Saturday, January 29, 2011


A quick video of this afternoon's demo in support of Egyptian democracy:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Now playing

Sneak preview of new Ear Candle Radio playlist playing this weekend starting tonight!

No DJ banter yet. We'll be out in the field, perhaps near YOU, soon, recording back announcements. Maybe we'll even ask you to say a few words, you never know.

This time around, I found some great public domain sound clips that we'll be judiciously sprinkling among the music. Everything from history to current events to comedy to just plain weirdness. All part of our never-ending quest to keep it fresh.

Monday, January 10, 2011

I love your solitude, I love your pride

Since the Conspiracy Of Beards are hard at work on a very difficult and haunting new arrangement of "Joan Of Arc", I was drawn to this gut-wrenchingly beautiful essay about "the patron saint of blasphemy" from Tiger Beatdown. It dispels some myths, illuminates the enormity of the hate crime committed against this formidable character, and makes me think (not to say anything glib about Leonard Cohen and his genius) a very different song could have been written about her.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Doctor Dark

The sad passing of Captain Beefheart needs to be noted here. At 15, Trout Mask Replica seized my consciousness and made my isolated life better. I never tried to make music like the Captain (that's a gift that only comes once in a century at least), but his fierce independence was always a model. Like Syd Barrett, he retreated from music early; unlike Syd he moved on to a happy successful life as a painter, with a wife who by all accounts was a true partner. At least he lived a full life before the MS got him.

Notorious as a difficult, capricious bandleader who was both unreliable and a control freak, Don Van Vliet got a lot of criticism from ex-bandmates. At the same time, his unorthodox mind and methods resulted in music like no other. He was the weird old master who abused his students yet left them with skills and insights that few ever gain. A complicated story.

Drummer, transcriber/co-arranger/musical enabler John "Drumbo" French pays tribute here. It's a moving testimonial.

Style and substance

Amanda nails it here. As I once said cynically about one of the crap jobs in my past, "It's not what you're doing, it's what you look like you're doing!" For me that was a glib, sardonic joke. For others, it's a way of life.

Help out a good guy in need

Roy Edroso of Alicublog, one of the smartest, funniest writers on the Internet, is going through a bad patch.Here's a place set up to help him out. If you can spare any donations, do so.

Update: Apparently the response has been overwhelming, and Roy is extremely grateful. We look forward to the resumption of his indispensable commentary.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ear Candle Radio's Top 20: December 2010

As we see off 2010 and set a place at our table for 2011, may the road rise for all of our listeners. We could be wrong, we could be right, but PiL's blazingly righteous benediction from the mid-80s is just the thing we need to set a precedent for a better year to come.

A brief bit of hard won wisdom from Gil Scott-Heron is followed by Donovan's 100% scientifically accurate presentation of how astronauts deal with their bodily functions in a weightless environment and World Domination Enterprises' pounding indictment of industrial poison. The Magnetic Fields invite us to walk a lonely road, Faust go exploring the world of inner space, the Dirtbombs bring the party, Baka Beyond take the party to the jungle, and Huun-Huur-Tu find entire universes in their own well-trained throats.

The Experimental Bunnies express uncertainty on a track from the score for Noodle Brain Productions' television show on the Integrity Tone Scale. Nick Drake shows up with one of his sweetest songs in a brief career full of sweet ones, Funkadelic offer one of their greatest should-have-been-hits, Chumbawamba lift their voices on a rollicking vintage anti-sweatshop ballad, Sly Stone and company find the world-weariness in Doris Day's signature tune, and Arthur Lee croons one of his fine late-period melodious gnomic numbers before yielding the floor to an unbelievable guitar freakout by the little-known Gary Rowles.

Following that, we had Muddy Waters' molten lament "Standing Around Cryin'" (listen to that harmonica!), the first movement of Missa Luba, Mark E. Smith riding one of the Fall's most titanic-sounding soundscapes, the late great Vivian Stanshall accosting passers-by about their shirts, and Bill Callahan's deep rumbling voice finding new corners in a Chris Knox song on the Stroke benefit compilation.

And that's a wrap for 2010. Keep listening; an all-new playlist is on the way!

1. Public Image Ltd. - Rise - Public Image Ltd. - Greatest Hits So Far
2. Gil Scott-Heron - On Coming From A Broken Home (Part. 2) - I'm New Here
3. Donovan - Intergalactic Laxative - Cosmic Wheels
4. World Domination Enterprises - Asbestos Lead Asbestos (Heavy Pollution Mix) - Love from the Lead City
5. The Magnetic Fields - Walk A Lonely Road - Realism
6. Faust - So Far - Faust/So Far
7. The Dirtbombs - The Thing - Ultraglide In Black
8. Baka Beyond - Booma Lena - The Meeting Pool
9. Huun-Huur-Tu - Oske Cherde - Sixty Horses In My Herd
10. The Experimental Bunnies - Uncertainty - Music For The Integrity Tone Scale
11. Nick Drake - Cello Song - Five Leaves Left
12. Funkadelic - Can You Get To That - Maggot Brain
13. Chumbawamba - Poverty Knock - English Rebel Songs 1381-1984
14. Sly & The Family Stone - Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) - Fresh
15. Love - Love Is More Than Words (or Better Late Than Never) - Out Here
16. Muddy Waters - Standing Around Cryin' - The Chess Story 1947-197
17. Les Troubadours Du Roi Baudouin - Kyrie - Missa Luba
18. The Fall - Gross Chapel -- British Grenadiers - Bend Sinister
19. Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Shirt - Tadpoles
20. Bill Callahan - Lapse - Stroke: Songs For Chris Knox