Author Archives: normanbradio

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 210

Hello there, in this volume we begin where we left off in volume 209 with the very impressive October And The Eyes the talented artist from New Zealand, now based in London. The cut is titled Dark Dogs from her Dogs and Gods EP. Next, a dash on over to the city by the bay, San Francisco to hear from French Cassettes with Santa Cruz Tomorrow by way of their album, Rolodex. Here is a band I wanted to find fault with for no other reason than they sound so accomplished. Good work, French Cassettes. Over in London, Dominic Wolf says this, “I write songs, press buttons, sing and play instruments”. Nothing to argue with there. His song Perfect suggests we should keep a lookout for more from Dominic Wolf. Dublin is a thriving center of creative energy where Pillow Queens is based. About their album, In Waiting they say, “It’s an album about the in-between; the transitionary period of an adulthood that never seems to arrive, while you wait for that lightbulb moment when everything makes sense, even though part of you knows deep down it will never come”. They have a lot more to say, but first, you need to hear their music, so we give you two in a row, A Dog’s Life and Holy Show. Staying in Ireland, here is a captivating performer, Denise Chaila from County Claire. From her latest album, Go Bravely, I selected, Chaila where the Limerick-based, Zambian-Irish rapper, singer, poet, grime, and hip hop artist chides us for not knowing how to pronounce her name. Denise has a number of videos available including a couple of dazzling live performances of Chaila. And, yet another video I came across of Denise Chaila features an Irish singer-songwriter we focused in on about three years ago, Sorcha Richardson. Back then she was based in Brooklyn, but now she appears to be back home in Dublin, once again making perfect, but albeit sad love songs. Sorcha’s latest is The Starlight Lounge, proving she has a keen ear for what makes a good love song work and how to perform it exquisitely. From the Emerald Isle, we travel south to Spain where four young musicians are displaying their considerable talent with the new album, Self Worth. They are Jazz Rodríguez Bueno, Carla Pérez Vaz, Leia Rodríguez Bueno, and Victor Álvarez Ridao who together are known as Mourn. We first played Mourn when they were exceptionally young, they still are young and This Feeling Is Disgusting will explain why you need to investigate more of their music. Sparky is the title of Nuha Ruby Ra’s latest single. It shouldn’t take you long to determine if you identify with the title. And by that I mean it depends on if you are in the position of giver or taker. Nuha Ruby Ra is based in London and enjoying a lot of well-deserved attention recently. I prompted you over a year ago to keep a lookout for her, this is an artist I’d like to get your feedback on. And, Nuha Ruby Ra is a talent I’m positive is quite splendid live. How awful is it that we are still in this horror-story of a pandemic, so the likelihood of enjoying Nuha Ruby Ra in concert could be a long way off? The same goes for any of the artists I feature on Life Elsewhere Music, not least of all a trio who have managed to release an upbeat, danceable track based around how Covid is effecting us all…yes, it’s Josh Idehen, Shanaz Dorsett & Tom Leaper,  AKA Benin City with Get Your Own. Big favorites here at Life Elsewhere  Towers are Benin City. Once again they demonstrate how good they are at conjuring up a delicious mixture of commentary and danceable beats. We stay in London for the next cut, a new one from Dry Cleaning with Scratchcard Lanyard. A band that has been around for a little while and continues to release exciting new music. You are advised to check out their back catalog and the video for Scratchcard Lanyard. I’m not sure if it’s homemade, but it’s definitely worth a look. Deliberately mixing up the genres, next we go to Austin, Texas to hear from Alex Maas with Been Struggling. His album, Luca is a solid collection of mostly plaintive songs, finely represented by the video for Been Struggling. The mysterious images evoking a sentimental mood, perfectly in keeping with Alex’s music. El Perro del Mar is the musical project founded in 2003 in Gothenburg, Sweden by its sole member, Sarah Assbring. Her album is titled Free Land, the cut we play is Dreamers Change The World. A fascinating album, some might say difficult or hard to categorize and I say that’s just what we need. Holiday music is not up there on my list of music to select for you, id fact I’ll be honest, I usually avoid anything that has a hint of jingle-jangle. There are exceptions, of course, the enterprising folks over at Memphis Industries have come up with an intriguing compilation of mostly original holiday songs in aid of Crisis’ Home for All Campaign. Titled, Lost Christmas: A Festive Memphis Industries Selection Box, I’ve selected a cut by Rachael Dadd (with Rozi Plain & Kate Stables with We Build Our Houses Well. That one takes up to the closing credits and as always, we wish you well and ask that you stay safe and, always be nice. Thank you for listening.

