Strange Currency

Monday - Saturday at 8pm

Strange Currency airs six nights a week on KMUW, bringing you new releases, old favorites and forgotten classics. We spotlight local and regional acts, including guests on Currency Exchange, our live in-the-studio program recorded at the KMUW studios.

Jedd Beaudoin invites you to listen 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday as he opens up his personal music vault and lets you in.

Once again, KMUW 89.1 FM and its music shows Global Village and Strange Currency are winners in the annual Public Radio Exchange (PRX) Zeitfunk Awards. KMUW was #1 in the category of Most Licensed Station.

Have a question? Send Jedd an email.

And, if you’re so inclined, join Strange Currency on Facebook.

Listen to recent Strange Currency shows:

Archive is updated between midnight and 3:00 a.m. after the show airs.

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Thursday, March 21  

The Dark and The Light is the latest release from Chicago-born singer-songwriter Shawn James. We’ll hear selections from it on this episode of Strange Currency as well as music from Luther Dickinson & Sisters of the Strawberry Moon’s Solstice. Dickinson, perhaps best known for his work with the Black Crowes and as a member of The North Mississippi Allstars (with his brother Cody), assembled a number of singer-songwriters he respected for this recording, including Birds of Chicago and Amy Helm.

Friday, March 22

Following the dissolution of the “classic” lineup of Guided By Voices in the late 1990s, founding member Robert Pollard recruited the Cleveland, Ohio band Cobra Verde to support him on the album that would become Mag Earwhig! We’ll hear selections from that effort as well as music from Cobra Verde’s Egomania, released the same year.

Saturday, March 23

We’ll hear from Bossanova, the 1990 effort from the Pixies as well as Alien Lanes, the 1995 set from Guided By Voices. Former bassist James Greer once quipped that the record cost, less beer, “about ten dollars” to make.

Monday, March 25

Listen for music from Gallipoli, the latest by Beirut, as well as music from Sea Wolf’s 2007 effort, Leaves in the River.

Tuesday, March 26

Suitcase is a series of boxed sets released by the Ohio band Guided By Voices between 2000 and 2015. Featuring songs not included in the group’s main discography (and reportedly culled from a literal suitcase filled with tapes), the project spotlights various corners of GBV’s nature, including its forays into lo-fi and whimsical pieces such as “Little Jimmy The Giant.” We’ll hear pieces from the Suitcase sets as well as music from Robert Pollard’s 1999 effort, Kid Marine.

Wednesday, March 27

The Dark and The Light is the latest release from Chicago-born singer-songwriter Shawn James. We’ll hear selections from that effort as well as music from Mike Keneally’s Wooden Smoke.

Thursday, March 28  

Although he never broke through to major chart success, Tommy Keene, who died in 2017 at the age of 59, remained one of the best songwriters of his generation. We’ll music from his acclaimed 1986 record, Songs from the Film as well as from his 2006 collaboration with Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices as The Keene Brothers, Blues and Boogie Shoes.

Friday, March 29  

Listen for music from Split Lip Rayfield’s I’ll Be Around as well as selections from the 2019 archival release from Townes Van Zandt, Sky Blue.

Saturday, March 30

We’ll preview our April featured artists, Richard Thompson and Robin Trower. We’ll hear from the former’s 1000 Years Of Popular Music as well as the latter’s classic Bridge Of Sighs release.

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Tuesday, March 12: Listen for selections from Isolation Drills, the 2001 effort from Guided By Voices as well as music from William Bloom’s You Should See You In This Light.

Wednesday, March 13: Varshons 2 is the second collection of cover songs from veteran act The Lemonheads. This new collections features renditions of songs originally recorded by Yo La Tengo, The Jayhawks, NRBQ and Nick Cave. Listen for music from that effort as well as songs from Indie Cindy, the 2014 album from the Pixies.  

Thursday, March 14: Released in 1985, Strength was the sophomore release from Welsh band The Alarm and notable for two singles, one for the title track and the other, “Spirit of ’76,” a Springsteen-esque number that garnered the band major airplay in the U.K. We’ll hear music from that release as well as songs from the recent Guided By Voices album, Zeppelin Over China.

Friday, March 15: Listen for selections from I Used to Be Pretty, the latest album from the Los Angeles-based band the Flesh Eaters. The new recording reunites the band’s 1981 lineup, assembled for the LP A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die, featuring members of The Blasters, X, and Los Lobos. We’ll hear music from I Used to Be Pretty as well as from X’s 1980 debut, Los Angeles.

