it’s amazing what one guy can do. this kid, brad oberhofer, is only 19 years old and is still in college (my alma matter, nyu!). i hope to see him this weekend at the northside festival in williamsburg. this song is off his EP “o0Oo0Oo,” which he is offering for free HERE.
Except for that bit in High Fidelity, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Beta Band song. But I’m reasonably certain that Steve Mason’s solo album as Black Affair sounds nothing like The Beta Band. I did immediately recognize the sound of “Tak! Attacl!”, though. It’s the sound of early ‘80s electro, the New York club sound, mixed with a moody strain of synthpop, all echoing handclaps, punchy, booming drums, and one-finger synth lines, with enough space left in the arrangement to insert your body into the music. In other words, it’s funky. I hear echoes of New Order’s “Confusion” and Microphonies-era Caberet Voltaire (“Do Right/Sensoria”).
“Do you remember lying in bed with your covers pulled up over your head? Radio playing so no one can see. We need change and we need it fast, before rock’s just part of the past, cause lately it all sounds the same to me.”—
The Ramones - Do You Remember Rock N Roll Radio?
This single was released May 16th, 1980. Kind of scary how well it still applies today.
Berlin - “Sex (I’m A….)” - Best of Berlin 1979-1988. A little new wave to start off a new week, so bust out the eyeliner and ripped t-shirt. Despite “The Metro” or “Take My Breath Away” being more popular, this song proves lead singer Terri Nunn proves was no nun (and we all know that nuns have no fun). The ending moans proved to be an an interesting precursor to Lil Louis’ “French Kiss” house classic.
Last year I was living in London. I was a big Spotify user. I came across a playlist full of Joy Division covers. Most were junk, but there were a few gems in the list. One of them was just posted over on Indie Shuffle - I liked the LCD Soundsystem track, and I also especially liked this one playing now: Hot Chip’s cover of Transmission.
Joy Division’s original was a dark and brooding song. I can’t imagine Hot Chip does dark and brooding, so they didn’t try. Instead they made a sort of distopian cyberpunk-esque version. I’m a fan!
Okay, fwarg, why the fuck are you posting a song without lyrics? A song by acomposer? An italian composer?! Please, just…give it a listen. Ennio Morricone is the shit. Let me set him up for you: he’s 81, been married 53 years he has recorded some of the most iconic pieces for movies. He composed the soundtrack for the documentary about himself! His concerts are sponsored by Armani and he’s one of two composers to win an honorary academy award!
He does less full scores now, but you can find his original pieces in a lot of Tarantino flicks (Inglorious Basterds, Grindhouse and Kill Bill) as well as films like Lolita, The Untouchables, The Boat That Rocked and tv shows like That 70’s Show and the Sopranos.
I, of course, picked his classic song from Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. This track was inspired by the sounds of the desert, specifically whistles and coyote’s howls. This new form of composition was dubbed “natural sound orchestration.” Leone’s meant to submerge audiences with a soundtrack. I really love this song - although I won’t deny some of its appeal draws from its role in the film. Still, it’s raw and unique.
For todays installment in Girl Power Week we are gonna look at another “super group’, Free Kitten. Formed in 1992 as a collaboration between Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and Pussy Galore’s Julie Cafritz, two of the most amazing women in punk rock, the group was joined by Yoshimi P-We of the Boredoms on drums and Pavement bassist Mark Ibold. Notice in the line up the balance of members from more traditional punk/indie bands and members of noise/hardcore bands. This perfect mix really shows up in their music. The songs are always on the border of descending into absolute chaos held together only by a solid bass line and a vocal melody. Meanwhile, the guitar is delightfully overdriven and the drums are a punk rock versions of Captain Beefheart rhythms. This band is just the right mixture of punk rock elements.
I think my favorite element of ‘Nice Ass’ is the subject matter of most the songs, the problems you face while being in the music industry. Basically, the members started a group to complain about the pitfalls of touring and the stupidity of the process. The whole album is a sneering look at the way things work and no one could vocalize that better than Kim Gordon, one of my favorite female voices in music. When this album was released in 1995, it seemed this is the way things would always work in the music world but we know better now, don’t we?
In the end I’m sure people will chalk Free Kitten up as just another punk band but they are more than that. They’re a punk band with a hook both musically and ideologically. Nothing is more punk than railing against the system you’re apart of. Plus it’s just perfectly loud, chaotic music. What’s not to love?
