Sunday, October 24, 2010

Audio Stream ...

Seldom Heard Radio 10242010 - my first live broadcast of the Autumn and I'm half asleep at the microphone ...

Send comments if you'd like the playlist posted! And thanks for listening ...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tracks - Golden Dreams

Here is a gem of an unreleased song from a band called Tracks. Tracks was a band that formed at Dartmouth College in the late '60s, and was managed by Wayne Wadhams (of The Fifth Estate, "Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead.") Tracks released music on the Boston Skyline Records label. There is a review of a best-of compilation at If anyone has more information on Tracks and would like to share I would be most appreciative.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Essential info ...

So who is DJ Frederick and what are all his projects, anyway? In addition to working 45+ hours a week and trying to make time for my famly, I have flights of fancy that involve the following:

Seldom Heard Radio is the title of my long-time core radio project. It consists of a mix of independent music from the 1950's to the present. On any given broadcast you might hear a freeform blend of world music, rock, jazz, psychedelic, acoustic, jam, funk, indie pop and all kinds of other music along with updates on the world of radio broadcasting and indie media. Seldom Heard Radio is broadcast on WSCS 90.9 in New London NH and has been heard in the past on WNEC 91.7 Henniker NH, 95.1: The Pirate Ship, WBCQ shortwave, WRMI shortwave, Radio 510 International and JRRI in Ireland.

SIGNALS - an occasinal series of low tech DIY zines I am writing, editing and publishing related to pirate radio, shortwave radio, community radio, broadcasting history, indie media and related topics. 

See (new issue published in 2010!!!)

MIXED MEDIA - local media column focusing on radio, print, and internet media in the Kearsarge / Sunapee regions in New Hampshire. Mixed Media is published every other week in the Intertown Record our excellent local newspaper.

THE VILLAGE GREEN - New project for 2010 ... podcast/broadcast to illuminate local and regional musicians from New Hampshire and New England. Eight 30 minute episodes have been recorded to date! Check out the Village Green blog for downloads at

The Village Green may also be downloaded at

One Minute Zine Reviews - exactly as the title says, in both audio and video editions. 

Check for links ...

Voice of Middle Earth - new podcast inspired by the writings of JRR Tolkien featuring earthy and ethereal music ... visit for more information and streaming audio! 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Hopeful Telegram: A Hippie-Punk Archive

A new radio endeavor from DJ Frederick ... this is just the "pilot" program ... lots of musical obscurities from the 1960s through the present ... not much announcing ... emphasis here is on psychedelic folk music, peace, freedom, creativity, and homemade radio as revolution.

Please leave comments ... next time more announcing, I promise!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Jeff Pekarek To Each Their Own LP

Jeff Pekarek & friends started off 1982 by recording this LP in eight hours on January 2nd. Those were the days when engineers, producers and musicians used less digital wizardry and more sweat equity. (Okay, having written that sentence, despite the weird language and the existence of Mike Oldfield, I'm going to let the statement stand  ;-) To Each Their Own starts off with a gorgeous guitar tune (Sunrise) then segues into what sounds like a Billy Bragg inspired sea shanty (Blow Ye Winds). There's traditional music with cello (Devil's Dance / Cuckoo's Nest), a slow sacred music themed burner (Gate Gate) and more. Coming from other artists, this LP might be seen as disconnected, disjointed, and unfocused but Jeff Pekarek's stellar musicianship shines through and unifies To Each Their Own into an adventurous listening experience. Tucked away toward the end of the LP is one of the most beautiful guitar pieces I've heard in ages (Sea Urchin). May Yoga Records keep unearthing these gems that deserve a much wider listening audience.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

WNEC interview part two

College radio has always been a strange animal. It ranges from highly professional university stations that are National Public Radio affiliates to small, student run, low-powered stations that may not even be heard beyond campus borders. Henniker’s WNEC, transmitting at 91.7 is somewhere in the middle, broadcasting with about 100 watts to surrounding communities (including parts of Warner, Bradford, and Newbury). This week we continue our interview with the station manager Dan Freese and veteran DJ Chip Colcord.

Dan, tell me about your role as the station manager.
Dan Freese: Concerning my role-for many years, probably at least five, the station in my opinion started to fade. When the station was moved to the Simon Center from the dungeon in the library I believe it lost its identity. We were always like a cult and when it moved it became more mainstream which has its good and bad points. With that in mind I’m going to attempt to regain some of its mystique from the past. The first thing that was done was to move the broadcast studio from the closet it was in to a larger room. I never liked the set up of that room, too confining and no air circulation. This was accomplished without affecting our operating budget and with the aid of Phil Reeder who is an alumni of New England College (and WNEC). He and I spent many hours planning this and we were able to do it without a major disruption in on-air time.
The structure of the E-board is the next thing I’m working on as right now the station operates more like a club than a station. We spend too much time discussing events we want to sponsor and not enough on the operation of the station. I’ve re-written some of the student job descriptions like Program Director and added the position of Music Director. My hope is that during the summer I can work with the students in these two positions as far as training them in their roles and we can move forward from there.

