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miscellaniac on 03/15/2013 at 11:00AM

Patrick, You're A Saint

Image courtesy of bollesbiggestfan1/flickr

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I present a mix made up of artists who currently reside in Ireland, have Irish roots, or simply a pronounced Irish influence. As you'll discover, not all Irish music sounds like what you would hear at a parade or a sports pub (aka. a spub, like a spud - Irish!). For more overtly Irish-sounding tunes, I recommend this Magically Delicious Mix featuring "Irish Hearts" by Fred van Eps.

Patrick J. Touhey “Drowsy Maggie” - OK, this is one of the few exceptions to my preface, but this is such a gorgeous traditional folk song. Irish-American Touhey played the Uilleann pipes (Irish bagpipes) and this recording is from 1919.

Dublin Duck Dispensary "Irish Rebel Song" - Now I really am starting to look like a hypocrite. But, Bobby Aherne's lo-fi solo act is one of my faves and he happens to be from Dublin and to also have produced this dreamy song that sounds like it could have emanated from the recent crop of Northern New Jersey bands like Big Troubles, Ducktails, and Julian Lynch.

Nora O'Connor "Two Way Action" - O'Connor is a first-generation Irish-American (and native Chicagoan), performs with Andrew Bird and The Blacks, has toured with everyone from Mavis Staples to New Pornographers, and also happens to be a renowned bartender, doula, and ordained reverend. (Yeah, what have YOU done today?) The eclectic warmth of all of these endeavors melts through in this track.

Sláinte "Julia Delaney" - Another one to slip past my preamble, Sláinte is a legit Irish band from Tacoma. Pronounced "slawn-cha" it is Gaelic for "cheers" or "good health." This is definitely one you can get jiggy with (sorry). Combines the good parts of a jam band with stunning traditional instrumentation that would kick the crud out of an Irish Spring commercial.

Solvents "Yr. Ghostwriter" - Bandmembers Emily Madden and Jarrod Bramson met when Bramson played rhythm guitar in Madden's father's traditional Irish folk band. The spark that crackled into Solvents lays its melodic residue all over rich violin and vocals.


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miscellaniac on 11/23/2012 at 09:15AM

Black (Metal) Friday Mix


Here's something you don't need to run out and buy today -- a tidy little free compilation of (mostly) black metal. It's a soundtrack for department store trampling, chain store protesters, and conscientious consumers.

Yes, there is some throwback Neapolitan hair metal, some grindcore, and a little dash of death metal thrown in for added texture. But, don't let that stop you from making this Friday as Black as Black can be.

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miscellaniac on 10/26/2012 at 02:37AM

Halloween Costume Ideas Mix

Maybe you're still figuring out what to be for Halloween.  Maybe you need some ideas, and also the perfect soundtrack for sifting through your closet and that weird box under your roommate's bed to cobble something together.  This mix is for you.

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miscellaniac on 10/11/2012 at 11:00AM

Altered States: A Mix For All Seasons


It’s the time of year when pools of inner elbow sweat evaporate and become spontaneous autumn drizzles. Clammy, odiferous subway commuters transform into coughing, sneezing incubators with winter itch. Solids, liquids, and gases play musical chairs. Now they have a soundtrack.

1. Strange Forces “Liquid Sunlight” - Berlin-based Aussies pluck you from the air, where you find yourself falling through the time vortex and landing smack dab in the middle of a bunch of Bushwick druids on a crisp night.

2. ARMS “Heat & Hot Water” - Experimental indie pop that is accessible, yet complex. Also a good remedy for bronchitis!

3. John Vanderslice “Underneath the Leaves” - Perhaps a metaphor for the cycle of loss and renewal that accompanies the seasons. Sounds like Jeff Mangum with a light at the end of the tunnel.

4. Noi “Everything Is Changing” - Could this be the next (Thai) Jandek? Though mysterious, this track is part of the Music for Video portal and has even been used in an FMA member's web series already! 

5. Ghostland Observatory “Freeze” - You will be overpowered by funk to such a degree that you will not only cut a rug, but wrap yourself in it for warmth.



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miscellaniac on 06/27/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Ollie North, "Cold Apppearaance"

Ex-New Englander and Montreal transplant, Jack Deming, aka Ollie North and his March 2012 release, "Lindenfels" EP are welcome new additions to the FMA, courtesy of Montreal curator, CKUT

The first track, "Cold Apppearaance" might not make you feel like the abominable snowman, but it will "conjure up pastoral ambiances that envelop your imagination and carry you to a place where you can take pause and breathe some fresh air" (from "The Affective Music Sphere of Ollie North") and if that place happens to contain mythical inhabitants who can bring relief in the sweltering months, then so much the better.

