Sonic Geography at the Larkin Beer Garden
Thursday 07/29 | 6 – 9 PM
For those of you in (or with friends in) Central Michigan looking for a place to hang out after work this evening, I’ll be spinning records from 6-9pm at the Larkin Beer Garden. The garden itself is all-ages, there is no cover, and they will have a food truck on premises. Find it nestled on the North gate of the Dow Diamond, across the park from State Street. See you tonight!
A mix so good that the algorithm flagged me at least twice while I was broadcasting the records on Instagram Live! My favorite band of all time (depending on the day you ask me), and certainly the band I traveled the farthest (and spent the most money, but that’s beside the point) to see.
This mix includes a few of my favorite deep cuts, a handful of hits (and variations on hits), and interesting b-sides (for being the best British guitar pop band since the Kinks, Blur had a relatively weak b-side catalog). I’d like to think it shows off a solid handful of the band’s eclectic catalog of strengths. Either way, it’s a fun way to spend an hour. I’m kind of amazed I forgot to play “End of a Century,” though.
- “I Know” (B-Side to the “She’s So High” 12″)
- “Hanging Over” (B-Side to the ‘For Tomorrow’ 12″)
- “Moroccan People’s Revolutionary Bowls Club” (from Think Tank)
- “On Your Own” (7″ clear single)
- “Girls and Boys” (Pet Shop Boys Remix) (12″ Single)
- “Music is my Radar” (12″ Single)
- “There’s No Other Way (Rock Mix)” (12″ RBK dance single)
- “Stereotypes” (7″ pink single)
- “Trailerpark” (from 13)
- “You’re So Great” (stealth Graham single from Blur)
- “Freakin’ Out” (actual Graham single, off the eponymous 7″)
- “Trouble in the Message Centre” (from Parklife)
- “Under the Westway” (from ‘The Puritan’ 7″)
- “Chemical World” (from Modern Life is Rubbish)
- “Look Inside America” (b-side from the ‘M.O.R.’ jukebox single)
- “On the Way to the Club” (from Think Tank)
- “Ong Ong” (from The Magic Whip)
- “Yuko and Hiro” (from The Great Escape)
Happy Wednesday, everyone, or as they say to the Brits and Americans who consistently flood Paris, Happy Wednesday! This week, we’ll be grabbing our cans of spray paint, hopping on nos vélos, and setting off on a journey of découverte.
This week’s mix is a curious bunch of vinyl I’ve acquired on a few trips overseas, with a few key exceptions of rare finds in the US. I tried to include a multitude of songs sung in French, though it was a challenge since so many punk and hardcore songs are recorded in English. French is a language best suited for hip-hop flow and chansons, where English tends to fit with punchier, more aggressive music. As a linguistics nerd, I enjoy this weird binary.
One of the threads that ran through a bunch of my interviews with French collaborators for Capitals of Punk was how France has always felt “late to the party” within pop music (especially rock and punk) among Western countries. This dynamic is what makes French pop music so interesting to me, especially that which is produced with no consideration of the all-powerful English-language tunes, or even that which is produced in direct resistance to the Anglo-American cultural dominance.
I hope you enjoy the variety of material you’re about to hear! I’m also excited to make an announcement on Your Sonic Sunday this coming weekend that is intimately related to this week’s Sonic Geography Mix. Sorry I missed this last Sunday. Sixteen straight Sundays to kick off 2020 wasn’t a bad run.
Funeral Service (Riems) – “Pills”
Schlitz (Paris) – “Destroy Babylon” (from Wondawful World 7″)
Too Much (I have no clue) – “Silex Pistols” (from the Born Bad French Punxploitation LP)
Kromozom 4 (Paris) – “La Tuture” (from 7″ split with Heimat-Los, which I found in Knoxville, of all places)
Baton Rouge (Lyon) – “D’Année en Année”
Sport (Lyon) – “Eric Tabarly” (LP bought at FEST 14)
Maladroit (Paris) – “She Spent Valentine’s Day on her iPhone” (from 7″ split with Teenage Bubblegums)
Kimmo (Paris) – “Clac Son”
Frustration (Paris) – “Artists Suck!”
Buried Option (Orléans) – “Mandrake Falls”
Sunsick (Marseille) – “Holidays”
Telephone (Paris) – “Regarde Moi”
Berurier Noir (Paris) – “Hèlene et le Sang” (from Concerto Pour Détraques reissue LP)
Computerstaat (Paris) – “Crypt” (some cold wave for your souls)
Starshooter (Lyon) – “Betsy Party”
Thrashington D.C. (Brest) – “Banned in B.M.O.”
