Thursday, December 15, 2016

Self Help Radio 121416: Gary's Favorite Music 2016

(Almost all these images came from Discogs.)

Look!  A year-end radio show!  With a list of songs the deejay thought were great!  What a novelty!

You know how this works.  You can listen at Self Help Radio dot net & you can tsk tsk at how my taste in music sucks.  It's totally your right to do so!  (I might be disappointed by you, too.)

Here's the list of songs.  Make your own list too!

(part one)

"Blackstar" David Bowie _Blackstar_

"The Answer" Savages _Adore Life_
"Wise Ol' Man (Edit)" The Fall _Wise Ol' Man EP_
"Blockhead" Angry Angles _Angry Angles_
"Fold" Burnt Palms _Back On My Wall_

"Do Rite With Me Tonite" Babaganouj _Pillar Of Light_
"Friday Night" The Spook School _Try To Be Hopeful_
"Come Have Me Over" The Sun Days _Album_
"Spies (No More)" The Chandler Estate _Infrastructure_
"Christine Zero" My Favorite _Christine Zero/Killed For Kicks 7"_

"Under London Skies" Close Lobsters _Desire & Signs EP_

(part two)

"In The Lobby" Iggy Pop _Post Pop Depression_
"My Pro-Choice Classical Language Joke" Hari Kondabolu _Mainstream American Comic_
"John Henry" Billy Bragg & Joe Henry _Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad_

"Other People/The One Who Loves You" The Divine Comedy _Foreverland_
"Like John Lennon Said" Malcolm Middleton _Summer Of '13_
"My Ghost" The Shondes _Brighton_
"This Hum" The Submissives _Do You Really Love Me?_

"Walking Home" Hinds _Leave Me Alone_
"Bare Minimum" Jawbreaker Reunion _Haha & Then What ;)_
"Poverty Line" Good Boy _Poverty Line_
"Feel It Too" Oscar _Cut & Paste_
"Yellow Jacket Boy" T-Rextasy _Jurassic Punk_
"Year Of The Rabbit" Eskimeaux _Year Of The Rabbit_

"You Want It Darker" Leonard Cohen _You Want It Darker_

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Whither Gary's Favorite Music 2016?

(I found this silly banner here.)

It is a tradition among some radio folks that - for whatever reason - they feel the need at the end of the year to play a group of songs released that year & call it "best" or "favorite."  I don't do "best," but I do have favorites.

Not all deejays do this, of course - many deejays, especially at stations of a non-commercial nature, such as the ones I have done my shows at, program shows which focus on music from a period of time long gone, where "new" music doesn't really apply.  It wouldn't make any sense for them to play their favorite music of the year if they simply haven't any.  One deejay I knew at KOOP, for example, boasted that he never played music released after 1980!

So, yes, not all deejays do this, but I like to play new music - I never really stop listening to new music, actually.  I listen to new releases all the time.  So, it makes sense for someone like me, who does a radio show which constantly features new music, to play my favorite new music from the year somewhat close to the year's end.

Why not the actual year's end?  For dumb reasons, really.  I do an annual Christmas show, which needs to air before Christmas, & I like to do my "indiepop a to z" series every four months.  The third-to-the-last show seems the best place to do the "favorites" show.

& it happens tonight!  Self Help Radio plays its favorite music released in 2016 from 9-11pm Lexington time, 8-10pm Fort Worth time, on 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington & online everywhere at Lexington Community Radio dot org!  Have a listen.  You may discover we like much of the same thing!  But probably not.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Preface To Gary's Favorite Music 2016: That Awkward Intersection

It's that time of year when you can't visit a website without lists, lists, lists, of all the things that need to be listed about this horrible year of twenty sixteen.  Generally, I stay away - except maybe for the photos.  As I complained yesterday, "best of" lists bore me, so I don't pay much attention to them - except when I feel a need to compare my list of favorites to theirs.

You see, when you're super cool & you ignore stupid commercial crap, looking at lists like that can make you feel a bit superior - sort of like when you go to a site like Rate Your Music & the usual suspects are there, the ones that'll end up on everyone's lists because, you know, they're supposed to.  (Does anyone ever really listen to some of the records they claim to love?)

