This Week’s Theme: Embrace The Unknown
The last two Faux Shows have been filled with music I know very well so I decided to go exploring this week. Discovering new music is the main reason I began the Radio Faux Show. I find the discovery of new music exciting. It isn’t always a successful journey, but when I discover something new that really resonates with me, it can be extremely enriching. This week’s show is a collection of old and new music, some by artists I know and some by artists I discovered this week while researching the show. In all cases, I had never heard any of these albums or songs before.
Welcome to Radio Faux Show Volume 2, Number 8.
First things first – click a link to start listening and then come back to read about this week’s songs.
Although the music I selected this week was not chosen for any reason other than the songs sounded good at first listen, there is a deeper belief that drives my interest in creating these shows. I believe that the concept of Embracing The Unknown is important for anyone’s growth as a human, not just musically but also culturally, politically, spiritually, and socially.
It is no secret that we currently live in a world ruled by an us & them mentality. I try to stay away from politics in the Faux Show, but I don’t believe it is controversial to say that many of the problems we face today in the US and around the world are driven by isms and phobias (sexism, racism, ableism, ageism, heterosexism/homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, islamophobia, anti-semitism, etc.) and in turn these isms and phobias are driven by fear and ignorance of the unknown. To be clear, ignorance is not the same as stupidity, although I am pretty sure that a lot of people don’t know the difference and are therefore offended when called ignorant.
IG-no-rance: a lack of knowledge or information
stu-PID-i-ty: behavior that shows a lack of good sense or judgment
In other words, ignorance can be solved by education. All that is required is for a person to make the effort to learn and turn their ignorance into knowledge. At that point, common sense and critical thinking take over. I would argue that we all suffer from a weakness in critical thinking and a lack of common sense, and those deficiencies are difficult to resolve, but ignorance is easily resolved with a little effort. Of course, there are plenty of people (politicians, social leaders, and neighbors) who make a conscious choice to view the differences between people as a problem that can only be solved through hatred, anger, and violence. I would simply refer those people to the definition of stupidity shown above.
There are many ways to learn about the differences between how people live and think, but one of the simplest and fastest ways is to learn about the music a culture and its people make. We are incredibly lucky to be living in a world where the ability to educate ourselves about other people through music is easier than it has ever been before. The entire history of recorded music, past and present and around the world, is sitting in our laptops and phones with a few simple google searches. I love to read books about history and music, and those are always the most detailed ways to learn about other people, but the simple shortcut of listening to a few songs you’ve never heard can be just as rewarding. This is why I make these shows, and this is what I secretly hope these shows will give to anyone who reads or listens. No matter how different you think you are from other people, it does not take much listening to realize that we are all much more similar than different. Music provides one of the most common connections between us & them, and if you move beyond surface-level differences in lyrics and styles you almost always find the same driving creative force within musical artists – human emotions. We all share them, we all share the same ones, and we all need support to deal with them every day. If music can provide the impetus for people to understand and support other people who are different than themselves then that is an easy first step toward removing the isms and phobias that are destroying our societies around the world.
Artist of the Week: Mitski
Mitski just released her sixth album in only ten years. In the old days that was normal, but nowadays that is an impressive level of output for a young artist. Even more impressive is the incredible range of her songwriting. Since her start as a self-produced college student in 2012, she has combined chamber music, indie rock, experimental noise, pop, and many other styles into an amazing collection of songs. Her lyrics often verge on poetry, and she is smart enough and ambitious enough to write about a broad spectrum of topics such as politics, gender diversity, objectification, mental health, racial identification, and the basics like love, relationships, and loss. She has written the blueprint for succeeding as a 21st century singer/songwriter, and has already created an incredible discography at the age of only 31. Of all of the artists in this week’s show, Mitski is the best example of an artist who strives to Embrace the Unknown musically, lyrically, and (I would assume) personally. Her latest release, Laurel Hell, was just released the first week of February, but I can already tell it will be one of my favorites of 2022.
