Sunday, February 28, 2010


Lately I've been utterly transfixed by two new ones in two very different ways.

I'll be honest, the first time I ever heard the name Gil Scott-Heron it was being shouted at me in the LCD Soundsystem song "Losing My Edge." Even then, for reasons that I can't quite fathom (especially now after having finally heard Gil Scott-Heron) I didn't listen. However when he released his new record about a month ago entitled I'm New Here I knew that listening would be inevitable. The insert of the record tells you to set aside time to hear it, pour a drink, sit down, and give it your undivided attention. While reading that advice, I realized that I couldn't remember the last time that I've done that with a brand new record. Sure there have been times where a record that I was listening to pulled me away from other things and demanded my full undivided attention, but it has most certainly been awhile since that was the case going into the situation. This record absolutely deserves your full undivided attention. Mr. Scott-Heron has a rich back story to be sure, and it's treated beautifully here. The production is spot on, technical smarts, minimal jazz and blues piano and guitar all with a nicely underlying cinematic feel create the precise world that his mostly spoken, sometimes half sung reflections deserve. Is it possible to not be knocked flat by a line like "Not running for cover, because if I knew where cover was I would stay there, and never have to run for it?" Certainly not to my mind.

Conversely, twice now I've found myself home from a tiring day at work, and walking to the grocery store up the street while listening to the new Northern Portrait record Criminal Art Lovers. Both times it's shimmering, falsetto vocal tinged, glorious melodrama have made me forget the exhaustion and gain a sense that somehow, strangely, everything will be o.k. That's in spite of titles like, "The Operation Worked, but the Patient Died."

Here's an interesting montage of images that someone has put together of one of Gil Scott-Heron's most famous pieces:

This is the song that opens Criminal Art Lovers. I can't help but let it make me walk faster every time it begins:

Monday, February 15, 2010

KCRW Playlist from 2/14: All Valentine's Day, All the Time

My bags are packed, and by this time tomorrow I will be on a plane bound for Philadelphia where I'll board another plane bound for Manchester where I'll finally board a plane bound for Glasgow. To say that I'm a little bit excited about this trip would be an understatement. I still haven't fully wrapped my head around the idea that I'm going, I probably won't fully until we are riding the bus through town on Wednesday afternoon to the home of our very gracious hostess. Needless to say, I hope to return to home home with a great deal more records than I left with, and a great deal more to write about here.

In the mean time, I have a new radio show in the archives at You can listen to that show here if you are so inclined. Since it was very early in the morning on Valentine's Day when the show aired, I decided to take that theme and run with it. It's fun to have a chance to sort through your favorite love, crush, and heartbreak songs. It's even more fun to share them with others. So that's what I've done for this show. I was actually surprised at how many songs didn't fit within my three hour time slot. I have a feeling that a few of them will appear on my next show. Picking the Pastels song for this one was particularly tough, it came down to the song that I took the title of this blog from "Baby Honey," and the song that I ultimately chose "Nothing to be Done." I suppose it gained bonus points for having something of a story arch, and for being one of the truly great duets out there. You'll probably hear "Baby Honey" if you tune into my next show. That song definitely deserves some credit for pairing some seriously romantic lyrics with the fantastically noisy guitar drone, and saxophone freak out that are featured so prominently.

One of my fondest memories of KCRW is volunteering years ago on a midnight to three show that was entirely Valentine's Day themed, running to the library begging the DJ to play Galaxie 500 and the Modern Lovers, so it only felt right to do a similarly themed show on my first Valentine's Day on the air. Plus, I'm a big fan of any holiday that pretty much demands that you play Huggy Bear on the radio, and shout along to it in the studio.

Here's the playlist:
Donna Summer - I Feel Love

Hercules & Love Affair - Raise Me Up

The Velvelettes - Let Love Live (A Little Bit Longer)

Love Is All - Make Out Fall Out Make Up

Standard Fare - Love Doesn't Just Stop

Louis Philippe - You Mary You

The Troggs - With A Girl Like You

Camera Obscura - Honey In The Sun

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - A Teenager In Love

Buzzcocks - Love You More

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - By Your Side

Chris Isaak - Wicked Game

Mazzy Star - Fade Into You

Beach House - Real Love

Melody Dog - Futuristic Lover

Sourpatch - Crushin'