What do you have in mind for the future of WNEC?
Dan Freese: A couple of items in the future is to re-establish a production studio where the student DJ’s can make promos and station ID’s-basically have some fun and be creative. We have the equipment for this; I just need to assemble the pieces. We’re also moving forward with internet streaming which we had at one point but when advisor’s changed several years ago so did that ability. And one final thing is to work with the Student Athletic Advisory Council to broadcast athletic events which is the most common request we have.

From the standpoint of programming my hope is that more students become involved with the station. Currently we have students on campus that don’t know we have a radio station. At one time, during my twenty plus years associated with WNEC we had students doing a show three times a week starting at 7 am and I recall the station broadcasting live everyday of the week from noon until 2 am. That’s my vision and we will get there, as long as I can remain patient.

Chip could you tell me about your broadcasting history on WNEC?

Chip Colcord: I started the new show called Out of the Woods back in November of 2009 after taking a three year hiatus from radio. Back during the 1990s I hosted similar shows which were split between contemporary folk and bluegrass programming. I did variations of these shows from 1994 through 2001. The new show incorporates the best of both, plus additional genres as well so long as they are acoustic-based. My emphasis is on the 'wires and wood' fretted instruments, so you won't hear a lot of horns or pianos, but they sneak in too occasionally. I play a lot of new releases from the best of the contemporary singer-songwriters and bluegrass acts, but also try to play some of the classics as well as the occasional 'fish out of water' such as Nirvana Unplugged and that sort of thing. Hopefully there's a little something for everybody in the mix. I am also trying to have the occasional live guest perform on the show as I did in the past. Since it is a Friday show, it is more difficult to schedule visits with touring musicians on that day. I did have my first guest recently however when multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Rich Hamilton came out from Jaffrey to play live on the show, and I have a few other local acts in the works as well. The show has been airing from 6 to 9 on Friday, but at least for this summer season listeners should be able to hear me from 4 to 7 pm. With any luck, this will become the new time slot for the show, allowing for good drive time/dinner time listening. Artists wishing to submit music or perform on the show can contact me at:

What you feel the role of college radio will be in the media age?

Dan Freese: The future of college radio, in my opinion, is fading. With the expansion of satellite radio I think that only the larger schools with money to invest will continue although satellite radio has its share of problems. I believe WNEC will continue on (via the internet) but only so long as it is affordable.
Chip Colcord: I would like to think that college radio will remain pretty much the same in the future, but that air stations will likely become online-centric, if not moving entirely to online broadcasting.

Your columnist predicts that there are two divergent scenarios college radio could travel. In one, it becomes irrelevant due to the overwhelming competition from ipods, online audio, and digital music formats. In another scenario, it fulfills its mission though offering educational audio programs, academic and community access to the airwaves, and focuses on community services that are not available through commercial radio or websites. In order for this to be successful, colleges must fund their radio stations adequately and treat them like the resource they are. The next decade will be crucial for non-commercial radio in all forms. Let’s tune in and find out where the radio voyage is going!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pat Gatti - Someone ... Somewhere

Growing up in the 1960's and 1970's, the atmosphere in the music "industry" was very different. Musicians seemed to create music for the sheer joy of it ... music was a spiritual calling, a vocation, something that needed to be manifest - not for the MTV masses but for the individual and their circle in the world. Thank the gods and goddesses that some of these musicians went into recording studios and dropped their creative visions onto tape and vinyl.

Listening to Pat Gatti's Someone ... Somewhere (1975) while driving to the radio station yesterday, tears welled in my eyes. Right from the start, the title track resonated and echoed in my heart. It was like hearing the comforting words and melodies of John Denver, but expressed more soulful. Gatti's songs range through the emotions of love and grief, meeting and parting, and distance ... and then he illuminates with guitar instrumentals like "16th Century Orient" and "Estudio and Obbligato" that are so well crafted and nuanced that one can not help but to stop everything and listen.

I understand that Pat Gatti played the nightclub circuit for a living, with its smoke filled stages and loud, inattentive crowds. Its almost impossible to listen to this music and not be taken on a journey. Thank you Pat for leaving these songs to us, and thank you Douglas for releasing them digitally via

Two "new" songs from Fletcher Tucker (Bird By Snow)

Words can not describe the beauty of Fletcher's music, or the movement his words and music create in my soul. Songbread/Another Ocean is the most expressive, heartfelt, and spiritual recordings of the past decade. Now he is offering "After Birth" ... free mp3s of alternative versions of two of the songs from Songbread/Another Ocean. I feel deep
Gratitiude ... download at

Bird By Snow's next venture drops in late October on vinyl & cd. Now is the time to cultivate patience.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

All Indie Radio WAIR

A new broadcast of free radio shortwave station WAIR is available for download ... apparently the torch has been passed from previous station operator Robert J. Yardbrown to new host A. J. Kretchmar. WAIR used to specialize in hard-to-find indie music and it's good to hear that spirit is continuing ...

