Friday, December 12, 2014

Self Help Radio 121214: Gary's Favorite Releases 2014

(if I were cool, I'd link all these records to places for more info)

My favorites of the year, as of right now.  Who knows?  In ten years (ha! like I'll be alive then!) I might find a dozen better records.  But.  I like all these a lot.  I love some of these too much.  A smattering of comedy & lots of music.

The show's available at Self Help Radio the website.  Pay attention to the login/password info.  It has to be there, or dumb bots programmed by douchebags attack the site.  The music I played is listed below.

Thanks for listening!

(part one)

"Sad" Bo Burnham _What_
"Witness" Eno-Hyde _Someday World_

"There But For Fortune" Phil Ochs _Live In Lansing 1973_
"Lisa Says (2014 Mix)" The Velvet Underground _The Velvet Underground: 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition_
"Cling To Me" Cleaners From Venus _Return To Bohemia_
"My Oh My" Leonard Cohen _Popular Problems_

"Neal Cassady Drops Dead" Morrissey _World Peace Is None of Your Business_
"Wet Dream" The Piers _Secretly In Love & Everybody Knew EP_
"Sadness Is The Rich Man's Drug" The Ropes _Sadness Is The Rich Man's Drug_
"Second Empire" My Favorite _Second Empire/Dance With A Stranger_
"San Francisco Patrol" Robyn Hitchcock _The Man Upstairs_

"The Monkees" Bob Odenkirk _Amateur Hour_
"Crickets In The Rain" Allo Darlin' _We Come From The Same Place_

(part two)

"World I'm From" Haircut _Sweatshop_
"Babies" The Icypoles _My World Was Made For You_
"Archie, Marry Me" Alvvays _Alvvays_
"Upper West Side" The Smittens _Love Record Breaker_

"Planting The Seeds Of Insecurity" Sarah Silverman _We Are Miracles_
"Bamboo" Deers _Demo_
"Dull Boy" The Growlers _Chinese Fountain_
"The Boring Friend" MomusMcClymont _Two_
"Uncomfortable" Mega Emotion _Uncomfortable_

"Germany" Patton Oswalt _Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time_
"Dare" Heathers _I Know_
"Black Holes In Stereo" King Tuff _Black Moon Spell_
"Buses Splash With Rain" Frankie Cosmos _Zentropy_
"I Knew You'd Understand" The Hobbes Fanclub _Up At Lagrange_
"The English Softhearts" Literature _Chorus_

"Case Study: Don Dimello" Superego _Superego Volume 4:2_

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Whither Gary's Favorite Music 2014?

In addition to my issues with the word "best," it occurs to me that I am going to play recorded comedy tomorrow morning.  So should it be "Gary's favorite music"?  Should it be "Gary's favorite releases" instead?  Oh my god, isn't it easier to just say "best of" & be done with it?  OH MY GOD.

The show tomorrow will feature lots of music I listened to a lot this past year (plus something I liked a lot from late 2013).  Almost none of it is going to make the big lists you'll see anywhere else, & that's not because I'm cooler than everyone else - it's because I'm kinda out of touch.

But maybe there's something you'll like?

It's on tomorrow morning from 7 to 9am on 88.1 fm & online at wrfl dot fm, & later on I'll stick it on the website, Self Help Radio Online.  I hope it'll be fun.  I hope you listen!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

One Of Those Days

You can't be prepared for bad news, unless you've been worn down by expecting it.  & then there's the shock when you realize you weren't prepared for it at all.

Two years ago today, I lost a beautiful dog, a dog who, when I met him, I didn't think much of, & didn't know I'd come to love.  But we became good friends, our relationship was one I don't often experience with humans, & his loss shook me more than I could have imagined.  Two years ago, on this night, I drank a lot of whiskey, & didn't get drunk.  That's how I learned how powerful grief really is.

