#44: always a fuss and fight

She lives.

This weird AI art bot called Midjourney made the outback witch house pictured below. Fiddling with it was one of the myriad dumb things I did while losing my mind on the couch this past week. And hey, here’s a pro-tip for you: Don’t get covid! It sucks!!

Anyway: as plugged on my show, I sure would love it if you considered donating to my 2022 Pan-Mass Challenge ride. The PMC is the single biggest charity event in the world and it has raised over $800 MILLION for cancer treatment and research. It’s an event that means a hell of a lot to me. I ride in memory of friends & family lost, and since I rode for the first time in 2018, it has been tremendously beneficial to my own mental health. As of the time I’m writing this, I have raised almost $12,000 over the course of my three rides. Here’s where you can donate. As they used to say at the community theater I frequented as a kid, no amount is too small, and no amount could possibly ever be too large.

Catholic ActionI’m No Artist
Melted MirrorOpen Wire
PromiselandTake Down the House
ErasureFallen Angel (Georgia Remix)
Working Men’s ClubPloys
Nite FieldsVoyeur
Sacred SkinFever
Mind Over MidiEyes Closed
UnderworldJuanita 2022
De LuxWhen Your Life Feels Like A Lie
Vision VideoIn My Side
A Flock of Seagulls(It’s Not Me) Talking
Soft CellSex Dwarf
The Human LeagueThe Black Hit of Space
Nation of LanguageGouge Away
Mind Over MidiCircadian Clock
Oingo BoingoDead Man’s Party
Cold ShowersSliver
Wings of DesireChoose A Life
Hello MeteorThe Lake Green Project
Massive AttackMan Next Door
Clan of XymoxLouise
Joy DivisionA Means to an End
Mind Over MidiDelta Sleep
Depeche ModeRoute 66

#43: forgetting all you couldn’t do today

Yes, it’s a vocalless quarantine show. Songs that sounded right to my covid-addled brain. RIP to Andy Fletcher. I picked two of my favorite DM keyboard tracks in his memory.


Depeche ModeNever Let Me Down Again
New OrderEverything’s Gone Green
Xeno & OaklanderA World Without Sun
Drab MajestyKissing the Ground
Nine Inch NailsWhere Is Everybody?
Maya Jane ColesEasier to Hide
YottoMoving On
Craven FaultsDoubler Stones
Boards of Canada1969
Sacred SkinFever
MVTANTJust One Touch (Kontravoid Remix)
Depeche ModeBlack Celebration
The CureA Forest
MJ GuiderSimulus
Black MarblePretender
The English BeatTwist & Crawl
Men At WorkI Can See It In Your Eyes
UltravoxThe Thin Wall
Heaven 17Let Me Go
M83Midnight City
UnderworldBeautiful Burnout
Clams CasinoDrowning
Panda BearLast Night at the Jetty
Black Moth Super RainbowMr. No One
BroadcastTears in the Typing Pool

where in the world is OWH?

the show is on a momentary hiatus while I recover from covid

wednesday, may 25’s show was episode 30

this coming wednesday will also be a repeat, not sure which one yet

sorry for the disruption in your regularly scheduled OWH service.


#42: still making mistakes that you thought you had learned from

This is my annual playlist for the year’s graduating class, meaning this is the class of 2022 edition. Below the audio file and playlist, I posted something I first wrote for the class of 2020 and then reworked recently for the school paper. Congratulations to all grads everywhere, but especially the amazing ones I got to teach. <3


The UnitsHigh Pressure Days (Rory Phillips Remix)
Simian Mobile DiscoHustler
Hot ChipHungry Child
MadonnaInto the Groove
Bruno Mars24K Magic
La RouxBulletproof
ShannonLet the Music Play
Working Men’s ClubTeeth
Sacred SkinCircles
LCD Soundsystemtonite
Lily AllenThe Fear
Com TruiseAir Cal (Excerpt)
VR SEXLive in a Dream
The Cooper Temple ClauseFilm Maker
UnderworldPush Upstairs
Neon IndianSlumlord
Eleven PondBlood Ruins Film
The Human LeagueBeing Boiled
Body of LightDangerous
Com TruiseBrokendate (Excerpt)
Escape With RomeoHere Comes the Night
Cut CopySo Haunted
InterpolSlow Hands
Tears for FearsHead Over Heels
Cold Showers feat. Lil BHow Do You Know This Love
Matthew DearSlowdance
The Chemical BrothersGot to Keep On

