I added a few more music mixes to the archive page for my streaming sets. While hard rock is my favorite thing (set 57: Dolls, and set 58: Softly), I also love music from India (set 59: Hard Raga), and Africa (set 60: Africa). Tune in and blow your mind!
These two tracks are from a pair of live performances in 2002 in Depot Town, a small commercial/arts area in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I’d love to release them on an album, but I don’t want to mess with obtaining commercial rights to sell my versions of the original songs. So, here they are, free of charge.
The first is a cover of I Had a Chance by Morphine. I kept the lyric but re-tooled the music. Click to listen or download the MP3.
The second is a medley of two songs: Cactus by the Pixies, and The Letter by Joe Cocker. I took some liberties with the key and the chords. Click to listen or download the MP3.
Though I’ve never been a talented singer, I had a lot of fun in 2002 as a ‘solo act’ with my old Epiphone acoustic guitar, playing and singing in galleries, record stores, and other low-key venues. I still have her, though she’s worn from years of use and abuse, and the top is cracked from banging on it like a drum during an overly enthusiastic performance of Had My Chance. A couple years ago, I took her apart, painted her black, and reassembled her, and now she sounds about as good as she ever did.
The two concerts took place at Dreamland Theater and a record store across the street, whose name I can’t recall. They were recorded by Craig Baker, who passed away a year or two later. He was a regular on the same open mic circuit I frequented, and we had many great conversations about life, art, and music. I’m grateful that he volunteered for the job, because I’d have no record of these shows if not for his generosity.
Drive is a song by The Cars, and I recorded this instrumental version in the living room at my old place, on a sunny afternoon with heavy traffic outside. The car noise seemed to fit the theme.
Listen or Download the MP3: https://app.box.com/s/gv0bl75qgvooosetgaolgnosxh5gjs9q
About ten years ago, this track appeared on a limited edition CD of maybe 100 copies, an album recorded with friends and sold at a CD release party. I haven’t made it available anywhere since.
I added a few more music mixes to the archive page for my streaming sets. Simmer (Mix 56) is from last month featuring a blend of ska, reggae, vocal jazz, latin jazz, and rock. Rock1 and Rock2 (Mixes 5 and 6) are two hard-rocking sets from 2016 featuring punk, metal, psych, garage, doom, and more — with a few other things to spice them up. Enjoy!
If you’ve enjoyed the virtual “mix tapes” I’ve been posting here since late last year, then visit the new page that collects them all for your listening pleasure:
I once thought I would end this mix series after the fiftieth recorded set. But thanks to other DJs, I kept discovering new music. That’s the beauty of hanging out with other music maniacs. Plus, I now realize that several styles I love are grossly under-represented, from modern jazz to classical music of India. So you know what? The PBN will live on and explore more sonic territory.
Thank you for supporting the Puma Broadcasting Network, a division of the Feline Liberation Front. Long live the resistance.
I met Pi this year in cartoon world, when a friend invited me to Pi’s virtual music and art club Blush Response to hear a techno set. Electronic dance music isn’t my favorite thing, but as a veteran raver of the early 90s, I can still groove to some flavors of techno, and Pi had her finger right on that button. She also mixed absolutely killer hip-hop sets — so killer that I eventually stopped writing down all her tracks and started recording her entire sets.
Those recordings might be all I have to remember her by now. Though I was just a fan, I empathize with her close friends who are mourning her sudden disappearance. I’ve been there, too.
In the spirit of sharing music and rocking out to awesome tunes together, here are the five Pi sets I recorded in June and July 2019. These were made for my personal enjoyment, so please forgive their slight imperfections: they are only 128 Kbps, they sometimes miss the beginning of the first song, and they sometimes drop out for a couple seconds when the music stream dropped while I was recording.
But they also totally jam, and since Pi was notorious for not recording her sets — something we joked about just two weeks ago — I think a few of her friends might like to have these, and that a few readers of this blog will also get their minds blown by these jams. And the music will live on.
Listen or download the MP3 files:
DJ Pi – Hard Techno Set at Blush Response – 06 July 2019
DJ Pi – Hip-Hop Set at Chest Rockwell Suite – 14 June 2019
DJ Pi – Hip-Hop Set at Chest Rockwell Suite – 21 June 2019
DJ Pi – Hip-Hop Set at Chest Rockwell Suite – 28 June 2019
DJ Pi – Hip-Hop Set at Chest Rockwell Suite – 05 July 2019
PBN SET 50: GLUE9
Valravn – Krummi
Gjallarhorn – O-Vals
Faun – Von den Elben
Hoven Droven – Slentbjenn
Goat – Stonegoat
Lillasyster – Nu har jag fått nog (Akustisk)
Delerium/Katharine Blake/Mediæval Bæbes – Extollere
Bjorn Berge – Honey White (Morphine)
Jane’s Addiction – The Riches
Iron Horse – Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin)
No Mad – Mental Revolution
R.E.M. – Crush with Eyeliner
Little Barrie – I.5.C.A.
