...since I added some tunes to this playlist. And I come with a couple absolute bangers: “Tennessee Waltz” by Willie Rogers appears to have been finally added to both Spotify and YouTube and I also added the blue-eyed one-hit wonder classic, “Brother Louie” by Stories. Enjoy!
More to come, eventually.
70s Soul Playlist
Here’s some dynamite 70s soul tracks from a bunch of lesser-known artists and groups. This playlist features gospel-inspired belting courtesy of Dallas’ Ms. Tommie Young, utter smoothness from Stax stalwart Johnnie Taylor (not to be confused with Little Johnny Taylor, who has two songs in this playlist, too), and the incredible falsetto of Phil Perry and the Montclairs, whose 7-plus minute, two-songs-in-one, “Baby, You Know I’m Going to Miss You,” is an incredible hybrid of psychedelic romance. The most famous name in this list is probably Thelma Houston, with her upbeat and super positive “I’ve Got the Music In Me”.
This playlist is ordered as chronologically as possible and I’ve linked to songs I’ve written about previously:
Ted Taylor - “Something Strange Is Going on in My House”
Bobby Patterson - “Right On Jody:
The Relatives - “Speak to Me”
Elvin Spencer - “You’re Being Unfair”
Tommie Young - “Take Time to Know Him”
Bobby Patterson - “How Do You Spell Love”
***The Montclairs - “Dreaming Out of Season”***
Tommy Ridgley - “I’m Asking Forgiveness”
Nate Evans - “Main Squeeze”
Albert Washington - “Love Is a Wonderful Thing”
Willie Rogers - “That’s When I’ll Stop Loving You”
Tommie Young - “That’s How Strong My Love Is”
Little Johnny Taylor - “Open House at My House, Part 1″
Albert Washington - “If You Need Me”
Patterson Twins - “Back in Love Again”
Little Johnny & Ted Taylor - “Pretending Love”
The Montclairs - “Baby, You Know I’m Going to Miss You”
Thelma Houston - “I’ve Got the Music in Me”
Johnnie Taylor - “Never My Love”
Ike & Tina Turner - “Shake a Hand”
You’ll notice there’s a couple tracks in bold. These aren’t on Spotify, but they are on YouTube. Here’s links to the playlist on YouTube and YouTube Music. The Ike & Tina track is really good and also rare. It never received a proper release.
One track listed above is enclosed in asterisks. That’s because Spotify and YouTube gave the wrong track ID for it. What’s listed as “Goin’ To Get It On” by Little Johnny Taylor is actually “Dreaming Out of Season” by The Montclairs.
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Mildred Pierce - “3 Faces of Eve”
Ultra Swank: Cacophone Sampler 1999
Time for another installment of bands that barely released anything and either no one's ever heard of or have been entirely forgotten! Today's group is Milltown, New Jersey's own Mildred Pierce, a four-piece garage rock outfit that had three girls and one guy. Now, most of the time, if a band has a girl at all, it's either all girls or just one girl, but this band was three-quarters girls! Kinda unique! Only exception for me that immediately comes to mind is 4 Non Blondes.
Mildred Pierce only made a single release during their existence, a 1995 7-inch self-titled EP. But they also contributed two exclusive songs to two separate compilations, both of which I happen to own and both of which also happen to fucking rock 😊. This song of Mildred Pierce's, "3 Faces of Eve," comes off of Ultra Swank, a comp that does a fantastic job of highlighting a special type of trashy, greasy, southern-fried, cheap-liquor-fueled garage rock 90s kinda sound.
And what I particularly dig about this song is its chugging, underlying, bass-led riff. It's simple, but everything else within this song seems to pretty much stem from it and there's just something about riffs like these played at a tempo like this that seems to go hand-in-hand with a nice and speedy drive down an open highway. Always love catching that "pedal-to-the-metal" vibe, as lame as that sounds 😌.
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Space Baby Blast Off
Breakbeat / Indie Pop / Pop-Rock / Lounge
Triangulating the worlds of breakbeat/big beat, indie pop-rock, and internationally cosmopolitan 60s lounge revival certainly sounds like an interesting idea, but it really should've just remained at that stage in the case of Space Baby Blast Off, as the cutesy novelty of this thing wears off pretty darn quickly. Sounds cheap, forced, disjointed, and half-baked for the most part.