Shit is rough, but you are wonderful. And the wonderfulness of you will endure, in the exact way that the rain pouring in my backyard right now will not. Uncertainty defines everything these days, yes, but I believe in your enduring wonder because I’ve seen who you are and what you can do.

I remember I had a conversation with some of you in March 2020 about how you come to trust people and the expectations you have for the relationships you’ve got and the ones you’ll build, and the courage that taught you how to understand and embrace criticism, and to speak truth to power. Since then, I’ve heard many of you express your concerns about holding onto the selves you’ve built here after you leave this place. Though it may not happen immediately, you will one day find places – jobs, community groups, bands, theater troupes, whatever – that do not see your brave curiosity as a liability, but rather as a beautiful, beneficial thing. Whether your work fulfills you or you yearn for something more, you can become – perhaps you already are – an activist. You can engage with your future communities in so many ways that are sorely needed. You can volunteer, teach, discuss, mentor, build. The skills you have brought with you to your learning and then honed throughout your education will keep you going in this work.

If you struggle to find your feet beneath you as you move on to this next stage, fear not; this is the natural course of things. Maybe the most important things geriatric millennials like me can bestow upon Gen Z are these four points: 1) the “insert college degree, expect economic prosperity” model has proven to be a myth for some time now, 2) your life is going to feel like a series of fits and starts, forever delayed, 3) it’s really alright if you don’t go straight from point A to points B and C, etc., and 4) all of this, friends, is not a personal indictment of you.

Let me tell you a story. I finished my undergraduate program in 2009. Shit was rough then, too, but there at least was no global pandemic to contend with. I moved just outside Boston a few weeks after I received my degree on a frigid day in upstate New York. I tagged along to Massachusetts with a group of people I hardly knew because I had no other plans lined up. That was a cruel summer; it rained a record-setting 27 of 30 days in June. I had nothing much to do, though, no job and no prospects, so I walked the flat streets of Waltham until I knew them like the hilly, curving roads of my hometown.

Eventually my money ran out and I took a job at a CVS in Wellesley, the small one on 135. I was the photo lab manager, but because I wasn’t working in a “professional” job utilizing my degree, I felt a shame that I carried around like an unshakeable aura. I felt like I’d failed so many people: myself, my parents, my brother who was currently working on a PhD in computer science, my partner at the time, a chemistry major who had snagged a job downtown. At CVS, we didn’t have a proper darkroom at the store so I used to have to go down to the basement with the lights all turned off, stumbling over the off-season merchandise, to change the photo printer paper cartridges. The baffling precariousness of that situation is a fitting metaphor for this whole period of my life.

I quit a couple weeks into the new year, 2010. At this point, I had decided to go back to school to get my Masters in Library and Information Science, in part because I grew tired of men throwing newspapers at me when I asked them to walk five feet over to an open checkout station (silly me, I should have anticipated grumpy dudes throwing stuff at people would also be a problem in public libraries). I obviously still needed money, so I took a job north of Boston at a hair salon software company and built websites for stylists and spas in New England for a few months, and yes, it was exactly as ridiculous as it sounds, and then I started my MLIS almost exactly a year to the day after I arrived in Massachusetts. I lived in a different apartment with different people by then. I’d lost some old friends and made some new ones. I got my cats, who you’ve probably seen on Discord or Instagram.

