Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: The Year In Review

General Strike - My Other Body
Walter Wanderley Trio with Astrud Gilberto - It's A Lovely Day Today
Brigitte Fontaine & Areski Belkacem - Cher
Pentangle - Willy O'Winsbury
Pierre Laniau - Petit Musique de Clown Triste 
Philip Catherine - Jeux Interdits
10cc - Gismo My Way
China Crisis - No More Blue Horizons
The Kinks - I Go To Sleep (demo)
Carole King - Porpoise Song (demo)
Modern Eon - Choreography
Bent - Stay The Same
Skeeter Davis - Give Me Death
Cocteau Twins - Watchlar
The Field Mice - Let's Kiss And Make Up
Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin - Henry And James
Ryuichi Sakamoto & Robin Scott - The Left Bank
Los Relampagos - Danza Del Fuego
Richard Berry & The Pharaohs - Louie Louie

Here are my top finds of the year, as near as I can make out, listed in order of post-date. Many thanks to all who listened and/or commented over the course of the year. Wishing you all a spacious 2013.

artwork by Yokoo Tadanori

Who knows what tomorrow may bring?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Crystal Fighters - Champion Sound (Psychemagik remix)

This has the sickest bagpipeësque riff in it since at least Big Country... or maybe ever?

Thanks idk for the .gif.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Oceans - Super Snooper

In 2013, always remember: you are a super snooper.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Darlene McCrea - My Heart's Not In It

This was on one of those Yo La Tengo mixtapes that were recently made available for purchase for a very short period of time. I've been trying to figure out what makes the soundscape extra creamy here. There's at least two guitars and a piano on the backing track, and loads of fabulous reverb on everything. Then Darlene's voice and its attendant reverb really push the cream factor over the top. The fact that it's mono helps too.

By the way, Darlene McCrea was in the Cookies.

Rufus - Walkin' in the Sun

Written by Jeff Barry.  In his own words:

"My father was blind, and the inspiration for the song came from an incident [that took place] when I was a teenager.  I was walking with my dad in New York City, and it was late in the afternoon.  We were a little chilly, as the tall buildings were shading the sun.  My dad said, 'Is the sun out on the other side of the street?'  Well, of course it was.  I wrote the song about 25 years later and I didn't realize that the song title came from that day 'til years after that."
This anecdote, a version by Barry himself which you will listen to over and over again, and much more, including graphics that may or may not induce seizures, may be found here.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Richard Berry and The Pharaohs - Louie Louie

Had you heard this original version before? I had not, until a week or so ago when I happened upon it while making this all-1957 playlist. Note the rare (for the time) straight-eighths feel, as opposed to the more common (for the time) swing/shuffle rhythm. Call it proto-funk, if you will. The only other tune of similar vintage I can think of with a similar feel is this.

I also love this youtube comment on the song, signed by "old guy", which makes you think about how this must have been the jam when it came out:

"I remember riding in the back seat of my brothers 49 merc sled and him telling me to try to look cool and slouch down in the seat... anyway him and his buddy Cooper were head bobbin and cruisin with there eyes barely above the window and the radio was cranked up to this tune. The one and only ever version for me ever since."  

From the archives [1/26/07]

William DeVaughn: Be Thankful For What You Got

"Diamond in the back, sunroof top, digging the scene with a gangster lean..."

A mini soundtrack for a drive around your hood. I love how the vocals start and immediately an organ swells as if the car he's lucky to be sitting in just pulled away from the curb. This groove hit #1 on the R&B charts for good reason. Stacked with some great instrumentation the song sashays easily down the street. The vocals are smooth with hints of Curtis Mayfield. The vibraphones just add to the feeling that the windows are down and loose clothes abound.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Inga Humpe - Moon

There's a TV commercial I remember really liking as a kid. I don't remember what the commercial was for, but in it there was an image of a very big moon above a house on a lake at night, and all the lights were on in the house and there was some kind of dinner party in progress. There may have also been classical music playing. This song is the closest I've come to recapturing the feeling of that commercial.

Written by Inga Humpe. Produced, programmed and Mixed by Fischerman's Friend & Thomas Fehlmann at Love Park Studio, Berlin. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Jackson 5 - I'm Your Sunny One

I think it's safe to say that Michael enjoyed singing a great deal.

