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Local Beat preview 1/29/09

This Friday, the 29th, The Local Beat has a wonderful show in store for you.

Join us from 5:00-8:00 PM as we’ll have two guests. Sleepsound, who are having their CD Release Party Friday night at The Cave in Chapel Hill.  Stevo and I will be discussing with the band, among other things, their album, Breathe.Quantcast

Also joining us on Friday will be a representative of the Raleigh Undercover event taking place at Tir Na Nog all weekend.  

Be sure to tune in, and don’t forget that if you’re not in the area you can always stream us.

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Local Beat recap 1/23/09

On Friday Stevo, Hand Banana, and I were joined by Bart Tomlin of Blatant Mischief Promotions to discuss the upcoming inaugural Raleigh Undercover event. Raleigh Undercover is an event that is being put on by Tir Na Nog and Blatant Mischief Promotions as a charity event for the Beehive Collective. Several local bands will be donating their time and playing short sets solely devoted to covering either their favorite bands, bands who have inspired them, or any combination thereof.  The event was inspired similar events in Champaign, IL, and at the venue-turned-parking deck Kings.

The acts that will be performing (in no particular order) are as follows:

Embarrassing Fruits

The T’s

Bright Young Things

Valient Thorr

Left Outlet

The Whalewatchers

Hearts and Daggers

I Was Totally Destroying It

The Jackpot Non-Stars (no telling what this means…)

Static Minds

Mike Roy

The Nevers

Gray Young

Ronnie Wabbs

The shows will take place this Friday, 1/30, Saturday, 1/31; and Sunday, 2/1.  Again, rumors abound about who will be playing what, but the only way to know for sure is to be there.  We’ll see you there!

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Liar, Liar

This will be a short post about a short song for a short week.

Point is, with the holiday and the snow day, it was a short week.  Appropriately, the song I got stuck in my head fit the truncated work schedule.

“Liar, Liar” by the Castaways is fantastic.  It was their hit, reaching number 12 on the charts in 1965.

I think, though, it was the video I found on YouTube that caused me to listen to this song so much.  Check it out. Dancing party chicks and everything.

That is all.  Carry on.

-La Barba Rossa

Listen to Mystery Roach every Saturday from 8-10 am for Garage, Prog, Psychedelic, Fusion and noise from the 60s and 70s.

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Gettin’ Religion

In the same vein as La Barba Rossa (because hey, I see the dude every week and it turns out we have similar wacky mindsets), I think it’s high time to get a look at (of all things) religion in Americana music.  It’s an undeniable element that in some way has some root in the creation of all these songs.  Whether it’s about getting religion, losing religion, changing religion, musing on religion, or losing your girl to religion (you think I’m joking)… one just cannot deny that the presence of a higher power is integral to American music.

One of the first and most obvious places to go looking for religion is in the heart of Americana: the Appalachians.  The European immigration to the Appalachia region was in itself from deeply religious stock – think Scottish, Irish, Scots-Irish, English, Welsh.  Add to this mix the relative isolation of living in a mountainous region in the 18th century, and you’ve got a class of people who are going to have a strong sense of culture and preservation.  History lesson aside, this is still a region where music and religion make their most explosive collide.  Take, for instance, the Stanley Brothers.  The most familiar example is the song “Angel Band,” though not every song of theirs is so optimistic.  There’s an element of darkness and haunting that lurks at the edges of these songs that makes this sort of music so unforgettable.

Angel Band – The Stanley Brothers

In the same vein, more modern artists in the mountain music tradition are bound to include at least one song or one reference to religion – usually through a filter of the harsh reality of mortality, or featuring the Americana artist’s other favorite otherworldly being: the Devil.  The Devil and Death are the prominent elements of religion that you’re going to find in these updated takes, such as this tune by Gillian Welch.

The Devil Had a Hold of Me – Gillian Welch

And then there’s the issue of losing one’s religion, and trust me, the Americana giants were doing it long before Michael Stipe was even born.  Sometimes we know why the singers of the songs lost their faith, and sometimes we’re plunked down into the middle of their particular crisis without a frame of reference.  In either case, the end result is something vaguely longing and wistful – there is a sense that something is missing even when there’s an outright refusal to go back to the old religion.  Johnny Cash, who was known best for shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die, is no different.

