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Category Archives: Paul Kotheimer

Sputnik Lullabye, a wonderful CD by Paul Kotheimer.

Sputnik Lullabye, a wonderful CD by Paul Kotheimer.

Songs About Satellites Part 2. William is alone in the capsule for this tight hour-long orbit. Featuring an entire block of songs about Soviet Satellites (and space dogs). Listen.

As Rock Genre Directors at WEFT 90.1 FM, once a month we would set about opening our mail, criticizing the type treatment used by the mostly micro-label CDs we received, and digging for buried musical treasure. All on the air, with envelopes ripping and bubble wrap popping. And lots of playing songs that were new to us, even if they might be stale to others.

Send your CD to Rock Geek Enterprises, P.O.Box 91, Urbana IL 61803.

28 February 2009: Vampire Weekend, Davis Schneiderman, Robyn Hitchcock, &c.

20 June 2009: Martin Newell, The Bird and the Bee, Robyn Hitchcock, &c.

1 August 2009: Common Loon, Paul Kotheimer, &c.

19 September 2009: Phoenix, Electric Tickle Machine, Apples in Stereo, Vivian Girls, &c.

15 January 2010: Surprises both fresh and rancid.

12 April 2010: Broken Bells, Gorillaz, MC Frontalot, &c.

14 June 2010: Dead Weather, Seth Augustus, Karen Elson, &c.

19 July 2010: Wolf Parade, Hot Hot Heat, Black Keys, Sadies, Dark Night of the Soul, &c.

16 August 2010: An attempt to work through the entire alphabet: new releases by bands starting with letters A—Z…

30 August 2010: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Wavves, Aloe Blacc, &c.

20 September 2010: Of Montreal, Philip Selway, &c.

18 October 2010: Janelle Monae! (Followed by a live performance by Community College on the WEFT Sessions)

15 November 2010: Decemberists, and what else do you need, really?

13 December 2010: John Steinbacher joins William while Cristy takes a holiday

17 January 2011: with Todd Hunter

7 March 2011: Chain and the Gang, Bare Wires, &c. Wow.

18 April 2011: Dopestylevsky, Mammals of Zod, Paul Kotheimer, Gary Heidt, Shipbuilding Company, Deerhoof, &c.

6 June 2011: Raphael Saadiq, Chad VanGaalen, &c.

20 June 2011: Fist of Kindness, Five-Eight, Wombats, the Head, Hammer No More the Fingers, &c.

18 July 2011: Bloc Party, Mike Watt, &c.

22 August 2o11: Rome, Material Issue, &c.

12 December 2011: We were late and called in to ask a baby boomer to start our show, with predictable results. Thanks, Mick.

 23 January 2012: They Might Be Giants, The Asteroid Galaxy Tour, &c.


The Count.

The Count.

We keep keeping on with this theme—songs named after numbers in numeric order—which has the two problems of being endless and progressively more difficult. Like life, only endless. Here we climb from 28-52.

Previous shows in this series:

Songs about the almighty dollar, the love of which is the root of all evil and a lot of crap stadium rock. What better theme to get us through a pledge drive? Listen and you can still call in a pledge if you’re so moved.

Why does Paul Kotheimer have so many songs about money?

Why does Paul Kotheimer have so many songs about money?

Tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 40s. Light west winds. Songs about the rain.

From 8-10 CST on Rock Geek F.M. with Cristy and William: the music of Paul Kotheimer, Scott Walker, the Troggs, Marmalade, Cracker, Tones on Tail, and a couple dozen others. Songs about rain drizzling online at, evaporated to the cloud right here.

Possibly the first rock band photo shoot in the rain. Trendsetter band the Band.

Possibly the first rock band photo shoot in the rain. Trendsetter band the Band.



Andrew Heathwaite and Paul Kotheimer joined William Gillespie on Jay Eychaner and Jason Finkelman’s experimental music show Fanfare for the Speeding Bullet, and they spent an hour explaining, discussing, playing, and performing microtonal music, with an emphasis on just intonation and equal divisions of the octave. Get in the cracks and listen.

How cute is that? A show of songs about cats and dogs. And cats.

Oil vs. water.

Oil vs. water.