I'm not superstitious at all - my mother is, & was taught how to be cripplingly so by her own mother - but I have sloughed off that dangerous nonsense.  Still, anniversaries are celebrated & remembered, so perhaps this anniversary was in my mind, & affected my emotional defenses.

Sober now, I'm working on a radio show I'll do tomorrow.  I've been called in to sub.  I want to talk about things, I want to try to deal with this news, but everyone's asleep, except for the cats, who are not the most empathetic creatures.  So I'll struggle through the night, say goodbye to this anniversary, & steel myself (futilely) to the next one.

Until such thing as it's just another sad scar on my hurt, & I am used to its pain.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

A Place To Put Yourself

This might be the imaginariest conversation you've ever had:

I want an imaginary conversation.
Don't you?
Don't I?
I knew it!
Is it nighttime where you are?
It's not even Thursday here.
Didn't get much sleep.
Have you tried counting cheese?
Yes, but the counting keeps me awake.
The cheese keeps me awake.
Iron the cheese? Are you mad, woman?
Am I mad at whom?
I don't know.  You tell me.
I'm mad at Whom. William Whom.
Are you a boy or a girl?
What are you doing now?
Writing down everything you say.
You don't say...
Neither does a chair.
It does.  Right at the top.
I'm usually under the chair.
I'm usually in the right mood.
I'm usually in the passing lane.
The left hand path is dodgy.
Are you a Zen Buddhist?
I am not a Buddhist.
Are you just Zen?
I am just, & one of many.
Do you use a wood-burning stove?
I don't need to.
Do you have microwave fingers?
I have a mind of my own.
Where you pop your popcorn.
Yes or no, have you ever tried scallops?
Yes or no, I have never tried scallops.
The cake was a lie.
The owls are not what they seem.
The penguins are what they don't seem.
The seams are not what they seam.
Are they the aliens?
The snakes are eating mice & skin.
They know how to party, snake-style.

This conversation, though imaginary, may have lasted forever.

Monday, December 08, 2014

"Best Of"

Can we get rid of "best of" lists?

I know that some people are professional critics, & I know that some knowledge in the specific genre is helpful in appreciation, but surely we all agree that no one's opinion is better than anyone else's.  At most, one's opinion may be more informed than another (which doesn't always affect whether or not someone likes something, you know).  Critics are fine, it seems to me, to perhaps give perspective if one can't be found, but for them to say something is the "best" is ridiculous.

Already best of lists are coming out, & what never surprises me is that most of them make concessions to artists/groups who are commercial & made a lot of money.  Anyone who imagines that commercial success equals artistic brilliance isn't all that bright.  On the Rate Your Music chart (which is more or less democratic; obviously, not everyone votes on it, which is good - most people don't care enough about music to have an opinion about it) of the all-time best albums, the third one made zero money when it was released.  That was 1967.  The best-selling album in 1967?  More Of The Monkees, which only made it to 241 for 1967 in Rate Your Music's polls.  & which, I think virtually everyone will agree, was nowhere near as important to music (since it was popular because it was copying a popular band that had moved on from that sound) as The Velvet Underground & Nico, which would change music forever.

There's too much music out there, & most of the critics who make these lists feel a need to be more representative, so they'll toss the best-selling pop in with the best-selling hip hop & the most obvious indie thing.  Oh, & electronica!  & what's the newest thing?  "Indie r&b"?  All right, there's bound to be something a record company sent the critic for free he or she can add to the "best of" list!

& I don't mind the lists - I like to see what people claim to enjoy - but can we just stop being so ridiculously self-important & give up the word "best"?  No one at this point in time can say what the best was, & awards shows aren't the proper place for that determination either, since they represent probably less than 5% of any of the music that comes out in a given year.

Be honest & say this was the stuff you liked most from whatever music you listened to this year.  There's no way that's the "best."  In ten, fifteen, twenty years, most of what you thought was "the best" will have been forgotten or relegated to More Of The Monkees status in history.

For the sake of fuck!