So, happily ever after, right? Lol, no. It took me years – ones that contained a cross-country move, a stint in a very modestly successful electronic rock band, a failed marriage, and several family tragedies – before I felt “on track.” I went from point A to point Q to some point not even identifiable in this alphabetic system before I got to point B. These are the fits and starts I mentioned. Things got especially confusing from 2016-2018, when I took on a very stressful job and had a big falling out with my main friend group. I spent much of that time being a jerk, taking unnecessary risks, and making mistakes that I thought I had learned from – and mind you, this was the very end of my 20s, over seven years after I’d entered “the real world.” The day some sense got knocked into me wasn’t even when I woke up in the hospital after a driver hit and left me while I was biking in Brighton, but probably the night three months after that when a set of stairs collapsed under me in Allston as I was carrying my bike out of the house of a person who didn’t deserve one more second of my time. (Yes, this must be a scene in one or more redemptive indie romcoms with a strong female lead and a lot of ukulele strumming.) And even after that, I have continued to mess up. I have messed up prodigiously in these 13 years since I got my bachelor’s degree, and I know I’ll mess up routinely forever, but you know what? That’s the deal. We’re all on board for this. There’s nothing you can do to stop many of your own screwups until you’ve been on earth long enough to practice avoiding them, but you can do one thing to help you through it. You can remember point 4 from the above. Point 4: “All of this, friends, is not a personal indictment of you.”

I have gotten to know some of you better than others, but you are all impressive to me. The things I’ve seen you build, the teams I’ve seen you working with, the art I’ve seen you make – it’s been a joy. I’m a little weepy as I sit here and imagine not seeing you on campus anymore; your shoes are unfillable by anyone but you. But that’s part of the deal, too – you must go on, and you must mess up outside the bounds of our campus, and you must be the change you want to see in the world, the big one out there beyond our wee bubble.

I’ve been sitting here staring out at the rainy dark for a while without many ideas for a good closing paragraph, so I’ll leave you with someone else’s words. They are a more eloquent way of stating the first sentence of this letter: “Shit is rough, but you are wonderful.” You were, after all, challenged to “do something” when you came to us, and I share this in the spirit of challenging you to keep at it after you go, even if you’re feeling like a mess because you’re stuck in the dark at the CVS stockroom of life, trying not to trip over last year’s Halloween decorations.

“Nature teaches persistence and perseverance, because in the end nothing stops nature. If a rose can grow out of the concrete, so can we.”

– Micah Hobbes Frazier, racial justice activist, kind of quoting rapper Tupac Shakur, quoted in adrienne maree brown’s Emergent Strategy

So go forth and grow, you wonderful little roses, you.


41: everything you knew, everything you’ve ever done

I used to work in a library system where I walked past a women’s health center to get from one branch to another. One day a girl came out of the clinic in tears from whatever she’d been through and some middle-aged dude with a dead fetus sign started screaming in her face and she couldn’t do anything but flinch and cry more. I ran up between the two of them and yelled at him until he put his sign down and backed the fuck off. I’ve never done anything like that before or since. The girl’s mom came out of the car and asked me if I needed a ride out of the scene and I took them up on it.

I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for reproductive rights. Today, I live a feminist life. Here is a mix for all of us who choose to, for all of us who need solidarity and righteous anger right now.


Laurel HaloDr. Echt
X-Ray SpecsOh Bondage Up Yours!
OtepThe Lord is My Weapon
CrisisWaking the Dead
KittieFuneral for Yesterday
Jack Off JillFear of Dying
Cable TiesSandcastles
Amyl and the SniffersGFY
SurfbortOpen Your Eyes
Perfect PussyDriver
BroadcastBit 35
Lacuna CoilOur Truth
Faith & the MuseScars Flown Proud
Lebanon HanoverLiving on the Edge
Boy HarsherPain
Paradox ObscurDark Fortress
MyrkurOnde Børn
True WidowDuelist
TamarynMild Confusion
Cocteau TwinsPersephone
Blevin BlectumCygnet
HoleJennifer’s Body
Siouxsie & the BansheesSpellbound
PatriarchyI Don’t Want To Die (Geneva Jacuzzi Remix)
Special InterestStreet Pulse Beat (Boy Harsher Remix)
YazSituation (U.S. 12″ Mix)
Foie GrasPsychic Sobriety
ANOHNIDrone Bomb Me
BroadcastTears in the Typing Pool
Blevin BlectumBenadrilled and Taking On Water
Chelsea WolfeFlatlands

#40: you’ve got your finger on the pulse

…which is a funny subtitle for this one, because I definitely forgot to post the show until almost a week after it aired. Anyway, here ya go.