But that album art tho!
Fantastic Plastic Machine - "Bachelor Pad"
The Apples In Stereo - "Avril En Mai"
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INCredible Sound Of Drum'n'Bass Mixed By Goldie by Goldie
Drum n Bass / Jungle
The second disc of this mix is pretty fucking good, but disc one sounds, quite literally, out of this goddamn world. Goldie's first set here is like a portal into some kind of cellar-dwelling, grainy, black-and-white, dystopian underworld where uneasiness is perpetually felt in the air because there's some kind of indescribable chaos that's both unpreventable and unpredictable always lurking around somewhere. I really can't say that I've ever heard a dnb and jungle mix that possesses quite the vibe like the first disc of this mix does. And shit on Goldie's lack of mixing skills all you want, but the absolute frenzy that he's able to cultivate with his transition between Jonny L's "See Red" and Ram Trilogy's "No Reality" is just fucking insane to me. Plus, dude's selection is par excellence; nary a dull moment.
Pandemonious and explosive drum breaks, loud and crashing hi-hats, and malevolently wicked, humming sub-bass frequencies. There's so many cool things you can do with that formula and Goldie's here to show you some of his absolute favorite twists and turns. The INCredible Sound Of Drum'n'Bass (and jungle!), indeed.
Listen to CD1 here.
Listen to CD2 here.
Doc Scott - "Here Comes The Drums"
Alex Reece - "Pulp Fiction"
Digital - "Space Funk"
Deep Blue - "Thursday"
Doc Scott - "Unofficial Ghost"
Jonny L - "See Red"
Ram Trilogy - "No Reality"
Shy FX - "Bambaata Back To The Core (Dillinja Remix)"
Fresh & Vegas - "Otto's Way"
Grooverider - "Rainbows Of Colour"
Souljah - "Fade 2 Black"
Goldie - "Manslaughter"
Dillinja - "Angels Fall"
Goldie - "Terminator"
Doc Scott - "Dark Angel"
Neil Trix - "Gesture Without Motion"
Digital - "Far Out"
London Elektricity - "Dirty Dozen"
Randall & Flex - "Sahara Dawn"
Optical - "To Shape The Future (Reckless Mission Dub)"
J Majik - "Your Sound"
Matrix - "Convoy"
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A1 People - “Do It (Metamatics Remix)”
IDM / Electro
Normally, I'd provide you with some biographical information about the main artist of a song that I've chosen to post, but the fact of the matter here is that this remix by Metamatics sounds pretty much nothing like the original song from which it derives itself, so telling you about the main artist without providing you with what they actually sound like feels kinda pointless.
So who's Metamatics then? Also a little unclear. Currently it's a solo project of the UK's Lee Norris, but up until, it looks like 1998, Metamatics had another member, Dominic Kennedy. So, this particular remix, which was released in 1998, is definitely by Norris, but Kennedy may have also co-produced. I don't know. Liner notes don't provide an answer.
Anyway, what I will say about A1 People, the main artist that Metamatics is remixing here, is that they're an awesome outfit that's on that nu-electro / electro revival tip. In my opinion, there's really never been enough electro in this world and A1 People have been a great duo to keep that futuristically funky kind of electronic dance music on much-needed life support.
But this remix by Metamatics, which again, sounds almost nothing like the original, has just a touch of electro to it, thanks to its soft, percussive rhythms and its entertaining Speak-n-Spell voice that tries to re-create the robotic vocal effect of countless 80s electro records. Primarily though, this thing is a sweet IDM tune.
And Metamatics manages to pull it off with a pretty limited palette, too: those aforementioned electro pieces, pecked IDM phrases that complement the percussion well, a couple more voices, some serenely chilly and atmospheric pads, a couple dashes of acid, turntable scratches, and the crowning, intermittent piece, a highly emotive and tender, MIDI-like keyboard melody. Lots of IDM is noted for its complexity as it weaves multiple disjointed rhythms together to yield something that's highly intricate and well-textured, but this is much less braindance-y and way more spread out. Call it indica IDM, I guess; real late night zone-out chill sesh vibes. Really doesn't sound anything like A1 People's version though, which is 100% a dance track.