WNEC interview part one

Previously published in the Intertown Record:

Nestled on the second floor of the Simon Center at New England College is a radio station that is tenacious in every sense of the word. Its origins reach back to the early 1970’s.Your columnist recalls joyfully listening to 91.7 FM back in the 1980’s and then later becoming a community DJ there in the mid 00’s. The studio was essentially a closet, the cd players were ancient but stalwart machines, the transmitter always had technical glitches (when it was working at all) and the technology was from the ghost of radio’s past. However in 2010, the station is enjoying a highly anticipated transformation. It is my pleasure to introduce you to our area’s best kept radio secret – WNEC.

Station manager Dan Freese and veteran program host Chip Colcord graciously consented to conduct an interview about WNEC.

What makes WNEC different from other radio stations?

Dan Freese: Well, WNEC is a college radio station and because of that it is in part a training facility as well as a source of diverse musical tastes. From the training standpoint we realize that mistakes will be made but by allowing the students to make mistakes (unless it violates FCC regulations) it makes it easier for them to do a show. If we took them to task for anything they may do wrong then we wouldn’t have any student DJ’s. Of course, we seasoned pro’s make mistakes as well and don’t (and I won’t speak for Chip) beat ourselves up too bad.

From a music standpoint our format varies from acoustic to Christian, rap to jazz, eclectic to classic rock and roll so we cover a wide spectrum. We’re currently working on a playlist for our automation system that will included music from current show song logs, almost like the student’s show with a pre-recorded promo to be played during the automated program that informs the listener that they are listening to a sample of the dj’s show and when it’s on-almost like an hour or 2 long promo.

Chip Colcord: Well, first I guess I think people would have to realize the difference between commercial and college radio to begin with. WNEC has a bit of a history of being about as free-form as a radio station possibly can be. The hosts themselves have historically controlled the content of their individual programs nearly 100%. Aside from the required public service announcements and station identification, DJs on WNEC create their own programs. Having so many varied personalities on the air, you never know what you will tune in to find, for better or worse. Listeners are likely to tune in one day and hate what they hear, only to tune in the next day and fall in love with a certain program. This variation has always been the tradition at WNEC and it happens year after year as students come and go, community members join and depart, and so on. WNEC DJs have been putting genuine thought behind their flow of music since it began in 1972, years before attempted to do the same thing with a computer. College and community radio is an art form in itself, while commercial radio is simply a business.

What will listeners hear on WNEC?

Dan Freese: As far as what listeners will hear, we are on the air 24x7 due to automation which has a variety of music although it tends to favor my tastes and that of Chip because we put the list together. As far as live shows we let the students choose the venue or style of music at this point, we don’t have a rotation like we’ve had in the past. Styles of music vary from Christian oriented to hip-hop and rap although I still have not been able to distinguish between the 2. We did have a student doing an international show that concentrated mostly on German music and we also have 2 students doing a sports talk show at 11 am twice a week.

Chip Colcord: Unless there is a live DJ doing a show at the time they tune in, listeners will hear our present automation flow that we have been tweaking for some time now. Whenever a live show ends, the DJ will play our automated mix of music from various genres. It is presently organized into miniature sets of music that hopefully flow nicely, split with public service announcements and station identification spots. A lot of different station members and friends have helped to ensure there's a little something for everyone in the automation flow. Dan has already mentioned a plan to add more specific show-related spots to our automation created by the DJs themselves, and we will continue to improve the mix and hopefully create special flows for various times of the year such as a holiday mix.

Your comments on media and other musings are always welcomed at

Saturday, August 07, 2010

New Hampshire college & LPFM stations

A brief guide to college, independent and LPFM radio stations in New Hampshire:

WUNH – 91.3 – Durham: University of New Hampshire – the granddaddy of all college radio in NH, this station has been on the air since at least the early 1970’s and has a fantastic digital signal with 6,000 watts reaching all of eastern and southeastern New Hampshire, northern Mass and southern Maine.

WSCS – 90.9 – New London: Colby-Sawyer College – station where I have DJ’ed since 2000, sincere and energetic college radio for the Kearsarge Region of New Hampshire.

WPCR – 91.7 – Plymouth: Plymouth State University – commercial free listening as you drive North on 93 toward the White Mountains. Mostly hard rock but occasionally some classical!

WKNH 91.3 – Keene: Keene State College – excellent variety and now broadcasting 24/7!

WNEC 91.7 – Henniker: New England College – great little indie station broadcasting 24/7 with a wide range of tunes ... brought back to life by Chip Colcord and Dan Freese. Chip's show, Out of the Woods, can be heard on Fridays at 4 pm.

WSPS 90.5 – Concord: Saint Paul’s School – an awesome variety of music, great signal, but often on automation! Live community oriented DJ’s would be appreciated! WCNH - 94.7 - Concord NH - 80 watt classical music station heard mostly within Concord city limits.

WXGR - 101.5 - Dover NH - Great tunes. Automated 24/7 but does broadcast "Democracy Now"

WLLO - 102.9 - Londonderry NH: Automated mix of folk and rock music. Operated by the Londonderry School District.

WSCA – 106.1 – Portsmouth NH – the Seacoast's awesome low power fm community station!

