Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Gary Files # 13: Gary Peacock

(I found this image here.)

An explanation: Since the name Gary is going extinct, I thought it incumbent upon me to celebrate more notable Garys than myself.  This is the thirteenth of a series!

Gary Peacock is an American jazz double bassist. He has performed with a great many people, including but not limited to Keith Jarrett, Albert Ayler, Bill Evans, Bill Frisell, Jan Garbarek, Paul Motian, & more.  Impressive!

When did you first become aware of him?  It was probably in the last twenty years, when I became interested in jazz.

His name stood out, didn't it?  Yeah it did!  Not only was he a Gary, but he was a Peacock!

Is jazz bass something you're interested in?  Not necessarily.  I mean, I am very fond of Albert Ayler's Spiritual Unity, but I listen to it mainly for Ayler on sax, not for the crazy bass & drum combination.  But you know, I understand how important that is.

Do you like any of the Keith Jarrett records he's on?  Of the ones I've heard, probably the Standards recordings of the early 1980s.  But they collaborated a lot!

Do you like any of his work as a leader?  I am ashamed to say I haven't heard a ton of it, but most recently I was listening to the record he made with Bill Frisell in the 1990s, & I dug it.

So there isn't a record out there that's your favorite Gary Peacock recording?  No, but there should be.  He's not just a Gary, he's also a Peacock!

He is 80 years old now.  & bizarrely enough, from Idaho.  This is a marvelous world.

Is his name really Gary?  His name is really Gary Peacock!

It seems a nicer name than Gary Cooper, don't you think?  If anyone can bring back the popularity of the name Gary, it has to be Gary Peacock!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Self Help Radio 121515: Gary's Favorite Releases 2015

Now comes the point when I get around to listening to a record that I got a month ago & it turns out to be my favorite record of the year.  It's always like that!  Damn it all.

Not much to say except, hey, here's some music I liked a lot this year, as well as bits by funny people.  I am going to try to find more time next year to spend with music like I used to.  This may mean my radio work will suffer, but I waste a lot of time giving things a chance that I end up disliking.  That's not good or fun.

The show has some music I like plus! a visit from CNN contributor David Fruchter! plus! an interview with New York Times cultural critic CJ Buchanan! and! an enlightening conversation with my spiritual mentor the Rev. Dr. Howard Gently! wow!

The show!  Oh, yes, the show.  It's now at Self Help Radio website place.  There's a password, etc., but that info is on the page, should you want to listen.  The songs I played are below, divided into parts.

Sorry it's not a "best of."  I just don't do those.

(part one)

"Music" The Lovely Eggs _This Is Our Nowhere_
"Come Down" Wavves x Cloud Nothings _No Life For Me_
"Monkeys" Malcolm Middleton & David Shrigley _Music & Words_

"Johnny Delusional" FFS _FFS_
"Cut Me, Baby" Kelley Stoltz _In Triangle Time_
"9 Years Old" Louis CK _Live At The Comedy Store_
"Bad Year" Evans The Death _Expect Delays_

"Spore" Momus _Turpsycore_
"Looking for Another Town" The Apartments _No Song, No Spell, No Madrigal_
"When You Go" Darren Hanlon _Where Did You Come From?_
"29/31" Garfunkel & Oates _Secretions_

"Quit iPhone" The Fall _Sub-Lingual Tablet_
"Photograph" Pataphysics _My Phone's About To Die_

(part two)

"The Legend Of Chavo Guerrero" The Mountain Goats _Beat The Champ_
"I Could Hear The Telephone (3 Floors Above Me)" The Wave Pictures _Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon_
"Grover Cleveland (feat. Paul F. Tompkins)" Shunt McGuppin _Bad Honky EP_

"Ideal World" Girlpool _Before The World Was Big_
"Trippy" Hinds _Burger_
"Ask A Pastor" Eugene Mirman _I'm Sorry (You're Welcome)_

"Going Out" Dinner _Three EPs, 2012-2014_
"Wintergreen" The Orange Peels _Begin The Begone_
"Separate Bedrooms" Joanna Gruesome _Peanut Butter_
"Go!" Public Service Broadcasting _The Race For Space_

"Lake Song" The Decemberists _What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World_

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Whither Gary's Favorite Music/Releases 2015?

