One of the great things about having a 15-20 minute commute to work every morning is that it allows me to spend some quality time with my radio. I usually use my commute to catch up on news and current events, but recently I’ve needed a break from the comforting voices of 90.5, and I’ve even skipped over my second favorite radio station in favor of finding out what the kids are listening to these days on the more popular radio stations. What I’ve discovered: 1) Morning radio DJs are obnoxious, but good for keeping oneself in the celebrity gossip loop (did KStew really cheat on RPatz?!), 2) Auto-tune is still a thing, 3) I occasionally pretend to be a music snob, but the latest Katy Perry and Maroon 5 tracks are super catchy and have been stuck in my head (mashup style) the last two weeks, and 4) there are a lot of commercials on commercial radio.
Interestingly enough, this got me to thinking about one of my favorite record labels, Sublime Frequencies. As suggested by the label’s name, SF specializes in the foreign and far-out, with albums from international stars unknown stateside, such as Omar Souleyman and Van Shipley. They also have albums of radio collages from India, Palestine, Algeria, and Morocco, to name a few. For some reason commercials are far more fascinating in a foreign language. If your recent dreams of foreign travel have been thwarted, I suggest checking out a few Sublime Frequencies‘ albums from the library–if you close your eyes you’ll get to experience the (aural) texture and ambience of foreign travel, but without the added jetlag or baggage fees.
So how ’bout you? What have you been listening to on the radio lately?
And 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6! I’ll let Jonathan Richman take it away:
*Title inspired by both Mr. Richman and Sarah Vowell