rock

Podcast: Wonder

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Show: 
Bullseye

This week on The Sound of Young America, we rediscover our sense of wonder.

Lawrence Weschler spent over 20 years writing for The New Yorker, often profiling the sorts of empassioned eccentrics who change the world. His new book, "Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences," examines the surprising overlaps in the world, and particularly in visual culture, as well as the meaning of those overlaps. (Seen to the left: Rembrandt's "The Anatomy Lesson" and Freddy Alborta's "The Death of Che")

Michael Ivins is the bassist (and more) of The Flaming Lips, a remarkable rock band who are perhaps more popular today than at any other point in their 20+ year history. Their sonic experimentation and melancholic comic touch are well known in the indie rock world, and so are their wild stage shows, which often include people in rabbit suits and members of the band rolling over the crowd in a giant hamster ball.

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Podcast: The Indies

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Show: 
Bullseye

This week on The Sound of Young America, we look at the indie spirit.

Animator Bill Plympton has always worked independently, creating both short and feature-length animated films. He draws every frame himself, and his absurd humor has netted him two Oscar nominations. He also recently created a music video for Kanye West, about which he talks in our bonus interview. His most recent release is "Plymptoons: The Complete Early Works of Bill Plympton," which includes his Oscar-nominated "Your Face."

Our second guest is Doug Martsch, from the indie rock group Built to Spill. Since coming out of the Seattle rock scene in the early 1990s, Built to Spill have been one of the most important and influential bands in the indie/alternative rock movement. Martsch is considered by many to be the heir to J Mascis' alterna-rock guitar god throne. We talk with Doug about his nearly 20-year career in rock, and why he was never able to support himself with music until he signed to a major label. The band has a new album, "You in Reverse," and is currently on tour.

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Bonus Interviews with Bill Plympton Here

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Podcast: Digital and Analog

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Show: 
Bullseye

This week's Sound of Young America broadcast looks at the future of media -- and at its past.

Mark Frauenfelder and Xeni Jardin are two of the c0-editors of Boing-Boing.net, one of the world's most popular blogs. Frauenfelder started Boing Boing as a print zine in 1988, and grew to a website in the mid-90s, and a blog a few years later. Today, it attracts 1.75 million visitors every day. Topics covered range from futurism and cyber culture to ukeleles and the just plan weird and fascinating. We talk with Mark and Xeni about the history of Boing Boing, internet culture, and how blogs are changing the world of media, and changing themselves as time marches on.

We also talk with John Vanderslice. Vanderslice is a recording artist, as well as a record producer and the owner of Tiny Telephone Recording in San Francisco, one of the last all-analog studios in the United States. He started his career as a member of MK Ultra, before becoming a solo artist. His most recent record "Pixel Revolt," is a dense, literary journey in song. He's also produced records by the Mountain Goats and Spoon. We talk with John about why he still cuts tape in the studio, and about his remarkable songs. Don't miss the bonus interview and MP3 downloads below.

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Bonus Interview
Kevin Kelly on the Future of Books

Kevin Kelly is the "Senior Maverick" at Wired Magazine, as well as the editor of the blog Cool Tools. We talk with Kevin about the future of books in a digital world, from scanning projects going on around the globe to the copyright issues that are currently in court. His recent cover story on the subject ran in the New York Times Magazine.

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Bonus Interview
John Vanderslice on Producing

John tells us about his production work with artists like John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.

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Music Downloads
John Vanderslice - "Exodus Damage"
John Vanderslice - "Trance Manual"
Also heard: "Angela"
(all from "Pixel Revolt")

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Podcast: Santa Cruz You're Not That Far

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This week on The Sound of Young America, we bid farewell to our erstwhile flagship station, KZSC in Santa Cruz. Our theme is "Santa Cruz, You're Not That Far." The show features two of our all-time favorite segments from our time at KZSC.

First, we chat with rock & roll superstar and New Sincerity legend Andrew WK. He'd just started on a television advice show, and he talks about his philosophies of life. Then, he offers my younger brother Brendan some advice on rock & roll. Andrew even asks Brendan if the youngster minds if the oldster picks up a few tricks from his record.

We also hear "Mace Detective: Private Detective," one of the first original comedy pieces we ever wrote and performed on the show. It follows the travails of the eponymous gumshoe as he blunders his way through the detecting process, eventually solving The Case of Popinjay's Whizbang.

Also on this week's show: a brand new sketch from the Kasper Hauser Skit Club.

