- ANY TROUBLE - Growing Up (Girls Are Always Right: the Stiff Years) A bouncy new wave Springsteen cover from the band's debut album.
- CHINA CRISIS - Christian (Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms, Some People Think It's Fun to Entertain 1982) This song from the band's debut sounds like a light synth pop take on Roxy Music's Avalon.
- SAD LOVERS & GIANTS - Man of Straw (Feeding the Flame 1980) SL&G play moody post-punk that mines much of the same ground as Joy Division. But they did it better and more convincingly than most of the other bands that tried to pick up where Joy Division left off.
- the POSIES - 20 Questions (Frosting on the Beater 1993) For album #3 the Posies recruited Don Fleming of Velvet Monkeys and Gumball to produce, which resulted in surprisingly heavier album than the first two. Now it seems perfectly in line with what the Posies were doing at the time, but I recall at the time it being a pretty jarring listen the first time I heard it.
- JETS TO BRAZIL - One Summer Last Fall (Four Cornered Night 2000) This was my #9 album in 2000. but twelve years later it's easily the album I play the most form that year. For the second JtB album Blake Schwarzenbach abandoned most of his punk angst in favor of a more optimistic album with the keyboards up front and the guitars more restrained.
- X - When Our Love Passed Out on the Couch (Wild Gift 1981) Thirty plus years later Wild Gift still sounds fresh and exciting. Actually, I'd say that about the first four X albums. Billy Zoom's guitar is stellar as always here, but the Doe/Bonebreak rhythm section absolutely kicks and this is one of my favorite John Doe/Exene harmonies.
- XTC - Ten Feet Tall (Drums and Wires 1979) A fine Colin Moulding song from the band's third album. For me this song is the bridge where Colin went from trying to write in Andy Partridge's style to writing uniquely Colin Moulding songs.
- ENGLISH BEAT - Night and Day - 1983 Kid Jensen session (English Beat BBC Sessions) A throwaway take on the Cole Porter song with a goofy lounge singer style vocal.
- the EQUALS - the Skies Above (Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys Anthology) I take every opportunity I can to convert more people over to the wonderfulness of Eddy Grant's first band, the Equals. They're one of my favorite bands of the 60's - playing a nice mix of British Beat, maximum R&B, and pop (and on occasion dipping their toe in the bubblegum pool). If you don't have one already - pick up an Equals comp.
- LEE SCRATCH PERRY and the UPSETTERS - Drum Rock (Upsetters 14 Dub Blackboard Jungle 1973) One of the first dub albums - hypnotic and weird, which is par for the coarse for Perry.
Friday, September 28, 2012
And now it's time for another round of Shuffle-a-gogo. You know the drill: set your MP3 delivery device of choice on shuffle, hit play, write down the first ten songs. No skipping. This week I'm working off of my Creative Zen, which means 6,851 songs to pull from. Let's shuffle...
Well, I quite like this shuffle. I think all 10 songs put a smile on my face when they came up and made me want to break out the whole albums, which doesn't happen often with shuffles.
Friday, September 21, 2012
Yup - time for another shuffle...
- FLASH and the PAN - Walking in the Rain (Flash and the Pan 1979) This is from the debut album by the studio only project of the Easybeat's Harry Vanda and George Young. The band is best known for their hit "Hey St Peter", but this song got a bit more attention when Grace Jones covered it.
- JOAN ARMATRADING - Romances (Walk Under Ladders 1981) This was Joan's new wave album - produced by Steve Lillywhite and included guests like Andy Partridge, Thomas Dolby, Sly & Robbie, and Tony Levin.
- SHOES - Snap! (Bazooka 1976) Recorded before their legendary debut DIY Black Vinyl Shoes, the Bazooka album was never officially released until it was included on the double rarities collection As Is. A little weirder and more eclectic than what would follow, there are some great pop gems here.
