Monday, April 30, 2018

Song of the Day Spotlight - Jonathan Wilson "There's A Light"

Hey - do you like these Song of the Day Spotlights? Haven't seen a whole lot of reaction. I'm not sure I'm going to keep posting them. Please let me know, either with a comment, or by sharing/mentioning on social media, or shooting me an email at glowinthedarkradio -at- gmail -dot- com. There are other ways I can bring you new music you might enjoy - let me know if these spotlights have been working for you.

Today's spotlight falls on the second single from an album that arrived on March 2nd. The official video, and a new acoustic version, just came out last week. The fact it's a second single got me thinking...

Sometimes the first track - now, often, tracks - released from an album won't catch your attention. We in radio sometimes chide record companies for "picking the wrong first track" on an album project. But it's not an exact science, no matter how many metrics they bring in, with streaming spins, Shazams, shares, and such all now tabulated and collated and studied like numerical tea leaves - marketing magick attempting to predict listening. Doesn't always work. Surprise.

I love the inexactitude of music, its inability to be entirely accounted for by quantitative measurements. Sure, you can - and they do - research music. You can identify through auditorium testing what 200 old rock tunes you should play to keep 25 to 54 year old men listening to your classic rock radio station. For example. It's easy - and safe - to determine and play what people have liked.

Much harder to predict what people will like, in the future. That's the risk with new music, as seen from the bean counters' viewpoint - you can't test and predict consumer behavior toward the music product when it's new music - too many unknowns! Harumph! Once a tune starts spinning, you can gauge reaction, but how do you decide what to play in the first place? Can't really test for that. If you've ever wondered why more stations don't play more unknown or new music, that's why - the bean counters demand a mitigation of the risk - play safe songs that keep them listening.

But I digress... the reason I got into all of that in the first place was that I didn't "hear" the first track from Jonathan Wilson's new album Rare Birds. I mean, probably listened to it - try to check out as much new music as possible - but it didn't "stick" - didn't register. But the Laurel Canyon-meets-George Harrison-esque "There's A Light" grabbed me first listen! It has a deliberately positive message, and brings Light and hope for the future, even if the Light is only spotlights now, and not the brightness we might all desire. Check it out:

Do I know if you'll like this song? Heck no. But I know that I do, and I hear a certain something in it that makes me think others might, too. And that's how I pick new music to play - I listen for that certain something. What is that? Don't know. That is about as specific as I can get! Don't know how to define it, and I don't think I can or maybe should even try to... much as the bean counters might want it dissected, quantified and stickered with a price tag. Too bad for them.

Better for us!

And again, please let me know if you like these Spotlights - should I keep posting them? Please let me know. Thanks! - Mike

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Song of the Day Spotlight - Frank Turner "Be More Kind"

What the world needs now...

U.K. folk-punk-rocker Frank Turner's new album Be More Kind comes out May 4th. There's a great interview with Frank about it this week in The Sun. He was inspired by poet Clive James, who closes his poem Leçons Des Ténèbres with “I should have been more kind. It is my fate. To find this out, but find it out too late.”

From the article:
Turner says: “It really made me think and start with a new direction for my record. 
“Clive James is not the only person who has made that comment. (American writer) Kurt Vonnegut also said something similar. There are a lot of people who have said it. It tends to be people who are near the end of their life. It therefore comes with a lot of weight and wisdom attached to it as far as I am concerned. 
“Today it’s so tempting for everybody to get angry as your first response. There are times when we should get angry but I feel like we’ve forgotten how to argue properly or at least in a civil way."
Amen. Be more kind.

The lyrics are below the posted song, worth reading along. This title track was released as an advance track on February 23rd. The record company, however, is pushing "Blackout" as a single - a fine song, but not as substantial as this one. This one has power, empathy, and hope. It's also quite beautiful!

If you're not familiar with Frank Turner, you should be! He's one of the most authentic voices out there making real music. He comes from a punk background (in the band Million Dead), but the acoustic guitar is now his "weapon" of choice - thus the "folk-punk" label. That classification doesn't do Turner's music true justice - back before everything got classified down into micro-genres, his stuff simply would have been called "Rock".

My love for his music began with the release of his 2011 album England Keep My Bones through the track "Peggy Sang the Blues". I've gone back for his older solo work before that, and kept up as he's released Tape Deck Heart, Positive Songs for Negative People, and compilations of rarities, singles and EPs. Very much looking forward to his new collection - and maybe after you hear this title track, you will be too.

