Rabbit Rabbit Radio

(Rabbit Rabbit Radio illustration by Mariko Ando.) 

Next Wednesday, February 1st, professional musicians/married couple/doting parents Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi –whose various other projects have been mentioned on Coilhouse many times— are launching a very interesting new multimedia musical subscription service called Rabbit Rabbit Radio.

“Saying ‘rabbit, rabbit’ on the first of the month is a tradition here in New England,” Kihlstedt explains. “It is said to bring good luck and a sense of renewed purpose. We’ve taken it to heart and are releasing a new song on the first [day] of each month along with photos, videos, and other implicating evidences of our creative process, all on rabbitrabbitradio.com

The Kihlstedt/Bossi family: Matthias, Tallulah, and Carla. Photo by Eurydice Galka.

Last year, not long before the Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (a legendary band they were members of) closed its doors, Kihlstedt and Bossi moved from Oakland to Cape Cod with their baby girl Tallulah. “Our lives have changed a lot since [she] was born and since we moved back East.” Kihlstedt and Bossi predict that their Rabbit Rabbit Radio project will help them to accomplish many things, warmly and comfortably, in ways that more traditionally grueling channels (constant low-budget touring is exhausting enough without kids!) could not:

“It keeps us in touch with you [our audience]. It conveys each song with much more depth and dimension than a simple iTunes download would. It holds us to an ongoing commitment to our own creativity. It allows us to be creatively independent from home, which in turn allows us to be good parents. In short, everyone wins. We have finally created our very own dream job.”

Fans who subscribe to Rabbit Rabbit Radio can choose to pay $1, $2, or $3 per month (but there’s no difference in content access; it’s just a chance to pay them a bit more for their efforts, if you can afford to). You can learn more –and get a taste of the quirky, sweet whimsy this lovely duo creates together– from the following YouTube pitch video:

RRR has its own Twitter account and a Facebook page as well.

Rabbit Rabbit Radio is a fascinating-yet-simple premise that feels very new, and fresh, and… cozy! Kihlstedt and Bossi both hope this kind of project takes off: “there are lots of artists whom we would gladly subscribe to ourselves!”  While there may very well be other musicians out there attempting similar transmedia subscription services (and please feel free to give them a shout-out in comments, because we’d love to know more about them, too) it’s certainly not status quo quite yet. Fingers crossed that it soon will be.

The modern quest for reasonable and sustainable alternatives to a more staid career path in the arts is always worth discussing on Coilhouse. We live in interesting- no, scratch that, fascinating times. It might feel daunting to watch the old regimes fall down around our ears, but there’s no doubt about it: we are lucky to be alive during a time period where there’s so much opportunity to build newer, better, kinder infrastructures. Let’s stay tuned in!

“Like a Blanket” by David Garland, Featuring Vashti Bunyan

Film by Anne Garland.

Things that make the world a better place:

  • The multifaceted, subtle genius of David Garland
  • The legendary and heart-melting voice of Vashti Bunyan
  • Sweetly strange, warm-yet-cool, complex-yet-cuddly songs
  • Sleepy, slowly blinking cat face

Garland wrote this song especially to sing with Bunyan. It’s a single from his upcoming album Conversations with the Cinnamon Skeleton, to be released in early 2012. Keep your eyes and ears open.

A Conversation Between Alan Moore and Brian Eno (2005)

Via E. Stephen and Jeff Newelt comes this archive.org link to a transcript of Alan Moore interviewing Brian Eno, which originally aired six years ago on Chain Reaction, a radio series on BBC Radio 4:

“A well-known figure from the entertainment industry begins the series interviewing the person of their choice. The following week the interviewee becomes interviewer and chats to their chosen guest. And so on and so on. In January 2005, the comedian Stewart Lee interviewed Alan Moore (transcript available at Comic Book Resources). The next week it was Alan Moore’s turn to become the interviewer. His chosen subject was some one who had obviously been a huge influence on his life for over thirty years… Brian Eno.”

Unsurprisingly, it’s a fascinating and insightful conversation.

Listen to the broadcast recording here.

