Friday, December 26, 2014

Self Help Radio 122614: Indiepop A To Z # 46

The June Brides

Yay!  I finished the letter J!  Now only fourteen more letters to go!

Today's show went from Jim's Twenty-One to Kanda, & not only features the great indiepop I play but also includes a bonus visit from the Reverend Dr. Howard Gently, who uses his tremendous spiritual abilities to make some predictions for the year 2015.  Come for the indiepop, stay for the visions.

The show is now at the Self Help Radio website.  Please pay attention to login/password information.  Make sure your capslock isn't on!  The songs I played, by bands in alphabetical order, are listed below.

Thanks for listening - & especially thanks for being a part of Self Help Radio in 2014.  Let's do this again all next year, shall we?

(part one)

"Map Of The World" Jim's Twenty One _Throwaway Friend 7"_
"Wussy Void" Joanna Gruesome _Weird Sister_
"Moulted Fur From A Labrador" Jody & The Creams _A Big Dog_
"Yes, I Miss The Ramones" Johann Sebastian Punk _More Lovely & More Temperate_

"Fell Into You" Johanna's House Of Glamour _Farewell Street_
"Goodbye Flip Flap Guitar" Johnny Dee _Love Compilation_
"Bittersweet" Johnny Says Yeah! _Friends Gone By 1986-1989_
"Cranes & Cranes & Cranes & Cranes" Johnny Foreigner _Waited Up Til It Was Light_
"Ode To St. Valentine" Calvin Johnson _What Was Me_

"Museum Of Love" Daniel Johnston _Yip/Jump Music_
"In That Space" The Jordans _Katydid_
"Sorry For Laughing" Josef K _Sorry For Laughing_
"Tarde De Fiesta" El Joven Bryan _Expreso_
"El Reloj" Jóvenes y Sexys _Bruno EP_

"Love Will Tear Us Apart" Joy Division _Love Will Tear Us Apart_

(part two)

"Her Wave" The Judy's _Washarama_
"Rocketscientist" Juicy _For The Ladies_
"At The Appointed Hour" Julie Ocean _Long Gone & Nearly There_
"Sister" Jumprope _Holiday In Brazil_
"Every Conversation" The June Brides _There Are Eight Million Stories..._

"The Beery Boysclub" Juniper _I've Got It Now - A Popfest Compilation Cassette_
"El Resto De Mi Vida" Juniper Moon _Rough Trade Shops: Indiepop, Vol. 1_
"Gordie Can't Swim" The Junipers _Cut Your Key_
"Leave The Ground" Jupiter _Just A Taste: A Summershine Records Compilation_
"Violet Intertwine" Jupiter Sun _Why Popstars Can't Dance_
"Hey Boy... You're Oh So Sensitive" The Just Joans _Hey Boy... You're Oh So Sensitive_

"Catch" Kaia _Oregon_
"Go" Kaito _You've Seen Us... You Must Have Seen Us..._
"My Favorite Tofflor" Hideki Kaji _Tea_
"Last Night" Kaleida _Knowing Who Your Friends Are_
"Drink For Three" Kanda _All The Best Meetings Are Taken_

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Christmas!

I have nothing to say about today - hope you have a good one!

I'll be with you tomorrow with another indiepop a to z installment.  I think I will make it all the way through the letter J!  7 to 9am on 88.1 fm in Lexington & online at wrfl dot fm!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

Is this true about your family: would you spend Christmas with them if you had the choice?  Or, to put it another way, do you feel an obligation to be with your family during the holidays, rather than a need & affection?

I won't be spending Christmas with my family.  I haven't for a long time.  I think the last time I did, I realized that I just sat there getting drunk while people I didn't really know very well exchanged gifts.  As lonesome as it might have been being alone on Christmas, I was far lonelier among family (& probably drunker).

Being in Kentucky is a good excuse not to make it down to Dallas for the holiday, as well as being in charge of seven pets while the wife visits with her mother & sisters in California.  But I think I'd make some excuse in any event.  I long before stopped going home for Thanksgiving since, as a vegetarian, the holiday was already going to be unpleasant, but just sitting there while half the family shoved dead animal in their mouths & then spent the rest of the time yelling at a television didn't seem like it was worth the drive from Austin.

Christmas was something a little harder to give up, although probably 75% of that was my mother acting sad that I wasn't there.  I have tried to explain to her why it became no fun for me, but she's more driven by the obligation than the affection, I think.  (Though it seems unfair to say so.)

(25% was the romance of the holidays.  Also, I'll bet, getting presents was in there somewhere too.)

I keep harping on this, & I apologize, but 'tis the season.  I just don't think my siblings really want to spend any time together.  If they did, wouldn't they do so outside of mandated holidays?  Because they just don't.  Every obligatory gathering feels so strangely artificial.  Thinking about this reminded me of something from my childhood.

It seemed like every damn weekend there was some family get-together, especially in the summer, where there'd be a cookout.  Most of these - probably nine out of ten - happened at my oldest sister's house.  She had apparently decided that it was part of her responsibilities to bring family over to hang out.  I remember these mainly from my teenage years - before she & her husband moved back from out of state, the left-behind siblings simply didn't get together.  If I saw my older brothers, it was usually because my mother was making them take me somewhere.  (My other sister, who is six years older than I am, was my little brother & my de facto babysitter, so she had to put up with us most of the time.)