Take the Subway to Your Suburb
Indie Pop / Pop-Rock / Power Pop / Twee Pop / Indie Rock / Grebo
Before I talk about this comp, let me talk about a compilation called C86. C86 was a cassette that was released by the UK music magazine NME in 1986 that showcased a new sound that was starting to gain in popularity in Britain at the time. This new sound featured bands who were reviving 60s-sounding pop melodies, but putting their own power poppy/pop-rock spin on them with things like jangling guitars. The movement came to be known as indie pop.
This particular comp then, Take the Subway to Your Suburb, consists of bands who provided that C86 indie pop sound, but never appeared on the cassette itself. However, fret not; this is still a fantastic set of songs, and it's got more than just jangling guitars on it; a little bit of twee from Bubblegum Splash, some grebo from Pop Will Eat Itself, and a bunch of guitar fuzz, too.
Plus, the opener, "Get Out of My Dream" by The Clouds, is hands down one of my favorite songs of all time. Just a 100% perfect piece of 80s music in that one. And you could certainly say that the rest of the comp isn't as good as that one song, but its opposite bookend, "Love Cuts" by The Flatmates, provides an excellent upswing to close out this release.
Some real golden UK indie tunes from the 80s here.
The Clouds - "Get Out of My Dream"
The Rosehips - "The Last Light"
The Flatmates - "When I'm With You"
Pop Will Eat Itself - "Orgone Accumulator"
Pop Will Eat Itself - "Like an Angel"
The Groove Farm - "The Best Part of Being With You"
Razorcuts - "Big Pink Cake"
Bubblegum Splash - "Someone Said"
The Rosehips - "Sad as Sunday"
The Flatmates - "I Don't Care"
The Groove Farm - "Crazy Day Sunshine Girl"
Bubblegum Splash - "The 18:10 to Yeovil Junction"
The Flatmates - "Love Cuts"
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J.C. Lodge - “Telephone Love”
What A Bam Bam!: Dancehall Queens
Song released in 1988. Compilation released in 1996.
Dancehall / Lovers Rock / Pop
From critic Steve Huey:
J.C. Lodge was one of the most popular female reggae singers of the '80s and' 90s, balancing traditional reggae with pop, urban soul, dancehall, lovers rock, and even country music. The owner of a high, girlish voice, Lodge often played the role of the coy flirt, with a teasing sexuality simmering under much of her romantic material.
It took a couple years for J.C. Lodge to eventually break out, but when she did in 1982, she became a sudden European sensation, achieving a #1 hit in both Belgium and the Netherlands with "Someone Loves You Honey," which was also crowned the bestselling single in the Netherlands for that year, too.
But it wasn't until March of 1989 that Lodge finally graced the US Billboard chart with "Telephone Love," a song that managed to peak at #95 in R&B. Now, it might not seem like much of a big deal to barely scrape the bottom of a genre-specific Billboard chart, but after "Telephone Love"'s showing, Lodge wound up landing herself a record contract with the famed hip hop label, Tommy Boy, to whose catalog she was able to add some needed musical diversity.
"Telephone Love" is a dynamic, warm, and hazy tune that can be correctly categorized under nearly every style that Steve Huey alludes to above: pop, urban soul, dancehall, and lovers rock. And I think that flexibility to fit within a number of different formats is partly what lends to this song's overall greatness. Well, that and just its sheer amount of power, too. I mean, on the surface, Lodge delivers her light and fluffy, high-pitched vocals, but beneath and in-between all of her singing, those deep and dubby, burbling bass stabs, as well as that sharp, skanking keyboard riddim, have a way of packing a heavy punch. And those two pieces also play as a nice contrast to Lodge's feathery voice. It's a successful blend of a simultaneous soft and heavy that seems to really do the trick on this one.
And yes, there's a music video. Come to see Lodge walk along beaches while holding corded telephones to her ear that obviously aren't plugged into anything; stay to see her open up a fucking watermelon(???) to answer one of her phones.
Awesome piece of late 80s dancehall here.
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Strictly House Classics by Erick “More” Morillo
House / Garage House / Deep House
As advertised, here’s a sweet mix of dope, classic house jams that range from the mid-80s to mid-90s, brought to you by the legendary Erick Morillo, the guy whose biggest claim to fame was producing what is probably house music’s most recognizable tune, “I Like to Move It” by Reel 2 Real (thanks Madagascar!). Dude was more than capable of fashioning a solid mix though, too, so, take a journey through this hour-plus set that’s one part history lesson and one part fantastic contemporaneous tracks. Some real soul touchers on this beauty.
