Tag Archives: music

The Blarg No. 79: Joey Burns of Calexico

I spend an awful lot of time expecting things to fall apart. That’s just my go-to assumption. It’s not a crippling thing, it doesn’t stop me from doing stuff, but it’s always there in the background, this nagging feeling that I’m going to wake up one morning and everything I’ve worked on will just disappear—and as I pile on projects and they continue to meet with (always unexpected) success, encouragement, and support, that nagging feeling becomes more insistent, manifesting itself in a palpable sense of anxiety that I can’t seem to shake. When it was just Limited Engagement, and it hadn’t gotten much attention yet, this was a pretty mild feeling, but now the podcast has gotten some attention, as well as an increased audience and a higher profile. Then, add to that the launch of Hoot n Waddle, more podcasts, the subsequent launch of our publishing program, the upcoming releases of our first books… I’m about ready to explode and cover everyone within a decent-sized radius in hot, dripping, messy neuroses.

Apologies for that image.

My strategy thus far has been to just keep my head down and do the work, but I am freaking the fuck out. I don’t know what it’s going to take for me to get comfortable, and I don’t know that I ever will. Maybe that’s a good thing, I don’t know. It certainly keeps me working hard and pushing myself to always improve, to grow, to never get stale or stagnate. On the other hand, I recognize that it can also make me very difficult to be around, and I don’t feel like I can ever really slow down or take a break. I’ve heard there’s something called a happy medium, but I haven’t found it. Sometimes it’s all too exhausting, and I find myself getting deeply depressed and discouraged by tiny, tiny things. I try to push that all down as much as possible, but I can see it seeping out, and I know myself well enough to recognize that if I’m noticing it, then I’m not fooling anyone.

Ugh.

I suppose the upside to all that anxiety is that I don’t take any measure of success, or any opportunities to do cool shit for granted. Case in point, this opportunity I had to talk to Joey Burns.

Joey Burns is a leader and founding member (with the brilliant drummer, John Convertino) of one of the most exciting, talented, and critically lauded bands on the planet, Calexico. On this edition of the podcast, Joey discusses the band’s Tucson roots, what the environment brings to the music, fostering a spirit of collaboration, speaks very candidly about Calexico’s creative process, and much more. Calexico is currently on tour in support of their new album, The Thread That Keeps Us (easily one of the best albums of the year thus far), and if you have the chance to see them live, don’t hesitate to do so.

Also on the show, a brief preview of an upcoming conversation with Philip Haldiman, one of the stars of The Room, which will have a screening at FilmBar on Friday, June 15th at 10 pm.

Listen to LE 79 – Joey Burns of Calexico

Best,

Jared

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The Blarg No. 77: Jason Keil (plus a mini talk w/Dan Hull)

I had two conversations this weekend that made me think about religion. Specifically my personal relationship with religion, which, to be perfectly honest, isn’t that great.

One, with poet Katie Manning, made me consider religion and religious imagery as it appears in my writing, which is not often, but it does. That conversation will go up soon. The other conversation was with friend and neighbor Dan Hull, a short one that you can hear at the beginning of this edition of the show.

Dan has a film premiering on May 25th at The Newton called Bad Buddhist, and he invited me over to watch it with him. A recording of a fantastic one man show he staged at Space 55 a few years ago, the film mines veins of love, ritual, imperfection, and man’s inhumanity to man. Serious stuff, but it’s very funny as well, and the Buddhist lens through which everything is filtered serves to somehow make the film universally relatable in its specificity. The Buddhist rituals that Dan incorporates into the show connected me to memories of donning a yarmulke and saying the prayers as a kid. The ritual and the language of that came back to me instantly, and in Hebrew, too, and it’s easily been 20 years since I participated in anything remotely Jewish from a spiritual standpoint. Cultural and social Jewishness is inescapably ingrained in my personality makeup, but I was surprised, especially as a non-spiritual person, to find myself sort of missing the ritual, and it went a long way towards explaining a lot of my need for organization and routine. It’s something I’m going to have to really think about for a while, which I believe speaks directly to how powerful the film is. You should go see it on the 25th at 7 PM. If you can’t make it to the screening, visit the Bad Buddhist website and contact Dan for the Vimeo link.