(I found that image over there.)

Every year, at the end of the year, there are lists.  So many damn lists.  They come from people of dubious authority, people in whom we place trust because of familiarity, or assumed esteem, or just the brand name.  None of them - not a one - can really purport to know what's best because that is a matter of opinion.  Always has been, always will.  It's entirely human to want to believe that you're part of a tribe that values excellence, but it's at the cost of excluding, & perhaps demeaning or even demonizing, others that don't share your values.  Year-end best-of lists are just another sad way that humans clump together to trumpet their opinions over others.

Ah, you say, but you're no different, Gary!  You do the same!  I do.  I do.  Sort of.  I don't use the word "best."  I don't think my opinion is better or worse than yours.  I will value & respect your opinion if it's informed, if you know why it is you like the things you like, but I won't dismiss your opinion otherwise.  & I don't care if you don't do the same, because it doesn't bother me that people like things that you like.  When you use the word "best," however, I'm laughing at your hubris.  Just like I laugh at all those year-end best-of lists that'll pollute the web like smog in Beijing now until the end of the year, & beyond.

What I do have that maybe you don't is a radio show in which I can play my favorite stuff, & that's why I am careful not to say that this is "the best music" that came out this year.  One, I didn't listen to everything that came out this year.  It would be impossible, & besides, I have no opinion about many genres, like hip hop, country, opera, etc.  Two, I can't say what's best.  I only know what I like.  & three, even I may not think it's up to same standards of my favorite music ever - I only know this is music I listened to over & over & over this year.  Next year I may forget all about it.  Who knows?

So with that caveat in mind, please tune in today from 4-6pm to hear a sampling of my favorite releases of 2015.  There'll be comedy bits, some oddness, a lot of twee & fey, & some great songs by musicians I've just discovered & others that I hold so dear their music is now part of my DNA.  You can listen on 88.1 fm in Lexington + online at wrfl dot fm.  I hope it'll be fun to listen to.

Oh!  There'll be guests.  Talking about 2016.  & nearly all of them mention Donald Trump!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Preface To Gary's Favorite Releases 2015: Year-End Lists

Wow, it's weird to go over all the music that came out in 2015, & even weirder to think of the amount I managed to listen to.  It was somewhat to the detriment of the stuff I really loved, but I am hungry for good music, which means you have to listen to a whole lot of not-good music to find it.  A whole fucking lot.  Because there are more people making music now than ever before, & the nature of commercial radio/media makes it very hard for the cream to rise to the top.  Indeed, the top has never been more curdled (to beat a metaphor to death); the whole industry is about making money as fast as possible with whatever fad or dinosaur act it can.  It's depressing.  But probably more depressing for artists.

& that's the problem with year-end lists.  They can no more determine what was "best" (as if they ever could) than they can claim to be comprehensive.  I've tried to stopped looking at them, but I admit it's hard to stifle my curiosity - what do the people who think they know better than everyone else think is great?

That's not something I'm going to talk about here.  I think you care about that as much as I do.

If that's so, what do people who care enough to vote for their favorites think?  To answer that is to discover, for me, how out of touch I am with most everyone rating their music.  & to do that, I go to a site called Rate Your Music Dot Com.  I like this site a lot. Regular folks from all over vote on what they like.  It has a couple of flaws - I think it skews young, & I also think the fans of metal are way over-represented on the site - but I find myself in agreement with a lot of their lists (more or less), especially as you travel back in time.

But these days?  Well, here are the top ten releases of 2015 as voted by their users, minus the metal stuff, which, as I've said, is nowhere near actual listener levels:

1. Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp A Butterfly
2. Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell
3. Joanna Newsom: Divers
4. Kamasi Washington: The Epic
5. Toby "Radiation" Fox: Undertale Soundtrack
6. Lil Ugly Mane: Third Side Of Tape
7. Julia Holter: Have You In My Wilderness
8. Oneohtrix Point Never: Garden Of Delete
9. Chelsea Wolfe: Abyss
10. Elza: A Mulher Do Fim Do Mundo

Two of these (#s 1 & 6) are hip hop, which I enjoy but which I don't actively seek out to listen to.  One of these (#4) is called "spiritual jazz" on the site, & I am not keyed into new jazz at all.  One of them (#5) is video game music, which bores me, & another (#8) is electronica, something I used to spend  more time with but don't anymore.  I can't say I heard that record.  One of them (#10) is samba (!) & is probably an outlier, as it has 302 votes while the Lamar album has over 7,000.

