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Life Elsewhere

Life Elsewhere

By Norman B

About Art, Culture, and Media hosted by Norman B
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Sex Is Confusing

Life Elsewhere May 22, 2023

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 325

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 325

Something a little different for this volume…electronica, electro, trip-hop, chill out, downtempo, techno, garage, dub, drum & bass, dubstep, grime…I could go on…all these genres seem to overlap and in turn cause confusion, so for Vol 325 we disregard the genres and sub-genres for a nonstop mix of music that is often overlooked by Indie and Alternative programmers. 

⁠Qeight - Losing You Again⁠

From Cosmicleaf Records out of Greece a new chillout single by Qeight. The inspiration came from the following thoughts: "In the eerie stillness of the moment, as life slips away, all that is left is a single glance, a solitary breath. It is then, and only then, that one gazes upon the sum of their existence. It feels as though the soul is imprisoned in a frigid dungeon, awaiting an unknown voice to proclaim, ‘Release him from his bonds, for I shall take him with me’.” Well, that’s all a lot heavier than I expected from this very cool cut.

⁠Mystic State - The Last Lotus⁠

Courtesy of the Deep Dark & Dangerous imprint out of New Zealand. This duo from Bristol in the UK prove their worth with exemplary studio skills. Found sounds, samples and digital effects used to full effect. Gorgeous.

⁠Kaya Project - Breathe Again⁠

Compilations are always worthwhile investigating, here mixmaster and producer, Seb Taylor curated an essential collection with Breathe Again from Kaya Project being a standout cut. All the right elements are here for an infectious journey graced with those sensual violins. A persuasive foot-tapper you’ll want to hear again, and again…

⁠Barry Can’t Swim - Woman 

Oh, what a gem this is. Harking back to classic disco and then messing with your reference point. Like an evening on mushrooms in just under four minutes. Big thumbs up for the emphatic vocal from Låpsley. “You only get to make your debut album once,” points out Barry, “So I want to showcase all the elements of the things I enjoy and love in music up to this point.” The multi-faceted Scottish artist releases his debut album When Will We Land? on Ninja Tune, out October 20th.

⁠Gum.MP3 - Love You Better (Ft. Netanya)

Just when you think it’s time to step outside for breath of fresh air, Love You Better has you back in the throng of sweating, almost naked bodies grinding away to a 2-Step-Garage-Drum & Bass workout with vocalist, Netanya tempting you to let go - just one more time. Make sure you grab copy of the Riddim Seeker EP from Gum.MP3.

QuiQui - Labyrinth Of Paradoxes⁠

Then, a voice whispers in your ear and you are off on another discovery. Jeroen Wiggers AKA QuiQui is intent on hypnotizing you with Labyrinth Of Paradoxes from the EP of the same name on Manual Music out of Rotterdam. At this point you have abandoned checking off the genre box.

⁠Tubby Isiah - Conscious Calling⁠

With all the requirements for serious kush rhapsodizing, Moonshine Records out of Poland offer up, Dub Meets Techno complete with notable cuts including Conscious Calling from Tubby Isiah. Here the genres deliberately collide to full effect.

⁠Eric Hilton - Farewell To Midnight⁠

Hilton of Thievery Corporation fame with Puma Ptah on vocals continues the joyous trip-hop, a genre he helped birth as a co-founder of the legendary downtempo electronic music act. Eric’s new album, Lost Dialect is a must-have.

Temple Step & Zen Tempest - Tribal Swagger⁠

Based in Melbourne, Temple Step Producer, Dj, Sound Healer and all round Sound Alchemist collaborates with musicians, ceremonialists, neo-shamans and sound healers around the globe. He weaves dance and world music in a unique and original way. Vocalist Zen Tempest delivers a message of hope, a future. Cool sleeve artwork.

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Jun 05, 202359:01
The Opinions Of Dr. Kampmark

The Opinions Of Dr. Kampmark

Media Responsibility.

Can the outrage over CNN’s “Town Hall” with Trump be a case of the pot calling the kettle black? After all Trump was good for ratings as the head of CBS said before Trump became President. And over on Morning Joe on MSNBC they had qualms about having Trump call in regularly before he became President. To cover Trump and the unprecedented nonsense he spews, is that the Media’s responsibility?

Debt Ceiling Debacle.

Is this a non-story? From both sides of the aisle, the collective summation is we can solve this without earth-shattering crisis? So why the antics. Political posturing at the expense of the general public?

GOP Presidential Candidate Race.

Trump is in the lead by a long margin as more candidates enter the race. Is this a fool-hardy exercise? Can anyone stand up to Trump and do a better job of being completely absurd while maintaining such a large lead?

Trump And The Justice System.

As the cases rack up and evidence becomes more likely Trump will face serious indictment(s), his base continues to gladly cough -up their hard-earned money.  Along with the junk merchandise and blatant grifting why are Trump’s supporters are even more determined to prove their love by gobbling up the trashy merch and pledging financial support?

Is The UK Beyond Repair.

Rishi Sunak is the latest Prime Minister of a recent merry-go-round of applicants. The Conservative Party just suffered a severe battering in local elections and the government seems fragile at best. With inflation proving the UK’s long-running “Us and Them” structure to be dangerously outdated. Meanwhile and certainly relevant, the Charles 111 Show gave Brits the opportunity to take a day off work and celebrate or seethe with anger at the brazen inequities in modern Britain.

Will Putin Run Out Of Soldiers.

How long can the Russian invasion of Ukraine last? What is Putin’s long-term plan? What is the benefit in continuing the escalting bombardments? And, is the rest of the world looking away all too frequently?

Julian Assange Update.

Dr. Kampmark has close insights on the plight of the Wikileaks founder, His knowledge of Assange and his current situation is unparraleled. 

Dr Binoy Kampmark is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, teaching within the Bachelor of Social Science (Legal and Dispute Studies) program at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. Read Binoy's essay at CounterPunch

⁠New Music From Issei Herr⁠

Distant Intervals is full-length debut from Brooklyn cellist and composer Issei Herr. “This is an exploration of memory, dreams, and the infinite possibilities within imagined worlds”. Says Issei, “Centered around themes of becoming and transformation, the music encompasses the liminal spaces between our past, present, and future selves - our ever-changing relation to personal memories, the ideals and dreams we have for our futures, and the distance and idealism of these infinite versions of self”. Classically trained as a cellist at Juilliard, Isseicomposed the album during a period of musical and personal transformation - as she moved away from a traditional classical performance path and notated music, while also beginning a long-awaited process of gender transition. 

Show 507

Jun 05, 202359:24
Life Elsewhere Music Vol 324

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 324

Glazyhaze - A Glimpse Of Light

Glazyhaze formed in northern Italy in 2021 by Irene Moretuzzo and Lorenzo Dall’ArmellinaA Glimpse Of Light is from their Just Fade Away LP, they say there are dream pop/shoegaze band based in Venice. Competent work here and terrific sleeve artwork, too. 

Para Lia - Sunchild⁠

Para Lia is René Methner (all instruments and vocals) and Cindy Methner (backing vocals), who were raised in the eastern part of a divided Germany. Their band name was born of their love for Greece, with para lia (παραλία) meaning “coast” or “beach" in Greek - a name full of mystery but optimism, which both has history and evokes a balance of the masculine and feminine. Now they are based in Cottbus (near Berlin) with the band expanding from two members to six with an eye towards upcoming live performances. Sunchild is from their third album, In Clash With The Zeitgeist.

⁠Loraine James - 2003

Ms. James caught our attention a couple of years back with her first release. Since then we have eagerly enjoyed each subsequent release. Gentle Confrontation is Loraine's third album for Hyperdub, the artist says, “This is the record a teenage Loraine would like to have made, with musical tendencies that reflect that time, too”. As you listen to 2003 you know Loraine reached deep inside to share her emotions. Exceptional.

Surya - Come Alive

We get get lots of unsolicited sound files in our inbox and as I have mentioned many times before, I listen to everything that comes in, it may take a little while to review your material but I can assure you I do listen. Here is one that came with this message, “My name is Surya, I’m an Alternative Hip-Hop artist from London. Come Alive explores the importance of taking control of the present.” I would appreciate your feedback on this one. Should we have included Surya in this volume?

Madmadam - Love Whore⁠

She is an artist, musician, author, and singer, hailing from Italy and Poland, she lived in several countries before choosing to settle in Paris, France. She began her career as a classical musician, then moved into jazz, pop, rock and finally electronic music. She is Natalia Giro AKA Madmadam. Her LP is Fenice which means Phoenix in English. You can hear that classically trained voice throughout this album. 

⁠Ясный-Svetly - Talk⁠

Yasny-Svetly, a duo from Moscow have a number of previous albums, Project 0 is their latest. This excellent cut came via Meticulous Midgets a brilliant magazine with a CD supplement created by Nata Boundariver since 2020. This is a creative enterprise of incredible ideas, to better understand what Meticulous Midgets is all about go this link. You are in for big bundle of surprises. The paper version of Meticulous Midgets is is published in Russian and English annually. There is so much to indulge in her, exquisite music selections and so much more. Nata is an also an artist, you must spend time at her site, it’s so worthwhile. I love compilations, but Meticulous Midgets is so much more. A wonderful treat for lovers of unique and different music, plus a gorgeous magazine too. 

Buffalo Daughter - Robot Sings (As If He Were Frank Sinatra With A Half-boiled Egg And The Salt Shaker On A Breakfast Table)⁠

Yes, I admit, I would include this cut for the title alone, but as it happens, this is also a fine piece of music. Out of Tokyo, Buffalo Daughter formed in 1993, suGar Yoshinaga is on guitar, Yumiko Ohno takes care of the bass and vintage Mini Moog, and moOog Yamamoto is on the wheels of steel. Brilliantly peculiar and tremendously fascinating listening.

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May 29, 202301:01:59
Life Elsewhere Music Vol 323 The Birthday Special

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 323 The Birthday Special

Another year, another birthday. Norman B looks back at the music that changed his life. He tells of buying his first album at Woolworths, not knowing anything about the music. He was captivated by the brooding Greek-god like visage on the cover. It was the Memphis Flash, Elvis Presley. From there Norman discovered the Blues and  Elmore James which led to the new R & B sounds coming out of the USA, including early Tamla Motown and  Marvin Gaye. It was no coincidence that fledgling London bands were also being inspired by the same music. The Rolling Stones being no exception, fronted at that time by Blues aficionado and masterful musician, Brian JonesVan Morrison with his R & B and Irish Show-band roots were all but absent when he released his landmark album, Astral Weeks, a momentous life-changing release, says Norman B. Reggae has been another important part of Mr. B's life and he cites  Cornell Campbell and Gregory Isaacs as fine examples. The consistently adventurous music of David Bowie is included in the story as are the The SmithsThe Only Ones are acknowledged for their timeless ode to addiction and  Killing Joke with their formidable melding of rock, dub and even metal in their debut release. A.R. Kane, remain still relatively unknown but their music caused Norman B to reevaluate his thinking in some areas. Finally, Canadian musician and poet Barzin is singled out because his beguiling lyrics and enchanting arrangements signify another change in life and a new way forward.