Saturday, March 16: We’ll mark the birthday of author and musician John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats) as well as hear selections from Under the Bushes Under the Stars, the 1996 album from Guided By Voices. We'll remember legendary session drummer Hal Blaine, who passed away on March 11. Blaine played on countless hits in the 1960s as a member of revolving cast of musicians known as The Wrecking Crew. Among his credits were appearances on hits from The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys and Diana Ross.

Monday, March 18: We celebrate the birthday of guitarist Bill Frisell with selections from throughout his career and various guest appearances, including selections from Going Back Home from the Ginger Baker Trio, featuring Frisell and bassist Charlie Haden as well as from Frisell’s own 1997 set, Nashville.

Tuesday, March 19: Texas Piano Man is the latest release from Robert Ellis. Although an accomplished guitarist, Ellis opted to write this new album entirely on piano. The record features meditations on parenthood, dissolving romantic relationships and the cultural taboo that cigarette smoking has become. We’ll hear music from that release as well as songs from Let’s Go Eat the Factory, the 2012 reunion release from Guided By Voices. We'll remember guitar legend Dick Dale, who passed on March 16 at the age of 81.

Wednesday, March 20: We mark the first day of Spring with music from Hot Chip, Thin Lizzy, Prince and Tom Waits.

International Women's Day is Friday, March 8, and KMUW is celebrating with five hours of music. Join Global Village, Strange Currency and Crossroads from 7 p.m. to midnight for the annual special feature.

Robert Smith

Having delivered The Similitude Of A Dream, a sprawling, imaginative concept album that served in part as a retelling of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, in 2016, it may have seemed unlikely that The Neal Morse Band would return with a similarly ambitious epic. When Morse and his bandmates convened in early 2018 to work on that record’s follow-up, the intention was to record a streamlined, single LP. When those sessions were complete, some questions still lingered in the air as to what shape the new record should take.

A year later, fans were treated to the new Neal Morse Band album, The Great Adventure, which is another concept LP that follows a similar trajectory to the collective’s previous effort. Joined by drummer Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, Winery Dogs, who also doubles on vocals) as well as Eric Gillette (guitar, vocals), Randy George (bass) and Bill Hubauer (keyboards, vocals), Morse has once more done the unthinkable and topped himself.

In addition to this new LP, the band has undertaken a tour. Morse has also been preparing his musical, Jesus Christ: The Exorcist, for a June release via Frontiers Records and, later this year, will issue another album with Flying Colors, the band featuring him, Portnoy and Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse in its ranks.

Morse recently spoke with KMUW about recording The Great Adventure and his role as an independent artist. 

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Friday, March 1 

As a member of The Buggles, Trevor Horn helped launched the MTV revolution via the hit “Video Killed The Radio Star.” Later, he produced hits for acts such as Frankie Goes To Hollywood, ABC, Pet Shop Boys, Paul McCartney and Seal. Horn’s latest album, Trevor Horn Reimagines The ‘80s, recorded with The Sarm Orchestra, finds the veteran musician and producer reworking hits by Tears For Fears, Joe Jackson and David Bowie with British superstar Robbie Williams, Jim Kerr of Simple Minds and others. We’ll hear selections from that effort as well as songs from Tedeschi Trucks Band and more as part of our New Month, New Music feature.

Saturday, March 2

Solstice is the debut album from Luther Dickinson and Sisters of the Strawberry Moon. The project finds Dickinson (of North Mississippi All-Stars) collaborating with Birds of Chicago, singer-songwriter Amy LaVere and Grammy-winning producer/musician Alvin Youngblood Heart. Listen for selections that release as well as from the latest by The Way Down Wanderers.

We'll remember Andy Anderson, former drummer for The Cure, who passed away February 26 at age 68.

Monday, March 4

Issued in 1994, Bee Thousand remains one of the most beloved albums in the Guided By Voices discography and one the defining independent recordings of the 1990s. We’ll hear selections from it on this episode as well as music from Paul Westerberg’s 1999 release, Suicaine Gratification.

Tuesday, March 5

We celebrate Mardis Gras with music from The Meters, Michot’s Melody Makers, Robbie Robertson and more.

Wednesday, March 6

We’ll hear selections from Impossible Blue, the latest from singer-songwriter Gurf Morlix as well as songs from the late Blaze Foley.

Thursday, March 7

Guided By Voices frontman Robert Pollard has issued albums under a number of guises since emerging as a recording artist in the 1980s. We’ll hear from some of his most interesting projects on this episode, including Boston Spaceships, Circus Devils and Mars Classroom.

Friday, March 8 

We mark International Women’s Day with selections from Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, Sleater Kinney and more.

Saturday, March 9 

We’ll hear music from Pavement’s 1992 effort, Slanted and Enchanted as well as selections from Wayne Kramer’s The Hard Stuff, featuring appearances from Melvins as well as members of Bad Religion and Suicidal Tendencies.