Sunday Morning Coming Down – Johnny Cash

Of course, if nothing else, sometimes the entire point of this music is to almost create a new type of religion.  In the end many times it’s the songs that’ll change you – why else do you think there are always people who reverently speak of a song that changed their lives or at least gave them some sense of meaning?  Americana naturally has this same power.  In his biography of Gram Parsons (titled Hickory Wind), Ben Fong-Torres spoke of the times that Gram would sing hallelujah, and if you didn’t have religion before, you were bound to have it after.  When a genre has such deeply spiritual origins, it’s not so hard to believe that sentiment.

She – Gram Parsons

DJ Highlights

Top Electronic Albums of 2008 (plus a rant if that’s your thing)

It’s that time again: at the beginning of the year, every year, everybody offers their opinions about the music/books/movies/events of the past year.  Personally, I love reading other people’s opinions about the best music of the past year.   However, I also think that it’s a fairly ridiculous practice.  Ultimately, it’s just an opinion, and nobody really cares about anybody else’s opinion anyway.  Even the biggest award show in music, the Grammy Awards, is full of shit, and pretty much everybody knows it.  So, in order to avoid putting together yet another meaningless top-10 list, I’m going to parody those stupid awards by giving you 10 top-1 lists.  Yes, the commentary you are about to read is satirical (I’m only putting this under the assumption that if I don’t, moronic fanboys will be upset that I trashed their favorite album of 2008), but the albums I’ve chosen are actually some of my favorites (except for whichever section of commentary offends you most – that one’s serious) of 2008.

Best album nobody put into their top-5/1o/20/25/50/100 list of 2008:  Radio Retaliation by Thievery Corporation – personally, I think that this was a great album.  The first half is a world-tour of incorporating the music of various cultures into an upbeat-downtempo format that Thievery Corporation is known for, and the second half is a bit more reminiscent of their previous work.  That sounds basically like they put out yet another album of the same shit you’ve heard before, and it is.  (Also, this album wins 2 more awards: best packaging and worst packaging for the cardboard sleeve and poster liner notes – it’s catchy and environmentally friendly, but you’ll never be able to actually use it to package the album once you open it).  Actually, I don’t think it was a great album.

Best “more-hipster-than-thou” album of 2008: Crystal Castles by Crystal Castles – another album I greatly enjoyed (if only we could have kept it in the studio for more than 48 hours), this award is somewhat pointless because everybody already knew that this was the hipster album of the year (Passion Pit’s Chunk of Change E.P. being a close second).  Which is oddly appropriate, seeing as how pointless this album was.  The best song on here was “Courtship Dating”, which is basically a dance song with repetitive lyrics (which are screamed, by the way) that don’t make a whole lot of sense, as if we’ve never heard that.

Best album put out by a band from Australia of 2008: In Silico by Pendulum – it seems like Australia puts out a good album about once a year.  Last year, we were blessed with the “albums” known as Attack Decay Sustain Release by Simian Mobile Disco and Guns Babes Lemonade by Muscles (and maybe a few others as well, but who knows).  This year, we in the US got Pendulum’s sophmore effort.  Is it just me, or are they actually trying to make music for video games?  The first time I heard them was when I heard their song (from their first album Hold Your Colour) on Dance Dance Revolution, and several songs here sound like extras you could buy for Rock Band or Guitar Hero (though none of them are good enough to be included, and you’d be better off saving the money anyway).  Sophmore slump much?

Best album of 2008 by a bald vegan in his 40s that has long lost all cultural relevance: Last Night by Moby – to be honest, I kind of feel like this album was like Play-lite(to the point where the title seems a bit unintentionally ironic), but it’s still a fun album overall with a few songs that actually approach being listenable.  I like to joke with a few of my friends who are also avid fans of electronic music that I enjoy listening to “American techno”.  And we (my friends and I) laugh about it because American techno (that is, good electronic music from this side of the Atlantic) doesn’t exist, and this CD proves it.