The second half of The Birthday Special is a non-stop mix of mostly recent music that has been on repeat play at Life Elsewhere Tower. These are cuts with a distinctive poignant tone, probably because birthday's have become a time for reflection. And, as the old adage goes, "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to". We begin with the alluring and intriguing music of Samana, the nomadic duo Rebecca and Frankie came to our attention a few years back. Their album, Requiemis certainly worth searching out, for this mix we have selected a bonus cut, The Black ForestSorcha Richardson'ssublime Petrol Station recorded a few years back when she was living in Brooklyn, most recently she has moved back home to Dublin and released a superb album, Smiling Like An Idiot with the single Shark Eyes proving why Sorcha's talent should not be overlooked. From Missoula, Montana, Noelle Huser fronts Bluest with her haunting, plaintive voice, on Talk Soon, she shares engaging lines like, “Remember when you tripped me, it was an accident my tooth bite through my cheek, and now I have scar, it’s the favorite part of my smile” There is a lot going on here on the Bluest album, Cold Sweat, available from the very fine Anything Bagel label. Ollie Cook hails from Wolverhampton, a place widely known for its soccer team, Wolverhampton Wanderers. (great name). But we urge you to check out Ollie’s long-player, The Boy With Pearls For Eyes to help put Wolverhampton on the musical map. Listen to Bell Tower Blues and let me have your feedback, I think this is quality work. Ollie Cook says, “This is my second full-length project. My most honest to date. My most cared for.” I love the double-tracking on his voice, the organ, the over-dubbed guitars - the whole production. On the first listen to the album, Problems Of Other Minds by Elizabeth Crompton I knew I had come across a remarkable collection of songs. Each cut here is beautifully realized, the poignant heart-wrenching lyrics take me to places I know only too well. As with every desperate love song I have treasured throughout the years, Elizabeth seared straight into my emotions.

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May 22, 202359:58
Sex Is Confusing

Sex Is Confusing

“It’s incredible the amount of hate I have received from people who haven’t even read my piece” Agustin Fuentes on the extraordinary response to his recent essay for Scientific American titled, “Here’s Why Human Sex Is Not Binary”. The esteemed anthropologist is keen to point out that although his headline might sound provocative to naysayers, if they only took the short amount of time it takes to read his essay they would quickly discover he is articulating reasonable and valid opinions. “Let me be clear,” he writes, “I am not arguing that differences in sex biology do not matter. They do.” Agustinconsiders the outrage over his words are the result of ignorance. Willful ignorance. We live in world now where not just lies make headlines but deliberate misinformation is accepted as truth. Questions about sexuality have always been easy targets for the self-appointed morality police to shake their fists at. In the last few years, their fervent rage has managed to bundle the restrictions on women’s bodily autonomy, and target transgender, transsexuality, drag shows, and queerness into one big splodgie goo of disgust. “Sex is confusing” says Agustin Fuentes who discusses his essay in the first half of the show.

Remember the jubilant celebrations when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples in the United States, have the same legal right to marry as different-sex couples. That was in 2015. Here we are in 2023 and the indignation over same-sex marriage has been overshadowed by transphobia causing hysteria about gender identity and sexuality. In the second half of the show a conversation recorded just after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling with associate professor of Ancient Roman History, Julie Langford.

Show 506

Illustration: Gender sexuality sex symbols - AnonMoos, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

May 22, 202301:02:34
Life Elsewhere Music Vol 322

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 322

44 Ardent - Hold The World In Your Hands

The creative energy that emanates from Mammal Sounds located at  Bondi Beach, just outside of Sydney, Australia is truly astounding. Jez and his crew must work 24/7 in order to  be involved with so many cool releases. To prove that point, 44 Ardent is back with a new single, Hold The World In Your Hands, the Brisbane-based producer never fails to deliver work that is seemingly simple, yet carefully arranged, recorded and in turn satisfying electro-pop.

Yolo Manolo - Duvet Track

Duvet Track is from a double-sided limited edition 7” from Yolo Manolo out of Glasgow. A restrained beginning underplays the depth of this song and the smart instrumentation. About their music, Yolo Manolo say they are “Odd noise collectors observing all things lo-fi to mix their favorite elements of dream-pop and slacker-rock”. Curiously they feature the silhouette of an American football helmet on their cover artwork and on their FB page they say they are, “Lazy sophomore jive/chimp rock slackers, rarely seen in the wild”. Yolo Manolo partly namecheck the maker of the finest pair of shoes I’ve ever owned, but that is just coincidental, I do like what these people from Scotland are doing.

Whitelands - Setting Sun (A.R. Kane Initiation Dub)

Within moments of listening to this version of Setting Sun from Whitelands, you should be able to recognize the deft hand at the production desk of one Rudy Tambala, he of course of A. R. Kane fame. Londoners, ÉtienneJagunVanessa and Micheal say they were thrilled to have Mr. Tambala offer his mixing abilities to their music. Whitelands’Remixes EP is available on 10” orange vinyl and a digital edition.

Phoebe Coco - Earth Dream

It’s always good to hear a new releases from Phoebe CocoEarth Dream is from her forthcoming EP and Phoebe says this one is about her concern for how we are mistreating our planet. As with all of Phoebe Coco’s work, here we have a sparkling production, showcasing her strong songwriting abilities. 

Munan - Taxi Driver

South Korean-Australian artist, Munan says he “stayed out way too late, oh look it’s already 9am, morning coffee brewing, Sunday mass, God damn"…obviously it was quite a Saturday night for Mr. Munan. Anyone who has stayed out way to late and managed to stumble into a taxi as the sun rises will identify with Munan’s song. Yet another glorious releases via Mammal Sounds.

Drinking Boys And Girls Choir - Listen To Me

From Daegu, South Korea, DBAGC have a lot to say and you could spend ages at their site discovering their output and videos. I love what these people are doing, not least of all because of their unbridled enthusiasm. Listen To Me is from their EP Hey, Listen To Me…wonderful!

Defset - Chish And Fips

Found sounds, samples, mixing board trickery are all used to full effect on Chish And Fips. ( A delightful classic English play on words). The London-based producer says, “My studio backs on to where my mum lived the last year of her life. I used to hear her talking to friends on the phone while I was working in there. I found it difficult to go in to the studio for many months after she died, so didn’t have access to all my modular gear. The majority of this EP has therefore been written on my laptop, which has given it a different feel to my other more glitchy, analogue stuff”. And to make sure we don’t overlook Defset’s sardonic humor he writes on his Twitter page, “I’m a producer of fine, organic, gluten free, vegan, artisanal electronic music. Created with fair trade waveforms using ethical supply chains”. 

Halogenix - Lost Friends

Here is a dazzling Dubstep workout from Halogenix’s Lost Friends EP. Categorizing Drum & Bass, Dubstep, and Grime can be perplexing, but when you have a superior set like this, the end result overrides the genres. London producer, Halogenix is on top form with this EP.

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May 15, 202359:02
Keeley Moss On Floating Above Everything Else

Keeley Moss On Floating Above Everything Else

Keeley, fronted by singer, guitarist, songwriter and enigmatic Dubliner Keeley Moss, took time out from a hectic schedule to chat their debut album Floating Above Everything Else. The album showcases the breadth of Keeley’ssongwriting, bristling with lush harmonies, muscular beats and inventive atmospherics, weaving gleefully between indie-rock sub-genres. As with all her songs, this set highlights Keeley's ongoing fascination with the murder and short life of teenage German backpacker Inga Maria Hauser, who was brutally murdered in Northern Ireland in 1988 and whose case remains unsolved despite many promising leads pointing to the culprits. Keeley recently appeared in Murder In The Badlands, a moving BBC documentary that further explores Inga Maria’s tragic demise, and a brand new film centered around Keeley's involvement with the case is in development. Norman B’s conversation with Keeley reaches into unexpected areas where you will learn why seven-year-old Keeley Moss asked, "Can I bring my Walkman?” And, how the iconic cassette machine became Keeley’s doorway into another world. You’ll hear moving, reminiscences from one of Ireland's most creative and visionary songwriters, plus four cuts from, Floating Above Everything Else

May 15, 202359:02
Life Elsewhere Music Vol 321

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 321

Fräulein - Pet

This Northern Irish/Dutch duo have created a deliciously rambunctious EP with Pedestal. As you listen to Pet I’m sure you will find yourself asking who comes to mind with that “Heyyyy!” Yet, Fräulein have their distinctive own sound. This one is available courtesy of Submarine Cat Records.

⁠A.S.O. - Rain Down⁠

Singer-songwriter Alia Seror-O'Neill, and producer Lewie Day use the moniker A.S.O for their debut self-titled album. On Rain Down they invoke an exotica lilt, which works, without sounding excessive. Fun fact, Ms. Seror-O'Neill is also an actor, check out her IMDB page.

Angel Magic - Generational Color

Now here is a cut I could write a long rave review on, instead for guidance you should know I have had the Generational Color on repeat play at Life Elsewhere Tower for the last few days. In spite of the almost wonky beginning to Generational Color this one settles into full effect as Lauren Smith weaves her magic with smart lyrics and Andrew Aguilera twiddles the knobs at the production consul. Interesting music here, difficult to select just one cut. A tip of the hat to Korey Martin with the lovely artwork.

Maya Ongaku - Nuska

From a small island located 50 km southwest of Tokyo a ragtag collective of local musicians present as Maya Ongaku. Their album, Approach To Anima is a delightful collection of songs as illustrated by NuskaMaya Ongaku say their brand of earthy psychedelia transcends widely beyond the roots of their inner souls, and I have no reason to dispute that. 

Kitty Fitz - I Want Your Love (Oh My God)

Oh, yes, this is so good. Ms. Fitz is also the bassist for Prima Queen and here on her All My Own Stunts EP, the London-based artists says she “Produces super sad bops in her room at 4am”. And, what an excellent job she does as you’ll hear with I Want Your Love (Oh My God). This is one of those songs where you know the chorus is coming up and you can’t wait to sing along…Oh, my god!

Backlash - Loosen Up

Now here are lads from Italy who cite a wide range of influences: Stone Roses, Charlatans, Oasis, The Verve, Arctic Monkeys, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club to name just a few. Yet, if I had to pick a reference, it would be The Beatles psychedelic period. The band was formed in 2011 in Milan by Francesco Lucà and Luca Mangano, later they added the voice of Alessio Gatto and together they have produced the LP, RiseLoosen Up, the single from Backlash’s new album sounds as if this was an almost live recording with little studio trickery. Full marks to Shoredive Records for another terrific release.

Macie June - Fragile Lover

Stemming from her classical background, Macie June says her melodic style reflects her love of alternative/indie pop and instrumental piano. Macie’s Cerulean album showcases the Denver-based artist distinctive style in all of her relatively short songs. Writing and production credits go to Macie June.

Bluest - Talk Soon

From Missoula, Montana, Noelle Huser fronts Bluest with her haunting, plaintive voice, on Talk Soon, she shares engaging lines like, “Remember when you tripped me, it was an accident my tooth bite through my cheek, and now I have scar, it’s the favorite part of my smile” There is a lot going on here on the Bluest album, Cold Sweat, available from the very fine Anything Bagel label.

Lexie Carroll - Growing Pains

OK, I will admit, I’m fascinated by Lexie Carroll, not least of all she is a very talented songwriter, and it takes considerable skill to sing in almost a whisper and make it sound convincing. Lexie, an 18-year-old talent from London appears almost brutally honest with her It’s Difficult To Talk album. Brutal may not be quite the right word for a singer-songwriter who displays the awkward shyness exhibited on her Tik Tok page. I’m impressed with Lexie Carroll, there is a vast audience out there who will relate to Growing Pains

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May 01, 202358:60
Feminist Patriots Or Patriotic Feminists?