And I just love this message - Be More Kind.

"Be More Kind"

History's been leaning on me lately
I can feel the future breathing down my neck
And all the things I thought were true when I was young, and you were too
Turned out to be broken, I don't know what comes next

In a world that has decided that it's going to lose its mind
Be more kind, my friends, try to be more kind

It seems like everybody's raising walls now
Like hackles raised upon a cornered cat
On the borders in our heads between things that can and can't be said
We stopped talking to each other and there's something wrong with that

So before you go out searching, don't decide what you'll find
Be more kind, my friends, try to be more kind

You should know you're not alone
Trouble comes and trouble goes
How this ends no one knows
So, hold on tight when the wind blows

The wind blew both of us to sand and sea
And where the dry lands stands is hard to say
As the current drags us by the shore we can no longer say for sure
Who's drowning, or if they can be saved

But when you're out there floundering, like a lighthouse I will shine
Be more kind, my friends, try to be more kind
Like a beacon reaching out to you and yours, for me and mine
Be more kind, my friends, try to be more kind
In a world that has decided that it's going to lose its mind
Be more kind, my friends, try to be more kind

Words and Music by Frank Turner

Friday, April 27, 2018

Song of the Day Spotlight - Lord Huron "Vide Noir"

The first time I heard this song, with it's haunting keyboards and sitar-like guitar, it hooked me - so good! I was listening to the new Lord Huron album Vide Noir track-by-track and hit the title song second from the end - not a single, nor an advance track - but a plain, old, hear-it-when-you-listen-to-the-whole-album sort of deep cut.

Lord Huron bring a sort of landscape portrait quality to their music, with evocative and atmospheric tunes which might fit comfortably on soundtracks for aerial films or big sky Westerns. Some have a darker, brooding feel, still others rock with an updated Buddy Holly-influenced honesty. There's usually a variety of sounds.

This album is still atmospheric, but all kind of dark and downtempo for my tastes. Wasn't even making it all the way through every tune as I checked it out. But then, I hit track 11. And it hit me back - it's awesome! Best tune on the new album, and that includes the single and the advance songs.

I appreciate the experimentation and weirdness of the first tracks released, "Ancient Names (Parts 1 & 2)", but they didn't hook me. The "official" single, "Wait By the River", is a bit too plodding for me - that's one slow river. In my first listen to the full album, too many songs seemed slowed down, and it began to feel like the band took the success of their "The Night We Met" as an indication many tunes' tempos should be slowed to match their hit.

But that allowed a sort-of sameness to creep in, and I grew a bit bored... until "Vide Noir" itself lifted me back up! It's still a little slow, but in a good way - it's slinky, haunting - "staring into a pure black hole" - heading for the edge - may not come back... with snapping fingers, or clapping hands, soaked in reverb, a solid bass line, and that slinky, sitar-like guitar... it's fine Lord Huron music. And, while not fast or uptempo by any stretch, there's more going on here, and enough to sink your teeth into to be satisfying.

Check it out - in my opinion, the best new song by Lord Huron "Vide Noir":

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Songs of the Day Spotlights

Been fun bringing you a new tune almost every day! Here are the past week's songs:

Song of the Day Spotlight - Damien Jurado "Allocate"

Song of the Day Spotlight - King Tuff "Psycho Star"

Song of the Day Spotlight - In the Valley Below "Pink Chateau"

Song of the Day Spotlight - The Record Company "Life to Fix"

Song of the Day Spotlight - The Moondoggies "Easy Coming"

Song of the Day Spotlight - Leriche "Nomadic Heart"

Song of the Day Spotlight - A Perfect Circle "So Long, And Thanks for All the Fish"

And, curiously enough, you'll find all of them on my Spotify playlist The New Good Stuff -

Enjoy! So much great new music coming out!

Song of the Day Spotlight - Damien Jurado "Allocate"

Have to say... Music is amazing right now!

So many great new songs, new albums - what an incredible time to be a music fan! There's too much good music to be contained by radio, really...

