Twirl Radio #868 – Jon Fried (The Campfire Flies), The Armoires, and Sean O’Brien

After ten years at a National Public Radio station in Chicago, Mike Lidskin returned to California in 1997 and created Twirl Radio, a weekly two hour radio program which features 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 Twirl live each Saturday afternoon, from 4:00 to 6:00 PM PST on Sacramento’s Voice, KUBU 96.5 FM, and archived right here, as well as at If you haven’t headed into your Saturday night with an earful of Twirl, you’re doing it wrong!

Artist | Track | Album
Sean O’Brien interview
Sean O’Brien and His Dirty Hands | Master Of The Slow Burn | My Colors Dark
Sean O’Brien and His Dirty Hands | Three Snakes Caught (Good Eye Finnegan) | My Colors Dark

Identical Suns | Miss Her Reminiscing | Week Minded
Lannie Flowers | Summer Blue | Single release
Trip Wire | Had Enough | Once & Always
Matt Langlois | Spending My Time With You | Merde!
Matt Langlois | Don’t Tuck Your Shirt Into Your Pants | Merde!

Jon Fried interview
The Campfire Flies | If Your Eyes Are Closed | Sparks Like Little Stars
The Campfire Flies | Your Lips Were Made For Me | Sparks Like Little Stars

Interview with Christina and Rex of Big Stir
Kenny (Anton Barbeau) | My Adelphi Twin | Single release
The Armoires | (How Did You Make) A Mistake Like Me? | Zibaldone
The Armoires | Not A Good Man | Zibaldone

R. Stevie Moore | Irony | Afterlife
The Bobbleheads | I Really See You | Myths And Fables
Girls On Grass | Friday Night | Dirty Power
Chancellorpink | Cracking Up | All Of Them Monsters
Gretchen’s Wheel | Amateur | Moth To Lamplight: A Nada Surf Tribute
Lost Leaders | Extra-Ordinary | Promises Promises
The Morning Line | South Carolina | North

Amazing. I’m out of breath and speechless. I don’t think I’d ever done a show with three interviews–in a regulation-length, two hour format–until today. If I could pick one word to describe the experience, “exhilarating” seems to do it.

It all started innocently enough. I was scheduled to chat with Jon Fried, of New Jersey folk-pop outfit The Campfire Flies, about their great debut album, Sparks Like Little Stars. And we did have that chat, as scheduled. This is a group of longtime friends, who’ve been in different bands, including members of The Cucumbers and Speed The Plough (John and Toni Baumgartner have been on my show before). They came together on a dark and stormy night to form this band. Really, they did–it’s not just an overused cliche. They were hanging out, and the power went out, so they only thing they could do was play songs acoustically–and magic ensued. They’ve gigged acoustically as a six-piece for the past few years, and finally released their album this week. It rocks–but politely, and acoustically. These guys are known for their vocal harmonies, and for swapping instruments, and playing whatever is needed for a song. Brilliant, yet comfortable tunes abound.

So here’s where it gets even more interesting. The Armoires, a Burbank, CA based band led by Christina Bulbenko and Rex Broome, have been working on their second album (Zibaldone). It’s taken a while–about 3 years–but there are good reasons. The main reason is that since their debut album, Christina and Rex founded the whole Big Stir scene. It started as a monthly series of concerts, but branched out into a record label, which has been feverishly releasing singles almost weekly, and albums quite freqently as well. In some cases, they’ve introduced me to great new music from all over the world. And in other cases, they’ve signed several artists whom I’ve loved for years, and now count themselves inside the Big Stir fold. Rex and Christina even did a Big Stir radio show on Woody Radio for a while. So Rex emailed me on Friday, asking if I’d like to debut a cool little thing. Turned out they had two cool little things to share–a digital single, and its B-side–by The Armoires! First new songs from them in what seems like a couple of years. And they are great songs, too. One is reminiscent of Motown–driving beat, and Christina takes a vocal turn, and is backed by Big Stir’s version of The Pips. The other is a great Rex/Christina duet. Once Rex offered this opportunity to me, I told him that it would be even better if the two of them could join me on the air, and introduce the songs themselves. So we did that, and this episode was the world premiere of these songs.

And then it just became over the top fun. Sean O’Brien messaged me on Friday, to say that he’d be in Sacramento (visiting from the Bay Area) on business on Saturday, and had the completed tracks for his next album ready, and wanted to drop them off to me. I asked him if he’d be able to come down to the Twirl studio and introduce a couple of the songs on the air. He graciously agreed, and we started the show off that way–had a nice little chat about the forthcoming album, My Colors Dark. The two songs we heard were really great, and we are looking at a summer release date.

A couple of other program notes. Rene Rodriguez and Todd Stanton allowed me to debut the second track in as many weeks from their forthcoming album, Week Minded. This song, Miss Her Reminscing, may just be my favorite. And one other interesting factoid: every song that was played on today’s shows was from 2019. If you have but one show to listen to this week, make it this one.


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