Bobby Freeman “C’mon And Swim” (#5 7/25/64)
Rihanna “Disturbia” (#1 6/17/08)
Shirley and Lee “I Feel Good” (#38 1/5/57)
Two for “Two”day
The Kinks “Attitude” and “Around the Dial”
Gayle “ABCDEFU” and “Ur Just Horny”
Gayle “ABCDEFU” and “Ur Just Horny”
Mitski “Heat Lightning”
Erin Rae “True Love’s Face”
Wallows “I Don’t Want to Talk”
Winnetka Bowling League “Pulp”
How Did I Miss This One?
These are four albums I’ve never listened to by three bands I know well. I purposefully ignored the R.E.M. album when it was released, but I should have listened to it by now. The others are simply albums that I have never gotten around to checking out. I listen to a lot of music, but I can’t listen to everything!
The Cars “Gimme Some Slack”: This is a track from the band’s third album, Panorama. Recorded in between Candy-O and Shake It Up, there is no reason I have never heard it. Forty years later, it seems to be a darker album than the others from their classic period, but it still has that familiar Cars sound. This song continues to get stuck in my head, so I am pretty sure I’ll be adding this album to my list when I need to get some Cars into my flow. Their records are great driving music and this one is no exception.
The Kinks “Attitude” and “Around the Dial”: These songs are from the albums Low Budget (1979) and Give The People What They Want (1981). Full disclosure – until recently I had not listened to any Kinks albums except a couple of their earliest and the classic trilogy of Village Green, Arthur, and Lola. However, Faux Junior and I have been listening to all of their albums recently and I especially like these from their later arena-rock era. Ray Davies did a great job during this time of updating their sound to incorporate punk and hard rock into his songwriting. Although the great balladry and catchy hooks are still there, there is a raw energy in these records as well. It is easy to see why bands like The Jam, The Pretenders, and Van Halen covered early Kinks songs, but these later Kinks songs give me a newfound appreciation for what a great songwriter Davies was.
R.E.M. “Mine Smell Like Honey”: This is one of the singles from the band’s final album, Collapse into Now. Listening to it now, it sounds exactly like the music R.E.M. made throughout the ‘90s. For some, that is the R.E.M. they love. For me, I stopped paying much attention after I unfortunately spent some of my hard-earned money for Green, although I do believe that Automatic For The People is a great album. Other albums, such as Out of Time and New Adventures in Hi-Fi, are still not records I plan on ever listening to again. My guess is that their last record probably falls into that category, but I’ll always have those first five R.E.M. albums to go to when I want to remember why indie rock became a commercial force in the ‘80s.
The Get Down
I don’t know why I never listened to these albums before, but I didn’t. They sound exactly like I expected, and that is a good thing.
Heavy D & the Boyz “We Got Our Own Thang”: I don’t know much about Heavy D, but I remember him from the period, and saw plenty of his videos on Yo, MTV Raps!. This is good, old school hip-hop from the group’s third album, Peaceful Journey. Interesting note: Heavy D is from Jamaica and is a cousin of producer Pete Rock (of Pete Rock and CL Smooth).
LL Cool J “Get Down”: The second album by Ladies Love Cool James, BAD or Bigger and Deffer, produced the influential crossover rap balled “I Need Love” in 1987. Although I know that song, I never listened to the album. I wore out the cassette of his debut, Radio, and listened to Mama Said Knock You Out a lot when it was released in 1990, but BAD slipped past me. Listening now, it is exactly what it should be – an old school hip-hop classic by one of the original masters.
Run DMC “Tougher Than Leather”: The title track from Run DMC’s fourth album sounds like it could have been on their previous classic Raising Hell. I loved Run D.M.C. when I was in high school, but by the time this one came out I was apparently not paying attention. I heard the song “Mary, Mary” a lot at the time, but ignored the rest. Just like the LL Cool J record, this is exactly what it should be – an old school hip-hop classic by one of the original masters.
A Little Jazz
There is more than a little jazz on this week’s show, but I selected these two albums specifically because I have never listened to them. I love horns in jazz, but I am never disappointed with just the rhythm section.
Modern Jazz Quartet “Vendome”: This tune is on the 1960 MJQ album Pyramid. It is a beautiful cut from a wonderful album by arguably the greatest rhythm section who ever played (Milt Jackson on vibes, John Lewis on piano, Percy Heath on bass, and Connie Kay on drums).
Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach “Very Special”: This is the third tune on the 1963 album Money Jungle. I only recently discovered that this album even existed. I don’t believe this trio recorded any other records, at least not as a trio, but we should all be glad that for some reason they decided to cut this session. What a rhythm section (Ellington on piano, Mingus on bass, Roach on drums). Wow!
Unsung Heroes of Rock and Roll
I wanted to search for some old R&B artists that I do not know and ended up selecting these three. Even though I am familiar with their biggest hits, I’ve never listened to any of their other songs.
Bobby Freeman – “C’mon and Swim”: Freeeman was only seventeen when he recorded the R&B/Pop crossover classic “Do You Want To Dance” in 1958. That song was later covered as “Do You Wanna Dance” by a wide variety of artists including Del Shannon, The Beach Boys, Bette Midler, John Lennon, T. Rex, The Ramones, and dozens of others. After the initial success of this classic, Freeman recorded a steady string of minor hits and then hit big again in 1964 with “C’mon and Swim,” a Top 10 crossover hit that implores you to swim like a fish.
Todd Rhodes “Your Daddy’s Doggin’ Around”: Rhodes is my favorite discovery for this week’s show, and a true unsung hero of rock and roll. I am embarrassed that I did not already know his music or that he is the backing band on a Wynonie Harris classic. His work in the ‘30s and ‘40s is a direct influence on the R&B and jump blues that would later be called rock and roll. His big band, Todd Rhodes and His Toddlers, performed R&B and jump blues throughout the ‘40s and early ‘50s. Their recordings include one of the greatest early rock and roll songs, “Lovin’ Machine” by Wynonie Harris, and some early recordings by LaVern Baker. The song I have selected is from 1951 and features the great, but forgotten, vocalist Connie Allen, who also recorded an early version of “Rocket ‘69” with The Toddlers. Every song recorded by Todd Rhodes is the absolute shit. Amazing.
Faux Jr. Recommends
These three artists were recommended to me by Faux Junior. He definitely knows my tastes.
The Associates “No”: This electronic post-punk band from Scotland enjoyed a quiet decade of moderate success in the ‘80s. They are a mix of punk ethos with Scott Walker nihilism and dark wave synth grooves. This song is from their 1982 album Sulk. It is great.
Bob Hund “Helgen V. 48”: Bob Hund are a Swedish indie/post-rock band who have never found much success outside of Scandinavia, but they are still going strong in their homeland after thirty years of performing and recording. This song is from their 1998 album Jag rear ut min sjal! Allt skall bort!! (I’m selling off my soul! Everything must go!!). You can add that to your best album title ever list. It is great.
Kingdom Come “Triangles”: The Crazy World of Arthur Brown released a classic one-hit wonder in 1968. It is called “Fire” and has been the answer to trivia questions for fifty years. It hit #2 and featured Carl Palmer on drums. You know it. “I am the god of hellfire! Fire, I’ll take you to burn.” Classic. After a few years with this band, Brown formed the band Kingdom Come. They were not as successful as his first band, but their 1973 album Journey is now considered a classic of electronic music that was years ahead of its time. It was the first album to use a drum machine. It is great.
Aphex Twin “Alberto Balsam”: Aphex Twin is on my short of list of most important artists I have never taken the time to listen to. The music of Richard David James (aka Aphex Twin) is highly influential in the advancement of electronic music in the ‘90s and helped usher in the trance, ambient, and techno revolution throughout the decade. This song is from his 1995 album …I Care Because You Do. The album cover is creepy, but the music is amazing. I am now starting to work my way through his entire catalog. So far, everything I’ve listened to is fantastic. Lovers of this style of music are most assuredly familiar with his work, but if you aren’t then you should dive in. This is essential electronic music.
The Associates “No”: See Faux Jr. Recommends.
Kingdom Come “Triangles”: See Faux Jr. Recommends.
Random Word Generator: Sharp Momentum Demonstration
In the true spirit of embracing the unknown, I created a new Faux Show mini-theme for this week’s show. I visited the website randomwordgenerator.com and grabbed the first three words it gave me. Then I searched those words and selected a random song for each. The only rule was that I couldn’t know that song.
Green Småtroll “Sharp”: This was a fun find. Green Småtroll are a Czech ska band. This song is exactly what you’d expect if I told you it was by a Czech ska band.
