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Half Japanese, Blonde Redhead Return And Spirits Hover

Tuesday, September 9: North Carolina’s Holy Ghost Tent Revival has been praised for its blend of music from the 1960s (especially The Band) and contemporary sounds (think: Dr. Dog). The group’s debut album, The Right State of Mind is out now and we’ll hear from that release on this episode of Strange Currency as well as from Adult Roommates the latest from Somebody’s Darling, a release that appeals to fans of Bonnie Raitt and The Heartless Bastards.

Wednesday, September 10: Overjoyed is the first album in 13 years from legendary art rock band Half Japanese. Led by songwriter Jad Fair, the group issued its debut album in 1980 and became one of the leading bands in the then-burgeoning lo fi movement. We’ll also hear selections from Double Youth, the latest from Helado Negro.

Thursday, September 11: Although Minneapolis, Minnesota gained national attention for its music scene during the 1980s thanks to bands such as The Replacements, Soul Asylum, and others, the city had already produced a number of promising bands during the 1970s. One of them, Suicide Commandos, released the influential album Make A Record in 1977 via subsidiary of Mercury Records. Featuring songs such as “Mosquito Crucifixion,” “Call of the Wild” and “Semi-Smart,” the album is filled with the kind of humor that would distinguish the Minneapolis scene from others like it. We’ll hear from Make A Record as well as selections from 1980-1990 the 1978 release by Spooks, a band featuring Minneapolis songwriter Curtiss A and Bob “Slim” Dunlap, who would go on to join The Replacements.

Friday, September 12: Released in late 1999 'Hours...' was, by some measures, a commercial disappointment but remains one of his best recordings from that decade. It was also the final album he recorded featuring his longtime collaborator and guitarist Reeves Gabrels. We’ll hear selections from that recording as well as from Shaken ‘n’ Stirred, the 1985 release from Robert Plant. Featuring guitar synthesizers and other of-the-moment technology the record polarized some of Plant’s fans and saw him return to a less experimental sound with his next album, 1988’s Now and Zen. We’ll hear selections from both those releases on this episode of the show.

Saturday, September 13: Barragán is the first album in four years from New York’s Blonde Redhead; we’ll hear from that release on this episode of the show plus selections from A Tribute To Michael Been, a new release from the band The Call. The group had some minor commercial success in the 1980s, but was a favorite among critics. Been later toured with his son, Robert Levon Been’s, band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The younger Been joins The Call on this new live release.

Monday, September 15: Released in 1975, Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti features songs that were recorded as early as 1970, though the bulk of the record came together in early 1974. Today it is considered one of the great two albums sets of all time. That reputation is in part due to songs such as “Kashmir” and “Trampled Under Foot.” We’ll hear selections from that album and from Robert Plant’s 1983 sophomore solo release, The Principle of Moments which featured the major radio hits “Big Log” and “In The Mood.”

Jedd Beaudoin is host/producer of the nationally syndicated program Strange Currency. He has also served as an arts reporter, a producer of A Musical Life and a founding member of the KMUW Movie Club. As a music journalist, his work has appeared in Pop Matters, Vox, No Depression and Keyboard Magazine.