A pleasurable musical ensemble that produces some of the happiest sad songs you’ll probably ever hear (unless you’re already a big fan of The Smiths).
Misha is usually blaring on my iPod (what, you thought I owned a record player or something vintage like that? Actually, I do) on fresh spring mornings, or on cold winter nights. Basically, it’s always playing.
Daily Doses: Magic Kids “Summer” From Memphis (2010)
It’s been so long since I’ve heard something where the lyrics were the obvious focal point, that this song actually felt strange for a second. If this happens to you, just close your eyes, breathe in deep, and try to remember that music was doing this for years before “chillwave” hit. Just trust that it knows what it’s doing.
Anybody who follows this blog regularly knows that True Panther is one of my favorite labels out there right now. They consistently release some of the most exciting stuff currently going on, and do it across genre’s with what I would like to refer to as reckless abandon, but since their directions seems so smart and carefully chosen I suppose I’ll have to say “slightly carefree business savvy” instead.
Given all that, the fact that this will be True Panther’s follow up release to Delorean’s Subiza isn’t really that much of a shock. While Magic Kids obviously draws much more influence from The Beach Boys and Van Dyke Parks than their spanish label mates, they’ve both obviously got a thing for both Summer, and meticulously crafted songs you can dive into and drown yourself in for hours.
I admit it, I never took Giorgio Moroder seriously. I blame the mustache. Sure, I knew about “I Feel Love” and the movie soundtracks he produced. I couldn’t understand why he was often referenced in the same breath as Kraftwerk. So lucky for me the internet is around these days to set me straight. How else would I ever have heard his old Einzelgänger album? I wouldn’t necessarily call this track experimental, but it’s a couple years before he went totally disco, and it must have sounded pretty damn weird back in 1975. At first, with the vocoder and synth pulse, it sounds a bit Kraftwerk. But then a synth-horn line comes in and reminds you it’s 1975 and there’s still a lingering prog influence.
Talking Heads - A Clean Break [Live] (Once In A Lifetime)
It’s a mystery why this hard-charging funkalicious powerhouse was never included in any of their albums. The most popular explanation is that the song is about David Byrne’s painful breakup with Joey Ramone’s sister Cordelia, and listening to it brought up too many agonizing memories. It is a tragedy, because that guitar-duel-sounding-thing in the middle is basically the best thing ever.
‘Pearl’ by Janis Joplin and The Full Tilt Boogie Band
Today for Girl Power Week we are jumping back in time. Way back when hippies were more than the smoke weed, drop acid, love everyone, no job, listen to ‘Dark Side of the Moon‘ two dimensional joke they are today, 1970. While the vast majority of the musical world at the time was long haired, dirty dudes trying to stop a war, there was someone there who just wanted to sing the blues. I’m preaching about the one, the only, the radiant, Miss Janis Lyn Joplin.
Janis didn’t have to say anything about the Vietnam war, although she often did, to be standing in protest. She was a woman in pop music who dressed outrageously, spoke her mine and did what she wanted. She drank, swore and lived in excess. Like Bikini Kill show girls they could be in a punk rock band, Janis showed women they didn’t have to be housewives. They could be a bit wild and live freely. Janis went up on stage and sang the blue to people telling them in her own way that she was proud to be a strong woman and would only settle for a strong man that treated her right. I gotta tell you, if I was around then I would have volunteered.
This album, ‘Pearl’, was her first with The Full Tilt Boogie Band and unfortunately her last. During the time they were recording this album she died of a heroin overdose before it was completed. In fact, the track ‘Buried Alive in the Blues’ is only instrumental because of her untimely death. This is Janis at the peak of her fame. Throughout the album is a sense of comfort and a laid back, natural attitude that even goes so far as light hearted tracks like ‘Mercedes Benz’. Of corse that doesn’t stop Janis and the band from getting down to business. As with anything Janis did, it was passionate. This woman sang her soul out on every track. Every word was belted out with all the emotion she had to try and somehow let you feel everything she feels and she does it better than anyone. She was a true blues singer.
After her death, Janis was one of the four inductees from the 60’s counterculture, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones being the other three, to join the 27 Club with Robert Johnson, making it a real club. The hippie culture would go the way of every other movement in America and be commercialized and fade away. Many would come after Janis, some good and some bad but none of them would ever make the same impression on rock’n’roll.