Tuesday, September 24, 2013


To close out September in fine style, I've strung together 21 quality rocknroll compositions, grouped them into logical clusters, added some pithy and often insightful commentary, and called it DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE RADIO, Edition #21. It's the bi-weekly podcast I do. I hope you download it, or maybe stream it if you'd like. New stuff this time from Neonates, Los Tentakills, Ruby Pins, The Ar-Kaics and even the queen of swinging mademoiselle French pop herself, Clothilde. Old(er) stuff this time leans loud, but not exclusively: Myelin Sheaths; Tyvek; early Meat Puppets; The Only Ones at their most "punk"; Terminal Waste Band even the disco/dub/krautrock band Tussle. I made it for you, so at least you should try a couple minutes, right? Oh - and this hideous Avant Gardener sleeve was deliberately chosen as the "art" for this episode. You can't look away.

Download Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio Podcast #21
Stream Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio Podcast #21 on Soundcloud

Track listing:

TYVEK - Duck Blinds
RED CROSS - Pseudo-Intellectual (demo)
MYELIN SHEATHS - Everything is Contagious
BE YOUR OWN PET - Food Fight
THE ONLY ONES - Language Problem
CLOTHILDE - Je T'ai Voulu Et Je T'Ai Bien Eu
MARZIPAN - I Believe
LOS TENTAKILLS - Have You For My Own
THE AR-KAICS - Sick and Tired
MEAT PUPPETS - Blue Green God
L-SEVEN - Secrets
RUBY PINS - Lost Art
THE VAMPS - Carving Knife
TUSSLE - Here It Comes

Past Shows:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Posting here at The Hedonist Jive will be slowing down to a trickle this Fall as I transfer my non-work, non-family energies to another project: a print magazine tied to one of my many blogs- the music-only Dynamite Hemorrhage. I'll aim to continue posting podcasts from the two shows I'm doing here, as well as the odd book review and so on. Just don't expect too much anytime soon. See you in a few months.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


It's all about the young musicmakers of today this time on DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE RADIO - this 65-minute podcast features a bunch of 'em, including brand new stuff from Household, Neonates, Wildhoney, The Ar-Kaics, Toxie, Terry Malts, Ruby Pins and even the swan song from Sic Alps. Holy mackerel. I also took a page directly from the book of New Zealand's (and The Dead C's) Bruce Russell, and played a set of kiwi postpunk, punk and noise from the early 1980s on "small labels", just as Mr. Russell did on this excellent podcast. I was taking notes, as you'll see. The show is rounded out by other sub-underground sound from Jackknife, Blast Off Country Style, The Spits, Dara Puspita, Bona Dish, Flesh Eaters and more.

Download Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio Podcast #20 here.
Subscribe to the show on iTunes here.
Listen to it (or download it) on Soundcloud here.

Track listing:

WILDHONEY - Super Stupid
THE TUTS - Beverly
BONA DISH - Mutation
RUBY PINS - My Friends Are Insane
TERRY MALTS - They're Feeding
NEONATES - Over Fire
TOXIE - Ties
LIFE IN THE FRIDGE EXISTS - Have You Checked The Children?
NAKED SPOTS DANCE - Crescendo/Circle Moon
THE OXES - Garden City Hell Flight
25 CENTS - Don't Deceive Me
RITUAL SEX - Caligula
THE AR-KAICS - Make It Mine
THE FLESH EATERS - Jesus Don't Come Through The Cotton
SIC ALPS - Biz Bag

Past Shows:

Friday, September 6, 2013


I moved to San Francisco right out of college in 1989, and was raised in the shadow of it, an hour down the peninsula in San Jose. The City (capital C, of course) was, by the time I was moving in, consumed by an AIDS crisis that was killing young men in the low hundreds every single month. I lived in the Haight-Ashbury, just blocks from where "FAIRYLAND"'s author Alysia Abbott grew up with her gay poet/writer father, Steve Abbott – and where she was caring for him as he died from AIDS as well. It was a weird time. San Francisco is such a gay city, and AIDS activists and organizations and marches and hospice care fundraisers were everywhere at that time. The documentary film "We Were Here", which is excellent, tells the story very well. As a non-gay male whose main and almost exclusive interests in the early 90s were rocknroll, record collecting and starting my work career (such as it was, as a customer service rep at Monster Cable), I found the AIDS crisis both easy to ignore and impossible to get away from. I wanted to read Abbott's book to get a better sense of her San Francisco, the one I lived in or near for much of the same time, and at the same age (early 20s) – but also because her memoir of growing up in a loose, ever-shifting sort of bohemia with her dad sounded like a terrific ride. It was.

