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Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: "Adventures in Modern Music"

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This is not, to put it mildly, the heyday of the print periodical. Yet your Podthinker has nonetheless managed to, against all odds, acquire a new print infatuation in the 2000s: The Wire magazine. Though not, in fact, a fanzine dedicated to the David Simon HBO drama, it nonetheless brings the awesome. Subtitled "Adventures in Modern Music", The Wire covers all manner of what's commonly called "experimental" music, including but not limited to (quoth The Wikipedia) hip hop, modern classical, free improvisation, "post-rock", and various forms of electronic music. It's smart, informative, unusually probing of corners one couldn't normally reach and aesthetically pleasing in the extreme.

And what does a smart music magazine do, especially one as reliant as The Wire on music that one must hear — and hear closely — in order to grasp? Why, they put out a podcast, in this case, Adventures in Modern Music, the digital version of the analog radio show they broadcast on London's Resonance FM, the freest of freeform stations. (You can tell it's truly free because you hear sirens in the background a lot.) Each program serves up an hour and a half of modern music talk, modern music tracks and modern music sets, hosted by a different Wire contributor, each with a quite different on-air sensbility, every time.

The appeal of the show equals the appeal of the sort of music, sound and in-between hybrids that The Wire covers: unpredictability and experimentalism. Any given episode of Adventures in Modern Music might serve up bizarrely sampled frogs' croaks, black-market remixes of remixes of lost B-sides, field recordings of Japanese forests, totally unorthodox uses of a saxophone, misremembered Chinese revolutionary songs or a bunch of Germans with synthesizers they built in their basements.

When not spinning tracks, the hosts take time to chat solo, broadcaster-to-listener, about what's run in the magazine lately or what they've selected specially for the evening's program. Beyond that, they often invite special, modern music-making guests into the Resonance studio or on the phone to discuss what projects they've got going on. Most recently, Anne Hilde Neset talked to Clive Bell about the thriving, variegated experimental music scene that's arisen among untrained musicians in China since the 1980s [MP3], but there've also been conversations with Roger Wootton of the progressive rock group Comus [MP3], with visual artist, composer and earliest turntablist Christian Marclay [MP3] and about the mainly-U.K. underground genre "funky" [MP3].

All this gets elicits, in the main, one feeling in the listener, as heartening as it is depressing: sheez, there's so much fascinating music out there, most of which one can't ever get around to hearing in their lifetime, and some of which one might accidentally skip over by not not being readily able to recognize it as music. Or at least that's how your Podthinker feels. Now to do some more listening.

Vital stats:
Format: modern music adventures
Running since: January 2003
Duration: ~90m
Frequency: weekly, with occasional breaks
Archive available on iTunes: none (most on web site now and "the full archive will be available soon," it says)

[Questions, comments, ideas, suggestions or threats for Podthinker Colin Marshall? colinjmarshall at gmail.]

Jordan Jesse Go Ep. 108: Party Island

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Guests: 
Bryan Safi
Guests: 
Amy Rhodes

Bryan Safi and Amy Rhodes come by to chat with Jordan about butt shots, Sade, and much more!


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Podcast: Coyle & Sharpe Episode 70: Total Dedication

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Welcome to season two of Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters! In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. These original recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.

On this episode: Coyle and Sharpe have an idea for an interesting art project.

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Brainstorm: How To Get Myself on NPR

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- Fuse an indigenous folk music with hip-hop
- Start a program giving ipods to migrant workers
- Become a famous actor, then play a cheeky, self-referential version of myself
- Feel torn between two worlds by having parents from two different cultures, then realize that they're not as different as I thought.
- Be Neil Young, or a Neil Young archivist.
- Create a flash game aimed at teaching children about the UN
- Give inner-city kids some tape recorders and ask them to document the sounds of a local organic farm
- Do a "mash-up" of Obama speeches, free jazz and the soundtrack to Slumdog Millionaire
- Something something folksy grandma

BAGHEERA: The Text Of Young America

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BAGHEERA is a young band from Liverpool, England. With only the self produced, released, and shared Hollow Home e.p. under its belt, (and under 7000 hits on their Myspace page) it’s safe to say they’re new to the game. But it’s not too hard to see that this band is going places. The as-yet-unsigned trio consists of Tom Cowcher, Sam Twidale and Jacob Silkin. All of whom are students of music at the University of Liverpool, and by the sounds of things they have been paying attention. Tom and Sam took some time away from rehearsals to talk about who they are, perfectionism, and how a young band can sound so accomplished so early in a career. Also included is the link to the Hollow Home e.p. We don’t condone stealing, so understand that the band intended to give this away for free. And enjoy!

Chris Bowman: So first off, this is BAGHEERA from Liverpool, not Missouri.

