Category Archives: Talk Radio

A Conversation With Ten Katestraat

He makes excellent music under the name Ten Katestraat, he lives in Amsterdam, has a day job in The Hague and hails from the UK. Stephen James Howard comes across as an amiable chap who is slightly bemused that his recordings have been getting attention recently, not least of all on our shows. He writes the songs, plays the instruments and produces in his “spare-room” studio. His wife, Brigitte takes care of the artwork while Stephen handles the promotion, which is how we first came to hear about him. A short, but charming email arrived accompanied by a sound-file for download. “I hope you might be interested?” Wrote Mr. Howard, adding, “I’ll be listening.” We were interested and he didn’t have to wait too long to listen, we added, The Commander Told You to our next Life Elsewhere Music playlist. We were intrigued by his (thankfully) hard to categorize music and his notation that he “was a Brexit refugee”. Stephen quickly followed up with another single and we obliged by promptly giving Leaving Everything Behind airplay. Then, after a rapid flurry of emails, we decided it would be a grand idea to have a chat with Stephen. Coming up on Life Elsewhere Music Vol 159 our conversation with Stephen James Howard, where he talks about music, creativity and explains his take on Brexit and UK politics. And yes, you will learn the meaning of Ten Katestraat.

Also in the show, new releases include The Ghost Wolfes, a duo from Austin, Texas, husband and wife, Carley and Jonny Wolf. We love what Carley and Jonny are doing, so you’ll hear two cuts, Crooked Cop, and Fist from their Crooked Cop EP, available on Third Man Records. This is a band we hope to see live soon. Jon Jones of Roots Garden Records, the adventurous reggae label based out of Brighton on England’s South Coast kindly sent us a powerful-lyric heavy single, Run This Nation by Manasseh & Skari. Jacksonville, Florida-based Brenna Erickson gets airplay with Making Memories Alone, a love song with references to London. And you’ll hear 19-year-old West Londoner, Matilda Mann with The Loch Ness Monster. We predict you’ll be hearing more from this up and coming singer-songwriter.

LEM Vol 159

Belief & Climate Change

Why are so many humans religious? Why do we daydream, imagine, and hope? Philosophers, theologians, social scientists, and historians have offered explanations for centuries, but their accounts often ignore or even avoid human evolution. Evolutionary scientists answer with proposals for why ritual, religion, and faith make sense as adaptations to past challenges or as by-products of our hyper-complex cognitive capacities. But what if the focus on religion is too narrow? Renowned anthropologist, Agustín Fuentes argues that the capacity to be religious is actually a small part of a larger and deeper human capacity to believe. Why believe in religion, economies, love? In his new book, Why We Believe – Evolution and the Human Way of Being, Agustín presents a fascinating observation on the most common misconceptions about human nature, his book employs evolutionary, neurobiological, and anthropological evidence to argue that belief—the ability to commit passionately and wholeheartedly to an idea—is central to the human way of being in the world.

Robert Hunziker a regular contributor to Life Elsewhere, writes about climate change, headlines from his articles of the past year suggest he is a forecaster of doom – Permafrost Hits a Grim Threshold; Climate Confusion, Angst, and Sleeplessness; Extinction Rebellion Sweeps the World; Earth 4C Hotter; The Coldest Spot on Earth Melting. Hunziker shrugs off the daunting moniker, ready to launch into a passionate monologue full of facts and alarming details. So, we asked Robert to give an overview of the crucial points on climate change during the past 12 months.

Show #352

A Private Conversation With Amy Rigby

 

Amy Rigby has been crisscrossing the USA promoting her memoir, Girl To City, stopping at music venues and book stores from upstate New York to the Pacific North West. She reads from her book, often she plays her guitar, sometimes she is accompanied by musician friends.  The acclaimed singer-songwriter loves the experience as evident by her enthusiastic social media and diary posts. Of course, not all of Amy’s fans have been able to enjoy her personal appearances, which is why we are delighted she took the time to talk with Norman B about Girl To City.

Amy Rigby, Girl To City – A Memoir – Summer Of My Wasted Youth

When I lived on East 4th Street, the staircase had been clogged twice a month with tenants waiting for the mailman to bring disability and welfare checks. My 14th Street neighbors were more of a mix of writers and musicians, the employed and the unemployable. Above and below and on either side of me, people were reading books, painting, making clothes. I also saw a lot of them hustling to the subway or bus in the morning dressed in business attire, off to do their day jobs. I won’t be like that, I thought. I’m only tempting until I’m successful at music. Then I won’t have to work another job.

In this short, brilliantly written example from Amy Rigby’s memoir, you cannot ignore her raw honesty. Even describing humdrum, day-to-day scenarios she doesn’t wander off into fanciful wordplay. Instead, Amy has a marvelous knack for not only conjuring up the scene but also her feelings at that moment. It’s a powerful skill, she modestly acknowledges. “I write better than I say it.” She announces with a slight giggle. Conversing with Amy is always a treat because you never know what tangent you’ll go in. Reading Girl To City is not unlike having a private conversation with the much-loved artist. She speaks directly to you, sometimes wistfully:

He wore a tank top in winter and summer.
But I loved him.
He gave me a crash course in art and film history.
He also gave me crabs, gonorrhea and herpes.
But I loved him.

