Sunday, March 22, 2009

Times are tough---buy some stuff!


And considering all the great things we add to the world, from our music, our videos and our radio station, to this very blog, we're not too shy to ask for it. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to contribute that won't cost very much and will also give you something to show for it.

If you love our station, you can become a Live 365 VIP member. When VIP members tune in to our station, we get paid for the time they listen. Right now, it's enough to begin to offset our monthly fees; it would be wonderful if we got to the point where the station could pay for itself!

We have lots of music for sale on our home page. CDs by J Neo Marvin and the Content Providers and X-tal are available through our favorite distributor, CD Baby.

And we have mp3s for sale by the Experimental Bunnies and the Blame available on our Tunecore page. Come check these out. Buy your favorite songs, or buy the entire album! Remember, anything you buy, large or small, helps make it possible to bring you more of this good stuff!

Commission a video from us! We can do a two-camera shoot, professionally and artistically edited, for a reasonable rate. Check out some of our work:

Indian classical fusion from the Nada Brahma Music Ensemble

Madame P at the Undisclosed Location

Erase Errata at the Bottom Of The Hill

We have a Cafe Press page where you can order T-shirts, mugs and buttons featuring our snazzy Ear Candle Radio logo. Get yourself a conversation piece while supporting the station that never fails to surprise.

We know there are a lot of people out there who like what we do. Here's a chance to get some cool cheap stuff for yourself and help keep us afloat in these perilous times. Thanks for being there.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Here are the young men (and women), the weight on their shoulders

Our most devoted commenter Ian recommends a couple of new bands:

Where did all these new "crystal" bands come from all of a sudden? Funny how certain words catch on everywhere at the same time. I guess X-tal were ahead of the curve on this one.

This band does a terrific cover version of "Life In Vain", one of my favorite Daniel Johnston songs ever, but I couldn't find a video of that one.

And one more we've been sort of debating the worth of (personally I think they're pretty superb):

Thanks to the next generation for bringing the noise.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Seen Your Video: The Quiet American

The second film adaptation of Graham Greene's novel from 1956 was suppressed here when it came out in 2002, because producers feared to release a movie that criticized U.S. foreign policy at the time. Just thought I'd throw that in to remind us all of that wonderful time after 9/11 when we ALL were UNITED...or else.

Anyway, it's an interesting take on colonialism and Vietnam before the U.S. war, seen through the eyes of Fowler, an aging British expatriate journalist in Saigon (played by Michael Caine) as his cozy world of detachment, opium and hot sex with a pretty local woman is shaken up, first by scrutiny from the home office, then by the arrival of Pyle (Brendan Fraser), a seemingly goofy innocent American volunteer on a mission to treat trachoma outbreaks in the outlying villages. A love triangle ensues, complicated by Fowler's wife back in the UK, a devout Catholic who refuses to divorce him, vs. the girlfriend Phuong's protective sister as well as her own desire for a real future, which Pyle offers in the form of a nice suburban marriage in the richest superpower in the world during its most prosperous decade. Phuong is loyal, but she's not stupid. The movie (apparently like the novel before it) doesn't allow Phuong much of an inner life, but Do Thi Hay Yen enriches her role with some subtle acting; you can see her thinking through her situation even as she plays the "sweet Oriental flower" for the foreign men who are enthralled with her.

But it's the geopolitical story that really fascinates in this movie. France is fading as a colonial power and can no longer hold back an emerging Communist uprising, while the Americans are counting on what they call a "third force" to bring stability and independence to the country. A mysterious "General The" has emerged as an alternate revolutionary force, but where did he come from? And where is he getting his support? I'm trying to avoid spoilers here, but if you know about the history of the region, the answers are pretty obvious.

The movie is framed as a flashback after Pyle's body is found in the Mekong River. Who would wish to kill this innocent aw-shucks goofball? This is the part you have to see for yourself, 'cause I ain't telling. But when the pieces fall together, it all makes sense.

There's another performance in the movie worth mentioning: that of Fowler's friend/contact/news source Hihn, played by Tzi Ma. Through the course of the movie, we discover he is more than just the obligatory local color; in his final scene, the emotions in his face are more powerful than the shock of what we see him doing. Suddenly a minor character's whole life comes into sharp focus. Tzi Ma doesn't appear in many scenes, but that one moment should have won him an Oscar.

Friday, March 13, 2009

"It wasn't my fault! I wanted to belong!"

Just follow the link and watch the video, then come back.

Why is it that we require a comedian to give us some proper news on TV? I don't follow these cable business channels, so I missed all the shenanigans on CNBC. But it's hard to avoid this clown Jim Cramer and his show when you're channel-surfing. People put their faith in these characters, and they basically defrauded them. And Jon Stewart has been doing a bang-up job lately exposing the scam. (Who really thought he would run out of material when the Democrats took office? Not me. There is SO MUCH to expose and mock out there.)

So Cramer has been running around defending himself indignantly against this mere "comedian" who has attacked him, finding sympathetic ears with the odious likes of Joe Scarborough. But this clip stunned me. The man gets a chance to face his accuser, and what happens? He folds like an accordion. Look at him in the video. The word is ABJECT. He's kissing ass and promising to do better, like a teenager caught sneaking a cigarette in the backyard.

There is rot in the American capitalist system that this stimulus won't come close to touching. When you look at the hard times you are going through, don't forget: somebody has profited from this, and they are still doing so, and when they get caught red-handed in front of a camera, all they can do is shrug sheepishly, "oh, it's true, I'm a bad boy!" You just know every one of these slimeballs has a dominatrix on call to give them the punishment they crave, and they walk out after their appointment thinking that they have purged themselves and their conscience is clean. No, more and more of us trying to make ends meet in a sinking economy want to see some accountability, and we want to see it now. At least there are comedians who get it. Thank you Jon Stewart.