An Adult Alternative Radio Music Director makes qualitative decisions about music, judging - this is good, this isn't. Part of that judgement involves assessing a song's mass appeal - will a lot of people like this? For some reason, I hear that quality in a song. Sure, psychologically, there's probably something in my wiring about pleasing other people that's not exactly healthy in that, but - oh well - it's who I am, and makes me good at what I do. 

In the first quarter of 2018, on through this month, there were so many new releases that - to my ears - sounded like amazing, mass appeal, yet quality, crafted tunes, we couldn't play them all on The Point. We have music meetings in radio - the stack of tunes I was bringing in for consideration for airplay just kept growing, and growing... and growing. There was no "room" for them all on the air, given the restrictions of rotations and all. Now, "freed" from those radio rotation concerns, I can tell you more, each day, about all this great new music!

Some of these songs are brand new - like The Record Company's latest, earlier this week. But some of these may be tunes from a little earlier this year which have not yet have been discovered by a large audience. 

In fact, two songs competed in my brain to be today's song of the day - a brand-new tune, and one that's been out for a couple weeks. Was going with the brand-new one, an album track, and soooo good - will tell you about it tomorrow. Because I had to put it on pause - today's song popped onto my mental jukebox and wouldn't go away, insisting I hadn't yet told you about how good it is!

Damien Jurado isn't an unknown, but he does operate slightly below the popular music radar, often classed as a "musician's musician" or a "critics' darling" - usually that means hardcore music fans love a musician and can't understand why their catchy tunes aren't more popular. 

We want to be surprised by music, taken on new adventures, but sometimes an echo of familiarity draws us in - sounding a little like something we've loved in the past isn't necessarily a drawback. As I first listened to Jurado's new single "Allocate" there came a haunting familiarity - it definitely reminded me of something else, but I couldn't quite place it. 

Now, given what I've done for a living, there are so many songs in my head, I'm often reminded of other songs - but not necessarily songs I've liked. "Allocate" reminded me of... something. not a famous song, but a favorite (I've since figured it out, but I'll save that revelation for some future mix). And it's not exact - they're different tunes. There was just... an echo.

The heartbeat strum draws you in, the guitar's rhythm entraining, close as it is to your own heart's beating. Then, Jurado's lilting voice floats in over the rhythm, gliding over the top and lifting the listener into the air with him, an ethereal thing, out of body, soaring up into the sky. 

I'm not quite sure what all the lyrics are, so I'm not quite sure what they mean, but it does sound like a break-up song, of sorts. The word "allocate" itself means to give out, distribute, or, more archaically, to locate. I don't think it's the latter, so it may be what Jurado is asking for here is more attention, or more love. Or, maybe, I'm reading my own experiences into the song. The best songs let you do that - it's almost two-way communication, in that sense.

The new album, coming May 4th on Secretly Canadian, is titled The Horizon Just Laughed. I'm not sure that gives us any more clues to the meaning of "Allocate", but maybe it does. Or, maybe, we should just listen to a great song and not think so much...


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Song of the Day Spotlight - King Tuff "Psycho Star"

I know it's the right Song of the Day for the Spotlight when, after deciding on it, the song won't get out of my head! King Tuff's Psycho Star is now firmly lodged in my mental jukebox.

Vermonter Kyle Thomas makes music under the name King Tuff. He released his new album The Other on April 13th on Sub Pop. In advance, he released this track Psycho Star. Given King Tuff's past sound, a sort of raw garage rock-meets-glam psychedelia, the title threw me at first - wasn't sure what we were in for... another lesson in expect the unexpected, it seems!

King Tuff smoothed over the rough edges, found a cool, earthy rhythm, and turned to more universal themes. Thomas acknowledges the "Chaos and confusion" of the present and then offers vague hope, of sorts, in pulling back to appreciate nature's power and the big picture of the universe, where we're either nothing at all - or everything. And he does it in such a "Beautifully bizarre" way you can’t help singing along!

Psycho Star shows King Tuff heading in a slightly different, new direction. Haven't had a chance to listen to the rest of The Other yet - looking forward to it. This song certainly represents a solid maturation of his garage rock aesthetic. More than that, it makes me sing, and gets stuck in my head!

Get ready to sing along as you listen to Psycho Star. Here are some of the chorus lyrics, so you're ready (the rest of the lyrics are posted below the song): Watching the wind blow/Watching the wind blow/Watching the rain so hard/Watching the fire/Getting higher/On This strange little star...



