DJ Mike Show #204 – 4/3/2021: Interview with Christina Bulbenko, Rex Broome, and John Borack of The Armoires!

DJ Mike Lidskin spent ten years at a National Public Radio station in Chicago, returned to California in 1997 and created Twirl Radio, and now hosts 30 hours of programming a month at Woody Radio. His two shows, “The Show With No Name” and “The Saturday Thing”, feature the finest independent music and artists from the rock era. Mike’s on a mission to not “just spin rock music, but to educate listeners about this vital art form.” Indeed, he doesn’t just announce the songs, but gives histories about some of the artists, the albums, and the songs themselves.

You can catch the DJ Mike Shows live on Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m. PST and Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. PST at Woody Radio,

Artist | Track | Album
Old 97s | Victoria | Wreck Your Life
The Chandler Travis Philharmonic | Sexy Ivan With Bongo | The Ivan Variations
Blake Jones & The Trike Shop | Sun Up | The Underground Garden
Smashing Pumpkins | Frail And Bedazzled | Pisces Iscariot
The Bobbleheads | Mean Girls | Make Yourself Happy
Farrington | What Would Your Friends Say | Saturday In Nowhereland
Jesus H Christ & The Four Hornsmen of The Apocalypse | Liz the Hot Receptionist | Happier Than You
George Harrison | If Not For You | All Things Must Pass
The Larry Kelly Five | Hotel Man | LK5
Corner Laughers | The Red Queen | Tomb of Leopards
Jody Porter | Sunsick Moon | Waterways
Nolan Voide | Mid-Life Crisis | The Forever Endeavor
Kat Jones | Those Expensive Eyes | La Rosa, La Calavera
The Amplifier Heads | Funhouse Mirrors | Music For Abandoned Amusement Parks
Bill Lloyd | Satellite | Working The Long Game
Taters | Queen of the USA | Single release
Little Guilt Shrine | What I’m Thinking | Boy Girl Boy
Anton Barbeau | MTV Song | Empire of Potential
Tamar Berk | in the wild | the restless dreams of youth
Edward Rogers | Burn N Play | Glass marbles
Elton John | Grow Some Funk Of Your Own | Rock Of The Westies
Thee Holy Brothers | Elvis In Jerusalem | My Name Is Sparkle
Juliana Hatfield | I See You | Hey Babe
Pete’s Copter | Magic Circle | The Fowl Tone Sampler
Ass Ponys | Under Cedars And Stars | The Known Universe
R.E.M. | Voice Of Harold | Dead Letter Office
Petrified Max | Year Gone By | Year Gone By
Buck Owens | Sam’s Place | The Very Best Of Buck Owens
Elk City | 25 Lines | Everybody’s Insecure
Sunshine Boys | Tripping Through Time | Blue Music
Rachel Taylor Brown | Little Gyre | Run Tiny Human

The Armoires interview
The Armoires | Great Distances | Big Stir Single No. 121
The Armoires | Ohma, Bring Your Light Into This Place | Incognito
The Armoires | Paris 1919 | Incognito
The Brothers Steve | Beat Generation Poet Turned Assassin (Abridged) | Big Stir Singles: the Ninth Wave

Lannie Flowers | Free To Dream | Home
Natalie Cortez | Without You | Demo
R. Stevie Moore and Jason Falkner | I Am The Best For You | Make It Be
Sex 66 | Skinny Girl | Grew Up Down
Steve Barton | Gimme Your Hand | Tall Tales And Alibis – album 3

Friends. It’s good to have them. Even better to have them visit your show. However, here in 2021, the way we do that is virtually. And that’s exactly what we did here. Christina Bulbenko, Rex Broome and John Borack–3/5 of The Armoires were with me. That’s 60%–a nearly veto-proof majority.

Lots going on with these guys. Christina and Rex are the proprietors of Big Stir Records, as well as the founders of The Armoires. John is not only a drummer, but a well-respected music journalist. And we’ve just completed a full year in a pandemic. So it was a good opportunity to check in with my friends, and see what they’ve been up to, and how they’ve weathered these unusual times.

Did I say “weathered”? I think these guys did more than that–they’ve excelled at creating music, and creating opportunities for other musicians and fans to come together. Let’s unpack this.

Over the course of about six months, bookended by the fun holidays of Halloween and April Fools Day, Big Stir had released a slew of singles by what were purported to be “new” artists. It almost seemed like they’d gone on a signing spree–just finding all these unknown musicians from everywhere, and folding them into the Big Stir collective. On April 1st, the big reveal happened, in the form of the recent Armoires release, “Incognito”. The Armoires were actually all these different bands. It’s a wonderful, diverse record. Well-paced, there is not a dud to be found, only gems. It’s like “The Fowl Tone Sampler” or “The Who Sell Out”. The very nature of the project meant that the songs had to be varied–to sound like different artists. And it does. The spectrum was pretty broad, including such styles as country, folk, psych, and straight up rock and roll. Some choice covers complimented the originals. The artwork from the physical album is not to be missed. It’s a rather playful reveal as well. Think of something like the Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls” album cover, but without the skinny British musicians wearing wigs! But the best thing about this whole Armoires album is their comfort level. They’ve really figured out who they are, both soundwise and persona-wise. Incognito marks John’s recorded debut with the band, and they’re a perfect fit for each other.

We also spent a little time talking about everything else going on in the world of Big Stir. A whole slew of great releases in 2020, and even more in 2021. I got to write liner notes for the latest in their series of Big Stir Singles compilations, “The Ninth Wave” (yes, shameless plug on my part, I know). They’ve also moved their monthly live concert series to the online world, and it’s been working out well so far. John’s got a lot of irons in the fire as well: a Beatles book, another batch of album reviews in Goldmine Magazine, and a soon to be announced album project. Yikes, these guys are busy!

It was fun hearing the back stories of all these projects. I’m so proud of these guys for thriving and being a shining light for the music community in this past year. I think the interview will thoroughly entertain you.


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