Surprisingly, this weaves perfectly into my conversation with writer Jason Keil. Jason is a frequent contributor to The New Times, as well as other publications, and I highly recommend checking out his work. I connected with Jason via Twitter, and it did not take long for us to connect on a primally nerdy level. Jason is the sort of person that I can talk to endlessly about pop culture, so it was really hard to keep this conversation on the rails—which I swear I try to do despite all the evidence to the contrary. In addition to all the shared interests, Jason is just a really amazingly nice guy, and he’s so genuinely enthusiastic and in awe of the fact that he gets to do something he loves and is passionate about and in some way contribute to the pop culture fabric, that I want as many people to read his work and support him as possible. Check out Jason’s website, and be sure to follow all of his social media accounts.

One last quick note, a little bit of business, Hoot N Waddle is officially open for manuscript submissions. We’re currently accepting Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Non-Fiction. You can visit the Hoot N Waddle site, or go directly to our Submittable page to read our guidelines.

Best,
Jared

Listen to LE 77 – Jason Keil (plus a mini talk w/Dan Hull)

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The Blarg No. 71: Doug Bale

I can tell you exactly when and where I first heard the music of Doug Bale. It was Thursday, May 30th, 2013 at The Most of Lit Lounge at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. I went because my uncle, Scott Krause, was part of the lineup which also included Tania Katan, Leslie Barton and Where Are All the Buffalo. It was a great show, but I remember being particularly struck by Doug’s sound, which managed to sound like music I loved without being derivative. I really dug it. I dug Doug.

So, when I started this podcast, Doug was one of the first people I wanted to have on. For reasons that will become clear when you listen to our conversation, it was not a good time for Doug to be on the show. I didn’t know that then, though, and then Doug just kind of disappeared. Well, he didn’t really disappear, but he might as well have, having first scooted to California, and then exiling himself in Apache Junction. Well, maybe it wasn’t exile, and my apologies to the residents of Apache Junction, but it sounds like exile to me.

When I heard that Doug had a new music project he was working on, I was ecstatic. I was like, Doug, there’s no excuse now, do the show, and he said, let’s do it, so here you go. It’s one of the strangest, best conversations I’ve had on this show, and it illustrates why I leave so much in all the time. I know some listeners would prefer I cut things down, keep it around an hour, and that would actually probably help me out as far as making the show more commercial, but that would ruin the journey. We had a really serious conversation about some deep shit, but to get there, we also had to joke around about lemons and DJ Boboli, and go off on a long R.E.M. tangent in order to get to the deep stuff.

Quick note: Doug wanted me to let you all know the name of the book he was referring to on why we read is called All Things Shining.

Another quick note: Doug gave me permission to put one of his new Flighty Tronys tracks at the end of the show, so be sure to listen all the way to the end. The new tracks are great!

Doug Bale is an artist and musician. His artwork has been featured in galleries around Phoenix, and you should absolutely check out his Society 6 page and buy some. His new musical project, Flighty Tronys has released its first EP (available on Bandcamp, Google Play Music, iTunes, and Spotify), and you should get the companion t-shirt. Oh, and go listen to Mergatron while you’re at it. Basically, support Doug. He’s awesome.

Listen to LE 71 – Doug Bale

Best,
Jared

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The Blarg No. 70: Collette Sipho Mabingani

70 in the bag!

I’m not even sure what that means, or if it means anything at all, but I like the sound of it. I don’t think I’ll make a really big deal until we get to 100, but 70 is pretty significant—to me at least. I don’t know that I’ve ever done 70 of anything. At least not something I’ve put out into the public consciousness.

The coming months are going to be exciting—scary and exciting—for myself, for Limited Engagement, for Hoot n Waddle (the company Janell and I started), and I hope you’ll come along for the ride—maybe even encourage others to join us for that ride. Announcements are coming soon, and I couldn’t be happier, or more anxious. It’s a freakin’ roller coaster.

