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The Tyranny of Technological Replication

I’m never sure how I can defend a critique against technology–it seems as though we have gained so much. And whenever I rant against drones or iPads (or the very device upon which I’m pecking) someone will pipe up, “I s’pose you’d prefer we didn’t have penicillin either!” Maybe. I’m really not sure. By which […]

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It Plays You: Mingus on Electric Instruments

Selections from a Charles Mingus interview from February 1972, in Mingus Speaks, by John F. Goodman. I think it’s time that good musicians get rid of electric instruments, because a good musician can’t play an electronic instrument; it plays you. For instance, if you want to bend a note, you’ve got to push a button […]

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In the Heart or In the Head

Andrew Bird’s “Darkmatter,” a riff on a song from The Merchant of Venice. Tell me where is fancy bred, Or in the heart, or in the head? How begot, how nourished? Reply, reply. It is engender’d in the eyes, With gazing fed; and fancy dies In the cradle where it lies. Let us all ring […]

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Forget the Ones

Will Johnson, in Scorpion, has told an album-length story that seems to me to dramatize the human in a particular time and place but also to have dramatized an aspect of human nature that isn’t bound by those constraints (the where and when of the story). Further, this album has the feel of intimate self-revelation. […]

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This is 40: Will Johnson’s Best

In 2011 Will Johnson turned 40. In that same year his rock and roll project, the group Centro-Matic, released what I think is their best album (I might qualify this by calling it their most cohesive album–the center holds), Candidate Waltz. The next year Johnson released the album Scorpion under his own name and it, […]

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The Golden Beast of Love

I have loved single songs off of probably every album Will Johnson has attached his name to. Multiple songs off of many of them. But I have always treated them as “one-offs” that are keyed to a particular mood. Of Centro-Matic’s albums my favorites are Fort Recovery and Love You Just the Same and I […]

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It’s My Nature: Will Johnson’s “Scorpion”

Will Johnson’s 2012 album Scorpion is a beautiful work. Each listening will deepen your experience. When asked in an interview on WFHB’s “Firehouse Sessions“–by me–about the titles of his “Will Johnson” albums (rather than those of Centro-Matic and South San Gabriel) having much to do with danger and death (Murder of Tides, Vultures Await, Scorpion), […]

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Mer-Manumission

Recently we listened to a podcast, Radiolab’s “Home Is Where Your Dolphin Is,” about dolphins and the iterations of scientific investigations about their intelligence based in trying to connect “linguistically.” Pretty interesting (for an infotainment show like this). In the first segment about a woman who lived with a dolphin (called Peter), setting up house […]

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Christmas Ain’t Never

Here’s a Christmas song for which I co-wrote the lyrics with my friend Eric. The Dive Poets–”Christmas Ain’t Never“

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Walking and Talking: Wilco’s One Sunday Morning

Yesterday, Wednesday morning, I walked the dogs, as usual, uphill on 1st street (east) around 8 a.m.  It seemed a perfect morning.  A chill air balanced by a warming sun; a blue sky with long intermittent clouds; no traffic (spring break in a college town).  I thought, Here is a possible eternity. Here is a […]

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WFHB’s Interchange – Just a Spoonful of America

Audio: Just a Spoonful of America The title of our show, “Just a Spoonful of America – Prescribing American Studies […]

Luis Buñuel’s The Young One: Anatomy of White Male Supremacy (WFHB’s Interchange)

AUDIO: Luis Buñuel’s The Young One: Anatomy of White Male Supremacy We open with the jazz tune, “Epistrophy,” from Eric […]

WFHB’s Interchange – A Targeted Divide: What Bullets do to Bodies and Lives

AUDIO: What Bullets do to Bodies and Lives This is the special 90-minute finale for our series A Targeted Divide. […]

WFHB’s Interchange – A Targeted Divide: Crime, Decline, and the Rise of the Citizen-Protector

AUDIO: Crime, Decline, and the Rise of the Citizen Protector For our second show in our three-part series, A Targeted […]

WFHB’s Interchange: A Targeted Divide: Gunning Down the Bill of Rights

AUDIO: Gunning Down the Bill of Rights Today we begin a series of three programs on Guns in the USA […]

WFHB’s Interchange – Undermining Zinctown: The Feminist Socialism of Salt of the Earth

AUDIO: Undermining Zinctown We open with music composed by Sol Kaplan for the film Salt of the Earth. Kaplan was […]