Listen to the full mix here.
Reel 2 Real - “The New Anthem (Erick More ‘96 mix)”
MK feat. Alana - “Burning”
Masters at Work feat. India - “I Can’t Get No Sleep”
Hardrive - “Deep Inside”
Jungle Brothers - “I’ll House You”
River Ocean - “Love and Happiness”
Raze - “Break 4 Love”
E-Culture - “Tribal Confession”
The House Master Boyz & The Rude Boys of House - “House Nation”
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Added a song to this by a San Francisco band called Spot 1019. Much poppier than all the other songs on this playlist so far, but it’s still indie rock all the same. Sounds a little inspired by J. Geils Band’s “Centerfold,” I think.
1990s Indie Rock Playlist
It’s hard to define exactly what makes an indie rock song an indie rock song, but you tend to know it when you hear it. This 12-song playlist is packed with lots of noisy fuzz and surging, distorted chords. It’s heavy, it’s sort of shoegazey, it’s sort of spacey, and some of it’s jangly and melodic. What unites all these songs though is that they all emit the vibes of a college radio station from the 90s. Recently, I went through some of my 90s indie comps, picked out some of my favorite songs, and then decided to patch together an awesome playlist.
Americans aren’t likely to know most of these tracks since half of them come from Canada, specifically the Sonic Unyon label, and there’s also a couple Aussie tracks and a British one, too. Almost none of these songs are on Spotify, so I’m forced to resort to YouTube. Oh well; I guarantee that the music’s 100% worth it and you can rub in your friends’ faces how much cooler your taste in music is than theirs!
The playlist is ordered chronologically and I’ve provided links to the posts I’ve written about some of the songs in the past:
Sacred Miracle Cave - “Salvation”
The Brian Jonestown Massacre - “Evergreen”
Lilys - “Ginger”
NC17 - “Cubicle”
Sponge - “Colourful Hat”
Eric’s Trip - “Evie”
By Divine Right - “Out of It”
Even - “Stupid Dream”
SIANspheric - “I Like the Ride”
Treble Charger - “Even Grable”
Flanders - “Shameless”
Line - “Hollow”
It’s also on YouTube Music, save for “Shameless” by Flanders.
Stay inside and rock out to this one. Some tremendous stuff here.
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Big Day Out 00
Alternative Rock / Breakbeat / Big Beat / House / Techno / Grunge / Heavy Metal / Punk Rock / Dub
Really eclectic double-disc here from the turn of the millennium that features a bunch of bands and artists that were slated to play at Australia and New Zealand’s biggest music festival in 2000, Big Day Out. Can’t say that I really like any of the rock on this (if they provided the studio version of blink-182′s “Dammit” instead of a low-quality live recording, I would’ve liked it), but there’s some pretty sweet dance tunes on here, including a bunch I’d never heard before, like an organ-infused, bass-grinding big beat tune by Josh Abrahams called “Thrillseeker.” The terminally underrated singer-songwriter Beth Orton’s fantastic “Stolen Car” is on here, too, and so is a great funky hip hop track by Ozomatli that features hip hop’s Herman Munster, Chali 2na of Jurassic 5.
The Chemical Brothers - “Hey Boy, Hey Girl”
The Cruel Sea - “Takin All Day”
Basement Jaxx - “Rendez-Vu”
Hardknox - “Come In Hard”
Spiderbait - “Glockenpop”
Friendly - “Some Kind of Love Song”
Goldie feat. KRS-One - “Digital”
Resin Dogs - “More Phunk”
Honeysmack - “Walking on Acid”
Josh Abrahams - “Thrillseeker”
Beth Orton - “Stolen Car”
Ozomatli - “Cut Chemist Suite”
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Wytchyker - “Red Hot Oven”
Detroit Rust City
Indie Rock / Blues-Rock
There's really not much info about this Detroit band anywhere online, but here's something that's just a little weird that I did find: despite the fact that barely anyone knows who Wytchyker was, there's still a various artists tribute comp that was made that's solely made up of just covers of Wytchyker songs. Go figure. I mean, these guys only made one album in 1996 and then just seemingly bounced themselves out into oblivion. You can't find a single song of theirs on YouTube besides a small handful of recorded performances from the 90s, most of which appear to have been uploaded by one of the band's own members.
