Tag Archives: Bernie Sanders

Ep. #285: Chicago Underground Duo

Chicago Underground Duo consists of two very notable musicians: Rob Mazurek (also of Exploding Star Orchestra, Starlicker, Pulsar Quartet, Rob Mazurek Octet, São Paulo Underground) and Chad Taylor (also of Marc Ribot Trio, Side A, Digital Primitives), who formed the group in 1997. When asked to describe their work together, they suggested their music is “an organic mixture of African, Electronic, Coloristic, Jazz influenced life supporting systematic, non-systematic feeling from two humans trying ever to expand outward and inward for the people and ourselves.” The duo’s seventh album is called Locus, which was released by Northern Spy Records in 2014, and Chicago Underground Duo played the 2016 Guelph Jazz Festival this past September, which is when we caught up for this conversation. Here, we discuss why Rob thinks Guelph is friendly and full of free hamburgers, playing small cities with cool music scenes, Peterborough New Hampshire, Ajay Heble and Julie Hastings and the Guelph Jazz Festival, how some festivals go safe, when B.B. King would play at jazz festivals, open-ended and creative music, opening for Stereolab, what indie-rock might mean these days, what 20 years ago was like for outsider musicians, social music networks, music marketing and music media that can’t figure out story angles, jazz and intellectualism, the origins of jazz as a process, the relationship between niche and big budget, general audience festivals, Esmerine, competition and cultural cores, the future of the Guelph Jazz Festival, underground culture will always thrive, Mike Reed in Chicago who founded the Pitchfork Music Festival, Rob’s fascination with the Underground, when 24 year-old Rob encountered 16 year-old Chad, Chad’s history with classical guitar playing, how both attended jazz school in Chicago, Henry Threadgill, Steve McCall, Fred Hopkins, and Air, a personal meltdown at a recital, jazz and authority and parameters and freedom and improvisation, trouble with a lower case ‘t,’ playing drums and hearing Marc Ribot play guitar, introducing electronics to CUD and musique concrete, Chad’s resistance, ‘no fear,’ samplers and modulators, the windy city, when Rob and Chad each left Chicago, gentrification and displacement, how Chicago was designed, poor communities have been pushed further out of the core of the city, the vilification of Chicago and its correspondence with the terms of President Barack Obama, when Tortoise discussed their experiences with gun violence on this show, living in Sao Paulo, the proliferation of fear in American mass media, the surreal U.S. election and its lingering impact, Bernie Sanders and the Clintons, Chad’s grandmother and declining wages, the Chicago Underground Duo record Locus, a Chicago London Underground record with Alexander Hawkins and John Edwards that’s coming out in January, the new São Paulo Underground record, Cantos Invisíveis, which is out now via Cuneiform Records, Rob’s new record with Emmett Kelly, Alien Flower Sutra that’s out now, the Chicago Underground Duo song “Yaa Yaa Kole,” and then we went underground.

Related links: northernspyrecords.com/artist/chicago-underground-duo vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #279: U.S. Girls

U.S. Girls is the moniker of Meghan Remy who currently calls Toronto, Ontario home. Since moving there from Chicago in 2010, Remy has become a vital part of the city’s music scene and, along with her husband Slim Twig, plays in the excellent band Darlene Shrugg and runs the Calico Corp. label. She is likely best known for her stunning voice, pointed perspective, and startlingly great post-pop work as U.S. Girls, including her acclaimed and most recent album, Half Free, which is on the 2016 Polaris Music Prize short list and out now via 4AD Records. Remy and I recently caught up at Jules’ Café in Toronto’s Kingsway neighbourhood to discuss Jules Café and its wifi and its delectable croissants, just barely Etobicoke, Boxing Day 2010, Chicago and Toronto, Americans thinking about Canada and the rest of the world, facts and fiction and trust, not necessarily the news, overwhelmed by the world, free but only to consume, leaving America and loving Canada, military madness and taxes, health care, because Britain stayed and Canadian reserve, nice not friendly, Canada’s British accent, we’re smart, Toronto’s ahistorical aesthetic, many cranes in the sky, Chicago is grand, it’s hard to be America’s hat, grants and being driven to achieve, gross generalizations, the music media and scams, the regurgitated one sheet, disengaging, anti-intellectualism, being in a military family, John Cassavetes and Bruce Springsteen, cinéma vérité, Springsteen’s rise as an American superstar as he was criticizing America, Springsteen’s empathy and socially conscious gestures, her song “Damn That Valley,” why Meg doesn’t ever vote, the 2000 election and Ralph Nader and Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Party doesn’t really get it, anti-war, the shades of evil, Hillary Clinton and women, revolution and protest and duty, social media’s distracting nature, the internet is everything but still new, MySpace as a touring resource, Silver Apples and Suicide and the Shaggs, the two-piece, when Springsteen covered “Dream Baby Dream,” the Devils & Dust tour, radio on, the Beatles Anthology, Bikini Kill, dealing with male music biz crap as a woman, sound people are cranky, frustrated musicians, the average white American woman, “First World Blues,” problematic self-esteem issues in a digital age, the requisite weirdness of receiving a Polaris Music Prize nomination, the infrastructure and its usual suspects, Darlene Shrugg is the best band and a record is almost done, Simone TB and Tropics, Ice Cream, word of mouth, the new U.S. Girls record with the Cosmic Range, Onakabazien, playing live at the Polaris gala on September 19, the song “Window Shades,” Gloria Ann Taylor, and then I got a croissant.

Related links: yousgirls.blogspot.ca vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #274: Hari Kondabolu

Hari Kondabolu is a very funny and incisive stand-up comedian who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He has written for shows like Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, he’s appeared on the many late night talk shows, and he co-hosts the Politically Re-Active podcast with Bell. In 2014, Kill Rock Stars released his highly acclaimed and hilarious stand-up album, Waiting for 2042 and they have just released his excellent, uncompromising follow-up, Mainstream American Comic, which is a wonderful mix of absurd observational stories and socio-political commentary. He’s just about to kick off an extensive American tour in Detroit on July 29 with more dates up the end of September and here, we discuss the many mistakes I made in the intro, peaking personally as the world is falling apart, the RNC and DNC conventions and what they say about the future of America, the Mickey Mouse candidate is a maniac, rewarding the asshole and how people like a heel, the ‘Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase and Virgil and a bunch of questionable WWF comparisons, mocking the mockery and the media, people who mistrust facts and the truth because of how they view the messengers, less coverage and media monsters, Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign and his recent support of Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama’s acknowledgement of Sanders in his speech at the DNC, Bernie’s heroic effort, Obama’s presidency and legacy, when Obama dumbs down his rhetoric, placating people and Jimmy Carter, Hari’s hilarious mom and talking about his parents, being a brown man in pop culture and living in the word today, no Asians on Saturday Night Live, more immigrants need to be represented in culture, things Aziz Ansari obsesses about, how to start addressing and breaking down our differences, white people don’t like games, Uncle Raj, why Hari hasn’t toured Canada yet and is avoiding Toronto, The Problem with Apu film, co-hosting the Politically Re-Active and Bugle podcasts, starting a series, why Apu is offensive and the weirdly benign yet insidious depictions of Indians, Peter Sellers in The Party, the bit “My Mom (Accent Not Included),” and that was another nice chat with Hari.

Related links: harikondabolu.com killrockstars.com vishkhanna.com

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