And she always speaks with a wink in her eye. Never jaded, often knowing and occasionally with a tartness that catches the reader by surprise. Her memoir is packed full of information, details, names, cultural references, a history of rock and roll as seen through Amy’s almost always bright-eyed vision. There have been a lot of memoirs from the rock fraternity, Girl To City deserves its own unique category, as Lenny Kaye says, “Amy Rigby writes the way she performs and sings, laced with insight, humor, self-awareness, and above all, heart”.

During the conversation, Norman B asked Amy to select some music to play during the show. She decided on two cuts from A One Way Ticket To My Life, a companion album to her book, Girl To City, featuring unreleased tracks and demos. Plus she requested we play, the Summer Of My Wasted Youth from her 1998 album, Middlescence.

Show #351

Demystifying The Science Of Hearing

Our sense of hearing makes it easy to connect with the world and the people around us. The human system for processing sound is a biological marvel, an intricate assembly of delicate membranes, bones, receptor cells, and neurons. Yet many people take their ears for granted, abusing them with loud restaurants, rock concerts, and Q-tips. And then, eventually, most of us start to go deaf. Millions of Americans suffer from hearing loss. Faced with the cost and stigma of hearing aids, the natural human tendency is to do nothing and hope for the best, usually while pretending that nothing is wrong. In Volume Control, David Owen argues this inaction comes with a huge social cost. He demystifies the science of hearing while encouraging readers to get the treatment they need for hearing loss and protect the hearing they still have. Hearing aids are rapidly improving and becoming more versatile. Inexpensive high-tech substitutes are increasingly available, making it possible for more of us to boost our weakening ears without bankrupting ourselves. Relatively soon, physicians may be able to reverse losses that have always been considered irreversible. Even the insistent buzz of tinnitus may soon yield to relatively simple treatments and techniques. 

Olivia Taylor Smith – What Do You Do?

Unnamed Press is an independent publisher of fiction and non-fiction, based in Los Angeles and co-founded by Olivia Taylor Smith. “Our books represent a diverse list of voices—ones that challenge conventional perspectives while appealing to a broad general audience: exciting, radical, urgent. We nurture emerging talent and partner with more established authors to help their platform grow.” Says Olivia, who is also executive editor of Unnamed Press. For our ongoing series, we asked Olivia, “What Do You Do?” We wanted to learn more about the enterprising woman who had directed our attention to a wide variety of exceptional authors, like Elizabeth Tan, Tim Orchard, Adam Popescu, Hope Ewing, and Adam Nemett.

photo of Olivia Taylor Smith by Jaya Nicely

Show #350

Nature’s Lessons & A Surprising Label.

Looking around at the world today—a world of skyscrapers, superhighways, melting ice caps, and rampant deforestation—it is easy to feel that humanity has actively severed its ties with nature. It’s no wonder that we are starving to rediscover a connection with the natural world. With new insights into the inner workings of nature’s wonders, Gary Ferguson presents a fascinating exploration into how many of the most remarkable aspects of nature are hardwired into our very DNA. What emerges is a dazzling web of connections that holds powerful clues about how to better navigate our daily lives. Through cutting-edge data and research, drawing on science, psychology, history, and philosophy, in The Eight Master Lessons of Nature, Ferguson suggests a feeling of hope, excitement, and joy. Lessons about mystery, loss, the fine art of rising again, how animals make us smarter, and how the planet’s elders make us better at life are unforgettable and transformative. 

Brighton, on the south coast of England, features again as the home-base for an exceptional creative record label. (A few months back we focused the spotlight on enterprising reggae label, Roots Garden). Now, we take a close-up look at Shore Dive Records with owner-operator, Nico Beatastic, who confidently admits to being contrary. When pressed to classify the label’s catalog, Nico easily offers a few train-spotting name-checks, but, (thankfully), he refutes the notion of Shore Dive having one genre. With his charming, hard to define accent, the English-French musician, producer, promoter and label boss readily admits to considering The Smashing Pumpkins as his go-to band for inspiration. “Not that I want to imitate them!” He adds. In his native French, Nico may say his label is égalitaire, with artists from places far and wide — Primitive Heart, fronted by Dani Mari is out of Brooklyn; two dudes and a drum machine are Fleur du Mal based in Paris and Swimming Pool hail from Sevilla, Spain; Purple Dynamine reside in Southern California; Nico’s own project, Xeresa combines the pop songs of The Postal Service with the chiming guitars of American Football and the sonic scapes of shoegaze. In the publicity blurb for Shore Dive, Nico writes, “…we hope we surprise you.”   

Show 349

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