Listen to and download the full luscious EP:  FMA  |  Bandcamp


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miscellaniac on 04/27/2012 at 04:00PM

Preservation Week 2012 Mix

Although Preservation Week 2012 is winding down, that's no reason to stop the celebration. Ease into the weekend with this mix which pays tribute to time, the past, and how some things are just too good to let lapse into oblivion.

FMA curator, Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project (CPDP) gives us a taste of vaudevillian debauchery with Sophie Tucker.  Early 20th century Canadian folk fiddler, Isidore Soucy, is a highly jig-able offering from Excavated Shellac, also an FMA curator.

Lock up your gun before you listen to western swing pioneer, Spade Cooley, from Bloodshot Records' Bloodshot Revival Series.

Giraffe rocks out the fleeting nature of existence. Roger McGuinn updates a traditional folk song as part of his Folk Den Project

Vermillion Sands gives a "country-tinged fuzz pop" nod to the cold figure of history.

Big Blood honors the weary archivist with dream-like precision. Experimental one-man band, Newage Hillbilly, says it plainly and psychedelically.

R. Stevie Moore gives us the unbridled joy of "Records" (both vinyl and administrative). 

The Paperhead waxes nostalgic and Romanian synth and drum quartet, Karpov Not Kasparov, compose the sonic equivalent of an hourglass. 

Computer artist/programmer, Valentina Vuksic's finds new uses for old technology. Whether in reference to souls or back issues of Punk Planet, Boss Hog, declares that they have "Saved." 

CPDP generously shares with us an anonymous recording of farm animals from the early 1900s. 

Free-psych-noise-electro-unclassifiable Oakland-based Kreamy 'Lectric Santa ruminates on dystopia.  Oneida's 2006 live performance still resonates powerfully, well into this milennium. 

Self-taught lo-fi multi-instrumentalist hyphenator, Spencer Owen, pleads with the future.  Long-running WFMU show, Antique Phonograph Music Program, shares some vintage avian ventriloquism courtesy of Edward Avis and Howard R. Garis

And Wooden Shjips' "For So Long" is an epic, driving collision of mind-altering sparsity that travels the path of its own stylistic origins.

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miscellaniac on 04/24/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Isidore Soucy, "Quadrille Laurier (6ème Partie)"

Another Preservation Week goody, this one from FMA curator Excavated Shellac.

Isidore Soucy, a fiddler and composer, was a fixture in traditional Québécois folk music of the early to mid-20th century. 

This track, "which is similar to a square-dance, except without calls" might inevitably be compared to American folk fiddle music, but its relatively smooth and polished style are rooted in European influence, particularly in the piano accompaniment.

Originally recorded in the 1920s, "Quadrille Laurier (6ème Partie)" was released as a 78 and fortunately for us it is now available digitally. 


Sources: Virtual Gramophone  |  The Canadian Encyclopedia  |  Excavated Shellac on the FMA |


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miscellaniac on 04/23/2012 at 04:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Sophie Tucker, "Some Of These Days"

It's Preservation Week and the next best thing to a cryogenic thaw is to download a digitized cylinder recording of "Some of These Days" by the inimitable Sophie Tucker

Known as "The Last of the Red Hot Mamas," Sophie Tucker was more than just another early 20th century entertainer in Vaudeville, Broadway, and film.  An anachronistically progressive character, she touted the merits of being a powerful, glamorous, full-figured, older woman who was vocal about her sexual appetites.

Tucker was able to captivate audiences with raunchy humor, a texturally raspy voice, and haunting nostalgic interludes.  A Russian/Ukrainian immigrant who attempted to transcend the racial segregation that drenched the music and entertainment industry, Tucker was also a union organizer.

For those of you who think old music is boring and there's nothing in it for you, check out "Some of These Days."  Tucker's voice has a quality similar to Molly Siegel of Ponytail, that hints at boundless range.  The longing and desire of this song could sit comfortably inside of a Larkin Grimm album. 

Her energy and verve were such that if Carrie Brownstein came down with the flu, Tucker could jump in a zombie time machine and fill in as the fourth member of Wild Flag without skipping a beat.  (She belted out tunes at such an incredible volume that it nearly posed a technical difficulty for the wax cylinders capturing the recordings, a trait that sometimes affected its enduring quality.)

