Sunday, December 20, 2020

News and Reviews 2020

We are now in year 15, and I stand by my statement from 5 years ago... "it seems both impossible and inadvisable to have gone so far down the rabbit-hole." This blog began in April of 2005. As of this date, that works out to more than 2,885 posts, a decade-and-a-half in the making. Clearly I still have too much free time. But it's the end of the year, and a fine time to take a look back at 2020.  In a word... #FU2020

Links to all 15 years of News & Reviews:
2020 2019 2018 2017
2016 2015  2014 2013
2012 2011 2010 2009
2008 2007 2006 2005

Best Posts:
I'm very pleased with the series I've been doing on LGBT radio. There are a some white papers out there, and literally two text books.  So my articles therefore become some of the only solid source material available on this topic on the free internet. I have more planned, and that project will continue into next year. I was also very pleased with my dive into the Black Panthers radio program, The People's Information Slot on WLIB. I only wish I could find more source information. Back in March I was able to contact and interview Elliot Swanson, the former host of the John Fahey Half-Hour back in 1971. That was the most fun I had with an interview in a long time. It reminded me that interviews sometimes produce raw, original research; the building blocks that radio history needs. So I did a few more interviews this year, including the ones with with Kait Moon, Rafal Alumairy (coming soon), and Frank Boscoe.

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 what I call the post that Reddit built. It remains an aberration in my web-traffic with 96k+ 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 get comments from it's legion of former students. It remains a top hit on Google. But this will probably be the last year that I can track this. Blogger has forced me to move to google analytics and removed it's native metrics. Google analytics is wholly devoted to ad revenue, which is not the data I was looking for. Simple questions like "What sites are referring my readers?" are now buried under an absurd stack of obtuse metrics and square miles of white-space. Sometimes less is more.

Best Radio Station:
I have been listening to as little news as possible, so no NPR lately. As neofascist toadies take over our government I have found the news too grim for regular consumption. Then my car CD player jammed. Anyway, because of those events I spent a few months listening to a few CDs on infinite repeat:

  • Jackie MacLean - Right Now!
  • Human Impact - Human Impact
  • Officer May - Smoking in A Minor 
  • Glassjaw -  Coloringbook

I waited for months and got a new car radio, a Pioneer DEH-S1200UB. It was only $70. Strategic error. The screen is dim, and genuinely difficult to read in the daylight. It actually makes the radio hard to operate. I fiddled with it for months before surrendering and watching an instructional video to figure out how to flip it over to the AM band.

Best Radio Show:
I'm breaking my own rules and picking a show I only discovered this year, but aired 40 years ago. "Hard Implosion" on WGBT which last aired in 1978. I spent hours listening and re-listening to a few tapes of that show to research the playlist of a proto-metal radio program and I really got into it. I never thought I'd enjoy listening to Budgie, Hawkwind, and Black Sabbath again. 

Top 10 Records of 2020
Generally the top 10 full-length albums, is format agnostic unless your format prevents me from hearing it. The definition of "full-length" is totally at my discretion as to number of tracks, or album length in minutes. But generally EPs, Singles, Re-releases, and demos get sifted down the the notable list. Aside from all that preface, our slow descent into dystopia has made for a good year in music. This could have been a top 20 this year.

  1. Human Impact - (self titled) [LINK]
  2. Uniform - Shame [LINK]
  3. Idles - Ultra Mono
  4. Algiers - There is no Year
  5. Reptoid - Worship False Gods [LINK]
  6. Accacia Strain - ...And Life Is Very Long
  7. USA Nails- Character Stop [LINK]
  8. Struggles with Syntax - UK Garage Floor Fillers Vol. 4 [LINK]
  9. Heads - Push [LINK]
  10. Bitter Branches - This May Hurt a Bit [LINK]

Also Notable...  Human Impact - Contact (single) & Human Impact - Transit Subversion (single) [LINK] (single); Thelonious Monk - Palo Alto (live); Pile - 10 Yr;  Jars - Self-Isolation Demos; Johnny Hobo & The Freight Trains - Live at Double​-​A's [LINK]; Teeth - Writhe (single) [LINK]; Kryptograf - Kryptograf; Scarlxrd - Fantasy Vxid;  Deftones - Ohms; Kids - Suh'm [LINK]; Belk - Belk [LINK]; Easy Prey – Relentless Struggle [LINK]; LiĆ©  - You Want It Real [LINK]; Taiwan Housing Project - Sub​-​Language Trustees [LINK]; Days N Daze - Show Me The Blueprints. [LINK]; Loathe - I Let it in and It Took Everything [LINK]; Igorrr - Spirituality and Distortion [LINK]; Protomartyr - Ultimate Success Today; Help- 2053 [LINK]; Eye Flys - Tub of Lard [LINK]

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