Monday, February 1, 2021

January Songs


Hey, ho! Another month. 

Here at home, the days all blur. If it wasn't for the weather we could be on Mars. 

We had snow. Just a couple of hours but it lay for days. We went walking in the woods. Sun on the white powder glittered and sparked. Pale winter blues and greys. It was good.

But mostly it rains. It rains and the fog comes in. Nothing to do, nothing to say.

It's fine. Time passes.

As I write January, has five days left to run. Most of the tale's been told but there could yet be a twist. Let's set to. We'll block in the ending, fill when it comes.

December Song - George Michael - Because who doesn't love a schmaltzy Christmas song in February? It has a charming video. Maybe that'll carry.

Cheers, Then - Bananarama - George Michael followed by Bananarama? What is this? The Simon Bates show? Oh, let's not be cynical. Let's just gaze through the glass at another time, another world. I never paid Bananarama much mind when they were around. Maybe I could have. Those harmonies remind me of the best band ever, Dolly Mixture. A little. Makes me wistful for another timeline, one where my favorite band received the success and recognition they deserved. Can I go there, just for a while?

Disco Potential - Pet Shop Boys - Here's a B-Side (remember those?). I'd never heard it before. Much harder than the A-Sides. Right kind of drugs, this must have been a real floor-filler. Then, life's all about the right kind of drugs, isn't it?

Forever Looping - Toyen Airport - Enough with the big names. About time we had someone no-one's ever heard of, least of all me. The rest of their stuff, the little I could find, is deliciously glam-stompy but this is a fine slice of dreampop, set against a backdrop of rivers and rails somewhere in Portugal. I think I may have been there. I could have absolutely sworn I once set a very similar holiday video to Stereolab's legendary roof-raiser French Disko and posted it on my YouTube channel but there's no sign of it now. Damn these timeline shifts! I'm almost sure I'm on the wrong one.

Gotta Get My Disco Shoes On - Disco Shoes - Meta-Cassette - The band formerly-known as Jipsy Magic, apparently. Can't imagine what made them change it.

Cat Class - Stray Cat Strut - Stray Cats - Brian Setzer and the lads, looking all of twelve years old on their breakout hit from before the dawn of time. 1981. Same thing. "I got cat class, and I got cat style". Don't we all?

Sunrise  - Pulp - The band channel the Velvets while Jarvis channels Ian Curtis. Mesmeric. Of course, with a  generic title like "Sunrise" there were plenty of contenders. Could have had UNKLE's dreamy, trancey Sunrise (Always Comes Around) or my mother's old favorites, Uriah Heep, whose histrionic prog still sounds embarrassingly good to me. Jarvis just edges it with his "dancing".

A Little Backbone - Danger - Rowlene -Something new for a change. I have nothing to say about it. Other than I like it.

Sing Me A Song - T. Rex - I guess there's nothing by Marc I don't at least like and I'm a pretty committed fan of his later work, the stuff no-one really rated at the time, but even I'd be stretching a point to claim this one was much more than filler. Someone thought it was strong enough to make a theme tune for the boppin' elf's stab at becoming a children's television favorite, though. Curious as to how that went? Here's the first episode in full. You'll need to hold your nerve to get through. Different times, different world. Can't say I'd want it back.

Last Days of Disco - Yo La Tengo - One of those bands whose name keeps coming up in the suggestions next to other things I watch but whose links I never click. I'm guessing they're from New York. They certainly sound like they are. (Cue FX: man looking something up on the internet...) Oh, New Jersey. Close. Looking at their extensive Wikipedia entry it appears there may be a considerable gap in my musical education. Yes, another one.

Amateur Cartography - Aside - The Weakerthans - "The navel-gaze of twenty-somethings everywhere. A song about change, growth, and reluctant acceptance" or so it says on Accurate, although it's a better song than that suggests, or a better lyric, anyway. The tune's a bit by the yard, it's true. Old people go on and on about how terrible it is to be a teenager but the teens are filled with optimism (and anger). It's the twenties that come steeped in existential angst and self-loathing. I'd rather be fifteen again than twenty-five, although obviously I'd take whatever I was offered.