Metal Urbain (Paris) – “Panik” (Punk française starts here)
Sherwood (Paris) – “Le Bourgeois”
Watermane (Montpellier) – “Greetings from the Basements”
Ferry “Rock” Berendse (Weird story/Indonesian born) – “Rock and Roll Mops” (off the Born Bad Record early French R&R comp)
Amanda Woodward (Caen) – “Pleine de Grâce”
Edith Piaf (Omnipresent) – “Mon Manège À Moi (Tu Me Fais Tourner La Tête)”
Sooner than later, I will post my third and final update from my Summer 2019 trip to Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand, thereby setting a new record for longest-delayed update from the road. I actually came close a few weeks ago, but I forgot. Maybe I was distracted. Maybe it’s quarantine. But, it’s coming.
For now, enjoy this vinyl mega-mix I did of Australian records that purchased in Australia (with a few exceptions, noted in parentheses).
The Gooch Palms (Melbourne) – “Living Room Bop” (purchased from the band at the Fort Sanders Yacht Club)
Dr. Raju (Sydney) – “Don’t Wanna Know” (found at Toxic Toast Records in LBC)
The Riptides (Brisbane) – “Riptide”
The Hummingbirds (Sydney)- “Blush”
Camp Cope (Melbourne) – “Footscray Station”
Brain Children (Melbourne) – “Future Flights”
Thigh Master (Brisbane) – “Company”
The Eyes (???) – “Get it Strait” (b-side of ‘City Livin’ EP)
The Triffids (Perth) – “Estuary Bed”
Royal Headache (Sydney) – “High”
Pinch Hitter (Sydney) – “Nine to Fine”
Swirl (Sydney) – “People I Know”
The Go-Betweens (Brisbane) – “Head Full of Steam” (I think I found this in Urbana, IL, a week after returning to the States)
The Smith Street Band (Melbourne) – “Birthdays”
Nova Scotia (Brisbane) – “Don’t Forget Your Lunchbox”
Money for Rope (Melbourne) – “Hole Like You”
The Newsletters (Melbourne) – “Don’t Let Me Walk Away”
Hungry Lungs (Cairns) – “A Mile Away”
AC/DC (Bon Scott RIP) – “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” (purchased somewhere in North America)
Well, I missed Sonic Sunday this weekend, but I’ll make up for it with some quaran-tunes for your enjoyment. This week, I’m taking a voyage across the mercilessly wide state (almost as if it was added to the Union in some type of land-grab) of Tennessee. When I moved there in 2013, I made the argument that the Volunteer State has contributed more to popular music history than any other, and I still tend to agree with that idea.
This DJ mix, though, gave me the opportunity to share some wax tracks released by various friends I made in my six years of living in Knoxville as well as a few stone-cold classics.
Dead Man’s Lifestyle (Morristown) – “Common Lush” (split lathe 7″ with Cop Funeral)
Reigning Sound (Memphis) – “Time Bomb High School” (stone cold classic LP)
Psychic Baos (Knoxville) – “Fluicide” (Two words: Will Fist)
Faux Killas (Memphis) – “Anxious Love” (I saw this band set Shangri-La Records aflame last year when I went to a conference at University of Memphis)
Daddy Don’t (Knoxville) – “Octopussy” (The only band, to my knowledge, with a full-time bubble blower)
Bark (Knoxville) – “Everything He Built” (7″ with beautiful artwork by Striped Light)
Daddy Issues (Nashville) – “Locked Out” (Possibly my favorite cut from my third favorite LP of the 2010’s)
Lavish Boars (Knoxville) – “They Accepted Me as One of their Own”
Koro (Knoxville) – “The 700 Club” (Off the EP repress, because I’m not a millionaire)
Big Star (Memphis) – “What’s Going Ahn” (here’s a little heartbreak for you)
Gamenight (Knoxville) – “Take My Time”
Headface and the Congenitals (Knoxville) – “Beast is Better” (The McBrides are America’s greatest rock n’ roll family)
The Lost Sounds (Memphis) – “Better Than Something”
Booker T. and the MG’s (Memphis) – “A Woman, a Lover, and Friend”
Saint Thomas LeDoux (Nashville by way of Knoxville by way of Memphis) – “Me Time”
Ex-Gold (Knoxville) – “I’m a Man”
Johnny Cash (omnipresent) – “Goodbye, Little Darlin'”
I did my first Instagram Live DJ set last night, and shockingly, the feed didn’t go down once. Thank you to everyone who tuned in, and if you missed it, here is the audio mixdown and the playlist. It was clearly a directionless free-for-all while I was working out the technical aspects of the “show,” but I’ll still include places of origin and any ancillary notes in the playlist.