But I guess that Wythchyker album's pretty damn good then if the band had a tribute comp made in their honor. And if their fun and catchy, 70s-inspired, greased-up and stripped-down, indie blues-rock song, "Red Hot Oven," is any kind of indicator, then we should all be grazing our chins and furrowing our brows as to why we only ended up getting one album out of these guys .
"Red Hot Oven" is simple. It has a simple melody, a simple chorus, comically dumb and simple lyrics, and it just simply rocks. The song transitions itself back and forth between deep, intimate, and subdued, blues-rock-plucked verses and scratchier and louder choruses. Also dig that subtle guitar that scritches in the background throughout most of the song and the sudden vocal harmony on the final verse. A couple cool touches that end up enhancing the song.
Cool mid-90s blues-rock tune from this almost completely unknown and forgotten Motor City band.
The East Coast of Oi!
Gotta say, I'm not all too familiar or all that fond of Oi! punk. The raw, primal energy of the stuff from the 70s kicks complete ass, yes, but the style's rehashings and revivings don't seem to expand much on that template, which kinda ends up leaving me bored. One can really only take so much of the guttural and gravelly vocals that come with simple punk chord progressions. But like I said, I don't really know much Oi!, especially from the 90s and on, so maybe I've looked in the wrong place. If anyone out there knows where to find some good shit, please point me in the right direction, because I feel like this ain't it.
That said, I found a couple sweet gems on here, but I also don't think they're very Oi!, even though they're on this east coast Oi! comp.
Very cool album art though!
Terminus City - "Landlord Bastard"
The Ducky Boys - "We'll Find a Way"
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Beat Soup - “Time is Not Money”
Mash It Up ‘93, Volume 2
Third Wave Ska
Beat Soup were a little known band that operated in Boston, America's ska hub throughout the 90s and early aughts. Not much about them that's out there, but the liner notes of the comp from which their song "Time is Not Money" originally appeared says the following:
Beat Soup is another strong new Boston ska band who have won fans around town with their catchy tunes and tight live performances. Their "Time is not Money" is a new anthem for all the indie ska bands who do it only for love.
And despite the fact that Beat Soup flew under the radar, they stayed around for what looks like about a decade. Got started in the early 90s and then released a pair of albums; first one in '98 and the second one in '01.
"Time is Not Money," which came out in '93, must catch Beat Soup in their infancy then. And even though they ended up serving as just a small cog in the vibrant world of Beantown ska, songs like this one are clear examples as to why they managed to stick around for as long as they did. Not only did the band's two original members, Dan Cuetera and Tom Healey, who both took up guitar and vocal duties, love to play, but there was clearly a local demand for them, too.
Plus, there were bongos. How many Boston ska bands utilized bongos? Most of those groups were just trying to beef up their horn sections, but these guys? Fred-Flintstone-revving-his-feet-up-for-a-nice-drive bongos. And as the liner notes say, they played tight, which is pretty evident on this particular tune, with the interplay that goes on between Cuetera's and Healey's guitars. One of them (not sure who) is plucking that off-beat skanking rhythm to near perfection while the other fires off some laid back "La Bamba"-ish melodies. Bass on this is pretty spectacular, too.
Some sweet early 90s ska to move and groove to, courtesy of this oft-overlooked Boston group.
Sounds From Psychedelphia
Indie Rock / Neo-Psychedelia / Shoegaze / Post-Rock
Philly, stand up! It's your papered over, largely forgotten, mid-to-late 90s indie / neo-psych / post-rock scene! And what a scene it was! Witness the plodding instrumentalism of Transient Waves, sink your teeth into the melodically catchy Photon Band, and get lost in the fuzz-crunching shoegaze of Slumber and Intro to India!
From Rocket Girl's Bandcamp page, the UK label that licensed this stellar comp in order to make it available in Europe:
'Sounds from Psychedelphia' is a ten-track, 55 minute sonic excursion into the distorted, frenetic Philadelphia underground music scene. Recorded entirely at Philadelphia's Deep Space Recording Company, the compilation took over a year to complete...'Sounds From Psychedelphia' is a mind-expanding musicality ready to be experienced.