Jeff Wengrofsky Talks Punk Rock, New York, and Jewish History…and Announces a Film Premiere

Press photo courtesy of The Syndicate of Human Image Traffickers.

Longtime Coilhouse friend and contributor, Jeff Wengrofsky, was recently interviewed for a prestigious podcast series– Long Story Short, presented by Tablet magazine (a recent winner of the National Magazine Award). Two other two guests in the series are eminent writers Vivian Gornkick and Morris Dickstein.

The conversation topic: how punk rock relates to Jewish history. Jeff has been a footnote to the NYC punk scene since 1982. In the podcast, he puzzles about how Jews have made significant contributions to punk, but the same could be said for their involvement in DaDa, feminism, socialism/communism/anarchism/unionism, The New Left, ecology, and the civil rights movement.

Jeff –who has one of the most astounding original issue vinyl collections of punk on the planet– invited podcast host Liel Leibovitz into his Art Deco lair on the Lower East Side for a fascinating conversation. From Tablet’s writeup:

“…in the 1970s, a very different sort of Jewish artist emerged. Joey Ramone, Handsome Dick Manitoba, Sylvain Sylvain and the other founding fathers of punk rock were as disdainful of the culture as their predecessors were eager to help define it. Wearing leather jackets, singing about sex and drugs, and cultivating their status as rejects, they made music that was loud and fast and much more true to the traditional status of Jews as eternal outsiders. touching on how many young, disenfranchised folks of Jewish descent “the other founding fathers of punk rock were as disdainful of the culture as their predecessors were eager to help define it. Wearing leather jackets, singing about sex and drugs, and cultivating their status as rejects, they made music that was loud and fast and much more true to the traditional status of Jews as eternal outsiders.”

Listen here.

As the Director of the Syndicate of Human Image Traffickers, Jeff has been making a series of films at the intersection of art and life. Several of them have appeared on the Coilhouse website.  The sixth film in the series, “The Party in Taylor Mead’s Kitchen,” is an Official Selection of DOC NYC 2011, the documentary film festival of the Independent Film Channel. After reading Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Taylor Mead, the scion of Michigan’s Democratic Party political boss Harry Mead, left his
Grosse Point home and Merrill Lynch sinecure for a life hitchhiking around the US. Upon arriving in San Francisco, his ability to write and perform clever, bawdy, homoerotic poems made Taylor an instant hit with the Beatnik scene. He soon came to personify the “Beatnik” ethic in Ron Rice’s classic film, The Flower Thief, in 1960. After meeting Allen Ginsberg at a poetry function, Taylor moved to the Lower East Side of New York, then the Beatnik capital of the world. Taylor was soon a Warhol superstar and came to be featured, most famously, in Tarzan and Jane Revisited…Sort of, and most notoriously, as the star of Taylor Mead’s Ass in 1964. He has since acted in over a hundred films, has acted for the stage, and has published books of poetry.

Fifty-one years after trading in upper-crust luxury for bohemian art stardom, The Party in Taylor Mead’s Kitchen finds Taylor still living the life of poetry, painting, partying, acting, homo-eroticism, gossip, modest living, and indifference to bourgeois notions of hygiene. We visit the octogenarian in his Lower East Side grotto to find him still brilliant, boyishly cute, and ready to party at noon. The film depicts the romantic beauty and squalid dereliction of the bohemian life while dishing the dirt on Andy Warhol, Jack Kerouac, Ron Rice, Woody Allen, and Tallulah Bankhead. At 85, Taylor Mead is an ambassador of bohemianism from a world without the internet, cable television, surveillance cameras, cell phones, global positioning systems, credit cards or roach spray.

