Hullo. It seems we’re in for another Jekyll and Hyde summer. This is especially bothersome when you work outside, jacket on/jacket off quickly becomes the theme of the day. One second you’re slapping on the factor 50, the next you’re adding another layer.
Here at NL, we try and select seasonal offerings that best reflect the current climate but it’s becoming more and more perilous. A tune that would sound perfect whilst wood pigeons are cooing and the ice-cubes in your drink don’t last more than a few seconds suddenly seems out of place when you’re listening to Thor stomp about his living room and turning up the thermostat in June is a depressing reality.
Nevertheless, on we plough with music to warm your soul, whatever the meteorological conditions.
Another quick thanks to Author, Paul Brazill for his share and support last week. You can find his excellent books here..https://pauldbrazill.com/.
PPOTW is a band who have released what seems like a bazillion records in the past 30 years. He’s gone for a track from their major label debut released all the way back in 1990. Thanks once again to my very good friend, bandmate and vendor of premium quality jams and preserves.
O.K. Are you ready to be heartbroken?
Track 1. Turn Up The Heat by Milano Jazz Dance Combo.
If anything is going to chase away those rainy day blues, it’s music like this. Latin bop from the Lo Greco brothers, it was released in 2009 but has that timeless groove that transports you to somewhere in the mid sixties whilst remaining contemporary with that increased BPM. Take off your shoes and go dance in that sweet summer rain. Or wrap another blanket around yourself and dream of warmer climes. See? Works both ways..
Track 2. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue by Them.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve never been a massive fan of Dylan. Heresy! I hear you cry. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m fully aware of his genius and importance, but I’ve never been able to get past that voice. Of course, there’s absolutely no denying he’s one of the greatest songwriters to ever grace this green Earth, as demonstrated on this famous cover by Van The Man and his cohorts.
Track 3. Dead by They Might Be Giants.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
Just before Paul submitted this weeks PPOTW, I had earmarked TMBG’s superb ‘Don’t Let’s Start’ for inclusion on last weeks playlist. I decided to drop it for his selection as I hadn’t heard this song in well over 25 years. Featured on their 1990 breakthrough LP ‘Flood’, this track has all the usual Giant’s tropes in spades.
Track 4. Haenim by Kim Jung Mi.
Another great find from the bods at Light In The Attic records. This is from the 1973 LP ‘Now’, essentially the work of South Korean guitar wizard, songwriter, producer and arranger Shin Joong Hyun who’s no stranger to Nobody’s Listening, we featured an early piece of his a few months back. For this project he took a young student and arranged a psych folk opus around her Francoise Hardy-esque delivery, with beautiful results.
Track 5. Rollerdisco by Black Moth Super Rainbow.
Experimental, analogue heavy electronica from Pittsburgh. This is a lovely bleepy instrumental with a feel reminiscent of children’s school programmes of the late seventies. It evokes memories of sitting crossed legged as the big telly is wheeled out for the latest thrilling installment of Science today.
Track 6. Always The Sun by The Smoking Trees.
Next up we have a triptych of songs that all clock under the two minute mark. A seventies bass leads us down a flowered garden path with the smell of sweet summer herbs triggering synapses. So new and fresh, there’s no vid yet.
Track 7. All I Can Do by The Carpenters.
Taken from their debut LP, 69’s ‘Ticket To Ride’, this features some superb stick work from our cover star. Check out Karen’s jazz rolls on this slight take which has the easy listening vibe for which they would go on to be the flag-bearers. It still has some neat sixties touches, Richard’s small Fender Rhodes break just before the minute mark has more in common with The Doors’ Ray Manzarek than the soft, schmaltzy keys he would employ for the majority of their seventies output.
Track 8. Hard To Keep My Mind On You by Jake Holmes.
Wrapping up our trio of short songs is American singer songwriter Jake Holmes. This is taken from his debut 1967 LP which also featured his composition ‘Dazed And Confused’, later made famous by Led Zeppelin. With no credits given to Holmes, Jimmy Page passed it off as his own work. Lawsuits ensued. Not that Holmes isn’t short of a few bob, he forged a lucrative career in advertising earning him the nick name ‘Jingle Jake’. He composed mostly for the U.S. dollar but you’re probably familiar with his ‘Gillette, The Best A Man Can Get’. In fact, you’ve most likely just sang that last line as you read it. The power of marketing, eh? This is great btw..
Track 9. Let Clock Work by The Beets.
