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Friday, 14 November
The Day In Music

During my workdays, I generally fire up the webstream of local station KEXP, whose mission is to play mostly indie rock, alongside whatever desperately weird shit that might be in dubious vogue. ("Here's a track from Emilio Esteves' new album of diesel trucks running over garbage cans, called Even Rabbits Vomit Sometimes.") It usually works pretty well--I get to listen to a lot of varied music that I might not hear, and I also get to feel marginally hip: "Hey, I'm listening to a band called Low Flying Owls! Nobody on Earth has ever heard of these weirdos . . . but I have!" An important part of hipness is being able to say things like this. John Cage is a good example: Go look at your record collection. No John Cage albums? Totally not hip. Plenty of John Cage albums that you never, ever listen to? Extremely hip.

Not that KEXP plays John Cage; after all, they do want people to actually listen to them. But they're coming close this morning. Mere minutes ago, they went from Dinosaur Jr.'s bewildering molestation of "Just Like Heaven" right into Sonic Youth's useless cornholing of "Ca Plane Pour Moi." Jesus, guys, they were already laughable songs. You didn't have to go and prove it.

I'll continue to monitor this situation as the day goes on, but I lack hope. In the intervening minutes, they have played songs by two bands with names I hate: Possum Dixon and Clem Snide. I'm a big believer in loathing bands simply for picking rotten names--for this reason, I have never been able to enjoy Travis, for example. It's just easier. Okay, sometimes I enjoy Travis, but it's difficult; I usually have to think about Gary Sandy's character from "WKRP in Cincinatti" while listening, which isn't cool: it's like thinking about baseball statistics during sex.

Update: now playing Cibo Matto's "Know Your Chicken." I know a ridiculous number of people who unaccountably love this terrible song, including my wife. I submit that they are all unhinged. (Love you, honey!) This is the trench mouth of songs.

Update: now playing is "Angry Inch" by Sleater-Kinney, who is joined by FRED SCHNEIDER. I don't know what the fuck is going on any more. Sleater-Kinney and Fred Schneider? It's like being served a juicy steak with a side of angry bees.

Update: time for a little Wilco, with "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart." I love this song, but at this point, Wilco is kind of the Poco of the indie pop world. They were massively popular for about ten minutes, and very soon nobody will ever listen to them again. In a similar vein, The Flaming Lips (and I like them too) are basically today's answer to the Electric Prunes.

Update: Mates of State, "Ha Ha." Reaction: Ugh Ugh. It's like neighbors shouting at each other through thin walls. But in the interest of not sounding like the world's crabbiest ass, a little while ago I was treated to RJD2's "The Horror," which is a blast. Q: Is a good song vastly improved by the addition of rhythmic "HEY!" callouts? A: Yes, always.

Update: INDIE HIPNESS CHECK! The Shins, and then the Decemberists. These bands bore me stupid. Why am I listening to this station again? Oh right: because the alternatives are things like The Mountain, whose MOR ghouls lie waiting for the telltale victim-scent of chai tea; or The End, the "alternative" radio equivalent of soft tissue damage.

Update: I kid you not, Low Flying Owls.

Not really an Update: I just saw a startling headline: China cracks down on rat poison murders. Will this oppressive regime stop at nothing to beat down its hapless people? Jesus, China, lighten up!

Update: Robyn Hitchcock! Who doesn't like a guy who sings about fish, megacephaly, and gay threeways? Insane people, that's who.

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.


Thanks a ton... all I got from that was:

"... blah blah blah WKRP IN CINCINNATI blergle blomph..."

So, _now_ I have that schmarmy refrain ceaselessly looping through my head. At this point, I'd welcome the fucking Oak Ridge Boys.

Comment number: 003890   Posted by: ColdForged on November 14, 2003 12:05 PM from IP:

I like the Dinosaur Jr. cover of "Just Like Heaven." I can't imagine a bad cover of that song. (Well, except maybe by Fred Schneider. But a Sleater-Kinney cover would rool.)

Comment number: 003891   Posted by: alkali on November 14, 2003 12:24 PM from IP:

for the second time in two days:

rrRed Wigglers, the Cadillac of worms, the Cadillac of worms...

more updates!

Comment number: 003892   Posted by: mike on November 14, 2003 12:53 PM from IP:

What you need, my friend, is XM Radio's Special X -- an enchanted land of appalling covers, novelty songs from hell, parrot training records, William Shatner, and lately, reruns of the Dr. Demento show. Then you can talk to me about obscure music. I've heard "Boobsalot" more times in the past month than I care to admit.

Comment number: 003893   Posted by: girlygirl on November 14, 2003 01:55 PM from IP:

I never said I was listening to obscure music. I'm just old and incapable of keeping up any more. And you should revel in the Holy Modal Rounders! See if they'll play you some terrible Fugs song, like "Coca Cola Douche."

Comment number: 003894   Posted by: Skot on November 14, 2003 02:01 PM from IP:

Try WOXY in Cinncinati.

