New York London Paris Munich
1978 hits include:
- Youre The One That I Want (& all other Grease)
- Take a Chance on Me
- Wuthering Heights
- 3 Times A Lady
- Rivers Of Babylon
I can’t remember who introduced me to this song – Mike Daddino, most likely! – but it’s been a perennial playlist favourite ever since. It’s outrageously simple – lecherous caveman monologue, driving groove – but effective and leaves you wanting a lot more. I can’t believe I hadn’t played it out before the last Poptimism, but I hadn’t, and when I did I was gratified at the ‘wtf’ reaction. Yours now to hear and enjoy – all together now, “CAVEmen…caveWOMEN….TROGlodytes!”
(Several more sounds to be found, as ever, on top LJ community Poptimists)
Urban Cookie Collective – “The Key: The Secret”
Kat of General Khaki writes:
Verses? Let’s face it, they’re rubbish, aren’t they? The artist blabbers on because they are not concise enough to get the gist across with their chorus. BORING. The advent of The Lovely Acid House Thing meant that dance music no longer had to be geeky (ahem Kraftwerk) depressing (coff coff Blue Monday) or critically acclaimed (COFF bloody everyone else who could pick up a synthesizer without dropping it or going Where Are The Strings On This Cuboidal Guitar?). Dance music was now FUN! And what is more fun than jumping up and down and chanting a few catchy words to a nice simple happy tune with yer mates? You didn’t even have to be gay. It was great.
‘The Key, The Secret’ is a cracking example of the 1992/1993 Golden Europop era. What’s that? U.C.C. are English? Blimey. With verses consisting of “Ah ah ah ah ah ah/A ha a ha/Ah ah ah ah/I’ve got the key” (courtesy of Lyricz.net) and a soaring chorus it scores highly in the Singalonga category and indeed also in the Thumping 4/4 Beat stakes. It is almost impossible to listen to this song without doing the turny-head nose-pointing dance. Yep, it’s a corking little bit of Euro-bop that somehow sprung from the pancreas of Manchester.
Memorial Tribute to Chris LeDoux and really interesting for a few reasons
1) It’s the second reference to chewing tobacco in the recent chart (Skoal Ring), that and the NY times quoting Bobby Bare about it…Which needs to be forgiven, because of documentary details (not that there is anything that needs to be forgiven here)
2) The theme of the song is really about how cowboy music is different from country, or to put it a different way, how what is played at rodeos is not the same as what is on the radio–the question of purity, or what is really country (ie the western swing here and what Brooks calls here: “the western underground”) is often argued b/w the Americana crowd and the radio crowd–and I mean Brooks can be nothing but a radio populist, but here he does hint at that difference, and I don’t think it has been talked about before…
3) He has for a long time had a really heavy hand for extended metaphor–this time, its a few words, and subtle ones at that–but it defines the western ethos as one not of independence or bullying, but of tenacity “when she starts to twist, hold on tight”
4) he says good ride cowboy–and reading Jane Dark’s blog, she points out that this sentiment needs to be uncoded by people who have spent time at rodeos:” though the loveliest part of this song is how the titular compliment stores its rodeo admiration not in the praise (you gotta say “good ride” to everybody, after all) but in the honorific. Not everyone gets to be a cowboy”
5) II’m glad that he is back.
Art Garfunkel- “Bright Eyes”
There are two songs in the world which are guaranteed to make me cry: Ordinary World by Duran Duran, and Bright Eyes. One is about what it is like not being a pop star any more, something I should find difficult to empathise with. And the other is about rabbits. I am not a rabbit, so why does Bright Eyes effect me so much?
Theories are called for:
1: The Watership Down factor: Bright Eyes is, if not the theme to Watership Down, THE song from it. A brutally sad tale of rabbits, I did not see Watership Down until I was much older: it is after all a pretty disturbing film. My main memories were then of the odd except on Top Of The Pops. The animated rabbits did look sad, but I am rarely touched by poor drawn animals.
2: Mortality: This could be the rub, I think my Grandad died about the same time as Bright Eyes reached number one. The line “how can the light that burns so brightly, suddenly burn so pale” is more than emphatic about illness and death. Let’s be fair, this is no jolly song: the first verse does mention a river of death after all.
3: Singability: This is not a “round the barrel organ” classic, but the chorus in particular invites a singalong. And whilst it can sound odd bellowed out by burly drunken fellows, it never loses its edge of wistfulness. And it suits the acoustics of a bathroom perfectly.
4: Art Garfunkel: The tall one out of Tom & Jerry? A certain Mr Hopkins of this parish will rave (rightly) about his Jimmy Webb numbers, but the beauty of Art’s voice is how unaffected it is. It is quiet here, holding the moment, and never really letting on that it is a song about rabbits. Perhaps that is the key, he manages to inhabit the idea of a frightened creature, with his ridiculous barnet and borderline falsetto. Bright Eyes might be an easy song to sing, but no-one sings it quite like Art Garfunkel.
