Thursday, November 17, 2016

Self Help Radio 111616: Letting Go

(Original image here.)

It's time to let go.  I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, But how can I let go?  It's mine, I claim it, I just can't let go.  Yes, you can!  You can let go by embracing letting go!  You can embrace letting go by listening to a radio show about letting go!  Then, once you're done that, let that go!  Until you have nothing!  Because you've let it all go!

After that, of course, you're on your own.  Quite literally.

Does this seem too extreme?  Of course it is!  This is just a dumb radio show!  It's probably of no help to anyone at all!  So it might be better to just listen to it for the music & the occasional absurd interview.  & who knows?  Maybe even Idina Menzel will stop by!  (She won't.)

The show can be listened to now at the Self Help Radio website.  There are password & username issues, pay attention to that.  Two hours of songs in two parts are listed below.

Now I let you go, little radio show!  Fly away!  Fly!

(part one)

"I Gotta Let You Go" Martha Reeves & The Vandellas _The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 10: 1970_
"Let Me Go" The Julie Ruin _Hit Reset_
"Jenny Let Him Go" Antoinette _The Girls Scene_

"Let Her Go" The Lodger _Grown-Ups_
"Letting It Go" Bears _Simple Machinery_
"If You Love Him, Let Him Go" The Wilderness Children _If You Love Him, Let Him Go_
"Let It All Go" Elmo Williams & Hezekiah Early _Takes One To Know One_

"Just Let Go" The Seeds _A Web Of Sound_
"Let Go" Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers _L.A.M.F._
"Let Go" The Plugz _Electrify Me_
"Let Me Go" Nouvelle Vague _Bande A Part_

"Letting Go" Karsh Kale _Liberation_

(part two)

"Please Let Me Go" Owen Gray _Island Records' 40th Anniversary, Volume 1: 1959-1964 - Ska's The Limit_
"Let Me Go, Lover!" Hank Snow _Country USA 1954_
"Now, Let It Go" Loney Dear _River Fontana_

"I Let It Go" The Thermals _Now We Can See_
"Let Us Go" The Church _Further Deeper_
"Let It Go" Bangles _Different Light_
"Let It All Go (feat. Preservation Hall Jazz Band)" Beats Antique _Shadowbox_

"Let It Go" The Chesterfields _Crocodile Tears_
"Letting Go" Fat Tulips _Starfish_
"Let Go" Siouxsie & The Banshees _Downside Up_
"Let Go" The Postmarks _The Postmarks_

"Let 'Em Go" TV Smith _Immortal Rich_
"I'm Letting Go" Sam Kogon _Psychic Tears_

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Whither Letting Go?

(Image from here.)

Well, it makes sense, doesn't it?  After the week we've had?  We need to let go.  Otherwise we'll all go batshit crazy.

Oh no - could this be one of these times when Self Help Radio actually has some element of self-help in it?  That's a bad sign.  I'm always afraid it'll tip that way & soon enough I'll be in a blazer hosting seminars.  But.  What's done is done.  & what's dun is dun.  & that's as far as I'm going to go with that.

Listen, if you need help letting go, tonight from 9-11pm eastern, 8-10pm central, on 93.9 fm in Lexington & online at lexington community radio dot org.  I'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Preface To Letting Go: Never Letting Go Of Morrissey

Oh no!

Look, I'd be astonished if I actually got to see Morrissey.  I've bought tickets to see him four times, & have only seen him once - & consider myself quite lucky.  But I really did want to see him tomorrow night.  So I am a bit bummed out.  The hits keep coming, 2016.

Here's the thing: my show airs the same time as the concert, so I wouldn't be able to live tweet it, had I gotten to go to the show.  So, thanks Morrissey?  I get to listen to my show & tweet it.  So much more exciting than seeing one of my idols perform live.