The artwork for this volume is by O. E. Mason “Rotting Fruit” 1999 4’ x 5’ (detail) Giclée print on archival paper. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

LEM Vol 210

Women In The Alcohol Industry With Hope Ewing. Recalling An Early Conversation With A Star – Arlo Parks

Veteran bartender Hope Ewing, had grown impatient with the surprisingly outdated perceptions of women in the alcohol industry. Entrepreneurial and ambitious, often the first in their fields, the women she knew in the business were leaders, mentors, and trailblazers. In her debut book, Movers & Shakers – Women Making Waves In Sprites, Beer, and Wine, Ewing seeks them out, to share their stories as well as valuable business advice and insight into a constantly evolving industry. In her travels across the country, Hope discovers how women are paving the way and creating a more inclusive and sustainable world full of delicious drinks. Los Angeles-based Hope Ewing talks about her book and the important women involved in the alcohol industry with Norman B and shares the recipe for her favorite cocktail, Where In The World Is Tuan Lee. Here are the ingredients, make one, sip it leisurely as you listen to the conversation.

11/2 ounces Diplomatico

1/2 ounce Batavia Arrack

3/4 ounce Byrrh

1/4 ounce Bigallet China-China

Pour over 1 large ice cube with a grapefruit twist

 

A lot can happen in a couple of years, especially if you display extraordinary talent while still at high school. When we first discovered Arlo Parks, she explained to Norman B that she had school-homework to complete and hoped she wouldn’t get too distracted. At that time the 18-year-old singer-songwriter-poet had just released her debut single, Cola. We were raving on about her ability to write so confidently with such mature lyrics. Then, we got to hear Arlo talk about her music and herself. She spoke so assuredly, we quickly forget she still had school-homework. Yet, even though Arlo chose her words carefully, she never sounded precocious. Instead, she came across as poised while remaining wide-eyed and ready to learn. She managed to be charming and completely unrehearsed. We knew on listening to Arlo Parks talk, there was no doubt that she was a special talent who would not allow herself to be easily engulfed into the fragility of stardom. As you listen to Arlo chat with Norman B, expect to be captivated and remember her music is now on every discerning playlist. We congratulate Arlo Parks on her wonderful success, which is truly well-deserved.

Arlo Parks’ latest single is Caroline

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Life Elsewhere Music Vol 209

Hi there, first up, you’ll notice a change to the graphic for this volume of Life Elsewhere Music. Instead of a black and white photograph, the image is a color reproduction of artwork in my collection. I’ve changed the typography too – and omitted the isolation mix number.  Quite simply, after 34 isolation mixes, who needs to be reminded how long we have been subjected to a pandemic that has caused far too much suffering. The other change for Vol 209 is this is a non-stop mix. No commentaries, no details about each cut. They are all here: 

