing and so forth, and I've edited recordings of many of my previous shows, but this is the first time I have ever actually heard myself actually on air and I must report a strange, detached, almost out-of-body sensation as a result. Knowing that several other people (dozens? hundreds? thousands!?) are also hearing my voice as it is pushed out into the ether and onto the internet lends it a queer anti-weight. I am floating on invisible waves.

Anyway, if you're not listening right now, but would nevertheless like to hear the show, download it here:

Now's the Time - August 21: Michael White profile

Going forward, of course, all my shows will be presented this way (excepting those that aren't, I guess), which is a double-edged sword. There's no question that pre-recording gives the advantage of cutting, reconsidering, tweaking and perfecting, and all in all I know it will make for tighter shows. But there's an undeniable energy associated with sitting in that studio and working live into the microphone, and I'll miss that. Regardless, I'm glad I can keep up my association with the show and with the IMC. Seriously, those guys scare me with their knowledge, their passion and their devotion to the music and to the show.

Anyway, moving on...

If 2008 Ended Yesterday

No secret that this blog began as a simple list, an electronic version of the liners I used to make for the annual Best Of compilation that I, like countless other music obsessives, produce every year and foist onto friends too polite to tell me they don't really care. With that in mind, and because I'm terribly impatient, here's a pre-list, sort of a gestational version of the monster I'll unleash in December/January.

In not-yet-particular order:

The Walkmen, You + Me - this record made me cry last night, as much for its bang on evocation of what it means to be here and married and no longer prodigal as for its sheer perfection. It is as carefully crafted a set of sounds as you're likely to hear.

Portishead, Third - they had no right to produce something this incredible. None. They were over, washed up. What's impressive is that they recognized that a simple return to their sound would not fly in 2008; that the core ingredients of cinematic sounds and Beth Gibbons' unsurpassedly vulnerable voice were all that could remain; everything else had to be blown up and built again. Stunning.

The Hold Steady, Stay Positive - Frankly, it's no Boys and Girls in America, but then what is? Fact is nobody makes better classicist rock informed by punk, hardcore and '90s indie rock than this band, and the lyrics are always good.

The Night Marchers, See You in Magic - Rocket From the Crypt are no longer with us, but Speedo is, and his latest fling, The Night Marchers, continue with that band's basic M.O. This will kick your ass six ways from Sunday, and leave you happy it did. The perfect soundtrack to my re-insertion into suburbia.


Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago
The Dodos, Visiter
Angles, Every Woman is a Tree
Various, Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-sounds and Nigerian Blues, 1970-76
Dave Douglas, Moonshine
Frightened Rabbit, The Midnight Organ Fight
The Raveonettes, Lust Lust Lust
Titus Andronicus, The Airing of Grievances
The Vandermark 5, Beat Reader

More to come. Promise.


Anonymous said...

Glad to have you back! I'm sorry that we never had a chance to hook up before you moved. We will have to rectify this at some point.

As for your not-so-end-of-year list, I am in total agreement with you on the Walkmen record. It's currently sitting pretty atop my favourite albums of the year list. After the disappointing A Hundred Years Off, I thought they would never be able to bounce back and topple Bows + Arrows as their best album, but somehow they've managed to do just that. Oh, and I too have The Hold Steady, Portishead, Bon Iver and The Dodos in my top ten. Really like that Frightened Rabbit record too. Great minds think alike.

Have you heard the new Calexico yet? Like the Walkmen, I'm finding their new one a big comeback after an uneven 2006 release. I think I like it almost as Feast of Wire.

And of course, I am salivating at the thought of a new TV on the Radio album in a month. Ever warm up to Cookie Mountain???

Drop me a line sometime,

david_grundy said...

Just listening back to your Michael White show - great music and some intersting interview segments too. White's music is so totally natural and joyous, it feels not in the least bit artificial.

You might be interested to know that I did a show on White as well (though of course without the participation of the man himself!) I think the tracklist was fairly similar, although I didn't have a copy of the John Handy Monterey record at the time (since rectified) and I might have concentrated more on the free jazz-ish elements in teh music. Anyway, here's the link: ttp://

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