Best album of 2008  that proves Americans are uncultured: Mardulce by Bajofondo – pencil this band in under “artist/band with the most commonly mispronounced name” (next to Björk).  This is also the only band (on this list, or possibly anywhere) that features a member that plays the … bandoneon.  Now, I’m going to be honest with you: I don’t consider myself to be a stupid individual, but I don’t even know how to pronounce that instrument, let alone what it actually is.  Judging from the album, something that sounds like an accordion.  God damn, that doesn’t even need a punch line…

Best album of 2008 that relates drugs to electronic music: Fucked Up Friends by Tobacco – Not only is the artist’s name an addictive substance, but the album title is a suggestion for both how and with whom you should listen to the album (for the dumbfucks out there, you should listened to it while you’re fucked up with your friends).  Not only that, but the album itself, from the time you see it, is addictive.  It comes with a crazy cover that looks like a broadcast of Tobacco himself getting electrocuted, as viewed through a malfunctioning cheap TV built in the 70s.  Also on the packaging front, the tray for the CD itself isn’t the usual black, white, or clear – Tobacco or whoever packaged this aural version of herion opted for a very subtle hot pink instead.  The music itself sounds like something god-awful from the 80s, using only analog tape devices and synthesizers (along with the equivalent of a First Act talk box), that’s been cut one too many times with bleach and cement mix.  This album actually wins several other awards, such as: Best album of 2008 for which I’ll require rehab, Best album of 2008 for which I’ll require therapy, Best album of 2008 for which I’ll require medication, and Best album of 2008 for which I’ll be pleading temporary insanity.

Best Album of 2008 which could have and probably should have been made in the 80s: In Ghost Colours by Cut Copy – The best band whose name consists of actions you can take in Microsoft Word (even though they got things kind of backwards – if you cut, you don’t have anything to copy, so you should probably copy before cutting, but that’s getting a bit technical) released this tribute to yuppies and disco this year that’s been getting a lot of acclaim.  Frankly, I don’t see why this whole “80’s” thing has been a trend for the past couple of years – is our creativity as a culture really that bankrupt?  If this is all we had to go on, the answer would undoubtably be a most-emphatic “yes”.

Best Album of 2008 that used only screechy guitar riffs and various noises that sound like animals growling and snarling: LP3 by Ratatat – this is the sort of sound that Ratatat has been cultivating for their entire musical career, and even I have to admit that it’s really come into its own on their third crime against humani… err, album.  On the other hand, being the best in the world at creating “music” that consists of what sounds like a 5’5" hipster wearing Converses and girl pants savagely beating squirrels into his amplifier with a Fender Squire is a bit like … well, it’s not really like anything else, which is the only reason why Ratatat will win anything this year (assuming they’ll win anything, which is dicey to begin with).

Album with the Best Bullshit Story behind their sound on their one-sheet in 2008: Never Trust the Chinese by Mr. Meeble – Basically, the fabrication here is that this band was hired by a French cosmonaut to create this album for him or her to listen to while in space.  I wouldn’t really call this the best bullshit story in the sense that it was the most plausible or the most entertaining (although it’s up there for the latter), but it’s certainly the best bullshit story in terms of how ludicrously ridiculous it is.  A French Cosmonaut?  Do the French even have a space program?  According to the wikipedia category “French Astronauts”, there have been 9 French astronauts who are noteworthy.  This compares to 362 noteworthy “American Astronauts”.  Now, if we compare the populations of France and America relative to the number of noteworthy French and American astronauts there are on Wikipedia, we find that American astronauts are about 8.5 times more common than French astronauts.  Now, let me ask you something: how many astronauts do you know?  That’s what I thought; the answer’s a big fat zero isn’t it?  Now that means that you’re 8.5 less likely to come across a French Astronaut, thus proving that French Astronauts do not exist and making this story officially impossible.  Oh, and did I mention the offensive album title?  Seriously, I could go on and on about this thing.

Best album of 2008 that’s electronic but tries to bill itself as so-called “instrumental hip-hop”: Magic Monday by Michna – C’mon, this album was produced by a god damn trombone player for Christ’s sake.  I’ll be up-front about it; I don’t know anything about hip-hop, and even I know that nobody plays trombone in hip-hop.  Hell, people haven’t played trombone in popular music since at least the 50’s.  Even then, did anybody anywhere ever front a band as a trombone player?  I honestly have no idea, but my instincts tell me “probably not.  probably fucking not.”

