Sugar Ray Ballard performs at the Second Annual WOBC Block Party

Thanks to Sugar Ray Ballard for coming out to WOBC’s 2nd Annual Block Party and bringing the good weather. We all had a blast. Can’t wait for next year!


FROM THE VAULT: Lee Hazlewood – Requiem for an Almost Lady

Lee Hazlewood - Requiem for an Almost Lady

To say that time forgot Lee Hazlewood isn’t quite right, but he’s not exactly a household name, either. He’s the other half of the Nancy (Sinatra) and Lee tandem, the relatively obscure pop genius behind “These Boots Were Made for Walkin.’” His crotchety baritone and air-tight lyrics put him in the same league – in a lot of ways – as Leonard Cohen, or at least Tim Hardin, but he’s got a wry streak that you’d be hard pressed to find from other late-‘60’s/early-‘70’s troubadours.

To say that time forgot his 1971 album Requiem for an Almost Lady is a little more on-point. Originally only released in Sweden and the UK, it was re-released in 1999 on CD in the US. When the board was rearranging CDs in the pop vault, I found the station’s copy. His name rang a bell, since I’ve been on a Nancy Sinatra kick for the better part of a year now, and the greatness of her collaborations with Hazlewood has never been lost on me. This was the first Hazlewood solo I’d come across, and it seems as good a place as any to start.

There’s a self-consciously campy quality to Requiem that will endear some, and no doubt irk others. It is, first and foremost, a breakup album, and Hazlewood never minces words (though he doesn’t give any names). He introduces each of the ten songs on this album with some self-styled platitude about romance, and that’s where most of the camp lies. He could be your creepy uncle, the wizened dude pounding Wild Turkey at the end of the bar, or the poet laureate of something in between. “In the beginning there was nothing,” he says in the album’s opening seconds, “but it sure was fun to watch nothing grow.” He offsets those kinds of wistful remembrances with deadpans like: “I’m glad I never owned a gun.” I happen to like this combo. It works best songs like “I’m Glad I Never,” “Little Miss Sunshine (Little Miss Rain),” and “If It’s Monday Morning,” the latter two of which rival any of Hardin’s or Kris Kristofferson’s hits. While the album isn’t all gems, these cuts alone make it worth the listen.

Given his status as a niche songwriter, it makes sense that Hazlewood doesn’t carry the name-recognition that Kristofferson, Hardin, or Cohen do. Still, he’s a nice foil to these guys. For every great songwriter inspired by the craftsmanship of these songwriters, there are others who tend to embody only their more lachrymose and affected moments. If there were more songwriters like Hazlewood, people might write pop songs better able to express the conflicting emotions – a little more sunshine, a little more rain — that come with heartbreak (save his concession that he’d “rather be her enemy than have her call me friend”). But Lee’s all we’ve got, and that’s really not so bad.

RIYL: Tim Hardin, Kris Kristofferson, Leonard Cohen, Nancy Sinatra

(Matt Orenstein)

Lee Hazelwood – If It’s Monday Morning


PINK REASON at The Sco on April 30th

A FREE show with opener Circuit Des Yeux. 10 PM.

Pink Reason

“It’s been nearly four years since Cleaning the Mirror came out, and in that time Kevin Failure’s production has been slow but steady, a half-dozen singles and EPs, each of them a concise statement, each of them different from the last. Put those postcard missives together and you can chart an atlas of depression, of a guy’s struggles with a darkness that threatens to swallow him up every… day. Or you can map Failure’s travels around the globe, from Wisconsin and Ohio, through Melbourne and Santiago de Chile, and finally to New York City, places where Failure has been both catalyst and receptor to a global scene’s underground energies. The evidence of those four years, and then some, are inscribed in the six songs of Shit in the Garden, the new Pink Reason LP and Failure’s best work to date.

Unlike the myriad bands dumping product into a ceaseless internet datastream, Pink Reason demands and repays scrutiny. Try and dissect it like an owl pellet and you’ll give up in frustration: it won’t disintegrate into a million parts, into a vomitous bundle of “influences,” effects, and references. It holds together, it resists description, analysis, generic classification. It writhes away and gives you the slip, only to blossom in your memory when you least expect it. Listen to these six songs and you’ll hear weeks, months, even years of labor and experience compressed into five- and six-minute songs. Great songs, songs that reveal themselves to you little by little and then close up again, songs that will probably stay with you for the rest of your life. Pink Reason rewards that attention and dedication because Failure doesn’t repeat himself, and because, like all the best punk records, each release feels like a hard-earned victory over indifference, depression, and self-destructive rage.

Now that the dust is settling and the commercial concerns of a thousand “lo-fi” projects have vacated the underground for a better life in the dorm rooms of America, the influence of Cleaning the Mirror on the past half-decade is clear. Failure is still here, using the cheapest technology imaginable to create rich, enveloping psychological environments, to give voice to a restless inner life, his music blooming like sunflowers amid the debris.”

Sixteen Years by pinkreason


Top 30: 4/26/11

TV On The Radio

TV On The Radio

Top 30 is  a weekly section of the blog where we show the 30 most played artists and albums on WOBC. Each entry links to the artist’s MySpace (or other free music player) so you can check out some of this music for yourself!

1. TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light
2. The Strokes – Angles
3. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
4. Shannon and the Clams – Sleep Talk
5. Autechre – EPs 1991-2002 *
6. Wanda Jackson – The Party Ain’t Over
7. J Mascis – Several Shades of Why
8. Bill Callahan – Apocalypse *^
9. Darlings – Warma EP
10. Yelle – Safari Disco Club
11. Herzog – Search
12. Blood Stereo – Tape Hiss for Brainwash *
13. Fresh and Onlys – Secret Walls EP *
14. Bright Eyes – The People’s Key *
15. Vivian Girls – Share the Love *
16. Hunx and his Punx – Too Young to be in Love
17. As We Draw – Lines
18. Iron and Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean *
19. Marissa Nadler – Marissa Nadler *
20. Weeknd – House of Balloons
21. The Mountain Goats – All Eternals Deck
22. Panda Bear – Tomboy
23. Kellarissa – Moons of Neptune
24. Jad Fair – Beautiful Songs: The Best of Jad Fair
25. Computer Magic – Electronic Fences
26. Peter Bjorn and John – Gimme Some
27. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
28. Girls Names – Dead to Me *^
29. Cass McCombs – Wit’s End *^
30. Thao and Mirah – Thao and Mirah *^

* = New to the top 30
^ = new to WOBC


Preview: Lil B – I'm Gay


It’s sometimes absurd to consider Lil B, a.k.a Based God, a.k.a. Brandon McCartney. Few rappers have a fanbase even half of Lil B’s, fewer have the ability to pump out the ludicrous number of songs as Lil B has and even fewer, if any, have the nerve to call their album I’m Gay — especially if the rapper in question does not identify as gay.

Lil B’s 2011 album, I’m Gay, defies the rules of hip hop just as much as the rapper does. Straight out of San Fransisco’s hyphy scene, Lil B emerged at age 16 to huge notoriety with skate-rappers The Pack. Now, at Lil-B23, Lil B has forged a massive solo career with over 1800 tracks on countless Myspace pages, most of which can be found on Lil B’s website, www.basedworld.com. Every song, whether it be one of his biggest hits like “Wonton Soup” riddled with catchy hooks and quotable lyrics, or a disaster like “BasedGod, What Are You Doing?” with a Linkin Park sample and barely any flow, is comprised with a similar formula. Almost every Lil B song has multiple celebrity references (from Charlie Sheen to Jessica Simpson to J.K. Rowling) and a reference to the BasedGod himself; also, most songs start with an ubiquitous “oh my God!”. More notable is Lil B’s signature enthusiasm present on every track he’s ever released: it’s no wonder why he’s attracted such a large, diverse group of fans.

Lil B’s fanbase is currently rearranging in new ways directly following the announcement of the title of the new album: while the rapper has reported to have received death threats, others instantly gained respect for him. Lil B believes that this move will perpetuate equal rights in hip hop’s all too homophobic climate. Speaking with MTV News earlier this week, Lil B says:

“In a hundred years, people gonna thank me because people gonna be free…I spoke up and I did it, and I don’t regret it…I’ma keep pushin’ for the human rights, and for people to be happy…and I’m not gonna stop.”


Lil B will be in Cincinatti at Bogart’s this Thursday, April 28th. Tickets will be given away Tuesday, April 26 from 11:00-12:00pm on Ryan Jenning’s “Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow” and 4:00-5:00 pm on Jack Patterson’s “Drift Studies”.

-Alison Kozol


A Night Out With Ray Ballard

WOBC would like to thank everyone who came out to see Ray Ballard at the 2nd Annual Block Party this Saturday. Stay tuned for some videos and pictures from the event. In the mean time, have a look at this video featuring Ray at Richard’s Premier Lounge in Lorain, introduced by Mr. P, Baby Blue, and Betty Crocker from WOBC’s It’s About Time Thursdays 2-4PM.


Greg Haines | Nils Frahm | Lituya Bay | 5/7 | Fairchild Chapel | Free

Concert Board presents Greg Haines and Nils Frahm with opener Lituya Bay:

Nils Frahm by Antje Jandrig

Nils Frahm

Today Nils Frahm works as an accomplished composer and producer in Berlin…. .. For a musician this early in his career, Frahm displays an incredibly developed sense of control and restraint in his work. As the recognition continues to grow for his previous solo piano works ..’Wintermusik’.. and ..’The Bells’.., we are pleased to announce that winter 2010/11 will see his next album release on ..Erased Tapes….. .. A tantalising taste of what’s to come, ….’Unter | Über’…. is a rather microscopic affair and yet a record that perfectly captures the last days of summer before winter sets in. The under two-minute song twins must be one of the shortest singles released this year. Recorded on Nils’ own piano in his Berlin studio flat, these are two of the most personal and optimistic pieces of music we have heard in a long time.
Nils Frahm – Somewhere Nearby
Nils Frahm – Over There, It’s Raining
Nils Frahm – Said and Done


Greg Haines is an English musician and composer currently living in Berlin, who specializes in exploring the middle-ground between the academic world of contemporary classical music and the freedom found in the desire to manipulate and experiment with sound itself… He was born in a small Southern-English town in the 1980’s, where through boredom with his surroundings he began to take an interest in music and started to develop a particular interest in the idea of technology not simply being used to record instruments, but instead being used as the instrument itself. Around this time, an enthusiastic music teacher began to introduce Haines to the works of ‘Minimalist’ composers such as Steve Reich, Gavin Bryars, Philip Glass and more – composers that he still considers major influences over his work. At this turning point, Greg began to develop his piano (and eventually cello) playing, feeling the desire to pursue his interest in textural and deceptively-complex contemporary classical music.

-Concert Board