This track is available on this.

Apologies for the llamas; I gave up image-searching after three minutes so I could go to sleep.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

new Viva show (#139) in the archives

The concept behind this one is you pop into a malt shop on a snowy day in NYC while doing last-minute Christmas shopping circa 1957, and this is playing at the malt shop (or something like that). You can stream it at your leisure here.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Ornette Coleman Trio - European Echoes

Meanwhile, in Stockholm...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Syl Johnson - Different Strokes

"In Russia, the Moscow Forum. I packed it three nights in a row. It was so crazy, the people went wild over the music. And the women out there were tall and slender -- tough but good looking. It's beautiful women in Brazil too, but America has the finest ladies. I remember I had sex with two different women out of my country -- there was one in Japan and one in England, that's it. But I don't care about the women -- fuck that! I go for the money!"

-- Syl Johnson, in the Village Voice, in response to a question about the craziest place he had played.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Feelies: The High Road

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Les Garçons - Dans Quelques Minutes

This would make for some mighty hip hold music. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Orchestra Baobab: Coumba

Let the sunshine in.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Jessica Pratt -
Bushel Hyde
Half Twain the Jesse

I feel that Ms. Pratt is feeling her music very deeply. You can possess this record on mp3 or vinyl.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Blanche Blanche Blanche - That's Siberia

This was one of my picks after trawling through the music of 2012 for about two weeks. It's a little outré, I suppose, but I like what these folks are doing, and I fully endorse the semi-atonal keyboard solo. You can procure their music on mp3 or vinyl. I'll take the link down in about a day.

Bedhead: Left Behind

Monday, December 10, 2012


El Cento: Fuzzy Light

Nice groove on this one. From the Austin trio's debut. Learn more about El Cento and support el grupo musical here.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Los Relampagos - Danza Del Fuego

Música española por on conjunto español de músicos jóvenes, en una grabación especial con una técnica y una calidad de alcance internacional, ofrecemos en este disco que constituye un interesante paso dado en el campo actual de la música moderna. Los clásicos españoles se visten con ropaje moderno, sin perder en absoluto su excepcional calidad. Fieles a las obras que llegen a sus manos, Los Relámpagos, prodigiosos intérpretes, recrean estas páginas, consiguiendo prodigiosos y originales efectos que satisfacen al oyente más exigente.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

new Viva show (#138) in the archives

I decided to see what would happen if I tried to dig up an hour's worth of material from the year 2012, as I've done previously (with your kind assistance) for the years 1997, 1980, 2003, and 1990. The result is a heady brew of post-cock rock, lofi strangeness, and psych re-edits, that possibly only I will enjoy. You can stream it at your leisure here.

Son House - Death Letter Blues

Friday, December 07, 2012

Lefty Frizzell - I'm Not the Man I'm Supposed to Be

If Jake LaMotta had been in the habit of writing aching country ballads, I feel like they might have gone something like this.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Ege Bam Yasi - I Want More (Malcolm Eggs Mixegg)

Thanks to the kind people at Viva Radio for the tip on this, and thanks to idk for the pic.

Terry Melcher - Rebecca

Last night I had a dream that Humbert Humbert penned a tune with Jim Croce.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Gramme - Headsore

I don't know a bunch about the folks in Gramme, but my sense is that they are not fucking around. You may want to buy this record.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Renegade Soundwave - Thunder II

(art by Jim Harris)

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Lou Christie - Riding In My Van

Special thanks to Walkathon for peeling this one off in his guest mix for Viva radio.

Thesis: the part that goes "the sun and the stars..." in this tune is influenced by "the birds in the sky..." part of Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas - Bad To Me.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Ryuichi Sakamoto & Robin Scott - The Left Bank

Music by Ryuichi Sakamoto, words by Robin Scott. I first heard this life-enhancer on Tedward's show, then happened to find the record a few weeks ago at Westsider Records, so here you go.

Recorded at Studio 'A', Tokyo, and Roundhouse Studio, London, summer-autumn 1981. And yes, that's Harry Hosono on bass.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Everly Brothers - Roving Gambler > Down In The Willow Garden

Put this record on of a Saturday morning and make breakfast for your family. You just might find yourself transported to a log cabin somewhere high in the mountains of Kentucky.

