WTMD is listener-supported radio from the campus of Towson University.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mix Tape Thursday, 5/28/09

WTMD listeners take over the airwaves with three-to-five song sets on Thursday.

6 a.m. Jim McGuire

I call my tape "Five 90-degree Turns That Almost Form a Circle." I wanted five singer/songwriters who each pushed their music--from five different periods--in a new, exciting direction for their times. And of late, Brett does that and still sorta brings it all back home.

* "Subterranean Homesick Blues," by Bob Dylan
* "Ziggy Stardust," by David Bowie
* "No Surrender," by Bruce Springsteen
* "Cradle and All," by Ani DiFranco
* "There Is So Much More," by Brett Dennen

8 a.m. Bobby Gomon

Top Five Psychic Break Songs of All Time

* "You're Gonna Miss Me," 13th Floor Elevators
The group popularized the term "psychedelic" while setting the benchmark for massive consumption of the same. Roky Erickson was the point man for the acid generation. Diagnosis is unclear, he was institutionalized after the break. And no band ever highlighted the amplified jug to better result.

* "See Emily Play," by Pink Floyd
Syd Barrett's excess (including all known major hallucinogens) was part of the magic. Diagnosis is unclear--no apparent "Francis Farmer factor" family manipulation of disadvantaged psychic state, may have had institutional stays. He rode a bike with a smile on his face in later years.

* "Good Vibrations," by The Beach Boys
Brian Wilson story includes extended mind bending, strong "Francis Farmer factor" predatory family behavior (the "hamburger songs" are Dennis Wilson's musical legacy, etc.). Actual diagnosis is unclear, confined by illness for sustained periods-if not institutionalized. Currently demons seem to be at bay.

* "Green Manalishi," by Fleetwood Mac
Peter Green's transcendent blues took him to realms never imaged by Sun Ra-musically and psychically. Single specific LSD "overdose" in Germany is an incomplete explaination for all that followed. Multiple diagnosis in popular press highlight the unclear actual underlying problem(s). Was institutionalized on numurous occasions (including "electroconvulsant therapy"), but "Francis Farmer" family/associates manipulation clearly in evidence. Even B.B. King said no white dude ever had the blues like Peter.

* "Layla," by Derek and the Dominos
Jim Gordon wrote and played the piano part in the Coda for this song. He had long history of polypharmacy abuse, and was diagnosed as schizophrenic after murdering his mother with a hammer. He remains incarcerated (sentenced to 16 years for the murder in 1983-has not been able to get a transfer to psychiatric facility, for unclear reasons). One certainly hopes he is able to realize some of the joy his music has brought to others.

10 a.m. Brad Willard
These are all great live acts I saw at Rock Werchter in Belgium last summer.

* "National Anthem," by Radiohead
* "Modern Guilt," by Beck
* "Time to Pretend," by MGMT
* "Hate to Say I Told You So," by The Hives
* "Steady as She Goes," by The Raconteurs

12 p.m. Lisa Warren

I've had the travel itch lately, so it got me thinking about a mix tape with the theme of travel. When I started picking songs, I was surprised how many I could have fit in here, but I decided these were some of my favorites.

Most are pretty self-explanatory: the name of the song, the name of the band, the name of the album (and in all cases the idea of travel or movement is there).

* "Mykonos," by Fleet Foxes
* "Cab," by Train
* "95 South," by The Duhks
* "Gonna Move," by Paul Pena
* "Georgia On My Mind," by Willie Nelson

4 p.m. Chris Hohenstein

Because it's good music.

* "Hey," by The Pixies
* "Day We Met," by Sara Borges
* "Jane Says," by Jane's Addiction
* "Another Day," by Jimmy's Chicken Shack

6 p.m. Karen Blake

These songs always take me back to my time in the Colorado Mountains when I lived in the Rockies. Long winters, gorgeous summers and nothing but good times.

* "Old Folks Boogie," by Little Feat
* "Rocky Mountain Way," by Joe Walsh
* "Mandolin Wind," by Rod Stewart
* "That's the Way," by Led Zeppelin

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Remembering Jay Bennett

By now you've probably heard that Wilco's former multi-instrumentalist Jay Bennett died over the weekend in his sleep in Illinois. He was just 45 and had no health insurance despite his desperate need for a hip surgery.

When we had Jay in for a session in 2006, he was affable and excited about his new album, The Magnificent Defeat. But, as one who follows Wilco and who has seen the pivotal scene (in the documentary I am Trying to Break Your Heart) with Jeff Tweedy that led to Jay's departure from the band a million times, I took away from our conversation that he never really got over the experience.

I recalled our conversation when I heard that Jay was planning on suing Wilco for unpaid royalties. I think the move spoke more to the state of uninsured musicians than holding on to a grudge, really.

Jay Bennett's talents are showcased on many records, including Blues Travelers's Bastardos, but to really tap into what this literal math genius and studio whiz contributed to rock and roll, pop in the dreamy, piano-soaked circus of "Pieholden Suite" on Wilco's Summerteeth.

RIP Jay. Thanks for being a driving force in the creation of one of my favorite records, Being There.