“19 Tunes (A Playlist and Song Reviews)” by Richard F. Yates

in #music4 years ago

19 tunes 16 mar. 2020 by rfy.jpg
[Digital drawing created with that silly old “Paint” program and a terrible touch-pad for a mouse. Not trying to make excuses because I love these goofy digital drawings, just sharing with people the idea that ANYONE to make artwork, regardless of software, hardware, or talent! Just have fun with it!!! 2020.]

There is a chance that you are home practicing “social distancing” at the moment. (Whether this is your normal practice or enforced by the government, I’m not sure---doesn’t really matter! I’m here for you anyway!!!) To help the time fly by, I’ve developed the following playlist of MUSIC for you to listen to and enjoy. I expect that some of these songs are going to be NEW to you, even if they ain’t actually very new. The playlist is perhaps a bit odd, because it combines old psychedelic tunes, NEW psychedelic tunes, electronic dance music, punk and post-punk cuts, and smarmy, snarky (possibly offensive) novelty tunes---unashamedly---into just under two hours’ worth of audio entertainment.

I did manage to find representations for each of these songs on the YoooTooobs, so I made a video playlist for everyone to follow along with, if you don’t happen to OWN all of these songs already. (Some are kind of tough to find, so it’s pretty cool that the audio is out there online. You might not have the record or CD, but you can still listen to these!)

Here’s the link:

And here’s the list!!!

19 Tunes (16 Mar. 2020)

  1. The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band – “Humanoid Boogie” [1968]
  2. Gorillaz (feat. slowthai and Slaves) – “Momentary Bliss” [2020]
  3. Blondie – “Too Much” [2017]
  4. Apoptygma Berzerk – “Atom & Eve” [2019]
  5. Nuclear Family – “Darker Than You” [2012]
  6. T.S.O.L. – “Flowers by the Door” [1984]
  7. SNFU – “Wild World” [1988]
  8. The Damned – “Anti-Pope” [1979]
  9. The Deathray Davies – “Corrective Lenses” [2000]
  10. Beachwood Sparks – “Ghost Dance 1492” [2002]
  11. Tame Impala – “Reality in Motion (Gum Remix)” [2017]
  12. Grimes – “My Name is Dark (Art Mix)” [2019]
  13. A.P.P.L.E. – “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” [1987]
  14. The Dead Milkmen – “Instant Club Hit (You’ll Dance to Anything)” [1987]
  15. Book of Love – “Modigliani (Lost in Your Eyes) (I Dream of Jeanne Mix)” [1986]
  16. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – “Satellite” [1988]
  17. Auditory Sculpture (feat. Storm Large) – “Ruin Everything” [2005]
  18. Blur – “There’s No Other Way (Blur Remix)” [1991]
  19. Bob Mould – “See a Little Light” [1989]

Review Section

  1. The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band – “Humanoid Boogie”
    The Bonzo Dogs came into the “popular” consciousness as the house band for a British t.v. show, called Do Not Adjust Your Set back in the ‘60s, which also featured early work by several folks who would go on to make this one little show---Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band was lead by Vivian Stanshall, a brilliant but crazy person, and they performed a wonderful mixture of novelty humor and fuzzed up psychedelic rock, and despite being part of a comedy t.v. show, they actually produced a TON of wonderful, quirky, funny, and very LISTENABLE music. This cut, “Humanoid Boogie,” is one of their fuzzy cuts, combining piano, distorted vocals, punchy drums, and odd but clever lyrics. It’s a great pop-psychedelic cut that I could dance to or just enjoy nodding along with. One of a hundred great songs by this band, and one that wouldn’t have been out of place on the Dr. Demento radio show!

  2. Gorillaz (feat. slowthai and Slaves) – “Momentary Bliss”
    Here’s a new one---a dreamy, weird, squelchy, almost ska inflected, bubbly, cut. I love this. It’s got a sort of rap-talk vocal delivery on most of the lyrics, but with these soft, Damon Albarn, chorus-like bits floating around in the mix, as well. It plods along at first, then revs up to an aggressive, soccer-hooligan-esque, old-school, punky, chanted freak-out in the middle. Great stuff. Intriguing direction (which is pretty much business as usual for Gorillaz.)

  3. Blondie – “Too Much”
    “Too Much” is a fun synth driven track from Blondie’s Pollinator album. It’s bubbly and up-tempo and dancy, and Debbie Harry’s vocals are still excellent (even though she’s over 70 now!) Probably my favorite song off that newer album. (We have tickets to see Blondie in Portland, Oregon, in August. Hopefully, the show won’t be cancelled!)

  4. Apoptygma Berzerk – “Atom & Eve”
    This is a newer song by one of the best of the Futurepop bands. Apop is from Norway, and their career has spanned several decades. (I learned about them in the ‘90s, and I wasn’t their first fan!) This cut has warm, very ‘80’s sounding synths, a solid, chugging rhythm, and good, melodic vocals. Mariah (aka: The Wife) isn’t ALWAYS a huge fan of my Industrial / EBM bands, but she really enjoys this cut. It comes from a two track “sneak preview” release, and if it is any indication of where the band is going from here, I can’t wait for the full release to come out!