Are there mountains in Kentucky?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Charlie Parker: My Little Suede Shoes

Friday, November 23, 2012

I'm happy to report that Walkathon, the Chicago-based musician, synth maven, and vinyl enthusiast, has contributed a tasty guest mix featuring all manner of melodies, harmonies, and rhythms. Stream it here at your leisure.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Deux - Everybody's Night

This is available for purchase here and here, so I took the link down by choice, but everyone should be sure to hear the delightfully anti-social synth work at 2:28.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Walter Carlos - Sonata in E Major (D. Scarlatti)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tommy Roe - Dizzy

This must be the Guinness world record holder for most key changes in a #1 hit. Strum along with the chord progression here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Brute Force - King of Fuh

And you wonder why people don't worship butane...

New Viva show (#136) in the archive, featuring works by W.A. Mozart, G. Rossini, F. Chopin, D. Scarlatti, C. Debussy, E. Grieg, M. de Falla, R. Sakamoto, I. Stravinsky, E. Van Halen, K. Stockhausen, J. Lennon/P. McCartney, and H. Dacre, performed on acoustic, electric, and electronic instruments. Streamable here.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin - Henry and James

The other day a musical couplet popped into my head -- "Henry and James / Remember their names" -- and I thought oh, that's an old '80s song, but who's it by? So I Googled to find this. I think I must have heard it once on the radio in the '80s. I'm certain I haven't heard it since. And the moral of the story is: if I "remembered their names" for 25+ years, it must be a good song. 

Good for a November Sunday where it's getting dark at 2 PM. There's more good songs on the album, too; I may post them soon.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Legendary longtime commenter and playlist contributor is back with another hour of sound for your pleasure. Enjoy anytime in the Viva archives.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Bill Withers: I Don't Know

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hey folks, please join us in the Viva archives for a special new "episode" (#134). We'll be waiting for you! x

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Field Mice - Let's Kiss and Make Up

Most mp3 blogs have posted this already, but it's new to me, so whatevs.

I love that the chiming guitar figure in the right channel isn't just "dum Dum dum", etc., but is (sometimes? always?) "dum DA-DUM dum", etc. Feel me?

What I'm talking about can perhaps most clearly be heard at the 1:27 mark.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ian Hunter: Just Another Night

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cocteau Twins - Watchlar

Here's one of the songs I enjoyed "discovering" for the 1990 project. Fortunately it's a B-side so I can post it! :) This track proves once again that if you have Elizabeth Fraser in your band, you are instantly better than every other band. Does the melody remind anyone else of Big Yellow Taxi?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thanks to all for your help with the 1990 project. The playlist is now streamable here.

Sorry about the imagery above, BTW. It's not my fault.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pintura Fresca - Tiritando

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dusty Springfield - Arrested By You

Eternal gratitude to new Viva Radio contributor Wombleton Records for introducing me to this enchanting Rupert Hine cover. This track has inspired me to once again turn to you, dear readers, and ask for suggestions for an all-1990 playlist. This is admittedly a pretty obviously bad idea. (What am I going for here, anyway? Vaguely dated adult contemporary? And if so, why?)

In any case, let me know if you have any tips for hot tracks from the MCMXC, and enjoy the Dusty in the meanwhile.

There was never any chance that there wouldn't be a key change in this.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Gang of Four: Love Like Anthrax

Sunday, October 07, 2012


Carole King - Porpoise Song (publisher's demo)

I took the trouble of acquiring a recording of indeterminate origin entitled The Monkees Archives Volume 5 in order to present you with a new rip of this track (originally posted back in July), in slightly less wretched fidelity (though of course the lo-fi is part of the charm).

A biographical note: we've moved back into the apartment after a renovation, and I've finally gotten the turntables hooked back up, and work promises to slow down a bit after a uniquely hellish September, and I should have a free hour or two soon to set about reälphabetizing my records and CDs, and in all likelihood I'll be able to start posting some songs again soon. No major life changes scheduled for the next six months. It's on.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Blur: Resigned