New OrderRound and Round
The CureIn Between Days
House of HarmValentine
Sydney ValettePlease
Bloc PartyLike Eating Glass
Give My Remains to BroadwayComfort of the Void
Night SinsViolet Age
Geneva JacuzziDo I Sad?
Vandal MoonRobot Lover
Sacred SkinEarthbound
Working Men’s ClubCircumference
Graeme Norgate & Grant KirkhopeGoldeneye Pause Music
Hot ChipDown
DesireTelling Me Lies
Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis PupulHAHA
The KillsNo Wow (The Tchad Blake 2022 Mix)
Gretchen Shae & The Middle EightThe Business of Broken Dreams
The KVBBlind (Drab Majesty Remix)
M!R!M!Post Fight
QualHow Many Graves
Graeme Norgate & Grant KirkhopeGoldeneye Pause Music
Decades/FailuresI (Never) Wanted To Believe
Night NailLittle Armenia
The AvalanchesSince I Left You
Cut CopyZap Zap
GorillazClint Eastwood
TempersCapital Pains
Profit PrisonGhosts of 20th Century Fame
Graeme Norgate & Grant KirkhopeGoldeneye Pause Music
MisfitsWhere Eagles Dare

#39: the silence of the room

Kinda too tired for show notes at the moment, and very interested in taking a bath, but let it be known that VR SEX and Bi Polar rocked the shit and piss out of the Middle East Upstairs on Saturday night. Click those links, my dudes.

Bi PolarFist Fight
Miniature TigersBullfighter Jacket
Neon IndianPsychic Chasms
Bear In HeavenSinful Nature
Nine Inch NailsDiscipline
The CureShake Dog Shake (New Blood Mix 2018)
Fever RayWhen I Grow Up
HEALTH feat. PerturbatorEXCESS
VR SEXMinor Case
Adriano CelentanoPrisencolinensinainciusol
Pye Corner AudioLeaf Mould
LaibachGod Is God
Body of LightTime to Kill
SUPERNOVA 1006Precious
Buzz KullOde to Hate
Red Lorry Yellow LorryTalk About the Weather
The Sisters of MercyFloorshow
Cabaret VoltaireSpies in the Wires
The MenI Don’t Depend On You
KontravoidToo Deep
Hot ChipReady for the Floor
Kon KanI Beg Your Pardon (I Never Promised You a Rose Garden)
Death from Above 1979Romantic Rights
Nitzer EbbControl I’m Here
Pye Corner AudioYesterday’s Entertainment
Black Moth Super RainbowThey Live in the Meadow
Jessy LanzaVV Violence
BauhausKick in the Eye
Boards of CanadaRoygbiv
The Avalances feat. MGMT & Johnny MarrThe Divine Chord
PinbackNon-Photo Blue
Black MarbleJohnny and Mary
Pye Corner AudioApproach
BroadcastSubject to the Ladder

#38: whingeing all over the place

I play what I want on this show. And I have low-key spring mania.

