My Exit: Josh Potter

Josh Potter

Tonight's My Exit DJ, Josh Potter

Every Monday night our friends at WEXT do this thing called My Exit -- local listeners get to come into the station and program an hour of music. So we thought it'd be fun to find out a little bit about these people and why they picked the songs on their play list.

Here's tonight's person:

Who?
Josh Potter, writer and editor for Metroland.

How would you describe your musical taste?
Yes Wave. I used my show to float a crackpot musical thesis partially plagiarizing a quote from Gogol Bordello frontman Eugene Hutz in the documentary Kill Your Idols about the No Wave movement of the late '70s. No Wave (typified by DNA, Lydia Lunch, and early Sonic Youth) was a totally reactionary brand of punk that was experimental to the point of being a type of anti-art, defined more by what it was resisting than what it was offering. The movie follows No Wave's legacy to this decade, drawing comparisons to noise bands like Black Dice. Asked what the next step for experimental music is, Hutz says the nihilism at its core needs to be replaced by positivity, hence Yes Wave. My contention is that this music is already being made, but rather than a genre, Yes Wave is a philosophical credo uniting a wide range of psychedelic, noise rock, freak folk, free jazz, and electronic acts who use experimental methods to constructive ends.

5 songs from Josh's My Exit:

"(star)" by the Boredoms
On my list, the Boredoms are the only band old enough to have any real No Wave cred. Originally an antagonistic noise band, they released Vision Creation Newsun in 1999, which kind of turned the corner into this ecstatic, pulsing, tribal form of music that was no less experimental but more inviting and celebratory. Rather than tearing the elements of music apart (a la No Wave), they were building something back up from the wreckage.

"Beg Waves" by Ponytail
Baltimore has become a hotbed of kitschy DIY art and Ponytail deals in a giddy style of sugar-rush psychedelia. Their 2008 album Ice Cream Spiritual may be the perfect Yes Wave title. The real revelation was that (post-)experimental music doesn't have to be some inaccessible, cerebral, arty thing, but can vibrate bodies in a primitive way that brings people together.

"Paddling Ghost" by Dan Deacon
Deacon is the ringleader of this Baltimore scene, and the way he characterized last year's album Bromst sums up a lot of what Yes Wave is about: "It's less a party and more a celebration." That is, his music still has a lot of kitschy fun with musical clichés, but he goes beyond the self-conscious joke and aspires to real post-ironic joy.

"Lake Song/New Ceremonial Music for Moms" by Akron/Family
Akron/Family represents (for me) the freak folk side of Yes Wave with acoustic psychedelia, in-the-moment instrumentals, group chanting, and unabashedly spiritual lyrics. It's deeply inclusive stuff and never strays from the totally earnest message of their 2007 album Love is Simple.

"Comfy in Nautica" by Panda Bear
The Animal Collective member's 2007 solo album Person Pitch stands for me as one of the most original, immersive, and forward-thinking records of the decade. With cyclical textures, incantatory vocals, and dub reggae production touches, it sweeps you up in what I can only think to call the Yes Wave.

You can hear Josh's My Exit show tonight at 8 on 97.7 or at exit977.org.

Here's how to schedule your own My Exit show on WEXT.

Comments

This looks great! Is there any way people could get copies of Josh's show?

Excellent! Can't wait to hear this.

Hey Lila, hope you enjoy it. I don't believe WEXT archives these shows on their site, but I may be wrong. I fully endorse the practice of taping stuff (cassette-style) straight off the radio, though.

How awesome is "Vision Creation Newsun"? Looks like a great playlist, Josh.

josh, how do you get WEXT to pick you? i wrote in a request and have heard nothing. can you do some lobbying for me!

Not sure what to tell you, Jess. The WEXT guys are super busy, so it might just take some patience. It definitely took a few months for me to hear back about the request.

thats super comforting. because of course i consider myself a song selection extraordinaire. by the way, kudos on coining "yes wave" --
got any genre labels for electronic punk dance? it would really help me in getting my point across. rhetorically speaking. good job last night.

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