Now, to the show at hand.

Last month, I went to Caffeine Corridor to see friends and prior guests of the show, Rashaad Thomas and Jack Evans. Rashaad’s reading was amazing—it had been a while since I’d seen him read a whole set, and his work is powerful, musical, dark, but hopeful. Jack’s reading was fantastic as well, featuring Tom Bell on guitar, and someone I’d never seen before, Collette Sipho Mabingani on percussion and guitar. At one point during the night, Collette played some original compositions solo, and I was like, this is brilliant, I have to get this guy on the show.

My conversation with Collette is unlike any I’ve had to date. He talks openly about growing up in South Africa during Apartheid, his relationship with Nelson Mandela, how music provided an escape from the horror and a path to a better life in the United States. It’s an amazing immigrant story at a time when the current political regime seems hellbent on destroying and killing that spirit.

Collette Sipho Mabingani is a composer, instrumentalist, and educator. During his teenage years, he performed with many bands of various genres, honing his self-taught musical skills, while using the platform of music to stand firm against apartheid, often at his own peril. Mabingani has performed for many dignitaries including Nelson Mandela and performed many venues including a five-year tour of the United States, and a six-month Europe tour. The creative approach for Mabingani is to utilize music from other global cultures in conjunction with South African music to create a unique blend of world music. Underlying his passion for world music is his experience of the transformational power of uniting sounds from across the globe to create unique, fresh, and inspirational music that can be appreciated by people from all walks of life.

Listen to LE 70 – Collette Sipho Mabingani

Best,
Jared

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The Blarg No. 67: Dario Miranda

The 2nd Annual Music Episode!

Which I’ll get to in just a sec.

First, it’s announcement time: Starting in 2018, I’m moving Limited Engagement to a bi-weekly schedule. There are a number of reasons for this, but the primary one is that I’ve got a number of other projects going, and something has to give. I still love doing the show, and it’s still my primary focus as far as podcasting goes, but I’m also starting up other recording/producing projects, new podcasts, and I need time to write. Things are always subject to change, and if I find myself with a glut of un-posted content, I’ll probably throw up an extra episode here and there, but I’m someone who needs a regular production schedule, and the weekly one has become untenable, so bi-weekly it is! You can forward any comments or complaints directly to our complaints department (aka, the comments section of this newsletter, our Facebook page, by sending us an email, etc.).

Now, to the show at hand:

A while back, I had a conversation with Jason Woodbury about our favorite albums of 2016, and I had a blast—such a blast that I wanted to do it again. I have a blast every time I talk to Jason, but I wanted to spread the Phoenix music community love and branch out this time, so I stopped into Stinkweeds—one of my favorite record stores—and asked if they’d be interested. Owner and founder Kimber Lanning said yes, and that Dario Miranda would be the guy to talk to. We set a recording date, and the results are in this week’s show. Whenever I have somebody over to talk music, the conversation goes long, and this one is no exception. This episode clocks in at just under two hours, and I could have split it up, but I chose not to, so strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.

I’m posting this on Christmas Day, so it’s a little late for gift ideas, but maybe you got some gift cards, and maybe you’re looking for some new music, and maybe this will give you some idea of where to start, or give you some things you want to look up and checkout before your next trip to Stinkweeds, or Zia, or Stinkweeds. Stinkweeds is great. You should go there. And if you do so after listening to this show, and you buy something Dario or I talked about, maybe mention that you heard about it here? Or not. Whatever. I probably wouldn’t remember to do that.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to those of you who do that thing, and to those of us who don’t, Happy Everything Is Freakin’ Closed Day.

To listen to the show, read my top ten list, or find a link to Stinkweeds’ staff picks, follow this link: LE 67 – Dario Miranda

Here’s hoping 2018 sucks less than 2017.

