Other Music

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.

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Kings of the Medway Delta — Wild Billy Childish and the Chatham Singers

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

What’s This Called? 100 Favorite Albums of 2019

DJ Ricardo Wang

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.

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Noah Fence interviews Vic Godard

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.

Spurs win the Cup Final 1961
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WFMH Shares 5 Asian Songs to Celebrate Asian Lunar New Year- Year of the Metal Rat

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.

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Love Letter to Tamino

Tamino playing at a Tiny Desk Concert

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. 😝

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Happy Birthday, Tom Verlaine

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. 

Television at CBGBs
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Your Support Keeps Us on the Air

Live DJs. No ads. All day. All night. Help us reach our goal! Fall Fundraiser, November 4th to 17th

To reach our fundraiser goal, we need you.

We’re in the midst of our fall fundraiser and we’re calling on you, our dedicated listeners and community members, to help us reach our goal. Every donation you make keeps us on the air: one-time donations, reoccurring donations (“Friend of Freeform”), purchasing a special gift…everything helps. As always, we appreciate your love and support. It’s what keeps us going!


Your donation during our fall fundraiser supports freeform music and arts programming, unique learning opportunities, and a growing community of passionate DJs in Portland, Oregon.

Here’s what our DJs are saying:

I love that Freeform lets people with no experience come in and learn more about radio. Everyone’s so willing to have you come by, attend a meeting, shadow them, and teach you more, which is pretty great.

Night on Earth
Alternating Saturdays, 2-4am
DJ L0W T0NES, Freeform Portland

“Music has healed me so many times – I have to give back by searching and exploring all the depths of artists everywhere.”

DJ Slouch
The Night Gallery
Alternating Fridays, 6-8pm
DJ Slouch, Freeform Portland
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Music and Movies

Freeform Portland DJ’s roundup some of their favorite film-inspired music.

DJ Mrrranda from Spider in the Ear

Giallo and 60s-70s “artsy” horror movies prompted me to dig deeper into the work of Bruno Nicolai, Nora Orlandi, Stelvio Cipriani, and Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra (among others), and I encourage other folks to do this because every one of them is a delight.

In reverse, I don’t think I would’ve seen Invitation to a Suicide or The Golden Boat if not for John Zorn’s “Filmworks”. 

Tell me I am wrong.


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