Category Archives: Talk Radio

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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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.

Show 399

A Conversation With Philip Parfitt Part 1

“Do you think you have a distinctive voice?” Norman B asks British musician, Philip Parfitt. “I don’t really think about it” Parfitt replies, adding “I guess I can’t hear myself.” From the moment the conversation with Phil Parfitt begins his distinctive timbre catches your attention. Is it world-weary, years of smoking and drinking, a theatrical veneer? Or is it the voice of a man who is way beyond fronting a pose? Is this the comfortable voice of a fellow who enjoys a good conversation? A man who has a lot of stories he is eager to share? As you listen, you’ll come to your own conclusion, yet the striking black and white portrait by Jean-Charles Feunteun is as intense as it is mysterious. Phil Parfitt is an open book with many chapters to discover. This will explain why our conversation will air in two parts, but there is far more to learn from a musician, an artist whose ideas cannot all be gathered in one sitting. More conversations with Phil Parfitt are planned for the near future. 

In part one, Phil traces back to being around six-years-old listening to his older brother’s selection of Pretty Things, Rolling Stones, and Kinks records. The lure of rock ’n’ roll was infectious. He knew he wanted to part of it. He jumped in, naively, with Punk and formed Varicose Veins and released the Incredible EP. A limited-edition venture, not by choice but because of limited funds. A record that Phil is loathed to hear these days, despite that collectors are willing to fork out up to 500 pounds for the rare 7” single. His non-de-plume at that time was Henry Crank, but that got old very fast and he morphed into his real name and a new band, a three-piece, sans a live drummer, Orange Disaster. They made the sublime, Something’s Got To Give. Five minutes of heartbroken bliss. An extraordinary record that sounds just as relevant today as it did back in 1980. A name change was next, with Architects Of Disaster seeing their line-up come and go till 1984 when The Perfect Disaster was formed. From there, a number of albums were released, while Phil Parfitt admits to being disillusioned with touring and personnel changes. By 2014, the solo album, I’m Not The Man I Used To Be was released under the moniker of Philip Parfitt. This brings us up to Mental Home Recordings by Philip Parfitt, released on October 30, 2020. Music archivists and simply lovers of good music will enjoy our conversation with Phil and the eclectic record choices he makes for the program.

Portrait of Philip Parfitt by Jean-Charles Feunteun

LEM Vol 206

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