We’re ostensibly watching The Batman right now, and I tell you what, I am bored out of my gourd. So I made this garden-based promo. Wait, John Turturro is here now? Well, okay. *yawn*

BaltimoraTarzan Boy
KlackMove Any Mountain
Bloodhound GangThe Bad Touch
Scissor SistersLet’s Have a Kiki
Little DragonShuffle a Dream
A Flock of SeagullsI Ran (So Far Away) – The KVB Remix
LegoweltClap Yo Hands
bisDon’t Let The Rain Come Down
TOBACCOStreet Trash
Depeche ModeJohn the Revelator (Murk Mode Remix)
YazDon’t Go (Todd Terry’s Freeze Remix)
BlancmangeLiving on the Ceiling (Vince Clarke Remix)
OrgyBlue Monday
A Place to Bury StrangersMy Head is Bleeding (Lunacy Remix)
VR SEXEnd Vision
…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of DeadWorlds Apart
BattlesMy Machines (feat. Gary Numan)
TOBACCOSelf Tanner
Xeno & OaklanderInsomnia
Boy HarsherTears
André ObinAnthem
PerturbatorSecret Devotion (feat. True Body)
Forest SwordsLjoss
MGMTLittle Dark Age
EagullsMy Life in Rewind
Eleven PondPortugal
TOBACCOTruck Sweat

#37: feels like being cloned

Big news in the Callan world this week that I didn’t mention at all in the show (oops?), but yeah, I’m going to be starting my PhD in the fall, so that’s fun and kinda nuts.

New promo text as follows: Come in for a doomin’ onion and stay a while at the Outback Witch House, here on Uncertain FM every Wednesday from 8-10 PM Eastern. We’ve got your fix for goth, new wave, punk, post-punk, post-hardcore, and other genres that feature moody people and synthesizers. Find out more at

LCD SoundsystemLosing My Edge
Front 242Rerun Time
Depeche ModeEverything Counts
Golden EarringTwilight Zone
The Cooper Temple ClauseWho Needs Enemies?
Yard ActFixer Upper
The Human LeagueDo Or Die
Chicory TipSon of My Father
SegueAurora (Excerpt)
Working Men’s ClubWidow
Melted MirrorEscalator
EchoberylSalome (Suffer Me)
Twin TribesHeart & Feather
The FaintParanoiattack
!!!Must Be The Moon
Cut CopyOut There On the Ice
The Juan MacleanA Simple Design
Minuit MachineDon’t Run From the Fire (Rein Remix)
SegueAurora (Excerpt)
Nine Inch NailsCapital G
Night SinsDaisy Chain
BauhausDrink the New Wine
Zola JesusLost
Thom Yorke5.17
NTO feat. TrickyLoving You Like Always
Braxe & Falcon feat. Panda BearStep by Step
SegueAurora (Excerpt)
Manic Street PreachersLa Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh)

#36: now that it’s gone, never again

Things I am really into right now:
1) This week’s show
2) The little purple flowers all over the lawn (are these creeping myrtle/part of the vinca? I can’t tell)
3) Shaking Seafood in Roslindale?!?! like wtf is up with those BREADED WINGS
4) Design Justice, which I should have read ~2 years ago
5) The Lot community radio space in Brooklyn. We started thinking about how Uncertain could do something like that.
6) Panda sitting like an uncomfortable human and attempting mind control regarding the office door

// this show is archived //

Dels feat. Joe Goddard and Roots ManuvaCapsize
TVAMPiz Buin
Skeleton HandsRobot Hands
Melted MirrorOpen Wire
Working Men’s ClubTeeth
RogelioLove Pig
Silent RunnersForgotten (Delphine Coma Remix)
The Foreign ResortHot Summers (Melted Mirror Remix)
Front 242Headhunter 3.0
CamouflageThe Great Commandment
Eleven PondBlood Ruins Film
ASCAre We On The Same Wavelength (Excerpt)
CaesarsDon’t Fear the Reaper
UnwoundLook A Ghost
…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of DeadTotally Natural
Cloud NothingsWasted Days
InterpolTake You On a Cruise
The Sisters of MercyWalk Away
Boy HarsherGive Me A Reason
Sacred SkinNo Surprise (MVTANT Remix)
Games feat. Laurel HaloStrawberry Skies (Gatekeeper Remix)
Gary NumanMy Dying Machine
ASCAre We On The Same Wavelength (Excerpt)
ACTORSLike U Want 2
Dead Horse OneCore
Moon DuoI Can See
Odonis OdonisImpossible
Painted PalmsHypnotic
ASCFalling From the Sky