28 March 2012

Featured Five: "No Soap, Radio!" 3/24/12

It’s always a little hard to explain exactly why I play what I do on my show. Still, for your enjoyment, I will attempt to dissect five of my selections for you here. Hopefully, you won’t decide it’s all too much nonsense for you to handle but, if you do, I’m sorry. (Actually, no I’m not. It’s 1 until 3 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Insanity is status quo at that point in the weekend. Just embrace it.)

1). “Cigarettes” - Russian Red
This track, oh man, what is there to be said about this track? Russian Red, also known as Lourdes Hernández, hails from Madrid, Spain, but her voice is something from an entirely different planet. Combined with a sultry, jazzy backing, this girl is like a hipper, sexier version of a young Regina Spektor. I'm probably going to be playing a lot more of her stuff in the coming weeks, as well...

2). “A Hymn for Coffee” - Hefner
Well, that last track was about cigarettes, so I figure something about coffee was in order. Luckily, I spun this song by Hefner, an indie pop group out of Essex, so we have that covered. Honestly though, the track isn't about coffee so much as it is about realizing the disparities between one's mistress and one's lover, but it still made for a good combination. Also, Darren Hayman is a superb, unique vocalist who's cracking voice really adds something to the heartbreak. All in all, it's a wonderful tune.

3). “Alice Nebulae” - Milky Wimpshake
I swear I didn't pick this song based purely on the band's name, even if it is hilariously obnoxious. But, that very same quality should be quite revealing about their overall sound. There's almost a Beatles-like sound, circa "Abbey Road," here, too. I'd say, out of everything I played this past week, this track was the most spring-like; given that the weather had been in the 70s-80s at the time, it made for a most fitting choice.

4). “Sea Serpents” - Babeshadow
No less than thirty seconds after I starting playing this song from Arcadian pop duo Babeshadow, I got a call from someone asking if this was a new Vampire Weekend track. This made me laugh a bit, and realize that there was definitely a similarity. The Afro-Caribbean vibe here owes more to the native influences of the group than anything else. Furthermore, Babeshadow are relentless Luddites who refuse to add synthesizers or guitar pedals to their music. Still, there's a very familiar poppy feeling here, and fans of Vampire Weekend may get a huge kick out of it.

5). “Can't Take Another Earthquake” - Beans on Toast
Okay, I admit it, I have a huge weakness for British artists. That said, Beans on Toast is one of my absolute favorites! This guy is superb: scratchy voice, off-kilter folk guitar strumming, politically-charged lyrics and a general sense of anarchist revelry. While "Can't Take Another Earthquake" does delve into some politics, it isn't as outright as many of his other songs. Instead, it merely highlights some absurdities within the modern world while still maintaining a chipper, optimistic disposition, making it the perfect note to end my show on this go 'round.


That's all until next week. If you've got Spotify, you can click here to access all of these songs in a convenient list. You can find the whole playlist for the show over on the WTJU website and, if you missed the live broadcast for some reason, there's a streaming copy available for two weeks on the WTJU Tape Vaults.


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