A few days ago Rolling Stone published a story about a song that appeared on the internet some years back and no one can figure out who recorded it, wrote it, or where it came from. It’s not a very good song, but it is kind of catchy, and suitably mysterious. It was apparently recorded off a German radio show in the early 1980s.
It seems like there must be other music out there that is similarly unknown. Why did this one break out?
This is about a story in The Guardian. In 1979 an experimental/noise/art/industrial/krautrock band called Nurse With Wound put out their first album. The inner sleeve listed their favorite 291 bands. In the 90s that list became something of a challenge for fans of this sort of music to find, and some it was released on CD for the first time. Now, 40 years after it was originally released, Nurse with Wound is working with a record label trying to put together compilation sets with one track from each of those bands. This is their story, well worth reading if only for some of the band names. Here’s that album, which is everything haters of experimental music are likely to hate, but with some interesting sounds along the way. The first volume of the compilation is out now.
This won’t mean much unless you lived in the East Village, but this was a place to buy cigarettes and egg creams back in the day. And maybe into the future.
My friend Rael posted about a girl group called the Fortune Cookies on Facebook. They have a record called It Should Have Been Me. Good song, standard girl group arrangement. The video uses The Graduate well. https://youtu.be/a7da84nRkKY But of course things don’t stop there. There is, it turns out, another song called It Should Have Been Me with a wedding theme, and a totally different sound. Also well worth hearing.
This is one weird song. Kind of jug band, kind of pop. Between the Buttons is an odd elpee that merges Brian’s interests with Andrew’s obsessions, and somehow Mick and Keith still win. Plus their producer, Jimmy Miller. All in all, a collaboration well worth exploring.
Laughner was a member of Rocket From the Tomb and Pere Ubu, influential, more heard of than heard bands from Cleveland. He said he wanted to be to Cleveland what Brian Wilson was to LA and Lou Reed was to New York, but instead died in 1977 at age 26 mission unfulfilled. A record company called Smog Veil has just released a five-LP box set of all known Laughner recordings, mostly self recorded in the late night by himself. The NY Times has a story about the release today. While you read it, here’s Ain’t It Fun! Laughner’s hit, which was later covered by Pere Ubu (if that’s a cover), the Dead Boys and Guns and Roses.
I saw the Neville Brothers play a few years ago. Okay, maybe in 2008. They were great, but what impressed me was that they said this was their 30th year. I saw them in 1978 at the Bottom Line in New York, opening for the Wild Tchoupitoulas. At the time the Nevilles seemed timeless, and the Tchoupitoulas even more so. But while Art was a seasoned veteran with the Meters and countless sessions, the Brothers had only stepped out on their own that year, backing up Big Chief Landry. It was a great show, maybe the best live show I’ve ever seen, in part because it was impossible not to dance and while the Bottom Line crew tried to enforce the city’s no-dancing rule, everyone knew that was hopeless on this night. The Nevilles and the Meters before them played with everyone. Part of the magic of New Orleans is how this music helped create ska and reggae, and how the jazz of Louie Armstrong and the amazing Professor Longhair led to a culture of breadth and rhythm. So, choosing a song is impossible, but rest in peace Art. I saw you plenty, felt I knew you, but that was an illusion.
I didn’t know Duncan by name, but he was a vocalist and guitar player in the Quicksilver Messenger Service, one of the great San Francisco bands of the late 60s. Quicksilver made a great impression on me with the brilliantly adolescent and epic first song on their first album. QSM were nothing if not quintessential hippies, living on a commune, jamming constantly, living on health food and drugs, as this obit describes. But Duncan had an earlier incarnation as a musician in The Brogues, whose I Ain’t No Miracle Worker was included on Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets collection.
There’s a new movie out from Danny Boyle, who made Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire, called Yesterday, about an indie Indian rocker who has an accident and wakes up in a world without Beatles. As in, a world in which he knows the Beatles music but no one else knows of it. I don’t know if this is a good premise for a movie, I have my doubts, but it surfaced this charming story of Peter and Gordon, guys who should have been remnants, but who kept getting hit songs, starting with this one Paul McCartney wrote when he was 16. This story in Slate is terrific filling in the details.
Okay, I never wondered what the Stones covering Dylan would sound like, but now I know.