Tucker's weary and essentially modern crisis of loneliness are profound enough to reach us way up here in the 21st century.  In 2009 Archeophone Records released an anthology of Ms. Tucker's earliest recordings, entitled Sophie Tucker: Origins of the Red Hot Mama, 1910-1922Music critic, Jody Rosen, called her "a proto-feminist and taboo-shattering sensualist, and... a herald of pop musical modernity." (accessed April 23, 2012, New York Times)  Imagine what Tucker could have done with a loop pedal.

Download/listen to more cylindrical showstoppers here on the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project (CPDP)'s FMA curator page or check out the full searchable/browsable collection on the CPDP website.  The CPDP digitizes cylinder recordings (the earliest commercially produced recordings) in an effort to preserve and make them accessible to a wider audience and is a project of the Department of Special Collections at the Donald C. Davidson Library at UC Santa Barbara.  You can even adopt a poor orphan cylinder (Puh-leaze suh, can I have some more digitizing?) or friend the CPDP on Facebook.

To learn more about Sophie Tucker, look to the sources consulted for this blog post: Wikipedia, Jewish Women's Archive, and Jody Rosen's review of Archeophone's 2009 Tucker anthology in the New York Times.  Also, keep your eyes peeled for this feature-length documentary about Tucker, currently in the works.

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miscellaniac on 04/13/2012 at 12:13PM

Thirteen Thirteens: A Friday the 13th Mix

It's Friday the 13th. And although 13 has always been a lucky number in my family, it can be fun to succumb to popular superstition. As such, here are 13 songs about the number that comes after 12 but before 14. 

UK avant-garde combo The Surf Messengers will disturb your day with a more cerebral take on the stabbiness of mainstream horror movie scores.

Sure it's probably a typo in the track listing that gives Poporc (they sound like a snarling wizard! eek!) a spot in this thirteen-y playlist, but it does happen to be the 13th track on their album, Schisskhotz, so there's that.

MAT64 (alias of Italian chiptune producer, Mauro Staci) will make you feel like you're battling pixelated ladders and sidewalk cracks. Wales will be proud as The Valleys take you deep into a lo-fi canyon of shadowy grooves.

From File 13 via the blog-cum-FMA Artist, Homemade Lofi Psych (off of their HFLP #4 Sound Explosions comp), "Glowing Smiles" sounds like that the was 1973.

Bait And Switch slings the sludgy stardust at you, courtesy of Planetarium Records.

No amount of broken mirrors could get in the way of Lucky Dragons, who add an optimistic tinge to this otherwise overcast mix.

Back in 2007 at the WFMU Free Music Series at now-defunct Brooklyn venue, Southpaw, Alan Vega performed this gem that sounds like the ghost of a televangelist trying to break through a radio transmission.

Batfinks plants a periscope under the floorboards of a fancy dinner party in a Transylvanian castle. Or, uh, at least that's what "Two 13" sounds like to me.

The Waiters serve up (sorry) what almost appears to be a prog rock reimagining of the themes to "The Twilight Zone" and "Halloween."

I wish Brooklyn No Wave quartet, The Sediment Club, had been old enough to play "thirteen" on Pee Wee's Playhouse because I think that would have made for one killer dance party.

A gorgeous act with an eclectic background, The Snow, sing about "spreading out [thirteen] tentacles for love."

And first but not least, early '90s DC hardcore band, Pitchman, greet us on our journey into the nether regions of "Route 13."

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thirteen, 13
miscellaniac on 04/11/2012 at 03:30PM

National Library Week - Rejoice!

You know that friend who decides to celebrate her birthday for an entire week?  Forcing you to run yourself ragged going to 18 different events and parties all in the name of advancing one more year?  Well, imagine instead that this friend is the library.  And instead of being a nuisance, it is something to be celebrated with no obligations whatsoever.  Yes, what I am trying to say is that it is National Library Week 2012!  Almost every day this week celebrates a different aspect of libraries and their many public services.  Today happens to be National Bookmobile Day.  So, go out and hug your neighborhood bookmobile!

And so, in honor of National Library Week, I would like to honor the Free Music Archive for being a shining example of the potential of (not just interactive digital libraries) but libraries and archives everywhere.  Here, here!  This National Library Week Mix features selections from the FMA that thematically apply to books, reading, language, literature, and information.  Of course there is so much more to libraries than these things, but hey, they fit thematically.

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