We’re in the midst of a blizzard in Washington, D.C., this weekend. It’s my first one! I’m staying cozy in a house with three boys, a dog, and a Nintendo 64. At work, my colleagues kept referencing the last big storms: “Snowmageddon” in 2010 and the Blizzard of 1996.
I grew up hearing about the Blizzard of ’96 because my dad happened to be in D.C. that week for a conference. He loves telling the story, which starts with seeing jazz pianist Mose Allison at a club in Georgetown. I had him retell the story once more over the phone when I found a cassette at home labeled only with my dad’s name—hoping it would be recordings of him—that ended up being a bunch of Mose Allison songs.
So I edited together one of Mose’s songs and my dad’s blizzard tale, now 20 years later. Take a listen!
What’s your best blizzard story? Any songs to recommend?
Last weekend I participated in the KCRW 24-Hour Radio Race, an annual contest for amateur and professional media producers to create an audio story around a specified theme in the span of one day.
In the first five hours of the race, I suffered from laziness and lack of inspiration. In the sixth hour, everything I had planned got tossed aside as an unexpected, very uncomfortable opportunity presented itself.
I didn’t end up submitting the story by the deadline, but I’m glad I can share it here so we can all bask in the awkwardness of dating together.
Today is my birthday! So I’m posting this recording of Kepi Ghoulie playing his “Happy Birthday” song that I forgot to post on my brother’s birthday.
Allan came to visit Washington, D.C., for Thanksgiving, and then we got to see Kepi with the Mean Jeans as his backing band at Comet Ping Pong in December. It was a hella Sac throwback. Since the last time I saw Kepi was an acoustic show, nice and mellow, it was a jolt to see him thrashing around on stage. The birthday song was for one of the Mean Jean Moms, who all live in the D.C. suburbs.
They played another one of our favorites (though I still prefer the Kirsty MacColl version on my favorite mixtape Allan made for our parents), “A New England.”
Any advice on stupid, irresponsible things I should do in the last year of my twenties?
By the end of next month, I’ll have been playing gamelan for eight years. I started out very timidly in the UC Davis Gamelan Ensemble, jammed once with the Evergreen State College instructor in Olympia, twice with the Geidai arts university in Okinawa, a year with the Los Angeles consulate, and now over a year at the Indonesian Embassy.
At the embassy, we’ve been practicing this epic wayang theater piece, Andhe Andhe Lumut, for several months. In May I challenged myself to the gongs, the largest and loudest instruments—which is fun for me as the smallest and quietest member. Sometimes it takes a bit of contorting to reach every kempul and some juggling with three different mallets, and that’s why I love it.
This recording is just an excerpt, but it’s some of my favorite parts. It sounds pretty echoey in the embassy’s ballroom instead of our basement practice space.
Every time I turn on my recorder at a show, it’s a gamble if I’ll like the following song enough to want to record and then share it. At this show at the Black Cat last weekend, I got lucky!
First, I started recording just as Death Vessel began playing “Block My Eye,” the very first song I ever heard by him and played on my radio show. (Some party girls were talking too loud though, so I scrapped it.) I would have been happy to capture all of Mirah’s set, but on a hunch I switched on just in time for the first of only maybe three classics out of mostly new songs.
Her new album, Changing Light, came out in May on K Records / Absolute Magnitude Recordings, and it’s lovely as always! Here’s one of the new ones.
Punk rock icon Ian MacKaye comes through our office every few months, since he’s old friends with our archivist Jeff Place and working on archival projects of his own. The first time I saw him, two summers ago, I remember hearing that next time he was going to bring his buddy, fellow punk rock icon Henry Rollins.
Today he followed through, stopping by before Rollins gave a talk on the D.C. punk scene at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
I told him I like his radio show, which was a highlight of being stuck in Saturday-evening Los Angeles traffic. But to be honest, I don’t think I’ve consciously listened to Black Flag until tonight. I didn’t tell him that when I asked to record a station ID for KDVS.
So, where should I start? Recommend an album to me!
The only reason I started going to experimental shows in California was that my friends played experimental music. I went to support them and to hang out. And after a while, I couldn’t tell if I liked the music or if I just liked watching my friends play the music. And after another while, I realized it doesn’t matter. Music = friends = community. You know?
So that’s why I went to the opening night on the 2014 Sonic Circuits Festival on Friday night, to explore that community in D.C. Sonic Circuits is a local experimental show presenter, and they’ve been hosting this annual festival since 2001, with a variety of sound art, film and other performances.
My favorite moment of the night was from Mind Over Matter, Music Over Mind (or MOM²). Thomas Stanley played these ostinatos on a contact-miked mbira while Luke Stewart laid on the effects. Sorry I only had my phone recorder!
I also really liked when this girl Lazurite played that ladder with a bow and made it sound good. Looped with a thumb piano and clarinet, actually quite pretty.