True indeed! Put this on while you throw batteries at baseball players so you can really get into that Philly mindset!
Aspera Ad Astra - "Give Em Back"
Transient Waves - "Wavelength"
Photon Band - "Here Comes Some Changes"
Slumber - "Bell Boy!"
Intro to India - "The World Is Waiting"
Lenola - "Sids"
The Asteroid No. 4 - "Tricks of the Trade"
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Triple J: Hottest 100, Volume 4
Alternative Rock / Pop-Rock / House
Look, folks! It's the alternative mid-90s, but from an Australian perspective! Here we have a double-disc chock full of nostalgic rock memories, put forth by Land of Oz state radio broadcaster Triple J. For just about every year since the early 90s, Triple J, whose main focus is alterna-rock, has conducted a poll of its listenership to rank Australia's 100 favorite alt-rock tunes of the year. And this comp presents a sampling of the results from 1996.
What's great about comps like this for an American like me is that not only do I get to relive a bunch of awesome 90s tunes that I've heard plenty of times before (e.g. "Pepper" by the Butthole Surfers, "Virtual Insanity" by Jamiroquai, and "Just a Girl" by No Doubt), but I also get to expose myself to great songs that I'd likely have never heard otherwise, like "So Rude" by Rebecca's Empire, which is like a grungy garage tune with an earworm of a 90s pop-rock chorus, and "Ella's Uncle" by Matthew Trapnell feat. Trapezoid, which does an awesome job of mixing dirty and scratchy blues harmonica with trip hop.
And while most of the comp falls under the enormous umbrella of alternative rock, there's a handful of dance numbers, too: "Breathe" by The Prodigy, "Born Slippy" by Underworld, "Hyperballad" by Björk, and "Professional Widow" by Tori Amos. That Amos song I was not ready for since I rightfully think of her as a singer-songwriter type, but as it turns out, this version is actually an unexpected house remix banger by Armand van Helden 😍.
Pulp - “Disco 2000″
Butthole Surfers - “Pepper”
Bush - “Glycerine”
The Prodigy - “Breathe”
Underworld - “Born Slippy”
Fun Lovin’ Criminals - “Scooby Snacks”
Everclear - “Santa Monica”
No Doubt - “Just a Girl”
CAKE - "The Distance"
Beck - "Devils Haircut"
Jamiroquai - "Virtual Insanity"
EELS - "Novocaine for the Soul"
Garbage - "Milk"
Björk - "Hyperballad"
The Lemonheads - "If I Could Talk I'd Tell You"
Rebecca's Empire - "So Rude"
Angélique Kidjo - "Wombo Lombo"
The Whitlams - "I Make Hamburgers"
Matthew Trapnell feat. Trapezoid - "Ella's Uncle"
Tori Amos - "Professional Widow"
Cher - “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)”
AM Gold: 1966
Song released in 1966. Compilation released in 1995.
Folk-Rock / Folk-Pop
There's so many superlatives for Cher, man. Grammy winner, Oscar winner, Emmy winner, fashion icon, the only person to have a #1 Billboard single in six consecutive decades. Just an unmatched tour de force. Literally, there's no one else on this planet quite like Cher. What a fucking career she's had.
And here's one of her earliest mega-hits, the iconic "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)," which was her first solo top five hit, having reached #3 in the UK and #2 in the US. It also managed to sell over a million copies. I'm not able to find much of a story behind this tune, but it's an awesome, fun, and unique mid-60s folk-rocker that has both a cinematic quality and a Romani-like streak to it. Released not all that long after she had found superstardom with husband Sonny Bono with songs like "I Got You Babe," Bono, who had worked under the wing of none other than Phil Spector, penned this number for a Cher album that largely otherwise consisted of covers.
Maybe the reason this song sounds so particularly cinematic though is because while it doesn't credit any session musician specifically, the album it originally appeared on, The Sonny Side of Cher, says in its liner notes, "a very special thanks to some of the greatest musicians in Hollywood for their part in making this album possible." Perhaps then, the musicians who backed Cher for this release also worked on film scores? I'd say it's pretty likely.