WFPC-LP 105.3 in Rindge NH operated by Franklin Pierce University - I don't know anything about this station!
and across the state line into Vermont ...

WOOL - 100.1 - fantastic community station based in Bellows Falls VT with local program hosts bringing the airwaves to the community and the community to the airwaves.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Small Mountain Bear

One of the joys of being a DJ at a college radio station (WSCS) is rummaging through the stacks and discovering something totally new and wondrous. Small Mountain Bear definitely fits both adjectives.

In this promo cd, Will Read has collected twelve original songs, each with its own musical sensibility. There is an occasional homage to Paul Simon or the Kings of Convenience on this cd but in the context of Read's skillful songwriting and musicianship and indie folk/pop ethos, this is a good thing. From the opening "Untitled (Spy Song)" with both acoustic and wah wah guitars, cymbals and catchy melody / chorus, I knew I was in for a treat. In the true indie spirit, the artist distributes his music for free via downloads on his website. How cool is that?

Listen up at

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A word from Larry Knutson ... thank you so much!

Just ran into this three year old blog entry concerning WSLE in Peterboro, NH. I was the night shift DJ with that station, from 1977 to early 1979. Joel Gray (Music Director) was morning drive, Tim Tobin (Program Director) was mid-day, and Ken McKay was afternoon drive time. Debra Budreaux (sp?) was the Station and Sales Manager and Fritz Weatherbee the News Director and personality in his own right. WSLE was the first of the true east coast Indie Stations. Yes, WNEW in NYC was the major metro rules ground-breaker, and later the Boston Phoenix station was incredible. However, the Boston station's format was clearly a knock off of what Tim Tobin put together at WSLE. I can remember doing the night show, many times, when a national artist would "stop by" his/her favorite east coast station, WSLE. Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Noel Paul Stookey, Dr. John, Jorma Kaukonen, George Thorogood, Bob Weir,,,,those jump to memory immediately, but there were MANY more incredible visits and experiences in that little studio in Southern N.H. It's nice to see that someone still remembers those halcyon early days of free-form radio, which didn't last long, but arguably formed some of the bedrock for today's web based stations, such as Folk Alley and Radio Paradise.

Travel Well friends,
Larry Knutson
WSLE 1977-1979

Release of the Summer 2010 ... Ryan Kickland's "The Mountain"

Wow. I'm determined to revive this blog after way too long a hiatus. Might only get to post every so often ... so rather than posting a release of the month I am presenting a Release of the Season this time around.

One of the reasons I am excitied to revive the blog is a promo cd that I generously received from Ryan Kickland. If the Decembrists Hazards of Love is a rock opera, then Ryan Kickland's The Mountain is a folk opera that rocks. The songs follow a natural arc, the story of transformation of one man in communion with the natural world. Kickland's songs are simultaneously universal and intensely personal. His music is wonderfully masculine, as the musician calls forth this inner magician, warrior, king and lover. One doesn't stumble across music this deep very often - the "Songbread / Another Ocean" lp by Bird By Snow comes to mind, yet only in the sense that both lps involve rich imagery and unique voices telling it "how it is" from the soul.

Now more than ever we need to embrace our place in the natural world. Humanity is not different from nature, but an essential part of the ecosystem. How we navigate our place in the natural world will impact our survival as a species, and the overall health of what is left of our environment. Journeys like The Mountain may tip the scales in the direction of personal and environmental healing.

For more information visit

Sunday, July 25, 2010

First post in 100 years!!!

Okay ... maybe not *that* long ... but close enough

A free radio friend tells me that there are two new radio programs from early to mid 2000's shortwave pirate stations posted at the website below ... so I'm getting the word out!

Mystery Science Radio (2010 Episode 1):

Purple Nucleus of Creation (2010 Episode 1):

Saturday, May 22, 2010

DJ Frederick's top two internet sites for buying music

1. CD BABY – CD Baby was started by one man, Derek Sivers, a musician who was asked by a few friends to sell their cds on the his band’s website. CD Baby now distributes music by over 80,000 artists. Every imaginable genre is represented, and I have personally found some of the most intriguing and obscure indie music on the planet via CD Baby. There are numerous payment options, reasonably priced cds, and the cds arrive fast. There really *is* a whole world to explore.

2. DUSTYGROOVE - funk, soul, rock, jazz, cds, lps, 45's ... what's not to love? Dustygroove is part of the indie / lesser-known music camp ... exceptional service, selection and prices. If I don't stop now I'll sound like a commercial.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Guitar Soli - Wayfaring Strangers