To begin, Cabaret VoltaireThe Power (Of Their Knowledge) from the album, Shadow Of Fear. Richard H. Kirk is the sole remaining member, this is Cabaret Voltaire’s first studio album in 26 years. Kirk has released many acclaimed solo albums and is credited with creating bleep techno. He formed this new album from a series of pulverizing live shows. There is something timely about this release even if I do get a little nostalgic about playing Nag Nag Nag in a dance club, all those years ago. The influence of Cabaret Voltaire cannot be underestimated, I‘m sure Loraine James out of London would agree. Last year (2019) I played a cut or two from her notable For You & I album, she is back with the EP, Nothing another first-class recording. The track I’ve selected, Don’t You See It features  Jonnine Standish and in my opinion, this one should be on your playlist – right now! Tunnels by Zha is next on the fab White Peach Records label, who continue to release important music. I played the Snails EP in my car today, my opinionated 18-year-old son, said “That is sick dad! You have good taste!” From the first few bars of Dead As Disco by Hearts and Rockets you know Kalindy Williams on guitar, synth, vocals and Kurt Eckardt on synth, drum programming, back up vocals are not messing around. The Melbourne-based duo says they are a feminist bratwave punk band. No reason to argue with that. Or this, Kalindy and Kurt write the following, “Hearts and Records write, record, perform and live on the stolen land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation. Sovereignty of this land was never ceded, and a treaty has never been signed. We stand in solidarity with the true custodians of this land and pay our respects to their elders both past and present. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.” So impressed am I with Hearts and Rockets, I added the flip-side, Workout. Magnificent, tell your mother you heard ‘em first on Life Elsewhere Music. Call me sentimental, but certain locations come to mind when I recall good times and lovely people, Toronto is a standout for me. I don’t know Ada Rook but it’s truly fitting she should hail from that vibrant Canadian city. The cut, Total Memory Failure from the EP, Separated From Her Twin, A Dying Android Arrives On A Mysterious Island caught my attention on the first listen. And, I love that Ada says, “I’ve always been obsessed with places that feel unfamiliar, or maybe more specifically, places that explicitly lack signifiers of what I’m used to. I love everything that doesn’t remind me of anything. I feel like I’ve spent most of my life chasing that and running from everything else.” We stay in Toronto to hear from Mira Martin-Gray and Robin Jennings who have collaborated as Calicoes. Their 3-track self-titled EP is startlingly good. My tip, play all the cuts in one sitting. I’ve selected, Open Letter To The Coke-head In North Park. I have no idea if Robin and Mira appreciate how much I want to hear this on every alternative playlist. Robin Jennings is on vocals and harmonica, plus she is a fine water-color artist. Mira Martin-Gray provides vocals, guitar, and bass and also goes by the moniker of Tendencyitis. From Toronto, we head on over to Amsterdam to hear from Fridolijn with If Your Heart Were A City from her EP, Chapter Two. She writes, “This is the follow up of Chapter One, which came out in the summer of this year. The airiness heard in the first chapter is being traded for a darker sound. Synths will play the lead part and hope is making way for irony and disillusion.” Lovely voice and superb production and I do like a nice bit of piano work. Then, a seamless segue into Wonk by Teevee Nicks from her debut EP, Light Blue. Yes, she is having fun with her name and yes, it does look like she is floating naked in a pool, but I’m pleased to report that Ms. Nicks is making music that certainly deserving of your attention. Ah, and yes, Wonk does end abruptly. That works though, ‘cause I segue right into Slow by Kiddus. This is a cut from Future Bubblers 4.0, a compilation on Brownswood Music out of London. This is the 4th in the series and highly recommended. A jaunt over to Istanbul, Turkey is next to hear from acclaimed producer, Gantz with the curiously-titled, Hinges Creak on his Krokodil EP. Make sure your sub-woofers are primed for this one. Love that bass. Next up, the surface noise in the intro to Kerala Dust’s Lilac Dune is essential to the ambiance, which is why I left it in. I have little information about this one except to let you know you should investigate the LP, Light, West on Denature Records out of Paris, an independent record label that has been releasing electronic music since 2016. Over in London, the heart of dance music has always been drawn from soul, and producer DJ Q is certainly on form with All That I Could. He’s been releasing music regularly since 2004, cited as being a revered Garage & Bass producer. All That I Could does not disappoint. Because I like this one so much I created my own extended mix. Talking about soul, the marvelously talented and suitably-named Cleo Sol is next. We played the title cut from her, Rose In The Dark LP earlier this year. In case you have not searched out her music, here is another prompt with, Why Don’t You. I’d like to hear anyone argue that Cleo has an amazing voice and this production is top-notch. OK, we have arrived at the last cut for Life Elsewhere music Vol 209, and this where really rave on. October And The Eyes hails from New Zealand, she is currently based in London and she is making music I think is absolutely incredible. Her EP, Dog and Gods is up there with King Hannah’s Tell Me Your Mind And I’ll Tell You Minemodern rock ’n’ roll-sex-music! I selected her latest single, Dark Dogs, but I advise you to check all of her work out, especially the video for Playing God. Perhaps the best rock video I have ever seen. October struts and pouts and works the camera as only Bowie could. That she has modeled is hardly surprising. Yeah, I know videos are not the music, but in this case, October And The Eyes would have me conjuring up cinematic images anyway. This gets my serious approval. 

LEM Vol 209 Playlist
  1. Cabaret Voltaire – The Power (Of Their Knowledge)
  2. Loraine James – Don’t You See It (ft. Jonnine Standish)
  3. Zha – Tunnels
  4. Hearts and Rockets – Dead As Disco
  5. Hearts and Rockets – Workout
  6. Ada Rook – Total Memory Failure
  7. Calicoes – Open Letter To The Coke-Head In North Park
  8. Fridolijn – If Your Heart Were A City
  9. Teevee Nicks – Wonk
  10. Kiddus – Slow
  11. Gantz – Hinges Creak
  12. Kerala Dust – Lilac Dune
  13. DJ Q – All That I Could
  14. Cleo Sol – Why Don’t You
  15. October And The Eyes – Dark Dog

Make sure you let me know what you think of the cuts I curated for Life Elsewhere Music Vol 209. Write to normanb at lifeelsewhere dot co

The artwork for this volume is by Claudio Zamara “I speak this from my heart” 2005 3′ x 4’6″ (detail) acrylic, gold-flake paint & mixed media on canvas. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

LEM Vol 209

Sobering Conversations On Fascism & Scientology

                            

