“I Was Spinning Free…”

This week marks the 15th anniversary of Jimmy Eat World’s breakthrough effort Bleed American.  To mark the occasion, I did a short piece on the record for Diffuser. But personally, the album remains one of those which represents a particular period in time; in this case the summer of 2001.

Having just graduated from college, there was a glaring sense of, “Alright, now what?” I shoulda traveled the world then, but have always been a bit behind when it comes to those sorts of things and would wait a few years for that part of my life to begin. What I did end up doing was heading out on a fairly destination-less cross country road trip with noted culture vulture the Ninja. It was a sense of lingering adventure to do something “big” before entering the so-called real world.

When I say there was no set plan, there was absolutely no set plan. It was for the most part a bit like an Abbott & Costello episode (those who still have both grandparents living can ask them to define that reference). We crashed in random dorms, shelters, hostels and on various couches. There was one concrete idea to attend the Green Party affiliated Campus Greens’ “Rally for Radical Change” held at Chicago’s Congress Theater on August 10.

An e-mail about the event was sent to college mailing lists which stated:

Confirmed speakers and performers include Ralph Nader, Winona LaDuke, Robert Miranda and Jello Biafra.

Invited speakers and performers include Cynthia McKinney, Howard Zinn, Michael Moore, Amy Goodman, Ani Difranco, Radiohead, Common, Chuck D, Zach de la Rocha, and many, many more!

“Holy shit!!” the Ninja and I collectively thought. “That ‘invited speakers and performers’ list is ridiculous.” Radiohead! Chuck D! Zach de la Rocha! Michael Moore! Howard Zinn! The “many, many more” could only make the whole thing even astronomical.

Off we went to take part in this thing and pick the brain of Chuck D.

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‘Even Gods Must Die’

It was announced this week that the 15 year running River Gods in Cambridge, MA would be shuttering its doors for good. This came a a massive disappointment to many in the area, as it was a place which had great food, a better atmosphere and music for anyone’s taste. Each night featured a different DJ doing a different kind of music or theme. Dream pop. Soul. Deep house. Electronic. Vintage Rock and Roll.

I started off there partnering up with Jed Gottlieb of the Boston Herald doing “Prom Nights.” The way it was setup was to take a high school name from a famous film and play the music from the era in which it was set. For instance, ‘Prom Night: Lee High School, 1976’ took the high school name of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, and we spun rock and roll from the mid-70s.

Fun times.

Eventually I started coming up with my own nights, first doing soul and funk, calling it ‘Cold Sweat,’ then kicking it up a few notches with rock dubbed ‘It Might Get Loud,’ but nothing too crazy. Eventually I started doing an ‘Across the Pond’ theme which fully allowed me to embrace Brtipop and anything else from Europe. The sets were accompanied by images and film shown on a big blank wall, like when doing a funk night, I’d have The Night James Brown Saved Boston playing along with the music. I’m gonna miss that hot, tiny little booth that overlooked the Central Square crowd of revelers.

Here’s a flyer I did for the last Across the Pond event, and after the jump are some of my additional favorites.

Dec 9 Continue reading “‘Even Gods Must Die’”

Voltage Factory Playlist 30 June 16

One of the bands I fell really hard for in the mid-90s was Sponge. They’d had a hit with “Molly (Sixteen Candles)” and “Plowed,” at which point they were on my radar, but nothing more. Then, in 1996, the Detroit outfit put out their second album, Wax Ecstatic, and it resonated for some reason. It was just one of those time and place things I suppose. Sponge played the Tower Records in Philly during an in-store, then I saw them while I was spending some time in California at Slim’s in San Francisco that summer. I thought the record was excellent, which is why it’s featured in the Classic Album Spotlight this week on the occasion of turning 20.

Things kicked off with the Stone Roses, and the show was broadcast from NYC where I went to see them at Madison Square Garden. Brilliant time. The second segment went out to all the madness in England with the Brexit vote coming down, beginning with the Killer Cover of Motörhead taking on Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen.”

