Ms. Bags ends WDBX Membership Drive w/ massive pledge to “Style City”

Thanks to the incredible generosity of a long-time WDBX listener, this year’s Spring Membership Drive ended early, with a massive pledge allowing the station to meet its $13,000 goal! Ms. Bags, the pseudonym of an anonymous donor and fan of many shows at WDBX, made her pledge to “Style City” in support of the Friendly Badger Committee. For those not aware of the Friendly Badger Committee, it is a cross-species effort made by Badger University at Style City to promote understanding between badgers and humans, with adopt-a-badger programs and reduced-price meals for senior badgers.



The Galaxy – What do a mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, and a libido have in common?

1991: Spencer Elden at three months old on the...

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There are occasions where, from the moment you first put a new album on and give it the first spin, you know that you have something special that you’re listening to.  This is especially nice when the band in question is one that you’re not all that familiar with.  Maybe you heard something of theirs on the radio, you said “oh! cool” and bought the album, only to find that the album just gets better and better as you hear song after song.

Such is the case with Nirvana’s Nevermind, a brilliantly written and assembled collection of songs.  It was issued 20 years ago this week, so I figured that this would be an appropriate occasion to give the entire album a good listen, from start to finish, especially given that we are about to see a new Legacy Edition come out this coming week along with a video of an excellent performance of theirs from 1991 in Seattle.  I have to admit that, upon hearing the album again, I am reminded of exactly how strong this set of songs is.  From top to bottom, great songs all.  Certainly one of the classic albums of the ’90s.  Certainly worth listening to.  We actually started the set with a b-side from the Smells Like Teen Spirit single, Aneurysm (another great song).

I had a request last week for some Gregorian chants, which I was unable to fulfill at the time because I didn’t have the material with me.  But I promised to do something this week, and the result is a two-part set of music that goes a bit beyond what is actually considered “Gregorian chants”.  The first part is an Alleluia believed to have been written by a gentleman by the name of Magister Leoninus.  Leoninus (also known as Léonin; both names are forms of the French name Léo) is considered the earliest member of the Notre Dame school of polyphony, a group of composers that worked in the Notre Dame cathedral from about 1160 to 1250.  Leoninus, along with another composer, Perotin (who is believed to have revised quite a bit of Leoninus’ music), are the only members of this group whose names are known, and Leoninus may be one of the first composers who can be associated with a specific piece of music.  Leoninus’ major achievement was in the refinement of polyphonic organum (organum being a plainchant melody with an additional voice to supplement the harmony; polyphony being the use of independent melodic voices, as opposed to just one voice – common with Gregorian chants – or a voice supplemented by harmonic chords).  The addition of polyphony to the already existing organum can be considered to be the source of all future development in Western music.  Leoninus and Perotin are notable in that they are the first to write these advancements down in compositional form (although there are music theorists from a somewhat earlier time period who also wrote about these things, notably Johannes Cotto), thus capturing the spirit of intellectual advancement and preserving it for the generations that followed.

Following the work by Leoninus, we heard a mass by Johannes Ockeghem.  Born sometime between 1410 and 1430, he is considered to be possibly one of the more influential composers of the time period between that of Guillaume Dufay and Josquin Des Prez (as an indication of his fame and influence, when Ockeghem died in 1497, there was a great number of eulogies and memorial compositions, including a rather well-known lamentation written by Des Prez).  We heard his Missa L’homme armé, a mass that uses the French secular song l’homme armé as a cantus firmus.  Ockeghem was not alone in using the popular tune – there are more than 40 settings of the song for mass, written by many of the major composers of the day, including Dufay and Des Prez.  Even Palestrina wrote multiple settings of the song, roughly 100 years later.  Ockeghem’s rendition is notable because, as it dates from roughly the 1450s, it is probably one of the earlier settings of the song.

We finished up the night with some live material from John Coltrane, in celebration of his birthday on September 23rd.  His Live at the Village Vanguard box set, recorded over several days in November 1961, is a true milestone jazz recording, capturing Coltrane in truly spectacular form, with Eric Dolphy joining on alto sax, bass clarinet and flute.   This particular appearance was quite controversial back in the day, sparking a great deal of criticism from a number of reviewers, including some Downbeat Magazine writers (one of the more influential of jazz trade publications).  Indeed, we hear Coltrane delving into more atonal, more experimental techniques, and in retrospect we should not be that surprised at all, given that he had recorded with Ornette Coleman sidemen just the previous year, had played with Miles Davis on the So What sessions in the year prior to that, and in ’58 had been gigging with Thelonious Monk.  The reality is that this was simply a natural progression for Coltrane, whose attention to technical detail bordered on the obsessive.  We heard two songs from the first disc of the 4 disc box set, India and Naima.