The Numero Group returns with more obscure beauty. Expanding their distinctive quality, Rob Sevier and company resound tastefully yet again,
but with a new reissue direction for a new year. Further strengthening their contention that esoteric is better, Wayfaring Strangers: Guitar Soli pulls selectively from the 15 transformative years between two guitar paradigms — American Primitive Guitar of the Sixties and New Age of the Eighties — showcasing lesser known innovators who challenged the narrative depths found in a 6 or 12 string guitar.
The song selection maps fingerstyle’s frontiers from 1966-1981, suggesting Numero as a label retrospectively in discussion with John Fahey’s Takoma Records and William Ackerman’s Windham Hill Records. Likewise, the life stories painstakingly detailed in Guitar Soli’s spirited 40-page booklet affirm the authenticity of the players alongside their compositions, thereby acknowledging both the stylistic traditions and regional environments that nurtured such songwriting — idiosyncratic American locales like Northern California or rural Wisconsin. From Ted Lucas playing sitar on Motown records to Brad Chequer never making it past Windham Hill’s slush pile, these literally unsung songs and players had a tangible presence in their day.
More than anything, Guitar Soli embodies a latter-day American folk aesthetic, when impressions of a changed and changing society evolved into verve and musical self-discovery. For instance, listen to this compilation’s bookends — two haunting compositions by Dana Westover and Dwayne Cannan — that function as Guitar Soli’s overtures, and yet feel just too powerful to be mere ruminations. Thriving on complementary opposites, these songs linger loudly and quietly, the players sounding out a self-determination that surely includes loneliness. The 14 voices on Guitar Soli shimmer with 14 personalized guitar stylings, each marked by an independence in composition through discipline and mastery.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Essential Listening #2

What??!!! Three Dog Night???!!!
I was watching an episode of "Lost" a few months ago when in a critical scene this song cranked over my speakers and once again into my consciousness after many years. The lyrics are spiritually healing and uplifting - a rarity in the music industry.
Wash away my trouble
Wash away my pain
With the rain in shambala
Everyone is helpful
Everyone is kind
on the road to shambala
How does your light shine
in the halls of shambala?

Since when has a pop song expressed this essence of hopefulness? Listen, immerse, and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Essential Listening #1

I've decided to take a break from doing a "Release of the Month" for April and instead pose the question: if I had to grab a record or three from a burning building, what would they be? High on the priority list would be this 7" vinyl released by Bruce Licher's Independent Project Records back in the early 1990's in miniscule amounts. Half String's Oval / Sun Less Sea are sonic journeys that stay embedded in your consciousness. Sun Less Sea is one of my favorite songs of all time - starting off with a meandering but melodic jangly guitar line and building to a wall of sound crescendo that shows you how to soar with the gods before drifting slowly back into the atmosphere. Pure bliss. You could get lost here.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Release of the Month: February 2007 - North Sea Radio Orchestra

How can you *not* love a UK musical collective that call themselves the North Sea Radio Orchestra? Their name conjures images of staticy shortwave radio signals, rain-battered ships and formidable waves. Their music conjures images of a different nature - clean, well-lighted, intimate theaters and performance spaces. Neo-classical in tone, with a healthy mix of instrumentals and vocal based songs, North Sea Radio Orchestra is a rare gem ... akin to the American based neo-classical group Rachel's. Is it pretentious? If quiet is the new loud, this cd roars.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Release of the Month: January 2007 - The Harpeth Trace On Disappearing

Following the eloquent and exceptional debut EP "Man and the Cousin", The Harpeth Trace has released a gem of haunting folk and psychedelia. In my mind's eye, I imagine the band rolling into a cramped studio around 3 am to start recording sessions in the quiet cloak of night. In fact, the word nocturnal comes to mind when swimming through their slowbeat haze of guitar, drums and bass. On Disappearing is the perfect title for the meditative, blues-tinged quality of Harpeth Trace's first full length cd ... one can almost fade into the shadows and silences in these songs. Not that The Harpeth Trace can't rock out ... as they do on "The Numbers in Your Hair".
All of their song titles are impressionistic, with hints of the Clientele's wordsmithing --- but The Harpeth Trace is uniquely it's own band, defying reference points. With On Disappearing they have created a masterpiece that flows and works its magic from track to track --- the way an album was meant to be listened to.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Release of the Month: October 2007 - PIRATE RADIO USA

If you've searched for Pirate Radio related documentaries on film, you'll know that less than a handful exist- if you can unearth them. They don't exactly atract lucritive distribution deals and glowing reviews from the mainstream press. Just in time to save us from the tedious monotony of this year's films, B-Side has released Pirate Radio USA on DVD.
DJ Him and DJ Her take bring the viewer on a live tour of the underground world of unlicensed broadcasting in America. Radio Davids battle Media Goliaths and find out the real price of freedom. This film immediately connects with the audience - the hosts are friendly, have a retro sense of humor, and know their subject intimately - they have been pirate radio operators for many years. Pirate Radio USA covers almost a decade from the 1996 Broadcast Act which spawned unprecidented media consolidation into the hands of a few mega corporations. DJ Him and Her narrate their personal quest to connect with other pirate radio stations, document the micro-radio coverage of the World trade Organization protests in Seattle, and educate us on the finer points of why free radio is so important to communites. This film is far from fair & balanced - but then, corporate media and the National Association of Broadcasters have million dollar lobbyists & countless media platforms from which to shout their stories.
I have a simple formula for whether a documentary is worth my time. Does the film hold my attention? Does it stimulate learning? Pirate Radio USA achieves both, proving that you don't need a budget to present an entertaining film on topics ignored by mainstream media.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Release of the Month September 2007: Hobbyhorse - Break In the Clouds

This wonderful album opens with the swirling sustain of an organ, lilting percussion (bodhran?) quiet, precise guitar and earthy vocals & builds from there. Traditional in one sense, quietly experimental in others, Hobbyhorse's Break in the Clouds embodies the magic that is woven in the art of folk music - and by folk music I mean music that is authentic, spirited & manifest from the love of creation rather than 'music industry' profit motive. Each song is a delight of discovery.