"FAIRYLAND" is a memoir that I recommend to anyone unconditionally. Primarily, Abbott tells an excellent chronological tale of her girlhood, teenage years and young adulthood in a non-maudlin, often self-effacing and extremely loving manner toward her father, who raised her on a wing and a prayer all by himself. Her parents were educated and radical grad student activists and hippies in Atlanta who married young, lived fast and, in her mother's case, died very young. They married despite her knowledge that her husband-to-be was bisexual and, as it turned out, later to be exclusively gay. In fact, Steve Abbott was radicalized by Stonewall in 1969, so we're talking about someone who was "out and proud" very early, to his credit. Alysia Abbott writes very well, piecing together her father's recollections and journal entries, of her young mother's struggles with her new husband's boyfriends and about the almost monthly personal growth she was undergoing from 60s wild child to somewhat responsible mother.

That said, Alysia Abbott pulls no punches throughout this book on the shortcomings of her parents, and more importantly, those of herself. The pain she feels even writing about her teenage selfishness and her naive/fearful neglect of her lonely and eventually dying father, without her even having to say it, is obviously immense, and she reprints letters that she wrote him that must have been painful to re-read 20 years later, let alone share with the world. It's also clear that she was, on the whole, a wonderful and loving daughter, and the true light of her dad's too-short life. Steve Abbott is painted as a complex but exceptionally good-hearted man, one who was sure of his sexuality and creative calling as a poet/artist/bohemian, yet who struggled with feelings of self-worth and with loneliness. You wonder, as Alysia does, what their life might have been like had her mother Barbara lived. Would it have even been together? Not likely – but it is possible it would have made for a different, but equally good book.

The dissonance of being a gay man raising a daughter in free-swinging, liberated 70s and early 80s San Francisco must have been a minefield. Alysia Abbott writes of how jarring it was for her, simultaneously embracing her father's friends and lifestyle while often yearning for the quote-unquote normal childhoods she saw on TV and that she observed in her friends. Think, though, of Steve Abbott's uniqueness as a gay dad, back in a time when no one had a gay dad that they lived with. Marriages would instantly dissolve when one parent came out as gay in the 70s, and the children would almost always be placed with the straight parent. This was not an option in the Abbott household, nor would either of them ever wished for any alternative but the one they were given. Steve Abbott often found himself on the periphery of the gay community, wanting to be more active, to date more, to go out more - and yet wholly devoted to raising his daughter in the best ways he knew how.

The memoir also does a terrific job recounting young Alysia's humorous experiences with many San Francisco-centric touchstones: the poetry readings and internecine warfare amongst the literary set; "The Quake", the new wave/Rock of the 80s station that we both listened to in the Men Without Hats era; the gay scene in the Castro and at CafĂ© Flore; and the dawn of grunge in the Haight, with gutter punks, skinheads and street kids and late nights at the I-Beam and Nightbreak. That I myself was very much present for. I even drove past her old place at 545 Ashbury the other day while in the midst of reading the book, to get a better frame of reference for her San Francisco – wow. Regardless of her father's sexuality and their life circumstances, there's little doubt that her childhood would have had major and significant differences from mine in the safety and comfort of suburban Sacramento and San Jose.

It's touching and powerful when you realize toward the middle of the book that the "differently-parented" Alysia Abbott writing the book did not have to go through a crucible of drug use, depression and inner pain to write a memoir as powerful as she did. In fact, she seems to have turned out just great. She benefited from summers-long stints at her grandparents on her mother's side's house in Illinois, which provided her with a more conventional worldview to balance out her otherwise very unconventional youth. She was placed into a first-rate private French school, one that is still there now. Finally, Alysia Abbott had her father, who – clichĂ© as it may be for me to write – helped shape her into the person and the writer that she is today. Her book ends with Steve Abbott's inevitable and exceptionally sad death, though she does not milk it any more than is necessary to cleanly wrap up this coda in her tale, and ends the book with a short epilogue that ties the story into an elegy for the many, many men that were dying in horrible ways across San Francisco in the 80s and 90s - when many of us were looking the other way. It's a powerful piece of writing, and a terrific memoir that succeeds on just about every level.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


The Spanish civil war of 1936-1939 was a siren song for young Socialists all over Europe, an opportunity to fight Fascism (and Franco) in a major European country after the recent disasters in Italy (Mussolini) and Germany (Hitler and the Nazis). Communism, if not totally ascendent, had yet to be fully tarnished by the eventual global realization of how Stalin was starving and imprisoning his people, nor just how Communism-in-practice actually worked in the USSR. The ideals of socialism were very much intact, and in many ways remain intact to this day, although distinct lines were then being carefully drawn between the democratic socialists, the more hardened theoretical socialists, soft Communists, and Stalinists. The 1930s were a hothouse environment for ideology, and you couldn't have picked a better spot to watch competing versions of the truth play out than in late 1930s Spain.