The (International) Noise Conspiracy – Dustbins of History
Swans – Alcohol the Seed
Stef Chura – Method Man
Bjørn Berge – We’re Gonna Groove (Led Zeppelin)
Sonic Youth – Renegade Princess
Whiskeydick – Drunk as Hell
Midnight Oil – The Dead Heart
All Them Witches – Charles William
Beck – Think I’m in Love
Lo Fidelity Allstars – Battleflag
Crystal Method – Vapor Trail
Missy Elliott – Lose Control (feat Ciara and Fat Man Scoop)
Loreena McKennitt – The Mummers’ Dance
Hills – Och Solen Sänkte Sig Röd
I posted a lot of music sets in the past few months without any explanation or context. Let’s remedy that oversight.
In late 2012, some friends of mine in cartoon world put together a training session so more people could stream music into our little fantasy land. It had been about ten years since I volunteered as a DJ and sound engineer at public radio stations on college campuses, so streaming sounded like a fun way to scratch my DJ itch. Plus, the chatroom aspect of cartoon world promised to be more interactive than hiding in the basement of some campus building for several hours without anyone to talk to other than the occasional musical guest or friend who dropped by.
I picked up the basics quickly, since they are way less complicated than mixing boards, patch bays, CD players, record players, and all the other toys in your typical 1990s college radio station. Over the next six years, I streamed music sets in cartoon world for private parties, public events, and various virtual clubs who were reckless enough to give me the power to control sound.
I never liked keeping a rigid schedule, due to my completely aberrant sleep patterns, but I enjoyed being a “fill-in” DJ with no responsibilities and using my magical powers over sound to help train aspiring DJs and troubleshoot technical problems for them. That way, I could contribute to the thriving DJ subculture in cartoon world without stressing over any of it.
This was also the period where, because of my love for mountain lions, I invented the imaginary “Puma Broadcasting Network”, which eventually made its way into fiction as the pirate radio station featured in The Adventures of Meteor Mags and Patches. That’s why you see the music sets tagged and labeled with “PBN”.
In those six years, I discovered a cartoon club that became my favorite virtual venue to listen to tunes. With DJs from the UK, Europe, South America, and the States, this international group of pixel pals had a taste for modern and vintage psychedelic rock that was right up my sonic alley. It seemed like every time I went there, I discovered my new favorite band, or at least a band I couldn’t live without hearing more of. The venue is the Glue House, and the folks who run it also run my favorite Internet radio station, GRRR Radio.
By the end of 2018, several regular weekly slots at Glue House had become open as people moved on to other things in life. I thought it might be fun to put together some music sets specifically for the Glue crew, sets focused on a massively broad genre I invented to cover everything I love about Glue House musical tastes: The Retro Psychedelic Garage. I also throw in some retro jams from a genre I file under Metal Shit, which includes music people call Doom Metal, and some rad instrumental music people have given the ridiculous label of Post-Rock. Spice up the mix with ska, hip-hop, industrial, piano ballads, songs about cats, and whatever musical obsessions I have that week. Throw it all in a blender and pour it right into your gluey little earholes!
Anyway, I got clearance to DJ at Glue House, and magical music powers from the club owner, and I started with the modest goal of doing every Tuesday in February to test the waters. It went well, and I signed up to do every Tuesday in March, too. Every Tuesday you’ve seen a “Glue” set posted, it’s the set I played that day at Glue House.
I might need to take April and May off to focus on my university coursework, but I have thoroughly enjoyed my two-month run at one of my favorite virtual venues and sharing the sets with you on this blog.
Glue8 is a 169-minute music set I streamed in March 2019. You can listen or download as an mp3 free of charge at: https://app.box.com/s/at47dy5degnpqrqv907riqdsapwzrx1u
The set list is available as a text file.
