The best way to listen to Nerd Show is on your computer or mobile device.
The show was broadcast live from the studios of KWCR-FM from 2003 till 2016, but is now available exclusively on Mixcloud. Good news is that there shows dating back to 2012 available for your enjoyment. These include the weekly recordings, Nerd New Year, DEF CON and SomaFM mixes, guest mixes from the likes of Chris McNabb, and other projects.
As the final side on this, what I hope is the first run through my collection, Lorn’s Remnant is an interesting pick. It’s an atypical release for the artist in that most of the tracks are more cinematic than his more visceral sound and composition. That’s fine, however, as Lorn can be quite cinematic it comes as no surprise.
I chose Side A, or First Side as it’s labeled, and quickly remembered why I love this artist. Track after track is a journey, and Silhouette really nailed this side, and maybe the album, with the chilling and deep bass combined with minimal percussion and sweeping synths. It’s just breathtaking and awesome while maintaining some sense of restraint. What a great way to round out this first trip through the collection.
There was a time for a little while in the late 2000s where you could go into a mall and buy records that were very limited pressing and find some nuggets of gold for those artists and labels who were seeing the niche. This is one of those, among with a handful of others, that I picked up in a Hot Topic. I was well familiar with the album so it was an easy buy.
Side A is interesting because it starts out hyper aggressive and brutal, calms down a little, and by the third track it’s almost apologetic for the first two. When One Eight Becomes Two Zeroes is easily my favorite on this side, and maybe the album overall. It’s been years since I’ve heard it and I’d forgotten how much a relief in spirit and attitude that it was, especially contrasted against the violence of Pretty Lush.
Another album from that “Golden Era” between 2010 and 2014 when I saw and enjoyed so much excellent electronic music. This one comes via Friends of Friends, a neat indy label that I’m very fond of. This is a very solid album, with a lot of character, variety, and vibe. Side A’s Keys Open Doors was my pick this listen, just beating out the opening track Beached by a whisker.
This was a true wildcard. I don’t have any like or dislike for the vibraphone, but I will say that when I saw one played live at Snug Harbor in New Orleans during a show by the late Ellis Marsalis, I got it. Lionel Hampton is probably the king of the Jazz performance, and Side A’s La Vie En Rose really was pretty sweet. It’s always worth giving a record a chance, especially on the hi-fi, if you are open and willing.
The elephant in the room on this album is clearly the Simple Minds intro track, Don’t You Forget About (Me), so I’ll pass right over that. Side B I wasn’t familiar with at all, and I didn’t want to tip my toe into that, so I chose Wang Chung’s Fire In the Twilight as my favorite this listen. I don’t know if I’d ever heard it, because while I’m old enough to have seen this movie in theaters as a teen, I never have, even on Saturday TV in the 90s. The track is very fun and groovy, and has all of the energy and melody and character I wanted to hear.
I’m no Radiohead fan. I’m not even sure that I’m a Thom Yorke fan either, but when I first heard a few tracks from this release I was very impressed, so when I was at Randy’s Records in SLC a decade ago and saw it on the shelf, it went home with me.
On my listen this evening I realized how relatively simple the tracks are, how the sound stage is pretty good, but also how more frequently the tracks were loud and busy. This can be a desirable attribute, but not tonight. Listening to Side B, I skipped closing And It Rained All Night for Harrowdown Hill almost for the space it affords the listener. It’s still busy, but there’s some airiness.
I originally bought this album at a store called The Bookshelf in 1991, mostly because of how Low Rider was used in the Spike Jonze directed skate video called Blind Days. It also featured then skater, now actor Jason Lee. It’s sat on the shelf for most of those three decades, but that’s really a shame, as I found a lot to like on side A. The World Is A Ghetto is a beautiful, melancholy track that I’ve never heard quite like this. It’s a testament to sitting down with some music on a good hi-fi and just listening.
I’ve been a casual follower of this artist since he released music under the King Cannibal moniker. His music has always been a deep, dark pleasure and an intriguing look into another sound that I am tempted by. There’s just something dangerous about it, I guess.
Side C has my favorite track on the album, You, Me, Metropolis, and that must be my pick for this listen. It’s just so hard hitting, intense, calculated, and vibrant. What a terrific cut.
I couldn’t do this project without at least touching on something by the artists of Blue Sky Black Death. While I own a few of the band’s albums, this one is a bit of a tangent, but still incredibly true to the band’s sound and style. I keep forgetting how much I love it, in fact, which made it difficult to pick a track on Side A. I did decide on SoonerLater, which has the telltale thick bass, lush and melodic synths, and jangling percussion that typifies the work of Young God, one of the members of BSBD. There’s just everything here that I want and love.
This is another one of those albums from what felt like a somewhat golden era of music in the early 2010s. Streaming wasn’t really a thing yet. I was still getting huge piles of CDs from the radio station for Nerd Show. Labels like Ninja Tune, Warp, and Ghostly were finding and promoting really talented artists. I got to see many more of them than I thought at SXSW in the following years, so that helps too.
Planet High School fits solidly in to that feel. Lots of experimentation here without feeling too distant. In fact, this is a very close sounding album in a lot of ways and maybe a little personal. I picked Side B because the art was different than Side A, which was just the cover art. I really like Hand on the Scantron, the opening cut, but the last track, called Baba, was just a bit more melodic and what I needed this listen.