Looking out my window
There's no doubt about it
We don't belong in this world
Be better off without us

Madness and destruction
Maybe that is just who we are
The universe is mostly made of nothing
Isn't it so beautifully bizarre
That here we are

Watching the wind blow
Watching the wind blow
Watching the rain so hard
Watching the fire getting higher
On this strange little star

We were always dreaming
Of castles in the sky
Dreaming of another planet
How could we be so blind?

Chaos and confusion
Maybe that is really all we are
The universe is probably an illusion
But isn't it so beautifully bizarre
That here we are

Watching the wind blow
Watching the wind blow
Watching the rain so hard
Watching the fire getting higher
On this strange little star

Chaos and confusion
Is that really all that we are
The universe is probably an illusion
But isn't it so beautifully bizarre
That here we are

Watching the wind blow
Watching the wind blow
Watching the rain so hard
Watching the fire getting higher
On this strange little star

Songwriters: Kyle Matthew Thomas

Psycho Star lyrics © Third Side Music Inc.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Song of the Day Spotlight - In the Valley Below "Pink Chateau"

Slinky. Sexy. Sensuous. Playful! All of the above, really... and it sticks in your head, too. "Pink Chateau" comes from the Elephant EP from In The Valley Below, husband and wife duo Jeffrey Jacob Mendel and Angela Gail Mattson . The EP was released last July, but "Pink Chateau" was put out as a single and video more recently.

Gail says the tune is "an invitation to sex." She's singing about her Pink Chateau in the valley below... hmmm. Not especially subtle, but not screamingly obvious, either. And as I said, incredibly catchy! This song has managed to lodge itself in my subconscious - it keeps floating back up into my mind, insinuating itself into my thoughts, until I find myself singing, "Simmer down, it's indigo..." or "I've got something you don't..."

If you're ready to get a song stuck in your head, give a listen:

You can read a little more about the band in the Atwood Magazine article that Gail's quote above comes from:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Escape Plan...

Alibi Jones saved his ex-girlfriend Katie. He'll next try to free cat-like Kit. Then, they'll try to leave Kismet and escape the clutches of crime lord Rene Laveillur! See how far they get in Chapter Twenty-Five of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur! Free audio science fiction adventure written and read by host Mike Luoma - The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio!   

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Song of the Day Spotlight - The Record Company "Life to Fix"

First off, I just like these guys, personally. They're three genuinely nice and, well... genuine folks. The Record Company came in, played live and chatted with me on the air a couple of times when I was with The Point. They're for real - true - authentic in who they are and what they're doing. Felt a real connection with Chris, Alex and Mark. That's Chris Vos, singer, harmonica and guitar player, Alex Stiff, bassist and producer, and Mark Cazorla, drummer and percussionist.

If I can get real for a second? I'm a horrible purist - I'm not one. I like blends, mixes, hybrids, melanges - purist expressions kind of bore me. Can't take too much pure reggae, or pure bluegrass, for example... or pure blues. Sorry. I need music to transcend its genre, if that makes sense. Hope it doesn't sound too musically arrogant. Can't help it - I just need something more.

The Record Company are the closest thing to pure blues rock that has moved me in a long time - because they do infuse the genre with something more, something extra - something original and purely them. I'm not exactly sure what that is - and that's okay. It just works.

Sometimes what elevates a deceptively simple band (what, a three piece?) is a bass player with a strong sense of melody, whose bass lines act as a sort of rhythmic lead. Mike Mills of R.E.M. is one example, often carrying the melody of the song while Peter Buck plays a rhythm part.

His production work on their recordings speaks to Alex's great ears - but it's Alex's bass playing that helps set The Record Company apart from so many of their peers. Kind of amazing something so solid, such glue holding it all together, can still be so damn fluid!

Don't mean to diminish Mark's contributions, either. A melodic bassist can't ride the melody if his percussionist doesn't give him a foundation he trusts and can rely on - Mark is solid. Yet he, too, plays with a sense of melody, as so many of the great drummers have, giving each piece in his kit its own voice. There's a certain funkiness within his precise timekeeping, too - not ostentatious but not, well... boring.

With this kind of foundation, Chris can then let fly - he knows the other two have his back. He can conjure up images, situations, free himself to sing about it all, knowing his brother bandmates are there to bring him in for a safe landing in the end. Doesn't hurt that he's got great pipes and can wail on both the guitar and harmonica, and knows how to work a crowd until they're sitting in the palm of his hand. His easy charisma draws you in, a humble shaman, not out to merely charm you but to rock your soul...