And ultimately, the thing that ends up defining this tune isn't really Cher; it's the sudden moodswings; those on-a-dime changes from drearily slow reflection to frantic and harried hustle-and-bustle, which naturally come courtesy of those nameless Hollywood musicians. Can definitely picture this song tearing down the house at large social gatherings because of its big sonic shifts, like at weddings or somesuch. "Bang Bang" is a song that just demands your participation in the form of clapping and hard-stomping.
"Bang Bang" has also spawned some great covers. Nancy Sinatra's is probably the most popular one (it's in Kill Bill Volume 1), but Petula Clark, of "Downtown" fame, recorded a great version, too, and there's also a dynamite rendition from 2012 by a little-known retro soul and neo-psych Bay Area band called The Monophonics. Tremendous stuff there.
This was the first song that really helped Cher unchain her own career from Sonny Bono's. They'd keep on releasing music as a pair and they'd go on to host their own sketch comedy show, too, but this is the song that proved that Cher could also operate on her own if need be. Sonny wrote it, sure, but the album it first appeared on, despite its title that invoked Sonny's name, wasn't really marketed as having Sonny's involvement. And after Sonny and Cher dissolved their partnership and marriage, Cher went on to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she could definitely make it on her own without any of Bono's assistance. It was a doubly big moment in her career track at the time, whether she knew it or not.
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Went through a great couple comps of material from the late 70s and 80s label, Dangerhouse Records, and added a handful of songs from their catalog:
The Weirdos - “Neutron Bomb”
Bags - “Survive”
Bags - “Babylonian Gorgon”
Eyes - “Eniwetok”
Bags - “We Will Bury You”
The Deadbeats - “Let’s Shoot Maria”
Rhino 39 - “Xerox 12”
Rhino 39 - “No Compromise”
Also added a song on YouTube and YouTube Music playlist that isn’t on Spotify:
The Weirdos - “Cyclops Helicopter”
More to come, eventually.
Los Angeles Punk Playlist
It’s an undisputed fact that punk rock originated in the Detroit / Ann Arbor area of Michigan in the late 60s and early 70s, but once it reached California, that’s where its heart seems to have resided ever since. No part of the world has managed to cultivate as much punk rock as California has, from its late 70s DIY drug-addled beginnings to its glossy, MTV-sanctioned pop-punk peak. And at the epicenter of punk rock’s heart lies the sprawling city of Los Angeles.
This playlist, which clocks in at just under 45 minutes, is definitely not wholly representative of the history of L.A. punk rock. But it does highlight a chunk of songs from both the city’s early pioneers to its international stars, and mixes in some bands that never received the attention that they deserved. It’s ordered as chronologically as possible and I’ve provided links below to the posts I’ve previously written about some of these songs.
The Dils - “You’re Not Blank”
The Weirdos - “Life of Crime”
The Controllers - “Killer Queers”
Stiv Bators - “The Last Year”
Bad Religion - “Only Gonna Die”
Moral Decay - “America”
Crankshaft - “Life Is Getting Faster”
Bad Religion - “Do What You Want”
Pennywise - “Open Door”
NOFX - “Liza & Louise”
Pennywise - “Dying to Know”
Down by Law - “Bright Green Globe”
NOFX - “Don’t Call Me White”
Sublime - “We’re Only Gonna Die for Our Own Arrogance”
Descendents - “I’m the One”
Pennywise - “Society”
Union 13 - “Roots Radicals”
Pennywise - “Alien”
The playlist is also on YouTube and YouTube Music with a few bonus tracks that aren’t on Spotify, which adds about fifteen extra minutes:
The Dils - “What Goes On (live)”
Kaos - “Top Secret”
Modern Warfare - “One for All”
The Lazy Cowgirls - “Can’t You Do Anything Right?”
More songs to come.
Stay the fuck inside you freaks.
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Punk Rock / Hardcore / Lo-Fi / Leftfield
Honestly, this is one of the coolest concepts for a compilation that I’ve ever seen. Fun, lighthearted, and at times silly and just downright strange, Coolidge 50 gathers 50 songs by 50 different, mostly obscure bands and artists from 50 different states.
