We offer up brand new episode of Radio Free Charleston Thursday on The AIR. You can leap over and tune in at the website, or you could just stay on this page, and listen to this swell little embedded radio player…
Tune into this week’s Radio Free Charleston at 3 PM Thursday for a show that opens with brand new music from a long-distance musical collaboration between Joe Vallina in Maryland, Bobby Miller in Boone County, and Jonathan Mason in Nashville.
You’ve recently heard Bobby in the reunited Swivel Rockers, who will be featured in a special video episode of Radio Free Charleston once this lockdown is over and we can all get together in one room to record some interviews. Joe is a long-time friend of RFC, and Joe and Bobby were bandmates in Feast of Stephen, who reunited in Charleston twelve years ago. Jonathan played bass in Joe’s band, Wiley Sonic, and Joe guested on his solo album, and we’ve played music from all three guys in different configurations on Radio Free Charleston.
Together, they are recording as Battleship Battleship!
We debut two songs by the band this week, and you can purchase them as an EP called “Cutting Corners” at the band’s Bandcamp Page.
Via email, Joe told me the origins of Battleship Battleship!, “The project stemmed from the whole ‘not being able to play live with folks’ idea during the pandemic. I knew I wanted to do some long distance collaboration on some new songs, and I haven’t had Bob’s voice overtop one of my guitar parts on record for 27 years! Too long! I have to say it feels great to hear him singing on these new tracks.”
Joe connected with Bobby via Facebook, and he described the process of working on “Entropy,” “For me, the expressiveness of Bob’s delivery is what matters. His work on the choruses of Entropy are way different (and better) than the feel I had done in the scratch vocal for those parts. He really brings that something extra to melody lines. I wrote the song “Entropy” about my feelings around losing one of my best friends, and the things I wish I and everyone around him could have done differently. I guess the whole pandemic got me in that head space, but the song was important to me and I’m really pleased how it turned out, with the duet approach of me singing the verses and Bob on the choruses.”
Joe went on to explain the rest of the collaboration, “Of course, I always love to get Jonathan to work on stuff as well, so calling him was a no-brainer. He’s one of the most expressive bassists around and he’s a total pro in terms of songwriting and arranging. His bass part brings a pop sensibility to “Entropy” that I would have never have injected on my own. We put the songs together in about two weeks, with me recording basic tracks to send to Bob and Jonathan, who recorded their parts and sent back to me to mix into the songs. It went really fast once we got going.
“For the b side, “Ad Hominem,” I wanted to go to a ’90s throwback kind of place that let Bob loose like he was on those Feast of Stephen records. His voice is so deep and powerful that it really brings out the authority in the song. I tried to get to the heart of dealing with the absolute insanity we now find ourselves living in, without being quite on the nose, lyrically. And if it’s the end of the world, you definitely need a full-on guitar solo outro, amirite?”
We open this week’s show with “Ad Hominem” and then open the second hour with “Entropy.” “Entropy” is about Jerry Fugate (seen left), a beloved fixture on the Charleston music scene who passed away almost two years ago. It’s important to keep Jerry’s memory alive.
In addition to the Battleship Battleship! songs, this week’s RFC also includes new tunes from Soul Asylum, Mark Beckner Group, Andy Partridge, The Empty Hearts, Rel-X, Inferior This, Fiona Apple, What’s Missing, Joe Satriani, and believe it or not, Mungo Jerry. Check out this playlist if you don’t believe me…
Battleship Battleship! “Ad Hominem”
Mark Beckner Group “Play It Again, Sam”
Andy Partridge “Cavegirl”
The Dollyrots “Puppy Dog Eyes”
The Aquabats “Pajamazon”
The Empty Hearts “Coat Tailer”
Bon Air “On My Mind”
ALBVS “Lost Cause”
Rel-X “Whatever It Is”
Virus Likha “Letter To Jacques”
Howard Jones “Step Into These Shoes”
Freddy Mercury “Time”
Lady D “I Am Woman”
Soul Asylum “I Got It Pretty Good”
Payback’s A Bitch “Mercenary Mary”
Farnsworth “Hold On”
Battleship Battleship! “Entropy”
Inferior This “Haze It Up”
Greetar “To Live In A Dying World”
M & Chuck Biel “Fools Line Up”
Paul McCartney “Secret Friend”
Split Enz “The Choral Sea”
Mungo Jerry “Touch The Sky”
Mind Garage “Asphalt Mother”
Captain Catfeesh “Crying Saucer”
Unknown Hinson “Manic Depression (Live At The Empty Glass)”
Cannon Sodaro Band “India”
What’s Missing “Waste Me”
Handguns “Green Lanterns”
Joe Satriani “Nineteen Eighty”
Fiona Apple “Ladies”
Robert Plant “In The Mood”
Kevin Scarbrough “Another One On The Egress”
Missing Persons “Incense and Peppermint”
Circa “Spin The Globe”
A Flock Of Seagulls “Magic”
Stacey Q “Below The Surface”
Bill Withers “We Could Be Sweet Lovers”
Rasta Rafiki “Vicki”
Radio Free Charleston can usually be heard Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, with replays Thursday at 3 PM, Friday at 9 AM and 7 PM, Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight, Sunday at 1 PM and the next Monday at 8 PM, exclusively on The AIR. However, this week your humble host was swamped, so we’re premiering the show Thursday at 3 PM, and replaying it in all the regular timeslots this week and next.