Their new tune "Life to Fix" - just out - encapsulates their dynamic beautifully, opening with Alex laying down the bass, Mark coming in on drums, and then Chris taking off on vocals and guitar. Not only does it highlight the band's strengths, it gives fans even more reason to look forward to the new album - sounds like they're both stepping it up, and staying true to themselves. And that sounds very, very good!

Actually, it sounds a lot like this:

The new album, All Of This Life, comes out June 22nd on Concord. It had been fun before talking with the band about how made their breakthrough album, Give It Back to You, in Alex's living room. In a new article in Jambase, Chris says, “After that first album, everything just got amplified.Our lives got crazier and bigger and more complicated in the best possible ways, and our sound and our songwriting just naturally grew alongside that. We’re the same people we always were, but The Record Company isn’t just three guys in a living room anymore.” (

They may not be in the living room anymore, but they haven't lost their touch, their authenticity, or their ability to craft a kick-ass blues rock tune! Looking forward to hearing the rest of All This Life - here's hoping "Life to Fix" is a sign of great things to come.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Song of the Day Spotlight - The Moondoggies "Easy Coming"

The Moondoggies new album A Love Sleeps Deep came out last Friday (4/13/18). It's brilliant! Mesmerizing and perfect in so many ways... have to review the whole album soon. They are their own thing, have their own sound, yet follow in the footsteps of pre-Dark Side Pink Floyd and the psychedelic Bay Area bands of the late 1960's.

Do you love the sound of organ, piano, synthesizers, most keyboards, as part of a rock band? I gotta have the guitar, drums, and bass, but love the sweetening, the atmosphere, washes, and subtler backgrounds of the synths and organs - and the more foreground and percussive contributions of the piano as well. Gimme keyboards!

The Moondoggies incorporate a pretty sweet organ sound alongside their chiming lead guitar, noodly rhythm, and Laurel Canyon-esque harmony vocals, giving them a lush, full sound that recalls bygone eras, yet creates a haunting and beautiful moment in the here and now. The new album is hitting me in a big way only a few listens in - who needs a review? Just dive into A Love Sleeps Deep!

Check out the song that leads off the album, "Easy Coming" - hope you love it like I do.

A Love Sleeps Deep is out now on Hardly Art. And it's brilliant!

The Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Blend on Spotify

Exploring the many different ways to bring you music experiences... check out the new Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Weekly Playlist on Spotify!

There's a deliberate, artistic flow built into the playlist - please listen through at least the first time, before shuffling.Selections aren't restricted by radio format or music genre, though this is a rock-based playlist, and most selections come from the worlds of rock, alternative, adult alternative and progressive rock.

There are several new songs in the mix - The Moondoggies "Easy Coming" off their brand-new album A Love Sleeps Deep leads us into the mix and sets the initial tone - I love this song! Just started listening to the full album - pretty solid so far, a couple listens in, beautiful work.

The new songs in this mix that I haven't told you about before you'll probably find in my Song of the Day Spotlight soon.

Speaking of telling you about stuff, back in January, I told you how blown away I was by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard's Polygondwanaland. The three songs here are, in truth, three parts of one longer song - they run right together - the title track into "The Castle in the Air" into "Dunes..."

The rest, I'll let speak for themselves. At least for now.

Let me know what you think! Comment here, below, or on facebook or Twitter. Thanks for listening!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Song of the Day Spotlight - Leriche "Nomadic Heart"

Before I get to the song, a word about what I'm doing and who I am... I hope to shine a light on songs you might otherwise miss, less obvious discoveries the usual blogs and radio stations haven't clued into. There is so much new music being brought into the world every day. Streaming services, radio stations and the rest can only bring you so much. And sometimes, too much! They mean well. But they sometimes end up, in the interest of offering variety and depth, throwing too much at the listener.

Maybe we're entering a new era where people will look to voices they trust to recommend new music. Call us "Curators" or Music Directors or Critics - there could be more use for gatekeepers who refine the flow as the volume continues to gush out. Could just be wishful thinking. I'll offer this and we'll see. Actually, not as a Critic. I'd rather not be a critic - I've done that, and I don't like it. I don't like pointing out weaknesses and faults in music. I'm only going to bring you new tunes I can get behind.