PBN Set 43: Glue8
Clark S. Nova – Reborn Again
Nova Driver – Particle Explosion
Cherokees – I’ve Gone Wild
Tito & Tarantula – Wild Love
Answer – Memphis Water
Madilyn Bailey – Titanium
Cambrian Explosion – Crust of Theia
Albatross Overdrive – Calico
Rollins Band – Marcus Has the Evil in Him (live)
Urban Dance Squad – Good Grief
India/Tito Puente – Fever
Fumaça Preta – La Trampa
Mitch Hedberg – Pizza
Beastie Boys – An Open Letter to NYC
NaS & Damian Marley – Friends
Bassnectar – Do It Like This
Plump DJs – System Addict
Dope – You Spin Me Round
Black Angels – Surf City (Revisited)
Black Angels – Paladin’s Last Stand
Black Furs – Warm Satisfaction
Black Furs – Devil Got Me on the Road
Wayne Hancock – Goin’ to Texas When I’m Through
The (International) Noise Conspiracy – Smash It Up!/TV Eye (live)
Fugazi – Full Disclosure
Fugazi – Exit Only
John Prine – Please Don’t Bury Me
Bob Dylan – Tangled Up in Blue
Wayne Hancock – California Blues
Andromeda – Too Old
Andromeda – And Now the Sun Shines
Dogfeet – For Mary
Hard Meat – Through a Window
Colour Haze – Into Her Garden
Dwellers – Creature Comfort
Dwellers – Totem Crawler
Blind Faith – Do What You Like
Glue6 is a 143-minute music set I streamed in March 2019. You can listen and download as an mp3 file free of charge at: https://app.box.com/s/45drk49j055o3wl5sn4zfgj3uhk5hvum
The set list is available as a text file.
PBN SET 41: GLUE6
SNL – More Cowbell (excerpt)
VomitFace – Sloppy Joes
Dogs – John Rock Roll Sinclair
The The – Dogs of Lust
Mitch Hedberg – Death Metal
Black Market Karma – Jingle
If These Trees Could Talk – Solstice
Limiñanas – DownUnderground
Cambrian Explosion – Mugen = Mugen
Eden Rose – Faster And Faster
Elephant Stone – Don’t You Know
Comanechi – Love is the Cure
Pink Fits – I’m on the Red
Pearl Jam – All Night
The Flaming Sideburns – Let Me Go
The Freeks – Bitchin’
Ron Gallo – Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me
Temples – Shelter Song
Ty Segall – You’re the Doctor
King Khan and BBQ Show – Zombies
Puddy – I Gave You My Love, You Gave Me the Clap
The Datsuns – Freeze Sucker
The Shots – Keep a Hold of What You’ve Got
Smog – Wicked Man
Big Chief – Fresh Vines
The Flaming Sideburns – Funk 49 (James Gang)
Ron Gallo – Please Yourself
Ron Gallo – Put The Kids To Bed
Titanic – One Night in Eagle Rock
Sunsets – The Hot Generation
The Sacred Mushroom – I Don’t Like You
The Sacred Mushroom – You Won’t Be Sorry
Screen Vinyl Image – Lost in Repeat
Samsara Blues Experiment – Vipassana
Gallon Drunk – Before the Fire (excerpt)
Engelbert Humperdinck – Lesbian Seagull
If These Trees Could Talk – From Roots to Needles
neither of us was emotionally stable
when she made me a mix tape
in the mid nineties
we listened to it on the highway
without a reason to be there
except for driving at unreasonable volume
two songs on that cassette stayed with me
we die young by alice in chains
and passive restraints by clutch
as just another grunge member of generation x
i should have heard alice in chains before 1997
but i ignored commercial radio all my adult life
we die young retains their hair metal sensibility
while foreshadowing the heavy suicidal brilliance
of subsequent albums
but the clutch tune eclipsed it
combining a description of cars
with sexual power and surrender
expressing things i felt for her
but she felt for someone else
and i should have known that
early clutch riffs are not difficult
beginners can play them
but their ferocity and massive sound remain unmatched
when we saw clutch in pontiac they were just okay
though other times ive seen them
are among my favorite concerts
in hindsight it says a lot about my twenties
not really formed yet as a person
i was in the process of becoming someone else
it didn’t surprise me when layne staley died
he sang about heroin addiction and death
so it felt more predictable than the weather
what really surprised me
was how clutch recorded album after album
blowing away even that first impetus ep
and if i had to pick one perfect rock album
to listen to for the rest of my life
it would be blast tyrant
maybe everyone has an album like that
one that never grows old
no matter how many years go by
ive become more cynical and set in my ways
but every time i hear those songs
i miss her
These three audio collages are comprised of song samples chopped up, layered, and re-arranged using only the free software Audacity. They were inspired by an old friend who made mix tapes in the 1980s (and more recently, mix CDs) by stringing together only the most awesome few seconds of each of 99 songs.