It’s also the last show before a short summer break, so I tried to fit a little bit of everything. New music from Crash Midnight and Filter, and some heaviness courtesy of Iceland’s Dimma and the Vintage Caravan and a doubleshot of Iron Maiden.

Here are some highlights from this week:

Classic Album Spotlight: Sponge – Wax Ecstatic (20th anniversary)
Volt Vault: The Cult – “Love Removal Machine (Peace Mix)”
Killer Cover: Motörhead – “God Save the Queen” (Sex Pistols)
Double-shot: Iron Maiden

As always, after a new show runs, I’ll be posting the wrap-up here before the rebroadcast. New editions of the Voltage Factory on VanyaRadio run every Thursday night at 8:00pm EST with an opportunity to hear it again the following Monday at 10:00pm EST. This week’s full playlist is after the jump.

Sponge Continue reading “Voltage Factory Playlist 30 June 16”

Voltage Factory Playlist 23 June 16

It’s summertime, officially, so I got to do one of the theme nights I’m so fond of doing every now and again on the Voltage Factory. The show kicked off with one of my favorite songs by The Dears, “Summer of Protest,” which got me into the band in the first place when it came out in 2002. There’s such a mood to it – nothing sunny at all mind you – which is kind of the point of some of the other “summer” tracks I cued up. “Dirty Black Summer” by Danzig, “Endless Summer of the Damned” from Bauhaus, “Die in the Summertime” by Manic Street Preachers and “My Own Summer (Shove It)” from Deftones were some of the irony laden offerings.

Out of the #VoltVault came Van Halen and the excellent Sammy Hagar-era song “Humans Being” which initially appeared on the soundtrack to the film Twister. Hardcore VH fans know this as the one that did in the Hagar-led lineup in 1996, opening the quickly revolving door for a brief return of David Lee Roth and ultimately the ill-fated time with then ex-Extreme singer Gary Cherone. Could’ve spent an entire show explaining that one.

Here are some highlights from this week:

Classic Album Spotlight: AFI – Decemberunderground (10th anniversary)
Volt Vault: Van Halen – “Humans Being”
Killer Cover: Type O Negative – “Summer Breeze” (Seals & Crofts)
Double-shot: Marilyn Manson

As always, after a new show runs, I’ll be posting the wrap-up here before the rebroadcast. New editions of the Voltage Factory on VanyaRadio run every Thursday night at 8:00pm EST with an opportunity to hear it again the following Monday at 10:00pm EST. This week’s full playlist is after the jump.

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Voltage Factory Playlist 16 June 16

The Cult have always been a band that never quite fit into any one period of time, though it’s not for lack of trying. During the mid to late 80s, they had the big hair and glammed out look, but never the trite songs. When grunge hit big in the early 90s, the UK outfit tried to mimic the musical style to such a degree that when it didn’t work, they ended up on a lengthy hiatus where it looked like frontman Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy might never repair their relationship. Thankfully the two made nice and returned with Beyond Good and Evil in 2001, a heavy, groovy, satisfying work. It turns 15 years old this month, and was the subject of the Classic Album Spotlight.

From the #VoltVault, I grabbed “Jump in the Fire” from Metallica’s original 1982 No Life ‘Til Leather demo. Drummer Lars Ulrich said recently they wanted to put out an expanded reissue of the long bootleged item, but that they were facing some hurdles, which could be issues created by former bassist Ron McGovney or ex-guitarist Dave Mustaine, both of who played on it. Fans are doubting either of the two are looking for more money though, and signs are pointing to someone on the production or studio end that wants a bigger cut.

Here are some highlights from this week:

Classic Album Spotlight: The Cult – Beyond Good and Evil (15th anniversary)
Volt Vault: Metallica – “Jump in the Fire [’82 Demo]”
Killer Cover: Anthrax – “Ball of Confusion” (The Temptations)
Double-shot: Queensrÿche

As always, after a new show runs, I’ll be posting the playlist here before the rebroadcast. There is an opportunity to hear it again as the Voltage Factory repeats the following Monday at 10:00pm EST on VanyaRadio. The full playlist is after the jump.