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Music This Week

The Thrills - "Santa Cruz You're Not That Far" from So Much for the City
Andrew WK - We Want Fun from Girls Own Juice EP
Andrew WK - Long Live the Party from The Wolf
Andrew WK - Don't Stop the Noise from Girls Own Juice EP
Total Annihilation - Burning Buildings from Noggin

Hey! Buy some stuff! (The show gets a portion of the money)

Andrew WK - Live 1992-2004 DVD

Podcast: Rip It Up and Start Again

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Show: 
Bullseye

This week our theme is "Rip It Up & Start Again," and we investigate the history of Post-Punk music.

Our guest is Simon Reynolds, a British pop music critic, and the author of the book which gives our show its name. His book aims to retrofit the reputation of the rock music of the early 80s, describing the sonically disparate artists who created something new in the wake of the first punk movement's self-destruction.

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Music This Week / Buy Stuff

Sex Pistols - "God Save the Queen" from Nevermind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
Public Image Ltd. - Public Image from Public Image Ltd
Public Image Ltd. - Death Disco from Greatest Hits So Far
Gang of Four - Naturals Not In It from Entertainment!
The Pop Group - Thief of Fire from Y
Gang of Four - Anthrax from Entertainment!
Scritti Pollitti - Perfect Way from Cupid & Psyche 85
Devo - Whip It from Freedom of Choice
Human League - Love Action from "Dare
Slits - "Spend Spend Spend" from Cut
Joy Division - Atmosphere from Permanent
Talking Heads - "Seen and Not Seen" from Remain in Light
Matmos "Regicide" from Civil War


Hey! Buy some stuff! (The show gets a portion of the money)



Podcast: Live in New York 2

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Show: 
Bullseye


Last month, The Sound of Young America recorded two broadcasts live at the PIT in New York City. This is the second of those programs.

Our first guest, Andres du Bouchet, is an accomplished stand-up comic whose show "Giant Tuesday Night of Amazing Inventions and Also There Is A Game" is a New York City favorite. He's also been on Conan O'Brien and Cheap Seats, and was a featured player on I Love the 30s. He offered our listeners "So You've Been Turned," a guide to acclimating to your new life as a vampire.

Our second guests, Elephant Larry, are a long-time Sound of Young America favorite. Their sketch parodied "8 Mile," and it's worth noting that they all wore funny sea-faring hats.

Then our relatively new friend Jonathan Coulton came through and performed three winning songs. First he played, "The Future Soon," a song written from the perspective of a love-lorn 12-year-old nerd. Then he performed a winning cover of the Sir-Mix-A-Lot classic "Baby Got Back," and closed with a charming song written from the perspective of a zombie businessman. You can download each song in his performance seperately here.

We closed with an interview with Kurt Andersen. Before Kurt became a novelist and the host of Public Radio International's excellent Studio 360, he founded the seminal satirical magazine Spy. The magazine's business was mocking the media, financial and Hollywood elite in an era before such irreverence was ubiquitous.

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

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Top Photo by Anya Garrett of SketchArtists.net

Special thanks to The Onion for promotional support

Podcast: Best Friends with John Hodgman and Jonathan Coulton

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Show: 
Bullseye


This week on The Sound of Young America, two old friends, both of the show and of each other. We chat with each seperately, and in special blog-only bonus audio (below), we squash a long-simmering feud between them regarding cat care and a series of vicious attack ads.

Jonathan Coulton is a comic singer-songwriter. For the past year, he's written and released (free) a new song every single week. Some, like "Code Monkey," which he performs on the show, have become internet phenomena. Enjoy free downloads of his three musical performances below. He's currently touring with his best pal...

...John Hodgman. Hodgman is the author of "The Areas of My Expertise," a compendium of entirely fabricated facts, history and trivia. For many years, Hodgman was a literary agent, and counted among his clients the B-movie star Bruce Campbell. Today, he's best known for portraying the PC in the Mac-Vs.-PC advertisements for Apple, and for his regular appearances on the Daily Show. See below for special blog-only audio of Hodgman discussing his childhood interest in (but incompetence at) D&D.

If you're coming from an outside link (I see you, boingboing, Coultonblog, etc), be sure to check out our audio archive for past programs (Colbert's head writer, The Flaming Lips, Chuck Klosterman & Dave Foley, etc), and look below for past shows with John H.

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

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Download Jonathan Coulton's Musical Performances (Right Click, Save As)

Code Monkey / Lyrics
You Ruined Everything / Lyrics
The Future Soon / Lyrics

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Bonus: Hodgman Vs. Coulton


Bonus: Hodgman on Dungeons & Dragons


Incidental Music by DJW

Previously on The Sound of Young America:

"All World Knowledge" with John Hodgman and Fred Rees: MP3
"On the Road" with John Hodgman and Henry Rollins: MP3
"ComedyCopia" with a song from Jonathan Coulton
"Joketacular" with a song from Jonathan Coulton

Jonathan Coulton rocks San Francisco

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Have you ever been to a concert where the performer asks the question, "Any math fans in the audience tonight?" and is met with a resounding cheer?

Neither had I, until Sunday night. I was home in San Francisco this past weekend, visiting family and friends, and was lucky enough to attend just such a concert -- Jonathan Coulton at Cafe du Nord.

The Cafe is a cozy venue, with seating for about 75, but it was packed to the gills with perhaps 125 attendees for Coulton's show. My party of four ended up standing in the back, which afforded us a wonderful view of both the delightful show and the nerdosity blossoming before us in the house.

A word about the crowd: I'd never been to an event so nerdy as this. It even surpassed the Society for American Baseball Research events I attended in my teen years. I expected as much, but was surprised by the audience's wide age range. Unlike, say, Indie Rock, nerd is a subculture that folks tend to wear throughout their lives, and it was impressive to see a few of the 20-something fans I expected alongside lots of 30- 40- and 50-something fans who surprised me. At first I wasn't sure what to make of it, but then I decided it was great. The nerd quotient ranged from "laughably" to "modestly," but I don't think you should let it stop you from going to the show, whether you yourself are a nerd or not.

After a strong set from opener Mark Silverman, and after I met a TSOYA listener(1) named Chad, who is very nice and once printed business cards for me as a donation, JoCo took the stage to much approbation from the gathered nerd-masses.

A lengthy and delightful set followed, along with two encores. Many of Jonathan's most popular tunes were played, the audience mouthed the words along with him, and so forth. Hilights included a charming and heartfelt song about George Plimpton and a delightful sing-along in which the audience was scolded for not sounding "zombie enough."

JoCo is currently on an oddball tour that will take him to San Diego, LA, Portland, Seattle, Vienna Virginia, Aardmore Pennsylvania and Annapolis Maryland. It's certainly worth your time.

(1) If you see me at a public event, please feel free to introduce yourself. It will shock me, but is unlikely to bother me. Even if we have met before, I will likely have forgotten at the least your name, and probably what you look like. This is an MP, not a YP -- please do not take it as a sign that I don't care about you. For example, last week I couldn't remember for several days the name of a girl I went out with for almost a year in high school. I just am bad at remembering. Also, I am suprised because someone knew who I was, not because I hate meeting listeners or something.

Podcast: Andrew W.K.

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Show: 
Bullseye


Rock & roll star Andrew W.K. is an old friend of The Sound of Young America. His propulsive, almost absurdly anthemic songs are the official soundtrack of The New Sincerity, and have blown listeners' minds around the world. Combining the intensity of the hardest hardcore with an unquenchable thirst for good times, Andrew is a unique and remarkable dude.

Andrew's most recent album, Close Calls with Brick Walls, was released last year in Asia, and will be released in a special vinyl-only edition in the United States soon.

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From the Archive:
Santa Cruz, You're Not That Far with Andrew W.K.

(above: Andrew with Brendan Thorn of Total Annihilation)

Note: In a portion of this show, Andrew discusses his experience with a substance popularly called Salvia. He's describing his own personal experience, and I ask that you please not interpret his description as either an endorsement on the part of the show or on the part of Andrew.

Indeed, a listener writes in: "In your latest episode, Andrew W.K. spoke about an experience he had smoking salvia... I tried it myself and had an ABSOLUTELY HORRIFYING EXPERIENCE. Luckily, there were no ambulances or police involved, but this is only due to the intervention of a good friend. Scant research will show you that SALVIA IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SUBSTANCE. I would not want anyone to go through what I went through last night, and just wanted to pass that along to you. If I were you I would add some kind of warning to this particular episode, just for the benefit of your listeners (like me), telling them to use EXTREME CAUTION when dealing with this substance, and to do some research about it before deciding to try it. "

As many listeners know from discussions on Jordan, Jesse GO!, I choose not to use any mind-altering substances, including alcohol, so I'm particularly sensitive to this issue. Please make your own, informed choices and be mindful of your health and the law.

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