Best,
Jared

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The Blarg No. 63: On Songwriting

Have I ever mentioned that it’s really hard to keep a weekly show going? I know I complain a lot, and I’m sorry for that, but not really, but I am. Also, I never go back and re-read these, because, well, I write them, and then I send them, and any sort of re-visitation seems as though it would only be inviting unnecessary self-criticism, because once they’re out there, what is there really for me to do?

Where was I? Ah, yes, complaining.

It is difficult, though, keeping a weekly show on the rails. Especially when you’re doing everything yourself, and I’m not even doing everything myself—Janell takes care of the weekly graphics, but I do take care of the booking, the recording, the editing, the post-production, the social media marketing (as inept as I am at it), and when you combine that with other regular recording obligations, work, life… It quickly becomes not only overwhelming, but all consuming.

Anybody out there want to book a well-received, if little known, arts and culture podcast? That would just be freaking awesome.

All of the above brings us to this week’s show. Our first clip show! Let’s call it a theme show, though, because I hate the whole clip show concept.

Talking to musicians—songwriters in particular—is one of my favorite things to do, and Limited Engagement has afforded me the opportunity to take to some amazing talented practitioners of the art. This show features thoughts, experiences, and wisdom on the subject of writing songs from from Tindal, Robyn Hitchcock, The Haymarket Squares, Jon Rauhouse, Betsy Ganz of The SunPunchers, Scotty Spenner, and Lou Barlow. Hear the full conversations on Limited Engagement, iTunes, and a plethora of podcast dispensaries.

Listen to LE 63 – On Songwriting

Best,
Jared

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The Blarg No. 60: Lou Barlow

Talking Lou Barlow

Fall, such as it is in Phoenix, Arizona, appears to at last be upon us. Summer has finally taken the hint (about a month late) and buggered off to some more appropriate hemisphere. Unless it hasn’t, which it seems like could be the case—like that one friend who threatens to leave, not realizing that everyone wishes he’d left hours ago, but then pops back in to make one more point in an argument he’s already lost. We need the break, or at least I need the break. I need my cool down period, weather-wise, or it starts to seriously impact my ability to function as a pleasant human being, and it’s already a serious chore let me tell ya.

Since last we spoke, we’ve been to the Las Vegas Book Festival (kind of a bust for us) and PHX Zine Fest (a fantastic event where we met a lot of lovely individuals) in order to interact with the larger arts community and grow the audience for the show. This sort of self-promotion is not something that comes naturally to me. It involves a lot of repeating the same spiel, putting on a show of enthusiasm, and smiling. I’m a naturally cantankerous person, and left to my own devices I’d probably rarely leave the house, so dragging Public Jared out for long stretches of time is exhausting.

I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy Las Vegas. I’d never been, and I don’t think I have much interest in returning. I’m sure we were just in the wrong parts, and there are probably some lovely parts, people, etc., but then there’s also the 7-Eleven where the person with the dead-eyed stare is sitting in front of a slot machine in the middle of the night, pulling that lever like he can’t recall a time when he wasn’t pulling the lever. On some level, I know Vegas scares me a little because of my own compulsive tendencies. It doesn’t take much to imagine myself as the guy who can’t stop pulling the lever.

As I mentioned, I met some truly wonderful people at PHX Zine Fest, and some of them were kind enough to sit down with me for a few minutes and share their stories. Charissa Lucille (LE 57) organized a fantastic event, and Unexpected Gallery was a perfect venue for it. It was inspiring to see so many creative folks gathered together, committed to sharing their experiences and artistic vision. You can hear those stories in next week’s episode.

This week, I talk to a guy named Lou Barlow. You may know him as the bassist in Dinosaur Jr., but hopefully you really know him from Sebadoh, The Folk Implosion, and his solo work. Lou’s a unique, gifted songwriter and musician—one of my favorites actually, and it was a thrill to get a chance to talk to him. He wasn’t really promoting anything, so we just chatted about music—it was great. If you’re not familiar with Lou’s work, I recommend starting with Sebadoh’s Harmacy and his first solo album, EMOH. Also, pop on over to loobicore to learn more about the world of Lou.

Listen to LE 60 – Lou Barlow

Best,
Jared

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