One footnote: my oldest brother, who is eighteen years older than I am, was out of the house & married before I became aware of my surroundings & started stumbling toward personhood.  I hardly saw him at all during my childhood; if I did see him, he was visiting my mother, or my mother was dragging me along to visit him.  As far as I can remember, he was never drafted to take me or my little brother to school, or wherever, as my other two older brothers were.  At some point during my middle school years, my oldest brother's marriage fell apart, & he moved in with us for a time, but we didn't connect.  Again, there wasn't much interest.

& jumping from that footnote that's not a footnote: that's the thing - I don't think any of us - any of my siblings - feel any sort of connection with one another.  I'm not sure why.  Well, I have theories, but I think I need to gather more evidence before I throw out a hypothesis.

To return to a point I was tripping around: my oldest sister (& her husband) threw these shindigs, & the siblings came.  I think my brothers came because my mother was there.  I think they felt an obligation.  There was basketball played & animal cooked & even (sometimes) alcohol consumed.  The nieces & nephews were young & they swam & played & cried.  As I grew older, I came to hate these gatherings.  Not because of the cooked dead animals - I hadn't converted yet - but because I simply didn't have anything in common with any member of my family.  I didn't want to play basketball or swim in an aboveground pool.  I didn't want to waste an afternoon that could've been spent reading or listening to music or (later) spending time with my best friend.

At the risk of sounding whiny, however, I must note: though I felt I had nothing in common with my siblings, they concurred.  They made zero effort to engage with me in any way.  Honestly, when I see siblings who are close, I am baffled by it.  They don't call you "weirdo" & "fag" behind your back because you don't like the same things they do?  They genuinely like you & want to know what your interests are?  That, it seems to me, is as unbelievable as unicorns.

So tonight most of the family is gathering at one sibling's house for Christmas Eve, where gifts will be exchanged & lots of dead animal consumed.  I think only one of my siblings-in-law drinks - but perhaps there'll be wine for my mother.  At some point, my mother will call & try to pass me around (on the phone), & I'll be tempted to take the call, if only for the point it makes: my siblings & their children (my nephews & nieces) will only talk to me when my mother makes them feel obligated.

I envy you if you're spending time with family whom you truly like & feel close to.  With the exception of my sisters, with whom I became friends in adulthood, I don't have that, & I wonder what it feels like.  & I wonder, if I could find out why my family is the way it is, could I change it?

Because surely there's a part of me, more like them than I ever wanted to admit, that perpetuates this too.  Would it be worth changing myself to try to change the family dynamic?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

On The Fifteenth Day Of Christmas...

I don't have much to say today because I did my Christmas show last week & nothing I say here about Christmas therefore has anything to do with my show this week.

(In fact, if you're interested, I am putting up videos for bands that will appear on my show this week on my Facebook page, if want a little preview.  While you're there, you can "like" the page & make me a happy fellow for a short period of time.)

(My Twitter page would also like your likes - or follows, or whatever - while I keep putting up dumb photographs I have taken on my Tumblr page.)

(Someone asked me why I don't just do that on an Instagram page but really one has to draw a line somewhere, doesn't one?)

(& no one has to like or follow or approve or rubber stamp or whatever any of those pages to see anything.  I am not an owner of exclusive content.)

I am doing a late-night radio show tonight/tomorrow morning from 2-5am on WRFL if you're up wrapping or drinking or even if you're not up I was going to add if you want to listen but the truth is I'll do it even if you're not listening because I am like that dumb tree falling in the forest more often than not.  No one listens, I still play music on the radio.

I am alone this Christmas (as alone as a fellow with three beagles & four cats can be) though the wife keeps in touch with me by the text messaging while she navigates Christmas with her family.  For a while I was watching a neighbor's dog, which required me to do an extra 1/3 walk a day, but a neighbor of the neighbor has taken over the task, which is good - it's been raining all day & I assume it'll rain all night.  I couldn't walk my dogs but I'd feel obligated to walk the lonely dog.

I think I like doing late night radio shows for the same reason I like when the town empties for the holidays (as I spoke about yesterday).  It's just me, pretending someone's listening, & quiet streets to & from the radio station.

Also, I made myself Thai mac & cheese tonight (it has no cheese, it's vegan) & I've decided I like it better than macaroni with real cheese.  Granted, I haven't had macaroni with real cheese in probably five years but this stuff I made tonight, it was great.

In my head, I can hear my lovely wife saying what she says in ridiculous moments like this: "It's a Christmas miracle!"

Monday, December 22, 2014

I'm Dreaming Of A Zen Christmas

I think it's because Lexington, like Austin when I was there (who knows what it's like now), is a college town, the place just seems to depopulate when the students at the university go away.  I just went for a walk with the hounds &, except for main roads, the place seems deserted.  I fucking love that.

But I might be fooling myself about Austin.  Since I worked at the University of Texas, which is larger than most of the towns its students come from, I'd enjoy walking through the large, deserted campus at this time of year.  I guess I didn't get out much otherwise.

As we edge slowly toward the Christmas holiday, I look forward to wrangling my dogs on quiet walks through a ghost town (or a reasonable facsimile).

Except.  Oh no!  It's supposed to rain all day tomorrow.  & the next day.  & snow on Christmas Day?!?

I guess I'll not find enlightenment this week.