The theme here is that each band or artist creates a song about the state that they hail from (except for the TransAms, who made a song about South Dakota even though they’re from North Dakota; try as they might, the people at Coolidge Records just couldn’t find a South Dakotan band to provide them with a song for this comp). A lot of times that means a cover of the band or artist’s respective state song, like a beautiful piece of intimate bedroom indie pop called “Old New Hampshire” by a guy named Christian, or the peppy pop-punk of “West Virginia Hills” by Hefty. But then there’s awesome originals, too, like “New Jersey” by the indie girl band Melting Hopefuls, plus a whole lot of silliness, like the yokel-fied history lesson that is “Go, Mississippi” by August Sons or Kill Creek’s homage to Kansas, “Home on the Range,” which you initially think is going to be really heartfelt, and then, well, goes in a bit of a kitschy direction.
And not to be forgotten is the sequencing of the tracks, which goes in the order of when each state was admitted into the union. So we open with Delaware and close with Hawaii.
It’s by no means a perfect comp, but Coolidge 50 sure is a hell of a lot of fun and definitely makes for excellent and engaging road trip material. An unpredictable mix of mostly punk rock, but with a substantial amount of diversions, and a solid helping of wackiness, too. Really great stuff.
Melting Hopefuls - “New Jersey: New Jersey”
A Mercy Union - “Georgia: Georgia on My Mind”
Christian - “New Hampshire: Old New Hampshire”
Fun Size - “Virginia: Carry Me Back to Old Virginny”
Gladys - “Kentucky: My Old Kentucky Home”
Pezz - “Tennessee: When It’s Iris Time in Tennessee”
Hefty - “West Virginia: West Virginia Hills”
Sideshow - “Nebraska: Beautiful Nebraska”
Pinhead Circus - “Colorado: Where the Columbines Grow”
Mandingo - “Arizona - Valley of the Sun”
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Mojo Risin - “Dances With Fire”
Song released in 1992. Compilation released in 1993.
Let's dig into some early 90s progressive house, shall we? Here's a long, midtempo, spaciously liquid groove called "Dances With Fire" from London's Dave Hedger, performing under his original alias, Mojo Risin. In fact, this appears to have been the first song that Hedger ever released as a solo artist and it might've also been the first song of his to have made it stateside because of its appearance on a US-released comp called Liquid Music. Hedger would then go on to become a sought after remixer and DJ and ended up working with a long list of big names in the worlds of dance and electronic music, including Andrew Weatherall, X-Press 2, Darren Emerson, Moby, Orbital, Röyksopp, Alison Limerick, and Apollo 440, just to name some. Later on, he founded his own record label, Amber Grooves.
"Dances With Fire" is an exceedingly smooth smorgasbord of a house tune. The tempo and overall groove remain the same all throughout, but Hedger keeps on finding ways to not only constantly change his melodies, but his rhythms, too. On the surface, this may just seem like a typical early 90s come-down track, but if you really listen, you can appreciate all the little intricacies and nuance that Hedger pulled off here, all while making the product sound rather cohesive despite its constant modifications. There's an initial stage in the first 200 seconds or so in which Hedger performs a competent build that flourishes when he sets stabbing crystalline strings against stabbing horns, but after that, he just keeps on replenishing and transitioning to new ideas that contain all sorts of synths and percussion and chopped-up vocals, too, all while packing in quite a bit of funkiness along the way.
Also, am I bugging or did Hedger sample some opening fluttery organ from "Baba O'Riley" at the end there? I might be bugging, but then again, there are some deep keyboard chords in the beginning of this tune, and the rich piano chords against the Terry Riley-inspired organ backdrop on "Baba O'Riley" is iconic, so maybe Hedger was on a Who kick when he made this? Who knows? Hedger does.
Probably not a tune you pull out these days for a party atmosphere, but something you can look back at and still definitely appreciate.
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Allez! Ola! Olé!
Latin / Pop-Rock / Europop / Synthpop
Lots of soccer been going on lately between the Euro Cup and the Gold Cup, so how's about we take a gander at Columbia Records' own official soundtrack to the 1998 World Cup?
Oh no, it's really dreadful and corny; and not even in a fun, ironic way! The turn-of-the-century craze to pair pop sensibilities with tribal, Latin, and world music was running full boar in '98 and I guess Columbia thought matching that manufactured "global" sound to the global game would've been a good idea, but it wasn't! It came off extremely gaudy, inauthentic, and monotonous. Give me my hour back!
Ricky Martin - "The Cup of Life"
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