Black Moth Super Rainbow: Eating Us

It would be enough to have a psychedelic name, surreal xerography on the album cover, a cryptic persona with no band photos, and a history of bizarre independent releases including speckled vinyl with scratch-and-sniff album covers. But this music is so sublime it melts in your mind. Analog synthesizers and vocoder-pureed vocals make for one of the most eerie-mellow listening experiences I’ve been immersed into for in a long time. This band is everything everybody thought the Flaming Lips should have been to me. It’s timeless, sickly beautiful like a glistening pupae morphing into a butterfly, and purely obscure.

Hermit Thrushes: Slight Fountain

Captain Beefheart is a cult figure who is the subject of more hyperbole and anecdotes than serious study. Most rock geeks will buy Trout Mask Replica, not listen to it much, and consider themselves in the loop. I call this Trout Mask Replica Syndrome, which is a malaise that affects many challenging bands who are remembered for only one of their albums that is cited to save people the trouble of listening to the catalog.

What my study of Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band suggests is that the contributions of Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) to the music that bears his name are easily overestimated. Trout Mask Replica is neither his best record nor his weirdest. It is just the longest. Vliet did not compose the double album in one afternoon—a groundless tidbit of nonsense that is often trotted out as proof of the man’s genius—in truth, he did not compose it at all. He whistled out some musical ideas to the actual musicians in the group—notably, Drumbo (drummer John French)—who than worked out the material into arrangements, which the starving, abused band members rehearsed slavishly while Beefheart rode around in expensive cars and went shopping for hats.

Well, to make a long story shortened, obviously I care about the Magic Band a great deal. I like to hear them play without that fool Captain Beefheart bellowing over the top of their complex arrangements, as in the Trout Mask rehearsals on the Grow Fins box set. So when I say that the new album by a band called the Hermit Thrushes sounds like the Magic Band without Captain Beefheart, I am not making that comparison casually.

Don’t get me started on Captain Beefheart.

In fact, maybe it’s not such a good thing that these guys sound like the Magic Band after all.

Never mind. Hermit Thrushes are original.

God Help the Girl

If you like the idea of Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch writing a rock operetta for a band comprised of three female vocalists in an effort to replicate the sound of 1950s girl groups, with lush orchestration provided by members of Belle and Sebastian—in other words, if you already have an uncritical affinity for the Belle and Sebastian sound, and are comfortable with that same sound frosted with an additional layer of pink icing, and are ready to lie back, eyes closed, in the bubblegum bubblebath of sweet naivete with enough musical complexity to distract you from your mortgage payments but not so much that you have to furrow your brow in jazz anxiety, then this is for you. But if you are that person, then you already knew that.

Warning: this is not punk rock.

Those Darlins

Wickid country. But not at all what I thought it would be. It’s rocking, youthful, and fun, and the voices of Nikki, Jessi, and Kelley Darlin sound less like Dolly Parton than they do the Chipmunks. In other words, country music is a departure point for this band, not a destination. Like the Avett Brothers, they have taken a uniquely and tritely American musical genre and morphed it into something kind of disarming, weird, and spastic—in a word, expressive. Heck, y’all, I don’t much cotton to country, or even western, but I dig this disc. There is no doubt that these three ladies could kick the tar out of Catherine, Brittany, and Dina from God Help the Girl. DUI or die!

Paul Kotheimer: Familiar E.P.

The new EP by local musical Swiss army knife Paul Kotheimer takes a turn for the personal away from his recent turn to the political that followed his turn to the fictional. Though enough fragments of his earlier directions are here to satisfy those of us who have followed his development, a development it is. He confesses to stealing a satchel of money from the Bagdad green zone, fails to kill a spider in the shower, and delivers a sad lecture on modernist poet Louis Zukovsky. There is some exciting trumpet playing by David Tcheng, appropriate use of an eighties Juno synthesizer, and—don’t you know—precise acoustic guitar and a cover of a Rich Krueger song, without which no Kotheimer production would be complete. At the center of all this is Paul’s pitch-perfect pipes exhibiting a crafty control of dynamics, timbre, emotion, and the secret weapon that makes him stand out from his peers: notes. The latest chapter in Paul’s canon would also serve as an excellent introduction to newcomers. It’s available in a limited-edition CD pressing. And (hint) the EP is just the right length to put on while washing dishes: it ends in time to let the worst pots and pans “soak.”