Fringe Satellite Music: Expand Your Knowledge of Underground Bands


KRUU DJs Andy Bargerstock and Bruce Miller want to bring their favorite underground musicians to the fore.

Welcome to Fringe-Satellite Music, a new column designed to amplify your listening enjoyment by introducing you to a whole new roster of lesser-known artists. Each month, KRUU-FM DJs Andy Bargerstock and Bruce Miller will mine their vast storehouse of music knowledge to bring their favorite off-the-beaten-track composers, singer-songwriters, and bands to the fore.

Andy Bargerstock, the host of Fringe Toast, Wednesdays 8-10 p.m., traces his musical influences to the early 1970s, when he began hosting underground (non-mainstream) music programs on two college radio stations in Pennsylvania. He listened extensively to DJ Don Davis, from WDVE in Pittsburgh, who played underground bands such as Lothar and the Hand People, Tonto’s Expanding Head Band, the Third Ear Band, and Joe Byrd & the Field Hippies.

Inspired by Don, Andy’s passion grew for obscure musicians whose aural confections resonate with contemporary musical ears. He has assembled a substantial—and still growing—exotic music collection. On Fringe Toast, Andy aspires to present 75 percent of his weekly play list from artists that he has recently discovered. He explores a variety of musical genres from the late 1960s to the present, including rock, folk, blues, singer-songwriters, alternative, down-tempo, and electronic. His mission, he says, is to elevate listeners’ endorphin levels.

Next month, we’ll get acquainted with Bruce Miller, whose program Pirate Satellite airs Saturdays at 9 a.m. on KRUU.

Here are Andy’s picks this month.

Meg Hutchinson

Meg Hutchinson is an American folk singer-songwriter from Massachusetts. In the midst of recurrent themes of love lost and heartbreak, Meg weaves lyrically rich songs that offer hope for renewal. Begin exploring her music with the 2008 CD Come Up Full. Her training in flamenco guitar shines subtly on the track “I’d Like to Know,” where she yearns for “someone who knows the quiet time after the song is sung” because she is “looking for a slower burn, a better kind of fire.” The imagery continues with “I’d like to know someone who lets stuff off the hook, throw back the little ones.” Meg’s music will haunt you in delightful ways.

1 Giant Leap

1 Giant Leap was a 2002 multi-media project led by UK-based Jamie Catto (founding member of the band Faithless) and Duncan Bridgeman. This collaborative video-musical DVD explores the theme of unity in the midst of diversity both philosophically and musically.  Among those who participated are Michael Stipe (REM), Brian Eno, Baaba Maal, Eddi Reader, Neneh Cherry, and famous East Indian vocalist Asha Bhosle.  Through music and spoken word from people like Kurt Vonnegut and Dennis Hopper, the experience is both surreal and affirming. My heart soars on songs such as “The Way You Dream,” “Passion,” and “Dunya Salam.” 1 Giant Leap is definitely my favorite CD from 2002.

Single Gun Theory

Single Gun Theory (SGT) was an Australian Band that produced three albums from 1987 to 1994. Band members Jacqui Hunt (vocals), Pete Rivett-Carnac, and Kath Powers (keyboards and samplers) are known for their ethereal vocals, spoken and vocal sampling, and synthesizer-based soundscapes. The music is reminiscent of 1990s William Orbit and his collaborations with Beth Orton. SGT’s Jacqui Hunt went on to collaborate with Canada’s electronic band Delerium.

Get started by diving deeply into Like Stars in My Hands (1991) and Burning Bright (1993). My favorite overall tracks include “Motherland” (dreamy keyboards, bagpipes, and Cocteau Twins-flavored vocals), “Words Written Backwards” (charming hip-hop and East Indian flavors), and “From a Million Miles” (amazingly contemporary for 1991). Enjoy!