Growing up in the south, where tradition reigns supreme, Cate Doty thought about weddings . . . a lot. She catered for them, she attended many, she imagined her own. So, when she moved to New York City in pursuit of love–and to write for The New York Times–she finds her natural home in the wedding section, a first step to her own happily-ever-after, surely. Soon Cate is thrown into the cutthroat world of the metropolitan society pages, experiencing the lengths couples go to have their announcements accepted and the lengths the writers go in fact-checking their stories; the surprising, status-signaling details that matter most to brides and grooms; and the politics of the paper at a time of vast cultural and industry changes. Reporting weekly on couples whose relationships seem enviable–or eye-roll worthy–and dealing with WASPy grandparents and last-minute snafus, Cate is surrounded by love, or what we’re told to believe is love. But when she starts to take the leap herself, she begins to ask her own questions about what it means to truly commit. Just like her memoir, Everything I Know About Love I Learned On The Wedding Pages, Cate Doty is warm and witty with an infectious laugh, as you’ll hear when Norman B asks, “So, what did you do with your Ken doll?”
Also in the program, frequent contributor, Dr. Binoy Kampmark, Senior Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, at RMIT University, Melbourne. The learned scholar offers his take on 1. The origins of Covid19. Are politics always at the forefront of any pandemic? 2. How does the rest of the world view the Biden administration? 3. The hijacking of a RyanAir plane and what this could mean for future dissidents? 4. The demands for Bolsonaro’s impeachment? Should we take more notice of what is happening in Brazil? 5. Burned by the Diana cult and the fall of Martin Bashir. Should the royals have a say in the freedom of the press? 6. A mouse plague after a drought in Australia? Are Pied Pipers standing by?
On the release of his much-lauded solo album, Songs Of Co-Aklan, we invited Cathal Coughlan onto Life Elsewhere. It quickly became clear that 60 minutes was not going to be enough time to enjoy what this adventurous musician had to say. Another Zoom session was arranged. Two hours later we had covered a wide variety of subjects, with Mr. Coughlan offering his well-considered opinions. Plus, we ventured to ask the Irish-born musician to select some of his favorite recordings to include in the show. His choices are as eclectic and fascinating as the man himself. Cathal’s passion for music and the artists he talks about is compelling and inspiring.
Born and raised in Cork, Ireland Cathalbegan singing in the late 70s and by 1980 he had met Sean O’Hagan and formed Microdisney. A band that was hard to (thankfully) slot into a nice neat genre. On Discogs Cathal is described rather aptly, as an anti-Bono. His music and lyrics some may call challenging, I on the other hand was fascinated and loved playing Microdisney alongside the plethora of post-punk-one-hit-wonders that cursed new music in the early 80s. The temptation to slide easily into a lovable New Wave outfit was enough for Mr. Coughlan to see Microdisney dwindle down to a two-piece with O’Hagen and eventually reassemble as The Fatima Mansions, making, splendid yet hard to categorize music. The eventual demise of The Fatima Mansions in the mid-90s led to Cathal stepping away from being in a band to releasing solo albums, taking part in collaborations, and making guest appearances. For a while, he was involved in musical theatre, mostly in France. In 2006 he was described in The Irish Times as the ‘genius of Irish rock’.
This volume of Life Elsewhere Music was prompted by an email from a listener named Candice who wrote, “Mr. B. thank you for Life Elsewhere Music, I love that you play a wide variety of new music. I think it would be interesting if you did an encore show of some of your favorite standout songs from the past few months. I know you say complimentary things about all the music you curate, but how about giving us an encore show of Mr. B’s picks, songs you think deserve wider attention?” A splendid suggestion from Candice. Of course, she is correct, I only play music I consider for inclusion in the show and yes, I’m a fan. So, in turn, that makes selecting standouts really difficult. For this volume, all the music included should be getting wider attention, in my opinion. It’s the Encore Edition. We begin with Porridge Radio, their visual appeal is up there with the band’s musical abilities. When I first played Sweet from their LP, Every Bad I added to my commentary, “I tracked down a super cool video”. Alice Kat and Liam James Marsh intrigued me so much, I invited them onto the show to talk about their music as fine. I was delighted to discover they exude an honesty that is not only refreshing but also perfectly natural. The duo creates seemingly uncomplicated, yet sophisticated, powerful music. Indulge in I Sleep So Much Better Now. If you don’t have Phil Parfitt’s sublime Mental Home Recordings in your collection by now, then I can only hope you take careful notice of Are We Really Still The Same selected for this Encore edition. Mr. Parfitt bravely exposes himself with oh, so wonderful songwriting. Very few musicians can go where Phil goes without sounding so sorry for themselves. Even if Denise Sherwood did not have the pedigree of being the daughter of legendary mixmaster and producer, Adrian Sherwood, I have no doubt we would still have heard from her. She takes the reggae and dub atmosphere she grew up surrounded by to reveal polished songwriting and performing