My versions of that idea are relentless assaults of drum fills, guitar riffs, screams, beats, memorable lines, and other madness arranged in a way that might only make sense to me but which you might also find kind of groovy.
Click the titles to listen to the mp3 files. Download them if you like.
Last year I sent copy of the Meteor Mags: Omnibus Edition to a band whose albums I listened to approximately one million times while writing the story Voyage of the Calico Tigress. Mags and her crew, including space monkeys and telepathic octopuses, do an impromptu performance of one of Snail’s songs. In return, I received a note saying, “This is the coolest thing ever,” which made me smile. I’m glad the guys got a kick out of it. Here are some other albums in heavy rotation in the writing lab.
Unida: El Coyote.
If the Internet is to be believed, Unida’s final album was never released by their record label, but was eventually made available directly to fans at concerts. It is often found on the web with different titles, but I like El Coyote. Singer John Garcia, formerly of the legendary Kyuss, is Mags’ favorite vocalist, and references to his various projects pepper her stories like buckshot.
Hell Camino: Hell Camino.
I usually listen to this album back-to-back with its follow-up, Orange Lily.
Bullet: The Entrance to Hell.
Bullet changed their name to “Hard Stuff” because another Bullet already existed. You can find the Hard Stuff albums on YouTube, but I’m partial to this odd reissue under the original name. Maybe because the first time I heard it, my mind was blown by hearing a song from the incredible compilation series Nuggets in a random YouTube recommendation. Nuggets rocked my world with so many garage/psychedelic/heavy bands from the UK and Australia that I am still reeling from the impact years later.
Wo Fat: Noche del Chupacabra.
Wo Fat convinced me that C minor is the heaviest key of all time. They are the reason I got a baritone electric guitar to tune to Drop C. My favorite songs on this album are Common Ground and Descent into the Maelstrom, the latter of which shares a title with a totally different yet amazingly ass-kicking song by Australia’s Radio Birdman. You really can’t go wrong with any Wo Fat album. Psychedelonaut slays with tunes like Analog Man, and The Black Code is a masterpiece with Hurt at Gone and Sleep of the Black Lotus, a title I believe to be inspired by my favorite Conan story Queen of the Black Coast, about a female pirate.
Orange Goblin: Time Travelling Blues.
I never heard an album I didn’t like from Orange Goblin, but this is the one that stays in heavy rotation. From the rumbling drum riff that opens to album to the closing song that shares the album’s title, it’s such a hefty slab of rock and roll that I usually listen to it twice in a row. The title song’s declaration “We own the sky” has become a recurring motif in Mags’ stories, and her band covers it in their concert in Blind Alley Blues.
Black Angels: Passover.
I attended a Black Angels concert last October in downtown Phoenix, and the music was so simultaneously heavy and beautiful. These cats annihilate me. The band hails from Austin, Texas, but I first heard them courtesy of the Europeans who run my other favorite Internet radio station, GRRR Radio. GRRR Radio’s streaming URL is: http://pstnet5.shoutcastnet.com:50390 This album doesn’t have what is perhaps my favorite Black Angels song, Currency, but it’s damned amazing all the way through. Black Grease and Bloodhounds on My Trail are my faves on this one.
My father died two years ago today, after a long bout with cancer that spread from his spleen to eventually his brain and his whole body. Dad and I did not agree on most things, and my teens were times of conflict, to put it mildly. But in my twenties, we were able to put most of that behind us and just hang out.
Dad never understood my love for playing guitar until I was in my thirties. Then one day, he started sending me emails asking about mandolins—and I’m an easy target for anyone and everyone who has questions about music theory and stringed instruments. I don’t know exactly what turned him on to the mandolin, but soon he got into guitar. Our relationship reached a turning point after he got his first guitar and told me, “Now I get why you were into this.”
All I could say was, “It’s pretty awesome, isn’t it?”
By then, we were separated by great geographical distance. But when I would visit, Dad stocked the refrigerator with beer and tuned up his growing collection of guitars, and we would play together for hours. I would show him a few techniques and answer his theory questions, and we played from charts he had for country and worship music he liked.
By the time I got into my forties, Dad’s arthritis made it increasingly difficult for him to play. But he still loved buying guitars, and trading them in later for other models, and getting on Internet forums to discuss gear, and trying new types of strings. He often performed at his church, accompanying his impressively deep bass voice with his ever-growing arsenal of acoustic guitars.
It was a massive about-face from his discouraging attitude toward my love of something which, for twenty years, had basically defined my entire life: playing the guitar. He eventually told me why he was so antagonistic toward my interest, and the reason is probably too personal to blog about. The important point is this: he eventually changed his tune.