I Talk About Sleeper - Sleeper Town - The Sleepwalkerz - A post about Sleeper with their name in the title, only it's a line from a song by a band with a similar name and they're singing about themselves. Yeah, probably shouldn't have done that.

We Appreciate Power /s - We Appreciate Power - Grimes - And I shouldn't have appended that /s, either. But, oh, this is good! I played it a bunch of times after I found it for this post. I have not been paying enough attention to Grimes, it seems.

Maybe We'll Love It - Chemtrails Over The Country Club - Lana del Rey - Of course we'll love it. It's Lana. The original post has the official version and the lyrics so let's have something different. And, boy, are there plenty to choose from! Hundreds and hundreds, take your pick. Lyrics in a dozen languages, metalhead reactions, hour-long loops, acoustic covers, psychoanalysis and, inevitably, a conspiracy theorist explaining the hidden illuminati symbolism in the video. What, guys? Moved on from Poppy now she's gone metal?

This one's in something called 8D Audio which apparently "uses the principles of binaural recording to trick our brains into thinking that sounds are coming from different places in three-dimensional space". And, um, it does, too. Try it with headphones.

Into The Light - SNOG - Sounds like the guy from the Tindersticks reading some of his teenage poetry in an end of the pier amusement arcade, while Ken Hensley tries out some runs for the next Heep album on the crazy-house organ in the background. I kinda liked it...

A Hero Comes Along - Hero - Camp Claude - "These days are getting weirder". Yeah, and that was 2016, guys. How little you knew.

The Way We Were - so many choices. I went with Beyoncé but it could have been Barbra in the movie.  I guess that's the original although the Gladys Knight version is the one I remember. Stylistically, they all tend to blend into one. I was hoping for some disco from Donna but she plays it disappointingly straight. It takes Vic and Bob to bring the disrespect. Doesn't it always? 

Cruel Garrison - Pit Viper - 10,000 Maniacs - Oh, god. Yet another of those bands I ought to have been listening to all these years but somehow never have. It's starting to get embarrassing now. I actually wanted to use FX by Pedicab, which has the line "Malapit lang sa Garrison Buong taon kitang iniisip" ("Just near Garrison I've been thinking about you all year") but I couldn't make it work.

I Run Missions - The Sleeper - Prime Minister Pete Nice & Daddy Rich - January was Sleeper month here at Inventory Full, in case you hadn't noticed. Also, contender for best band name ever.

Cab It Up - The Fall - (Live) - That keyboard riff! From the mindbending I Am Curious Orange/ I Am Kurious Oranj collab with dance legend Michael Clark. Michael! Michael! The world is stranger than it can be.

Who Has The Choice? - Smarty - Lana del Rey - Or Lizzy Grant, if you prefer. Let me tell you, it took some doing to find a video for this that I felt was both visually arresting and that I was willing to draw attention to on this blog. Even the wonderful Mermaid Motel, I was like, nuh uh, don't think so. This one's inspired, though.

Learn From Experience - Half Life - Swans - Oh, so it's "Swans" now,  is it? With no definite article. Very grown-up. Did anyone ever call them that? I saw them, back when they were transitioning from their brain-damaging illegal subsonics period to the folky stuff and we definitely called them The Swans. But then we called Ramones "The Ramones", too. Did anyone ever call the Ramones just "Ramones"? I don't think so.

I Think I'm Gonna Let My Subscription SlideEleutheria - Jason Webley - What are the chances, eh? People will write songs about anything. And then you listen to it and it's a perfectly pleasant if somewhat miserabalist piece of country-folk until halfway through, when the insanity arrives.

Walkin' With The Beast - The Gun Club - Here I am again, being too clever for my own good. I could just have used a line from one of the countless songs Phil Spector produced or even wrote but no, I have to get fancy. Phil had an obsession with guns, people were scared of working with him but he could get you places, it felt like dancing with the devil...dancing with the devil, walking with the... oh, wait! The Gun Club!  Jeffrey Lee Pierce comes across so scary yet he was actually a really nice guy, so everyone says. A real teddy bear to work with. And Spector... wasn't. I don't just throw this stuff together, y'know. Shame the good stuff all just happens in my head.

