Song Roulette: Random Tracks From Low Life’s Derek Caterwaul


Jessica Cassyle Carr
4 min read
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Derek Caterwaul is a longtime promoter of local, underground culture. He’s a DJ on 89.9 KUNM FM’s “Music to Soothe the Savage Beast,” which airs Tuesday nights from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., and he has ties to the Mystery Media Free(k) box—formerly in the 200-block Cornell/Stanford alley—and now other free art boxes around town. Caterwaul is also responsible for Low Life, a DJ night at Blackbird Buvette (509 Central NW) that contains the sweet sounds of deep psych, garage, roots, post punk and punk, funk, and obscuro. On Thursday, Jan. 26, Low Life celebrates a one-year anniversary. This free, 21-and-over event includes guest DJs, free mixtapes and CDs, and video projections from Billy Da Bunny. Peer into Caterwaul’s music collection below.

Song Roulette

1) "Paino Song" • Ipytor Gavyen Machislav • Ear to the Underground vol. 2: Ace in the Hole

“The solo persona of local scene super trooper Clifford Grindstaff (Grave of Nobody’s Darling, Phantom Lake, The Jeebies) is a very curious entity. This track starts out as a soulful, melancholic piano lament and ends up in a free jazz blowout. It’s off of a compilation of local artists that I’ve had up to play live on KUNM’s Music to Soothe the Savage Beast over the years and is available for download at”

Song Roulette

2) "Rule Discordia" • Deadbird • Twilight Ritual

“In 2008, Arkansas sludge metal legends Deadbird finally came out with a followup to their killer 2005 debut album, and it’s a damn good slab of heavy. This track sprawls without losing focus, and stays crushing while still being emotionally diverse. RIYL: Crowbar, Rwake, old Baroness or Down.”

Song Roulette

3) "Joy Division vs. Missy Elliot Peaches" • Oki • Divas of Joy

“Mashup pisses me off at least as much as it rocks my world, depending on whether the artist is actually doing some scathing culture-jamming or just reinforcing pop mind-control memes. This album by Oki walks that line quite well. Divas are the bread ’n’ butter of mashup artists, and Joy Division sounds like it was just made for this sort of treatment when Oki does it. I’m glad I listened to this again.”

Song Roulette

4) "Track 08" • Stiff Legged Sheep • The Robot Sponsored

“Kick-ass Iowa City ’80s art-punk that barely left town, from a copy of an unreleased anthology that I got from somebody close. I think they deserve as much attention as Saccharine Trust or Pere Ubu, and hope to rectify that oversight soon by making it available for download on the Radio Free Nihilon blog ( Soon as I can get the song titles from homeboy, that is.”

Song Roulette

5) "The Bride" • Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath • The Wire Tapper 11

“The Wire (not Wired ) magazine puts out really eclectic compilations of music that stretch my ears out every time I come across them. Chris McGregor was a South African composer that created big-band music with many other (mostly London South African expatriate) jazz musicians in the late ’60s. The sound was something between Mingus and Sun Ra but with a solid grounding in African village music. Wonderful stuff.”

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