Radio Helsinki Listener! Here we are, back together again for show number three. You hung in for the first two, don’t let apathy sing its teeth into your enthusiasm. Including this show, we have another ten opportunities to rock out this summer here on Radio Helsinki. This is a marathon, not a sprint. One show a week, come on now, you can do it!
As I write this, I am on location, working on a television show. I have been out here for about two weeks and have one more to go. In this environment, my listening options are limited. As I often find myself living on tour busses and hotels, I have learned keep the quality of playback as high as possible. Some of my gear is as follows:
The Dash7 portable speaker system by Soundmatters. I never travel without this. You can plug it into your laptop, phone or other listening device. Sounds incredible and has a self-contained battery that holds a charge for hours. It features a USB connector for easy recharging. An incredibly smart piece of gear. You can go to the Soundmatters site to learn more.
To increase the playback quality, between the sound source and the speakers, be it the Dash7 or headphones, I use a Shure SHA900, which accomplishes digital to analog conversion excellently. The difference in quality is not subtle. Great piece of gear. I use this all the time, even when I am just listening in headphones.
While it’s not a turntable and tube amps, these components improve listening to a great degree. I am presently ensconced in a coffee place near the hotel. I am checking out a play list of tunes I listen to on the weekend, mostly tracks that I am very familiar with. I am using an iPod, going through the SHA900, and into a pair of SRH1540 headphones, again, by Shure. They are bulky but whenever I can afford the space in my pack, I bring them along. For long installations such as the one I’m on now, they are mandatory gear.
As always, this show is all about the music. We start our show with a track from Iggy Pop, the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of Rock and Roll. The title track from one of his most memorable albums, Lust for Life. I thought we should start with this particular tune because when I was making the show, knowing where it was going, I remembered a show in Seinäjoki, June 6, 1996 where I watched Iggy and his band play this song. Iggy invited the audience to come onstage and join him. Unsurprisingly, the security staff was less that pleased with the idea of people climbing over the barricade and onto the stage. They did their best to minimize the flow. Iggy reminded the security personnel whose show it was and beyond making sure no one was injured on their way to the stage, security let audience members pass. Soon, the stage was full of people, which was dressed for the band that would be headlining, right after Iggy’s set. You have probably heard of them, they are called the Cure. The stage, in preparation for the main event, had flowers in pots and vases, stored on the side, with which to adorn the stage. I bet it would have looked really swell. I say would have because almost as soon as Iggy saw them, he started smashing them. The Cure’s road crew weren’t happy about that but I saw a couple of them laughing. Neither were they all that stoked when they saw Iggy kick some of the footlights attached to the front of the stage, breaking them. The celebrants onstage with Iggy, took their cue from the man and started breaking some of the flower pots themselves. Soon, the stage was covered in crushed flowers, shattered pottery and soil. Iggy had passed the mic off to someone and had found a way to become partially covered with the potting soil, as well as start bleeding from somewhere on his chest. The overall effect was pretty amazing. Iggy killed it that night. He is one to never miss. I have seen him play four times this year.
Later that evening, at the hotel, I met Hanoi Rocks singer Mike Monroe. I had been a fan of the band for many years and it was very cool to meet him. I figured we could afford to listen to one of my favorite Hanoi tracks as well.
Radio Helsinki Listener, I have to steady myself while checking out this evening’s playlist. It’s one amazing track after another. What I have attempted to do, over these twelve shows, is to not only drop in many of my longstanding favorites of course, but also, to mix in artists that are making music right now, touring right now, and releasing great records right now. Three of which I would like to bring your attention to.
The first is Le Butcherettes, fronted by Teri Gender Bender, also known as Teresa Suarez, is not to be missed. She not only has Le Butcherettes, who are great but as well, she is in a band that we listened to on our first show called Crystal Fairy with Buzzo and Dale of the Melvins and Omar of At the Drive-In, the Mars Volta, and yet another band called Bosnian Rainbows. There is not one record she has been a part of that I think should go unheard. I have only seen her with Le Butcherettes. Both times, they were awesome. I ran into her and Omar in Mexico City weeks ago, backstage at an Iggy show. Teresa said she will hopefully be working on a new Le Butcherettes record at some point this year.
The second is an Australian named Alex Cameron. The man is singular as he is talented. I am frustrated that I cannot play you any tracks from his upcoming album. It’s coming out after our time together is over on the Secretly Canadian label. I have been working on a press release for the album, so I was lucky to get a chance to hear it weeks ago. I have never heard anyone like Alex. Scott Walker meets a David Lynch film?! The track we rock on this show is from a record he released a couple of years ago called Jumping The Shark. It’s a concept album about a has-been, trying to make a come-back. It’s hilarious and serious at the same time. If you go online and look, you can check out the video for the song we are playing on our show. I think within a few seconds you’ll get it. I saw him live a few weeks ago. One of the coolest shows I have seen in ages. This man is not to be missed!
The third is one Ian Svenonious. Please, never miss anything released by this guy. He of The Nation of Ulysses, The Make-Up, Cupid Car Club, David Candy, Weird War, The Scene Creamers, The Felt Letters, XZY, and for the last few years, Chain and the Gang. Another one of those artists who has been around for many years and thankfully, quite prolific. This year, without surprise, he will have at least two records out. The first of which, The Best Of Crime Rock, came out recently on the excellent In The Red Records label. It’s not for me to talk about what other stuff Mr. S has lined up for later this year as it’s parade but I have heard some of what is to be and I can’t wait to hear the rest. We rocked XYZ last week, The Felt Letters the week before and on this show, it’s a Chain track from the Minimum Rock n Roll album, released in 2014.
Otherwise, our selection hopefully hits enough corners of the record store to keep things interesting.
Information on all of the bands and artists we’re listening to on our show here is easily found online, so if you want to hear more and find out more, that’s entirely up to you. I hope you dig the tunes and hopefully listen at least two more times!
01. Iggy Pop - Lust For Life / Lust For Life
02. The Misfits - Static Age / Static Age
03. New York Dolls - Lonely Planet Boy / New York Dolls
04. Hanoi Rocks - Taxi Driver / Self Destruction Blues
05. The Jesus and Mary Chain - Kill Surf City / Barbed Wire Kisses
06. Q and Not U - Soft Pyramids / Different Damage
07. Le Butcherettes - Take A Step Back / A Raw Youth
08. Eddy Current Suppression Ring - It’s All Square / So Many Things
09. Alex Cameron – Mongrel / Jumping the Shark
10. Cat’s Eyes – Drag / Treasure House
11. Mi-Gu - The Drummer and the Dancer / Pulling From Above
12. Generation X – Kleenex / Generation X 2:07
13. Empire - Electric Guitar / Expensive Sound
14. Chain and the Gang - Mum’s the Word / Minimum Rock n Roll
15. Rowland S. Howard - Breakdown / Teenage Snuff Film
16. The Alan Vega Trio - The Werewolf / Cubist Blues
17. Kim Salmon - Already Turned Out Burned Out (Fast Burn) / My Script
18. Marnie Stern - Year of the Glad / The Chronicles of Marnia
19. Wire - Map Ref. 41ºn 93ºw / 154
20. Killing Joke – Change / Killing Joke
21. Dillinger – Ragnampiza / Bionic Dread
22. Astral Skulls – Landing / Contact-Light
23. Avarus - Mars On Paljastanut Salaisuutensa / Ruskeatimantti
24. Pharmakon – Autoimmune / Bestial Burden
25. Uton – Pilkahduksia / Ummet Ja Lammet
26. Jimi Hendrix - 3rd Stone From The Sun (mono) / Are You Experienced