Thursday, June 4, 2009

"We Fought the Big One Mixtape - June 2009"

Ra Ra Rasputin is playing a show with Love Is All tonight @ The Black Cat, and I, Colonel K from Ra Ra Rasputin will at DJing at "We Fought The Big One" on Friday @ Marx Cafe in Mt. Pleasant, DC.

Brandon and Rick, the hosts/DJs of WFTBO invited me to compile a mixtape to celebrate my ascension to "Guest DJ" status. Enjoy!

Simple Minds “Changeling”

Between 1979’s “Life in a Day” and 1982’s “New Gold Dream,” this Glaswegian quintet ambitiously fused Krautrock, ambient pop, Italo-disco and glam rock into a sound that was chaotic, yet inspired. But buried in the confusion, there are stunning moments of glory. Look no further than “Changeling,” an incredibly danceable single from 1979’s “Real to Real Cacophony.”

Family Portrait “Mega Secrets”
This is a band featuring some younger friends of mine here in DC. (They’ve all just completed their bachelor’s degrees at GW). I had no idea that these guys were in a band, and I was gobsmaked when they played me the rough version of this song. Recorded on a reel-to-reel somewhere in suburban New Jersey, “Mega Secrets” is a piece of enjoyable lo-fi pop by a very secretive band (they’ve only played 2 or 3 shows).

The Pop Group “She is Beyond Good and Evil”
Bristol’s the Pop Group were one of the most intense and experimental groups to emerge from the ashes of punk rock. “She Is Beyond Good and Evil,” is an aggressive bouillabaisse of free-jazz, punk, and dub - all of this topped by Mark Stewart’s fanatical, Yoko Ono-esque vocals. The lyric “Our only defense is together as an army, I’ll hold you like a gun,” sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it. If Liquid Liquid can get back together for a series of concerts, why the hell can’t these guys.

The Pale Fountains “Always Something on My Mind”
I discovered the album “Pacific Street” while working as a teacher in the suburbs of Paris. “Always Something on My Mind,” a sunny Love/Burt Bacharach-influenced tune, was my favorite song on the album. A song that kept helped me keep my mind off the Continental winter.
One evening, while I was thumbing through paperbacks at a small bookstore in the Latin Quarter, I met a lovely American girl named Caroline. We would get together to sip drinks and complain about the weather. We ended up moving to DC around the same time and continued to post up. While driving around in my car one Sunday morning, we listened to my copy of “Pacific Street.” When I dropped her off, I gave her the CD as a reminder of old times.

Hey Paulette “I Really Do Love Penelope”
There was a period back in ‘07 when I could not fall asleep at night. I’d stay up for hours watching either stand-up comedy or looking for old music videos. One night I searched for “C86″ and found this song. It wasn’t the most groundbreaking video -it was just Super8 footage the band playing in a warehouse (actually Temple Lane Studios in Dublin). But the guitar playing was heavenly and the lyrics made me laugh out loud. I tried to dig up information on the band, but came up with very little.
Hey Paulette were an Irish group whose sound referenced the jangly guitars of the Smiths and the self deprecating lyrics of Edwyn Collins. Typical of most bands of their era, Hey Paulette released one album, two seven inches, one twelve inch and a Peel session. And despite their brief blip of a presence on the indie-pop radar, the band somehow managed to attract fans in Japan and the Philippines. And thanks to today’s reissue culture, all of their material has been compiled onto a CD that is available on I-Tunes. I love it.

Felt “Fortune (12″ Version)”
This version of “Fortune” (which appeared as the b-side to “Sunlight Bathed the Golden Glow), is much better than the original found on 1981’s “Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty. Lawrence’s vocals sound a lot better when they’re up front in the mix. And Maurice Deebank’s atmospheric approach to classical scales sounds so much better with the right amount of chorus and reverb. In my opinion this is probably one of Deebank’s finest performances. Felt really suffered when he decided to leave the band. Sure they gained Martin Duffy - but he didn’t really start to shine until he joined Primal Scream. But that’s another argument for another day.

Ringo Deathstarr “Starrsha”
The key to playing shoegaze/dreampop is VOLUME. A Place to Bury Strangers knows this. Screen Vinyl Image knows this. And Ringo Deathstarr definitely knows this. This Austin quartet has played DC five times in the last year, and will probably be here twice before the end of 2009. If you haven’t heard their music, do so ASAP. Along w/the aforementioned APTBS and SVI, they manage to carry the torch of early Jesus and Mary Chain/Isn’t Anything era My Bloody Valentine without sounding hopelessly derivative. “Starrsha” is the second song on their debut EP, which was recently reissued by on vinyl by none other than Fan Death Records.

The Style Council “Long Hot Summer”
Some people will never forgive Paul Weller for breaking up the Jam and forming the Style Council. And while Weller and collaborator Mick Talbot did many questionable things during the 80s, they always looked sharp and always came through with dope and soulful songs.

Nite Jewel “What Did He Say”
In his review of 2009’s “Good Evening,” Ian Cohen of Pitchfork complained loudly about the album’s tape hiss, unquantized drum programming and shaky playing. But something tells me that he’d never complain about the poorly tuned guitars and flat vocals that seem to dominate most indie rock.
Rockist statements from crabby reviewers aside, I sweat this song cuz it reminds me of hot summer evenings. You know, when you’re getting ready to go out and you have the AC on blast and you’re trying to find a good shirt. Much respect to Spin Magazine for writing a little blurb these ladies in last month’s issue.

The Teardrop Explodes “Like Leila Khaled Said
I love this song for the sheer audacity of the subject matter. Leila Khaled was a member of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) who was briefly imprisoned in the UK due to her involvement in two high profile airline hijackings in 1969 and 1970. In today’s post 9/11 world, I can’t think of any group that would dare to compose such a love song. But considering the fact that Palestine is no longer a cause célèbre amongst the young and hip set (most people wear kaffiyehs without even acknowledging the political significance of that particular garment), I doubt anyone would care.

Jacob Miller “King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown”
I used to trade cassettes with this dude Johannes, a hip Filipino kid from San Francisco. We met during an exchange program in Nice, France and instantly bonded over music. Upon returning to the States, we began trading mix tapes. He’d send me cassettes of late early 90s house, Kool Keith and dub reggae. In turn, I sent him tapes of underground NY hip hop and hardcore punk.
This version of Jacob Miller’s “Baby I Love You So,” was the first dub song I ever heard. I damn near destroyed the cassette because I kept rewinding it to hear the huge spaced out drum fills in the middle of the song.

Liechtenstein “Roses in the Park”
In age where so many artists are using AutoTune in the studio and on stage, it’s such a relief to hear the sound of a singer’s natural voice. Liechtenstein’s vocal arrangements not only sound beautiful, they are also very well thought out. This was the first of their songs that I ever heard and I instantly fell in love with it. Some pundits have compared them to Kleenex and Liliput. Some of my BYT Colleagues swear they sound like the Mo-dettes. Me? I think they sound like the Shop Assistants or Darling Buds. Whatever you think they sound like, they sound great and I can’t wait for them to come back to DC.

Antena “Camino Del Sol”
Les Disques du Crepuscule was more than just a dumping ground for A Certain Ratio and Durutti Column 7″s. In the early 1980s, they released several recordings by one of the innovative groups to come out of France’s electro scene - Antena. By mixing Afro-Brazilian rhythms (played on cheap rhythm boxes and drum machines) with icy synths and jazzy vocals, the group created “electro-samba” (a term coined by Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant, who reviewed one of their early singles).

This mix and the accompanying notes were originally posted on Brightest Young Things

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