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The CHIRP Blog

Mike Bennett writesiPod/MP3 Friday Shuffle — Happy Birthday Otis Sistrunk Edition

What’s the iPod/MP3 Shuffle? It’s just a way to get people to share music and foster some discussion. I started doing this on my Facebook page a while back and it’s been great seeing friends exchange comments on each others lists. Every Friday, I get out my 120 GB iPod (which has about 24,000 songs now), hit shuffle and write about the first 10 songs that come up. Sometimes the 10 songs are kind of conventional, sometimes there’s a lot of obscure stuff. So check mine out and please add your own shuffle or discuss other people’s shuffles!


Let’s give it up for the man from the University of Mars, the man with the steam coming off his bald dome (bald in an era when real men had big afros), former Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Otis Sistrunk. In honor of Otis, grab your iPod/iTunes/MP3 player, hit shuffle and share the first 10 tunes that come up with everyone else.

I’m now over 23,300 tunes on my iPod and this is what I came up with:

  1. The Four Tops — Just Seven Numbers (Singles) This song comes closer to Southern soul than Northern soul, as it has more of a classic blues chord structure than the typical Motown single. Of course, Tops’ lead singer Levi Stubbs would have been great doing deep soul, with his gruff, passionate voice. This isn’t a great song, but it’s a nice change of pace.
  2. Glen Campbell — These Days (Meet Glenn Campbell) I’m not sure if this song has come up on a prior shuffle, but this recent comeback album has. This cover of the ’70s Jackson Browne staple fits in so well with the classic Glenn Campbell style. It’s like it’s the next best thing to Jimmy Webb. This may be the best song on this album.
  3. The Coasters — Yakkity Yak (Greatest Hits) The court jesters of ’50s rock ‘n’ roll, they had great material (primarily from Leiber and Stoller) and a good natured sass that was perfect for these songs. The fun never ends with The Coasters.
  4. Richard Thompson — You Dream Too Much (Rumor & Sigh) This might be my favorite Richard Thompson album. The songwriting shows off all facets of his personality and he was just spinning off great melody after great melody. This is a hooky number, somewhat akin to Crowded House, but with that special exuberant bitterness that only Thompson can provide.
  5. Tavares — Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel (The Best Of Tavares) The first crossover smash for Tavares, who were guided by producer Freddy Perrin, who was one of the first soul producers to successfully integrate disco into a vocal groups sound. Tavares did not boast a single great lead singer, but had such a winning, joyous sound. The harmonies, the strings, the woodwinds and that every present beat. Great song.
  6. Pernice Brothers — One Foot in the Grave (Yours, Mine & Ours) On this album, Joe Pernice and company showed that they weren’t just about reviving lush ’60s pop with a little alt-country mixed in. Here, the band shows its affinity for ’80s college radio, especially Brit bands like New Order and The Smiths. What is exceptional is that the core of the Pernice sound is intact, just dressed up a bit differently.
  7. Kid Creole & The Coconuts — Broadway Rhythm (Doppelganger) Funk never sounded more urbane than when Kid Creole and his menagerie laid it down. The chicken scratch guitar mixes with a percolating rhythm and a smooth melody. It’s no surprise that the Kid can still wow crowds in Europe, whereas August Darnell’s music never quite fit in with the rigid U.S. radio formats of the ’80s. One of the most underrated groups of their era.
  8. The Go-Betweens — The Streets Of Your Town (16 Lovers Lane) One of the singles from the album that closed out the initial phase of the band’s run. As the band honed its pop sense, it’s large debt to the Velvet Underground became less noticeable, and they developed such a distinctive sound. Literate, pretty and memorable.
  9. Biz Markie — Just a Friend (The Biz Never Sleeps) This song was featured in some annoying commercial with some Lincoln Park types in a cab singing along, joined in by the old fart cab driver. This commercial did not dampen my enjoyment of hearing the marble mouthed Biz’s big moment in the sun. Years later, he is a regular on Yo Gabba Gabba. Good for him.
  10. The Rutles — Living in Hope (The Rutles) The soundtrack to the Eric Idle Beatles spoof mockumentary was so key. While Idle’s parody of documentary filmmaking and the Fab Four was very funny, the music penned by Neil Innes of the Bonzo Dog Band turned it into the classic. Some songs are inside out rewrites of moptop classics. But this is a mid-tempo song for Barry Wom, the Ringo-esque drummer. I’m not sure if John Halsey (of the bands Timebox and Patto), the drummer played Wom actually did the lead vocal or if it’s Innes, but whoever it was nailed that Ringo hang dog vocal sound.

Share September 18, 2009 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: ipod, lists

Shawn Campbell writesCHIRP’s Webstream Kickstart Almost Halfway There

Launched merely a week ago, the fund raising campaign that CHIRP set up in conjunction with Kickstarter to cover the first year of CHIRPradio’s web streaming fees has been a great success. In 6 short days we’ve gotten almost halfway to our goal (As of this writing we’re at 47% of our goal). Can you be the one to put us over the halfway mark? Whether you can donate a dollar or a hundred dollars, we’ve seen this week that it all adds up extremely quickly. Let’s keep the momentum going strong into this weekend and perhaps we can not just break the halfway mark today, but by this time next week I’ll be following up with a post about succesfully shattering our entire fund raising goal!

Make your Kickstarter pledge now to show your support and read more about the campaign right here.

Share September 17, 2009 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: CHIRP Radio News and Info.