I'll still get to see Todd Barry on Thursday.  That will help with the pain.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Leonard Cohen

(Image from

When I found out Leonard Cohen had died, Thursday evening, I was listening to a show I like on KTCU, a station here in town (that didn't want me as a deejay even though it does have non-student deejays), called Night Skool.  I had to turn the station off.  I was completely wrecked.  & since I had been posting stuff on Facebook, I wrote a bunch on Facebook.  I started with this:

I first became aware of Leonard Cohen when I saw the video for "First We Take Manhattan" on 120 Minutes on MTV in 1988. That guy who hosted it, Kevin whatever, laughed when he announced the video, like, "What the fuck?" But I was intrigued by the first lines of the song:

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within

I went out & bought "I'm Your Man" as soon as I could. I didn't know anything about him. I just felt I needed that album - & boy did I.

I continued:

Later I saw a best of collection at a used record store in Garland, which I snatched up.  I put the record on with my friend Dale probably in 1989 or 1990.  The song "Suzanne" was first.  Both of us looked at each other when the song was over like "This is the shit."

My relationship with Leonard Cohen deepened to utmost importance.  I became obsessed.

I remember walking - walking! - on a damp November day in 1992 across the fields that are now the townhomes & shops that are "The Triangle" in Austin to get to the Sound Warehouse (or whatever chain store it was) on Burnet Road just to buy a copy of "The Future."  It was a cold day by Austin standards but the album had just been released, it was confirmed in stock by a phone call, & I had heard "The Future" on the radio - probably KUT.  I consumed that record.

I consumed all his records. They are sacred to me. I listened to his new one last week & was a little disappointed, although I love the title track. He could disappoint, but he was never disappointing.

One thing I feel so lucky about is that I got to see him in 1993.  Here is me from Facebook talking about it:

I got to see him live just once, in 1993, at the Backyard, back when it was in the middle of nowhere. He was amazing. He did four sets, two of them all by himself. I went with my friends Lauren & Russell. Lauren remarked about how strange it was that there were all these women her mother's age who were swooning like teenagers over the Beatles. At one point, he came out with just a guitar, & sang a few songs without his band, & he was doing "A Singer Must Die," & you could hear a police car approaching in the distance. He stopped, & he said, "Listen." The audience waited quietly, reverently, as the doppler sirens faded, & he said, "What a sad & beautiful sound," & he started a different song.

At the end of the show, as he was wont to do, the band & he sang a hymn acapella.  As we were leaving - as we were feeling better than any human ever really should feel, as we were all part of whatever beauty & truth & darkness & light he could conjure up with a whisper or impart with a growl or melodic & tunelessly sing, someone behind us was complaining.  He said, "What the hell?  After all that making fun of religion, & he ended with a hymn?"  My friend Russell said to me, "It's weird to think someone could sit through such an experience & that was all that could take away from it."

My conclusion was this:

I've read both his books - The Favourite Game & Beautiful Losers - I prefer the former - & all of his poetry.  I've listened to all of his albums so many times that they're a part of my fucking DNA.  I am weeping over the keyboard as I write this, because there isn't anyone like him, & there never really was anyone like him, & I owe him so much.  That gracious, gracious man, who had only a dim understanding what vitriol was, who could put into a simple words the deepest of feelings, whose voice, as it deepened with every cigarette he smoked, sounded like it was something that came from before humans knew how to speak, observations of a kinder cosmos to people who thought they needed redemption especially when they didn't, that lovely, lovely man, from whom I've taken so much & given so very little.

Or as he would say to me, "Hey, that's no way to say goodbye."

I have nothing else to say.  This is a tremendous loss to me, to the world.  But how fortunate to have lived for a time in a world where Leonard Cohen lived!

In the new year, I'll do a tribute radio show for him.  For now, the wound is too fresh.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I Can't Go On, I Must Go On

Apologies to Samuel Beckett.

Apologies to you, if you're someone who reads this blog.  I won't be able to talk about the election without sounding like the entire time I'm shaping a rope into a noose & looking around for which ceiling beams will hold my weight.  It's just too much.

& then, to lose Leonard Cohen.  Oh for fuck's sake.

So.  Give me a little time.  I'll write something about the latter tomorrow.

The former?  I'm just going to suffer in silence, like I imagine all the dumb, dumb people who voted for the president-elect will have to do when they realize he couldn't give a shit about them.

My country.  Damn.