Sunday, February 28, 2021

February Songs

Well, that was a ride. Last month we didn't know it existed. Now, no-one talks about anything else. Okay, I don't talk about anything else. 

On the tenth of the month I mentioned Valheim for the first time, mostly to say I'd bought it but hadn't played it yet. On the eleventh I gave my first impressions, suggesting I didn't think it was all that. Then I went on to post about it every day for two weeks, except for the odd day when I was so hard into playing the damn thing I didn't get to post at all.

About the only other things that got a mention were Teen Titans Go! and Twin Saga. Plot a chart for that. 

Enough. Let's get to it.


January Songs - January SongPygmy Lush - The way I pick titles for this blog is becoming increasingly abstruse. It began with me pulling occasional songs and lyrics out of my head. That worked for a few years, until I started to notice I was coming up with the same ones over and over. Next, I started looking through my extensive collection of downloads and cds, scanning for possible titles that might fit. That was alright but it got to be hard work. Also I was too tempted to come up with posts just to justify using titles I really liked. 

So I flipped it and moved to my current system, writing the post then running keywords and phrases that might fit through various search engines. That's been very productive in introducing me to new music I'd never have heard otherwise but it does attenuate the link between the source and the inspiration. And now I realize I'm also vetting the results for choices that come with a video that might give good freezeframe image in the monthly round-up. 

I didn't notice I was doing it until this month, when as chance had it many of the songs I wanted to use didn't come with any video at all. Like this one by Pygmy Lush, of whom I have never heard, even though they sound like a lot of other people I like. 

I have month-name titles picked out until August, making a full year since I switched the explanatory posts to a monthly schedule. I might take a break from using all music references all the time after that. It's already a dog-wagging tail. 

Then again, maybe I'm having too much fun to stop. We'll see how I feel in September.

Donkey Ride - Rickie Lee Jones - Wow! That's a long way from Chuck E's In Love. Rickie going full Yoko on that donkey's ass there. Erm... Maybe I should rephrase that. I love Yoko Ono, by the way. Certainly a hell of a lot more than I love John. Which is not at all.

Push The Envelope - Asteroids Galaxy Tour - At last! An actual moving picture video! I happened on this lot a few years ago. I think I was probably searching for Galaxie 500 and they cropped up in the sidebar. (That's a great link there, let me mention to you. Don't miss it. Antoine de Caunes from the wonderful 90s pop show Rapido, with a short introduction to the band, from which I learned that Galaxie 500 like Yoko too. I never knew that). 

I have no clue what kind of music Asteroids Galaxy Tour like let alone what they think they're playing. Anyone who puts the word "Tour" at the end of the name of their band clearly has a tenuous grasp of form, structure and meaning. Always a recommendation in my book. There's an acoustic version of the same tune here, worth watching just for the way the singer's hair makes it look like she has giant eyebrows. 

I Go Shopping - Alcazar -  And we're back to static shots of the covers. Sorry. Also, listen to this for just ten seconds and you'll have it in your head all day. They front-load the chorus to make sure. There are some "live" versions but they're all terrible beyond belief. This is the least bad of all of them, just in case you doubt me.  

Try It, You Might Like It - Soon(Like It) - Imani Coppola - I had two options for this. Both good but neither has a video of any kind. So frustrating! The other was Your Sister's Clothes by Pulp but honestly I think I've given Jarvis more than enough exposure already. And exposure is clearly the last thing that man needs. 

The Longest Road - Morgan Page (ft. Lissie)(Deadmau5 remix)  - Progressive house, apparently. Progressive country house, more like. Mesmeric musically, elegaic lyrically. Not sure the shots of Deadmau5 flipping switches and turning knobs add much to the ambience but I'm not complaining. At least something's moving.

Quod Erat Demonstrandum, Baby! - Airhead - Thomas Dolby - Who else in the entire world would use a line like that in a dance number? I'd forgotten all about Thomas Dolby. I'm not entirely sure I'm all that grateful to be reminded of him, either. There's a fantastic live clip here with him singing horrifically off key. Almost as bad as Dave Vanian, when I saw the Damned back in 1977. Not as bad, though. Nothing ever could be. 

Happy, As A Clam! - I'm A Vampire - Future Bible Heroes - The video's someone's creative arts class project but the diy aesthetic fits the tune perfectly. FBH were new to me but they sounded interesting so I took a look at a few more of their tunes on YouTube. You'd think it was pretty innocuous stuff but boy does it yank some peoples' chains! Reading the comments, I get the feeling there are people who still wouldn't understand what irony was if Alanis Morrisette came round to their house and explained it to them in person.

Cast A Long Shadow - The Monochrome Set - The always underrated Set, seen here dressed all in white and playing what looks like the second stage at a community festival in a local park. Been to a few of those in my time.

Better Later - On The Run - Jungle Brothers - One of the best things to come out of my change of method here is the way it's brought back to me my love of daisy age hip hop. Something about the phrases I search for seems to bring up new examples all the time. There's a whole post in how that happens, now I come to think of it. I mean, I knew I liked that stuff. I'd just forgotten how much. There wasn't ever a lot of it, either, but there's still plenty I never heard at the time. It's been like finding a whole new chapter in a book I thought I'd finished. 

Why Am I Doing This? - Starmartyr - My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult  - Like stuff I used to listen to but better. I'd dance to this. Or do other things. I checked the band's name. Supposedly it was taken from a tabloid headline. To me the phrase "Thrill Kill" always brings to mind Neal Adams. Not that I've ever read that one. I Probably should.

Thirty Days - Run DMC -  Old school rap seems to have aged a lot better than old school rock. Then again, I guess it depends how old school you're talking. Chuck Berry still sounds fresh or these people seem to think so, at least.