Aimee Mann “Momentum”: I am very familiar with the music of Aimee Mann, but I have never listened to the Magnolia soundtrack. This is a very nice song by one of the best songwriters of her generation.
Adam Kane “Demonstration”: I don’t know much about Kane. He lives in Canada but may be from Australia. He is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, and I found this song from his 2019 album Growing and Learning to be pleasant enough to include on the show.
Let’s Take A Couple Trips Around The World: A Global Birthday Party
All of these artists were born on February 20.
Oscar Alemán “Guitarra Salvaje”: Alemán was a jazz guitarist, vocalist, and dancer from the ‘30s through the ‘70s. He played in the style of Django Reinhardt, was one of the most popular jazz musicians in Europe, and toured throughout the 1930s with Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington.
Rihanna “Disturbia”: Considering how successful she is, it is amazing that I have never listened to Rihanna before this week. She is one of the bestselling artists of all time, with over 250 million records sold. She is the bestselling digital singles artist in the US with over 100 million sales. She has won nine Grammy Awards, twelve Billboard Music Awards, thirteen American Music Awards, eight People’s Choice Awards, and dozens of other awards. She has more 21st century hits than any other artist and is a pop and R&B icon. In other words, she is very popular.
Chet Baker with Bobby Jaspar “How About You?”: Jaspar was a Belgian saxophonist, flautist, and composer who played in the cool and hard bop styles. He came to the US in the ‘50s and recorded with some of the era’s legends, including J. J. Johnson, Kenny Burrell, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Donald Byrd, and Chet Baker. I believe that when musicians play a tune like this it is called cooking. Very nice.
Toshiro Mayuzumi “Mandala Symphony I: Vajra-dhatu mandala: Tempo non-equilibre” by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra: Mayuzumi was an avante-garde composer who combined traditional Japanese music with jazz, musique concrète, electronic music, and other styles. This selection is an incredible piece of avant-garde composing – powerful, beautiful, and at times frightening.
Amal Hijazi “Nefssy Tefhamny”: Hijazi is a Lebanese pop singer and actress. She was massively popular during the early 21st century and has now devoted her career to the performance of religious music.
Julia Volkova “All The Things She Said” by t.A.T.u.: Volkova rose to fame as a member of the pop duo t.A.T.u. before going solo. This is the group’s first single. After the popularity of this single, they became one of the most popular pop acts in Russian recording history and came in third place in the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest.
Jan Henrik Kayser “Grazietta”: Kayser was a classical pianist best known for performing the compositions of Harald Sæverud.
Darek Oleszkiewicz “Bass Blues”: Also known as Oles, Oleszkiewicz is a jazz bassist, composer, and educator. His album The Promise is a solo bass tribute to John Coltrane and is simply gorgeous.
Thanks for listening, and reading!
|1||Winnetka Bowling League||pulp|
|2||The Cars||Gimme Some Slack|
|3||R.E.M.||Mine Smell Like Honey|
|5||The Kinks||Around The Dial|
|6||Erin Rae||True Love’s Face|
|7||Bob Hund||Helgen v. 48|
|10||Aphex Twin||Alberto Balsam|
|12||Heavy D & The Boyz||We Got Our Own Thang|
|13||LL Cool J||Get Down|
|14||Run-DMC||Tougher Than Leather|
|15||Wallows||I Don’t Want To Talk|
|19||Amal Jijazi||Nefssy Tefhamny|
|20||Oscar Aleman||Guitarra salvaje|
|21||Jan Henrik Kayser||Grazietta|
|22||New Zealand Symphony Orchestra||Mandala Symphony I: Vajra-dhatu mandala: Tempo non-equilibre|
|23||The Modern Jazz Quartet||Vendome|
|24||Duke Ellington||Very Special|
|25||Todd Rhodes||Your Daddy’s Doggin’ Around|
|26||Shirley and Lee||I Feel Good|
|27||Bobby Freeman||C’mon and Swim|
|28||Darek Oleszkiewicz||Bass Blues|
|29||Chet Baker with Bobby Jaspar||How About You?|
|31||t.A.T.u.||All The Things She Said|
|32||GAYLE||ur just horny|
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