On Dec, 14 2019, Jim and I had the privilege of interviewing Temi Kogbe on Freeform Portland, Weekend Family Hour (WFMH). Kogbe is a cofounder of Odion Livingstone Records, curator, African music archivist and collector. He operates Odion Livingstone with former heavyweight EMI-Nigeria producer and musician, Odion Iruoje. Odion Livingstone Records was founded in 2017 and is the only vinyl reissue label operating in Nigeria today. Their recordings are deeply based in African groove heavy tempos, soulful boogie, disco, synth, funk and electro psychedelic tones.Continue reading →
Like so many people, I was shocked to read the news that Andy Gill, guitarist and founding member of the band Gang Of Four, had died. The news came out of nowhere. There had been no prior reports of illness, or hospital stays. No cancelled tours. It seemed as though one minute he was here, and the next, he was gone.
His passing is a huge loss to the world of music. As a member of Gang of Four, his contribution to music was seismic. As a band, they created a sound that had not been heard before, filling a vacuum that we were unaware existed. Aspects of their sound can be heard in several genres — such as punk, funk and dub — but had not been combined as Gang Of Four did, with such drive and sheer mastery.
A documentary about the legendary NYC record store plays Saturday, February 8, as part of NW Film Center’s 37th Annual Reel Music Festival
I bought my first record at Kmart in Moscow, Idaho — a 45 of the Doobie Brothers “What a Fool Believes.” My record-buying habits were indiscriminate in those early days, as I later added well-used public library copies of Glen Campbell and Van Halen to my collection. Maturing into middle school, I dabbled in the mail-order world of Columbia House record club, never getting much farther than buying my first six cassettes (Queen, Bryan Adams…) for a penny (plus shipping and handling). But, what really hooked me on buying music were my early trips to Budget Tapes and Records in downtown Pullman, Washington, where I often went to peruse the records, whether or not I really had any money to buy anything. Looking back, it probably wasn’t that great of a store, but at the time it was an important locus, the people behind the counter larger than life. The main record store guy, Rick, seemed so much older and wiser — he even played in bands! Tolerating a kid like me in the store, asking him questions about the latest Tom Petty or Quiet Riot release; he helped lead my way into the world of record buying.
As I moved through my adolescence, my tastes departing further from top 40 radio, a good record store became an important touchpoint, one way to tap into a world beyond the confines of small town Eastern Washington. In those days, the only way to really learn about new music — especially music on the fringes of the mainstream — was to have a guide in the form of a record store employee, a friend’s older brother, or perhaps a copy of The Rocket from a trip to Seattle. Finding new music often depended on scouring the liner notes of records and looking for familiar names. Previewing a new record often meant borrowing someone else’s copy — I remember the excited but uneasy sense I had when first playing the 1981 Chunks compilation (with Black Flag, Minutemen, and the dangerous sounding The Nig-Heist) and the 1980 Cracks in the Sidewalk compilation, both of which I’d bought on a whim at Budget Tapes — not sure how much I liked them or even really knew how to listen to them, but convinced they were a portal into a different world, in which the rules seemed different. Moving to Seattle, I eagerly awaited new Sub Pop releases at Cellophane Square, then relied on the collision of different genres at Wall of Sound to expand my palate. I never much cared for the bigger stores, like Tower or HMV, preferring the personal and more curated feeling of independent stores.
Other Music was a great record store in New York City. On Saturday, NW Film Center will be screening a documentary about the legendary store as part of the 37th Annual Reel Music Festival.Continue reading →
The first release of 2020 for Damaged Goods Records out of the U.K. will be another fine album by Billy Childish. This record is entitled, “Kings Of The Medway Delta” and is credited to “Wild Billy Childish and The Chatham Singers”.
For those folks expecting more punked-up garage rock, as can be heard by his band, CTMF, this album will be a bit of a surprise. On this album, Wild Billy Childish hones in on the singular sound that Chess Records presented in the late fifties and early sixties. He very effectively captures that sound, as though this record had in fact been recorded in, say, 1959.
One of the highlights of the album is the cover of the Slim Harpo classic, “I Got Love if You Want It.” One can almost imagine Wild Billy Childish performing such songs at the Crawdaddy Club, where the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds cut their teeth on stage.
In addition to the covers, he revisits a few of his original songs, such as “The Good Times are Killing Me,” “All My Feelings Denied,” and “The Double Axe,” giving them all a happy turn as blues or R ‘n’ B tunes.
Joining the band on this record is Jim Riley, who plays great blues harmonica on all of the tracks, which helps to capture an authentic blues sound that has eluded so many.