Liveblogging! “It’s Too Damn Early,” 4/16/11

I got a phone-in request this morning… some sort of Bob Dylan song, which I (of course) did not have along with me. Then an Emmylou Harris song, as a replacement for the first. “I do an experimental show,” I said. “That’s not really the sort of music I bring with me.”

I could hear a little disappointment on the caller’s end of the line. People do seem to enjoy the trick of hearing their favorite song pop out of the radio box, especially an old favorite. People who have never been on this side of the microphone seem to believe that DJs are capable of playing nearly any imaginable song at a moment’s notice as well– and I suppose I could, technically, by pulling up YouTube on the studio computer.

But isn’t good radio more than just being a concierge version of YouTube? Easily available music is all around us. YouTube and iTunes are a click away, as are thousands of genre-specific streaming stations, and 24-hour a day music channels on cable television. The days of radio being the only game in town are long past.

That’s why I offered my caller a different sort of solution to her request. “How are you feeling right now?” I asked. She said that she felt like there was just too much dirt in her life right now, and was on an early-morning cleaning spree. I told her that I’d make her a nice soundtrack for cleaning, and encouraged her to call back in when everything was tidied up.

Sure beats YouTube!

Peter Gordon — Life Is Boring (from “Star Jaws,” on Lovely Music)
Gustavo Aguilar — The River (from “Looking for Aztlan,” on Acoustic Levitation)
John Morton — Amazing Grace Variations (from “Solo Traveler,” on Innova)
The Holly Martins — Stairway to the Mezzanine (from “No. No. Yes. No.” on Edgetone)
Negativland — Style (from “Crosley Bendix Radio Reviews,” on Seeland)
Glenn Weyant — Natural Electronics (from “In the DNA” on Sonic Anta)
Edward Ruchalski — Truro (from “Radio Journal,” self-release)
Edward Ruchalski — Ghost Harm
Jesse Paul Miller — The Flower’s Dream (self-release, from album of the same name)
Vapaa — Nåky Alas (from “Hum Hum Hum” on Last Visible Dog)
Vapaa — Ajan Odotus
Blue Sausage Infant — Locust of Control (from “Flight of the Solstice Queens,” on Zeromoon)
Tzii — Something (this, and next 2, from “Brussels Tape Run,” on Staaltape)
Ripit — 8 Brickwall
Ayemeric De Tapol — Schaarreek Double Speed
Merzbow — Bamboo Honey (this, and next, from “Deprogramming Music” on Sacred)
Ashrae Fax — Pan Pursuing Syrinx
The Frogs — Gwendolyn Macrae (from “My Daughter The Broad,” on Matador)

“It’s Too Damn Early” kicks off Spring Membership Drive!

It’s the WDBX 2011 Spring Membership Drive! If you love your community radio, it’s time to support it. Call in your pledge at 618-457-3691, and help keep WDBX on the air! You may be interested to know that 42% of our operating budget comes from these pledges– your support adds up, big time! If you’re a little light at the moment, just remember that a pledge is a promise. We’ll need your money eventually, but right now, we just need your call. Thank you! –DaveX

Negativland — Time Zones (from “Escape From Noise,” on Seeland)
Frank Rothkamm — Chelsea Girl (from “Frank Genius Is Star Struck,” on Flux Records)
Frank Rothkamm — La Vie
Frank Rothkamm — Black in the Sky
Vapaa — Ajan Odotus (from “Hum Hum Hum,” on Last Visible Dog)
Vapaa — Sarastaa
Big City Orchestra — Tara’s Theme from ‘Gone With The Wind’ (from “Love Film Greats,” on Ubuibi and Roil Noise)
Rune Lindblad — Nocturne (from “Death of the Moon,” on Pogus)
Dual — Ceem (from “Keimar Sty,” on Coombe)
If, Bwana — Cicada #4: Version Barnard (from “Favorite Encores,” on Pogus)
Noah Creshevsky — Favorite Encores (from split Pogus release above)
Negativland — Squant (from “Crosley Bendix Radio Reviews,” on Seeland)
Area C — Outside the Flaming Body (from “Haunt,” on Last Visible Dog)
The Painful Leg Injuries — The Spontaneous Fracturing of Heavy Metal (this, and next five, from “Men In White Coats” split release on OKS Recordings of North America)
El Plan de Aquavodka — An Asteroid Killed the Dinosaurs But It’s Alright
The Painful Leg Injuries — A Church Hymn About the Simplicity of E. Coli
The Painful Leg Injuries — The Timecube Cubed
The Painful Leg Injuries — Venus Williams Relies on Frequencies From the Mars Effect
El Plan de Aquavodka — The Thames Remembers Mr. Handel Still
Brian Eno — Final Sunset (from “Music For Films,” on EG)
Thollem McDonas — If You Fall To Your Death (from “I’ll Meet You Halfway Out In the Middle Of It All,” on Edgetone)
Thollem McDonas — Penetrating Idea
John Corbett — Cold Sweat (from “I’m Sick About My Hat,” on Atavistic)
John Corbett — Speed Hump
Fat Worm of Error — Return of the Thin White Dook (from “Ambivalence and the Beaker,” on Resipiscent)
Fat Worm of Error — Mashed Potentate
Melt Banana — Ketchup Mess
The Swirlies — Pancake (from “Blonder Tongue Audio Baton,” on Taang Records)
US Maple — So Long Bonus (from “Talker,” on Drag City)

