abp: radio

Here’s the Spotify link to the playlist. You’re welcome to recreate it on any platform you choose. Just press play and read along, acting like the voice in your head is the DJ. The times listed are that of the song playing, not the full episode length. I play this with a 5-second cross-fade enabled. Have fun!

Intro

FMF#TitleArtistAlbumYear
1“Midnight Radio”Mecca:83FUTURES Vol. 52018

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 Hello and welcome to abp’s radio episode! Today we’re digging into the broadcast medium that blasts sound waves across the land. Radio technology has been around since the 19th century and to this day is still used in it’s most basic form – broadcasting radio waves via transmitters to receivers all across the globe. Nowadays we have this thing called the internet, which basically does away with the old AM/FM signals and streams via the online connection, but we still want those airwaves.

00:45 I wanted to do a little something fun today, so we’re going to hear our radio episode book-ended with two versions of “Video Killed The Radio Star”. First up is Joyce Manor’s sped-up and tonally flattened version. Joyce Manor’s 2012 LP Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired borrows distinct design elements from the legendary Germs’ GI release. The music itself also borrows from Germs elements, though more in the vein of new age punk rock than early 80s sloppy hardcore. We lost Germs bassist Lorna Doom in 2019 to cancer and the infamous Darby Crash took his own life in 1980 by way of intentional heroin overdose. Joyce Manor’s 2018 release Million Dollars To Kill Me was named after Travis Barker’s memoir Can I Say in which Travis recounts offering a friend a million bucks to end his suffering after a horrific 2008 plane crash that injured him and DJ AM as well as killing the rest of the entourage on board. DJ AM died from an overdose the following year.

01:35 All this talk about overdose has me fixing for music. Let’s try to lighten the mood a bit. Here is Joyce Manor doing “Video Killed The Radio Star”!

Set 1: Radio Killed The Video Star

2“Video Killed The Radio Star”Joyce ManorOf All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired2012
3“Radio, Radio”Elvis Costello & The AttractionsThis Year’s Model1978
4“New Radio”Bikini KillNew Radio – 7″ Single1993
5“Radio On”Ex HexRips2014
6“Car Radio”SpoonA Series of Sneaks1998

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 Austin, Texas’ Spoon have been locked in indie rock legacy ever since the turn of the century, but it was probably thanks to some mid-to-late-90s solid releases that helped them climb there. The band’s sophomore effort A Series Of Sneaks was at the time met with flat acceptance, but since has grown into a cult classic of an album; proof once more that some artists are ahead of their time.

00:45 Washington D.C. native Mary Timony released her third solo LP Ex Hex way back in 2005 on the legendary Lookout! Records, but would take the album title and form a band under the moniker almost ten years later. Rather than the darker, brooding sounds of her solo work, Ex Hex channels the Pacific Northwest punk rock sounds of Sleater-Kinney. Mary was part of the Carrie Brownstein/Janet Weiss side project Wild Flag. The Ex Hex 2014 debut features the track “Radio On”.

01:10 Staying in the PNW, Bikini Kill dropped in with the title track to the 1993 New Radio single. A lyrical force of sexuality and rebellion, the song fits in perfectly with the writing style and content of Kathleen Hannah and Bikini Kill. Known as one of the forerunners of the riot grrrl movement, Kathleen has also released music with the electropop group Le Tigre and The Julie Ruin.

01:30 One of the most famous acts of rebellion in live music may have been when Elvis Costello stopped his band ten seconds into his Saturday Night Live performance of “Less Than Zero” to change tunes and sing the anti-corporate radio anthem “Radio, Radio”. Lorne Michaels was not amused and banned Elvis from Saturday Night Live until 1989 (supposedly giving Elvis the middle-finger during the whole performance).

02:00 Coming up in the next set we have The Shazam. Little Steven’s Underground Garage named this song their “Coolest Song Of The Week” back in 2006, though the song was actually released in 2000.  Little Steven called it the “coolest fucking thing (he’s) heard in 20 years”. The song is legit, but to say that about the decades 1980-2000 seems a bit…irresponsible? Nevertheless, let’s get to it. Taken from The Shazam’s 2000 EP Rev9, named after the Beatles’ “Revolution 9” which the band covered on that EP, here’s “On The Airwaves”.

