Tuesday, August 26, 2008

08.26.08 Guest NELSON BRAGG (Tribute to "No Wave"...and beyond)

We will be spinning records from bands that either formed what would be termed "No Wave", or were directly influenced by this genre.
You will hear sounds from La Monte Yong, Arto Lindsay (DNA), James Chance (Contortions), Mars, Theoretical Girls, Y Pants....to Lydia Lunch (Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, 8 Eyed Spy, Beirut Slump), Lizzie Mercier Descloux, R.L. Crutchfield (Dark Day, DNA), Feotus, Ikue Mori (DNA, Tenko,etc.), Lounge Lizards, the Swollen Monkeys, Doctor Nerve, the Public Servants, Noise'r Us, the Trolls, the Microscopic Septet, Konk, Sonic Youth, Pere Ubu, Tenko, Teddy & the Frat Girls, and our very own guest Dj Nelson Bragg's band Big Noise from 1981 (Woodstock, Ny).

A brief background on our guest Dj:

Nelson Bragg played in several bands from 1979-1999 including positions as a pit drummer for over 20 stage musicals. (Emerson College theater in Boston, New London Barn Playhouse, New London, NH among others) His bands include the horn driven/post-punk dance band, Big Noise, (1981-1987, Woodstock, New York) and Farmhouse (1989-1992), a harmony based folk-rock group based out of Northampton, Mass. Nelson moved to Los Angeles in 1999.

In 2000, Bragg finally found a successful path joining several L.A. pop bands that include The Now People, The Quarter After and Cloud Eleven. In 2001, he joined "Stew" for his "Naked Dutch Painter" CD and played subsequent shows and residencies promoting it. That CD was "Entertainment Weekly's "Album of the Year" for 2002. He also played with The Negro Problem, Stew's former band and alter ego. In 2003, Nelson got the call to join Brian Wilson's band as percussionist/vocalist to perform Wilson's legendary unreleased album "Smile". That now legendary February 2004 premiere in London and tour, was followed by a formal recording of "Smile", released in September 2004, winning a Grammy award, ironically in the "Best instrumental" category ("Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" featuring Bragg on virtually all of the whistles and sound effects at the top of the piece.) In 2005, the Smile 2 DVD set was released featuring a full-length documentary of Brian Wilson's incredible Smile story and the making of it both in 1966-67 and newly in 2004. That documentary aired on Showtime in October 2004 and was directed by Beach Boys and pop authority David Leaf. A live concert performance of Smile is featured on the second disc.

In 2003, prior to his position with The Brian Wilson Band, Bragg started recording a solo album which was completed and released on Side B Music in 2007. "Day Into Night" was reviewed very favorably and continues to garner college and Internet airplay worldwide. It boasts the talents of Nick Walusko, fellow Brian Wilson band-mate and Wondermint, Mike Randle, Guitarist with Baby Lemonade and longtime member of Arthur Lee and Love, Morley Bartnoff, keyboardist with Burning Sensations and currently with Dramarama, Rob Campanella, organist/guitarist with The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Quarter After, Probyn Gregory, fellow Brian Wilson band-mate and Wondermint, Severo Jornacion, Bassist with The Smithereens and Debbie Shair, keyboardist with Heart. It also features The Stockholm String Ensemble on seven of its twelve tracks. Nelson performed all acoustic guitars, vocals, drums and percussion among other instruments on the record. The record is influenced by CSNY, George Harrison, The Byrds, The dB's, Canada's The Grapes Of Wrath, and was produced by well known L.A. pop/garage producer Steve Refling.

Nelson has been involved with many bands including drumming live and recording cd's with the aforementioned Now People, the Quarter After, Cloud Eleven and with The Mello Cads, Keven Kane (The Grapes Of Wrath), Andrew Sandoval and most notably The Mockers. Bragg has garnered 3 tours of Spain with The Mockers in 2002, 2005 and 2007. A documentary about The Mockers and the American dream is in the works with a 2008 release in mind.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

08.12.08: LENE LOVICH

One of the more offbeat and memorable figures in new wave, Lene Lovich certainly drew much of her widely varied approach from her unconventional early experiences. Born of a Yugoslavian father and British mother, she spent much of her childhood in Detroit, MI. At age 13, she moved to Hull, England, with her mother. She ran away to London shortly thereafter, where she worked several odd jobs ranging from bingo caller to go-go dancer to street busker. Around this time, she developed an interest in art and theater, enrolling at the Central School of Art. She took up the saxophone and, after a brief stint in a soul-funk band (with future collaborator Les Chappell), Lovich wrote a string of songs for French disco star Cerrone. In 1978, Stiff Records signed her after hearing her first recording, a remake of "I Think We're Alone Now." She quickly became one of Stiff's brightest stars, headlining package tours and earning several U.K. hits over the next three years with the unforgettable "Lucky Number," "Say When," "Bird Song," and "New Toy." After an eight-year absence, she returned in 1990 with "March".

Since Lene Lovich burst onto the scene with her 1979 hit single "Lucky Number," ushering in the New Wave era, her life has been defined by an unyielding commitment to the arts and activism. She starred in the French television film Rock, costarred (with Nina Hagen and Herman Brood) in the motion picture Cha-Cha, and co-wrote and played the lead in the London stage play Mata Hari. She co-wrote the score to the short film Alpha Girls, and also wrote the libretto for the opera The Collector, and recorded Peter Hammill and Judge Smith's opera Fall of the House of Usher. She recorded and toured in support of the fundraising single "Don't Kill The Animals" with German star Nina Hagen. The Stereo Society, the on-line label founded in 1999 by celebrated producer Mike Thorne (Wire, Bronski Beat, John Cale) released Lene's greatly anticipated album in 2005: "Shadows and Dust"

Lene Lovich's impact on pop music can hardly be understated. The influence of her arty, flamboyant new wave persona, assertive, banshee-howl-inflected vocals, and idiosyncratic songwriting style can be seen clearly in countless female artists, from peers like Siouxsie Sioux and Grace Jones, to those who have followed in her footsteps: Bjork, PJ Harvey, Gwen Stefani, and Karen O. In her absence, it is impossible to conceive of the modern landscape of alternative female pop artists. Lene has carved out a unique niche in the world, always while doggedly pursuing her own muse, her own passions.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

08.05.08: PULP

Most bands hit the big time immediately and fade away, or they build a dedicated following and slowly climb their way to the top. Pulp didn't follow either route. For the first 12 years of their existence, Pulp languished in near total obscurity, releasing a handful of albums and singles in the '80s to barely any attention. At the turn of the decade, the group began to gain an audience, sparking a remarkable turn of events that made the band one of the most popular British groups of the '90s. By the time Pulp became famous, the band had gone through numerous different incarnations and changes in style, covering nearly every indie rock touchstone from post-punk to dance. Pulp's signature sound is a fusion of David Bowie and Roxy Music's glam rock, disco, new wave, acid house, Europop, and British indie rock. The group's cheap synthesizers and sweeping melodies reflect the lyrical obsessions of lead vocalist Jarvis Cocker, who alternates between sex and sharp, funny portraits of working class misfits. Out of second-hand pop, Pulp fashioned a distinctive, stylish sound that made camp into something grand and glamorous that retained a palpable sense of gritty reality. (- Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

Tonight we will be spinning all things Pulp. From their very early work right down to Mr. Cocker's solo works. You will also be hearing songs by Richard Hawley, Relaxed Muscle, demos, rarities, etc.