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Clockwise, from top left: riot police face protesters; police move in to contain rioting civilians; a protester defies police; burned-out vans; an abandoned barricade; and protesters retreat from tear gas

Athens, December 6th 2008. 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos is shot dead by police officer Epaminondas Korkoneas. Three weeks of chaos and rioting ensue, raising a number of as yet unanswered questions, concerning the problems, challenges, and goals of a marginalized young generation. One year later, Gamma and I present the interviews taken from three young people, who each gives us their own perspective.
These people are: Yorgos Panzaris, a Stanford history department alum, who mantains his own blog here, Yiannis Sakellaridis, a Stanford math department alum, and Alex an old friend of Gamma’s.
I have not been posting here for the last seven months, mostly because of lack of time. This time, however, I felt that it was worth it. It’s been a year since the troubles in Athens and it only feels like things are getting more complicated rather than clearer. Greece is on the brink of one of the toughest economic crises in its modern history and it’s pretty clear that young people, like the ones that were on the streets last year, are the ones that are going to bear the brunt of this.
On a lighter note, you can listen to the music that I played after the show here:
(There’s a bit of overlap with the talk show, due to poor editing).
Room For A Ghost live at the Bottom of the Hill

Room For A Ghost live at the Bottom of the Hill

Show playlist is here. You can stream the show here:

Room For A Ghost, a local band were in the studio last time. They play a very energetic brand of math rock. Think of a mix of Don Cab with Kinski and maybe some elements of The Fucking Champs… Well I’m not very good at describing bands but I know one think for sure: they rock! I’ve already seen them live a couple of times and I would definitely recommend it. They put out a great show. Up till now they have been a 3-piece instrumental band but they are adding a singer now. I’m interested to see how that will work out. Check out their myspace page for updates and news.

It was fun having them on the radio and making them read PSAs and stuff. I also like getting people to choose music and to tell me why they like a particular song… Hopefully they’ll come back to KZSU and play in our Wednesday night live special.

Right, what’s new on the music radar? Well this local band The Bad Hand is really good. Probably one of the most interesting cds in our a-file right now. Again energetic, slighlty proggy instrumental rock. You should also check ot this LA-based band Abe Vigoda. Supposedly they play tropical punk-rock. Whatever it is, it’s good. Finally make sure you check out Ponytail. Think of the Fucking Champs with crazy vocals.


Interstellar Overdrive

Interstellar Overdrive

Playlist is here. Stream the show here:

You know I am starting to see that playing a radio show over a long period of time is a bit taxing in terms of creativity. I mean, I am finding myself playing the same things again and again and again. But I guess this is life right? How much music can we poor limited human beings digest, right? Well then once in a while you discover a group which sounds refreshing and familiar at the same time. Take for example the Greek indie rockers Interstellar Overdrive. These guys have been around since the late nineties and they play some high quality stuff. I got their latest record Hibernation, and it really sounds like a cool mix of Tindersticks, Nick Cave, and Calexico, together with a healthy dose of Sonic Youth style noisy experimentalism. Highly recommended.

Black Swan Green playing live

Oh yeah, if you are interested in new acts that do the whole shoegaze noise-rock thing, do not miss out on Black Swan Green. These guys from Brooklyn play some cool stuff and have a pretty good appreciation of bands such as My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus And Mary Chain. Beautiful stuff, probably some of my favorite recent discoveries. This again thanks to our a-file here at KZSU. Alright, that’s it for now, got my two band descriptions, got my word out there, I will be back soon with more pointless gibberish. If you are reading this, thanks for getting this far.

Oh last thing: I got two slots next week. I will be playing 3-6 pm on Tuesday March 17th and my regular slot of 8-10 pm on Thursday night.

The Wipers playing...

The Wipers playing...

Wow, I just love the Wipers… Probably my obsession with them has to do with the fact that I discovered them pretty late. But what a band! Greg Sage is just a blazing guitarist and that’s not only because of his technique. The sound that he manages to get out of his guitar is incredible and what’s more he seems to be able to get a lot out of very limited means. Most of their songs sound like they were recorded in a basement but that’s actually positive rather tha negative! It’s just the purest form of punk diy attitude that I can think of. Add to that the really tight rhythm section as well as their very political and very meaningful lyrics and you probably have one of the best (and most overlooked) band in punk rock’s history. For anyone who is interested, I would recommend this triple CD out by Zeno records.