Intermission

7“Radio Flyer”Sinitus TempoV2016

Set 2: Fresh Airwaves

8“On the Airwaves”The ShazamRev92000
9“Don’t Listen To The Radio”The VinesVision Valley2006
10“We Want The Airwaves”Shonen KnifeOsaka Ramones2011
11“Do You Remember Rock And Roll Radio”RamonesEnd Of The Century1979
12“Radio Head”Talking HeadsTrue Stories1986

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 Radiohead, of course, took their name from the Talking Heads song we just heard. David Byrne directed and starred in the feature film True Stories, along with John Goodman and Swoosie Kurtz.  Talking Heads re-recorded studio versions of the songs they played in the film and released the album True Stories to coincide with the movie. There was also a different soundtrack album released with various artists like Terry Allen & The Panhandler Mystery Band and Steve Jordan on it. Steve played the accordion on “Radio Head”.

00:50 The Ramones questioned our memories of the days of old when rock and roll ruled the radio. The imagery of “lying in bed with your covers pulled up over your head, radio playin’ so no one can see” is such a great snapshot of being a kid obsessed with music during the golden age of rock and roll.  How appropriate a song, too, being that the 1979 LP End Of The Century was produced by the legendary producer and convicted murder Phil Spector. Hear that Wall of Sound?

01:20 Osaka, Japan’s Shonen Knife formed roughly 6 months after the release of The Ramones’ 1981 LP Pleasant Dreams. Shonen Knife’s debut release is an ultimate holy grail rare cassette-only album. Minna Tanoshiku was put out by the band in 1982 in a limited release of 50 copies. Some tape cases had the band’s lip prints on them! They did a Ramones tribute album in 2011, Osaka Ramones, to celebrate the band’s 30-year career

01:45 The Vines timed their American debut juuuust right with the release of their 2001 LP Highly Evolved. Riding the garage rock wave first rippled by The Strokes and The White Stripes and The Hives and all of The “The” bands alike, The Vines would hit it big with “Get Free”, a tune they completely demolished on the Late Show With David Letterman. When Craig Nicholls did a somersault after the first verse he knocked the guitar out of tune and oh boy did things fall apart after that! Awesome performance though. We played the first single off of their third album Vision Valley, “Don’t Listen To The Radio”.

02:15 Up next we have Brooklyn, New York band Nude Beach with the album opener off of their 2012 sophomore LP II. As the song is about to explain, sometimes there’s just not much worse than a radio playing a song you just don’t wanna hear. Here’s Brooklyn’s Nude Beach with “Radio”.

Intermission

13“Hunting Bears”RadioheadAmnesiac2000

Set 3: RAD-10

14“Radio”Nude BeachII2012
15“Turn Off The Radio”The SpaceshitsMisbehavin’1999
16“Radio”Ty SegallFirst Taste2019
17“Rock N Roll Radio”SkegssRock N Roll Radio – Single2014
18“Playing On The Radio”The ShivasDark Thoughts2019

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 The Shivas hail from Portland, Oregon’s mid-aught’s house show scene. What’s more punk rock than DIY? Nothing. Can’t book a venue? Make a venue. Can’t find a promoter? Make a flier and staple it on the telephone pole. The Shivas fit right into that aesthetic, though pouring out garage rock psychedelia more often than pure punk rock. That was “Playing On The Radio” from 2019’s Dark Thoughts.

00:40 Skegss are another garage rock revival outfit from down under. The band made international headlines in 2015 when rappers Reese and Lil Yachty released a single “Do It” with perhaps the most blatantly stolen album artwork I’ve ever seen. Skegss had just started as a band the previous year and released their second single ever “Rock N Roll Radio” in 2014.

01:10 Ty Segall is a garage rock revival icon. Maybe even the millennial generation’s version of Mark Sultan and King Khan. Like those two, Ty is involved in countless bands and music projects. Ty plays everything from covers to collaborations, even TV show theme songs. His 2019 release First Taste was his second with the Freedom Band and featured “Radio”.

