Friday, September 23, 2022

One Song Leads To Another

A few days back I was all fired up to do a music post. Unfortunately, I couldn't decide what it was going to be about. I had a few ideas but they all required work and I wasn't in the mood. I thought I might use my magic lucky dip algorithm but I forgot where I put it, so that was that. 

In the end I figured I'd just do "Stuff I've Heard Recently", like I said I was going to, only when I went to the folder the files were bare or however that goes. Seems I haven't been listening to much that's new of late.

Well, there's only one way to fix that. Okay, there are loads of ways buthe easiest of all is to sift through YouTube and hope you strike gold. For that you need a seed to get started. My seed was Fran

I came across Fran only yesterday, by way of a post on Stereogum. As a source of new music, Stereogum's a bit hit or miss, for me. I suppose all music zines are but Stereogum has some particular areas of interest that don't much interest me at all, like hardcore and post-hardcore. They write a lot about those, or anyway it seems like a lot when you're trying to skip round it all, like I am.

Consequently, I don't always - or even mostly - click through. I'm not sure why I clicked through Fran but I did and I was glad. I liked what I heard. Not crazy in love with it or anything, you understand. Just curious enough to follow through to see what else she'd done. And I liked what I found next even more.

Let's begin with a couple of those. The first link in the chain's over at Stereogum, if you're minded. I see no need to pop it out here.


That's So Surreal and Company and they both really remind me of something else although I can't quite say what. Company sounds like Jane Weaver, I know that much. I love the video for that one or rather I love the shots of Fran on her scooter. She's not actually called "Fran", by the way. She's called Maria Jacobson. More of that later.

I was on my Kindle Fire in bed, doing all this. I was getting pretty sleepy, but I noticed some interesting recommendations, so even though I was tired I thought I'd better press on. Lots of very low view numbers. I spend a lot of time trying to fool YouTube into showing me things no-one wants to watch, something it very much doesn't like to do. It'd be rude to ignore it when it was giving me want I wanted for once. 

There was one name that jumped out at me: Jet City Sports Club. That's a great name. So many allusions. The link went to a live show in Sydney, suggesting the band was Australian. It is. A lot of good music coming out of Australia these days. Or perhaps I should say not coming out. Staying in, really, judging by the viewing numbers.

Two versions of Redfern Station there. I think I prefer the live take just for the frailty of it. Again, they remind me of a whole load of stuff including, weirdly but obviously, the magnificent Footscray Station by Scott and Charlene's Wedding. They even sound something alike in a very obscure, parallel universe kind of way. 

I dug a little deeper into Jet City Sports Club's back catalog and everything I saw and heard impressed me plenty. I could fill the rest of the post with tunes by them but there's a lot to fit in so that'll have to wait for another day.

From there my next jump was to The Vovos. It's not the greatest name, is it? I have no idea if it means something. I suppose it must. The reason I went there was the song title: Jessica Day. I'm an absolute sucker for songs that are just names. Especially girls's names. Especially melifluous girls' names that sound like they might be made up.

Okay, I know what that reminds me of - Pony Up! You know it's a good day when everything new reminds you of something old you never got enough of when it was new. Pony Up! haven't made a record for, what, fifteen years? 

The Vovos turn out be... Australian. I thought I could hear the accent but I found out for sure this morning, when I spent a couple of exceptionally pleasant hours retracing my tablet tracks on desktop. Let me tell you, "Fran" is not an easy place to start, which is how I lucked into this:

Now, that may not be the greatest Sweet Jane cover of all time but it's one of the oddest. Not because of what it sounds like - it sounds like Sweet Jane - but because it's on the YouTube channel of "a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers", a prolific vlogger whose most popular post (Over 2m views) is called "It's Official: UFOs Are Real. So What Are They???" Very interesting video, by the way. The Pentagon report to Congress she mentions did appear but apparently didn't shed much light. Who ever thought it would?

Fran also has a Lou Reed story, which is somewhat more germane to this post. Lou comes out of it both well and not so well, like he always does. Fran makes a thirty second anecdote last eight minutes which is a perpetual issue with vlogging. Like I can talk... 

Anyway... in the end I had to go look up the Stereogum piece again to find the name of the song before I could find the Fran I was looking for. Sometimes videos have low view counts for reasons entirely unrelated to their content. Even when I was back where I started, it didn't help as much as it should have done.

