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Category Archives: radio

Dude! It’s The ’90s!: Nirvana, “Heart Shaped Box”

Behold!  A new feature on Geek USA!   The name of this one, unless someone can come up with something better, is “Dude! It’s The ’90s!”  In it, we explore the pop culture landscape in the age of Clinton – the hits, the misses, the highs, the lows, from Pearl Jam to Primitive Radio Gods , from Snoop to Skee-Lo.

This is something I wrote for a WBCN blog I was supposed to write.  What happened was, our web guy told us “hey! We want our DJs to blog!” and I said “sure! I’ll let you know when I have something!” and he said “sure!” and then I came up with something and e-mailed him for the password and he never got back to me.  That sort of thing happened a lot at WBCN.  I think they didn’t like me very much.

Nirvana – “Heart Shaped Box”

Category: Music Video

Summary: Flowers, death, fetuses, man-orexia, little girls in Klan robes, hearts, Visible Women, scary trees… this is what it was like in Kurt Cobain’s head.  All. The. Time.

Things to notice: Santa Christ (0:24) – Skinny old man with a Santa Claus hat is climbing up a latter onto – yes – it’s a cross.  This video is probably why, every year at Christmas, my Jewish friends are like “I’m Jewish.  I celebrate Hannukah.  I don’t worship Santa, ha ha.”

Do not look directly at Kurt Cobain (0:52) – This is a “theme” in all of Nirvana’s videos: you never see Kurt in focus for very long.  He’s either got hair all over his face or he’s hiding behind glasses or a waterfall or Krist Novoselic.  Here, he’s a big blurry mess for most of the video, but when you finally see him, you realize how much he looks like a skinny, crazy version of Sawyer from LOST.  .

Actually, do not look directly at the other two guys either (1:25) – Anton Corbjin has opted to focus (and unfocus) entirely on Kurt, shooting Krist and Dave from a distance at all times.  Mr. Corbjin got his start taking pictures of, and filming videos for, Joy Division, which makes me think that Anton might have taken one look at Kurt, thought about what happened to his old buddy Ian Curtis, and decided to get as much footage of Mr. Cobain while he was still among the living.

The little Klan girl (1:30) – Kurt’s original idea for the “Lithium” video was about a little girl whose parents were KKK.  Eventually, she rebels against Mom and Dad..  They couldn’t afford to make that version as the band blew their video budget playing NBA Jam and drinking Ecto Cooler (citation needed).  Now, you’re probably thinking this is where Li’l Klan-ette comes from.  Except… that’s not a Klan robe, it’s a Druid robe – the same costumes show up in Anton’s video for Joy Division’s song “Atmosphere.” Which, come to think of it, was Joy Division’s last video before their lead singer killed himself.  We should put this man in touch with Chris Daughtry.

The little Klan girl has lost her hat (2:46) – She’s really not in the Klan.  There are no eyeholes, and there’s no Iron Cross on her chest.  But yeah, her hat flies off and lands in a dark puddle.  It soaks up the Black Goo of Evil (like in The X-Files) and all of a sudden, she’s The Little Druid Girl Of Death.  She stands beside Santa Christ’s hospital bed in her new black robes… there’s a cross on the ground, there’s ravens everywhere, there’s funeral flowers… I honestly can’t tell if Kurt was trying to tell us something, or if Anton Corbjin wanted to flood Kurt with as much death imagery as possible in a sick attempt to add another “tragic martyr of rock and roll” in his portfolio.  Creeeeepy.

Nirvana Shops At Target! (3:43)

Fetuses. (all over the place)  Kurt used to collect plastic fetuses.  I used to collect Pez dispensers.  To each his own.