Sonic Geography Ep. 1 [03.25.20]
- The Housemartins (Hull) – “Anxious” (from NME giveaway 7″)
- Ernie K-Doe (New Orleans) – “Mother-in-Law” (Allen Touissant song from a 1986 Minit Records comp)
- The Bartlebees (Munich) – “Holidays at the Zoo”
- Booker T. and the MG’s (Memphis) – “Hip-Hug-Her”
- The Wildweeds – “No Good to Cry” (original, dusty 7″ I found at the Porte du Montreuil flea market)
- Gin Blossoms (Tempe) – “Hey Jealousy” (jukebox 7″, dedicated to all the 90’s kids)
- The Go-Betweens (Brisbane) – “Right Here” (12″ single)
- The Clash (London) – “Bankrobber” (7″ version)
- Lord Antics (Montego Bay) – “Split Me in Two”
- Ron Holden (Seattle) – “My Babe”
- The Jesus & Mary Chain (East Kilbride) – “Everything’s Alright When You’re Down”
- The Ambulars (DC) – “Marielle and Ferdinand”
- White Murder (Long Beach) – “The Tell-All”
- Unrest (DC) – “Make Out Club”
- Radon (Gainesville) – “Facial Disobedience”
- Pohgoh (Tampa) – “Tired Ear” (clear reissue LP by New Granada)
- Suede (London) – “Hit Me” (from 2x 7″)
- Black Kids – “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You” (original 10″ demo version, aka the good one)
- The Strokes (NYC) – “12:51”
- The Vitreous Humor (Topeka) – “Why Are You So Mean To Me?”
- They Might Be Giants (Lincoln, MA via NYC) – “Why Does the Sun Shine?” (7″ version)
I had a DJ gig tonight, but you know how they say that desperate times call for desperate measures. Stay home and save lives while hanging out digitally tonight at 9pm EST! Find me on Instagram at @tylersonic. Let’s see how this goes.
When I was visiting DC in November, my friend and I were preemptively reminiscing about how we’ll remember the 2010’s. I said, from where I sit, it seems like where the 2000’s were the decade of us spelunking into the technical possibilities of the digital century, and the 2010’s were the decade of humans reckoning with affiliated dangers (some more evident than others) and escaping the vortex when they could. Resistance, when it boiled down, was so much more than just a buzz word related to people upset at the actions of an administration or particular politicians. To me, it’s about resilience and breaking punching through the wall of a near-Orwellian dynamic of cultural conformity – the kind of society where I got ridiculed for (get this) paying for music in 2005, or daring to use an iPhone 4 in 2016.
Of course, it’s hard to see these trends in action. They’re only observable in terms of, for example, physical book and turntable/vinyl sales, which are still both arguably niche markets. But their meaning and importance transcend those niches, and then some. The process of digital detox is an intensely individual, private phenomenon. One cannot easily observe people cancelling their Facebook or Twitter accounts, and (let’s be honest) the ones who post publicly about plans to do so are usually back around in a week or two.
I just finished David Sax’s 2016 book The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Not only is Sax a very (very, very) good writer and journalist, but at least once every few pages, he made a point that hit me like a ton of bricks. This paragraph did, in particular, considering the wastelands of digital detritus I’ve spent much of the past month sifting through to find some old photos across at least 4 different hard drives:
Writing this out now, I think one of the greatest victories of Sax’ book is how it helps me realize how easy it is to just take stock of all the great analog businesses in my life and realize that I’m not alone.
By the way, to paraphrase Sideshow Bob, I’m aware of the irony of taking a digital picture of a block of text in an analog book to post on the internet in order to prove a point, so don’t bother pointing that out.
Welcome to my new weekly column experiment, Sonic Sunday, where I’ll be posting some items of relevance over the previous week. I thought about posting these on Monday mornings, but Sonic Sunday just sounded better, and I imagine people have more time to browse the web today.
- BiG MiSTAKE
Big Mistake (stylized as ‘BiG MiSTAKE’) were a ska/punk/pop/hardcore band from New Britain, CT, active between the mid-80’s and mid-90’s. I was too young to see them play during their heyday, but I recently discovered a website one of their members set up to archive their history as a band. If you’re interested in what may be the single most insane story I’ve read about indie band life before the internet, check out the story behind their single full-length album, i.
- Very Be Careful
I spent the holidays in Los Angeles this year, and a close Angeleno friend brought me over to Silverlake to see the local cumbia group Very Be Careful. I could think of fewer experiences more quintessentially “LA.” It gave me hope to see such a party happening in Silverlake, which, on the surface, appears to have completely fallen to the hipsters years ago. VBC have been performing locally since 1997 and touring internationally as often as they could pull it together. You can read more about their history at their website here.
Of all the academic organizations I fell into in 2019, IASPM is the greatest. They circulated some new CFPs, one of which was for a conference on Music in the Spanish Civil War. Neat.
- Brain/Salad Comic
Popula has emerged as one of my favorite newer opinion sites on the web. Politics aside, they provide cogent analyses that are meant to be read and finished and thought about and discussed. Jef Harmatz wrote a great comic, inspired by Derf’s Trashed (which I include as required reading in my Intro to Environmental Studies course), that breaks down the dilemma every environmentally conscious person goes through when they think about the footprint of their eating habits. Subscription may be required.
- Vinyl Rants
If anybody here is interested in such things, I posted some thoughts over on Instagram about recent reissues by The Wedding Present and Paul Westerberg.
Have a great week, and Happy New Year!