Friday, January 5, 2024

Any Way The Wind Blows...

If I don't do a What I've Been Listening To Lately post soon, the entire concept will go down in flames. It's already turning into What I Was Listening To A Few Weeks Ago. If I leave it any longer, it'll be Some Songs I Really Don't Remember Listening To At All

Which, honestly, it already is, sometimes. I should probably make this a weekly feature. It would be shorter, snappier and more meaningful. Plus it would be nice to have some kind of organisation around here for once.

Enough preamble. There's a lot to get through... 

Geez! You're not kidding me! I just counted them. That was a bad idea. One hundred and thirty! That's like... a dozen posts!

Okay. Deep breath. You can do it...

Let's start at the top. I just saw this video for the first time yesterday. Often, when I follow links to a new song that comes with a video, I watch the first few seconds then tab out to look at something else while the music plays. That did not happen here. I watched the whole thing from start to finish. I won't say I watched it open-mouthed but I won't say I didn't.

The Last Dinner Party have a furious head of steam behind them now. The first album is imminent, they're doing a ton of promotion for it, there are allegations and rebuttals flying about whether they're industry plants (It's a stupid new thing. Ignore it.). Somewhere inside all of that is a band with a sound that could fit comfortably into just about any time period from the mid-1970s to the turn of the millennium. 

I've been having trouble placing them. Now I've seen this video I think I've got it. They're the new Queen. Maybe they want to be, maybe they don't, but like it or not, they are.

Caesar on a TV Screen - The Last Dinner Party

Riding the hype train right behind The Last Dinner Party come New Dad, although they're just clinging on to the carriage marked "Shoegaze Revival". You may not have noticed there is one but that's because a) you don't hang out on TikTok and/or b) you don't read the music press. A couple of years ago it was all KPop in my news feeds but last year it was shoegaze. 

If there's a musical genre that shouldn't play well with either social media or news editors, it surely ought to be shoegaze. I mean, it's right there in the name. These were supposed to be bands so shy and self-effacing, they couldn't even look their audiences in the eye. I guess it's easier through a lens.

I ought to admit my own history with shoegaze. I think I've only ever walked out of one gig, at least one where I paid money to see the headlining band, and that was Ride, the Godfathers of Shoegaze, back in the '90s. At least I think it was Ride. It might have been Slowdive. It was definitely one of the big names of the era but whichever it was, I was so bored, gazing at them gazing at their shoes, I left mid-set.

Over the years I've slowly come around to appreciating the muted dynamics of the style so the revival is faring better with me than the original ever did. That said, a little of this sort of thing goes an awfully long way.

Nightmares - New Dad

I included those two because I felt I had something to say about them. It's not all that likely I'm going to be listening to either very often for their own sake. I do like The Last Dinner Party, in a weird, semi-ironic kind of way, where I'm never really sure if I genuinely like them or if I just like the idea of them. Either way, I'm sure they'll be turning up in these posts fairly regularly but I suspect we've seen all we're going to see here of New Dad. They've already been around for five years without bothering the blog (I'm sure they're heartbroken...) but who knows? Anyone could make the greatest record of all time, tomorrow. Who's to say it won't be them?

On to a song I will certainly be listening to some more, from an artist I really need to investigate further. It's Youth Lagoon again.

 Football - Youth Lagoon

I really don't know what that genre is but I'm starting to recognize it when I hear it and I love it. It's like Americana without the annoying "real" instruments, all gone to seed in the suburbs; toys left out on the lawn, a child's bike lying on its side on the patchy gravel path, pedals slowly spinning...  

delulu - Lexie Liu

And this is about as far as you can go in the opposite direction - China's greatest pop export, Lexie Liu, with a thunderingly good floor-pounder. I'd dance to this. If I could still dance. If I could ever dance. Failing that, I'd drive too fast to it, preferably at night, in the rain, only I'm increasingly worried that's something that's going to get me killed so I don't do it any more. They say getting old sucks but getting older and wiser sucks more.

I'm going to have to do another cover versions special soon. I have an absolute glut of good ones right now. They really seem to be back in fashion. 