Also being released along with this album will be a single version of the song, “All My Feelings Denied,” which will have a cover of the Muddy Waters song, “I’m Ready” on the flip side. That song does not appear on the album.
If you would like to hear a few tracks from this record, as well as some blues songs and some blues-inspired songs, check out this archive of my radio show from January 17th, 2020
By Ricardo Wang
While my show has featured end-of-year shows and lists off and on throughout the 25+ years of What’s This Called?, it has not been an annual tradition. Some years the show focused more on experimental music rather than on the sounds of the current moment. Oftentimes that is because the given year didn’t feature enough new releases to fill a show, or the interest of your host.
This was NOT the case with 2019. Your host, Ricardo Wang set out to do a top ten for the year and found quickly that ten was not a reasonable number to list, even for the most played and enjoyed 2019 album releases from the show. Twenty quickly was not enough either, and when it became clear that a list of 100 albums was imminent, research ensued into as many records that had been missed as possible.Continue reading →
Here is an interview I conducted with Vic Godard, who has been referred to by BBC6 Deejay Marc Riley as “The Greatest Living Englishman.” Godard has been a near constant in British music since 1976, when he formed the band, Subway Sect. As a singer/songwriter, he has released solo work and has also collaborated with the likes of: Mark Perry, Irvine Welch, The Sexual Objects, & The Bitter Springs. Godard has his own record label, GNU Inc., and is a busy and creative artist.
Noah Fence: Mr. Godard, thanks for agreeing to this interview. In doing some research for this interview, I realized that I do not know much about your life prior to being in the band, Subway Sect. I would love to hear about your life growing up and your musical influences.
Vic Godard: I had a great time as a kid and was into Geography and Football. That was because of my uncle Don, who was a postman and a Chelsea fan. His delivery was in Bond Street and then he went on the TPO (Travelling Post Office) to Scotland, staying overnight in Glasgow before returning to King’s Cross the following day. He could easily have been on the train that was robbed by Biggs and co, but was lucky. He taught me all the counties of Scotland before I had a chance to go to school! My Grandad was a Bus driver on routes out of Mortlake Garage (9 and 73), starting in 1922 until 1966, two years before he died. He was also the Union Treasurer. He took me to White Hart Lane in Tottenham to watch my first football matches — where we stood alongside Peter Cook behind the goal at the Paxton End — but when my uncle took me to Chelsea, I felt that was my place. Compared to Spurs, Chelsea weren’t very glamorous in those days and Spurs had recently been the first team to ‘do the double,’ ie win the League and Cup the same season.Continue reading →
The Asian Lunar Year starts Jan. 25th 2020. The Year of the Metal Rat will be a test of resilience for all zodiac signs. The year of the Rat commemorates a year of excess because rats love to collect, hoard and eat food. The corresponding element is metal for 2020. Metal can signify extra coins or better finances for all zodiac signs, so take advantage of new employment prospects, investments or play the lottery. As an Chinese American family, we wish you a prosperous, safe and loving New Year. Gong Hay Fat Choy!
Mary Sia 説不出的苦痛 (Unspeakable Pain)
Mary Sia is a Chinese singer who sings in Mandarin and lives in Malaysia. She has had a passion for performing at charity shows since 2000. Sia’s family also share her principles and values of supporting our fellow persons who are less fortunate. She is an avid participant in charitable causes to support global hunger.Continue reading →
By Jessie Stepan (DJ Ducky)
2019 – The Year of Tamino
Have you heard of him? He’s a Belgian-Egyptian singer with a velvet voice and soulful lyrics. He’s 23. Fun fact: We have the same birthday!
He’s got this Ethan-Hawke-in-Reality-Bites vibe (possibly just because they have THE SAME EXACT HAIR), and a very kind smile, and big brown basset hound eyes, but behind those eyes lies a true depth, power, and understanding that not many 23-year-olds possess. I know because not only have I been 23, but my little brother-in-law is 23, and trust me, he’s no Tamino. 😝Continue reading →
By DJ Noah from Sick Sad World
Sick Sad World broadcasts live on Freeform Portland on alternating Wednesdays from 6 to 8 PM.
Tom Verlaine, guitarist and leader of the band, Television, was born on December 13th, 1949, which means that today I am wishing him a happy 70th birthday.
With his band, Television, Verlaine helped to usher in the New York City punk & New Wave scene. Television began playing at the infamous club, CBGB’s, in 1974. Soon after, other bands followed in Television’s wake, debuting at the club, such as: The Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, and The Dead Boys. CBGB’s became the place to be among people in the know.