Wednesday, December 20, 2017

News and Reviews 2018

It's been a shorter year for me blog-wise. There has been less research, less writing but so much going on elsewhere. However, when I have posted it's been longer, delved deeper and weirder unearthing some truly arcane deep dives. I'll keep it brief and focus on the highlights.

Best Posts:
I was perhaps overtly proud of my post on radio stations in Kerouac's novel On the Road. But for over a decade that's been the hard, immutable core of Arcane Radio Trivia: Obscure facts, wholly ancillary to the rest of the story.  As a fan of Samuel Beckett I was very pleased to finally write a lengthy post on his radio plays. I've been meaning to get to that for years. In Sixteen Sepia Spielers I write up an infamous 1947 Ebonmy magazine article I've used as a source a dozen times. I even wrote up the Jazz Man Radio show and had the pleasure of corresponding with the legendary Cary Ginell. I also quite liked by two-parter on Radio Free Paris back in April.

Most Popular Posts:
My most popular posts haven't changed in years.  Since 2009 the most traffic has gone to a post about Peter Tripp.  This is due to a completely coincidental link on Reddit. It was re-blogged by many others and remains an aberration in my web-traffic with 90k+ hits. I did eventually collate a list of all Radio Wake-a-thon records here. My 2007 post on the Career Academy of Famous Broadcasters continues to earn comments from it's legion of former students. It remains a top hit on Google. In third place a 2010 post on Barn Dance programs remains popular. My readers continue to debate if I was unfairly harsh to Kevin Metheny. I think not, but he died in 2014 so I have hopes that it's over.

Best Radio Station:
This year I've listened to two stations more than any others 88.3 WMTS and 88.3 WBGO. It's taught me three things.
   1. I am not as discriminating about jazz as I thought I was.
   2. I passionately hate jazz vocals
   3. I am far too snobby about my noise rock.
I can actually listen to WBGO at length alternately enjoying and/or despising songs or even segments of songs depending on if and when the tin pan alley, show tune vocal begins. (Jazz vocals are a vestigial organ of the jazz genre and can be amputated without harm in almost every case.) By comparison, WMTS has a very solid schedule of innovative programs, including some abrasive and noisy gems. I also have spent a lot of time streaming Under Noise, and KUPS. For all of the above, I can thank the TuneIn App on my Roku.

Best Radio Show: 
I am very taken this Fall with a mid-day program on 91.7 KVRX, I Give a Heck. This  They describe themselves as follows "Fidel Cashflow and newly enthusiastic A Shramp Named Karl will be bringing you the best of post-punk, and noise rock, the weird of the weird. Two weird dudes playing weird tunes."  It's accurate but their taste in punk, noise punk and prog-punk is bar-none. Also digging lately Mystery Train on WRUR, The premium Psychedelia on Dementia 13 at CIUT, Dot Dash at WRAS, the long-running Dare Waves on WRUW, and some back to back shows on CJSR on Monday nights: Vlad Thee Inhaler's Sci-Fi BBQBasement Bricolage, and Imaginary Landscapes. Vlad  piques your curiosity then melts your brain, then for the next 4 hours you hallucinate local music and the RCMP asks for your passport.

Best Record Store:  
True vinyl loyalists, Mr. Suit Records has have helped me score some white whales, and a number of other rarities just because that how they roll. They've got a good stock of the news, and a nice  selection of the old. Mike, the man behind the counter is a frequent instagrammer of new arrivals. The most common response is "Hold please" to which he always responds "You got it" and thus becomes an enabler of pickers, record hoarders, and archivists alike.

Best Zine:
Women in Sound is a quarterly print zine dedicated to showcasing the achievements and process of women and non-binary people in live and recorded sound. It fills such an obvious niche in the pantheon of 'zines it's hard to believe it didn't already exist.

Top 10 Records of 2018

1. Unsane - Sterilize
2. Idles -  Brutalism
3. '68 - Two Parts Viper
4. Pile - A Hairshirt of Purpose
5. Glassjaw - Material Control
6. Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent
7. Ecstatic Vision - Raw Rock Fury
8. Lung - Bottom of the Barrel
9. Metz - Strange Peace
10. Buck Gooter - 100 Bells

Runner ups...
Nomad Mountain Outlaws - Raccoon Church, Trash Knife - 7", Miscalculations - Kill The Whole Cast, Blessed - II, Sk√°phe – Untitled, Aye Nako - Silver Haze, Hilltop Gamblers - Midrash, Code Orange - Forever, Spoon - Hot Thoughts, Alter - Pendulum, Algiers - The Underside of Power, Converge - The Dusk In Us, Pissed Jeans - Why Love Now, Cousin Boneless - Revel in the Rubble