It is a combination of these issues which I love about Bright Eyes. It has the instant power to transport. It turns up briefly in the Wallace & Grommit rabbit themed movie, and instantly conjured a smile. Not because it was necessarily funny, but the rabbits and the song (and what a song) will never leave me.
*If I am on my own, feeling a bit down and adequately hydrated. I don’t burst into tears all the time.
Shystie – “Woman’s World”
Alex Macpherson writes:
She was meant to be the female Dizzee, the girl who would feminise grime enough for the charts and the broadsheets alike while still holding down the scene’s realness. Instead she released an album which was acclaimed by precisely no one except me and bought by even less, and the super-scary teenage MC Lady Fury did a diss track so harsh that Shystie hasn’t been heard of since in any capacity whatsoever. Shystie could be just as harsh, too, and she was at her best when she indulged her inner Lil Kim rather than aiming for the Ms Dynamite socially conscious model. On ‘Woman’s World’, she aims her rapid-fire flow squarely at MEN – not some men, or scrub men, but ALL MEN – and pumps them full of verbal bullets. Shystie is imagining a world, possibly a utopia, in which gender roles are reversed; she starts off joking about naked studs on Page Three and ends up fantasising about keeping men “in kennels like dogs”. After climaxing with some particularly outré what-the-fuck-did-she-just-say musings on body hair she delivers the sucker punch with relish: “Yeah we crossed the line / But men do that shit all the time!” Come back Shystie!
Punk is always assumed to be about making a righteous noise as soon as possible…Politically engaged,nihilistic, angry, its speed and volume is inversely proportional to its craft.
The Earwhigs upend that. It is v.v. fast–7 songs in less then 7 minutes, and the sound is tubthumping (ie bass, drums, etc. There is a rawness here that maintains less craft means more purity.
For a bunch of suburban teenagers in a basement trying to break themselves out, they have an intense amount of goofy fun with the genres earnestness. They take pleasure in the muck of chaos.
I love the Earwhigs for the pop edge, the random modulations of voice and the hyper self aware deconstruction that is maintained at the same time as making a political message about boredom and exhaustion. They are capable and shrewd critics of the same things that are so forward and important to their work.
It reminds me of the best of Tape Mountains work from Portland, or Edna Walthorpe’s albums with the Pinefox or the ambiguity in the way James Kolchaka uses the word Rock.
I do not have a hard copy of the album, but I do have mp3s, and the one that I have included here is called “Your A Jerk and I don’t like you Like You” and it does tautology like no one else can.
The last year has been an odd one for me in gig terms – before last night, the youngest named acts I had seen were Ann Peebles and Iggy, both 58. Ike Turner, Billy Lee Riley, Syl Johnson, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, Anthony Braxton – all old people. So when I loved a CDR by Afrirampo that a friend gave me, I was very up for seeing them, not just because they are young.
The first act on (not named on the posters, no announcement, so I don’t know who they were) wanted to be a Noize version of Captain Beefheart, but kind of missed the Fall en route and ended up sounding quite like Bogshed. I assume they are very disappointed. Then we got Leopard Leg, which was mostly women hitting many drum kits as fast and hard as they could, plus screaming. I enjoyed it, though their set was short and it kind of felt about enough.
Afrirampo are two Japanese women, one on drums, one on guitar. I thought they were fantastic, mainly thanks to the guitarist. There were strange and experimental parts, inevitably, but much of the time it struck me as simply the best and most thrilling rock and roll guitar playing I have heard in years – power, energy, pace, attack, variety of sound, control, it had it all. She was a strong singer too, but the way the voice, guitar and the comparably punchy drumming all worked together was hugely impressive – this wasn’t just a case of making a lot of noise, this was calculated, and the two were very in tune with each other, very tight, even in the parts where it went beyond what standard notations deal with. I guess it’s kind of hard to see a pair of young Japanese noize women becoming major international rock gods, but I honestly haven’t seen as exciting a rock band since sometime in the ’80s. Also, it was nice to be the oldest punter at a gig again – it’s been a while.
Every time I listen to Will Oldham these days I have a little less pleasure. I don’t know who said it first, but there was a long discussion of him as class tourism and mobility, and fake authentic, and how all of this was a very bad thing. How if we wanted to listen to Alan Lomax, we should go back to the big red box.
I have no idea why I believed this shit. I Listened to him again today, and his voice was as dark and moving as ever, his feeling was as deep and wide. Whether he is attempting to be poor, or geographicaly different, or stranger is of little consequence.
There is a meme in certain circles, that Lomax deserves less points, because he chose the least commercially available, the weirder music, to make an ideological point.
Maybe Lomax thought that pop would ever always be pop, and we would always have the mainstream stuff, and the work that needed to be preserved was the oddities. Oldham seems the opposite, and I’m glad for it.