Tom Cowcher: Yeah, that’s right. I think there’s a Dutch symphonic rock band as well, with the same name. We’re not them.

CB: So there’s three Bagheera’s then?

Sam Twidale: Yeah, maybe.

TC: Maybe more!

For more from BAGHEERA click on Read More

The Zune Fune - From UCBcomedy.com

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Have a look at It's a dern good comedy webstite.

Rob Siegel Interview: The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Rob Siegel

Rob Siegel is a former editor for The Onion and penned last year's Mickey Rourke vehicle The Wrestler. He's just written and directed Big Fan, a dark film starring Patton Oswalt as man beaten up by his favorite player on the New York Giants. Siegel's characters seem to find fulfillment on the fringes of society -- listen in to find out why.

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: "The Phil Hendrie Show Flashback"

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In 2005, the late, lamented David Foster Wallace wrote a profile, in the Atlantic, of John Ziegler, then a local KFI late-night host. In it, he rapidly expands his observations, as was the Wallace way, from the one guy to the station employing him to the talk radio industry as a whole. Along the way, he describes The Phil Hendrie Show, another KFI program at the time, better than your Podthinker ever could. Thus, deference:
What happens every night on this program is that Phil Hendrie brings on some wildly offensive guest — a man who's leaving his wife because she's had a mastectomy, a Little League coach who advocates corporal punishment of players, a retired colonel who claims that females' only proper place in the military is as domestics and concubines for the officers — and first-time or casual listeners will call in and argue with the guests and (not surprisingly) get very angry and upset. Except the whole thing's a put-on. The guests are fake, their different voices done by Hendrie with the aid of mike processing and a first-rate board op, and the show's real entertainment is the callers, who don't know it's all a gag — Hendrie's real audience, which is in on the joke, enjoys hearing these callers get more and more outraged and sputtery as the "guests" yank their chain.
But Wallace doesn't much like The Phil Hendrie Show, which places him unambiguously on one side of the stark divide between those who "get" Hendrie and those who don't. Here, "get" doesn't mean "possess the intellectual capability to understand;" it just means "find hilarious." Your Podthinker, through the show's original run which ended in 2006, found it hilarious. What a delight then, to discover The Phil Hendrie Show Flashback [iTunes] [RSS], a daily podcast of "classic" (read: late-90s to early-00s) Hendrie segments. Though his program is now resurrected in a new iteration somewhere, your Podthinker hasn't heard it — and with this regular drip of solid vintage material, some time may pass before he does.

When one doesn't get Hendrie, it might well be because they're looking for laughs in the wrong places. Sure, it's amusing hearing Hendrie do his usual cast of voice characters — the vapid Chris Norton, "gay man and gay journalist" Doug Dannger, Brigadier Admiral of the Citizens' Auxiliary Police Force Jay Santos — and sure, it's funny when callers actually engage these fabricated dimwits. But the seat of the humor is in Hendrie's mastery of the slow build; he raises the level of ridiculousness incrementally, like the water temperature on the apocryphal frog in the pan. He'll begin a segment, allegedly part of a series on "health and the family," with a guest who's ostensibly the head of a group against breastfeeding. [MP3] Hendrie then lets it slip, argument with woman by argument with enraged woman, that the guy has based his entire movement on the sole fact that, upon first seeing his wife's breasts, he "lost all bowel control." Furthermore, he belives that women who breastfeed just want to "get their cookies" by so doing.

Or take the fellow who's mad about Kobe Bryant's rape charge getting more media attention than his own back in college. [MP3] And it turns out that he suspects that Bryant's has received more attention not because Bryant's more famous, but because he's black. And that the caller was accused of raping a man instead of a woman. A man in a wheelchair. Hendrie has said that his show was/is meant as a study of the ignorance of talk radio callers, and that certainly comes through in both the densely inept, stubbornly repetitive characters he creates as well as those who vainly attempt to talk sense into them. But for your Podthinker, it's all about the mastery of the reveal. Is "it's all about timing" something comedians still say?

Vital stats:
Format: semi-satirical talk radio best-of
Duration: ~30m
Frequency: daily

[Questions, comments, ideas, suggestions or threats for Podthinker Colin Marshall? colinjmarshall at gmail.]

Podcast: Coyle & Sharpe Episode 69: Human Hinges

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Welcome to season two of Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters! In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. These original recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.

On this episode: Coyle and Sharpe describe a new kind of door.

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Chris Anderson Interview: The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson is editor-in-chief of WIRED and is also the author of Free: The Future of a Radical Price which explores how the price for delivering content is trending towards zero. We'll talk about the repercussions that is having on the creative industry and those whose job it is to create thoughts.

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