This song still says it all. We are working on new Blame material to round out our next digital release. There is so much to say, both personal and political, and we need words and music that are strong enough to describe it and speak for these times. And when the commercials for "" coming from the other room start to sound like the ultimate in anemic indie-rock, you know it's time to pull out the big guns and remember what the point of all this music was in the first place.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Seen Your Video: Land Of Plenty

A Vietnam veteran cruises through the wasteland of Los Angeles in a beat-up old van crammed full of state-of-the-art surveillance equipment. It's 2004, and the US is being bombarded with frantic news of shadowy terrorist plots about to happen and sleeper cells all over the country just biding their time until they launch an attack that will make 9/11 look like a dry run. The THREAT is IMMINENT, you see; they're all around us, and this is no time for doubt or wimpy French words like "nuance"!

Our man rolls along, gathering samples of water, shredded documents, etc. and bringing them back to his comrade, who runs a crime lab in his garage. (Richard Edson here, playing his usual role as the put-upon sidekick/brother) Something big is in the works, and these two heroes, working deep cover, intend to be the ones to stop it. One day the van driver happens to catch a man in a turban hauling boxes of borax to a chemical plant and begins tailing him; this is undoubtedly part of a plot. Soon after, the man in the turban is killed in a drive-by shooting, and now we know for sure something is up; perhaps two rival terrorist groups are working against each other. Thank God our hero is watching, getting ready to bust it all open. Great set-up for a trashy action movie, perhaps starring Bruce Willis, or even better, Chuck Norris, right? Too bad. It's a slow-paced, meditative, subtle mood piece by Wim Wenders instead, and more will be revealed. (I intend to keep the spoilers to a minimum, though. It's better if you watch it for the first time without knowing what happens.)

The deep-cover operative has a niece: the daughter of two missionaries, a guileless young Christian girl who just flew back from the West Bank where she had been demonstrating with a group of Israeli pacifists against the building of the wall separating the Jewish settlements from the Palestinian population. She's come to deliver a letter from her deceased mother to her only living relative in the States; meanwhile she takes a job in a rescue mission in LA, serving the growing homeless population. We're with this girl as she prays, e-mails her friends, worries about the world, and gives herself over to service. Your agnostic movie reviewer marvels to himself that here is a credible character exhibiting all the tenets of Christianity, but you would never find the likes of her anywhere in an ostensibly "Christian" piece of cinema like Left Behind: The Movie. Wonder why? Hmmmmm...

The plot ends up taking the two characters to Death Valley, where we find out the secret of the borax conspiracy and learn a few more things, while Wenders indulges his love of residential American desert landscapes. I'll leave it at that. See this movie for yourself.

At the end, two people in New York stand in the site of Ground Zero. One begins to complain and the other essentially says to shut up and listen. Then Leonard Cohen sings.

Other musical notes: at one point we hear what sounds like a growly modern pop-punk song with the chorus: "It's expensive being poor/because everything costs more!" The singer turns out to be T.V. Smith, formerly of seminal London punks the Adverts. Nice going, T.V. A lot of songs feature a German singer named "Thom" who is not Thom Yorke, he just sounds like him. The songs comment on the story and set the mood; Wenders is a rare filmmaker whose rock scores actually seem to belong in his movies rather than functioning as product placement.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ear Candle Radio's Top 20: February 2009

Another wide-ranging chart, honoring fallen heroes Lux Interior and Yma Sumac, juxtaposing hip-hop remixes of Bollywood with a raga from the great Ali Akbar Khan, and setting our controls for the heart of the sun with two contrasting explorations of the cosmos from Spacemen 3 and D.J. Shadow.

The Love Dogs continue to thrive with their Albert Ayler tribute, and the Interstellar Grains and A.J. In Evolution grace us with more instrumental goodness, as does Kaki King with another tangled virtuoso guitar piece. The Vivian Girls teach a new generation how to say "NO!", the Incredible String Band and Irma Thomas curl up and get romantic, and our own label is represented by one each from the Blame and the Experimental Bunnies.

Keep on tuning in as we continue to tweak the playlist! And if you show up in our top 20, get in touch so we can send you an Ear Candle Radio button!

1. Spacemen 3 - Take Me To The Other Side - Singles
2. DJ Shadow - What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 4) - Endtroducing.....
3. The Cramps - Sunglasses After Dark - Songs The Lord Taught Us
4. Yma Sumac - Chicken Talk - Mambo
5. Various Artists - Inspector J From Delhi - Bombay The Hard Way
6. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan - Raga Chandranandan - Traditional Music of India
7. Interstellar Grains - The In Between - Interstellar Grains
8. The Vivian Girls - No - Vivian Girls
9. Paleface - There's Something About a Truck - Paleface
10. Fatal Microbes - Violence Grows - Rip It Up And Start Again: Post Punk 1978-1984
11. Burning Spear - Civilised Reggae - Social Living
12. The Love Dogs - Universal Indians - The Love Dogs
13. The Experimental Bunnies - Danger - Music For The Integrity Tone Scale
14. The Blame - Get Out! - Unreleased
15. Judy Collins - Pirate Jenny - In My Life
16. Easy Star All Stars - Us And Them - Dub Side Of The Moon
17. Kaki King - Close Your Eyes & You'll Burst Into Flames
18. Irma Thomas - Take A Look - Time Is on My Side
19. The Incredible String Band - Everything's Fine Right Now - The Incredible String Band
20. A.J. In Evolution (Aka A.J. Fritscher) - A Trip In Barcelona - A Work In Progress