Listen to the Unpopular Music webcast on BostonFreeRadio.com, Saturdays 12 noon -2pm
Listen to archived episodes at mixcloud.com

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Playlist for the Unpopular Music Webcast for December 16, 2017

A very last minute production today, even more so than usual as of late. You may or may not appreciate that I've mostly (but not completely) ignored the upcoming holiday (or holidays) as I, myself, am not very jolly. (Can I qualify that sentence further? (or not))

 The second hour skews a bit towards difficult listening, but there are few festive numbers spread throughout. We continue our survey of Don Byron songs named after famous painters, and of Hal Willner tribute albums, plus a George Gershwin double-shot!


See for yourself after the break...

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Playlist for the Unpopular Music Webcast for December 9, 2017

An interesting show. Recorded during some snow that was really not worth mentioning (not that that stops me). There's an annual event  called the Somerville Holiday Stroll (or something like that) that's supposed to bring people out here to Union Square, so there's Christmas music blaring from the Media Center out into the square, and probably bleeding onto the studio mic (most audible during the break around the 50-minute mark). However, it seems people are afraid of being caught in the snow like the Donner Party, so there's not much of a crowd. We did have the fire department stop by as the folks in the TV studio down the hall were using a fog machine and set off the fire alarm, but it was over before it got a chance to liven up a mic break.




Music-wise we start out jazzy as usual, although some Latin weirdness emerges in the second set. The BFR computer once again cuts off Joe Albany's "Nearness of You". The second hour freeform set is book-ended with stuff from Hal Willner tribute albums - the Nino Rota one and another from the Monk one. There's some early and late 20th century classical music from Central Europe taking up a lot of space in between.

See for yourself after the break...

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Playlist for the Unpopular Music Webcast for December 2, 2017

A qualified disaster. A freeform if not unformed program, marred by technical problems, mostly fixed here. WaiT for the parts you'll like, fix yourself a cup of tea during the rest.




See the playlist after the break...

Saturday, November 25, 2017

webcast info for November 25, 2017

last known photo



Today, as the Somerville Media Center is closed for the holiday weekend, and as I am away still digesting my Thanksgiving leftovers (not pictured), we will be rebroadcasting the Unpopular Music webcast from June 3, 2017.

It one which should delight lovers of all manifestations of the Terpsichorean muse, from Bach to Björk, passing through several flavors of jazz, some film music from Bernard Herrmann, some neo-Gamelan, Brian Eno and tributes to the then recently departed Misha Mengelberg and Allan Holdsworth. The second set is one of my favorite creations. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Playlist for the Unpopular Music Webcast for November 18, 2017

Today I tried, I think successfully, to break up the jazz 1st hour/freeform 2nd hour by trying to keep it free form all the way through.

At least that part was successful. The execution was a bit of a disaster, which will likely be edited around for the archive, so maybe you won't notice unless you were one of the few and the proud who listened to the live webcast. For reasons that are both too long to explain here and make me look dumb, the second hour was reconfigured on the fly and then re-reconfigured as things went wrong. The archive presents the correct reconfiguration and therefore the song order differs a bit from what's below and in the back announcement. You'll figure it out.



See the playlist after the break...

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Webcast info for November 11, 2017



The Somerville Media Center is closed for Veteran's Day so today will will rebroadcast the Unpopular Music episode from October 22, 2016. As I noted at the time, the first hour is the loud hour, the second more introverted. 

RIP Katie Lee

The singer of the Unpopular Music theme song has died at the age of 98, having lived quite the life.




I discovered Real Sick Sounds from a compilation called "beat jazz - pictures from the gone world, volume 2," and eventually tracked down it's source, a collection of satirical songs on psychological themes written by Bud Freeman and Leon Pober called "Songs of Couch and Consultation." Katie was basically a hired gun as the girl singer, she worked primarily as a folk singer (Burl Ives described her as "the best cowboy singer I know.")

For Veteran's Day


You have these nineteen-year-old kids with these huge hearts, they will do what you ask them. The issue is, are you asking them to do something worthwhile? That's up to the adults, and that's where the failure comes. The failure isn't the kids saying “I'm not going to do this!” because that's not the way they are built. Nineteen-year-olds don't know to take a raincoat when it's raining, that's why they're so good at being warriors. They'll do it. They won't even ask you a question. “Allright, we'll do it.” The responsibility is on the grown-ups to make sure they're not being wasted, because they'll do what they're told, and they'll do it well. - Karl Marlantes
I've been watching the Ken Burns / Lynn Novick Vietnam War series finding a lot of it just sad and frustrating. The novelist Karl Marlantes sums it up nicely in this quote, which is in episode 7. One can oppose war, the decisions made by the grown-ups, while still respecting those who go and fight honorably in your name and wanting the best for them, and that they get what they need when they come home.

Before knowing there would be no webcast today, I had put a couple of selections aside for Veteran's Day. I present them after the break...

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Playlist for the Unpopular Music Webcast for November 4, 2017

On this week's episode we devote the second hour to remembering (or even perhaps to some of you introducing) the jazz legend Muhal Richard Abrams, who died last Sunday at the age of 87. A fine pianist and composer, he is best (and perhaps most importantly) known as one of the founders of the the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, the Chicago based organization which organized concerts, and provided rehearsal space, promotion and educational resources to hundreds if not thousands of up and coming musicians from the mid-1960's to today. The AACM provided a home base for musicians who were looking to expand the jazz tradition, taking on influences from traditional African and contemporary European music, theater, dance, and poetry. The trumpeter Taylor Ho Bynum has a fine memorial/introduction in the New Yorker. Here's an excellent appreciation from Adam Shatz in the London Review of Books' blog. The trombonist George Lewis wrote a definitive history of the AACM called A Power Stronger than Itself, which is well worth digging into.