Tiger Trap - Supercrush

Tullycraft - Sweet

Gene Kelly - I've Got A Crush On You

Arthur Russell - A Little Lost

The Siddeleys - My Favouite Wet Wednesday Afternoon

The Lucksmiths - Falling Off Of My Feet Again

Cats On Fire - Garden Lights

Razorcuts - Sorry To Embarrass You

Math & Physics Club - I Keep To Myself

The Magnetic Fields - Long Vermont Roads

The Divine Comedy - There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

Serge Gainsbourg - Bonnie & Clyde

The Pastels - Nothing To Be Done

Go Sailor - I'm Still Crying

The Hit Parade - You Didn't Love Me Then

Princeton - Shout It Out

Huggy Bear - February 14

My Bloody Valentime - Sunny Sundae Smile

The Field Mice - And Before The First Kiss

Galaxie 500 - Oblivious

Otis Redding - You Don't Miss Your Water

Heavenly - Shallow

Biff Bang Pow - She's Got Diamonds In Her Hair

Mayer Hawthorne - I Wish It Would Rain

Miles Davis - My Funny Valentine

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Beat Happening

I wanted to write a little something here about how taken I've been lately with the Biff Bang Pow record Oblivion, particularly the song "She's Got Diamonds in Her Hair." More on that to come, but I found this video to be one of the most interesting appearances in the course of my search for a video for that particular song. I never got a chance to see Beat Happening live, nor have I ever seen Calvin Johnson perform in any other capacity. He really is as charismatic a performer as all accounts would lead one to believe. I found it nearly impossible to take my eyes off of him during the course of this show. Subtle yes, but perhaps all the more compelling because of that subtlety. And it really is amazing that regardless of how many bands I see doing great things with such minimal, child like presentations - Beat Happening still seem incredibly raw, and genuinely thrilling.

Monday, February 1, 2010

KCRW Playlist from 1/31

It's been a few weeks since I've been on the air, and I've been using a good bit of that time to track down new music that I can get excited about. I've also been spending more time with records that were released last year that I either didn't spend quite enough time with, or missed entirely. Of course I meant to spend a far greater deal of that extra time writing words of praise about those records here. Wouldn't it be nice if all of our best intentions automatically produced results? Oh well, I can say that lately I keep coming back to the new record from Standard Fare called The Noyelle Beat. They just seem to have the right balance of intimate and epic in their sound, and they manage this while still being a completely fun listen. It's a pretty cool hat trick if you ask me.

Another project that has a pretty firm hold on my attention lately is the The Diogenes Club. I knew nothing about them until I heard Jason Bentley play the single. "Tie Ourselves," from their forthcoming 979 EP on Morning Becomes Eclectic a few weeks ago. There is one previous EP called Do You Know How I Feel?. I haven't had a chance to pick that one up yet, but that's certainly my intention. I don't have too many words about it, it just sounds really really nice. Good synthpop is just endlessly satisfying if you ask me. There's a video for that single too!

You can listen to this most recent show of mine here...

... And here is the playlist:

The Crayon Fields - All The Pleasures Of The World

Zoot Woman - Lust Forever

Kid Creole & The Coconuts - I'm Corrupt (Idjut Boys Edit)

Nikki & Rich - Cat & Mouse

The Shangri-Las - Give Him A Great Big Kiss

Nation Of Ulysses - Today I Met The Girl I'm Gonna Marry

Boyracer - Your Dark Secrets

The Pastels - Anne Boleyn

The Magnetic Fields - The Dada Polka

The Soft Pack - Answer To Yourself

Los Campesinos! - The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future

Standard Fare - Dancing

Music Go Music - Warm In The Shadows

Orange Juice - Flesh Of My Flesh

Belle & Sebastian - Le Pastie De La Bourgeoise

Old 97'S - Rollerskate Skinny

The Cure - Bananafish Bones

We Are Scientists - Worth The Wait

The Tartans - Scenic Circles

Wet Dog - Tidy Up Your Bedroom

The Monochrome Set - Espresso

Cats On Fire - Tears In Your Cup

Love - Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark & Hilldale

Jacques Dutronc - Les Cactus

Jose James - Made For Love

Laura Veirs - Life Is Good Blues

Lali Puna - Remember

Bibio - All The Flowers (Lone Remix)

Pepi Ginsberg - Shake This

Momus - The Sadness Of Things

The Diogenes Club - Tie Ourselves Around

Death Kit - I Can Make You Love Me

Memory Tapes - Bicycle

Atlas Sound - Quick Canal (Featuring Laetitia Sadier)

Kings Of Convenience - Renegade

The Clientele - Bonfires On The Heath

Hope Sandoval - Wild Roses

Beach House - 10 Mile Stereo

Seven Saturdays - A Beautiful Day