Englishman George Orwell did just that, enlisting on the government's side to try and keep the fascists from taking over the country, which, we now know, was a futile effort. Orwell did not know that, even upon completion of this book – in fact, "HOMAGE TO CATALONIA" ends with Orwell musing about likely outcomes, not one of which seriously entertains Generalissimo Francisco Franco being the strong-arm boss of Spain for the next forty years. Orwell kept a journal of his adventures, which are musings of a young man trying to come to grips not on what he's fighting, but what he's fighting for, and with whom. The book is by turns humorous, tragic and a work of deep political science. Orwell's socialism is the purest of socialisms, one that believes in blowing up distinctions between the classes and ending both the aristocracy and the dominance of organized religion. His enlisting in the POUM, a "Trotskyist" Communist group, is more or less enabled by complete accident. He simply wants to defeat fascism, but his POUM membership helps to give him a ringside seat for a confusing jumble of political allegiances, angers and, later, murders – all from and on the Left. The Right, the fascists, are only the object of mockery and pity in this book.

"HOMAGE TO CATALONIA" uses alternating chapters to tell, first, Orwell's story, and second, the story of the politics behind this war and the wars-within-the-war. Orwell's story is pretty funny and self-deprecating. He says early on that he barely shot a gun or killed anyone, but we later learn that he not only shot, he both likely killed other humans and was severely injured by a bullet in the throat himself, guaranteeing him exit from the war (which he's fairly relieved of, after many months at the front). He spends much of the book contrasting his lofty ideals with the grim realities on the ground, and how men, both smart and pigheadedly stupid, are herded into fighting units and then given the barest of munitions to help them achieve their aims. Like many books on war, the emphasis is on the boredom and excruciating tedium of it all, punctuated by very rare "action". This action was often absurdly pointless unto itself, and throughout the book you watch a budding realization about the nature of conflict dawn on a young man's conscience.

Orwell took great pains to describe the nature of the battle between the two main Communist groups, the POUM and the Stalinist PSUC, as well as the other internecine battles with anarchists, trade unions controlled by anarchists, and other sects. This all culminates in a Barcelona battle that he both witnessed and participated in, and it's as gripping and politically "interesting" as anything in the book. The effect I got was the one described in my first paragraph – the sense that ideology was as fervent, florid, fractured and unpredictable as it had been in any time the previous 200 years. 

These years immediately preceding World War II were terrifying and defining times for the horrors that were to follow, and the book feels, with the benefit of hindsight, like a passion play and warning for the larger, more global battle to come. Orwell's genius is in both transmitting this sense of foreboding while also writing a "light" sort of diary of his and his comrades' bumbling misadventures. It's a terrific addition to the high school Orwell canon of "1984" and "Animal Farm", if a bit too dense and historical for modern students of our profoundly illiterate age.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


In the early 90s I had my cinematic brain blown by Krzysztof Kieslowski's "THE DECALOGUE", a 10-episode series made for Polish television in 1988. Kieslowski was hitting big in US foreign film circles, and with critics, for his "BLUE"/"WHITE"/"RED" series – the order in which I saw them – and The Roxie Cinema in San Francisco, building on this momentum, showed all ten hour-long episodes of "The Decalogue" over five days, two at a time each day. I caught six episodes, and later saw an expanded version of one of them when it made its release into theaters as "A Short Film About Killing". Then I waited, impatiently, for "The Decalogue" to finally come to DVD. I bought it on day one, finally immersing myself in the dark, disconnected world of late-Communist-era Poland and the interconnected lives of a group of dreary apartment block dwellers, each searching for personal meaning and fulfillment in a world running on autopilot. Each episode is loosely fit around one of the Ten Commandments, which gives it some marketing coherence, at least, though adding little to the actual narrative of the films.

Until I saw the DVD at my local library two weeks ago, I'd had no idea Kieslowski had made another expanded version of one of the episodes, #6, and called it "A SHORT FILM ABOUT LOVE". This is the one modeled on the commandment, "Thou shalt not commit adultery", though no one in the film actually does. It's an expanded version of the episode; or rather, the episode appears to be a slightly slimmed-down version of this film. A young post office worker, an obviously lonely and unworldly orphan named Tomek, spends each night spying via telescope on a beautiful older woman, Magda, in the adjacent concrete apartment block. His obsession appears to be the only thing that fuels him, and he finds every avenue he can to up the ante and actually meet Magda in person, including sending her phony money orders so she'll visit his post office to cash them.