Around And Around - Spin Around - Josie and the Pussycats - Okay, you got me. I was thinking of the Chuck Berry classic. Well, the Stones' cover. But who wants to be listening to genuine rock and roll when you could be listening to ersatz pop music? Not me, that's for frickin' sure! It is slightly weird seeing these Pussycats when I'm used to seeing the ones in Riverdale but there's no such thing as the wrong pussycat.

Dancing By The Pool - It's a Rave-Up - Reverend Horton Heat - I had the title before I went looking and I was about certain I remembered a song of just that name. Only there weren't any. It's worryingly possible I might have been thinking of Dire Straits' Twistin' By The Pool, in which case I'd need to hand myself in to the authorities for a brisk spell of cultural re-education. Fortunately I managed to scrabble this one together although I can't say I give it much credence either.

Climb Higher - Moshi Moshi - Poppy - I find Poppy problematic now in a way I never did before. When she was freaking out the internet and half-convincing even quite rational people she might be a new form of android, every odd nuance seemed easily explained either by the role she was playing or her alien/robotic heritage, depending on your stance. Now we know something of the true nature of the That Poppy project it's all too easy to read something darker in those blank stares to camera, those deadened, repetitive movements. Equally, are we really seeing true freedom's glow in Poppy as metal bondage dominatrix?  Is that who she wants to be or is she playing us? She was always playing us. Even when she was being played. If she was. Oh, I don't know. 

The modern world is hard. Musically, though, I prefer the old stuff to the new. I think that's just a matter of taste. Are we still owning that?

Let's Play Musical Chairs (Black Desert Edition) - Sofi Needs A Ladder - Deadmau5 - I just think "Sofi Needs A Ladder" is a magnificent name for a song. I couldn't figure out why the hell it was called that, though, so I did some reading and sadly it turns out Deadmau5 had an instrumental called "You Need A Ladder" (Because why? Who cares? Instrumental.). The story is, vocals had to be added to get past some copyright infingement issue and Deadmau5's pal Tommy Lee (him from Mötley Crüe) just happened to be around with his girlfriend, Sofi, who also just happens to be a singer of considerable experience so she stepped up. I'm guessing the lyrics are hers but who knows. There's nothing in them about a ladder, I can tell you that much. Sometimes knowing stuff doesn't make things better, it makes them worse. Poppy said that.

Just Play That Music - Just Play Music - Big Audio Dynamite -Strangely undervalued band, B.A.D. Even at the time they never seemed to get the attention you'd imagine they might but then the legend of the Clash didn't really start to pick up traction until the '90s. These days it would be easy to be fooled into believing Mick, Joe and the boys were always second only to the Rolling Stones in the Greatest Rock & Roll Band Of All Time stakes but I remember it very differently. And Big Audio Dynamite? Not taken seriously at all. A bit of a joke, even. Well, they've aged better than the Clash to my ears.

Back In The Desert - Decadence - The Church - If we're talking about undervalued, underrated, unappreciated bands, the Church are A-listers. They have everything and it never gets them anywhere. Thirty years, twenty-five albums and as their Wikipedia entry puts it "mainstream success has proved elusive". I keep forgetting they exist and have to be reminded. This is a cover, by the way, Kevin Ayers tribute to Nico, written long before she died and yet still managing to sound like an elegy. His original is great. This is better.

And that's it for another month. Back in March with more top pop faves. Just have to write some posts first.


  1. Boy, now I want to dig out my B.A.D. stuff I have lying around somewhere. As well as Aztec Camera.

    1. When they first appeared I thought they were ahead of their time but they kind of got overtaken quite quickly by a lot of other happenings and trensds. They've have aged pretty well, though, I think. Well, the music has. Not so sure about the personnel.

    2. They've definitely aged well.

      As for the music, I seemed to have a habit of enjoying some bands that were ahead of their time, such as B.A.D. and mid-70s prog Rush.

      But in the case of the former, I was helped by a Modern Rock station out of Oxford, Ohio, about halfway between Cincinnati and Dayton. 97X "The Future of Rock'n'Roll" merrily went their own way, playing Modern Rock up until about 10-12 years ago when the station was bought out and converted to a Mexican language station. (And if the name "The Future of Rock'n'Roll" sounds familiar, it was used in the 1988 movie Rain Man, which was partially shot in the Cincinnati area. The movie production crew took a liking to 97X and used them in the movie.)


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