Category Archives: Music

Purple Bench

Doing a little messing around, making something from something. Tim Heap came over with his guitar to sit on the Purple Bench and sing a few songs, and now it’s a Youtube playlist.

So now the fun begins. The beginning of a new series?

Tim Heap on the Purple Bench, April 2016
Tim Heap on the Purple Bench, April 2016

The bench is really starting to fall apart so if this is going anywhere I’ll have to invest a new model and some spray paint.

A Don Piper Situation

What a treat to get to know Don and his music over the last few months. The latest episode of Live at Fi features 5 songs from a fiery set recorded at The HiFi Bar last August. And I mean fiery, like up from a slow burn to a blaze and back down to a slow burn.  I recall listening to the show live and grooving like crazy to the sound, then realized and remembered that  it was all being recorded (uh, by me). Sometimes you get lucky.

All the songs are great but I have a special love for Solitaire, starting about 22:14 into the podcast. Now that’s how you sell a song.

Don’s also got a new album out called What It Is and you you should own it. Get the lossless version for fullest fidelity!



Episode two of The Live at Fi podcast has gone live and it’s a nice to see (hear, really) the show evolving and coming into itself. This episode is essentially a document of a very interesting live experiment. Ira Robbins, one of the prime movers behind Trouser Press magazine drew up a list of favorite songs from the past few decades, handed that list over to Tom Shad (NYC musician and scenester par excellence) who hand picked singers and a band to perform the songs live at The HiFi Bar. Kind of mix tape come to life and a terrific selection of songs and singers.

Tammy Faye Starlight singing Girl About town, photo from my position behind the stage.
Tammy Faye Starlight singing Girl About Town, photo from my position behind the stage.

I love nights like this – it’s an opportunity to hear some familiar songs performed by a crew of artists that may be unfamiliar. In other words, a great way to discover a slew of talented performers in one night, the equivalent of months of club hopping.

For the podcast we picked seven favorite performances from the evening, then Mike Stuto recorded an interview with Ira Robbins and Tom Shad in the back room at HiFi to talk about how the night came together. Interestingly, Ira wasn’t able to attend the live show, which really just ends up making his perspective even more unique.

Mike Fornatale and the band channel Richard Hell and The Voidoids.
Mike Fornatale and the band channel Richard Hell and The Voidoids.

Recording these shows is always a little daunting. I never know exactly what’s coming up next, and honestly there’s not much I can do to control the recording once the show begins.

Colin Poellot did a fine job on the live mix, and any vocals and keyboards on the recording come from the live mix, augmented by a battery microphones placed by me to capture the live sound of the stage and the room without trickery. If you weren’t there, you’ll hopefully get that “You Are There” sensation.

Listen on iTunes

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