Monday, March 11

Although it received mixed reviews upon its release in 1999, the Guided By Voices album, Do The Collapse, remains one of the Ohio group’s most successful. Listen for selections from it plus music from the 1978 self-titled debut from The Cars.

KMUW Music's annual Mardi Gras special returns on Tuesday, March 5. Tune in to Global Village, Strange Currency and Night Train from 7:00 p.m. to midnight to celebrate Fat Tuesday.

It’s carnival time in the Global Village! To celebrate Fat Tuesday, Global Village heads to some carnival hot spots: Brazil for some samba, Trinidad for calypso and steel drum music, and, of course, to the Crescent City for the Mardi Gras Indian group Wild Tchoupitoulas, and such New Orleans favorites as Professor Longhair, the Hawketts, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Strange Currency joins the Mardis Gras celebration with music from The Meters, Michot’s Melody Makers, Robbie Robertson and more.

The Mardi Gras special feature wraps up on the Night Train, from 10 p.m. to midnight.

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Friday, February 22  

Best Days is the debut recording from Cartwheel, featuring Kristyn Chapman, Will Erickson and Riley Day. We’ll hear selections from that release as well as music from Hands Like Glaciers, the newest from Old News.

We'll also remember musician and actor Peter Tork (of The Monkees), who died Thursday at the age of 77.   

Saturday, February 23

We mark the 75th birthday of guitar legend Johnny Winter with music from his solo career and his work with Muddy Waters. 

Monday, February 25

Released in 1990, And The Horse They Rode In On was the fifth studio album from Soul Asylum and the group’s final before its breakthrough 1992 release, Grave Dancer’s Union. We’ll hear selections from And The Horse They Rode In On as well as music from Bob Mould’s 1990 effort, Black Sheets Of Rain.

Tuesday, February 26

Listen for selections from Hot Boxing, the 1994 effort from the band Magnapop, produced by Bob Mould, as well as music from Neil Young’s Sleeps With Angels.

Wednesday, February 27

Inspired by his stepson’s interest in loud rock ‘n’ roll bands such as Camper Van Beethoven, John Hiatt abandoned his singer-songwriter sounds for the 1993 album Perfectly Good Guitar. We’ll hear music from that recording as well as Paul Westerberg’s solo debut from that same year, 14 Songs.

We'll also remember Mark Hollis of the experimental British band Talk Talk, perhaps best known for its 1984 hit "It's My Life" and critically acclaimed albums such as Spirit of Eden. Hollis died on February 25 at the age of 64.

Thursday, February 28

In the early 1980s, Ohio elementary school teacher Robert Pollard bought a chick for his son as an Easter present. The chick grew into a frightening rooster that Pollard and his family dubbed Big Daddy. The rooster came to grace the cover of Devil Between My Toes, the 1987 album from Pollard’s band, Guided By Voices. We’ll hear selections from that release as well as music from Come On Pilgrim, the Pixies’ effort from the same year. Both artists are featured throughout March on Strange Currency.

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Wednesday, February 13

Mark Feldman’s Level5 is a funk-inflected instrumental-based collective featuring bassist Will Lee (David Letterman, The World’s Most Dangerous Band) and guitarist Oz Noy. We’ll hear music from that as well as Charlie Faye & The Fayettes’ The Whole Shebang.

Thursday, February 14

It’s our annual Valentine’s Day special with selections from Nina Simone, Ray Charles, M Ward, The Cure and Billy Bragg.

Friday, February 15

Released in 1978, Love Bites was the sophomore release from the Buzzcocks and features one of the band’s most beloved songs, “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve).” We’ll hear music from that release as well as selections from Real Life, the 1978 effort from former Buzzcocks member Howard Devoto’s band Magazine.

Saturday, February 16

Released in 1992, Copper Blue served as the debut album from the band Sugar featuring Bob Mould. The record’s high-energy alternative rock tendencies yielded some of Mould’s best songs of the 1990s, including “If I Can’t Change Your Mind,” “Hoover Dam” and “Helpless.” Listen for selections from that recording as well as from Juliana Hatfield’s Pussycat.

Monday, February 18

Having established himself as a singer-songwriter entrenched in the Americana tradition, Robert Ellis decided to do something a little different for his latest album. An accomplished guitarist, Ellis decided to write his latest record on grand piano. The result is Texas Piano Man, a collection of songs that recalls classic singer-songwriter albums of the 1970s while also highlighting a jazzier side of Ellis’ craft. Listen for music from that as well as selections from Jon Regen’s Stop Time.