Final Judgement: It’s like reviewing someone else’s dream.  There’s a lot of images that sort of fit together, but nothing really makes sense unless you know certain things about the person having the dream.  We know Kurt well enough to know that this video is exactly what he would come up with if given free reign, so there’s a certain honesty and purity to it.   Here’s the thing, though: druid children, crucified Santas, old men in hospital beds, fetuses… on MTV.  During the day.  Think about it the next time you’re watching Jersey Shore.  (A+)

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2010 in music, nostalgia, radio, youtube

 

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WBCN: requiem for the rock

This Guy Right Here, at a WBCN event at Harper's Ferry

Note: In case you hadn’t heard, WBCN, the Rock of Boston, is closing up shop in mid-August after 41 years of broadcasting.  You probably know this, but I’m a DJ there.   This is mostly about my experience at the station – there have been plenty of obituaries written about 104.1 in the last few days.   Go read them, especially Danny Schecter’s.

It was January 2003.  I was driving back home from work, with a take-out order of egg lemon soup from the Greek place that I had ordered in hopes of fending off one of my nasty sinus infections.  I was driving on 495, it was about 5 o’clock at night, it was snowing lightly, and my phone rang.  It was my mother, telling me that she had received a phone call from Steven Strick at WBCN.

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songs you don’t know: “Pork and Beans”, Weezer

Well, look, you’ve probably heard this song if you’ve had your radio on lately, but the video is what’s important here.

Remember when Weezer put The Muppets in their video for “Keep Fishin'”?  Well, this is sort of like that.  Except here, instead of Kermit and Miss Piggy, the band joins forces with the entire internet.  Yes, that’s right, the video features Kelly, the Numa Numa kid, the Star Wars kid, Miss South Carolina, Chris Crocker, the Banana from Peanut Butter Jelly Time… the list goes on and on.

It makes sense.  “Pork and Beans” is Weezer in their “hey, man, I’m gonna do my own thing and you can’t stop me” head space (also see: “The Good Life”, “In The Garage”, etc.).  Your more popular viral videos tend to feature someone “being themselves” for the camera, as awkward and silly as they really are.  The ones that aren’t sort of “cinema verite” for the digital age are generally just really clever, which is why it’s cool to see Liam Sullivan’s “Kelly” character here as well. 

Oh, and in lieu of pyrotechnics, Weezer is playing in front of a bunch of exploding soda-and-Mentos bottles. 

 

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on human cryopreservation and giant foam puppet heads.

You ever have one of those days where you go online to read about something, and before you know it, you’ve found yourself reading something completely different?  Today, to kill some time, I decided it would be pretty cool to learn about cryonics

(Wow.  That’s actually a pretty awesome pun. Cryonics?  Cool? Kill some time?  Get it?  No?  Aw, come on, man… why the cold sholder?  Haw haw…  no?  Okay.  Moving on. )

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The 24 Best Songs of 2007: part two (12-1)

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Here’s the rest of my Top 24 list.  Part one is over here.

12. The Good Soldier – Nine Inch Nails

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Trent realizes that, yes, he did leave the gas on.

The new NIN record, Year Zero, is a sort of concept album about America in the near future after everything really goes to hell in the war on terror, and then an angel/alien shows up. (Trust me, it’s a lot better that sounds.) The album was promoted via an “alternate reality game” where people found clues and websites and flash disks with hidden songs and called weird phone numbers, and all sorts of things, which is apparently how everything is going to be promoted now. In amongst all that noise was some of the best music Trent Reznor and company had made in years, including this song, which gets inside the head of someone fighting on the front line.

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Posted by on January 21, 2008 in music, radio, songs you don't know, Uncategorized

 

songs you don’t know: “Seaweed”, The Gits

There were a lot – a lot – of “Seattle bands” who didn’t get famous. The Gits didn’t get famous.  Thing is, they probably deserved to.  If it wasn’t for one stupid, cosmically unfair crime, you’d have heard of them. If Mia Zapata, the seemingly indestructible lead singer of The Gits, hadn’t been murdered mid-way through recording their breakthrough album, you’d have heard of them.  But she was, and you haven’t, and life continues to suck.

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ten songs i’m all like “gobble-gobble” about right now: november 2007 edition

See what I did there?  Because it’s Thanksgiving.  Yeah, I’m good.

Ten awesome songs, below the cut:

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Posted by on November 19, 2007 in music, radio, songs you don't know, youtube