That leaves 2, 3, 4, & 9.  They are "indie" & therefore in my wheelhouse.  & can I say, none of those I found too exciting.  The one I guess I liked most is the Joanna Newsom, which I like mainly because it reminds me of Kate Bush, but it doesn't have the hooks that the best Kate Bush had.  (I much more preferred this year's Joanna Gruesome record, which didn't even make the top thousand on Rate Your Music.)

Just like last year, & I probably talked about this then, there's not a record in the top one hundred that makes my favorite music list.  You have to go to # 169 to get an artist I'll play on my show.

So how does an artist make the cut?  I guess I'll talk about it tomorrow.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Cradle To Grave (Episode Four)

Hey! Didya hear my show last night?  Cradle To Grave?  The December 12th episode?  On WLXL?  You didn't?  No?  I know why!  Because nobody did!

Perhaps it's not well-known, but the show is prerecorded.  There are reasons for this that are too dull to go into, but I make the show on Thursday, I take it to the station on Friday & put it on the station's automation, & it airs on Saturday nights.

Except.  This week, I fucked up.  I did something wrong when I put it on the automation.  It aired last week's show instead.  & I listened helplessly, I couldn't do a thing about it.  I don't know what I did wrong, & I won't find out till next week, when I try, try again.

But!  Here's the show as I made it, as it should've aired, as you could listen to pretending it's still Saturday night all over again.

The show is resting shamefacedly at the Self Help Radio website.  There's a password, pay attention.  The songs I played are below.

Usually I'm apologizing for the radio show.  Now I get to be sorry for not airing it at all!

(part one: birthdays)

"Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry" Frank Sinatra _Frank Sinatra Sings For Only The Lonely_
"Lyin' Woman" Count Basie & Joe Williams _Just The Blues_
"You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You" Connie Francis _Songs To A Swinging Band_
"Let Me Go Lover" Joan Weber _Your Hit Parade: 1955_
"Anyone Who Had A Heart" Dionne Warwick _The Look Of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection_

"Keep On Dancing" Brian Poole & The Tremeloes _The Beat Scene_
"Have I The Right?" The Honeycombs _Here Are The Honeycombs_
"Over & Over" The Dave Clark Five _Greatest Hits_
"(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet" The Blues Magoos _Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era, Vol. 2_
"Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa)" MC5 _Kick Out The Jams_

"I'm Glad She's Mine" Lonesome Sundown _Authentic Excello R & B_
"Leaving Home" John 'So Blue' Weston & Blues Force _So Doggone Blue_
"Voodoo Woman" Lonnie Liston Smith _Expansions_
"Everything That Touches You" The Association _Birthday_
"Mississippi Mud" Hank Williams III _Hank III_

(part two: death anniversaries)

"Rockin' Chair" Mildred Bailey _The History Of Pop Radio (1930-1932)_
"Oh Me, Oh My, Oh Gosh" Slam Stewart Quintet _Slam Stewart 1945-1946_
"La Parrala" Concha Piquer _Concha Piquer Oro_
"Chanson d'Amour (Song Of Love)" Art & Dotty Todd _Chanson d'Amour_
"One Room Country Shack" Mose Allison _Mose Allison Sings_

"Ya Got Trouble" Van Johnson _The Music Man (Original London Cast)_
"Notoriety Woman" Eddie Burns _Juke Joints, Vol. 4: That's All Right With Me_
"I Love Her" The Koobas _English Freakbeat, Volume 2_
"Getting Nasty" Ike Turner _A Black Man's Soul_
"Louisiana Two Steps" Chenier Clifton _Frenchin' The Blues_

"Smiling Jack" Ronnie Ross _Cleopatra's Needle_
"Music Is The World" Crown Heights Affair _The Best Of Crown Heights Affair: Dreaming A Dream_
"Roll 'Em Pete" Rocket 88 _Rocket 88_
"In The Misty Woods" Jimmie Spheeris _The Dragon Is Dancing_