I came across these Noo-Yoikers when they supported Pavement at their 2010 reunion show in Central Park. Have I ever mentioned i saw Pavement in New York? No? Well I did. It was ace. This lo-fi goodness comes from their 2011 LP, ‘Let The Poison Out’.
Track 10. All Apologies by Herbie Hancock.
Yes, THAT ‘All Apologies’. Jazz master Hancock takes the Nirvana tune and exposes the bluesy nature it always had.
Track 11. Come To The Sunshine by Van Dyke Parks.
Perhaps best known as the lyricist for the Beach Boys aborted ‘Smile’ album, Parks has been writing and recording for over 50 years. Apart from solo albums, he’s also scored numerous TV and film soundtracks. Among these is the largely forgotten but excellent work he did with Harry Nilsson for Robert Altmans’s ‘Popeye’. I must include something from it on a future edition of NL. For now, here’s a single he released in 1966 which was later covered by Harpers Bizarre.
Track 12. Minute Merengue by Harry Breuer.
Chopin a la Xylophone next from Breuer’s 1958 album, ‘Mallet Mischief’. If, like me, you’re a fan of esoteric early pop then i must point you in the direction of the fabulous LP, ‘Incredibly Strange Music. Vol.1’ on which this also makes an appearance. No vid , but if you click the below link you can hear this quirky piece of jet age nonsense.
Track 13. I Can’t Win by The Strokes.
It was always going to be an uphill struggle to follow their blistering debut, and when The Strokes released ‘Room On Fire’ it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. It wasn’t entirely without charm mind. This is probably the best track on it and goes some way to capturing the lightning that was ‘Is This It…?’ with it’s superb Albert Hammond Jr guitar line and Casablancas at his anguished best. They’ve since followed with patchy LP after patchy LP, but for a shining moment back then, they were the saviours of Rock n Roll.
Track 14. People Everywhere (Still Alive) by Khruangbin.
A Texan trio who take their inspiration from sixties Thai funk. This track was released as a limited 7″ for record store day. An easy atmosphere is the order of the day here. Lose yourself in some relaxed funkage.
Track 15. Somebody Keeps Calling My Name by Baby Grandmothers.
This is the only single release from a Swedish psychedelic outfit who toured with Jimi Hendrix. Released in 1968, it has all the hallmarks of the blossoming psych sound. A fantastic Scandinavian wig-out with some truly great playing.
Track 16. City Country City by Cookin’ Bag.
There’s also some superb playing on this unreleased track from a band I can gather very little info on. What I do know is that they were a 13 piece funk band from Seattle who were active between 1968 and 1973. The excellent guitar work is courtesy of one Herman Brown who it seems drifted from one funk band to another in the seventies and eighties. Again, so rare there’s no video. Soz.
Track 17. Don’t Ask Me Why by Billy Joel.
It’s all very well adopting a willfully obscure stance when it comes to music, but just because something is popular doesn’t make it obsolete. There’s far too much snobbery among certain music lovers as far as I’m concerned. Here at NL we say get your head out of your arse and just enjoy it. But, Andrew, music is subjective, that’s it’s beauty! Worrever says I, just like what you like and let others do the same. Billy Joel was one of the biggest stars of the seventies and eighties not because he got lucky, but because he had (has) a serious talent. This, the follow up single to the colossus ‘It’s Still Rock N Roll To Me’ has a smashing Afro-Cuban rhythm to it and is one of his best.
Track 18. Take Your Burden To The Lord by Washington Phillips.
He only recorded a handful of songs in 1928, but Washington Phillips’ small body of work still has that emotional punch almost 100 years later. With just voice and an undetermined instrument somewhere between a zither and hammered dulcimer, he laid down Gospel recordings which are spellbinding, heartfelt and ever so slightly eerie.
Track 19. (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66 by Nat King Cole.
A song and star that should be universally recognised. This version is a simple voice, piano and guitar affair. There’s another with mute trumpet and big band, but to appreciate the King’s skill as a performer, it had to be this one. That famous smile of his just shines through.
Track 20. I Still Love You by Ann Peebles.
Amazingly, this cut penned by the legendary Willie Mitchell only managed to make an appearance as a b-side on Peeble’s 1970 single ‘Dr Love Power’. It’s a strong, slow groove that is more than deserving of our traditional soul slowie closer slot.
Okidokie. That lot should see you through to next week when your favourite playblog returns to its usual Friday billing.
I’m off to enjoy two days of soccer-ball and bangin’ choons, man. See you next week.
Until then, Get Your freak on.