Feminist Patriots Or Patriotic Feminists?

When America became a nation, a woman had no legal existence beyond her husband. If he abused her, she couldn’t leave without abandoning her children. Abigail Adams tried to change this, reminding her husband John to “remember the ladies” when he wrote the Constitution. He simply laughed―and women have been fighting for their rights ever since. Fearless Women tells the story of women who dared to take destiny into their own hands. They were feminists and antifeminists, activists and homemakers, victims of abuse and pathbreaking professionals. Inspired by the nation’s ideals and fueled by an unshakeable sense of right and wrong, they wouldn’t take no for an answer. In time, they carried the country with them. The first right they won was the right to learn. Later, impassioned teachers like Angelina Grimké and Susan B. Anthony campaigned for the right to speak in public, lobby the government, and own property. Some were passionate abolitionists. Others fought just to protect their own children. Many of these women devoted their lives to the cause―some are famous―but most pressed their demands far from the spotlight, insisting on their right to vote, sit on a jury, control the timing of their pregnancies, enjoy equal partnerships, or earn a living. At every step, they faced fierce opposition. Elizabeth Cobbs gives voice to fearless women on both sides of the aisle, most of whom considered themselves patriots. Rich and poor, from all backgrounds and regions, they show that the women’s movement has never been an exclusive club.

Award-winning historian Elizabeth Cobbs brings fresh, unexpected perspectives to our understanding of the past and present. Building upon worldwide archival research and her own extraordinary life experiences, Elizabeth writes best selling  fiction and non-fiction that is both scholarly and witty. Her path-breaking books, articles, and documentary films reveal a world that is as intriguing and surprising as it is real.Elizabeth earned her Ph.D. in American history at Stanford University. She now holds the Melbern Glasscock Chair at Texas A&M University. Her books have won four literary prizes, two for American history and two for fiction, and she has won four prizes for documentary filmmaking. Elizabeth has been a Fulbright scholar in Ireland and a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. She has served on the Historical Advisory Committee of the U.S. State Department and on the jury for the Pulitzer Prize in History.

Apr 22, 202359:06
Life Elsewhere Music Vol 320

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 320

King Isis - I’m Fine, Thx 4 Asking

This sixty minutes of carefully curated new music begins with King Isis from Oakland, California who says they are, “The queer, Black genre-bending afrofuture.” I’m Fine, Thx 4 Asking from the album, Scales should prompt you to want to hear more. Plus, King Isis explains, “Scales is the beginning of an eternal journey of introspection. It’s an attempt at beginning to peel back the layers to start the journey of becoming whole through duality. Scales for balance, scales for practice, scales for beginning. Scales for the serpent, the shadow selves, for embracing the unknown”. This is hardly an unassuming body of work, yet there is a class and style here that should be not be overlooked. Excellent!

⁠Laura Wolf - Calligraphy and Calculations⁠

Cellist, singer, and producer Laura Wolf says this about her second LP, “Shelf Life is about life after trauma and what we do with the decay we’re dealt”, the Brooklyn-based artist also curiously states, “I'm the moth in your sweater”. Clearly, Laura has a delightful sense of humor coupled with a keen ability for creating intriguing new music. Shelf Lifeis on Whatever's Clever Records.

⁠Withered Hand - Crippled Love⁠

Originally from London, now based in Edinburgh, singer-songwriter Dan Willson presents as Withered HandCrippled Love a cut from his album, How To Love is Dan’s first new music in nine years. Already into his thirties, following the birth of his son and the death of a close friend, Wilson says he started singing and writing songs, which could explain the obvious maturity of his music.

⁠This Is The Kit - Inside Outside⁠

Here is an artist we have featured on the show before, not least of all because the distinctive style of Kate Stables who performs under the moniker of This Is The Kit makes unique music. And, not unexpected, Kate offers her commentary on her LP, Careful Of Your Keepers, “The album chronicles a world of mistakes and mishaps, cruel circumstances, and universe-driven surprises. It's a record that embraces the concept of outrospection – the idea that you get to know oneself by developing relationships and empathic thinking with others.” Do not miss out on This Is The Kit, available on Rough Trade. 

Fatima Al Qadiri - Fidetik (I Lay Down My Life)⁠

Kuwaiti musician Fatima Al Qadiri with fellow fellow Kuwaiti vocalist Gumar give us, Fidetik (I Lay Down My Life)from a four track EP, also titled Gumar which is Arabic for moon. This EP is delicious listening, ruminating on the subject of unrequited love, arguably the most common theme in Arabic music past and present. Oh, and a tip of the hat for the sleeve artwork, quite splendid. And, make sure you check out Fatima’s website.

Out of Madrid, Spain, producer, multi-instrument player, and DJ, Latrama who is also known for his collective Chandra Sound System as one of the key global mixers of traditional world music sounds with electronic breaks. With Knot To KnotLatrama skillfully performs magic to full effect with samples. Slightly retro in the ambience, yet one of those cuts you’ll want to hear again, and again. Nice.

Latrama - Knot To Knot⁠

Samples are to the fore in Mounika’s work, and how splendidly she uses them on her LP, Don’t Look At Me. To get a an audio-visual take on her work, pop on over to Mounika’s site and check out the videos. It’s like pages of ID magazine’s street reportage coupled with overtly sexual tableaus. As Mounika is based out of Poitiers, France, I hope you’ll understand when I mention her work is decidedly, well, French. And, that’s a good thing.

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Apr 22, 202301:00:00
Two Minutes That Changed History

Two Minutes That Changed History

A bomb planted by the Irish Republican Army exploded at 2:54 a.m. on October 12, 1984. It was the last day of the Conservative Party Conference at the Grand Hotel in the coastal town of Brighton, England. Rooms were obliterated, dozens of people wounded, five killed. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was in her suite when the explosion occurred; had she been just a few feet in another direction, flying tiles and masonry would have sliced her to ribbons. As it was, she survived—and history changed.  There Will Be Fire is the gripping story of how the IRA came astonishingly close to killing Thatcher, in the most spectacular attack ever linked to the Northern Ireland Troubles. Journalist Rory Carroll reveals the long road to Brighton, the hide-and-seek between the IRA and British security services, the planting of the bomb itself, and the painstaking search for clues and suspects afterward. In There Will Be Fire, Carroll draws on his own interviews and original reporting, reveals new information, and weaves together previously unconnected threads. There Will Be Fire is journalistic nonfiction that reads like a thriller, propelled by a countdown to detonation. Rory Carroll is a veteran journalist who started his career in Northern Ireland. As a foreign correspondent for the Guardian, he reported from the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, Latin American, and the United States. His first book, Comandante: Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, was named an Economist Book of the Year and BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. He is now based in his native Dublin as the Guardian’s Ireland correspondent. Extraordinary music has been created in response to what became known as The Troubles in Northern Ireland. We have selected two favorites that stand out for their commentaries for the time Rory Carroll explains in graphic detail in There Will Be Fire. First, The Cranberries with a sublime acoustic version of Zombie, the original release was the lead single from their second studio album, No Need To Argue in 1994. The late Dolores O'Riordan said this about the song, “There were a lot of bombs going off in London and I remember this one time a child was killed when a bomb was put in a rubbish bin – that's why there's that line in the song, 'A child is slowly taken'. We were on a tour bus and I was near the location where it happened, so it really struck me hard – I was quite young, but I remember being devastated about the innocent children being pulled into that kind of thing. So I suppose that's why I was saying, 'It's not me' – that even though I'm Irish it wasn't me, I didn't do it. Because being Irish, it was quite hard, especially in the UK when there was so much tension”. The second song is by Scottish band, Simple Minds with the poignant, Belfast Child…set to the melody of the traditional Irish folk song She Moved Through the Fair. However, its lyrics are about the Remembrance Day Enniskillen bombing by the Provisional Irish Republican Army in 1987, which killed 11 people and injured more than 60.

Apr 09, 202301:00:03
Life Elsewhere Music Vol 319

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 319

We begin with a cut from a very fine compilation of electronic dub from Cosmic Sands Records based in Lyon, France, Cortex Of Light who tell us about Future Curvature. The album is titled, Pro Unlimited, definitely worth searching for. 

From Marseille, in the south of France, Michèle des Belladonna performs as Miss Bella. Featuring Miss Bella on accordion, the quirky retro-sounding LP, Eternel Retour (Eternal Return) is a tribute to women of the South, to freedom, to the Mediterranean says, Miss Bella. Not so sure that comes across on En Prison Dans Ma Tête (In Jail In My Head), no matter, this is an enjoyable spirited collection of songs.

Every so often I rummage around in my archives and come across a release I think you may have missed. Michael Barker is out of Sydney and goes by the moniker, Dying Adolescence (which I think is a noteworthy name). Michael has put out a number of releases, his 2017 Lonely EP on Z Tapes is a fine representation of his abilities. With the title cut, Lonely, Michael Barker pushes the emotional envelope to full effect - I love it!

This is the solo project of 24-year-old artist, writer, and producer Ash Johnston based in London. Born in Hong Kong to a Chinese-British mother and American father, Ash says they have called upon the range of influences that have inspired them throughout their life to produce their diverse, memorable, and heartfelt musical repertoire. Well done, Ash.

Now here is one I had to make sure I was listening to the correct track, after all, it said, Death Hags! I know I shouldn’t be surprised by the monikers some artists choose to use, but honestly, I was expecting something quite a lot different from Death Hags. As it happens, I’m far from disappointed, this is exceptional work from musician, songwriter, and producer Lola G, originally from LA, currently living in the woods near New York City, (I will admit that does make me ponder, which woods?). Topologie Spectrale (Deep Drift) is from the Death Hags LP, Lost In The Triangle d’Or (Extended Version), and you’re advised to show some love for Lola G’s enterprising work.

Now we arrive at an album that may not be taken so seriously by some people, but I want to assure you that whoever is behind Spiritual Conspiracy sincerely understands good music and has the gumption to mess around and manipulate to extraordinary results with the album, Warped Standards.  The iconic dance floor hit Tainted Love is familiar to everyone, except Spiritual Conspiracy have (I believe) passed on Soft Cell and taken the original version by Gloria Jones and pitched it down, plus adding a whole slew of smart samples. Another example of brilliance at work here is taking an early Elvis track from 1956, Anyway You Want Me (That’s How I Will Be) layering a quasi-disco beat, pop synths, and even a harp sample. Nutty and fabulous. The album is on the New York-based, Stargazing At Blank Stars label. 

Staying in NYC, Matthew McIntosh and Beth Narducci got together in 2018 to form, A Cloud Of Ravens. I’m sure they won’t mind me mentioning that this couple has the Goth look and sound down, perfectly. A number of bands head in the Goth direction but unfortunately end up sounding like parodies. Matthew and Beth do show their influences, yet they managed to carve out a sound that is completely their own as you will hear in Parable. The album is, Lost Hymns, and the production is stellar.