Her annoyance, and later, scared avoidance of Tomek's advances, is predictable and understandable. He's spied on her, watched her have sex with a series of men, and presumably is looking for same. Yet his innocence inexperience, and total obsessive, noncommittal love becomes beguiling for her. As he draws closer, so does she become more aggressive and sexual with him, leading to an encounter that poisons everything. In the shorter version of this film, things resolved themselves fairly neatly. In "A SHORT FILM ABOUT LOVE", they don't, and we find that it is Magda who becomes the obsessive lover. Like each episode of "The Decalogue", there are tertiary characters who flit about the edges of the film and connect it to the other nine – which is a cool device, sort of like anxiously waiting for Alfred Hitchcock to walk past the camera in a crowd shot in one of his films. I found this to be terrific reintroduction to one of the landmark and formative films (the film being the entire "Decalogue" series) of my lifetime, and it only makes me want to watch the other nine again as soon as possible.

Monday, September 2, 2013


Now available for streaming and download - the third edition of the OTHERWORLDLY AND GONE 78rpm podcast, “Signals, Calls and Marches”. Full playlist below. You’ll hear new archival releases from Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, as well as otherworldly lost sounds from all corners of the globe, including Bolivia, Mozambique, Ukraine, Sweden, India and the American cajun bayou. Subscribe on iTunes or just listen here.

Please follow Otherworldly and Gone on Twitter and on Facebook if you enjoy this one; the first and second editions, each also about an hour, are available to stream and download right here as well.

Download OTHERWORLDLY AND GONE #3 – Signals, Calls and Marches

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.
Stream or download the podcast on Soundcloud.
Stream the podcast on Stitcher.


1.  CHERNATA MARGA – Subrala Denka Sedenka – from a 4xCD box on JSP Records called “Outsinging The Nightingale: Lost Treasures of Bulgarian Music”
2.  ATANSKA TODOROVA & VULKANA STOYANOVA – Moya Mila Dushte – also from the “Outsinging The Nightingale: Lost Treasures of Bulgarian Music” collection
3.  GERGANA TSEKOVA – Kako Todoike, Todoike – taken from the 2/23/09 Excavated Shellac blog post here.
4.  ELIN LISSLASS – Locklater – from the “Secret Museum of Mankind, Vol. 4” CD compilation on Yazoo.
5.  NECMIYE HANIM - Sabah Oldu (Daybreak) – from a new LP of all-female Turkish 78rpm songs called “Nightingales & Canaries”, which you can buy here.
6.  CLEOMA BREAUX & JOSEPH FALCON - La Vieux Soulard et sa Femme  - from the “Anthology of American Folk Music” collection.
7.  RITA ABATZI – I Can’t Cry Anymore - taken from Canary Records’ forthcoming Rita Abatzi LP, “I’m Burning, I’m Burning 1933-37”
8.  GEORGE KATSAROS – Vre Ti Mangas Pou’ Mai Go  – from an downloadable compilation on Canary/Mississippi called “Brass Pins & Pearls - International 78s”
9.  JACK GRIGORIOU & S. MICHELIDHIS – To Minore Tou Deke  – taken from the compilation, “Rebetika - Greek Folk Music, Vol. 3”
10. SPYROS PERISTERIS - Hasapiko Laternas – taken from the new 2xCD “Greek Rhapsody” on Dust-to-Digital
11. MASTER MANAHAR BARVE – Gungru Tarang - from “The Secret Museum of Mankind, Vol. 1” CD on Yazoo
12. FRANCIS BALOYI AND SHANGAAN BAND – Sati Wa Vakwela - from the 4xCD “Opika Pende - Africa at 78rpm” collection
13. ALBERTO RUIZ – Tonada de Tarka Con Callaguas – also from “The Secret Museum of Mankind, Volume 4” CD collection on Yazoo Records.
14. STELLA HASKIL– Bir Allah – from “Bed of Pain - Rembetika 1930-55”, available as an LP, a download or on Spotify.
15. IRIARTE AND PESOA – Libertad  – downloaded from the Excavated Shellac blog, 5/21/07 post.
16. BRODER KAPELLE – Chernovitzar Bulgar (Dance from Chernowitz) - from the “Aimer et Perde” 2xCD collection on Tompkins Square Records.