I've complained before about the flakiness of YouTube's recommendation algorithm. You never get back exactly what you put in even if you try to step in your own footsteps. Fortunately I remembered the name of one of the bands I'd watched before I fell asleep last night. Just as well because it didn't come up again.

See, "Fran"? This is what you want. A memorable name. Something like The Witchcraft Merit Badge. Not that that's what they're called, ironically. They're just "Merit Badge", I think. It's unclear. They seem to go by both. It doesn't really matter because I don't much like anything else they've done other than this, which is a) a cover and b) sung by someone who isn't in the band. It's called Bad Diary Days and the original is by Pedro the Lion.

I prefer the cover, which is often the case. And it seems we're doing covers now. I didn't plan for it. It just happened. We've had two already and there are more coming. Remember The Vovos? You should - it was only half a dozen paragraphs ago we were talking about them. Here they are again, covering, of all people, the Spice Girls.

I always liked the Spice Girls. Whether the Vovos do is less clear. I have no idea if it was their choice or whether it's some deal of the show, Spicks and Specks. The host introduces it as "their version of tonight's secret song". It's a corking cover anyway, a proper reinvention as all the best covers are.  

Wannabe always was a great song but maybe not as great a song as Psycho Killer. I'll leave whether the Spice Girls were a better band than Talking Heads hanging but I will say you won't see many better covers of the old David Byrne classic than this unlikely team-up between bogan punks The Chats and hip-hop/r&b singer Genesis Owusu.  

That's extraordinary for so many reasons. The Chats are so tight. Their bonehead image belies a postmodern wit and some serious musical chops. They're absolutely the real punk deal. 

Owosu clearly has an old school punk rock pedigree, too, although where he acquired it as a Ghanaian/Australian born in 1998 is anyone's guess. In case this isn't evidence enough (It definitely is.) check his Like A Version choice. 

That's Anarchy In The UK reinvented as a Lip Up Fatty era ska stomper, speeded up. Bits even sound like the Jim Carrol Band doing People Who Died, although that might just be me. You could boil a kettle on the energy he's putting out although it'd need to be a big one.

And that's probably (More than) enough for one post. Also it's all I've got. Well, all I got from that particular hunter-gatherer session, anyway. I do have a few more fresh tidbits tucked away, though. Maybe we should enjoy them before they go stale (Not that they would. Good tunes are timeless.)

Okay, just a couple more then...

Can't go a whole music post with no hyperpop at all, can we? That's Fruity by Chloe Moriondo. Over half a million views since August. It's not just me who likes this stuff, you know... Chloe made their name with covers. They're collected here if you're interested. All fifty-two of them...

And finally... no, really... please, you're too kind but I have to be going now...

Courtney Marie Andrews with a sentiment I wholeheartedly endorse: These Are The Good Old Days.  Musically speaking, that is. Probably needed to clarify that.

She's from Phoenix Arizona but next month she's playing a gig twelve miles from where I'm sitting. I won't be going, although I did actually see a live band only this weekend, the first in many years. I filmed some of it on my phone, too. Maybe the footage will turn up on my YouTube channel one day. 

We're all content creators now.


  1. Now I have that damn song as an earworm....

    "Then it's easy to believe
    Somebody's been lying to me
    But when the wrong word
    Goes in the right ear
    I know you've been lying to me
    It's getting rough, off the cuff
    I've got to say enough's enough
    Bigger the harder, he falls
    But when the wrong antidote
    Is like a bulge on the throat
    You run for cover in the heat
    Why don't they

    Do what they say
    Say what they mean
    One thing leads to another
    You told me something wrong
    I know I listen too long
    But then one thing leads to another..."

    1. I hope you cut and pasted that and didn't type it all out! It meant absolutely nothing to me so I googled it and now it still means absolutely nothing, although I do at least know who it's by. I could listen to it on YouTube or somewhere but from the tone of your opening line I think I'm better off not knowing...

    2. Ah yeah. The Fixx. And yeah, I did type it all in from memory. (Sorry.) It's the legacy of having seen One Thing Leads to Another on MTV an absolute ton back in the day. I had no idea that you didn't know where it was from, because I thought you were referencing that in the title.


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