Is That All You Got? - Boom - P.O.D. - I know this from the far superior Crystal Method remix but there's no video for that so this gets the nod. P.O.D. gets the nod. Heheh. Heheh. No, that really needs a Beavis and Butthead sample to make it work. Plus it's not actually a double entendre. Then again, it's a drug pun, so...

We All Make Mistakes - No Room For Doubt - Lianne La Havas ft. Willy Mason - The punk police told us to take off our Joan Armatrading pins back in '77 They were wrong then and now everyone knows it. If you fancy a live version without Willy Mason (and I can see why you might, although he won me over in the end) the Barn Sessions has you covered.

Dead Again - Grins - Charlie XCX - To quote Charlie herself, "pretty fucking cool!". Predates my understanding of her work and thereby comes as something of a revelation. I need to dig down, obviously. Surprisingly rockin', especially compared to the studio version, although not as rockin' as Buckcherry. They have a song that uses the exact title and I momentarily considered it but it's kinda, sorta at best. I think I may be over that sort of thing, for now, anyway.

One of Us - Joan Osbourne - I confess when I came up with this one I was totally thinking of the chant from Pinhead by the Ramones. (And no, I am not going to start calling them "Ramones" with no definite article. We shall speak of it no more). That was before I ran the phrase through a search engine and Joan popped out. I had completely forgotten this one! I remember hearing it on the radio all the time in the '90s, back when I used to listen to music radio. What a great driving song. Windows rolled down, sun shining in, everyone yelling the chorus and that great bit that goes  "'...cept for the pope, maybe, in Rome".

I Have Built A Treehouse - Treehouse - I'm From Barcelona - Speaking of singalongs... Listen to this and I promise you'll have it in your head all day and you'll be glad to! Glad, I tell you! This lot seem to be another of that inexplicable cabal of collectives like the aforementioned Asteroids Galaxy Tour who seem to have beamed down from another reality to populate festival stages across Europe. God knows what they've been doing during the pandemic.

I came across this tune on YouTube a few years ago and watched all the live versions I could find. Well, a quorum. There are a lot of them. A lot of live versions, I mean. There are a lot in the band, too. The cover of the album this comes from has a group photo featuring two dozen people. How that can be commercially viable I cannot imagine. They're not from Barcelona, either. I think they're from Sweden. But don't quote me. I know nothing.

And there's another great song I could have used. Treehouse by Helen Austin with a stop-motion video by her daughter and some really great whistling most likely by both of them, I'd guess. I was going to save it in case I ever did another post about arboreal living but that might never happen so sod it, let's have it now.

I've Got A Lot Of Catching Up To Do - Catching Up - All Star Weekend -  Save yourself a mawkish ballad and skip to around 3.35. That where the pop-punk boyband bounce begins. Or maybe just skip the whole thing. Kind of wish I had...

Oooh! - De La Soul - De La do Dorothy. Shut up, Butthead.

In The Portals - Dreamy Lady - T. Rex - As I mentioned earlier, there's a whole post waiting to be written about how certain words and phrases are commonplace in some musical genres and almost entirely unknown in others. Much of that is obvious but a few years of searching for matches has made me aware of some peculiar trends. One thing I can always rely on, though, is how any even vaguely fantasy-related jargon is going to spit out prog and psych-folk bands like copper bars from a Valheim smelter. Come to think of it, I bet some of those bands are playing Valheim right now. Let's hope so. At least it'll keep them out of the recording studio.

I have to filter all of those out when I go with a genre-specific title. Marc Bolan, of course, used to be the feyest of the fey until he swapped fantasy for fifties rock and roll with a hint of the future. Out went the wizards, in came the silver studded sabre tooth dreams but once a hippy, sadly, always a hippy. He did have a tendency to revert. Good news for me. Don't know where I'd have found an acceptable use of the word "portals" otherwise.

On A Wooden Bridge - Wooden Chair - Angus and Julia Stone- I was so happy to find this for so many reasons. I love the duo's signature tune, Big Jet Plane, but I've never found anything else by them I like even half as much until this. It's a two-chorder and I love songs that have just two chords. And there's whistling! Oh god, how I love whistling in pop songs. So, yeah, good find.

It's So Different Here - Rachel Sweet - My days of discovering new songs by Rachel Sweet are, I fear, behind me. Ironic, perhaps, because this, from her superb debut album, is so far ahead of its time it might as well be brand new. I can hear all kinds of things in it now I couldn't hear then. The seeds of trip-hop for one. Liam Sternberg, who wrote it, has what must be the shortest Wikipedia entry for a music industry figure of his significance and impact I've ever seen. It's one paragraph! Five sentences! Is that really all anyone has to say about him?

Yo! Bum Rush The Show - Public Enemy -The originals and still the best. I realize that's a bit like when your dad used to say the bands you liked were okay as far as it went but they weren't the Rolling Stones but then most bands aren't the Rolling Stones, something for which, as a lifelong Stones fan, I'm profoundly grateful. As with Public Enemy, the original's plenty. No need for imitations.

Nothing Lasts Forever - Echo and the Bunnymen - A popular title, used by lot of people including the Kinks, Guns 'n' Roses and Maroon 5, none of which I'm going to link because I don't much like any of them. I do really like the one by Natalia Kills, though, so we'll have that.

Moving House - She Really Wants You - Aimee Mann - Aimee Mann is a fantastic songwriter, a wonderful singer and a solid live performer. I have records by her. Several. This one takes a few listens to bed down. I'm not sure I'd have made the effort if it had been the first thing I'd heard by her.

Swamp Fever - The Vice Barons - Have we had any Belgian surf-punk yet? No? Didn't think so. I actually prefer this identically-titled slice of afrobeat by John Cameron but the Barons look better on the blog and yes, I am that shallow.

'Til next time!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Wider Two Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide