NEM#151: Cathal Coughlan (Fatima Mansions, Microdisney): Pyschogeographic Tales

Cathal started in Ireland in 1980 with Microdisney, and after five albums with then broke that up to form Fatima Mansions in 1988. After seven albums with them, he started a solo career and has now after a decade-long hiatus (during which he released a few collaborations) has come back with his sixth solo release Song of Co-Acklan. We discuss “Unrealtime” and (in closing) hear the title track from that album, plus “Denial Of The Right To Dream” from The Sky’s Awful Blue (2002) and “Valley of the Dead Cars” by The Fatima Mansions from Against Nature (1989). Intro/outro: “Town to Town” by Microdisney from Crooked Mile (1987). For more, see cathalcoughlan.com.

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NEM#150: Josh Caterer (Smoking Popes): Punk + 40s Melodies (+ Occasional Jesus)

Josh released three albums and some EPs in the 90s with his brothers as the Chicago-area punk band Smoking Popes, then became a Christian and released an album and a half as Duvall, then reformed the Smoking Popes to release three more albums since 2008. He’s also released some religious material as a solo artist, and his new album is composed of live covers of classic songs and reworkings of his own material.

We discuss “Need You Around,” originally from Born to Quit (1995) and re-arranged for The Hideout Sessions (2021). We then turn to the Popes’ “Amanda My Love” from Into the Agony (2018) and Duvall’s “Taking Me Home” from Volume & Density (2003), and we conclude with another new recording, “My Funny Valentine” (Rodgers/Hart). Intro: “Megan” from Destination Failure (1997). More at smokingpopesmusic.com.

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NEM#149: Rod Abernethy’s Return to Acoustic (from Video Game Soundtracks)

Rod released his first album “Solo” in 1975, played in some bands, but after losing on Star Search, turned to soundtrack work, emerging only in 2018 with three straight albums of acoustic singer-songwriter and instrumental material.

We discuss “My Father Was a Quiet Man” (and listen to “Whiskey & Pie”) from Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore (2021), “How to Forget” from The Man I’m Supposed to Be (2018), and “Working the Mill” and “Battle in Laketown” from The Hobbit Official Soundtrack (2003). Intro: “Driving to Dan’s” from Rage Original Game Soundtrack (2011). For more, see rodabernethy.com.

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NEM#148: David Cross (ex-King Crimson): Electric Violin Dinosaur Battles

David played in perhaps the most revered line-up of King Crimson at the end of its original run from ’72-’74. He released his first “solo” album (as Low Flying Aircraft) in ’87, then eight more under his own name plus several collaborations.

We discuss “Predator” by Cross and Jackson from Another Day (2018), “The Pool” by The David Cross Band from Sign of the Crow (2016), and “Awful Love” from Closer than Skin (2005). We conclude with the title track from Crossover by David Cross and Peter Banks (2020). Intro: “Exiles” by King Crimson from Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (1973). For more, see davidcrossband.com.

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NEM#147: Steve Almaas: From Punk to the Rodeo

Steve was in one of Minneapolis’ first big punk bands, The Suicide Commandos, but after one album in 1977, he soon left for New York City and eventually hit it relatively big with two records on IRS as Beat Rodeo, with a solo career continuing the country-rock style beginning in 1992 through nine albums.

We discuss “The Way I Treated You” (and listen to “Goodbye Nicolina,” featuring The Jayhawks’ Gary Louris) from Everywhere You’ve Been (2021), “Try Again” by The Suicide Commandos from their reunion album Time Bomb (2017), and the title track from Steve’s first solo record East River Blues (1992). Intro: “Just Friends” from Staying Out Late w/ the Beat Rodeo (1984). 

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NEM#146: Nels Cline Writes Jazz Fusion (And Plays Guitar for Wilco)

Though best known as lead guitarist for Wilco since 2004, Nels has recorded 30+ instrumental albums, often as band leader. We discuss “Headdress” by The Nels Cline Singers from Share the Wealth (2020), “The Nomad’s Home” from Coward (2009), and “Fives & Sixes” from his first solo release, Angelica (1987). We conclude by listening to “Imperfect Ten” by The Nels Cline 4 from From Currents, Constellations (2018). Intro: “You Are My Face” by Wilco from Sky Blue Sky (2007), co-written with Jeff Tweedy. More at nelscline.com.

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NEM#145: Jay Gonzalez: Concise but Colorful

Jay is best known as sideman for Drive-By Truckers since 2008 but has written songs for Athens bands like The Possibilities and Nutria since the 90s and has three solo releases.

We discuss the title track (and listen at the end to “I Wanna Hold You”) from Back to the Hive (2021), “&#%&#!” and “Shenorock Lane” from The Bitter Suite (2015), and “Turning Me On” from Mess of Happiness (2012). Intro: “Tough to Let Go” by Drive-By Truckers from The New OK (2020). For more see jaygonzalez.com.

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NEM#144: Dennis Davison (The Jigsaw Seen): How Much Is Enough?

Dennis fronted the Baltimore punk band Ebenezer and The Bludgeons in the late 70s, and after some transitional projects moved to L.A. where his ’60s-ish guitar pop band The Jigsaw Seen released nine albums from 1989-2015.

We discuss “Museum Piece” (and listen to “Shadow on a Tall Tree” at the end) from his debut solo album, The Book Of Strongman (2020); “Idiots with Guitars” from Old Man Reverb (2014); and the title track from My Name Is Tom (1991). Intro: “Jim Is the Devil” (a 1989 single). For more, visit dennisdavisonmusic.com.

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NEM#143: In Search of Eric Dover (Imperial Drag, Slash’s Snakepit, etc.)

After joining Jellyfish in 1993 just before its demise, Eric’s big break came when he was asked to sing for Slash’s Snakepit. He then returned to Roger Manning from Jellyfish for an album as Imperial Drag, worked as sideman (e.g. for Alice Cooper) and studio guy and had two releases as Sextus. He’s now back with Roger in The Lickerish Quartet, which released two EPs.

We discuss “The Dream That Took Me Over” by The Lickerish Quartet from Threesome, Vol. 2 (2021), “Wishing You Well” by Sextus from Stranger Than Fiction (2008), and “Boy or a Girl” from Imperial Drag (1996). End song: “What Do You Want from Me?” from The Eyes of Alice Cooper (2003). Intro: “Beggars & Hangers-On” by Slash’s Snakepit from It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (1995). More at thelickerishquartet.com.

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NEM#142: Rebecca Rego: This Is Your Life!

Folky, soul-singing Rebecca has had six releases since 2007. We discuss “Mama” from her solo EP, Songs for Cleaning Women, Pt. 1 (2020), “No One Knows Me” by Rebecca Rego and the Trainmen from Speaking of Witches (2019), “Gave Me” by rego off of From the Royal Arcade (2009), and “Cruel” from Lay These Weapons Down (2016). Intro: “Call My Mother” from Tolono (2014). See rebeccaregoandthetrainmen.com.

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NEM#141: Robert Forster (The Go-Betweens) Looks Back Novelistically

Robert co-fronted the Australian-born post-punk band The Go-Betweens through nine albums in the ’80s and ’00s with Grant McLennan before the latter’s death in 2006 and has also released seven solo albums.

We discuss “No Fame” from Inferno (2019), “Here Comes a City” by The Go-Betweens from Oceans Apart (2005), and “On My Block” by The Go-Betweens from Before Hollywood (1983). We conclude by listening to “Let Me Imagine You” from Songs to Play (2015). Intro: “Clouds” by The Go-Betweens from 16 Lovers Lane (1988).

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NEM#140: Larry Keel: Hillbilly Shredder to Singer-Songwriter

Larry has appeared on 20+ albums since co-founding Magraw Gap in 1990 and then becoming bandleader on ’97. He’s known for his lightning flat picking and has more recently added a good dose of social commentary and fundamental questioning to his songwriting.

We discuss “Mars’ Cry” (and listen to “Try”) from American Dream (2020), “Crocodile Man” from One (2019), and “Diamond Break” from Backwoods (2009). Intro: The title track to The Sound (1999). For more, see larrykeel.com.

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NEM#139: Don Rauf’s Life In A Blender

Don started the NY-based Life in a Blender in the late 80s and has put out ten albums of tunes with off-kilter lyrics and increasingly elaborate arrangements. We discuss “The Ocean is a Black and Rolling Tongue” (and listen at the end to “Soul Deliverer”) from Satsuma (2020), “Falmouth” from We Already Have Birds That Sing (2014), and “Chicken Dance” from Two Legs Bad (1997). Intro: “Mounds of Flesh” from Welcome to the Jelly Days (1988). For more see lifeinablender.net.

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NEM#137: Brian Cullman, Writer About Town

Brian’s been writing music and music journalism since the late ’60s, has produced artists like Taj Mahal, Lucinda Williams, and Ollabelle, and has released three solo albums and an EP since 2008.

We discuss “Killing The Dead” (and discuss “Wrong Birthday”) from Winter Clothes (2020, written with now-deceased Ollabelle guitarist Jimi Zhivago), discuss “And She Said” from The Opposite of Time (2016), and “The Promise” from All Fires The Fire (2008). Intro: “The Book of Sleep” by OK Savant, recorded live at CBGBs in 1990. For more, see briancullman.com.

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NEM#136: Mark Bingham: To and In New Orleans

Mark got signed as a teen in 1966, left to play theatrical prog jazz in Indiana during college, had a spell in a “no wave” band in New York, and finally settled down in the ’80s as an in demand producer and collaborator in New Orleans, working with groups like R.E.M., Flat Duo Jets, and John Scofield. He’s only finished two solo albums but has a ton of archive recordings being released soon, and now plays guitar in a cajun band.

We discuss “Pissoffgod.com” from Psalms of Vengeance (2009), “Ash Wednesday and Lent” by Ed Sanders (music by Mark Bingham) from Poems for New Orleans (2007), “That’s Why” by Social Climbers from their self-titled album (1981), and then listen to “Blood Moon” by Michot’s Melody Makers from Cosmic Cajuns from Saturn (2020). Intro: “Flies R All Around Me” by Screaming Gypsy Bandits from Back to Doghead (1970).

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NEM#135: Peter Milton Walsh (The Apartments): No Assembly-Line Recording

Peter started The Apartments in Australia in the late ’70s and has been its only consistent member. After releasing his first full album in 1985 and being featured on a John Hughes soundtrack, he released four lush, moody albums in the ’90s but then retired when family tragedy struck until the late ’00s; he’s had four releases since 2011.

We discuss “What’s Beauty to Do?” and “Where You Used to Be” from In And Out Of The Light (2020), then “Sunset Hotel” from Fete Foraine (1996), and finally listen to “Looking for Another Town” from No Song, No Spell, No Madrigal (2015). Intro: “Help” from the Return of the Hypnotist EP (1979). More at theapartments-music.com.

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NEM#134: Laraaji’s Free Association Meditations

Jazz multi-instrumentalist Edward Larry Gordon Jr. became Laraaji around the same time he started releasing meditative zither music in the late 70s and was then discovered by Brian Eno, who produced our intro, “The Dance No. 1” from  Ambient 3: Day of Radiance (1980). Laraaji has since had around 40 releases of largely improvised music.

We discuss “Hold on to the Vision” (and hear “Shenandoah”) from Sun Piano (2020), the single edit of “Introspection” from Bring On the Sun (2017), and “All of a Sudden,” a 1986 vocal tune released on Vision Songs, Vol. 1 (2017). More at laraaji.blogspot.com.

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NEM#133: Jon Hassell (and Rick Cox): Fourth World Improvisation

Jon started playing trumpet with composers like Terry Riley and La Monte Young in the late 60s, has since guested with Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, Ani DiFranco, Ry Cooder, et al, and has released 18 solo albums since 1977.

We discuss “Unknown Wish” from Seeing Through Sound: Pentimento Volume 2 (2020), “Manga Scene” from Listening to Pictures: Pentimento Volume 1 (2018), “Toucan Ocean” from Vernal Equinox (1977), and listen to the title track from Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street (2009). Intro: “Chemistry” by Jon Hassell/Brian Eno from Fourth World Music I: Possible Musics (1980). For more see jonhassell.com.

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NEM#132: Chris Frantz Looks Back on Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club

On the publication of his memoir, Remain in Love, Chris and your host Mark Linsenmayer discuss “Psycho Killer” and “Warning Signs” by Talking Heads from Talking Heads ’77 and More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978), plus “Bamboo Town” and “Who Feelin’ It?” by Tom Tom Club from Close to the Bone (1983) and The Good the Bad and the Funky (2000). We conclude with the title track to Tom Tom Club’s Downtown Rockers (2012). Plus, Tina Weymouth jumps in at one point! For more see tomtomclub.com.

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NEM#131: Ward White Audited

Ward has issued about ten releases of lyric-driven, stylish pop since 2003. We discuss the title track from Leonard at the Audit (2020), “Titans” from Diminish (2018), and the title track from Pulling Out (2008). Intro: “Sabbath” from Ward White Is the Matador (2014). End: “Bubble and Squeak,” also from the new album. For info see wardwhite.net.

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