Topics: chirpradio, fundraiser

Jocelyn writesWhat Comes Around, Goes Around

I feel like I’m living in a really strange era of music right now. I also feel like I’m living in a really strange period in pop culture/time right now. The 80s are retro and I’m not that old, you know? I feel like so many things that happened when I was a kid are coming back around or something … basically, they are probably coming back to people who are a little older than I was then, but because I was so aware and precocious* at even 6, 8, 10 years old, it doesn’t matter. I still thought then like I do now and remember them like it was yesterday.

I was driving to a friend’s photography show a year or so ago and heard this song (I didn’t know the name) — Welcome To The Black Parade. Because of how the chorus kicked in, I knew it was a modern band that was probably popular with the kids. but as the song continued to progress, I just pulled back and heard all the guitars and whatnot, and I thought … this was our Poison, cause it was pretty metal. And what I mean by that is not “It was pretty metal,” as in fairly metal, but it was “pretty” metal, as in shiny metal. Fluffy. Wanker lite. When I was a kid, I thought that Poison and Winger and Cinderella and Warrant and all those bands were metal. They weren’t. They were pop. But I didn’t know that then. And that’s what this song is — pop. With lots of guitars and posturing.

As I continued home, I heard this song — Sweet Escape. Let me tell you. I had NO CLUE who this was. Not one single clue until I looked it up when I got home. I heard this one and I thought, this could have come straight out of 1985. Seriously. I would have been all over this song then. It would have been a Top 40 #1. I nearly fell down when I saw it was Gwen Stefani. (Sidenote: is she going to lose those harajuku girls or what?) It just seemed so unlike her. No bad girl here. Straight popalicious. Not a hard edge to be found. I guess it features Akon, but I didn’t catch any of that on the radio.

(I love that I can type “bad girl escape sweet” and “carry on marching band” into google and get the names of these two songs, and then go to you tube and find the videos.)

Then, as if i needed the 80’s deal sealed, they went into With or Without You, for an authentic 80s classic. It’s funny. There was so much different stuff on Top 40 radio back in the 80s, and the things that lasted are now our classic rock. This would be one of them, I suppose.

The whole night kicked off with hearing Johnny Mars back on the air for the first time in over five years, which was really a treat. What comes around goes around.

*To illustrate: I’ve always remembered that one of my favorite songs was Separate Lives, a song by Phil Collins with Marilyn Martin from the movie White Nights. Before you roll up with peals of hysterical laughter, let me at least tell the story. I always loved love songs and songs of romance and all that stuff. Whitney Houston, Phil Collins, Chicago featuring the lovely Peter Cetera, you name it, I was there.

But the reason I use “Separate Lives” to illustrate my point is this — “White Nights” came out in 1985. I was ELEVEN years old. Never kissed, much less had any sort of romantic relationship. Yet, I distinctly and VERY clearly remember loving that song and KNOWING what the words meant. Singing along with heartfelt emotion as Phil Collins sings: “ooh, so typical, love leads to isolation/so you build that wall (build that wall)/and you make it stronger…”

WHAT? How can an 11 yr. old comprehend that? But I loved the song and I loved the crescendos and the key change and the whole feel of it. That they were together and now apart, and how dare they look at each other like that now that they couldn’t have each other, but … maybe… someday, but for now, they’d go on living separate lives… and… CUT.

Wow. So dramatic and emotional for a pre-teen. Obviously worth pulling out the boombox to tape it on.

This originally appeared at Smussyolay in March ’07, but is still completely relevant 2 and a half years later.

Share September 15, 2009 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Events Journal

CHIRP DJ writesRediscovering Our Record Collections: Mudhoney’s “Superfuzz Bigmuff”

In 1990, a friend of mine walked into my high school cafeteria, in his ratty unbuttoned flannel shirt and matching ratty hair wearing a Mudhoney shirt. He looked like a combination of Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes and a moodier, dirtier Steve Albini. I was never sure where I stood with him, but no else really did either. He was either slightly just less than happy to see you, or entirely indifferent to your existence. That day, he was a bit more pleasant than usual and was enthused to tell me all about this great band he saw over the weekend. He demanded that I do myself the favor of finding the Superfuzz/BigMuff record. I did just that, mostly because I generally found his music taste agreeable with mine.

Keep Reading…

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Categorized: Rediscovering Our Record Collections

Shawn Campbell writesHelp CHIRP Kickstart Its Webstream

CHIRP volunteers have been working all summer to get the new station ready to launch at We’re excited to be getting very close to the point where the new station will go live, and to make it to the finish line, we need your help.

One of CHIRP’s biggest expenses will be streaming fees — our next biggest cost after rent. That’s why we’re so excited that social funding site Kickstarter invited us to launch a fundraising campaign to cover our first year of streaming expenses.

The way a Kickstarter campaign works is that donors pledge money in support of a specific project, but no money is collected unless the group meets its goal. CHIRP’s goal is $4800, the anticipated cost of our first year of streaming.

You can help get CHIRP Radio up and running. Make a pledge right now and you can pick from all sorts of cool thank you gifts, from CHIRP t-shirts and water bottles to limited edition mix CDs and exclusive house parties from well-known CHIRP DJs. And everyone who makes a pledge at any level will be invited to a special open house at the brand new CHIRP studios later this fall!

With your help, Chicago’s brand new music and arts focused community radio station will launch before the end of the fall. Make your Kickstarter pledge now to show your support!

Share September 11, 2009 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: CHIRP Radio News and Info.

Topics: chirpradio, fundraiser

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