Covering “He Said/She Said” w/ DJ Mo, 9/25/10

DJ Mo, occasional co-host of “It’s Too Damn Early” since birth, is covering “He Said/She Said” tonight! She’s got a great mix of synthpop music to share with you– and seriously– how many kids want to turn you on to New Order or Ultravox? Be sure to call in your pledge, too!

Ultravox — New Europeans
New Musik — This World of Water
DAF — Der Mussolini
The Alan Parsons Project — I Robot
A-Ha — Take On Me
Hot Chip — And I Was A Boy From School
Gary Numan — Conversation
Brite Futures — Sophisticated Sideways Ponytail (Extended Mix)

Fad Gadget — Lady Shave
Soft Cell — Tainted Love
Kraftwerk — The Robots
The Normal — Warm Leatherette
Grace Jones — Corporate Cannibal

Thomas Dolby — One of Our Submarines Is Missing
Human League — Don’t You Want Me Baby
David Bowie — Life On Mars
Naked Eyes — Voices In My Head
Ultravox — Dancing With Tears in My Eyes
New Order — Blue Monday
Hurts — Wonderful Life

Yazoo — Happy People
Brite Futures — Confections
Soft Cell — Bedsitter
Giorgio Morodor, Limahl — Theme From “Neverending Story”

Playlist: September 20th, 2010

Musical Comfort Food with a World of Spice

No guests again this week. Pledge drive is at the halfway mark. Become a member today!

Next week we will have three representatives from the Shawnee Dharma Group. They will be discussing the Lecture by ChangHwa, How to Love: A Chan Buddhist Perspective which will take place this Saturday, Sept. 25th at 1:30 pm in the Illinois Room of SIU Student Center, sponsored by Sunyata and the Buddhist SRO. More airtime will be given to their program to teach meditation techniques to inmates at our local Southern Illinois prisons. One of the things I like most about having guests on is getting a sampling of their taste in music. We will see what Monday has in store for us.

For today’s show, I leaned heavily on the standards as is customary during pledge time, but still managed to sprinkle in some new things. Due to the benefit concert at the Copper Dragon last night, “Dude, Where’s My Coffee?” was in search of both “Dude” & “Coffee” long enough for me to fill in with an extended playlist.

  1. Stormy Blues/Billie Holiday & BB King
  2. Love For Sale/Ella Fitzgerald
  3. Little Girl Blue/Janis Joplin
  4. Don’t Go to Strangers/Etta  James
  5. Feeling Good/Nina Simone
  6. Feel Good/Lira
  7. Song for Mia/Lizz Wright
  8. Cherish the Day/Sade
  9. Beautiful/India Arie
  10. Tonight/Tina Turner
  11. Speed of Light/Bowie
  12. I Don’t Want Anything to Change/ Raitt & Jones
  13. Mohammed’s Radio/Linda Ronstadt
  14. These Days/Zevon & Browne
  15. Love Is Here to Stay/Ella Fitzgerald
  16. Afri ka/Carmen Souza
  17. Hit the Ground/Lizz Wright
  18. Night and Day/Ella Fitzgerald
  19. Reaching for the Moon/Lizz Wright
  20. Nature Boy/Miles Davis
  21. Nature Boy/Lizz Wright
  22. Yesterday Morning/Hazmat Modine
  23. Sem Valor/Carmen Souza

Extended Program:

  1. Temptation/Diana Krall
  2. Old Man/Lizz Wright
  3. Buttercup/FreshlyGround
  4. Fire is Low/FreshlyGround
  5. PotBelly/FreshlyGround