That said... why should you listen to me? Well... I do have a track record (pun intended). Last eight years I was Music Director for The Point in Vermont, an Adult Alternative radio network. Found many a great tune for the radio, sometimes discovering of artists like SYML, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats or Lorde. My "ear" is for music that tries for a certain universality, while maintaining its own identity and originality - songs with some mass appeal, with intelligence. Hopefully

All that said, check out Canadian artist LeRiche - the performing name of Brad Leriche, from Newfoundland and Labrador. As I've already written a bunch - granted, not related to the song, but still - I don't want to say too much else.

So, I'll cheat and use a shortcut - if you like Ed Sheeran, Noah Kahan, Passenger, SYML or similar sounds, you might really love this one. It's from LeRiche's X-Dreamer EP. Check out "Nomadic Heart". Think you'll be glad you did. If you like it, tip your friends off and look really hip... ;-)

Let me know what you think! Comment below or send email to glowinthedarkradio {at} gmail {dot} com. Or stop by or and say hello!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Song of the Day Spotlight - A Perfect Circle - "So Long, And Thanks for All the Fish"

There is so much great new music coming out, it's hard to keep up! I'm going to try to highlight one song each day and tell you why, shining a light on a new tune that you might want to check out.

As I'm let go from my radio gig, it seems only too apropos to begin with the new track released this week by A Perfect Circle, "So Long, And Thanks for All the Fish". The tune takes its title from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - it was the final message the dolphins left humankind before departing planet Earth en masse, just prior to the planet's destruction, and is also the title of the fourth book in the Trilogy.

It's melodic - stately, even... yet also contains echoes of prog pop, fine aged cheese like Asia, Kansas and Styx. Layered harmony vocals sing of things and people we've lost, left behind, or time wasted, with a lighter drive than A Perfect Circle usually has - lighter, for example, than "TalkTalk" - an earlier track released from the upcoming new album Eat the Elephant out this Friday. Yet it builds to atomic destruction, so there's that...

Check out the tune:

The lyrics (from the video comment section - they look right to me):

Time is money and money's time
We wasted every second dime
On diets, lawyers, shrinks and apps and flags and plastic surgery
Now Willy Wonka, Major Tom, Ali, and Leia have moved on
Signal the final curtain call in all its atomic pageantry

Bravissimo, hip hip hooray
For this fireworks display
Mind and body blown away
What a radiant crescendo!

Ticker tape parade
Our hair and skin like
Marilyn Monroe
In an afterwind

Time is money and money's time
We wasted every second dime
On politicians, fancy water and guns and plastic surgery
Like old Prince and Brady's mom
All the dolphins have moved on
Signaling the final curtain call in all its atomic pageantry

Bravissimo, hip hip hooray
What a glorious display
Melt our joyous hearts away
Under the mushroom cloud confetti
Hip hip hooray for this fireworks display
Mind and body blown away
What a radiant crescendo

Hip hip hooray
Hip hip hooray
Ticker tape parade
Our hair and skin like
Marilyn Monroe in an afterwind

Time is money and money's time
We wasted every second dime
On diets, lawyers, shrinks and apps flags and plastic surgery
Now Willy Wonka, Major Tom, Ali and Leia have moved on
Signal the final curtain call in all its atomic pageantry

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

All Good Things...

I was informed early this afternoon that The Point was letting me go, after nearly eight years as the Music Director and Midday host. It was a shock. I'd done nothing wrong. this was through no fault of my own. I asked and was assured of this.

For those who ask, this is what I know: Program Director and Morning Host Zeb Norris had asked a couple months ago to step back from his Program Director responsibilities, and the company found a way to make that work, they thought, and hired John Mullet as the new Program Director. Today, I was informed by Station Manager and Owner Ed Flanagan that although Zeb had been going to assume some responsibilities with other stations owned by the company, while still doing mornings on The Point, the company's plans for those stations had changed and Zeb wasn't needed for that, and so he would be assuming my responsibilities as Music Director, and I was being let go.

Back when Ed told me about the hiring of John and the stepping back of Zeb, I didn't see how the station could support this and me, too. Logically, it seemed to me, Zeb could be named Music Director. I asked Ed outright if I should be worried, get my resume ready. He'd said no. Disappointing to find my instincts were correct.