So that’s it, my ten top-1 lists for 2008.  I hope that the swearing and what not didn’t offend people (I only do it because the FCC doesn’t want me to).  So, before I conclude this post, I’d just like to add a few honorable mentions of 2008 (for which I primarily didn’t have any jokes):

Brightwhitelight by Sounds from the Ground

Thought So… by Nightmares on Wax

Hercules and Love Affair by Hercules and Love Affair

Saturdays=Youth by M83

Apocalypso by the Presets


UPDATE: This blog took forever to get posted because it took me a long time to come up with the material I used for it.  That and Caid took forever approving this blog (something about providing links to the artists – it’s all really murky to be completely honest).

DJ Highlights

Skip the AV Geek on Mystery Roach 1/17/09

What do you do when bombs fall from the sky?  Who do you call in an emergency?  How should you act in the lunchroom?  All these questions and more have been answered in educational films: the movies you (and your parents) watched on whirring projectors in darkened junior high classrooms and gymnasiums.

Skip Elsheimer (known to some as Skip the AV Geek) has gained notoriety with his huge collection of educational and industrial films from decades gone by.  If you’ve ever been to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences on First Friday to see the Natural Horror Picture Show, Skip is the guy who runs it. This week on Mystery Roach, we will be talking about the music and history of these films and playing music from audio and video compilations he has put together.

Skip Elsheimer founded and maintains the A/V Geeks Educational Film Archive, an archive of over 22,000 educational and industrial films which he screens for audiences across the country. He curates film programs and presents them at such venues at the American Museum of the Moving Image, Coolidge Corner Cinema, Anthology Film Archives, Aurora Picture Show and Chicago Filmmakers. Recently, Skip co-wrote an article with film professor Marsha Orgeron entitled “Something Different In Science Films – The Moody Institute of Science and the Canned Missionary Movement” which was published in The Moving Image – Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivists. He has released several DVD compilations based on his collection through Fantoma Films and Alpha Video and makes many of his available for viewing online at the Internet Archive and at his website,

So listen to Mystery Roach this Saturday, January 17th from 8-10 am, where we’ll be talking with Skip and listening to his clips and music for the full two hours.  We will also be doing some giveaways.

Talk to you then.

-La Barba Rossa

UPDATE (1/17/09):  Skip has provided links to a lot of the films discussed on today’s show.  (Some of the films aren’t online.)  Thanks to all the callers.  I’m glad you enjoyed the show.  Thanks again to Skip for coming on and for the links below.

Duck And Cover (Department of Civil Defense)

Crash, Bang, Boom

Drugs Are Like That

Malapakadoo Skip Two



Shake Hands With Danger

Live and unplugged version of “Shake Hands with Danger” by the song’s composer, Jim Stringer

Clip of “Shake Hands with Danger” singer, Charles Oldfather, on “The Day After”

Jim Stringer’s website

VD is for Everybody

Lines Are Fun

Magnificent Major

Teeth (ADA)

Skip’s Site (A/V Geeks)

NASA/Space Program site

Skip’s NASA fan site

DJ Highlights

A Case-Study in Murphy’s Law: the Pink Flag Session

Last Sunday our most recent session was recorded. The band, Pink Flag, performed wonderfully, even without vocal monitors; a minor oversight on our part. The events leading up to the session didn’t go so smoothly. The day started off normally enough, I was riding my bike to the coffee shop to enjoy a caffeinated beverage and learn how to use my new digital camera which I had bought the previous day when I heard our esteemed local music czar Stevo shouting “Phil Collins” at the top of his lungs from a pickup truck. I decided I should skip the coffee shop and head straight to the studio to help in the loading and unloading of equipment.

After taking our recording equipment across campus to Caldwell hall we were greeted by locked doors. This was only a minor setback as a quick call to the campus police got is in within a half hour. We offloaded the equipment, and began hooking things up. It became apparent quickly that the Mackie Onyx firewire interface would not work with my linux notebook, yet another minor setback. Luckily we had a macbook at our disposal with which to do the recording.

Upon Connecting the vocal microphones and we noticed an annoying click noise in the headphones. It became apparent that the noise gate feature in the brand new vocal compressor was, ironically, making noise. We’d have to do without the vocal compression.

