Digging into Hot Fudge Sundazzze

I can remember a time when Portland's sole representation of community radio was KBOO. While KBOO still featured a few interesting musically curated shows in the first part of 00's, it began to slowly but surely eschew music shows to make way for more politically-minded talk radio shows around the middle of the decade. Recognizing that there was a serious void to be filled, an innovative community radio station named XRAY fm debuted on the airwaves in the Spring of 2014, promising to focus on free-form music shows that would challenge the current status quo of radio.  One of the unique things about XRAY was that it would be available not only to locals in Portland via FM radio, but streaming on its website xray.fm to the entire world. Another way that XRAY got the jump on the aforementioned KBOO was to archive a couple of their shows to be available to listeners on-demand, alleviating the need to be listening to the broadcast while it happens.  Considering that I had been waiting for awhile to have a good radio station to tune into, I was eager to listen to each new show to see what gems I would discover next. 

Since XRAY first hit the airwaves, there have been several shows that I follow on a regular basis, but none of them come even close to the wildly eclectic Hot Fudge Sundazze. At first the show was curated by two DJ's- Tanya and Alicia, but it became Tanya's show after the first couple months of the show's existence. I was immediately impressed by the exuberance in Tanya's voice when she spoke during the DJ breaks, and she had an extensive knowledge of the music she was playing. I knew that her show was going to be a favorite of mine when she played a song from the band US Maple. This was literally the first time that I heard US Maple played on the radio, and it felt like I was living in an alternate universe where good music ruled the airwaves. The shows on Hot Fudge Sundazze are sometimes themed, like she had one that was nothing but classic country, and then another that was chock full of upbeat summer tracks. Most of the time, though, she plays an eclectic repertoire of music including psychedelic rock, punk, rockabilly, prog, kraut-rock, country, soul and international.

I pride myself on knowing a lot about music, but I have learned about so much music since listening to this show. It might seem to odd to say this, but i truly feel a sense of calm when I listen to her show. It's as if this mix of music is washing over me like a cool ocean breeze and all is right with the world. Today, I'm featuring a mix of tunes that I've heard on Tanya's shows since it's inception in the Spring of 2014. I have included my original notes on each song that were written down while listening to the tracks for the first time.

I encourage you to check out the archive for Hot Fudge Sundazze on xray.fm, and I hope that you too discover some great music that you hadn't been exposed to yet.

Hot Fudge Sundazzze Megamix

1) The Steps- Mata Air-  instrumental with a sort of reggae tinge to it, but ultimately sounds like a cool little Nigerian tune 
2) The Bolton Brothers- Native Rhythm- I love the way the vocals are psychedelic, and the backbeat is strictly funk. The chorus is sublime, and the line “God gave them rhythm, and a whole lot of soul”
3) Charlie Feathers- Cockroach- the production on this track is stellar. I love the way the vocals sound like they are coming from inside your head, and the steady rhythm guitar and train-track percussion is as good as it gets.
4) Richard Wylie and His Band- Money (That's What I want)- piano playing on this is stellar, and this is a lot different than other versions of this song. I love the way the guitar bends around the chorus.
5) Thinking Fellers Union Local 282- February- I love the way the tempo of this is fast, but the vocals are deliberately slow. Also, I love the way they incorporate banjo into what is basically uptempo rock
6) Amon Duul- Mr. Kraut's Jinx- mellow track with lots of phasing on the guitar, and then out of nowhere the whole song turns into a full-tilt funk boogie at about the 4 minute mark. I love the cascading guitars that nestle above the spiraling bass shortly after.
7) Dion- Drip Drop- amazing song with doo-wop backing vocals; love the hand-clap beat; love how every line on the breakdown goes exactly with the beat- hip-hip hip
8) Johnny Hicks- Rainy Night Blues- I love the dissonant guitar solo that comes in halfway through the song because it’s completely unexpected. The multi-part harmonies on the chorus are also great.
9) Honey Ltd- Louie Louie- a funkdafied version of this classic garage rock track. I love the way the song starts swinging about a minute in with bright horns and soulful vocals. I love the fuzz guitar solo that comes out of nowhere. Then, the tempo slows all the way down until the end of the track.
10) Tomorrow's Tulips- Flowers on the Wall- That opening acoustic guitar strumming sounds so familiar, but I can’t place where I’ve heard it before.  Sounds like a lost track from Yo La Tengo or The Clean.  The wonky effect on the guitar around the 2:49 mark is to die for. Then, the wall of guitars kick in, but with the vocals are still placed prominently in the mix.
11) Nashville West- Greensleeves- I love the vocal version of this traditional jazz song.  Also, love the reverb on the guitar.
12) Ronnie Isle- Wicked- instrumental, groove oriented rock. I love the way the piano meshes with the horns, guitar, bass and drums.
13) Sidney Pinchback and the Schiller Street Gang- Soul Strokes- psychedelic funk of the highest order. I love that fuzz that opens the track, the phasing on the drums and other instruments.  I also love the part towards the end where this is so much going on at the same time that it makes your head spin. This is a killer track!
14) Lee Scratch Perry and the Upsetters- Black Panta- tripped out dub reggae with drunken horns
15) Tarnation- Game of Broken Hearts- lo-fi acoustic indie rock. I love the way the lead singer stretches the last note of the first verse. In fact, the vocals on this are pretty amazing throughout.

Total time- 52 mins


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