Incredible Bongo Band, “Apache”: barely a guitar or surfboard to be found; instead, bongos (obviously), brass and a nice slice of Hammond driving the tune. You can keep your Shadows, your Ventures, your Bert Weedon: this is my “Apache”.
Edu K, “Popoduza Rock n Roll”: what you have here is, essentially, a Japanese update on that Aerosmith/Run DMC number from ages ago. And your problem with that is?
Felix Kubin, “Hit Me, Provider”: a rather brutal piece of German techno complete with breaking glass sample, and some words about losing one’s mouse oh no, but essentially nonsense. Good nonsense.
Tocotronic, “Gegen den strich”: you would think that this was mislabelled, and that it was, in fact, your typical Tarnation/Cowboy Junkies widescreen Western number. Then the singing starts, and you realise that (1) it is what it says it is and (2) it is quite special.
Ulrich Schnauss, “... passing by”: the synths wash over you in the manner of OMD’s “Architecture and Morality”. There are only a couple of moments of electrickery to remind you that it’s not 1982.
Ash Wednesday, “Love By Numbers”: but then it suddenly is 1982, a year when I was tangentially acquainted with Ash Wednesday. Mr Wednesday (not his real name) has gone on, among other things, to have a stint with Einsturzende Neubauten, whereas I haven’t really “gone on” at all. Oh well. If you wanted to remember what a particular corner of the Melbourne music scene sounded like in those golden days, you could do worse than listen to this.
Go Team, “Loneliness March”: we seem to be on a short journey through my musical past. Next stop 1987 when, in the rolling hills around Leongatha, a select group of like-minded frustrated scenesters discovered that distance was no impediment to fandom. We found ourselves tilling fresh musical fields as far away as Sydney, Australia (the Cannanes), and Olympia, Washington, USA (Beat Happening). The Go Team (not to be confused, or outdone, by today’s bande du moment of that name) comprised Calvin Johnston of Beat Happening and whoever else happened to be around at the time; they put out a series of 7” singles on K Records that came in transparent plastic sleeves and had barely legible labels. “Loneliness March” was one of their finer moments, and it is good to hear it again.
Paulie Chastain and Ric Menck, “Wishing On A Star”: back then I received a mail-order package from Calvin which contained a whole lot of things I didn’t order, plus a profuse apology, plus as an added sweetener a flexidisc with this song on one side. It's probably worth a small fortune now. It is indeed strange to find something that actually sounds better as an mp3.
Rogue Traders, “Voodoo Child”: and then there’s this. You know you haven’t lost it when your six-year-old comes home singing “baybeah baybeah baybeah” and you can say “hey, I know that song; it’s on my laptop”. They may turn out to be one-hit wonders, and even then that one hit is trading on a timeless three-note Elvis Costello guitar-and-organ riff. But try getting it out of your head.
Soft Cell, “Hey Joe”: who knew this existed? An early, extended (12 minutes!) Soft Cell jam which throws together a couple of Hendrix chestnuts. Marc Almond gets a little bit further into character during “Hey Joe” than I am entirely comfortable with.
Black Mountain, “Don’t Run Our Hearts Around”: there are days when you just want to grow your hair long, whip out your (t)rusty air guitar and crank the volume up to eleven.
Vivienne Goldman, “Launderette”: one of my cherished singles is “Private Armies/Launderette” by Vivienne Goldman, who (I think) was a journalist and who (I think) made no other records and who (I know) enlisted the help of, essentially, the then members of Public Image Limited, crucially Keith Levene, and placed Dennis "Blackbeard" Bovell at the controls. Outstanding.
Nina Hagen, “African Reggae”: in which a German screamer does for reggae what Henri Rousseau did for the Pacific Islands.
Keith Hudson, “Turn The Heater On”: the reggae nugget most likely to be known by indie kids, on account of New Order (literally) attacking it on the John Peel show. As white men playing reggae goes, New Order reached depths I would never have thought possible if I hadn’t heard it myself. It makes Paul Simonon’s early fumblings sound like, well, reggae, and gives “lumbering” new meaning. After hearing it, you need to turn to the original just to clean your system out. (Disclaimer: this is not at all meant to suggest that I don’t like New Order. I do like New Order. I don't like New Order attempting to do reggae.)
The Loft, “Why Does The Rain?”: those indie kids probably have a soft spot for this, too; and for good reason.
The Monkees, “Don’t Call On Me”: the Monkees are routinely held up as some kind of cardboard figures of fun. Listen to this and ask yourself, “Why?”
Les Calamites, “Toutes Les Nuits”: bouncy French girl-pop; suitable for pogoing.
Felt, “Evergreen Dazed”: one of my guilty secrets is the complete absence of Felt from my life. On the strength of this (if not on the strength of “Primitive Painters”, which, despite (or perhaps because of) the appearance of Elizabeth Fraser, sounds nothing so much as horribly dated), I need to dig deeper. But I already knew that.
Split Enz, “The Choral Sea”: this came on the iPod. I couldn’t place it, either by band, genre, or vintage. Turns out that it is on an album that I own but haven’t played for many years. I can’t recall ever having been particularly struck by this instrumental at the time. Sometimes if you just wait long enough your moment will come.