Hobbyhorse is Annie Aronson and Phil Campbell. They have created an online music & art community at - an experience of sound and vision to explore and enjoy ... an online space to envision yourself sipping the most delicious cup of tea surrounded by mesmerizing beauty.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Ringing Down the Years

Oh man. I was borned & razed in manchester new hampshire and managed to drop out of high school while I could still think for myself. As soon as I got my hands on a friend's car I remember haunting the local record shops of Southern NH and Northern MA looking for unknown (to me) bands and obscurities. One day I found a 7" vinyl by Jonee Earthquake Band. I recognized Jonee from manchester, and thought - I have to buy this. One listen confirmed I was right - it was a slice of pure guitar joy, a rockin' rave-up ode to vinyl records called Black Plastic and a reggae tinged tune called Batten Down the Hatches.

While digging through the vinyl archives at WNEC, where I somehow hold the miraculous title of Community Program Director, I came across four vinyl gems by Jonee & krew. Looking up the interweb I discovered his website & sent a few dineros for some very inexpensive cds. Holy fuck, local punk/folk music lives with a vengeance. This dude is a still a brilliant songwriter, and thats no shit - one listen to "Up With Piracy" and I'd discovered a theme song for Seldom Heard Radio. As long as no one listening to WNEC turns me in to the FCC. Or as long as no wizard turns me into the FCC. There are worse fates but I can't think of them at the moment. Read this: FU FCC. Thanks for stealing our airwaves and selling them to Clear Channel, etc.

Cruise over to Don't be such a recluse like ye olde DJ here, go see a show, or at least fork over some bucks for some cds. Most of them include bonus tracks by other bands.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Release of the Month May 2007 - The Christ Tree

My personal history with religion is checkered at best. I was raised a mainstream protestant christian, had brushes with the Unification Church and born-again fundamentalism, converted to anglican catholicism and had a brief existance as a third order monastic, became an atheist after some emotional upheaval, then finally a quiet pagan. Now, I believe that there is no way that god and goddess don't exist (oops, double negative) ... God as We Understand God To Be is too deep to fit inside one limited set of beliefs called a religion.
Imagine my delight upon hearing The Trees Community The Christ Tree and not just tolerating the christian references, but revelling in them. This is music like no other - meditative, prayerful, organic, joyous, ponderous, a full-on masterpiece of the mid 1970's era. From the Trees Community's website: "80 Acoustic instruments and more are nestled in the Christ Tree. Starting with an initial collection of Indian Sitar, Tamboura and drums, Venezuelan folk harp, American Guitar, French Flute, Austrian Zither and Tibetan Gongs, we began to add more and more instruments. Everywhere we went people gave us full blown instruments or noise makers, ranging from finger cymbals to Japanese Koto; from African Belanji to American Dulcimer".
I only wish I had been adventurous and purchased the 4 cd box set before it went out of print. This one cd version includes:
1. Psalm 42
2. The Parable of the Mustard Seed
3. Psalm 45
4. Invocation (O Little Town of Bethlehem)
5. Village Orchestra
6. Jesus He Knows
7. I Will Not Leave You Comfortless
8. Chant for Pentecost
9. Psalm 46
10. Bird Song
11.Lift Your Weary Hand
12.Your an ointment poured forth
15. Annunciation
16. Symphony of Souls*
17. Baptism
18. There is Such a Love...that steals into the heart, planting a kiss on deep wounds
* previously unreleased, not included on the box set
Praise the Lord and pass the headphones. Pray that more recordings are forthcoming from this psychedelic christian commune. For more information see

Monday, April 23, 2007

Release of the Month April 2007 - Kevin Hume

This morning I listened to a cd that inspired me to start a new feature on this blog & in my radio broadcasts ("Release of the month") that may inspire me to update this blog more frequently.
When the first track started spinning in my cd player, my musical attention was immediately caught, probably for the first time since New Year's ... and I have listened to a lot of new releases since then. Warm morning sunlight filtered through my windshield as I drove South on Route 89 toward work. At first I thought ... this is curiously different, then a few moments later ... wow, this is closing in on sustained brilliance. I was transported back to the first time I'd heard the Penguin Cafe Orchestra more than 20 years ago --- hearing something that felt entirely fresh, a blush of discovery. Kevin Hume's The Truth About Ants and Aphids is an astonishing piece of work ... musically adventurous in every respect. His music weaves in elements of guitar, mandolin, glockenspiel (my favorite instrument of late), cello, violin, harp, flute, trumpets ... these songs embody both the fragile beauty of Spring and the melancholy haze of night. Thematically coherant yet transcending boundaries of folk, jazz, and classical music, The Truth About Ants & Aphids is easily one of the most intriguing releases of the year ... one that will receive numerous spins (all tracks!) on my WSCS and WNEC broadcasts.
Check out for more information.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Sound of Birds

Sound of Birds has released a generous sixteen track
cd of "home demos & such" with beautifully crafted songwriting by Michael Red. The atmosphere on Home Demos & Such ranges from acoustic meditations to bone-crunching downtempo melancholy. This band takes shoegazing one step further - right through the stage floor. A DIY ethic infuses this CD with incredible energy.
This cd is one to listen to in the late nights or hushed mornings.

