» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Various Artists
KCRW Sounds Eclectic 3
Palm Pictures

Rating: 8/10 ?

January 27, 2005
Is it possible that radio is still important? For a few years now, it has seemed that the Clear Channel juggernaut would plow across the nation, devouring all noteworthy stations and taking up more and more spaces on the dial. As with any monopoly, the result has been an abundance of run-of-the-mill programming and a squashing of any competition. Bright Eyes and other artists have tried to put up a fight, but it's not easy biting the hand that feeds you; Clear Channel plays a major role in tour booking around the country.

Because of all this, I haven't listened to radio regularly in years. The nearest decent college radio station is my only hope, and even when I can pick up the signal (which I am convinced depends on the way the wind is blowing), I find myself listening to disc jockeys spinning "unreleased material" from a local, underground group. Translation: "My friend is in a crappy band and I told him I'd play some of his stuff on my show." With no bandwidth to call my own, I quietly retreat to the solitude of my CD case and my iTunes playlists.

Apparently, elsewhere in the country, good radio is still out there; stations that not only play interesting new music but also influence the fate of upcoming bands because of the awesome power they wield. Santa Monica College's KCRW is such a station and has been for many years. Nic Harcourt, the station's music director is notorious for creating buzz about unknown bands that go on to strike it big - Norah Jones, David Gray, Pete Yorn and Dido should all give Harcourt a shout out in their liner notes.

Harcourt's latest effort, Sounds Eclectic 3, is a collection of live tracks recorded specifically for KCRW and Harcourt's show, "Morning Becomes Eclectic." Since the recordings date from 2002 and 2003, the sounds aren't as eclectic as they once were: Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out," Interpol's "Untitled" and Radiohead's "Go To Sleep" are just a few of the tracks that make this comp seem like a "Best of the Shortlist" from two years ago. To criticize KCRW for tracking well-known (and occasionally passť) songs would be inappropriate, though, since their mission is to introduce new music to the public. Sure, the timing may not be great and it's unfortunate that this collection didn't come out last year, but the popularity of the songs on Sounds Eclectic 3 is proof that Harcourt and company are very good at their jobs.

The effort is divided equally between stripped-down, acoustic recordings and full-on reproductions you have probably heard by now. On "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Part 1," Wayne Coyne leaves his space suit behind for the gentle voicing of an analog (!) piano. The Lips' ode to destroying robots has never sounded better. Conversely, Interpol's "Untitled" is nearly an exact replica of the album version, sans a few minor sound effects. There are two surprises on the disc, those being "Waiting for Superman" by Iron and Wine and "Mirando De Lado" by Kinky. The former differs from the bulk of the tracks because it is the only cover, the latter because it stands out from the mood of the album as an electro-salsa number surrounded by slow-to-moderate rockers.

Since all proceeds from Sounds Eclectic 3 go to KCRW, here's your chance to make up for all those red kettles you passed by last month with a donation benefiting a good cause. In the meantime, dust off the ol' radio. It may be getting more use if you tune in to one of the many stations featuring KCRW programming in syndication (Visit www.soundseclectic.com for station information).

Reviewed by Andy Brown
A regular contributor to LAS, Andy Brown lives in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, but doesn\'t think he has an accent.

See other reviews by Andy Brown



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