Mar 4, 2012


The Wire's got The Invisible Jukebox, but here at Fort Rust in Atlanta, GA, we can see our stereo just fine. My buddy, henceforth identified as "D" (and not to be confused with D of C and D in Arthur magazine), decided to pull out assorted sundries and stuff from my stacks hoping to throw me off or something and we're calling it SWAMI RADIO.

Bob Dylan
Live at the Royal Albert Hall 1966

W: …hit it.
Whoa! Strange place to start.

D: I really didn’t mean to do this. I swear!

W: Whenever I doubt I’m growing old and corny, I check and see how many Dylan records I have and…yeah, gray hairs confirmed. I used to hate this guy.

D: How come?

W: A little of everything. I have a hard time relating to legends. And when the whole of Western culture seems to be lurching towards you with copies of Blonde on Blonde, you can’t help but…wanna put up your dukes. That being said, the “backing band” did it for me and made me realize I could like him and all his strange choices.

D: They do kinda slay all over the place.

W: It’s like they all decided ahead of time to play the delicate stuff crudely and the crude stuff delicately. Gotta respect that. And I actually like his voice. Some of the songs, especially the political folkie moments, still make me pukey. There’s this hardcore myth (with all kindsa sinister roots) that he did that style better than anybody. But, see, I got this Jim Page record—street folkie from Seattle back when—who does that schtick a good sight better.

D: Don’t know him. Hey, we’re getting off track here.

W: Sorry. I always go for the comfiest topics.

Nik Pascal Raicevic
Magnetic Web

W: Ok, now we’re talking. You picked one of the sleeper albums, too!

D: [long pause during “Edge of the Unknown”] I don’t get your taste sometimes.

W: [laughs] What’s not to dig about this?! This is what I meant by “I can’t relate to legends.” Here’s a guy with no discernable—meaning, I guess, marketable—skills, but he does have a shitload of rad equipment and time. And inspiration for weeks, if you ask me! It’s almost visionary in its defiant quasi-shittiness. He blunders in and out of every impulse, whether it leads somewhere great or not. And maybe that’s also what I like about it. There’s filtering to be done. After digging for a record you get to dig through a record.

D: [long pause] Yeah, I don’t know, though…

W: C’mon. If you made this, you’d be proud. And I’d be proud…and maybe a little concerned?

Walt Rockman

W: We’re stuck in some 70s synthesizer holding pattern here…

D: Any guesses?

W: Shit, it could be loads of stuff. [long pause] Wow, it’s even got the token Rockford Files car chase funk track. Why does every “library music” record have one of those?

D: You’re sidetracking again. Are you giving up?

W: [long sigh, rubbing eyes] I guess so, yeah. [the reveal] Aaahhh! I don’t know that I ever got all the way through this one. Put on Underwater Volume One! That one’s got a lot more weird zoning out—although it’s still more focused than Raicevic. Not that that’s hard…

Rockman has his moments. And then there’s Biology. Those Rockford cuts are just total poison to me. What the fuck is funk doing in a library anyway?

Maria Barton
Rainful Days
Korean CD reissue

W: This is great! Glad you’re digging in my UK folkie repository. Been trying to puff that up lately.

D: You’re right so far.

W: I feel like the earth opened into a massive, foaming sinkhole in about 1970 and sucked everything good into it until swollen and belching around 1984. And these ponderous little topaz skeletons of songs went in along with the rest.
[long pause]
I just got this, too. What’s her name? … Maria…Barton?

D: Yes! Thought you were a goner.

W: It makes a weird kind of sense that after years of being dead to the world, this LP winds up in the hands of a record slut in Korea who throws it on one crampy, foggy Sunday afternoon, it totally fills his drawers (in a gentle, strummy, folky way), and he immediately decides to rerelease it. The packaging is so respectful, so faithful to the original, it’s practically a religious document. I bet he took some weird Canterbury pilgrimage—no pun intended—to her old flat.

D: Why’s it gotta be a dude?

W: It don’t. My bad.

Loose Grip
Live Under Jackson’s House

W: Oh shit. It’s that Aussie hardcore band! What’re they called…? Loose—Loose Grip!

D: Right on. There’s some newish seven-inch out, so the Internet tells me.

W: I don’t remember how I found this and I could never find any info on it. This is everything I like about hardcore: you can detect little moments from a million styles and creeds packed into just a few seconds, but delivered so beautifully. Noisy, cruddy, but so bloody efficient at the same time. I always thought this kind of hardcore asked a really pertinent question: why DO songs have to be soooo long?

D: So is this a live thing? A bootleg?

W: No idea. I think its a few years old, but there’s songs on it that wound up on the seven-inch—which I really want to hear. I picture mountains of damp, mushy cigarette butts in the back of their tour van, sloshing back and forth like spilled Gatorade.

D: Ugh. Let’s call it on that note.

W: Same time next year, yeah?

D: You got it, Swami.

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