For more information visit

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Little Somebody Records

The psychedelic folk underground / aboveground / forest is alive with voices, guitars and bells. I'm just discovering Little Somebody Records, an independent label that has birthed releases by Arrowwood, The Joy of Nature, and novemthree.

Given time I may write more in depth reviews of these releases, in the interim, when you emerge from the mists, log onto for a delighful sample for the ears. Little Somebody Records plans releases by Cloud Temple & Green Mistletoe among others. We are truly blessed with new music of the woods.

The Boy With A Broken Leg

More proof that the revolution won't necessarily be broadcast, televised, or brought to you by corporate music industry behemoths. The Boy With A Broken Leg is from Lisbon, Portugal & a unique voice in the realm of indie music. His recordings feature hushed voices, otherworldly melodies, waking dreamscapes and an abundance of songwriting craft. I'm looking forward to introducing listeners to his music on my radio broadcasts.

For information & song samples check out

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Nobody and the Mystic Chords of Memory

Recently I have been exploring new worlds of 7" vinyl and songs & sounds that delight my esoteric ears. One outstanding discovery is the new 7" single by Nobody and the Mystic Chords of Memory released on Earsugar Records

These two songs "Memory" and "Broaden a New Sounds" are glimpses into their forthcoming cd Tree Colored See. Nobody (DJ Elvin Estella) collaborates with the Mystic Chords of Memory (Jen Cohen and Christ Gunst) on a sunshine-soaked folk pop masterpiece. If these two songs are any indication, the forthcoming cd will be timeless and a must have for any psychedelic pop music affectionado. Gunst's vocals are dreamy to the point where they float unassumingly over an immaculately balanced production while Nobody blends in bubbling shuffles of percussion as subtly as possible. Pure bliss.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Seldom Heard Radio special broadcast on shortwave!

A special broadcast of Seldom Heard Radio will be heard on shortwave in Europe on 6240 kHZ this coming week via Jolly Roger Radio International in Ireland. Thank you Joe Vincent! The photo at right is part of JRRI's broadcast studio. More shortwave transmissions will hopefully be forthcoming!

Shine On You Crazy Diamond

Late last week, the planet lost another light warrior.

Author, peace advocate, film producer, spiritual seeker, father, lover and friend Steve Diamond moved on to another dimension. Steve was a nomadic ambassador of spiritual devlopment, an original member of the Liberation News Service and co-founder of a long running New Age commune in northwestern Massachusetts, which he chronicled in his 1972 book What The Trees Said - Life on a New Age Farm.

Rather than type a lot of words that can not possibly express my deepest feelings for the wonderful soul that Steve is, please check out his essay The Wand and the Lake at

Safe journey and many blessings, Steve. I know that wherever you are, you're shining.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

an interview with Josh of The Harpeth Trace

Independent bands like the amazing The Harpeth Trace are a major reason why I broadcast on radio and publish this blog - to play lesser known music over the airwaves that needs to be heard & to share information among the alternative radio community. I am working on the capacity to host on-air interviews with musicians and indie media folks (the technology at both WNEC and WSCS is primitive at best - kind of the way I like it!) so please stay tuned as this effort evolves over the coming semester. In the interim, written interviews will continue to appear in this blog.

Thankfully Josh Kasselman from The Harpeth Trace agreed to a written interview for the Seldom Heard Radio blog:

DJ Frederick: What are the origins of your band’s name (The Harpeth Trace)?

Josh: My family lived on Harpeth Trace Drive in Nashville for a couple of years when I was growing up. It's got to be one of the most unwieldy band names ever, but I like to think it's memorable--even if it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.

DJ Frederick: How did your band form? What has the creative process been like for songwriting and arrangements?

Josh: Rune (bass) and I were in a band called Boxing for a number of years, and Rob (drums) was very nearly brought on as the drummer of that band when we needed a replacement. It didn't pan out (he was in another band at the time and the schedules didn't jive), but we'd always run into him at shows and it seemed pretty likely to me that we'd work with him at some point. When Boxing split, The Harpeth Trace formed very gradually, with people drifting in and out. It's been organic if not immediate, and the lineup is continuing to evolve. For Man and the Cousin, I basically wrote the songs on guitar and then everyone chipped in ideas for parts and arrangements. Pretty standard. We completely lucked out and found a private recording studio (complete with dusty piano) that we rent by the month, so we had the luxury of trying lots of different stuff without having to pay for studio time by the hour. We recorded everything ourselves onto an 8-track cassette deck, which is what I've used to record just about everything I've ever done. I love the thing dearly.