- SCREAMIN JAY HAWKINS - (She Put the) Wamee (On Me) (Voodoo Jive: the best of) I remember hearing Screamin Jay for the first time, sitting at the Hillside Theater watching Jim Jarmusch's "Stranger Than Paradise" and instantly becoming a fan. As Eva says in the movie, "It's Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and he's a wild man, so bug off."
- HALL & OATES - "Johnny Gore and the "C" Eaters" (War Babies 1974) This is the from their third album, which has to be the oddest record in the H&O catalog. Produced by Todd Rundgren and using Utopia as the band - they abandoned blue-eyed soul in favor of hard rock. This song sounds to me like a cross between Utopia and Funkadelic's Warner Brothers era. My friend Randy had been looking for this album for ages, which is what prompted me to seek it out. I'm really glad he did - a wonderfully weird listen.
- SWERVEDRIVER - Duress (Mazcal head 1993) I tend to prefer short songs, but I don't think this epic would work so well without using all eight minutes. The wall of guitar wah-wah is just stunning.
- the dBs - You Got It Wrong (Ride the Wild Tom Tom 1993) This Chris Stamey song is one of the highlights of this dB's odds and ends collection.
- MAGNETIC FIELDS - Quick! (Love at the Bottom of the Sea 2012) From the new album, which doesn't sound as charming as it did a few months ago.
- the CHURCH - Is This Where You Live (Of Skins and Heart 1981) From the debut album - loaded with fine psychedelic tinged pop with ringing guitars. This one has a wonderfully hypnotic drone and a slow build melody, capped off with a great Steve Kilby vocal and some of the band's best guitar work.
- CARDINAL - Radio Birdman (Hymns 2012) It took them 17 years, but Richard Davies and Eric Matthews finally followed up their much loved debut with a damn fine album of eclectic pop.
Friday, September 14, 2012
Here's another round of Shuffle-a-gogo.:
- BLACK FLAG - Out of this World (In My Head 1985) This is one of the bonus cuts tacked onto the CD reissue of the last Black Flag album. Rhythm section is super tight, some great guitar lines, and Henry sounds a bit like Keith Morris in his delivery. To my ears it holds up a bit better than much of the material from the actual album.
- NEW ORDER - True Faith (20 Years of New Order) I always thought that this 1987 single was pretty bland, but I think I'm in the minority on that one.
- the MARMALADE - Lovin Things (the Very Best of Marmalade) On this 1968 light pop single with big string and horns production the Scottish band mines the same territory as the Buckinghams.
- MESSER CHUPS - Sentimental Bass (Black Black Magic 2002) Spy guitars, theremin, and weird sound effects. Par for the course for one of Russia's oddest and most fun exports.
- PEREZ PRADO - Mambo del 65 (Al compas del Mambo 1950-52) From a stellar comp of early Perez singles - it's always a treat when anything by the King of the Mambo comes up on shuffle.
- MYRACLE BRAH - Faux American (Plate Spinner 1999) Barroom power pop from Baltimore.
- CHIC - Dance Dance Dance (Chic 1977) Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah! Straight ahead disco from the first Chic album. But in the hands of Niles Rodgers and Bernard Edwards even a straight ahead disco song became so much more. Chic disco holds up much better thirty plus years later than most of their contemporaries.
- the HANDCUFFS - I Just Wanna Be Free, Man (Electroluv 2008) Fun pop from the band's second album. Brad Elvis' drums sound absolutely huge on this song.
- the POLICE - Too Much Information (Ghost in the Machine 1981) Cha!
- PET SHOP BOYS - Was That What It Was (Alternative) As much as I love the Pet Shop Boys singles, the record I play the most by them is this collection of 30 b-sides. This was one of the "Opportunities" b-sides. There are several bits that sound like Art of Noise - enough so that I had to double check and see of Trevor Horn produced or mixed it (he didn't).
Nothing embarrassing or that I felt the need to explain this round! Whooh whooh!