Tuesday, February 19

Released in 1994, File Under: Easy Listening was the second and final album from Bob Mould’s band Sugar. The record had undergone a labored recording process (which saw Mould and his bandmates scrapping 17 songs they’d recorded in Atlanta, Georgia) and would fail to meet the commercial expectations placed on the band after its 1992 debut LP, Copper Blue. We’ll hear music from File Under: Easy Listening as well music from Juliana Hatfield’s collaboration with Matthew Caws of Nada Surf, The Minor Alps.

Wednesday, February 20

Having gained early notoriety with the band Swans, Louisiana-born singer Jarboe has been creating unusual, vocally-driven albums since her departure from that group in 1997 in addition to collaborating with acts such as Neurosis, Byla and others. We’ll hear music from her 2018 effort, The Cut Of The Warrior, as well as Kate Bush’s The Hounds Of Love.

We'll also remember multi-instrumentalist Kofi Burbidge, most notable for his work with Tedeschi Trucks Band. Burbidge died last Friday at the age of 57.

Thursday, February 21

Medium Cool is the latest release from Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Luther Russell. Listen for music from that recording as well as selections from Town of Ten by Old Joe Clarks.

KMUW Music is celebrating Valentine's Day with five hours of music on Thursday, February 14. Join Global Village, Strange Currency and Night Train from 7 p.m. to midnight.

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Monday, February 4

South of Reality is the second full-length effort from The Claypool Lennon Delirium, featuring Les Claypool of Primus and songwriter Sean Lennon (son of Yoko Ono and John Lennon). The group melds elements of contemporary avant-garde music alongside classic psychedelic and progressive rock. We’ll hear music from that recording as well as selections from Why You So Crazy? the latest by The Dandy Warhols.

Tuesday, February 5

Released in 2017, Savage Young Dü features early recordings from Hüsker Dü and chronicles the band’s time as one of the seminal punk rock bands from the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota music scene. Listen for selections from that as well as more recent work from band members Bob Mould, Greg Norton and the late Grant Hart.

Wednesday, February 6

Formed in Dayton, Ohio in the early 1980s by former star athlete and then-elementary school teacher Robert Pollard, Guided By Voices remains one of the most prolific contemporary American rock bands. The group’s, latest, its 101st, according to some counts, Zeppelin Over China, is a double album which further explores Pollard’s gift for crafting succinct and often strange songs. Listen for music from that as well as selections from Juliana Hatfield’s 2018 tribute to Olivia Newton-John.

Thursday, February 7

Once a bright star in the firmament of American country and pop music, Bobbie Gentry disappeared from the spotlight in by the start of the 1980s. Last year, a boxed set of her albums for the Capitol label reignited some interest in her work. We’ll hear selections from Gentry’s 1968 album The Delta Sweete, a concept set about her roots in the deep south. Plus music from the band Mercury Rev’s new re-creation of that album featuring guest appearances from Norah Jones, Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star and Lucinda Williams among others.

Friday, February 8

We’ll hear music from Juliana Hatfield’s 1992 album Hey Babe, which features guest appearances from Evan Dando (The Lemonheads), Mike Watt (Minutemen, Firehose) and singer-songwriter John Wesley Harding plus music from Bob Mould’s Sunshine Rock.

Saturday, February 9

Walk Through Fire is the new album from British singer-songwriter Yola and is produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. The album recalls classic R&B sounds of the 1960s as well as the singer-songwriter boom of Laurel Canyon. We’ll hear music from that as well as Dusty Springfield’s classic, Dusty In Memphis.

Monday, February 11

Having achieved teen idol status as a member of the Memphis, Tennessee-based group The Box Tops (“The Letter”), musician Alex Chilton spent the better part of his life living in relative obscurity and, sometimes, poverty. Chilton’s mercurial personality and unpolished musical explorations seemingly guaranteed that mainstream success would elude him. Despite his frequently self-destructive tendencies Chilton began to emerge as a cult hero in the 1980s and 1990s as bands such as The Replacements and others began to champion his work with the band Big Star. Two albums recorded during this span of his career, From Memphis To New Orleans and Songs From Robin Hood Lane, are now being released and provide a further glimpse into Chilton’s creative genius. Listen for selections from both as well as music from Atlanta’s Nikki & the Phantom Callers latest, What the daughter does, the mother did.

Tuesday, February 12

Around the time his longtime band Hüsker Dü disbanded in 1988, Bob Mould retreated to rural Minnesota and began working music that ran counter to his reputation as an aggressive punk rock guitarist. The result was the acoustic-driven Workbook, a collection of songs that often recalls Richard Thompson’s best work. We’ll hear music from this 1989 release as well as selections from Thompson’s Across A Crowded Room.