DJ Frederick: What are your current projects & future plans for the Harpeth Trace?

Josh: We have a new addition to the band, a fella named Barry. He plays a variety of instruments and brings a tremendously open approach to songwriting and arranging with him. It's been a huge shot in the arm, and we're currently wading through all the new material we've come up with in the month or two he's been around. We hope there's an LP in there. Probably there is. In the meantime, we're just putting out Man and the Cousin in mid-January, so we're going to tour a bit in support of that.

DJ Frederick: What are your thoughts on the state of radio in the United States?

Josh: Heh. Uhhh… well, I think satellite radio is the most interesting point of discussion. On one hand, the breadth of stations allows for a more individualized approach to broadcasting. However, there's surely a danger that such a specialized approach might create narrow-minded listeners. Still, I can't see it being any worse a prospect than what we have now; save a few college and community stations--whose playlists are growing increasingly similar if you ask me--the radio is pretty much pointless. I guess I still get my news from NPR.

There's the obvious rant about payola and about the commercial stations being too scared to take a chance on anything. But the scary thing is when you look at it on a smaller scale… It's nearly impossible for an independent artist to get widespread college radio play anymore unless they can afford to hire the same promoters that the other larger indie labels use. It's like a JV version of what happens on commercial radio. Ahem, sorry to get so bleak on you. Thanks for the forum.

Editor's note: The Harpeth Trace debut EP grows more intricate with each listening. For more information on ordering Man and the Cousin check out the band's website at

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Harpeth Trace

The Harpeth Trace
Man & The Cousin EP
2005 Robert Barry Construction Associates

1. Cottontail
2. A Letter to the Room
3. The Man & The Cousin
4. Ghost and You Know it

I first listened to The Harpeth Trace while driving into town on an overcast pre-dawn morning after little sleep the night before. This cd has rarely left my stereo in the handful of days since. Mercurial and dreamy, these songs are infused with mystery. "A Letter to the Room" starts off uptempo like a Clientele riff then flows into jazzy territory. "The Man & The Cousin" opens with delicately strummed guitar, reverb soaked vocals, and melodica & piano drifting in on a minor key that feels rooted in traditional blues and folk. By the fourth track "Ghost and You Know It" this DJ was fully under the spell of The Harpeth Trace's creative energy. Man & The Cousin EP is available for purchase from

Monday, December 26, 2005

Voice of the Seven Woods

One of the most beautiful 7" vinyl releases in memory, Voice of the Seven Woods is perfect for contemplating winter. The four pieces feature acoustic guitar backed with minimal but effective percussion.

Five eventful summers have passed since the young Rick Tomlinson stumbled in to Manchester's vivid musical landscape as a vinyl hungry psyched-out sidekick to Andy Votel and Dom Thomas on their formative Twisted Nerve radio show. Rick, a self taught musician, has since drawn influence from an oblique archive of obscure LPs and bizzare instruments and forged his own unique approach to making music. A potent mixture of krautrock, folk, jazz, tropicalia and Welsh progressive rock has seduced stalwarts of Manchester's alternative music scene into countless collaborations with Rick. Various impromptu appearances at local folk clubs have earned Rick a reputation amongst mainstays of the folk scene such as John Renbourne who recently asked Rick to accompany him on future live appearances.

This debut EP can be ordered from

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Mini Review: The Anvil - The Gush

In the past decade, artists such as Matt Valentine and Ben Chasney (Six Organs of Admittance) have opened the door for experiemental folk-blues-psychedelic ragas and song stylings. Fortunate for us. The next wave of musical creations is flowing ...

The Anvil is UK musician Matthew Fullwood, who has recorded a beautiful, shifting collection of psychedelic excursions. Throughout this recording, he uses guitar, bells, percussion, organ, piano and other instruments to amazing effect. These songs drone in places, melodies weave in and around subtle drums, guitar scales, and hushed vocals. There are hints of woodlands, and an earthy rhythm of another time.

From the Woven Wheat Whispers write-up: This album will appeal to fans of 60s psychedelic folk, experimental acoustic, psychedelia and modern folk song. It’s influences range broadly and are too numerous to mention but we certainly haven’t heard many bands who fuse them so well and evolving from that a music which is an expression of their own creativity.

The Gush is available for download from the excellent Woven Wheat Whispers music service at

Monday, November 28, 2005

Mini Review: Phantom Dog Beneath the Moon - In a Light

available as a download from

When driving home from work recently, listening to Phantom Dog Beneath the Moon and in danger of slipping into a state of dissociated reverie, a voice in my head intoned (maybe it was Carl Jung's?) "This is music of the guaze psyche."

Phantom Dog Beneath the Moon pulls one into the netherworld with hints of isolation, yet also celebration of the self, the charting of the inner world. The nine songs that comprise "In a Light" are wrapped in guitar and synth and awash with ethereal male vocals. From the Woven Wheat Whispers website: "This is modern folk trying to find its way home through the fog of communication signals and electronic transmissions"

Perfect ghost radio music. What's the frequency, Aaron?