Now for two in a row because I like what Personnel is doing and so should you. From the very opening of Leave Me Behind you know you are in for a treat. Robbie Defacto’s synth work and effects bank along with Trixy Skulz alluring vocals result in a somewhat familiar coda yet at the same time completely brand new. The second cut, Thin Lines shows that Robbie knows his way around a mixing consul. While Trixy Skulz recites a list of familiar phrases and references not heard so perfectly delivered since the late and oh, so great Ian Dury.

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Apr 01, 202301:00:13
Belief & Climate Change

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, and 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.

Mar 27, 202359:00
Life Elsewhere Music Vol 317

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 317

What a lot of wonderful releases I have for you in LEM Vol 317, and as usual we continue to defy genres as you’ll hear.  Fazerdaze - Flood Into To begin a new release from Amelia Murray otherwise known as Fazerdaze with Flood Into. I’ve been assured that Christchurch, New Zealand is a marvelous place, as this is the home of Fazerdaze I’m thinking I need to visit there, sooner than later. Amelia wrote and produced Flood Into, Kat Tomacruz is on cello, and Andrea Holmes plays drums. Top marks! Jaus - Fields Next a new Shoegaze band out of Mexico City, Jaus. Fields is the single with Emilio (Guitar/ Voice), Rodrigo (Bass and arrangements), Ulises (Lead Guitar), Carlos (drums), and Giovani (synths), plus these talented lads are on the always enterprising Shoredive imprint. Turn the volume up for this one to capture the very smart production. The Subtheory - Cut To Black The Subtheory gives us Cut To Black, a song that surprised me with the first play. For some unexplainable reason, I expected Cut To Black to unfold differently. But, as it happens I’m so pleased The Subtheory went in the direction they did. It works, very well. Certainly melancholic, yet spirited.   Deary - Fairground (Saint Etienne Meets Augustin Bousfield At The Top Of Town Mix) Back in LEM Vol 315 I raved about Deary, a duo from London. Dottie is the singer and guitarist with instrumentalist, Ben. I recommended you keep an ear on Deary, well it would appear others have taken notice too. Their new Fairground EP features the original single along with three remixes, including Saint Etienne Meets Augustin Bousfield At The Top Of Town Mix, which is glorious. In love remixes and Deary’s EP is a gem. Joshua Idehen - Best Kind Of Lost Some artists’ releases come with a certificate of amazing quality. Our dear friend, Josh Idehen, quite possibly the hardest working fella in the music biz sent us his latest release, Best Kind Of Lost. With the sound file came a note which reads, “I made this track about a great day I had with my partner and I thought I'd share it with you”. The thing is, Josh is such a sincere human being, he writes words from his heart, from his life experiences, and he writes with passion. We are honored to be able to share his music and words with you. Smoke M2D6 - William Shatner The Northwest Hip Hop Beat Maker, producer, and, rapper takes inspiration from William Shatner himself. The 90-year-old Star Trek actor became the oldest person on earth to travel into space. On his return to this planet, Shatner is reported to have said a number of things that Smoke M2D6 says after extensive research he uncovered what the aging actor actually said. Now, if you believe any of that, I have a space rocket to sell you. The single is on K Records so you know it has to be good. Treepeople - No Doubt Here is a cut from an important band from the Pacific Northwest as the 80s crossed into the 90s who were a major influence on acts like Sleater-Kinney, Death Cab For Cutie, Built To Spill, and more. The remastered version of their classic album, Guilt, Regret, and Embarrassment is available now on K Records. And, I think you’ll agree, this one stands up to the test of time. Calvin Johnson - Sugar On Sunday There is so much to tell you about Calvin, a good place to start is the conversation I had with the boss of K Records. Here is Calvin Johnson in fine form with Sugar On Sunday from his upcoming LP, Gallows Wine. I know you’ll have questions about this song, you are advised to download the Podcast and listen again, and again.  Fhae - Love You This one caught my attention immediately, the album, Sombre Thorax has been on repeat play at LE Tower for a week or so. This is the work of Ellana Ramsey, a 20-year-old out of Brisbane, who says Sombre Thorax is about a turbulent pilgrimage through their adolescence. I love what Fhae is doing. Fhae is on the very fine 4000 Records, a label you need to investigate.  Marlody - These Doubts Hailing from Ashford in Kent, UK, Marlody is an artist I have already given a big thumbs up to. Her debut LP, I’m Not Sure At All is on Skep Wax and as you will hear from These Doubts, Marlody deserves your careful attention. Beautifully arranged and performed.  1tbsp - Four Tet Is My Grandmother When a sound file arrives courtesy of those good folks down under at Mammal Sounds I will admit to always rolling up the carpet and get ready for a bout of spasmodic gesticulating (dancing) all over the place. From their It’s Very Loud EP, 1tbsp brings us Four Tet Is My Grandmother. Truly magnificent. The reference to Four Tet is a nice way of saying the history of electronica should never be undervalued. Oh, this is so good. Being old enough to have visited Paradise Garage on many sweat-drenched nights I can report 1tbsp’s It’s Very Loud EP would have fitted in so well.  SND & RTN (ft. Tenor Youthman) - Whitney Houston + Version From my days as a club DJ, I soon learned you could take the crowd higher and higher, but you had to be super careful in how you slowed things down. Whitney Houston from SND & RTN (ft. Tenor Youthman) is a fabulous way to segue into a more chill session. As this masterful work has an exquisite Version, you could make the intimate dance last until the grooving bodies meld into each other.

Mar 20, 202359:00
A Conversation With Jason Yamas

A Conversation With Jason Yamas

After Jason’s world falls apart in LA, he moves to Berkeley for a fresh start with his kid brother. Just one problem: his long-closeted Adderall addiction has exploded into an out-of-control crystal meth binge. Within weeks, Jason plunges into the sprawling ParTy n’ ’Play (PnP) subculture of the Bay Area’s gay community. It is a wildly decadent scene of drugs, group sex, and criminals, and yet it is also filled with surprising characters, people who are continually subverting Jason’s own presumptions of the stereotypical tweaker.

Soon Jason becomes a dealer on the pretense of researching this tweaker world for a project that will carry him, like a life raft, back to the shores of a normal life. But his friendly entrepreneurial spirit and trusting disposition disarm clients and rival dealers alike. The money begins to roll in as demand increases to frightening levels. Suddenly, Jason is in control of the entire crystal meth market for San Francisco’s gay community, even as he finds himself nodding off behind the wheel of his car, or walking down the sidewalk. As friends and family work frantically to steer him towards recovery, Jason resists, chasing something else: a sleepless nirvana fueled by sex, drugs, and the Tweakerworld.

With painful honesty, Jason Yamas has crafted a landmark narrative that is not just a personal account of addiction, but a portrait of a vulnerable, largely undocumented community of people who, for many reasons, have been marginalized to the point of invisibility.

We take a diversion from our usual format by not introducing another guest or topic in this edition. To aid you in digesting the intense, important conversation with Jason Yamas we've included a selection of "different" music.

The Playlist

Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres - Understanding Now Yaz Lancaster - Y (feat. Dorothy Carlos, Connie Li) Miss Grit - Follow The Cyborg Crackboy - Off Track Rockers Hi Fi - Disco To Disco (Rockers Remix)
Mar 09, 202358:60
Life Elsewhere Music Vol 316 - La Femmes De Reggae Special

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 316 - La Femmes De Reggae Special

For this volume, we take a slight diversion from brand-new releases to celebrate the wonderful women of Reggae. Cover versions have always played an important part in the output from the Reggae hubs of Jamaica and London. Often a Reggae cover version is equal to if not considerably better than the original. There are far too many examples to illustrate that notion, but you are advised to check out a Reggae cover anytime you come across one. We begin with what could arguably be classified as a superior cover of Anita Ward’s 1979 hit, Ring My Bell. Almost immediately after its release, Anita’s record became an instant hit. If you were in New York at the time, (I was) you’d hear Ring My Bell everywhere - on the radio, in the clubs, in bars, in taxis, everywhere. The song is noted for its innovative use of the Synare electronic drum, playing a decaying high-pitched tom tone on the first beat of every bar. It also uses chimes. It was these electronic embellishments that made the song so captivating and perhaps even better to sing along to as Anita urges, “You can ring my bell(Ding, dong, ding, ah-ah, ring it), You can ring my bell, anytime, anywhere, (Ring it, ring it, ring it, ring it, ow)”. Written by Frederick Knight, the song was originally intended for then-eleven-year-old Stacy Lattisaw. Contractual obligations prevented the young singer from recording the song, although it’s quite possible that someone noted that the title was a reference to pleasuring a woman with oral sex. Anita Ward was asked to sing it instead, and it became her only major hit. It reached number one on the Billboard 100 chart and also reached number one on the UK Singles Chart. By chance a few weeks after the single came out and riding high in the charts and booming from ghetto-blasters non-stop everywhere I went in NYC, I happened to pop on over to Kingston, Jamaica. Ring My Bell was dominating the radio waves and dancehalls there too. Then I discovered there was another version just as popular as the original, this version was by Blood Sisters, complete with a substantial dub on the 12” mix. In true Jamaican form, getting details on (The) Blood Sisters and their version of Ring My Bell proved nigh on impossible - and remains the same today. It’s a well-observed fact, details on Jamaican releases are often shrouded in mystery, non-de-plumes, and sometimes blatant misinformation. | Dawn Pickering recorded under the name, Dawn Penn released You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No) in 1967 on Coxone Dodd’s Studio One label. Despite her initial success, Penn decided to take a break from singing, which lasted 17 years, In the late 1980s, she returned to Jamaica in the hopes of reviving her career. In the early 1990s, she re-recorded a version of You Don't Love Me with the noted Jamaican production team, Steely & Clevie. Throughout the years the song came to be known as No, No, No and ranked not only high in many charts, the song also achieved widespread critical acclaim. | Written almost 40 years ago by Sister Audrey, English Girl was one of the first songs recorded at the then “new Ariwa Studios” owned and operated by Neil Fraser AKA Mad Professor and was released on Jah Shaka’s label after the overwhelming response at dances. This was one of several Shaka / Ariwa partnerships from the ’80s. Sister Audrey a.k.a. Audrey Litchmore was born and raised in South East London, her musical journey was rooted in h

Mar 08, 202359:00
A Conversation With Penelope Trappes

A Conversation With Penelope Trappes

“How would you describe myself,” Penelope Trappes says with a hint of irony as we begin a lengthy conversation. That modicum of irony is ever-present in Trappes work, from the visual imagery to the soundscapes she creates, consistently selecting a serious noir color palette. Yet, Penelope refuses to stay hidden behind a gloom and doom visage, often allowing herself to chuckle or make an irreverent quip or two. During our conversation, Ms. Trappes gracefully maneuvers from expounding on women in the creative world to describing the quirkiness of South England’s famed seafront town, Brighton. Just as easily, she dons a fan-girl persona when talking about encountering the aura of her idol, Björk.

Penelope Trappes was born and raised in Australia and now resides in Brighton, she prefers to call her music, ethereal soundscapes, she is also a filmmaker and photographer, and involved in other areas of creative expression. Her trio of albums, Penelope One, Penelope Two, and Penelope Three are essential for your collection as is her forthcoming release, Heavenly Spheres. This is the result of experimenting with only her voice and an upright piano, plus an old German reel-to-reel tape machine. Do listen carefully to our conversation and Penelope’s music. Your feedback is always welcome.