Perhaps my fondest memories of Dad are the ones we created over a 12-pack of beer and 12 vibrating strings, jamming in unison. He never got to the level he wanted to with the instrument, but he kept trying and learning and improving. At the age of 44, I can tell you that journey never ends. One day, you pick up the axe, and something changes inside you. You’re never the same afterwards.
It was a pleasure jamming you with, Dad.
Long live the glorious island republic of Scandinavia. They make some awesome music there. What’s that you say? You can’t find it on a map? Then try this one.
I started to get a clue about what a Scandinavia is right about the time I first heard Hoven Droven’s tune SlentBjenn. Taking the energy of a rock band, adding fiddle and saxophone, and drawing on folk material, Hoven Droven lays down some seriously heavy grooves with beautiful melodies.
Below, you will see scans of their album Groove, which you can score on Amazon, and the first Nordic Roots sampler that features one of their tunes. If you want to get totally Scandinavian, Nordic Roots put out a second and third sampler of awesome bands from the region.
In 1962, Art Blakey recorded The African Beat not with his quintessentially swinging Jazz Messengers but a percussion ensemble. Yusef Lateef, who also recorded modern jazz albums using Asian and African ideas, joins the ensemble. The result is a sumptuously rhythmic album that often gets overlooked, perhaps due to its defiance of easy categorization.
Nat Hentoff’s liner notes give a brief but enlightening explanation of the music’s sources and the musicians’ cultural backgrounds. I recommend The African Beat for fans of jazz, percussion, “world” music, and African music. Fans of jazz/rock fusions and prog rock might also like this album, if they want to expand their listening into some other types of musical fusion.
Making art quickly makes chaos out of your walls. Things get hung at random and, over the course of a year, lose all sense of order. Closing out 2015 required a bit of wall patching, cleaning, painting, and re-hanging.
Yesterday saw the arrival of the proof copy of a music album I’ll be publishing this month. The CD looks and sounds great, but I found the volume to be too low compared to most of today’s music. I plan to return to my master files, crank the volume a bit, and resubmit the audio before making an official release. The artwork, which I designed using scans of an acrylic painting and an ink drawing, came out really nice. I’m excited to get this album and one more music album published before the new semester begins.
I don’t do the tree thing in December, but the art studio desperately needed some suitable greenery. Here in the desert, we get ordinary house flies all year long, even in the winter. Otherwise the weather is so nice you can open windows and doors and let the cat come and go as she pleases and enjoy the sunlight and play guitar on the porch and… then the flies. It doesn’t take but a couple in the house to drive me mad. But, when life gives you flies, grow Venus flytraps.
Nothing says seasonal festivity like a carnivorous plant. I ordered this one on eBay from “Joe’s Carnivorous Plants”. She just ate her first fly yesterday. I was so proud. The leaves are thin enough that when the sun shines on them you can see the pesky little fly trapped in there.
That should keep the freshly cleaned and organized sketch room from devolving into pestilence and infestation for another year! Go, little flytrap!
While patiently waiting for our 1-in-2500 limited edition album The Gate to arrive this week from the sonic headquarters of Swans, we went looking for other extended psychedelic monster jams.
And that’s how we ended up with a massive musical marathon courtesy of Germany’s Electric Moon. This guitar-bass-drums trio, formed in 2009, has been playing festivals all over Europe and releasing many mind-blowing albums in the process. Here are three of our favorites so far.
This is the first one we listened to, and we were hooked.
This one incorporates synth sounds, and has a more driving, upbeat vibe.
This video has some cool space imagery to go with the jams.
P.S. Yes, The Gate did finally arrive on Saturday. With three of its songs clocking in around 30 minutes each, it is a supremely awesome sonic experience of pure Swans power.
After listening approximately a gazillion times to the Motor Dolls album we posted twelve days ago, we had to pick up this one, too. Burning Memories is the second and final solid slab of Detroit rock and roll from this trio, the stand-out cuts being “You Want It” and “Nailed to the Cross”. Several people have told us to include “Power” in that list, too, though the whole album is a veritable non-stop blaze of straight-up rock fury. You can find it on Amazon as Motor Dolls: Burning Memories, and it is usually selling for about half the price of Motor Dolls: All Fired Up.
One of the songs on this 1996 album, “Hangover”, appeared two years later on a compilation called Motor City’s Burnin’ 1: 1968-1998. That disc places the Motor Dolls right alongside legendary acts like the MC5 and The Stooges, and other hard-rocking southeast Michigan bands of the mid-90s like Big Chief. We think after hearing this album you will agree that placement was well-deserved.