Seriously, it's a great independant "Modern Rock" station with a kick ass site so you can check out the bands you listen to.

Here it is:

Click on Listen in the upper left and also open the Now Playing window.

No, I don't work for them, but they're really good...

Comment number: 003895   Posted by: Jason on November 14, 2003 02:15 PM from IP:

Embarrassingly, the only people from your entire post that rung a bell were Fred Schneider (I've actually heard some of his post-B-52's work... eek!) and The Flaming Lips (they're from around where I grew up in Oklahoma; been listening to them for years). I've heard the names "Possum Dixon" and "Sonic Youth," but would be very hard pressed to actually name a song or album (or god-forbid a member of the band) from either.

Guess I'm now outmoded. Where'd my walker go? I'd never survive the "hip indie trendy scene."

Comment number: 003896   Posted by: dave on November 14, 2003 03:55 PM from IP:

I have never heard of ay of the people you mentioned. Therefore I am perfectly positioned to disagree with everything you said. Those guys rule, and those other guys are spastic crap.

Comment number: 003897   Posted by: gribble on November 14, 2003 04:33 PM from IP:

Sometimes I feel old because I don't ever even bother to listen to hip music. But then I remember that Dinosaur, Jr. and about 90% of the supposedly hip music now was the hip music when I was in college. Then I can either think that I am somehow as ageless as the music or the groovy DJs are actually really aged like myself.

Comment number: 003898   Posted by: Miel on November 14, 2003 09:05 PM from IP:

when you say The End, is that on the web or something local? we have an 'alternative' station here in charlotte, NC that has a webcast that is 106.5 The End. possibly a random coincidnece.

Comment number: 003899   Posted by: Tracy on November 14, 2003 09:49 PM from IP:

I get fed up of all of it, the hip (KEXP) and the not-so-hip (the end) and so I switch over to the KUBE. Because the KUBE is always fucking unintentionally hilarious. Those hip-hoppers are doing bad, hilarious things with words, man. It's like a Dr. Demento show that everyone is taking seriously.

You rule, Skot!

Comment number: 003900   Posted by: SJ on November 16, 2003 02:59 AM from IP:

Yes. Us hip-hoppers are doing our damndest to keep you listening... *rolls eyes*

i know what you mean -- in a radio world where "he who plays the most hits the most often" wins, it's hard to even like my own station sometimes.

Comment number: 003901   Posted by: iLLa on November 16, 2003 03:04 AM from IP:

Not a coincidence, Tracy. Chalk it up to the consultants, format fragmentation, and Clear Channel-ization of the radio dial.

That's why WNCW, WFMU, and KCRW are your *friends*.

Comment number: 003902   Posted by: Vidiot on November 16, 2003 10:17 AM from IP:

I'd rather listen to The Darkness than some po-faced 'cool' music

Comment number: 003903   Posted by: Lamoir on November 17, 2003 02:43 AM from IP:

Try WOXY in Cinncinati.




*gives in*

97X! BAAAMMMM! The FUTURE of Rock-n-Roll!

Comment number: 003904   Posted by: avogadro on November 17, 2003 06:11 AM from IP:

"Clem Snide" is a William S. Burroughs reference, joining the Soft Machine, Steely Dan, Naked Lunch, and Nova Mob in the "bands who took their bad names from William S. Burroughs" hall of fame. There should be a band called The Ticket That Exploded, who could rule them all and in the darkness bind them.

Comment number: 003905   Posted by: Snarky on November 17, 2003 08:02 AM from IP:

"Oh right: because the alternatives are things like The Mountain, whose MOR ghouls lie waiting for the telltale victim-scent of chai tea..."

Color me ignorant, but what are MOR ghouls?

Comment number: 003906   Posted by: carana88 on November 17, 2003 10:57 AM from IP:

The End is a reference to Seattle "alternative" megastation 107.7; haven for anybody who has a strong desire to listen to awful thinglets like Staind.

"MOR" is a possibly outdated radio term which stands for "Middle of the Road"; think Jackson Browne. The Mountain (103.7) is this city's ruling practitioner of MOR--playing Death Cab for Cutie once a month makes them feel less crappy about tirelessly flogging vampires like Dave Matthews.

Comment number: 003907   Posted by: Skot on November 17, 2003 12:00 PM from IP:

Robyn Hitchcock's "Clean Steve" is a classic for all time.

Comment number: 003908   Posted by: Bet on November 17, 2003 12:35 PM from IP:

I can't bear KEXP. The music seems dictated by some sort of masochistic algorithm which equates terrible music with relevance...also, I heard it bleep out the word "fuck" the other day, which makes me think it is as spineless as it is banal.

I groove on a net-only station called Radioio ( It has a number of different streams; my favorite is "eclectic." The artists are assuredly less obscure but the production values are much higher and you get the sense that a human being with actual taste picked out the tunes.


Comment number: 003909   Posted by: Jennifer on November 20, 2003 04:55 PM from IP:

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