Of course, cover versions only work in one of two ways: you know the original and the cover reveals it to you in a fresh, new light or you don't know the original and you receive the cover as a brand new song. Unless you're booking a band for your cousin's wedding, what does not work AT ALL are covers that just replicate a song almost unchanged. In that case, if you like the song it adds nothing and if you don't it's as unwelcome as it always would have been.

I'd better pick a good one then...

Working Class Hero - Cat Power & Iggy Pop 

This is like the most meta thing ever! A cover of a cover, made as a tribute to the artist doing the original cover, not the original. Bonus points for the sampling and autotune. Marianne Faithful's cover broke the Lennon original and this breaks Marianne's cover.

Best of all, the comments on YouTube. Savor the outrage!

2 D I C U V - Tirzah

If we're going to have shoegaze, I'll take this, thanks.

MY HOUSE - Beyoncé

Anyone got whiplash? Sorry about that. Also a lot of swearing there. NSFW audio!

I need to work on my Beyoncé. It's a real gap. This is a great start.

Sid - Sipper

Ye gods, I had some fun finding this again. I'd downloaded it into my "Possibles" folder for consideration but that was weeks ago and I'd completely forgotten where I found it or what it was. The "video", as you can see, has no identifiying features other than "*SID*".

I mistakenly thought it must be by Sid, one of the singers in Odd Future spin-off project The Internet. Don't ask me why. It's just how my mind works, apparently. Anyway, you try searching for either "Sid" or "The Internet" and see how far you get. I mean, you'll get their old stuff but if that's not what you're looking for, you can forget it.

Eventually, I thought to google "Sid" plus the names of all the places I might have seen it and this came up. And that's why I need to do these posts weekly, not leave them to stew. (The "Sid" in the title is actually the character from the TV show Skins, which I've never watched, although I very much doubt knowing that would have helped.)

And now for something I never thought I'd see again...

Doctors of Madness - Doctors of Madness

From The Twiggy Show. 1975. I saw this when it was broadcast, either right after or just before I saw the band live. I saw that TV slot just the once but I never forgot it. You can imagine how incredibly out of place a band like that would have been on a mid-evening, BBC variety show starring family favorite Twiggy. Or maybe you can't. It was a different world back then, not just a different time.

I found out later the reason they were on the show was that the Doctors of Madness shared a manager with Twiggy - Justin de Villeneuve. Or at least, that's the story as I heard it. According to Wikipedia, it seems by the time Twiggy was doing this show, de Villeneuve was her ex-manager. It gives the dates as 1966-1973 for his management period with Twiggy and 1975-1977 for the Doctors. Either way, he was the reason they got the gig.

When the World Wide Web got going and I was a lot younger and more nostalgic than I am now, I spent a lot of time searching for pieces of my past. This was one I looked for many times before I stopped doing that sort of thing, never with any success. And then a couple of weeks ago I was looking at something else on YouTube and up it popped in the recommendations.

It's on the Doctors of Madness' own, official YouTube channel, too, so I imagine some rights must have reverted, somewhere. They also have the other song they did on the show but I'm saving that for another time.

And even though we've only scratched the surface of the slush pile (Nice trick etc.) I've been at this too long and I want my lunch so I'm going to call it after one more. Apart from the covers I mentioned, I think I'm going to draw a line under the rest, file them and move on. It's a new year. 2023 is dead to me now.

Bob Dylan - Frost Children

And out of more than a hundred still in the folder, this is what I picked. It doesn't even have a video. I was going to save it for a post about songs named after real people but I feel like maybe I already did a post like that and if I didn't who's to say I'll ever get around to it? And anyway, it's not like there's a shortage of examples.

So we'll have this now and like it!

Next time, all new stuff! Well, not out of the folder, anyway...


  1. If you set it up as a regular Friday post (or another day of the week), then it'll push you into actually putting these posts together. It worked for me and Meme Mondays, and I heartily recommend it.

    Oh man, Iggy Pop. What's scary is that he's as old as my mom, but he's still younger than the Stones.

    1. And if his voice gets any deeper only elephants will be able to hear him.


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