Your Saxophone Is My Guitar : Every Thurs., 3-6pm. 103.3 WPRB-FM. www.wprb.com
For those of us unfortunate enough to be without a tape or CD player in our vehicle (or just plain sick of the music we have with us), radio is a frustrating landscape of repetitive rap, angry white rock, limp folk and too-smooth pop confection. NPR is typically a haven, but during those maddeningly long pledge drives, we're left with college radio as the safest soundtrack to our travels.
Good thing there's Princeton's WPRB, and more specifically, Art Andrews' Your Saxophone Is My Guitar, which catches people on the early commute home every Thursday. Maybe you've heard it before--it's the show with a quietly amiable guy playing decade-skipping treasures and waxing scholarly on them afterward.
Was that Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd followed by Electrelane, Gary Glitter and Lifetime? Yep. And the Soft Boys, Minor Threat and Slayer in one block? You better believe it. And yes, that song you're hearing is Blondie's "Sunday Girl"--in French.
"My shows end up being pretty varied. I guess I try to keep a balance," says the 26-year-old Andrews. "I don't play anything if I don't like it. Sometimes I think I turn into a crank and get fed up with newer rock music that sounds kind of trendy. But there's always new music I'm excited about."
Andrews was a devout disciple of 'PRB long before he got his show. Growing up in central New Jersey, he listened to the station in high school and during breaks from the University of Virginia, where he studied chemical engineering. When he enrolled in Princeton's graduate school four years ago, he knew he had to get involved in the station.
His radio show consistently gets a positive response, in the expected form of requests and queries but also from older listeners eager to talk to Andrews about the more bygone bands he plays, like the Soft Machine and the Electric Prunes. The show's name comes from a lyric by the Van Pelt. "They were a band from New Jersey I sort of grew up with," Andrews says.
He mostly plays stuff from the station's legendary library, though he brings his own records, culled from frequent trips to the Princeton Record Exchange ("They definitely know me") and a recent stop at Amoeba Music in San Francisco. He'll be relying on those records when he spins at Johnny Brenda's on Mon., Nov. 8. He's also been known to team up with friend and fellow 'PRB DJ Julia Factorial to spin upstairs at the Khyber.
Music may be Andrews' great love, but he has other priorities--like finishing up that Ph.D. "School keeps me pretty busy," he says.
ART ANDREWS' HOT LIST
The Reigning Sound
Bush Is Scary: Halloween Party for Change
Thurs., Oct. 28, 10pm. $10. With Moqita + King Britt. Fluid, 613 S. Fourth St. 215.629.0565. www.concertsforchange.org
This may be the one election a candidate wins thanks in large part to activism. But that depends on those under 30 actually voting--after registering in front of Starbucks three months back. Until then, let's keep hawking the vintage-looking tees and Vote for Change concerts. Aimed directly at our swinging state, the Bush Is Scary: Halloween Party for Change combines a pithy slogan with revolutionary beats. The evening's main bill presents DJ Spooky, a man who packs more artistic variety than your average pundit, with his sci-fi fueled jazzy-dub-hip-hop. Spooky puts politics front and center with visuals that have been known to pair war planes with Sesame Street characters. So get going. I've been told you can make a difference. (Suzann Vogel)