01:40 The Spaceshits put out one album in 1999, but are most notably known for being the group that connected Mark Sultan and King Khan. Sultan became the group’s singer shortly after joining and Khan, then known as Blacksnake, would replace one of the many guitarists that they cycled through in their short tenure as a band. When they were blacklisted from their hometown of Montreal due to violent stage shows, they toured Europe. Blacksnake stayed in Europe, Germany specifically, and began his new career as King Khan. The Spaceshits dropped “Turn Off The Radio” before The Shivas.

02:10 Red Mass is the brainchild of another Montreal garage rock vet, Roy Vucino. Vucino teamed up with Mark Sultan after The Spaceshits dissolved and formed Les Sexareenos, one of many of Mark’s projects. The Red Mass project features collaborations from up to 60 people, sometimes contributing recorded material via mail. Much like the famous Postal Service duo did in the early 2000s, Red Mass takes it to another level. Here’s “Radio Radio” from Red Mass’ 2009 Red Mass EP.

Intermission

19“Esecuzione Radiofonica”Ennio MorriconeThe Blue-Eyed Bandit Soundtrack1982

Set 4: Pirate Radio

20“Radio Radio”Red MassRed Mass EP2008
21“Radio Wunderbar”The CarpettesThe Carpettes1977
22“Sex On The Radio”Ivy GreenIvy Green1978
23“Radio Radio”The KidsNaughty Kids1978
24“Radio Rape”The CortinasTrue Romances1978

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 The Cortinas were the Bristol, UK group that paired up nicely with The Clash in 1977, but were nowhere near as successful as them. Coincidentally, though, Cortinas guitarist Nick Sheppard would go on to play on The Clash’s Cut The Crap album after Mick Jones and Topper Headon were fired from the band. The Cortinas debut album signaled the end of them, however, with the band breaking up after its release. From that 1978 album True Romances, we heard “Radio Rape”, a song about making love to the radio.

00:45 The Kids, from Belgium, were another early punk rock band that are known for their anti-fascism anthem “Fascist Cops”. They released their debut self-titled album in 1978 on Dutch company Philips Records. Yes, that same Philips that made radios that you may well have played, or perhaps you’ve used their light bulbs? The Kids’ sophomore LP was also released in 1978, from which we played “Radio Radio”.

01:15 Ivy Green were actually from the Netherlands where Philips Records was founded. They were one of the few Dutch punk bands to land a major record deal and released their self-titled debut on Pogo Records in 1978. The cut “Sex On The Radio”, another weird ode to aural love, is almost a note-for-note mimic of Black Flag’s “Black Coffee“, but the Black Flag song didn’t come out for another 6 years. Coincidence or ripoff? You decide! Ivy Green was the name of Hellen Keller’s childhood home in Alabama.

01:45 British punk band The Carpettes‘ 1977 debut self-titled EP featured the track “Radio Wunderbar” and some issues of it list that as being the title of the EP. The Carpettes lasted all but four years before breaking up in 1981. They briefly reunited in 1996 and then again after the turn of the millennium eventually touring the USA in 2011. Nothing matches the energy of that debut EP, though!

02:15 The Clash’s debut EP took a jab at the radio industry and was released with an interview comprising most of the EP with just one song finishing it off. The only way to get this EP was to mail in a coupon printed in NME, plus the red sticker found on the band’s debut studio album The Clash which had been released just that week. After hearing that the EP was being sold for unbelievably high prices, they re-recorded the song and released “Capital Radio Two” on their 2nd EP The Cost Of LivingHere’s the Clash with “Capital Radio”.

Intermission

25“Radioactivo”SuprahumanosAutomatas2015

Set 5: Ra(nci)dio

26“Capital Radio”The ClashCapital Radio EP1977
27“Radio Havana”RancidRancid2000
28“Radio”Mad SinHooligans United: A Tribute to Rancid Compilation2015
29“Please Play This Song On The Radio”NOFXWhite Trash, Two Heebs And A Bean1992
30“You Can’t Say Crap On The Radio”Stiff Little FingersStraw Dogs – 7″ Single1979

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 Ireland’s Stiff Little Fingers nearly broke into the mainstream with their 1980 single “Straw Dogs” narrowly missing the Top of the Pops charts, which is fairly ironic considering the b-side to “Straw Dogs” was the anti-mainstream radio anthem “You Can’t Say Crap On The Radio”. The track also borrowed the main riff from The Clash’s “Capital Radio” as a bit of an outro. “Caaapital radio” was changed to “Craaapital radio”.