As this film is short, it has been paired with a longer film that also deals with New York City artists of a bygone era: Girl with the Black Balloons.
They will be shown as a double-feature at these times and dates and locations:

  • 7:30 PM, Sun. Nov. 6, 2011 – NYU’s Kimmel Ctr. 4th Floor (Eisner Auditorium) – Buy Tickets
  • 3:45 PM, Mon. Nov. 7, 2011 – IFC Center – Buy Tickets

BTC Part II: Faith Healer Defeats Evil Buttock-Ravaging Eagle Spirit

Sometimes Mondays are an extra special pain-in-the-ass, so here’s an encore installment of BTC. Via the GreatDismals comes this sit-uplifting interaction between a cheeky young prankster, “Robin Cooper“, and an unflappable call-in gluteus maximus-mending spiritual master, Gilbert Deya.


“Living the American Nightmare”

Awww, jeez. Rest in peace, Pete Steele. (Sorry to get a bit morbid, guys. Then again, it is almost Dia de los Muertos.)

Living the American Nightmare “is an independently made documentary shot in HD directed by PawL BaZiLe.” Its main focus is Myke Hideous, the relatively obscure artist and lead singer of Empire Hideous and the Bronx Casket Company who briefly filled in as lead vocalist for the Misfits in the late nineties, long after its best-known frontman, Glenn Danzig, had left the band.

Through various accounts from Hideous, in addition to a series of interviews with a variety of veteran musicians, from Danzig and Steele to Ramones mastermind Arturo Vega to Sabbath drummer Bill Ward, LtAN “tells the story of what it costs working class people to be musicians, and the pitfalls of success with no payoff.”

Myke Hideous portrait by Kyle Cassidy.

Judging by its teaser and trailer, the mood of the entire film’s gloomy but empowering. “The sacrifice to make a living as an artist is incredible, and we have a strong cast of guests in this film to explain misconceptions and realities. We’ve spoken to everyone from independent bands still [of] high school age, to Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of famers.”

According to admin on its Facebook page, Living the American Nightmare should be out by this year’s end, or early next. Rock on, fellas. Keep us posted, please!

BTC: DJ Earworm’s “Blame it on the Pop”

DJ Earworm’s 2008 edition of “United State of Pop” was one of the most disturbing, oddly pretty things I’d heard in ages. The pitch-perfect mashup maestro continues his yearly tradition of crafting silk purses from a score-and-five sow’s ears with his 2009 offering:

“United State of Pop 2009 (Blame It on the Pop)” by DJ Earworm. A Mashup of the Top 25 Hits of 2009, according to Billboard.

Oddly uplifting, ne? Ariana puts it well: “100% amalgamated poptimism from a keep-your-head-up year… a ribbon of shiny all rightness pulled off the box of meh that was 2009.”

While this edition doesn’t move me on quite the same level as “Viva La Pop” did (that mournful, menacing homogeny!) “Blame it on the Pop” is still a thought-provoking and highly danceable mashup.

Repeating for emphasis: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I can’t bring myself to sit all the way through most of these cruddy pop hits ONCE, let alone listen to them on repeat. But I find myself revisiting DJ Earworm’s yearly Billboard mashups over and over again. They are beautiful, and they frighten me.

Download “Blame it on the Pop” here. Full playlist after the jump.

Typecast’s “Primitive North America” Mix

“We remember it well now, our younger days, when we got the cassette deck for the car. The windows always rolled up, closing us off to the outside world. We moved steadily as things rolled by, always with the cassettes playing at the loudest possible volume.” [via]

Joshua Z-P (of Roadside Picnic Podcast and A Room Forever fame) and his friend Adam Helms were recently asked by Type Records (home to Svarte Greiner, Deaf Center, Grouper, and Koen Holtkamp, among other phenomenal bands) to compile a mix for their Typecast series. “So a mix we did – one of epic and biblical proportions which we now share with you. This isn’t your older brother’s black metal – there’s no Dungeons & Dragons posturing while wearing corpse paint. Just pure, brutal, lo-fi nihilism full of tape hiss and vinegar.”

LoFiBlackMetalCassettes copy
Cirrhus, Horrid Cross, Haxan.

All tracks were transferred from cassettes, save the Akitsa song. There’s Bone Awl and Ash Pool and freakin’ Ancestors and a bunch of even more obscure shit I don’t recognize at all. Holy balls, this mix is awesome. Sadly, the vast majority of our readers will find it unlistenable. So unless you enjoy making your eardrums hemorrhage with tinny, shrieking, blood-gargling KVLT AS FUCKNESS, please back away slowly from this post without making direct eye contact, and click here instead.

Tracklist after the jump.

See also:

Drifting Away With Headphone Commute


My favorite web discovery of the past couple of weeks is Headphone Commute. First of all, I love the name. It instantly conjures images of foggy morning train rides and late-night buses – hands in pockets, head in space, bobbing along to the music. From the “About” page:

Headphone Commute is an independent resource of candid words on electronic and instrumental music. The range of covered genres includes electronica, glitch, idm, drum’n’bass, breakcore, dubstep, trip-hop, modern classical, post-rock, shoegaze, ambient, downtempo, experimental, abstract, minimal and everything in between. HC is not associated with any artist, band, record label, promoter, distributor or retailer covered by the reviews. There is no hidden agenda behind these words. What you see is what you get. All that means is that we share our love for music because we want to – not because we have to.

A word of caution – this blog is is easy to get lost in upon first visit! Between album reviews, in-depth interviews with labels like Somnia and bite-size interviews with artists like Max Richter, on top of my favorite Headphone Commute feature – mixes available for download, it’s kind of impossible not to spend hours reading, researching and hoarding new music. It’s thanks to Headphone Commute that I found out about The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble and had my ears taken to their special place by this incredible Best of 2008 Modern Classical mix. I actually can’t recommended this one enough, especially if you’re somewhere that’s beginning to show signs of autumn. Stunningly beautiful, moody, inspiring. For more mixes see Intelligent Breakcore mix and Ten Favorite Mixes of 2008. Happy listening, comrades!


Another Mr. Lizard: The Miracle of “Jam”

Two acquired tastes: British comedy, and the type of laughs that come within milliseconds of uttering the phrase “what did I just witness? That was so wrong.” If you’re allergic to either brand of humor, particularly the latter, stay back. Click away, because these clips will take you to a dark, dark place. To the rest of you assholes who think that dead babies are funny: welcome to the world of Jam, the most twisted sketch comedy series ever produced.

Jam is one of those great shows that’s been reduced to YouTube tatters due to music licensing issues. The episodes are interlaced with dreamy, ambient sounds by the likes of Low, Beta Band, Aphex Twin and Brian Eno. If you’ve never seen the show, let us begin at the beginning. Below is Episode 1, Part 1. It begins with “an invocation of sorts” (there was one of these at the beginning of every episode; here’s another opener), and leads right into “It’s About Ryan,” a sketch about two concerned parents asking their child’s godfather to gain the affections of a local pervert in order to keep him away from their boy (UPDATE: that video was removed by YouTube, so I’ve replaced it with a clip of “It’s About Ryan,” without the intro):

When dancing… lost in techno trance. Arms flailing, gawky Bez. Then find you snagged on frowns, and slowly dawns… you’re jazzing to the bleep-tone of a life support machine, that marks the steady fading of your day old baby daughter. And when midnight sirens lead to blue-flash road-mash. Stretchers, covered heads and slippy red macadam, and find you creeping ‘neath the blankets to snuggle close a mangled bird, hoping soon you too will be freezer drawered. Then welcome… blue chemotherapy wig, welcome. In Jam. Jaaam. Jaaaaaaam…

The show, written by Chris Morris (with occasional help from the cast) is a successor to Blue Jam, which ran on BBC Radio 1, and was described by the Beeb as “the funniest nightmare you never had.” In some ways, the radio show (which you can listen to here) went even further than the televised version. But since I love the look of the actors (particularly the crazy gleam in Mark Heap’s eye!), the TV version has always been my favorite.

Many of my most beloved Jam clips are now impossible to find online. They disappear, audio tracks get erased by YouTube. So watch these while you can! Type “Chris Morris Jam” into YouTube and enter a world stranger than you ever imagined. Below are some highlights:

I’ve included these videos (and some other gems) after the jump. Enjoy! [Many thanks to my friend Mildred for introducing me to this show]