California Hwy 1 sunrise — Central California — original photo J. Black

Sounds of Yesteryear so far has been the source of radio shy tracks populating the series. The series evolved because of a question I asked myself, “why do so many songs continue receiving regular airplay 20–30 (or more) years on?

A follow-up question; “what if radio programmers scrapped the same old songs for brethren tracks from the same era?”

The catalog of several bands is ignored by mainstream commercial radio in favor of a select few songs we have all heard for decades. Radio darling artists whose song catalog is far greater than the 2–4 songs continually repeated is tired…


Prism light — Los Angeles, CA — original photo J. Black

90s edition. The last decade of the 20th century in retrospect was an entertainment industry crossroads. Rock n roll and R&B/Soul music genres matured. Lyrically, songs explored beyond puppy love, protest songs, and decadence. Hip hop experienced growing pains despite its meteoric rise, thanks to “Yo! MTV Raps” and those pesky top 40 radio channels.

The 90s was bookended by the quick death of hair metal, slain by grunge and stripped-down alt-rock and at the dawn of the new decade/century technology played the disrupter.

The ivory tower walls of “big entertainment”, was assaulted. A war raged between the smart, brash…


nightlife — Oakland, CA — original photo — J. Black

The earliest memories of my music fandom involve making mixtapes for friends, crushes, and most often myself. In my freshman year of college, I enrolled in a studio editing course. We learned to splice tape, record public service announcements (PSAs) took on volunteer shifts at the college radio station. One of my tasks was pulling records for deejays.

After the on-air personalities witnessed our speed and accuracy pulling albums, they would allow us to select a few songs to spin. Exhilarating.

Winding the clock back to high school, my classmates and I rocked out to the local private university station…


Somewhere in New England — original photo — J. Black

Since April 14 I have been on a journey. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is late June and I’m far from home. Another month on the road is likely. Fortunately, I have had the luxury to land with friends and family along my winding road. The ups and downs of solo travel offer ample time to reflect on a prism of subjects.

Before beginning my trip, I intentionally made more forays into the great outdoors. I had been a city dweller my entire life, few out of range adventures could I claim the last decade. From my childhood, through my…


Materialism is a Cultural Demon

Ojai, CA — original photo — J. Black

The goal of this three-part essay is to encourage, not to make anyone owning a large home and/or large collections feel like a bad person. Those who shame others are the problem, it doesn’t help. In fact, for most it reinforces the inclination to continue buying and accumulating. A “fuck you”, to the angry so called environmentally enlightened lot. If you are one of those with knowledge reading this, try sharing ways to move toward living with less, it will be more effective than raging about other’s habits.

The objective is to reconsider why some…


desert horizon — Valley of Fire state park — Nevada, USA — original photo J. Black

Cassette in profile — Los Angeles, CA — original photo J. Black

Deep Tracks — Radio Misfits — Edition #3

Terrestrial radio and streaming are meant for the masses. Audiophiles and music heads are left to their own devices to discover new tracks. We, the dedicated music fan understand. We embrace the challenge. Hours spent making hand-scrawled lists of songs, incorporating themes, mixes for our latest crush, and more often, selfishly for ourselves.

Then phase two, dubbing to an audio device. Oh, the days long gone with my dual cassette deck recorder, you served me well. Then my iPod mini, you must have felt so used.

The following series is intended as…


Materialism is a Cultural Demon

Times Square 2019 — original photo J. Black

First world culture embraces collecting. Having “stuff” is a comfort for a lot of people. It is not a devious plot to harm others. It is how many of us were raised. More stuff equals happiness. The opposite is true.

More things create stress. Do I have better/more/high valued widgets than anyone else? How will I keep them pristine? What if one is damaged? All the worries outshine the pleasure of possession. The ultimate high from collecting is the acquisition. From then on, it is a burden. Yet we still do it. Collecting can be…


prism Los Angeles, CA — original photo J. Black

record rotation 33.3 Los Angeles, CA — original photo J. Black

Edition #2 — Alt Rock

Terrestrial radio and streaming are meant for the masses. Audiophiles and music heads are left to their own devices to discover new tracks. We, the dedicated music fan understand. We embrace the challenge. Hours spent making hand-scrawled lists of songs, incorporating themes, mixes for our latest crush, and more often, selfishly for ourselves.

Then phase two; dubbing to an audio device. Oh, the days long gone with my dual cassette deck recorder, you served me well. Then my iPod mini, you must have felt so used.

The following series is intended as a companion, another…

Josh Black

Human being, writer, traveler, music lover, California native IG: @realjoshblack

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