But? Much as I appreciate people supporting me, and asking others to Boycott the Point, please don't. A lot of great people still work there, and I don't want to be responsible for them getting hurt.

I'm really going to miss being on The Point, and being the Music Director. It wasn't all awesome. As I'm being transparent, I'll be honest - it was pretty much my dream job, but the pay was miserable. For me, that was a trade-off - do what I love, but get paid a low wage. No raise in the last several years, either. It wasn't about the money, though. It was about doing what I loved to do - listen to a ton of new music, play it on the radio and talk about it. I can do without a lot of stuff, so long as I'm doing something that fulfills me day-to-day.

Because it's what drives me, and I have no intention of losing touch with the world of music, I'm going to keep bringing you music. I don't know what's next, but I'm going to use this blog and other platforms to keep playing music for you, and telling you about it, while I figure out my next steps.

If you have music you want me to hear, send it my way. If you hear of opportunities I should know about, send them my way - please! Email - glowinthedarkradio [at] gmail [dot] com.

Thank you for your support!

Sunday, April 08, 2018

The Sense of the Status Quo

Wrote this on facebook. Thought I'd share it here on the blog, too.

We have a short memory as a culture, and a tendency to believe and think that the way things are now is the way they have always been. The idea of the status quo is very strong, and yet - false. Is it a faculty we've developed in order to handle the seeming chaos that surrounds us?

The world is in a state of constant change, so much so that reacting to every alteration in our surroundings would be exhausting, and occupy our every thought and moment. It makes sense we would develop a way, a means of perception, that allows us to "freeze" the world so as to react to it properly, a way to filter out trivial changes that need not concern us immediately.

This may be getting all heady and meta, but bear with me - it means we carry with us a kind of mental image of the way the world IS which governs how we act in and react to the world, and that we tend to maintain that image as if it were a permanent state when, actually, it's a flux state, constantly changing - both the interior "image" (in small, often imperceptible ways) and the world (always in motion).

That puts the urge - the need? - to create an interior sense of status quo on an instinctual level - it's a survival skill. It's then understandable that our sense of the present is as strong as it is - however wrong in its sense of permanence it is. We could be wired to have a short cultural memory.

It seems that, all together, we maintain a sort of cultural version of this sense of status quo, either by individual agreement and maintenance, or, if non-local mental phenomena are allowed, through a sort of communal mental sense of the present here-and-now, the status quo. At the very least, we often assume others have the same inner mental image that we do, until proven wrong, and act as if there is some larger bond.

This "faculty" - this self-creation of the status quo - is apparently a fluid thing, perhaps easily manipulated due to its lack of identification. We don't think about how we perceive the world or our sense of now - and ordinarily, why would we?

Why? We need to become more aware of our sort of "base of perceptions" because it's under assault by those who would shape the culture's sense of status quo to better reflect their own private views, views not necessarily in line with those of our Democratic Republic here in the United States and democracies around the world. Awareness that we carry such a mental image within our minds might make it less vulnerable to attack.

No conspiracy theories here. There's no need. We see wealthy individuals, corporations, companies and other well-funded interest groups spending their money on media buys and politicians to change the cultural conversation on a national level. If they're doing it in the open, it's not a conspiracy. Why should they hide? Recent rulings like Citizen's United in the US have said money is equal to free speech - they can be loud and proud with how they spend their money to influence politics and the culture.

We can blame the media, the world of advertising and marketing, for creating the tools we use to manipulate our inner sense of status quo. When it was only being used to tweak that subtle mental image to introduce an artificial NEED and create a buyer and consumer, the power of our collective imaginations to change the cultural sense of what we need -based on the manipulation of our inner sense of status quo - wasn't yet evident.

In other words, it was "fine" when we were told to fear "simple, chronic halitosis" - bad breath - and use mouthwash (one example of an idea advertising introduced into the cultural sense of status quo). We didn't "need" to fear the manipulation when the ends were to take our money and make us all more "minty fresh".

When these tools began to be used to manipulate the culture politically, a bomb went off. Literally. Lyndon Johnson's "Daisy" ad used footage of an atomic bomb exploding - and the implication this was what Barry Goldwater's election would lead to - in one of the world's first highly manipulative political TV ads. Effective? It was September of 1964 - Johnson won easily two months later. The ad didn't even mention Goldwater by name. And? It only ran once.