Feb 20, 202359:01
Life Elsewhere Music Vol 315

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 315

Here we go, another 60 minutes of new releases for your listening pleasure. While the headline news insists our loathsome enemy, China is filling the skies with ginormous spy balloons, over in the capital city of Beijing, there is a vibrant new music scene. 

Mimik Banka - The People, The People, And The Dogs

With The People, The People, And The Dogs, Mimik Banka takes us on a musical journey that weaves in and out of genres. Beautifully executed with tropical percussion, curious synth signatures, and spoken words that include something about “showing your bottom”. The album, Dog Days is certainly worth exploring and should prompt you to search out more new music from China. 

Ishmael Ensemble & Rider Shafique - Reasons

Over in the always creative hub of Bristol in the west of England, we find the terrific music collective, Ishmael Ensemble led by saxophonist & producer Pete Cunningham. For this outing, poet, MC, and lyricist Rider Shafique joins in to give us, Reasons from the mesmerizing New Era album. 

Crooks & Nannies - No Fun

Damn! I love this one. Out of Philadelphia, Sam Huntington, and Max Rafter present as, Crooks & Nannies. No Fun is from their masterful LP of the same name. In their promo material, they say Sam and Max make rock ’n’ roll - which is a splendid thing. They also say, they write, produce, and perform the songs and give a name check for additional help from Mark Watter, Heather Jones, and Jacob Blizard. I’m very impressed with Crooks & Nannies.

Leaving Lost - In The Other Room/Under The Stars And Sky

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Feb 16, 202359:59
Life Elsewhere Music Vol 314

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 314

Television - Marquee Moon

The announcement of his passing on January 28th at age 73 sent shivers through me and thousands of others who had grown up with the belief that Tom Verlaine was the ultimate proof of how rock music could be. As the tributes flooded social media, the images of Verlaine remained as if frozen in time. His skinny frame and sardonic stare into the camera, the awkward haircut, and seemingly fragile wrists, dwarfed by his Fender guitar. Once again, the death of an icon meant thoughtful, if not sad reflections on Verlaine’s unique and haunting guitar-playing, accompanied by a voice so frail yet full of snarling angst.  A voice Lou Reed must have wished he had, a voice emulated by Tom’s one-time girlfriend, Patti Smith. He was born Thomas Miller in 1949 in New Jersey, he took his last name after the French symbolist poet, Paul Verlaine. With college pal and future punk icon, Richard Hell, Verlaine formed, The Neon Boys, then later reformed as Television. Their groundbreaking debut album, Marquee Moon has been played by me probably thousands of times. I would sit on the floor listening, intently…on each listen trying to decipher the words, attempting to make sense of the story Tom was telling.  While studiously exploring the how's and why’s of the musicianship…the interplay between Verlaine and Richard Lloyd’s guitars, Billy Ficca’s impeccable drums, and Fred Smith’s ominous bass. Music like no other then or since. Rest In Peace, Mr. Verlaine.

Karamelien - Wait For Me

It was just a few days before the passing of Verlaine, on January 23rd another important guitarist died. Anthony Topham AKA Top Topham was the original lead guitarist for The Yardbirds. His story is indicative of post-war England where your parents could have a major say in your career path. Topham was at art school when he formed The Yardbirds, they attracted the attention of club owner, and fledgling impresario, Giorgio Gomelsky who became their manager. Encouraged by Gomelsky (who also blagged a six-piece R&B band called The Rolling Stones, until a certain Mr. Oldham stepped in) the other members of The Yardbirds wanted to turn professional. Mr. and Mrs. Topham insisted their son further his education, as they

Feb 06, 202359:16
The Fabulous, Fearless, And Infamous Abortionist. 2023 Oscar Nominations Assessed. 

The Fabulous, Fearless, And Infamous Abortionist. 2023 Oscar Nominations Assessed. 

In her epilogue to Madame Restell, author Jennifer Wright says, “Around the world, women are gaining greater control over their bodies. Though not in America. So, tell the next generation that there was a time when we owned our bodies. Tell them they still deserve to, and that, whatever the age, it is not the state’s right to tell anyone otherwise. Tell them the history of people like Madame Restell, the history of her patients, and how common abortion has always been. But more than that, tell them the history you lived. Let them know where we came from. And perhaps, in time, they’ll fight their way back there.”

An industrious immigrant who built her business from the ground up, Madame Restell was a self-taught surgeon on the cutting edge of healthcare in pre-Gilded Age New York, and her bustling “boarding house” provided birth control, abortions, and medical assistance to thousands of women—rich and poor alike. As her practice expanded, her notoriety swelled, and Restell established herself as a prime target for tabloids, threats, and lawsuits galore. But far from fading into the background, she defiantly flaunted her wealth, parading across the city in designer clothes, expensive jewelry, and bejeweled carriages, rubbing her success in the faces of the many politicians, publishers, fellow physicians, and religious figures determined to bring her down. Unfortunately for Madame Restell, her rise to the top of her field coincided with “the greatest scam you’ve never heard about”—the campaign to curtail women’s power by restricting their access to both healthcare and careers of their own. Powerful, secular men—threatened by women’s burgeoning independence—were eager to declare abortion sinful, a position endorsed by newly-minted male MDs who longed to edge out their feminine competition and turn medicine into a standardized, male-only practice. By unraveling the misogynistic and misleading lies that put women’s lives in jeopardy, Wright simultaneously restores Restell to her rightful place in history and obliterates the faulty reasoning underlying the very foundation of what has since been dubbed the “pro-life” movement.

Film and media critic, Bob Ross a longtime contributor to Life Elsewhere assesses the 2023 Oscar nominations with his customary drollness. Having seen more movies over the years than most people have had hot dinners, Ross is prone to emitting an exasperated sigh on occasion. Although he is never scathing, Bob Ross doesn’t hesitate to share his opinions.  And, when warranted Bob will wax lyrical accompanied by an impish chuckle. On a serious note, Ross unfurls his disdain for the grandiose charade of the awards ceremony. No matter if you have or have not seen all the movies nominated, it’s always entertaining to hear if you agree with Bob Ross.

Jan 30, 202301:00:28
Life Elsewhere Music Vol 313

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 313

For this volume we veer off into a more rockist direction, no substantive reason, it just happened that for the most part, the music files we received rang the “alternative rock” bell. And, that’s not a bad thing. 

Eternal Dust - Candy

We begin this volume with an album I highly recommend, Spiritual Healers, Defence Lawyers by Eternal Dust. I admit to knowing absolutely nothing about this band from Sydney before I listened to one cut. Ebonny Munro, Oscar Sulich, and Finn Parker caught my attention straight away. There is a distinctive spirit of urgent rock here, check those hollers on Candy.  An unrelenting wall of noise with what, dueling guitars? Do I hear the rhythm take over from the lead, then switch back again? No matter, Eternal Dust makes music I approve of.

Eel Men - Archetype

Then, we come to four lads from London who obviously understand that many have tried, but few have succeeded in capturing the raw, gritty essence of rock. No pretensions here from Eel Men, they give us a straightforward delivery of energy that harks back to the golden age of rock. I could, but it really would be a disservice to name-check the records Eel Men have listened to. With Archetype, they have forged their own identity. I’m positive, here we have a must-see-live-band.

Groçer - Downtown Side

A longtime friend of mine who is a native of Philadelphia reckons that Groçer are big faves locally, and incredible live. Excellent praise indeed from a writer who knows his way around an important rock show, or three. On Downtown Slide drummer (and vocalist), Cody Nelson is obviously having a lot of fun as he and the rest of the band almost slip into a funk thang. Big props to Danielle Lovier on bass/vocals and Nicholas Rahn on guitar/vocals. Scatter Plot, Groçer's new EP will not disappoint.

Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys - Burning Building 

Originally from South Africa, Lucy Kruger is now based in Berlin making smartly produced music. Burning Building is from the forthcoming Heaving album. Listen beyond the obvious pop overtones and you’ll find interesting lyrics. Competent work happening here.

Pynch - 2009
Jan 22, 202358:60
The Optimism Of Jared Yates Sexton. UFOs Or UAPs? New Music To Indulge In

The Optimism Of Jared Yates Sexton. UFOs Or UAPs? New Music To Indulge In

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Jared Yates Sexton - The Midnight Kingdom - A History Of Power, Paranoia, And The Coming Crisis

“I realize people think of me as a doom-sayer” announces Jared Yates Sexton at the beginning of our conversation, Then, he admits, “After writing this book, I’m optimistic!” That’s quite a statement from a writer who is known for unsettling commentaries. The title of his latest book, The Midnight Kingdom - A History Of Power, Paranoia, And The Coming Crisis may suggest the takeaway will be of grave despondency. Instead, it’s a bracing read as the author takes a critical look at the forces that have shaped human civilization for centuries and invites us to seek a radically different future. To fully comprehend these strange and dangerous times, Jared Yates Sexton takes a hard look at America’s history: namely, the abuses committed by those in power and the comforting stories that shaped the way the West has viewed itself up to the present. As reactionaries and authoritarians cling to myths about “Western civilization,” The Midnight Kingdom exposes how political power, religious indoctrination, and economic dominance have been repeatedly weaponized to oppress and exploit, sounding an alarm for what lies ahead as the current order frays. Beginning with the Roman Empire and racing through centuries of colonization, war, genocide, and the recurring clashes of progress and regression, Sexton finds our modern world at a crossroads. In an echo of past crises, we have arrived at a time of historic inequality and fading trust in our institutions. Meanwhile, authoritarianism is gaining momentum and the progress of the twentieth century is being rolled back at dizzying speed. This catastrophic moment holds terrible potential for a return to a totalitarian past or, potentially, a better, more real, more human future. The difference depends on a true reckoning with our history and the larger forces at play or hiding behind this disastrous fantasy of Western superiority.

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Jan 22, 202358:60
Life Elsewhere Music Vol 312

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 312

First up, a couple of very big names in this volume. We usually stay away from the more obvious names but there are always exceptions. Tracy Thorn and Ben Watt also known together as Everything But the Girl are back with their first recording in 24 years. And, a gentleman who never fails to add a little more debate about his intentions has a new single, yes, it's Mr. John Lydon in his guise as Public Image Limited with a Love Song!

Nightrax - Trace

This is the project of UK-based musician and artist Domonic Deane, guest vocals on Trace are by Jana Sotzko. Competent work here, I like all the cuts. There is a cool video for the lead track, Touch The Void. The Nightrax EP is courtesy of Black Arrow Communications. Do not overlook!

Nicolini - Sopratutto

Nic Mauskovic wrote, performed & recorded all the music. The producer, multi-instrumentalist, and seasoned drummer can also be found as Nicola and Mauskovic Dance Band. This cut features Madba (on vocals?) with words c/o Fizzy Veins, apparently. My Italian friend, Gianni says Sopratutto translates to “Above all”. Although he didn’t seem very certain about that. The Sopratutto EP comes via South of North label out of Amsterdam. (Apologies for making a dog’s dinner out of my pronunciation).