Trypes: "A concert against the cronies of St. Valentine"

Another band in this genre that I am completely obsessed with is the Greek band Trypes. They are probably the best band to come out of the Greek rock scene. The interesting thing about them is how they take elements from non-Greek bands, such as Gang of Four, and combine them with elements of Greek traditional music to create a pretty explosive mix. In their lyrics they voice a very sharp and ironical criticism about Greek society in general. They have explored a lot of territory throughout their discography and all their records are stellar. Interestingly enough, they split at a moment when they were still writing great songs (their last record is probably my favorite). Some of their members (notably the singer Giannis Aggelakas) have released solo projec. Recommended for all punk fans out there.

Ok, enough about my obsessions… We have a bunch of really good music in our A-file right now at KZSU. A good example is this band Pontiak, playing stoner falvored indie roc. Check them out. What else? These guys called Heavy Hands are pretty good too. A kind of revival of 70s style hard rock band with a lot of stoner rock influences. Pretty good stuff. Finally, for those of you who love psychedelic freakouts, make sure to check out Sujo. Weird, crazy, noisy stuff…

Panda Bear - Person Pitch

Panda Bear - Person Pitch

Show playlist is here.

I have a really great apreciation for artists and especially musicians that can keep things simple. Take Panda Bear for example. His solo record Person Pitch uses really simple ideas, like pretty major  guitar chords, a bit of reverb, and some basic loops to create a semi-magical experience. I don’t know what you call this. Dream pop? Psychedelic folk? No idea, and I guess it doesn’t matter. This stuff is just really really good.

What else is good around these days at KZSU? We have an excellent reissue (Flood Bank) of the first couple of records of this British post-punk band called The Lines. Excellent dark disco-punk of the same variety as Gang Of Four and A Certain Ratio. Definitely check it out. Speaking of post-punk, I also played a song by a band which has been a personal obsession of mine for a while: The Sound. They are another underrated band from that era that I believe deserves much more attention. Finally make sure to check out the Religious Knives, with their strange revivalist taste of 60s experimental rock.

Not much more to talk about this week. I am finding it increasingly difficult to keep this blog updated. First of all it feels a bit like talking to myself, since not many people are actually reading it. Second, I have been really busy recently with work.

Check out my playlist here.

One of the standard cliche things I like to do is to play Greek and Turkish songs together. There is a reason for that. Our music shares a lot with Turkish music. We were after all part of the same empire for about 400 years. This week the two acts I mixed together were Θανάσσης Παπακωνσταντίνου (Thanassis Papakonstantinou) and Baba Zula.

Thanassis is probably one of the most creative singer/songwriters currently active in the Greek scene. His music takes a lot from traditional Greek music, as well as genres such as jazz, post-rock, and maybe even some noise. Probably one of his best records is Αγρύπνια (Agrypnia), but his other stuff is excellent too.

Baba Zula in concert, Pesaro, Italy, 2007

Baba Zula in concert, Pesaro, Italy, 2007

Baba Zula play a brand of music they call “Anatolian Dub”. I had the great pleasure of seeing them perform this year in Istanbul. They are really incredible. Not only is their main guy a massive legend and a great saz player, but they generally tend to have very lively shows, including belly dancers and even live drawing! Their latest album kokler (roots) is a pretty incredible piece of musicianship. Definitely look into them if you like eastern-style music.

Any more good things today? Let’s see… I recently got this reissue of the second Loop record Fade Out. Excellent 80s style space-psychedelic rock. What else? I really like this Greek band I recently discovered called Interestellar Overdrive. Indie-rock but at least of good taste. That’s about it for this week…

Tarentel live at Terrastock 4

Tarentel live at Terrastock 4

Show playlist is here.

Out of all these bands in the so called post-rock genre, Tarentel are definitely one of the best. It would be difficult for me to explain how their music is like, since I have only really listened to two of their records: their 1999 debut “From Bone to Satellite”, and their collection of singles “Ephemera”. Both are stellar. I opened my show this morning with the first track of their first record, a 12 minute hypnotic drone featuring a twangy spaghetti-western style guitar. Worth checking out for sure.

Another standout out band from today’s show is Agitation Free, a 70s German experimental rock band. Definitely one of the best prog bands I’ve heard in a while. I played an Acid Mother’s Temple song too. These guys are out of their fucking mind. They’re a Japanese experimental rock/commune that has featured more than 40 members. Its core member however, is Makoto Kawabata, a very talented and extremely technical electric guitar player. I saw them play live at the Bottom of the Hill a few months ago and they were STUNNING. Ok another song I liked from today’s show was Circle’s Jaljet from the record Forest. So these guys are supposed to be mixing heavy metal and krautrock and they’re pretty damn good. The song I played however, sounded more like Can rather than anything else. Make sure to check out their sister project Pharaoh Overlord too. Excellent stoner rock. Oh yeah, I also discovered this band called the Warlocks (but I’m sure this is old news to a lot of people). Weird mixture of psychedelia and indie rock a la Spacemen 3 and Jesus and Mary Chain. Good stuff.