At the close of our conversation with philosophy professor, Jason Stanley he quips, “Thank you for a sobering conversation.” It should be pointed out, the professor was being somewhat sardonic. His must-read, How Fascism Works – The Politics Of Us And Them is certainly a serious topic, yet we had managed to bring a moment or two of levity into the conversation. Stanley a child of refugees from WW11 Europe understood fascism means dividing a population to achieve power but was alarmed by fascism’s unnerving prevalence here in America. First, with the rise of the birther movement and later the ascent of Donald Trump, he observed that not only is the rise of fascist politics possible in the United States, but its roots have been here for more than a century. Drawing on history, philosophy, sociology, critical race theory, and examples from around the world from 19th century America to 20th-century Germany (where Hitler was inspired by the Confederacy and Jim Crow South) to 21st-century India. How Fascism Works identifies ten pillars of fascist politics that leaders use to build onto power by dividing populations into an “us” and “them”. Stanley uncovers urgent patterns that are as prevalent today as ever and pins down a creeping sense that fascist tendencies are on the rise. By recognizing them, he argues, readers might begin to resist their most harmful effects. With the 45th president shouting obnoxiously from behind a teeny-tiny desk while refusing to concede he lost the 2020 election, Jason Stanley’s words are indeed sobering.

Equally sobering is Michelle LeClair’s memoir, Perfectly Clear: Escaping Scientology and Fighting for the Woman I Love. The former President of Scientology’s international humanitarian organization tried to reconcile her sexual orientation with the anti-gay ideology of the church. Michelle finally ends her horrific marriage, finds the love of her life, a woman, and ultimately leaves the Church. But the split comes at a terrible price. Her once pristine reputation is publicly dragged through the mud, the police raid her home, her ex-husband tries to gain full custody of their children, and the multi-million dollar business she built from scratch is utterly destroyed. In her tell-all memoir, Michelle offers an insider’s perspective on Scientology’s pervasive influence, secret rituals, and ruthless practices for keeping members in line. 

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Recalling Reality. A Tale Of Revenge. Passionate Music.

             

Two engaging conversations in this edition of Life Elsewhere with two authors who have written two completely different books. One is an intimate, revelatory memoir, exploring the ways we can care for and repair ourselves when life knocks us down. The other takes us into the well-trodden path of noir set in Los Angeles. Only here we find the narrator is a seemingly tough-as-nails woman who may be far more vulnerable than she appears. Plus, new music about the passion and intensity of a doomed yet all-encompassing relationship.

Katherine May Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times 

Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a break-up, or a job loss can derail a life. These periods of dislocation can be lonely and unexpected. For May, her husband fell ill, her son stopped attending school, and her own medical issues led her to leave a demanding job. Wintering explores how she not only endured this painful time but embraced the singular opportunities it offered. A moving personal narrative shot through with lessons from literature, mythology, and the natural world, May’s story offers instruction on the transformative power of rest and retreat. Illumination emerges from many sources: solstice celebrations and dormice hibernation, C.S. Lewis and Sylvia Plath, swimming in icy waters, and sailing arctic seas. Ultimately Wintering invites us to change how we relate to our own fallow times. May models an active acceptance of sadness and finds nourishment in deep retreat, joy in the hushed beauty of winter, and encouragement in understanding life as cyclical, not linear. A secular mystic, May forms a guiding philosophy for transforming the hardships that arise before the ushering in of a new season.

Halley Sutton The Lady Upstairs

A modern-day noir featuring a twisty cat-and-mouse chase, this dark debut thriller tells the story of a woman who makes a living taking down terrible men…then finds herself in over her head and with blood on her hands. The only way out? Pull off one final con. Jo’s job is blackmailing the most lecherous men in Los Angeles–handsy Hollywood producers, adulterous actors, corrupt cops. Sure, she likes the money she’s making, which comes in handy for the debt she is paying off, but it’s also a chance to take back power for the women of the city. Eager to prove herself to her coworker Lou and their enigmatic boss, known only as the Lady Upstairs, Jo takes on bigger and riskier jobs. When one of her targets is murdered, both the Lady Upstairs and the LAPD have Jo in their sights. Desperate to escape the consequences of her failed job, she decides to take on just one more sting–bringing down a rising political star. It’s her biggest con yet–and she will do it behind the Lady’s back, freeing both herself and Lou. But Jo soon learns that Lou and the Lady have secrets of their own and that no woman is safe when there is a life-changing payout on the line. A delicious debut thriller crackling with wit and an unforgettable feminist voice, The Lady Upstairs is a chilling and endlessly surprising take on female revenge.

Miranda McCarthy From Loving You

Inspired by the wildness of West Cork and life in profound transformation, Miranda McCarthy has in her new single, From Loving You created a moving, beautiful song. Her words and the exceptional arrangement work as a perfect segway between our conversations with Katherine May and Halley Sutton where both authors explore deep and perhaps hidden emotions.

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