Big Joanie - Sainted

Over the past couple of years, I’ve mentioned you should keep a watchful eye on Big Joanie. Three talented, vibrant musicians from London, guitarist Stephanie Phillips, bassist Estella Adeyeri, and drummer Chardine Taylor-Stone. They proudly call themselves a Black feminist punk band, their new album is titled Back Home, references a search for a place to call home, whether real or metaphysical. “We were really ruminating on the idea of a home and what it means,” explains Stephanie. “It’s about the different ideas of home, whether that’s here in the UK, back in Africa or the Caribbean, or a place that doesn’t really exist; it’s neither here nor

Jan 15, 202301:00:39
Bradley Onishi, A Convincing Writer With A Warning. An Early Conversation With Arlo Parks. 

Bradley Onishi, A Convincing Writer With A Warning. An Early Conversation With Arlo Parks. 

Stop by Bradley Onishi’s website and you’ll notice he’s not shy about proclaiming his abilities, “Scholar, Speaker, Thought Leader” shouts the headline. Then, in the first sentence of the first paragraph, Bradley adds he is "a social commentator, scholar, writer, teacher, coach, and podcast co-host". All perfectly valid descriptors, of course, yet he doesn’t get across how perfectly charming and articulate he is. In this age of Sell! Sell! Sell! One could take Onishi’s use of self-appraisal as more of a sales pitch than a substantive parade of abilities. In his new book, Preparing For War, Bradley Onishi delves into his past and reveals he was from his early teens a devout evangelical until seriously questioning Christianity and possibly all religions. It’s that over-the-top immersion into a belief - then absolute disbelief that prompted the question, “Should we be skeptical of your radical change of mind on Christianity, especially the White Christian Nationalist kind?” As you’ll hear in our conversation, Bradley has a well-considered answer. This is why listening to Bradley Onishi you quickly come to the conclusion, here is an honest man who clearly wants to share his experience and be forthright with his warning - what comes next with White Christian Nationalism? 

In the second half of the show, we go back in time to hear a conversation with a then-up-and-coming talent who had at that time not even stepped on stage in front of an audience. Today, Arlo Parks is an international star with major ventures underway for 2023. Listen carefully to the then 18-year-old schoolgirl talk about her music, her hopes, and her dreams. 

Jan 15, 202301:15:02
The 2022 Fading Memory Edition - LEM Vol 311

The 2022 Fading Memory Edition - LEM Vol 311

Hello there, welcome to LEM Vol 311. 2022 has been a difficult year for many of us. Far too many of our loved ones, friends, and figures of inspiration have passed on. Certainly, for me, the past twelve months have been clouded with far too many moments of anguish. For this final show of 2022, I have tried to evoke my overall mood as 2022 fades into a distant memory and the new year arrives and hopefully, I’ll summon enough positive, optimistic energy to face 2023. The majority of the cuts selected are new and have not aired before on LEM. Here then is LEM Vol 311- The 2022 Fading Memory Edition. 

Ruby Hickman - I Hate You

Never say, “I hate you!” I told my son when he was a rattled child. It’s far too harsh I tried to explain. It’s too definitive I wanted to say. “Hate is an ugly word” I believe I settled on. And, yes it is. Yet, Ruby Hickman reminds us that in a moment of passion, a harsh, ugly word feels so perfect, so necessary. Ruby’s publicity blurb proclaimed, “I’m a 15-year-old singer-songwriter from Leigh on Sea in Essex, I’ve have been writing music for a couple of years now. Suddenly here I am with my first EP! I started solely on piano, but have really enjoyed pushing my guitar and vocals too. I'm writing all the time and currently have another 5 songs almost ready to release”. Ruby Hickman caught us by surprise. She is definitely talented and she certainly knows how to put a song together. I Hate You is from her EP, The Fake You.

Darling - Isolating

Darling hail from Australia, and makes excellent music, their double-sided single Illusions/Isolating shows Caitlin Finn & Joel Glazebrook in fine form. Isolating they say explores a decaying relationship caused by a disintegrating individual who isolates themself from reality and the people who love them. Darling is on 4000 Records an independent artist-led record label with a strong focus on collaborating with Brisbane creatives. We like that. 

Fine - Eventually, Everyone Will Leave

Alice Kat and Liam James Marsh impressed us so much we invited them onto the show for a chat. About their latest LP, Love, Death, Dreams, And The Sleep Between, Subjangle, their label says, “With an emotionality that c

Jan 02, 202359:00
The Best Of The Best You May Have Missed 2022

The Best Of The Best You May Have Missed 2022

Here at LEM, we are consistently reminded by critics, music aficionados, PR people, and indie record labels that LEM is the very best resource for new music, we have already given you The Best Of The Best 2022, so now we present The Best Of The Best You May Have Missed 2022. In 60 minutes we present the more obscure cuts we have curated during the past year, music you may have overlooked, music certainly worthwhile hearing again, and music you may not hear anywhere else. Our original commentaries for each cut selected are below. Very big thanks for listening and supporting LEM. We look forward to bringing you another year of the very best in new music. Here then is The Best Of The Best You May Have Missed 2022.

Rachael Dadd - Arrows (Elsa Hewitt Remix)

We’ve played This Is The Kit on LEM a few times, so I took notice when TITK front person, Kate Stables says, “Rachael Dadd is one of the most talented wise prolific, and important women of our times”. Rachael’s LP Flux came out in 2019, and now she has two remix albums, Part 1 and Part 2. The Elsa Hewitt Remix of Arrows is haunting and I would expect a prompt for you to discover more of Rachael’s work. Excellent, top marks! 

The Garbage & The Flowers - Eye Know Who You Are

 The Garbage & The Flowers are from Ipswich, Australia, according to various sources. Then, I read a piece about Robert Forster that mentioned The Garbage & The Flowers which had the mysterious band hailing from New Zealand. The fact is, no matter where they are from, this is a band you need to know about. Yes, you’ll be tempted to dwell on influences, but your time will be better spent lapping up what they have to offer on their Cinnamon Sea EP, especially, Eye Know Who You Are. Simple, minimalist perhaps, yet there is something eerily retro while being so now. There is a nonchalant mood while (I think) carefully calculated. Listen carefully.

Julia-Sophia - Not Beautiful

Julia-Sophia is based in Oxford, UK and she says Not Beautiful from her EP, Feels Like Thunder. Julia-Sophia says, “I felt like I was pigeonholed to be this rock chick, and I didn’t really know how to do music, so I went along with it.” I’m glad sh

Dec 26, 202258:59
The Best Of The Best 2022
Dec 18, 202259:00
A Conversation With Robert Forster - LEM Vol 306

A Conversation With Robert Forster - LEM Vol 306

In December of 1977, Robert Forster co-founded The Go-Betweens, with fellow musician Grant McLennan in Brisbane, Australia. Since then until today, Robert has been actively involved in the business of performing and releasing records, either as a member of The Go-Betweens or with his illustrious solo career. Along the way Forster has accumulated worldwide acclaim, his songwriting often cited as being exemplary, especially among music critics. Robert Forster has now taken a different path creating his latest album, The Candle And The Flame. It reveals only part of what became a journey of creating music with family and friends, with a need to find joy and solace in the face of adversity. In early July, Karin Bäumler, Robert’s wife and musical companion for thirty-two years was diagnosed with cancer. Explaining his new album Robert says, “She’s A Fighter is the last song I wrote for The Candle And The Flame album. I wrote the music for it in June 2021. I liked the tune and the quick energy of the song, but I didn't know yet what it was going to be about. Karen began a series of chemotherapy sessions in late July, she spoke of fighting for her health and a path through chemotherapy to recovery. The phrase, ‘She’s A Fighter’ came to me. I liked it and I knew immediately that it would work with the melody I had written earlier. I needed just one other line for the lyrics. ‘Fighting for good.’ The song was finished. I had written my first two-line song. I had just out-Ramoned the Ramones! Because the song has so much meaning to us, we decided to record it as a family. The only time this happens on the album. Karin sings and plays xylophone. Our daughter Loretta plays electric guitar. Our son Louis plays guitar, bass, and percussion. And I strum an acoustic guitar fiercely and sing. And that’s ‘She’s a Fighter.” The Candle And The Flame consists of 9 songs written by Robert. Produced by Robert, Karin Bäumler, and Louis Forster. Robert explains, “The recording sessions for the album were done sporadically over six months. Sometimes just one or two days a month. As that was all Karin’s strength and condition allowed her to do. So we had to record ‘live’, catching magical moments and going for ‘feel'. And that became the sound of the album.”

She’s A Fighter is available now as the first single from The Candle And The Flame. The full album will be released on February 3 of 2023. After receiving an advance copy of the new LP and playing it non-stop for many days, it was agreed, we had to arrange a conversation with Robert Forster. But, we received word that Robert was not keen on doing interviews about the new album as he felt it was too personal, he didn’t want to appear to benefit from his wife’s illness. His PR man, familiar with Norman B’s reputation for intimate and sensitive interviews, encouraged Robert to chat with the LEM host via Zoom. Robert was so pleased with the conversation, a follow-up session is being scheduled. Please listen carefully to what Robert has to say, this is a moving, heartfelt conversation.
Nov 15, 202259:02
Education & Religion With Phil Allen Jr. Backyard Birding With Joan E. Strassmann

Education & Religion With Phil Allen Jr. Backyard Birding With Joan E. Strassmann

We invited Phil Allen Jr. onto the show to talk about his new book, The Prophetic Lens - The Camera And Black Moral Agency From MLK To Darnella Frazier. Very quickly it was clear we were running out of time, yet there was much more to discuss with Phil. A second Zoom conversation was scheduled to delve into two issues he is passionate about, Education and Religion. Phil Allen Jr. explains how and why his life changed when he realized he had had a spiritual awakening. Being cognizant of the world around him, Phil doesn’t preach about his faith, instead, he has chosen to explain and educate. His observations and viewpoint are critical to how he conducts his everyday life, including taking time for a daily run with a playlist of spiritual, soul, and  R & B music. Our conversation touches on today’s politics, especially the case of Hershel Walker and how his run for office is so distressing. Listen carefully to what Phil Allen Jr. has to say, he is a terrific communicator.

“It has taken me 30 years to write this book.” Announced Joan E. Strassmann when asked about her process of writing, Slow Birding - The Art And Science Of Enjoying Birds In Your Own Backyard. Ms. Strassmann explains it has been a labor of love, yet there is so much more to learn and share. Slow Birding is a charming and fascinating read, packed full of details and advice on birding in your own backyard. Strassmann tells colorful stories of the most common birds to be found in the United States -  birds we often see but might not have considered deeply before. For example, northern cardinals thrive in the city, where they are free from predators. White brows on a male white-throated sparrow indicate that he is likely to be a philanderer. In fact, the sometimes complicated sex lives of birds are an essential part of Slow Birding. For evolutionary biologist, Joan E. Strassmann understanding the intimate escapades of backyard birds is crucial, as is nature’s seemingly cruel lead on predatory behavior. She emphasizes this with a sharp rebuke of feeding feral cats, “Even if you don’t see them in action, I can assure you, cats will attack and eat the birds in your backyard!”