TheCult2001
A 2001 flyer to promote The Cult’s Beyond Good and Evil tour

Continue reading “Voltage Factory Playlist 16 June 16”

Voltage Factory Playlist 09 June 16

When Metallica dropped Load in 1996, it sent shock-waves through the music industry on every level imaginable. First was the music which had completely dispensed with the thrash of old, replaced with more standard rock fare with a bluesy tint. Then there was the band’s newly revealed image where they were outfitted in silk shirts, suits or white A-shirts with suspenders. The most glaring though was the haircuts – Metallica were newly shorn, all four members,  and it was all anyone could talk about that entire summer. On the week of Load’s 20th anniversary, it was interesting to look back at what remains their most polarizing release to date.

A double dose of Motörhead was tapped into, and rifling around in the #VoltVault, I pulled out the AC/DC track “Cold Hearted Man” which was originally a part of the 1978 classic album Powerage, then lost to the sands of time when it was shuffled out of the tracklisting for three decades. It ended up reappearing on the band’s rarities collection, Backtracks, which came out in 2009.

Here are some highlights from this week:

Classic Album Spotlight: Metallica – Load (20th anniversary)
Volt Vault: AC/DC – “Cold Hearted Man”
Killer Cover: Ministry – “Under My Thumb” (The Rolling Stones)
Double-shot: Motörhead

As always, after a new show runs, I’ll be posting the playlist here before the rebroadcast. There is an opportunity to hear it again as the Voltage Factory repeats the following Monday at 10:00pm EST on VanyaRadio. The full playlist is after the jump.

Metallica-Elektra
A new look Metallica was introduced leading up to the 1996 release of Load.

Continue reading “Voltage Factory Playlist 09 June 16”

Voltage Factory Playlist 02 June 16

This week on The Voltage Factory I featured the debut album from The Smashing Pumpkins, Gish, which came out this week in 1991. It wouldn’t be until the Chicago outfit’s next effort, 1993’s Siamese Dream, that they would receive mainstream success, despite the fact that bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, et al were getting widespread acclaim in 1991. Labels were too focused on the Pacific Northwest at the time, and needed to exhaust the region before searching elsewhere for music with loud guitars and self-deprecating vocals which were the flavor du jour. Gish is an under-appreciated album, and was sort of forgotten for the most part when Siamese Dream hit big, yet for many hardcore fans of the group, it remains their defining work.

There was a bunch of new music to get to on the show, including new stuff from Band of Skulls, Dinosaur Jr. and Boston’s very own Crash Midnight, who have a slamming new track called “Roxy.”

Digging around the #VoltVault, I came across a band called Skrape who I initially discovered back in 2001 when their debut New Killer America came out. There wasn’t anything special about the Orlando act, but played right, they could’ve filled the void left by Pantera who were unknowingly on the way out. Unfortunately, they straddled the line between traditional and nu-metal with a slant toward the latter which would prove to be a death knell shortly.

Most people are familiar with one of two times where Aerosmith covered The Beatles; the first was “Come Together” from the soundtrack to the ill-fated film Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band which came out in 1978, which also got legs when it appeared on the band’s Greatest Hits two years later. They also took on “I’m Down” for the comeback album Permanent Vacation. But before either of them, they recorded “Helter Skelter” during the 1975 sessions for Toys in the Attic, an interpretation faithful to the original which didn’t see the light of day until the expansive rarities set Pandora’s Box was released in 1991 – and now it’s this week’s Killer Cover.

Here are some highlights from this week:

Classic Album Spotlight: The Smashing Pumpkins – Gish (25th anniversary)
Volt Vault: Skrape – “What You Say”
Killer Cover: Aerosmith – “Helter Skelter”
Double-shot: The Afghan Whigs

As always, after a new show runs, I’ll be posting the playlist here before the rebroadcast. There is an opportunity to hear it again as the Voltage Factory repeats the following Monday at 10:00pm EST on VanyaRadio. The full playlist is after the jump.

Smashing-Pumpkins-1992 Gish
The Smashing Pumpkins circa Gish, 1991.

Continue reading “Voltage Factory Playlist 02 June 16”