It's still world-famous.

With the discovery that media messages could alter the culture's very concept of status quo on a political level, the race was on, as it had been with consumer goods, to see how far those creating the messages could push their manipulations - how far could they go? What would people believe?

Thankfully, even without an "up-front" conscious awareness of this sense of status quo, we have defenses against some of this manipulation. Those crafting the messages are required to be more subtle as we grow more savvy. Thus the constant testing and probing to see what we will "believe" - or what beliefs we will allow into our inner, mental sense of status quo.

We need to develop an awareness that this sense of a status quo exists as a mental image within our minds, that it can be manipulated by external forces, and that we, in turn, project and maintain a larger, cultural sense of status quo. Awareness is a preventative defense and leads to strength.

Strength is needed, for this manipulation has come at a price. Ours is now an age of many "status quos" - the world has become fractured, and yet, more focused, in smaller ways. As it became more difficult to manipulate the larger community's sense of status quo, and as first cable TV and then the internet allowed for it, those crafting their messages wrote off altering the status quo of the masses in favor of finding and growing smaller, already receptive audiences. Why try so hard?

This happens across the political spectrum. It is not political equivocation to say this - all sides now engage in this meta-manipulation of their audiences. However, one of the keys into manipulating the cultural sense of status quo favors those on the so-called "Conservative" end of the spectrum.

Of course, there may be a natural appeal to our cultural sense of status quo in anything that calls itself "Conservative" and claims that it is dedicated to preserving and maintaining the status quo. And, indeed, this does work on the "right".

On the "left", however, when one's sense of the status quo finds the ideas proposed by Conservatives to be regressive, backwards, or destructive, Conservative does not equal maintaining the present state of things but trying to throw the culture into reverse, which doesn't just create disagreement but also closes the door to manipulation.

Above and beyond this facile level, however, the most powerful entry into our inner sense of status quo seems to be through an appeal to a lost golden age of some kind. This does favor the Conservative message, though appeals to centrists and those on the left referencing the "Clinton Years" or "Obama Years" can be evidence of this messaging.

Any appeal to a lost golden age should be a red flag - you are about to be manipulated. Any suggestion those appealing to you are capable of bringing back that golden age should be a bigger red flag - they are lying to you. The only golden age each of us can bring on is our own.

Beware the one who preaches the virtue of individual struggle, yet then claims they are all about lifting you up. Beware those who say they are working for you as they preach each should only look out for oneself. And beware the politician who suggests that their election alone is all that is necessary to bring about the return of a great, golden age, as if your vote or support alone is all that is required of you to make things happen.

The insidious nature of these appeals to a lost golden age is that they draw their strength from our own longings. The less satisfied we are with our place in the world, the more open we are to this messaging. The messages reinforce our inner suspicions or beliefs, sometimes the worst of these.

When the worst, most repressed feelings, rise up, suddenly reinforced, they sometimes spring forth with amazing power, let loose. Psychology suggests things we suppress and force into the subconscious or unconscious can return with near-demonic force and "possess" us. When they rise again to consciousness, they can be uncontrollable.

Drawing political power by loosing these "demons" of the unconscious seems a dangerous thing. And yet, it's done now as a matter of course, with promise of a return to a mythical, golden status quo that never existed. Creating a mythical goal creates cognitive dissonance in those whose status quo isn't currently so golden, which generates anger, an energy that can be used and manipulated.

All this because we aren't aware of the way we maintain a filter on the world, of the way we perceive a status quo inside our minds making the ever-changing world more manageable, and project and maintain the same sort of sense of status quo on a larger level for the community around us.

Our short cultural memory may be the result of this need to maintain an illusion of a permanent status quo. But the concept's vulnerability, and our vulnerability to manipulation thanks to our ignorance of it and its power, means we need to grow more aware of the illusion, the filter, or whatever we want to call this maintaining of a sense of status quo.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

The Return of the Ancient Enemy!

Azhumet steals the show this episode, as the Ancient Enemy reborn attempts to bring his time-traveling plans for saving the Elite of his race to fruition! Find out if the alien mad scientist is successful in Chapter Twenty-Four of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur! The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue – even in a chapter without the title character! Free audio science fiction adventure written and read by host Mike Luoma - Glow-in-the-Dark Radio!  

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