Nov 14, 202259:59
Conspiracy. Robert Forster. RIP Jerry Lee

Conspiracy. Robert Forster. RIP Jerry Lee

Michael Shermer - Conspiracy: Why the Rational  Believe the Irrational

Nothing happens by accident, everything is connected, and there are no coincidences: that is the essence of conspiratorial thinking. Long a fringe part of the American political landscape, conspiracy theories are now mainstream: 147 members of Congress voted in favor of objections to the 2020 presidential election based on an unproven theory about a rigged electoral process promoted by the mysterious group QAnon. But this is only the latest example in a long history of ideas that include the satanic panics of the 1980s, the New World Order and Vatican conspiracy theories, fears about fluoridated water, speculations about President John F. Kennedy's assassination, and the notions that the Sandy Hook massacre was a false-flag operation and 9/11 was an inside job. In Conspiracy, Michael Shermer presents an overarching review of conspiracy theories―who believes them and why, which ones are real, and what we should do about them. Trust in conspiracy theories, he writes, cuts across gender, age, race, income, education level, occupational status―and even political affiliation. One reason that people believe these conspiracies, Shermer argues, is that enough of them are real that we should be constructively conspiratorial: elections have been rigged (LBJ's 1948 Senate race); medical professionals have intentionally harmed patients in their care (Tuskegee); your government does lie to you (Watergate, Iran-Contra, and Afghanistan); and, tragically, some adults do conspire to sexually abuse children. But Shermer reveals that other factors are also in play: anxiety and a sense of loss of control play a role in conspiratorial cognition patterns, as do certain personality traits. This engaging book will be an important read for anyone concerned about the future direction of American politics, as well as anyone who's watched friends or family fall into patterns of conspiratorial thinking. 

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Nov 07, 202258:60
Chris Connelly On His Eulogy To Nico

Chris Connelly On His Eulogy To Nico

It's a very special occasion when I have the opportunity to spend time in conversation with Chris Connelly. With every new project, he eagerly shares his passion and inspiration for his exceptional music. He was just fifteen when saw her perform live in Edinburgh, he connived his way backstage to say hello and unbelievably, the goddess reached out and touched his face. From that wondrous moment, Chris Connelly has been a devoted fan of Nico. It was after a suggestion by his friend Cosey Fanni Tutti that Chris listen to Nico’s later work, Janitor Of Lunacy that he began to conceive of paying tribute to his idol. He originally planned a 10-song tribute featuring Chris’s versions of Nico songs, at the end of the recording, Connelly decided to write a parallel album of his own compositions spanning the life of one of the most unique, tragic, and misunderstood female artists in the history of music. The result is the 24-track Eulogy To Christa: A Tribute To The Music & Mystique Of Nico. The double album sees Chris purposefully adopting the personas of Nico, Lou Reed, and John Cale – even Andy Warhol makes a cameo! Chris Connelly was also inspired by the brilliant book, You Are Beautiful And You Are Alone by author Jennifer Otter Bickerdicke, who contributed to the liner notes for the album. She writes, “This is a record to be played at full blast, all the way through, as a commemoration not just to Nico the person, the musician, but to art for art’s sake, for making something because it is important and needs to be done – an idea that is as rare and precious as Nico herself.” Make sure you pay careful attention to Chris’s details about the song and making the album - and enjoy the music. Thank you, Chris, for a beautiful conversation.

Oct 16, 202258:60
The Prophetic Lens With Phil Allen Jr. Idiosyncratic Opinions With Dr. Binoy Kampmark

The Prophetic Lens With Phil Allen Jr. Idiosyncratic Opinions With Dr. Binoy Kampmark

In the introduction to his new book, The Prophetic Lens, Phil Allen Jr. quotes a performer who has had his share of notoriety in front of the camera, not least of all his extraordinary behavior live on TV at the Oscars, that performer is, of course, Will Smith, who when asked on a late-night talk show if racism is getting worse, Smith responds astutely with, “Racism is not getting worse, it's getting filmed.” Allen takes us on a critical journey, recounting how he watched the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd on May 25, 2020, “I realized how indispensable the footage on the camera phone recorded by Darnella Frazier had become - the camera is not just technology that is indispensable for documentation; it is a prophetic tool for Black moral agency. The images captured by the camera have shed light on the violence endured by African Americans as well as pictures that depict blatant and subtle images of what white supremacy may look like. The pictures of Emmett Till catalyzed the Civil Rights Movement. The images of Bloody Sunday and other events captured the creative tension of the movement.” Allen chronicles the use of the camera from J.D. Griffiths’ Birth Of A Nation to how the prophetic scene of the killing of Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s classic film Do the Right Thing was a precursor to Eric Garner and George Floyd. In our conversation, Phil Allen Jr. ponders on what would have been the outcome if smartphones or CCTV cameras had been present at the killing of Travon Martin, and the untimely death of his grandfather in 1953.

Phil Allen Jr. is a pastor, poet, storyteller, filmmaker, and justice advocate. A former All-American NCAA athlete, Phil's call to ministry led him to California, where he is a full-time pastor and a Ph.D. candidate at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Also in the show, regular contributor, Dr. Binoy Kampmark offers his often idiosyncratic opinions on the following questions:

1. Could these be the beginning of the last days for Putin? How much trouble is he in behind the vast cloak of secrecy that is the Kremlin?

2. Could there be a more painful start for the Conservative leadership in Britain as Prime Ministers Truss plunges the UK economy into a never-seen-before turmoil?

3. Is the West looking the other way while rumors of upheaval behind the scenes in China could affect the Communist empire’s global footprint?

4. Does Italy now have a perfect Fascist leader who happens to be a woman?

5. New York Times reporter, Maggie Haberman unveils, Confidence Man, a disturbing reckoning of the 45th president, yet she doesn’t explain why she along with so many reporters failed to report what they now say they knew at the beginning?

Dr Binoy Kampmark is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban, and Social Studies, at RMIT University, Melbourne

Oct 16, 202259:00
The Biggest Ideas In The Universe. Elton John @ 75.

The Biggest Ideas In The Universe. Elton John @ 75.

Sean Carroll - The Biggest Ideas in the Universe

The most trusted explainer of the most mind-boggling concepts pulls back the veil of mystery that has too long cloaked the most valuable building blocks of modern science. Sean Carroll, with his genius for making complex notions entertaining, presents in his uniquely lucid voice the fundamental ideas informing the modern physics of reality. Physics offers deep insights into the workings of the universe but those insights come in the form of equations that often look like gobbledygook. Sean Carroll shows that they are really like meaningful poems that can help us fly over sierras to discover a miraculous multidimensional landscape alive with radiant giants, warped space-time, and bewilderingly powerful forces. High school calculus is itself a centuries-old marvel as worthy of our gaze as the Mona Lisa. And it may come as a surprise the extent to which all our most cutting-edge ideas about black holes are built on the math calculus enables. Sean Carroll guides readers toward grasping the very equation Einstein used to describe his theory of general relativity. In the tradition of the legendary Richard Feynman lectures presented sixty years ago, this book is an inspiring, dazzling introduction to a way of seeing that will resonate across cultural and generational boundaries for many years to come.

Gillian Gaar - Elton John @ 75

Few rock artists continue to gather more and more adulation with age. Sir Elton Hercules John is an exception who proves the rule. In Elton John @ 75, veteran rock journalist Gillian Gaar presents a unique and beautifully produced celebration of the iconic and beloved rock star, examining Sir Elton through the lens of 75 career accomplishments and life events. Key studio albums are featured, of course, as are a curated selection of his earworm singles. But Gaar delves deeper to reveal the events that helped chart the course of Elton’s career: Beginning with his 1969 debut LP, Elton John is regarded as one of the most influential musicians and performers of the previous five decades. In examining 75 touchstones, Gaar provides a unique presentation of Elton’s career arc, from his first steps as a solo artist to the breakthrough album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road to his flamboyant stage presence, and beyond. Every page is illustrated with stunning concert and candid offstage photography, including gig posters, 7-inch picture sleeves, and more. This incredible package also includes a gatefold Elton John timeline, a previously unpublished gatefold artwork, an 8×10-inch glossy print, and a pullout poster.

Sep 25, 202258:56
The Visual Chronicler Of Our Times. Royalty In Movies. New Experimental Music.

The Visual Chronicler Of Our Times. Royalty In Movies. New Experimental Music.

The unstoppable cacophony of Manhattan’s ambient soundtrack - police sirens, a building’s gurgling water pipes, the banging and crashing of who-knows-what fail to stymie Steve Brodner’s gentle, yet acerbic comments. We are recording via Zoom, it’s around 8.30 pm, the famed political cartoonist appears to have the windows open, with no intention of allowing the outside racket to interfere with our conversation on his new book, Living & Dying In America. This is the type of scenario that Brodner is so apt to illustrate. Getting a point across while creating the ambiance of a “situation”. Living & Dying In America is a daily graphic diary of the covid-19 years, conceived, written, and drawn by the award-winning caricaturist. It is a testament to those who died, a chronicle of the hardships and the pain suffered by those who lived through it, a grim indictment of political and civic leaders who failed us, it’s a profound moral document of our times.

The passing of Queen Elizabeth 11 has enabled all and sundry who have the tiniest connection to the royals to pontificate for hours on end over every facet of media, and true to form the networks have flown legions of commentators over to Blighty for seemingly non-stop 24/7 coverage of people standing in line for a month of Sundays, hoping to get a peek at the dead monarch. The whole parade of pomp and circumstance, and common folk weeping prompted a reflection on the monarchy, but that may be better left to another time when the current episode is over. So, we selected a different look at the royals, film and media critic Bob Ross will join the show to discuss Royalty in Movies. As always, Mr. Ross has somewhat of a twinkle in his eye as he unveils a list of Royals in Movies. How about you join in by telling us your choice for Royalty in Movies? Send your selection to

To close the show, new experimental music from the Absorb label out of Melbourne, Australia. The World I Want Would Be Celestial, Wet is an exceptional double album featuring acclaimed and lesser-known artists. The label says, “This is their first full-length release, that serves as a timestamp of a very special chapter of contemporary experimental music being made in Naarm (Melbourne) and its surrounds. Absorb acknowledges the Custodians of the lands on which this publication was produced. So-called Australia is stolen land, where sovereignty was never ceded. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.” The cut we selected is I Don’t Hate You by Emily Fishpool. And, full marks for the excellent artwork. Enjoy!

Sep 19, 202259:00
Questions. And, Answers.

Questions. And, Answers.

Carolyn Hays - A Girlhood: Letter To My Transgender Daughter

One ordinary day, a caseworker from the Department of Children and Families knocked on the Hays family's door to investigate an anonymous complaint about the upbringing of their transgender child. It was this knock, this threat, that began the family's journey out of the Bible Belt but never far from the hate and fear resting at the nation's core. Self-aware and intimate, A Girlhood asks us all to love better, not just for the sake of Hays's child but for children everywhere enduring injustice and prejudice just as they begin to understand themselves. A Girlhood is a call to action, an ode to the community, a plea for empathy, and hope for a better future. A Girlhood is a love letter to a child who has always known exactly who she is--and who is waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.

Carolyn Hays is an award-winning, critically acclaimed, bestselling author, who has chosen to publish to A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter under a pen name to protect the privacy of her family.

Marisa G. Franco - Platonic: How The Science Of Attachment Can Help You Make And Keep Friends

How do we make and keep friends in an era of distraction, burnout, and chaos, especially in a society that often prizes romantic love at the expense of other relationships? In Platonic, Dr. Marisa G. Franco unpacks the latest, often counterintuitive findings about the bonds between us—for example, why your friends aren’t texting you back (it’s not because they hate you!), and the myth of “friendships happening organically” (making friends, like cultivating any relationship, requires effort!). As Dr. Franco explains, to make and keep friends you must understand your attachment style—secure, anxious, or avoidant: it is the key to unlocking what’s working (and what’s failing) in your friendships. Making new friends, and deepening longstanding relationships, is possible at any age—in fact, it’s essential.

