Sunday, November 19, 2006

Workers' Playtime

So, what were you listening to in August 2006? Some of us were listening to this:

Eddie Fisher, “East St Louis Blues”: this borrows the whistle from the start of Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited”, then goes straight into a kind of slow blues funk, with some of that wukka-wukka guitar we all know and love.

Dwayne Sodahberk, “Whiskey Eyes”: this is backgrounded by a warm bed of glitched-about acoustic guitars, in the style, loosely, of Four Tet or perhaps the Books, but unlike Four Tet the sounds are in support of an actual song, and a real nice song at that.

Dom Um Romao, “Lamento Negro”: if you could imagine a mash-up of “Linus and Lucy” with something from Martin Denny’s “exotica” records, you would be somewhere in the ballpark of this track. A minute or so in, we are gifted a nice electric piano solo and, I dunno, some piccolos or something. And it even tails off with some more of that wukka-wukka (not to be confused with Fozzy Bear’s trademark “wokka wokka”). Anyway, it clears the cobwebs out of your tired brain. Downloaded, some time ago, from the we-can’t-thank-you-enough Bumrocks (link at right).

Jorge Ben and Toquinho, “Carolina Carol Bela”: perhaps the only song I can think of that might have enhanced the unenhanceable quality of the “Tropicalia” compilation, a CD that continues to run and run, at least at our house. Although time-wise I’m not sure if this fits in or perhaps slightly pre-dates that very time-specific movement.

Caetano Veloso, “London, London”: Veloso split the Brazil scene when it got dirty, but continued to make great records. If you substituted Van Morrison’s voice, this would sit quite comfortably on “Astral Weeks”, I reckon. (Sorry, purists.)

Nathalie Nordnes, “Join Me In The Park”: to which I can only respond, “Name the time and I’m there”. The most gorgeous pop song I have heard in a long time, perhaps forever. Enhanced, as all the best pop songs are, by the strongly accented English of the vocals.

Kelis, “Bossy (Alan Braxe and Fred Falke remix)”: hot off the broadband, this one. Braxe and Falke have done some great remixes and some that don’t do much for me. This one is clearly in the former category, perhaps not least because of the undeniable quality of the song on which it is based.

Moonbabies, “Arnold Layne”: this wouldn’t be a Farmer In The City hypothetical mixtape if it didn’t contain at least one cover. So here it is. In memory of Syd.

Judy Henske and Jerry Yester, “Raider”: there is something in this song, beyond the title itself as if that wasn’t enough, which makes me think that Kendra Smith must have been in some way influenced by this song when she put together “Five Ways of Disappearing”.

Madder Rose, “Car Song”: and speaking of Kendra Smith: with its post-Dream Syndicate guitar sounds, and a female voice, the obvious reference point here is Mazzy Star, or more likely its cruelly lesser-known precursor Opal. The sound here is a bit fuller, a bit more Indie Rock perhaps, but it gets away with it.

Pajo, “Who’s That Knocking”: Carl can watch a movie for, like, 15 times and still run from the room at the scary part, even though he knows exactly what’s coming, and how whatever it is resolves itself in a nice way (all children’s films must have a happy ending - except “The Empire Strikes Back”, which may or may not have been a children’s movie). Similarly, this song continues to get under my skin, to mesmerise and slightly wrong-foot me each time I hear it, even though I know what’s coming.

Low, “Transmission”: oh look, it’s another cover version. I generally run a mile from Joy Division covers, holding the originals, as I do, in a highness of esteem that is probably a bit unhealthy. But this Low-ification of one of their more uptempo (or, at least, aggressive) numbers takes it so far from its roots as to make it a brand new song, with its own (very different, but wonderful in its own way) dynamic.

Paul Revere and the Raiders, “I Hear A Voice”: which more or less leaves me speechless. A big, big song, heavy on the emotion and drama, cavernous piano, leavened by some rather lovely tapping on something like a marimba. In my ignorance I didn’t ever suspect a band with a name like Paul Revere and the Raiders of being capable of something like this.

The Sonics, “Have Love Will Travel”: as namechecked in LCD Soundsystem’s “Losing My Edge”. (But then, who wasn't?)

The B-52s, “Mesopotamia”: the story that I heard was that David Byrne was enlisted to produce this record and they had a major falling out. Well, you couldn’t tell from the joyousness of this song, and the crispness of its sound. I should have acknowledged this for what it is years ago.

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, “Red Frame/White Light”: from memory this was the first we knew of OMD. Didn’t radio DJs and television pop-show presenters make as much mileage as they could out of the band’s “weird” name? Those were much simpler times, those were.

Andreas Dorau and Die Marinas, “Fred Vom Jupiter”: the constantly amazing thing about trawling the internet for nuclear-weapon handbooks, erm, music, is the number of times a song can appear that you had long forgotten that it ever existed. Enter “Fred Vom Jupiter”, which was on very high rotation on 2JJ many a long year ago, and then disappeared from view. What I didn’t know was who was responsible for it, and it is curious that another Andreas Dorau track has coincidentally appeared on another one of these playlists. Just goes to show what good, or at least consistent, taste I have.

Das Bierbeben, “Hauser”: I hope “bierbeben” translates as “beer babies”, I really do. Okay, you all know I’m a sucker for breathy girl vocals, especially those hailing from Europe somewhere. This one sits atop a bed of dreamy electronica ...

Safe Home, “Dear Dusty”: ... whereas this one is more acoustically based. Just to mix things up a bit.

Lalo Schifrin, “Most Wanted Theme”: and to finish off, some 60s soundtrack sounds, suitable for framing, heh heh.