Except 2016 has to be different, damn it.  You know what's at the top of many (if not all) of these lists?  David Bowie's Blackstar.  & it's a good record.  On Rate Your Music, Leonard Freakin' Cohen is in the top fifty!  Maybe it's because they died, maybe that drew attention to their work, but then there's Iggy Pop's latest, doing well in opinion polls.  Motherfucker!

Why should I care?  Because those records are on my list, too!

How galling!  How awkward!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Oh No It's That Stupid "Best Of" Argument Again!

(Original image here.)

If you've ever read this blog around this time of year, or heard any of my year-end shows, you know I absolutely hate the whole concept of "best of" lists.  It's arrogant in the extreme, & is nothing but a list of the opinions of one or more people, representing some magazine or other organization.  It no more determines what is "best" than sales or awards do.  Here's why I don't think anyone can say what is "best" in a list form:

1) No one has listened to every album or single or ep released that year.  Sorry.  You may think you have, but it's impossible.  If all you're listening to is major label stuff, you are most definitely not listening to the best music out there.  You've fallen into the trap of believing that commerce determines what is "best" like the Grammys.  But it's almost guaranteed that half of the commercial shit you think is best will be forgotten in a few years.  Anyway:

2) Fuck popular culture.  Music is not about heavily choreographed events.  Music is not about moments created by publicists & teams of "songwriters" whose contributions are focus-group-tested.  Radio, as it always has, caters to the moneyed musical interests & plays the same shit over & over, but that no more makes something great now as it did in the past, where there's a graveyard of "successful" & "best of" records that no one thinks about anymore.  & even imagining that you as a critic free yourself of the influence of the corporations that send you shit for free, there's the fact that:

3) You can't compare "best" albums through different genres.  This may sound like somewhat fatalistic, but can you really say a hip hop album is better or worse than a bluegrass record?  Even if you have an unusually broad taste in music, you surely have a favorite genre, & you're going to prefer one over another.  In the end, when the jazz gal likes a record by some other genre, it's peer pressure & good ol' familiarity, it being played constantly around the office.  & those sites that let every critic have a vote & somehow tally those votes?  How fucking stupid is that?  Because:

4) Nothing is "great" because of popularity.  I repeat this for emphasis, because this is something that just baffles me.  Why does anyone think something is good because a bunch of people like it?  Perhaps I am genetically disposed to dislike something because of hype, but I most certainly don't believe something is great because of the money it makes or the fans it has.  & when it comes to critics, listen: people usually like critics that agree with them, or challenge them, but if you believe that just because someone can write or talk eloquently about things they love or enjoy, you're dealing with an artificial insecurity, because:

5) No one opinion is better than another.  At best, you can call an opinion better informed.  For example, if you said you hated Bob Dylan because you didn't like his voice, I wouldn't put much stock in your opinion about his records.  But that doesn't mean you're wrong that Bob Dylan isn't your cup of tea - it just means that you're wrong if you think his music is bad & music you like is good.  That's just a personal opinion, & as I've said, that means you can never say what is "best" except for what you like & think.  & therefore:

6) Everyone should retire stupid year-end "best of" lists.  No one knows what's best.  They can't.  It's impossible.  They can say what they like, & they can back it up with information & opinions & pretty words.  But that no more makes it "best" than album sales or popularity or awards or the consensus of critics.  What makes it "best" to you is personal to you.  You see:

7) Opinion is always & forever subjective.  Just say it's your favorite music of the year, or something else that isn't a statement that suggests it can be prove right or wrong.  Because you don't have any clue whether something is the best of the year any more than any other person.  Maybe in time - hundreds of years later - we'll know who stood the test of time.  But a few months after it was released?  Give me a break.

Okay.  I've made my points.  All right.  I can retire this till next year.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A Tumblr Blog I Like

This is from a Tumblr blog I recently started following.  It's called Samplerman & it's basically intensely detailed collage ("samples") from old comics & comic strips.  & it's awesome!  Have a look!