  5. Nuclear Family – “Darker Than You”
    These guys are fantastic. I first ran into them a decade and a half ago or so, when I heard their evil, noisy track, “Jane Fonda,” from a weirdo, underground music blog. Though that track was harsh and smarmy and aggressive, this one is very dreamy, with a plodding, synth driven rhythm, darkwave styled vocals (very melodic), and a snarky, taunting set of lyrics that some might say are a bit cringy---but I love the track. Think somewhere in the dark-synth realm, but more of a listening track than a dance-floor stomper.

  6. T.S.O.L. – “Flowers by the Door”
    The “True Sounds of Liberty” are a So. Cal. punk band, who you might have seen if you ever watched the old punk film classic, Suburbia. They are definitely in the melodic punk category, and they remind me of an American version of The Damned. This cut is particularly well done, and probably could have done well on the radio---if it had come out in 1991 instead of 1984. (The track is off the Change the Day? album.) Just a good, solid, listenable, slightly dark, punk track. Excellent.

  7. SNFU – “Wild World”
    In the great tradition of punks covering popular songs (Circle Jerks, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes), here is a brilliant cover of Cat Steven’s soft-rock classic. Unlike the Circle Jerks, who pretty clearly HATED the songs they were singing, SNFU really gives this cut some chops. The vocals are melodic, the music isn’t TOO over-done, and the song is surprisingly faithful to the original feel. I love me a fun, skate-punk satirical take-down track, but I’d almost swear they really like this song! (I know I love it, and I enjoy their version, too!!!)

  8. The Damned – “Anti-Pope”
    From the magnificent Machine Gun Etiquette LP, this is speedy, absolutely brilliant Damned at their DAMNEDEST! This song is so good---and it has this wonderful breakdown in the middle where they mess around with guitars and cymbal crashes and woodblock hits!!! It’s brilliant. The vocals are perfect, the track moves right along, and when they start to groove, you just go full, psycho-punk-a-delic freak-out bliss. A nearly perfect cut.

  9. The Deathray Davies – “Corrective Lenses”
    Here’s a turn of the millennium psychedelic cut from the album The Return of the Drunk Ventriloquist. The vocals on this are dream-pop, but the echoing guitars, the crashing cymbals, and the swirling nature of the whole track make it feel like you’re on nitrous or something while you’re listening. It’s buzzy, harmonic driven, and nod-along-able stuff. Wonderful.

  10. Beachwood Sparks – “Ghost Dance 1492”
    Again, we are venturing into full-on psychedelia here, from this L.A. bands Make the Cowboy Robots Cry EP, which was released by Sub-Pop! (I thought they were from Seattle, what with the Sub-Pop connection, but the Wiki page says L.A.!!! Weird.) The vocals on this are high and dreamy and blurry---close to the vocals of some old sixties band, like Canned Heat or The Turtles, maybe. The song is sweet and pretty, but also a bit swirly, like a carousel that looks pretty, but you feel like you’ve been riding for just a bit to long, so you’re getting a bit dizzy. So by the time the guitars start to freak out and the robot voices begin buzzing at you, it’s too late! You realize you’re trapped on the ride, and it’s actually a UFO taking you to a different dimension. Good song!

  11. Tame Impala – “Reality in Motion (Gum Remix)”
    This is another synth driven, pulsing track, although this one is definitely dancy. The vocals are strong, melodic, and dreamy, but the bass bump and percussion push you across the (virtual) dancefloor while you’re tripping out. I seriously recommend good headphones for this one. Such a great cut! Trippy, fun, upbeat, dreamy, synth-pop-psychedelic perfection.

  12. Grimes – “My Name is Dark (Art Mix)”
    New Grimes!!! This is from the recently released Miss Anthropocene album, and it’s awesome. It has Grimes’s dreamy, sweet vocals, but here they are distorted and fuzzed up a bit. The music starts like a darkwave or dark synth track, but as the song goes along is gets fuzzier and darker and fiercer, until it reaches full NASTY, all distortion and screams and bomping bass. I like Grimes quite a lot, but I LOVE this cut…

  13. A.P.P.L.E. – “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”
    This is a cover of a hippie standard by A.P.P.L.E. (or All Punk Please Leave Earth---it’s a great name for a punk band!) The female vocalist is exceptional, (whoever she is), and she kicks as much gusto into this cut as Janis Joplin---but with a slightly more melodic quality than Janis had. (Think somewhere between Blondie and Tilt.) The guitars are solid, the rhythm steady, and the POWER of this cut is phenomenal. One of my favorite punk songs, still, to this day.