Muhal is a relatively recent interest of mine. I always knew he was out there, but I sort of worked my backwards from my interests in his protégés Henry Threadgill, the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Anthony Braxton. (One use of Lewis' book is discovering where the good stuff lies in the mountain of AACM recordings.) What we present is rather arbitrary presentation from his mighty catalog.

See the playlist after the break...

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Playlist for the Unpopular Music Webcast for October 28, 2017

I may promise unpopularity, but I see only now that I've programmed both Body and Soul and Autumn Leaves, two of the most popular songs ever, but in obviously transformed interpretations. But there's also some old and new jazz, blues, Brazilian, some odd-meter pop, a bit of Reggae, some bits of high-modernism, and a token Halloween number from Frank Zappa, presented with an assortment of smooth and high-contrast transitions.



see for yourself after the break...

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Playlist for the Unpopular Music Webcast for October 21, 2017

After immersing myself in Monk last week, the temptation to make this week's program out of last week's leftovers was rather strong. The temptation became even stronger as the time and energy to assemble a new program was getting shorter. So while there's one leftover, we have a somewhat arbitrary assortment of jazz, afro-pop, electronic, film music and a contemporary classical extravaganza.


Plus, if you love bass solos, well the second set is for you.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Playlist for the Unpopular Music Webcast for October 14, 2017

Today we commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Thelonious Monk, one of the singular jazz pianists and composers and a personal idol of mine. If pressed to bestow such a ridiculous title, I would say he's my favorite musician ever.




However, thanks to our old friend the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we cannot play more than four tracks credited to any one artist in the time allotted for the webcast, so, as with our Ornette Coleman tribute a couple of years back, we necessarily focus on Monk the composer.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Playlist for the Unpopular Music Webcast for September 30, 2017

Today we have the kind of subdued program that seems to occur whenever I assemble the playlist wile it's raining. We have an array of jazz stylings, a bit saxophone-centric, but that's OK. The second hour has a late-20th century piano classic, and an electronic embellishment of what should be another. We also have a few bits of odd-ball pop music



See for yourself after the break...

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Playlist for the Unpopular Music Webcast for September 23, 2017

I feel fine

The world not having ended, we present today a jazzy first hour followed by a somewhat more contemplative second, keeping in mind the jazz hour is not without contemplation, nor is the contemplative hour without jazz.



Contemplate the playlist after the break...

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Hal Willner has lived the life I wished I had



Well, maybe not the pharmaceutical cocaine, but a lot of everything else.

The "extravagant, cross-genre" tribute albums are certainly an influence on the webcast. Although being in the next generation after his, I suppose, I do still have heroes, and he's one of them.

I was also a kid who went around talking to himself, locking myself in my room with a dream world, retreating into television and records. The apartment pictured above would be a dream space for me.  I'm terrible at meeting people, which probably explains the different paths of our lives. I suppose I'm also a watcher, not a doer. But Willner actually is a doer, and I'm envious of many of the things he's done.



Playlist for the Unpopular Music Webcast for September 16, 2017

As I said, I had three weeks to put the show together, but didn't finish it until almost 11.

The usual mix of jazz and what-have-you, with a few pop songs in the middle. The Cassini space probe is mourned, as are John Abercrombie, Grant Hart (through a third party) and the Cambridge nightclub Nightstage (which actually closed decades ago.) Plus "a genuine example of Socialist Realist 'machine music.'"

Mixcloud, for some reason, is not accepting my playlists when I enter them. I tried twice only to have them rejected because of unspecified errors, throwing all the work away. Sorry. (I'm not trying to drive extra traffic to the blog.)


playlist after the break...

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Webcast info for September 2, 2017


The Somerville Media Center is closed for Labor Day weekend, so unfortunately you will not be able to rest your weary weary bones to a live presentation of Unpopular Music.

Update: It was a big "if."

If all goes as planned, the episode from October 03, 2015 will be rebroadcast. This is the same one which was to rebroadcast back in July, but didn't due to some studio renovations taking place that day.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Playlist for the Unpopular Music Webcast for August 26, 2017

This week my habitual walking around shuffle play music brought up a few things that made me want to go back and take a closer listen, as it often does. And as it often does, that led me to add them to the potential Unpopular Music playlist. However, this week some of those tracks were really long.
The instinct was not to do this. But otherwise lacking inspiration (again, this week, I know...) I went ahead.

Is it too lazy to do this? Why not, it's your program. They're all music that rewards the attentive listener, so, yeah, three tracks for the second hour.

I'll be off the next two weeks, so hopefully I'll use the time to recharge. (or at least stack up some music to play.)



See the playlist after the break...

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Playlist for the Unpopular Music Webcast for August 19, 2017

When I came around to put the week's program together, I really wasn't up to it. So the first half of the program is a what played on my phone's shuffle play this past week. It also skews a bit towards the "difficult listening" side of things.

The second hour stands as my contribution to the voices against today's "free-speech rally" on Boston Common. It's mostly culled from previous episodes where I felt the urge to make a statement through other people's music, like my pre-election program, 4th of July etc.



See for yourself after the break...

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Playlist for the Unpopular Music webcast - August 12, 2017


A set for (or rather, from) a hot lazy day. A bunch of long tracks in the first hour. More or less normal in the second. I wish I'd kept that metallic percussion segment going a little longer.




See for yourself after the break...