talent as displayed with Uncertain Times from her debut LP, This Road. I have to admit the sleeve for Strange Ritual by German band, Lambs & Wolves caught my attention first. Then, on listening, I loved the way they put the song together and discovered the song was recorded in summer 2020 by Julian Tröndle (vocals, piano), Louis Groß (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drums, percussion) & Stefan Bercher (acoustic guitar, backing vocals) with Benedikt Weiger (double bass). The work of Dublin-based experimental singer-songwriter Miriam Ingram was first suggested to me by another Irish musician who is related to a mutual friend, but that’s a long story – Miriam’sA Tiny White Dot evokes a poignant observation on the end of the world as she watches the tiny white dot slowly vanish on her TV screen. Oh, and her voice and production had me putting this one on repeat play. Ms. Ingram sent me a message saying she was enamored with Eel Drip from Penelope Trappes. Perfect, so am I. The video Penelope put together for Eel Drip is a must-see. The London-based artist has Penelope Three out on May 28th. We have already played the cut on LEM 225 and advised you to check it out. Next up, Mourn! I’m tempted to write many paragraphs raving on about this extraordinary outfit from Barcelona, Spain. They first came to my attention a couple of years back when they were exceptionally young, they still are and This Feeling Is Disgusting is quite simply essential listening. Wouldn’t it be glorious to see them live? More music from Dublin, where there must be something in the water, ‘cause the non-stop releases of essential music is brilliant. Pillow Queens with A Dog’s Life doesn’t mess around, the queer four-piece tells about the housing crisis in Ireland with energy and rawness that grabs you in. Yes, you need their album, In Waiting. Léanie Kaleido describes herself as a “pint-sized purveyor of piano pop and lyrical loveliness”. No reason to argue with that. As it happens All The Things I’m Made Of is a nice slice of piano pop. I’ve been following the work of Nuha Ruby Ra for a while now. With each release, the East Londoner tells us to know to keep a careful watch on her, Erase Me is no exception. Chatting to Hannah and Olly of Pela you soon realize these two exceptional talents take their music seriously. Their careful attention to detail comes across in the superb productions, like In The Young. Pela should be in rotation on any station that purports to play new music. Selecting a best of single could be difficult (or unfair) until Crème Brûlée by King Hannah came along. It is, of course, an unlikely choice for a best single. It’s long, it’s sexy, it has a long wailing guitar solo. In fact, Crème Brûlée defies the rules and regulations for a terrific single. And that is why I love this cut so much. Encore!
Porridge Radio – Sweet
Fine. – I Sleep So Much Better Now
Dogs For Friends – Make It Your Own
Phil Parfitt – Are We Really Still The Same
Denise Sherwood – Uncertain Times
Lambs & Wolves – Strange Ritual
Miriam Ingram – A Tiny White Dot
Penelope Trappes – Eel Drip
Mourn – This Feeling Is Disgusting
Pillow Queens – A Dog’s Life
Léanie Kaleido – All The Things I’m Made Of
Nuha Ruby Ra – Erase Me
Pela – In The Young
King Hannah – Crème Brûlée
Artwork by Mr. B “Miss P #32” 2009 4′ x 4′ giclée print on archival paper. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection
I’m Glad It’s Over Now is the title of fine.’s latest album. If any other band had come up with that title you’d expect a dour collection of songs, along with a miserable attitude. As it happens, fine. are certainly not miserable and their songs hardly dour. All the more surprising then, when you learn the stories behind, When I Came / Where You Left and I Sleep So Much Better Now are based on the reality of experiencing this mortal coil. The pathos behind these songs is not hidden away nor is it brandished like a signal for sympathy. Instead, Alice Kat and Liam James Marsh exude an honesty that is not only refreshing but also perfectly natural. The couple got together in 2015 and began making music alongside their individual projects. As fine. they have achieved that clever, but hard to accomplish mode of making music that sounds new and modern with knowing references, yet it’s distinctly their own creation. In our conversation and the cuts Alice and Liam selected you’ll hear why I’m so enamored with them and their music.
Martin Atkins’ list of credits and accolades are more than most of you have had hot dinners. After all, the drummer extraordinaire has played with Killing Joke, Ministry, PigFace, and many more including PiL – Public Image Limited. Martin pounded out astonishing rhythms alongside John Lydon and Keith Levene on an album that remains shrouded in controversy, Flowers Of Romance. Now on the 40th anniversary of the release of an album that was scornfully panned by the critics and remains to this day a raison d’être for musicologists to argue over. Mr. Atkins in his usual candid tone asked to set the record straight about the recording of Flowers Of Romance. He begins by noting that famed bassist, Jah Wobble had left PiL as the sessions were about to start. Martin then continues with surprising details, most never heard before. These are stunning revelations about an album that now has been rediscovered and newly appreciated. Martin Atkins always charms us with his anecdotes, his sincerity way out front. In setting the record straight, Atkins uncovers the suspicion that making records is not in any aspect glamorous. This is history, a true story, told by a man who shares his memories with poignant honesty.