Sep 11, 202201:00:08
An Ongoing Conversation With Jah Wobble - Part One - LEM Vol 298

An Ongoing Conversation With Jah Wobble - Part One - LEM Vol 298

“I love Wobble!” Bellowed Martin Atkins, (renowned drummer for Ministry, Pigface, Killing Joke and more) when he heard I was about to do an ongoing series of conversations with the legendary bass man. Martin’s sentiment has to be universal, because the mere mention of the name Jah Wobble and every music aficionado’s faced lights up. Wobble’s career stretches back to the musical Middle Ages  when British Punk was just a glimmer in a Svengali’s eye, (née McLaren). John Joseph Wardle, known by the stage name, Jah Wobble became known to a wider audience as the original bass player in Public Image Ltd (PiL) in the late 1970s and early 1980s; he left the band after two albums. Following his departure from PiL, he developed a solo career. In 2012, he reunited with fellow PiL guitarist Keith Levene for Metal Box in Dub and the album Yin & Yang. Since then and up until the present day, John has been involved in numerous projects and his collaborations read like a who’s who of almost every genre of noted musicians. Along the way, Wardle despite being a lovable geezer, he has managed to run up a remarkable list of confrontations and scrapes which he unabashedly recounts in his autobiography, Memoirs Of A Geezer,  published in 2009. In the very first moments of our initial conversation, John Wardle made it clear he had a lot to say and was enjoying how the chat was developing. He suggested we record an ongoing series of conversations, so without delving into more of the man’s prodigious career, we are going to proceed with as many conversations as it takes to bring you a complete understanding of who John Wardle - Jah Wobble is. This is Part One of An Ongoing Conversation with Jah Wobble.

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Sep 11, 202259:00
The Intractability Of Racism In American Politics

The Intractability Of Racism In American Politics

Barack Obama and his family have been the objects of rumors, legends, and conspiracy theories unprecedented in US politics. Outbreaks of anti-Obama lore have occurred in every national election cycle since 2004 and continue to the present day—two elections after his presidency ended. In Trash Talk, folklorist Patricia A. Turner examines how these thought patterns have grown ever more vitriolic and persistent and what this means for American political culture. Through the lens of attacks on Obama, Trash Talk explores how racist tropes circulate and gain currency. As internet communications expand in reach, rumors and conspiracy theories have become powerful political tools, and new types of lore like the hoax and fake news have taken root. The mainstream press and political establishment dismissed anti-Obama mythology for years, registering concern only when it became difficult to deny how much power those who circulated it could command. Trash Talk demonstrates that the ascendancy of Barack Obama was never a signal of a post-racial America.

Patricia A. Turner is Professor of African American Studies and of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her previous books include I Heard It Through the Grapevine and Whispers on the Color Line.

“I never ridiculed Obama, how could I?” Remembers Steve Brodner, highly-regarded caricaturist and political cartoonist. Steve shares his take on the cruel disparagement of Barack Obama and his family. And, he uses this opportunity to give a New Yorker’s appraisal of the 45th president. Plus, Brodner reveals he has a new book due for publication soon, Living & Dying In America: A Daily Chronicle 2020 - 2022. Every day, late at night or early in the morning, from March 26, 2020, to January 1, 2022, Steve Brodner would get to work. In those midnight hours, he would review the day's reportage, sit down at his drawing board, and memorialize a singular person or event that played a role, willingly or unwillingly, in shaping that day. A long-form conversation with Steve is scheduled to discuss his new book on Life Elsewhere.

Sep 05, 202259:01
Rudy Tambala on A. R. Kane, Jübl & The Business Of Life

Rudy Tambala on A. R. Kane, Jübl & The Business Of Life

Discovering new music has been an integral part of my life for many years. That I’m still able to get giddy with excitement when hearing Arlo Parks or Pela or Barzin for the first time is, honestly, the same rush I got when hearing The Stones at The Railway Hotel, the same night Andrew Loog Oldham showed up and changed history. Your brain-pan is either open to new music or it’s stuck in a musty-dusty time warp which usually marks the time you first said, I love you after an orgasm — and meant it. The notes accompanying the new album, Sweet Company by Jabu cite A. R. Kane as an influence that makes discovering new music to another level. The impact A. R. Kane’s Lolita had on me was has resonated for over thirty years. How exciting then to know that Amos Childs, Jasmine Butt, Alex Rendall, and Daniela Dyson of Jabu unabashedly give a nod to Rudy Tambala and Alex Ayuli of A. R. Kane. No doubt, many musicians have, over the years listened carefully for hours to Lolita and asked, How did they get that sound? That plaintive, sexy treated guitar sound mixed with an acoustic on top, the seductive voice, and then — the thundering electric guitar explodes in your head! From the first moment I heard Lolita, I had to hear it again and again. Thirty years on, it still sounds so modern, so new. And of course, there was the sleeve. Enterprising 4AD records were known for inventive artwork, but this one went further. A provocative nude, a young girl — holding behind her back a huge knife! The sum total of the sound and image is extraordinary, as in fuckin’ brilliant. A year or so back I blabbered on about my fascination and enthusiasm for A. R. Kane to Rudy Tambala in a long in-depth conversation. I soon learned that Rudy is a smart guy, he’s well-read, he’s articulate and he enjoys a spirited conversation. He’s sincere when he states, “Rock ’n’ roll is fucking sex! It’s the rhythm of your blood. It’s the most vital force. Without it, there isn’t any existence on this planet!” The irony of his words adds to the fascination of listening to a man whose creative talent has been on display for over three decades. The forthright musician reveals how he and his bandmate, Alex Ayuli created their extraordinary and frequently emulated sound. He talks enthusiastically of the beginnings of A. R. Kane, detailing the creation of the noted Lollita artwork.
Aug 24, 202259:00
A Conversation With Maram & Con

A Conversation With Maram & Con

How often do creative people write a concise bio about themselves that clearly explains who they are? Hardly ever. Then along come, Maram & Con. These are their words: "From friends to lovers, to teammates in marriage, to partners in music. Maram & Con is a duo from Port Townsend, WA consisting of Conor Sisk and Maram Arifi. The duo was created during the isolating years of COVID after joining a club for musicians that enabled them to create songs every week as a pastime (Friday Night Song Club). marCo is their first album which was recorded at their home studio (in their living room). The album consists of an eclectic variety of songs that are a reflection of many genres. They have a four-year-old named Rohan, and are expecting another baby in September. There is so much more music to come out of this dynamic duo!” When you listen to our conversation you’ll understand why we couldn’t improve on Maram & Con’s self-penned bio. Unabashedly, we want you to know, they are talented, delightful, and charming, and they have created a very special album with marCo. Enjoy their enthusiasm for each other and their music.

We begin the show with The Orbiting Object by Young Moon from the album, Paraverbal Orchids. This is the work of Trevor Montgomery who says, “I live on the south island of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Paraverbal: being nonverbal communicationOrchid: a plant with complex flowers that are often showy or bizarrely shaped, having a large specialized lip (labellum) and frequently a spur.” Excellent work, Mr. Montgomery. | 12 Missed Calls are out of Montreal. Is It My Eye? Is It Your Light? Is from their LP, Sunset Today. Steve Clarkson is on instruments, samples, and programming and Michèle Katrina Thorsen is on vocals, lyrics, and poems. Interesting work. | Rebecca May, Kristina Bergman, and Kendra Robayo use the moniker, Lady Lips. They are out of Connecticut, their LP, Cat Eat Dog has a variety of songs, including French Monkey which reminds us of Lizzy Mercier Descloux. We recommend you also check out, Fourth of July.

Aug 22, 202258:60
The Tragedy Of Slenderman. A Petition For Climate Protection

The Tragedy Of Slenderman. A Petition For Climate Protection

Environmental journalist, Robert Hunziker, a frequent contributor to Life Elsewhere shares his opinion on why temperatures across Europe are reaching record highs; why people in Seattle where home air-conditioning is unusual are suffering from extreme heat; how can Florida, already swelteringly hot half of the year, have a heat index that is the highest it has ever been? Robert in his characteristically unflappable mode explains and asks that you read and sign the Petition for Climate Protection and Restoration Initiative.On May 31, 2014, in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, Wisconsin, two twelve-year-old girls attempted to stab their classmate to death. Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier’s violence was extreme, but what seemed even more frightening was that they committed their crime under the influence of a figure born by the internet: the so-called “Slenderman.” Yet the even more urgent aspect of the story, that the children involved suffered from undiagnosed mental illnesses, often went overlooked in coverage of the case.

Kathleen Hale’s Slenderman: Online Obsession, Mental Illness, and the Violent Crime of Two Midwestern Girls tells that full story for the first time in deeply researched detail, using court transcripts, police reports, individual reporting, and exclusive interviews. Morgan and Anissa were bound together by their shared love of geeky television shows and animals, and their discovery of the user-uploaded scary stories on the Creepypasta website could have been nothing more than a brief phase. But Morgan was suffering from early-onset childhood schizophrenia. She believed that she had been seeing Slenderman for many years, and the only way to stop him from killing her family was to bring him a sacrifice: Morgan’s best friend Payton “Bella” Leutner, whom Morgan and Anissa planned to stab to death on the night of Morgan’s twelfth birthday. Bella survived the attack but was deeply traumatized, while Morgan and Anissa were immediately remanded into jail, and the severity of their crime meant that they would be prosecuted as adults. There, as Morgan continued to suffer from worsening mental illness after being denied antipsychotics, her life became more and more surreal.

Aug 17, 202259:00
A Zero Diddly Squat Conversation With The Shend

A Zero Diddly Squat Conversation With The Shend

In keeping with the Dadaesque spirit of The Shend and his work with Anzahlung, along with The Cravats, The Babymen, DCL Locomotive, The Very Things, and certainly a few more, we could not resist using an absurd redundant headline. As you will hear in the lyrics for What You Think Is All You've Got, the title cut for Anzahlung’s second album, “Diddly Squat” as spat out - er - sung by The Shend makes perfect sense. In fact, we maintain this new platter from Mr. Shend and his coconspirator, Joe 91 is not only a fine effort it’s also by far their most relatable collection of songs. “Succubus swing & Doom disco” offers The Shend during our conversation. And yes, there are some serious toe-tapping beats going on here. The creation of the latest Anzahlung LP is explained in modest restraint as are the sightings of The Spend’s theoretical neighbor, Sting. There are a lot of tongue-in-cheek references, yet there’s also an obvious tenderness behind that almost gruff Brummie demeanor as you’ll hear when The Shend speaks fondly of Mark Astronaut’s passing. All the same, everything is open to ridicule in the eyes of The Shend and Joe 91, their essential sardonic English humor cannot be abated. The Shend selected the music throughout the interview, including cuts from Anzahlung’s new LP and Not Doing It by The Astronauts in tribute to the sad passing of Mark Astronaut. Seriously, it’s heart-warming chatting to The Shend, he’s a lovely fellow. Enjoy our zero diddly squat conversation. 

To close the show an exceptional remix of

Aug 17, 202259:01
Quintessential English Music - A Conversation With Benjamin Berton