  14. The Dead Milkmen – “Instant Club Hit (You’ll Dance to Anything)”
    I’m a huge Dead Milkmen fan, and this cut is a perfect example of what I love. The lyrics are essentially SHITTING on club kids (I was a DEVOUT club goer in the ‘80s and ‘90s), and some might think that this track is flat out offensive, especially when it get’s to the name calling in the breakdown. However, I can remember thinking this was hilarious when I first heard it, even though I fit the description of the people being trashed to a “T”!!! The best part of the cut is when the song goes off on a weird, Ministry-styled thrash blast for a few measures, before sliding back into the regular groove. Interestingly, Ministry wouldn’t make anything this nasty until a year AFTER this song came out! (Did Al Jourgensen hear this break before recording “Stigmata???” We might never know!)

  15. Book of Love – “Modigliani (Lost in Your Eyes) (I Dream of Jeanne Mix)”
    One of the bands that The Dead Milkmen make fun of in the song above is Book of Love, so I thought it was appropriate to play one of my favorite tracks by that band. This is a sweet, nearly eight minute long remix of a song from their first, self-titled album. It’s synth-pop, pure and true, with lots of bubbly, chirping notes dancing around a steady, thudding beat. It’s very pretty, but also easy to shake your thang to on the dancefloor. It does suffer just a bit from “80’s vocal stuttering” effect, where they used to sample a word and chop it up and repeat it a hundred times, but I still love the song, even if it sounds dated now. (Maybe BECAUSE it sounds dated. It reminds me of all those wonderful times I spent swaying around on a dancefloor in the smoke-machine fog, a clove cigarette in one hand and candy-colored bangs hanging in my eyes. Those were good times, and I can easily relive them inside this track!)

  16. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – “Satellite”
    This cut by OMD seems to have fallen out of this dimension. I have it on the 12” single of “Dreaming,” and I ripped it off the record to play on my computer, but the CD single is way gone out of print, the song isn’t on any OMD hits collections or available to buy thru Amazon digital or iTunes, and it’s not even on any ‘80’s compilations that are still in print. Luckily, somebody put a rip of it on YoooTooobs, or most folks wouldn’t be able to hear it at all, and that would be a damn shame because it is, BY FAR, my favorite song by OMD. It’s got a steady, thumping beat, a low, buzzing, electronic bass pulse, and cool, sci-fi lyrics. I seriously love this track. Hopefully, someday, they’ll re-release it for the folks who don’t have a record player or who weren’t alive yet when the track came out on CD!

  17. Auditory Sculpture (feat. Storm Large) – “Ruin Everything”
    This cut is a weird one. It’s from a CD called Sessions at East, and I suppose you could call it a trip-hop cut. The rhythm is slow, smokey, and trippy---and the VOCALS! OMG… If you don’t know Storm Large, she’s a powerful, brilliant, hilarious performer who I caught several times in Portland, Oregon, (when she was playing with a three piece called The Balls), and she has one of the strongest, most evocative voices, ever. I took my uncle to see her perform once, and he said the only other singer he’d seen who was that captivating was Jim Morrison! So if you like unbelievable vocals and trippy electronic music, this song is going to sound like heaven…or maybe the other place… Devil or angel, this is powerful stuff!

  18. Blur – “There’s No Other Way (Blur Remix)”
    From the early days of Damon Albarn’s career, this is a remix of the first single from the inaugural Blur LP, Leisure. It was pretty clear to me, even from this early stage, that the guy was damn good. Again, this song has a hypnotic, thumping beat, with swirly, slightly jangly guitars, and Albarn’s dreamy, higher-pitched vocal delivery. This remix stretches the tune out a bit, but all the good bits are still there---you just have more time to groove along. Still a fantastic tune.

  19. Bob Mould – “See a Little Light”
    My last cut for the day comes from Bob Mould, who some of you folks might know from either of his two excellent bands, Husker Du or Sugar. Mould has a strong, slightly nasal vocal delivery, but he still manages to sound remarkably melodic. (Husker Du are often sighted as one of the best of the melodic punk bands, and songs like “Make No Sense at All” are all one needs to prove that claim true.) This particular song is positive, uplifting, and groovy. I love most everything Mould has done, but this cut is definitely one of his highlights! I thought I should end on an up note, and I think this track certainly qualifies!

That’s it! A nice, punky, psychedelic, electronic trip. Hopefully, it’s upbeat and interesting tone will help keep you folks invigorated during these rather desperate times!

Let me know if you were particularly amused by any of these cuts, or if you have specific tracks in mind that you think I should ADD to the list; comment below and I might just do it!!! Meanwhile, be careful out there! BEWARE! Wash you hands and cover your cough! And make sure you listen to some good music!!! It will keep your spirits up!!!

---Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)




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love these playlists with song by song reviews - quite a lot of this is new to me, thanks @richardfyates! Good luck and good health in the days ahead to you and yours <3

@tipu curate

Thanks! I actually enjoy listening to songs and trying to figure out why I'm liking what I'm hearing---or not if I ain't. Sometimes it's pure nostalgia, but even then I get to write a bit about when and why I got hooked on a particular cut. For me, that's fun! Glad other folks get a bit from it, too!!!

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