00:45 NOFX took the Stiff Little Fingers’ idea and went a step further. In “Please Play This Song On The Radio”, the band begs the radio DJ to play their new song on the radio while slowly devolving into a cuss fest, nullifying their initial request. The song comes 1992’s biographically-named LP White Trash, Two Heebs, And A Bean. NOFX also covered Rancid’s song “Radio” for their split LP release with the group in 2002.

01:15 German psychobilly band Mad Sin contributed their version of Rancid’s legendary punk anthem “Radio” to the Hellcat Records, Tim Timebomb-sequenced Hooligans United: A Tribute To Rancid compilation.  That comp features some great takes on Rancid tunes, with some bands staying true to the songs and some taking them in an entirely new direction or language.

01:45 When Rancid recorded their 2000 self-titled fifth album, they did it one full take. Well, two full times run-through, with the second take being used. It brought such a personal feel to the record, and when Tim sings the final lines of the album you can hear him “signing off” and thanking everyone for listening. “Radio Havana” was the longest song on the LP clocking in at 3:42.

02:15 With the release of Scratching the Door: The First Recordings of the Flaming Lips, we finally got an official output of their first cassette demo. The only original song on the demo was “Killer On The Radio”, followed by a cover of the “Batman Theme”, The Who’s “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere”, and Richie Havens’ “Handsome Johnny”. The Who covered the “Batman Theme” on their first EP, and their second ever single released was “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere”. That’s interesting. Here’s the Lips’ only original from their debut demo, “Killer On The Radio”.

Intermission

31“Fermentação Radioativa”Light StrucksLight Strucks2017

Set 6: Radio Midwest

32“Killer On The Radio”The Flaming LipsScratching The Door: The First Recordings Of The Flaming Lips2018
33“Radio Friendly Unit Shifter”NirvanaIn Utero1993
34“Radio K”The Ergs!Jersey’s Best Prancers2007
35“Left Of The Dial”The ReplacementsTim1985
36“Video Killed The Radio Star”The Presidents Of The United States Of AmericaPure Frosting1998

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 “You are the radio star”!  The Presidents Of The United States Of America cap the episode today with their 3rd-recorded version of “Video Killed The Radio Star”. This version comes from their post-first-breakup compilation of b-sides and covers titled Pure Frosting. “Video” also caps off the 1998 Adam Sandler movie The Wedding Singer as it plays while the credits roll.

00:45 The Replacements played us a shout out to indie radio or college radio as it was known in the 80s. The term “left of the dial” comes from those stations being so low on the transmitter dials, usually with frequencies like 88.1 and 90.7. The band’s 1985 LP Tim would land them a slot on Saturday Night Live and just like Elvis Costello – they’d get banned.  This time not for performing the wrong song, but for absolutely destroying their dressing room and switching clothes with each other before the performance.

01:15 The Ergs! dropped in with an ode to The Replacements’ hometown college radio station Radio K. The University of Minnesota’s station KUOM was formed in 1993 and has been solidly playing the best up and coming tunes ever since. The Ergs! must have enjoyed it enough to write about it. The tune comes from their 2007 EP Jersey’s Best Prancers.

01:45 Just under an hour drive south of Radio K’s headquarters would bring you to Cannon Falls, MN’s Pachyderm Studio where Nirvana recorded their third and final studio album In Utero. “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter” was originally titled “Nine Month Media Blackout” and was a collage of poetry thrown back at the success of Nirvana in ’91. Kurt is reported to have hated the success, but others contest that view. In February of 1993, the band headed to the small Minnesota town and were “locked in” by the snow to get their work done and get out of there. Steve Albini brought his powerful technique and the studio’s notoriously amazing drum sounds were also captured. The result was a masterpiece in rock and the band would dissipate only a year later following Kurt’s suicide. 

02:15 We began and ended with “Video Killed The Radio Star” along with a few stories of rock stars who died young. The rock and roll lifestyle has claimed countless young ones throughout time and still continues to do so. I suppose the word of advice here is that if you choose to get into the music world, be prepared for the harsh vices that could come your way. Thank you for joining me today and listening along. See you next time!

Outro

37“Dial”David Cutter MusicSingles Two2018

Check out myList for all of the releases featured!

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