THE END OF THE GOLDEN AGE
On this day (September 30) in 1962 CBS radio broadcast the final episodes of Suspense and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar and the Golden Age of Radio came to a close.
Radio Drama (also frequently referred to as Old Time Radio or OTR) really began in the 1920s. Before that, there was audio theater which consisted of plays performed for radio broadcast. It wasn't until August 3, 1922 at the Schenectady, New York station WGY that the in-house actors, The WGY Players, broadcast a performance that augmented the drama with music and sound effects, creating a vivid aural tapestry. The result was a worldwide explosion in what was an instantly popular new art form. Within months there were radio dramas being produced across the USA, as well as in Canada, Ceylon, France, Germany, India, Japan, and the UK.
On hearing the eponymous debut by the British contemporary folkies Eighteenth Day of May, one would be harp-pressed to claim that it was not recorded during the classic era of British Folk-Rock. American flautist/vocalist, Alison Brice, Swedish multi-instrumentalist Richard Olsen and their British cohorts have crafted a bright slab of pastoral folksong, including a nod to their legendary forefathers, Pentangle, with their cover of Bert Jansch's Deed I Do.
As was the case with releases by Pentangle nearly 40 years earlier, Eighteenth Day of May is a mixed bag. A few of the songs lag a bit and the overall air is fairly edgeless, but the ensemble playing and forward drive is often quite beautiful and evocative of that classic generation that first folded their electric guitars and vintage amps into the rich history of traditional British folksong.
I won't claim that you will replace your Fairport Convention or Incredible String Band's marker in the CD rack with this album, but at clearance pricing, there is certainly enough sublimity to justify the expense, and then some.
Alternative hip-hop duo dan le sac Vs. Scroobius Pip is made up of, respectively, musician and producer Dan Stephens and emcee/vocalist David Meads, left to right in opposite photo. The duo arrived triumphantly on the UK music scene last year with their breakout debut hit single "Thou Shalt Always Kill," which became an instant hit.
Packed with wit and sly observations on British pop culture, it topped the XFM and BBC radio charts and won high praise in countless media outlets, including the Guardian UK, which called the track the "underground anthem" of 2007 and the NME, which proclaimed it "The Track of the Year" -- and this despite the fact that the song mocks the same UK music mag in its ever satirical lyrics. Since the runaway success of "Thou Shalt Always Kill" as both a single and a video (see clip below), the talented duo have kept very busy. They've toured back home as well as performing at festivals on both sides of the Atlantic, including at the Glastonbury, Leeds, and Reading festivals in England and at both Coachella and SxSW in the States this year.
They've also been busy recording and releasing a series of follow-up singles, including "Letter from God to Man," "Beat That My Heart Skipped," and "Look For The Woman." They have also just released their debut album this month, Angles, which includes all of their singles, released in the US on Sage Francis' Strange Famous label (available at Amoeba).
The pair are currently on their first US tour in support of this debut album, with Cali dates including tomorrow in LA at Echo (Tuesday Sept 30th) and Wednesday in San Francisco at Cafe du Nord (Oct 1st).