It was when noticed that our drum mic kit was missing that the shit really hit the fan. After searching the Caldwell lounge, and the Truck we used to transport the equipment, we frantically rushed back to Witherspoon, but alas, our mics were nowhere to be found. This was a major setback. We realized that our only option was to, as quickly as possible, procure replacement microphones. We rushed to my apartment, and got in my weathered, but mostly functional 1994 BMW 525i and began our journey to Sam Ash, leaving behind a cloud of tire smoke. In a mere 14 minutes we made it across Raleigh to the music store where a Samson drum mic kit was waiting for us at the front desk, after a few minutes we made our criminally fast journey back to campus where the band and our recording engineer were patiently waiting; disaster narrowly, albeit expensively averted.

Upon our return, our recording engineer, JC set up our brand new drum mics, and the rest of the session went without a hitch. After the session was over and we were returning to the studio we noticed our old drum mic kit on a chair in the lobby.

Pink Flag, Sessions@KNC

Pink Flag, Sessions@KNC

Pink Flag, Sessions@KNC

Pink Flag, Sessions@KNC

Pink Flag, Sessions@KNC

Pink Flag, Sessions@KNC

DJ Highlights

Ghostface Killah & RZA Interview at 4:30

Wu-Tang Clan members, Ghostface Killah (aka Dennis Coles) and RZA (aka Robert F. Diggs), will be joining DJs Matticus Rex & Special K on WKNC this afternoon around 4:30-4:45pm.

Wu-Tang Clan is playing the Lincoln Theatre tonight, with The Movement, with the show scheduled to start at 8:00pm.  Though according to

A couple of things: just because it says the Wu-Tang Clan, this does not mean that you will actually get to see the Wu-Tang Clan.

There is *one* guarantee: the 8:00 p.m. listed start time is, ahem, overly optimistic. Add about 6 hours to that & you’ll be getting closer.

Be sure to tune in for the interview!

DJ Highlights

Implements of Vengeful Deities

Gods, in general, seem to have bad tempers.  Seriously, mythology old and new, monotheistic or polytheistic, seems to be filled with countless tales of pestilence, death, and destruction, and for what? Some poor guy somewhere forgot to slaughter a goat? The nerve. One little slip up, and instead of thinking, “Well, they’re not gods after all, I should expect a transgression here and there,” they’re all, “Release the Kraken!” or “I’m gonna dump my frog collection all over their asses!” They act more like little children than all-knowing deities. “It’s my ball and I’m going home, and oh, by the way, I’m gonna kill the first born child in every house. Oops.”

Why do I bring this up? Because one of my favorite songs for this week’s show (1/10/09) deals with an angry god and his desire to rain down fire. It’ll get stuck in your head. You’ll listen to it over and over and over and over. Ask my wife. She’ll verify my claims.

The song: “Fire,” by Arthur Brown, off the album The Crazy World of Arthur Brown.

You’ll recognize this song on one level or another. It’s been sampled and re-sampled. It’s been covered and uncovered, and for good reason–it’s a great tune. Let’s call it, “catchy psychedelic lounge.” I donno. Call it whatever you want, just make sure to listen to it. While you’re at it, the rest of the album is worth a listen, too.

Now watch your ass, deities have bad tempers. (And frog collections.)

-La Barba Rossa

DJ Highlights

New Raleigh: ‘WKNC’s Dance Dance Revolution Is the Best Show on Radio’

Our friends at gave the Dance Dance Revolution some love this week:

This Sunday I endured a long drive back from Atlanta at the end of the holiday weekend, and, serendipitously, I’d left my iPod in a friend’s car back in Cobb County, Georgia. So with no CD player, I cruised from station to station for six hours, suffering endless plays of “Heartless” and “Womanizer” in between classic rock and oldies. (Don’t judge; it’s all you can do through South Carolina to avoid Christian “rock” and pop country.) Then, on the last leg of the trip, scanning the stations outside Chapel Hill, my ears were suddenly greeted with a bit of bliss. “Finally!” I said to myself, then, “Of course!” as I looked at the dial. “This is 88.1 and I am listening to Dance Dance Revolution.”

Check out at the full article at New Raleigh