Finally I changed tempo again towards the end and played a little punk followed by some Johnny Cash and some reggae. I guess the standout track here was by this little Croatian band called Satan Panonski. Crazy Croats! This was sent to KZSU by our friend from Slusaj Najglasnije (translation: Listen Loudest). Wow! The cdr’s that he sends us tend to be very interesting to say the least!

Funkadelics Maggot Brain Cover

Funkadelic's Maggot Brain Cover

Show playlist is here.

Ok, I know most people hate to admit their ignorance and this is generally true for me too. However, I will be honest. I have not really listened to Funkadelic, and up to the best of my knowledge, they play funky music that makes people want to shake their ass and that’s about it. It turns out I am pretty wrong. Take Maggot Brain for example. What a record! Amazing mix of so many genres: hard rock, funk, sould, gospel, psychedelia… And especially what a bitching guitar solo in the title track by Eddie Hazel. The CD liner notes say that George Clinton told him to play the first half as if he heard his mother had just died and play the second half as if he then heard that she was still alive. I guess that pretty much explains it. Definitely one of the best old records I have heard in a while.

Ok, what else did I play today? There’s Novalis, an impressive German prog band that was in KZSU’s a-file about a year ago. Their song Impressionen, is just pure epic classically inspired bliss. I also played Bay Area locals Wooden Shjips. Tasty noisy drones and psychedelia. I will try and catch them live on December 12th at the Independent. I also really liked this Montreal-based experimental trio called Exhaust, featuring members of Godspeed, as well as this Berlin post-rock trio called To Rococo Rot. Weird stuff but still enjoyable…

I then got a bit into reggae and world music. I hadn’t done so for a while. I often forget how much effort some DJs at the station put into getting the a-file full of good stuff from all over the world. I would definitely recommend the collection Eccentric Soul: The Young Disciples, another excellent record by the Numero Group. Also worth of note is Tony Allen’s (Fela Kuti’s drummer) Afro Disco Beat, which is a reissue of his first four solo records.

Another switch at the end got me playing some less energetic stuff: John Fahey and his absolutely gorgeous guitar work, a strange psychedelic folk artist called Joseph Davancens, as well alt-country band 16 Horsepower. I closed the set with Goblin, the highly influential Italian horror film soundtrack band.

Grails and Silver Apples tour the US on November 2008

Grails and Silver Apples tour the US on November 2008

Show playlist is here.

There was only one thing in my head as I woke up this morning: I hate waking up at 5:30 a.m. Well you see, it’s a good time for a show in the sense that you get a lot of commuters to listen to you. It’s really bad though if you love sleeping, and I am one of those people.

Having said that, there was also the added problem that I had not prepared at all for the show. So I just put on one of my favorite records of 2008, Grails“Take Refuge in Clean Living”. Grails are an amazingly prolific instrumental rock band from Portland, Oregon, and this record clocking at around 32 minutes is easily their most accessible and at the same time inspired moment. Taking a lot of ideas from middle eastern and oriental music and blending them with some ideas from the so called post-rock genre, Grails manage to create epic and atmospheric songs of the finest quality. Make sure to check them out if they tour near you. They are currently touring with Silver Apples.

Alright, what else was good today? I really, really like the Replikas from Turkey. Talk about psych rock and oriental melodies… These guys are the real thing! A listener called up and told me about this local Bay Area band called the Interstellar Grains. Highly recommended space rock. The best music to feed your mind on. What else… We currently have a record by this band called Irata, from Greensboro North Carolina. Excellent stuff. These guys love Pink Floyd, especially the David Gilmour style guitars, so check them out if you are fans of this genre. And then of course there’s Dead Meadow… Now these guys worship Black Sabbath and give a whole new meaning to the words stoner metal… Towards the end I switched gears a bit and started playing some punky stuff. Aside from Gang of Four and the New York Dolls, I also played this band called the Airfix Kits, a local band from Oakland. Excellent high energy punk taking a lot from the late 70s early 80s post-punk movement. I got to see them live…

I was thinking to myself aloud for a while, wondering what really is the reason that prog and postrock utilizes so many oriental melodies. A listener called up and explained to me that it has to do with the use of musical modes in oriental music, which makes their melodies sound less repetitive. I don’t really understand much about music (other than what I like or dislike), so any comments or ideas about this would be appreciated…