Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Spoonful Weighs A Ton

Trading in frivolous, screechy guitar-driven songs for lush, complicated orchestral arrangements, the Lips wholly reinvented themselves on 1999's The Soft Bulletin.

Taking full advantage of the concept album concept, Coyne & Co. transformed their sound and in turn transported their listeners to a strange new world. And no, it wasn't Oklahoma.

Not unlike Radiohead's 1997 benchmark, OK Computer, Bulletin was both bold and vast in its aspirations, albeit much happier. It transcended the tenets of 'alternative music'. The attempt was by all means a success, adequately preparing both the Lips and their listeners for the new millennium with some really amazing music.

Race For The Prize
- The Flaming Lips (Later...with Jools Holland, 11/99)

A Spoonful Weighs A Ton- The Flaming Lips (The Pageant, St. Louis, 08/06)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Transmissions from an Actual Monkey

To celebrate Embryonic, the 12th release from Oklahoma's native sons, The Flaming Lips, AM is dedicating a bunch of postings to the fearless freaks. Join with us as we explore the evolution of the Lips. See and hear how they have matured and mutated from haphazard, callow guitar rock, to intricate, cacophonous exuberance.

We begin with the LP that got me sold on the Lips, 1993's Transmissions from a Satellite Heart. Caught in the maelstrom of the early 90's grunge movement, when just about every major was desperately trying to sign the next Nirvana, Transmissions was a refreshing departure from the typical Seattle angst-ridden fare. It was also somewhat of a commercial success for the band who had garnered a following with their five previous releases.

Loose, raucous and noisy like Flipper, the Lips maximized their slacker aplomb and happy-dicked it through a collection of silly songs. Yes, right smack in the middle of the wails of Kurt Cobain and the growls of Billy Corgan, Wayne Coyne sang happy songs that were fun to listen to. Like one big giggly bong hit, Transmissions delivered a WTF? levity and gave everyone the munchies for more.

Hereto, glimpses of the weird, wondrous things to come? Perhaps.

I'm just sayin'.

She Don't Use Jelly
-The Flaming Lips (Live, Late Show with David Letterman, 1995)

Turn It On
- The Flaming Lips (Live, SF Union Square, 05.13.95)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

How do you call your loverboy?

On this day in 1957, the duo known as Mickey and Silvia recorded the twangy, tantalizing classic Love Is Strange. The song was released on Groove Records and peaked at #11 on the Billboard Pop Charts.

The song was written by Bo Diddly under an assumed name (Ethel Smith, his wife) and recorded by guitar teacher McHouston "Guitar" Baker and a student of his, Sylvia Vanderpool. Inspired by the success of Les Paul and Mary Ford, the duo would only chart once, but continue to record together until 1965.

Silvia would go on to success as a solo artist. in 1973 her hit Pillow Talk reached #1 on the R&B charts. She is also credited with helping form the first rap label, Sugarhill Records.

As for the song, it has been covered by the likes of Buddy Holly, Lonny Donegan, Sonny & Cher, Paul McCartney and Wings, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton as well as Everything But The Girl.

Still an amazing track, it's sultry melody, latin rhythms and trebly, mono recording have frozen it in time, a time when Rock and Roll was new, and sexy.

And remember, nobody puts Baby in a corner.

I'm just sayin'.

Buddy Holly
Paul McCartney & Wings
Everything But The Girl

Mickey & Silvia- Love Is Strange (Dirty Dancing Clip)

Buddy Holly- Love Is Strange (Demo)

Everything But The Girl- Love Is Strange

Everything But the Girl -- Love is Strange

Al|MySpace Videos

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I say captain, I say wot

There are no coincidences. The same day the monkey goes back online, the world suffers the catastrophic loss of Rock-N-Wrestling's greatest ambassador, 'Captain' Lou Albano.

Courage, we are here for you.

Before the WWF became the frightening, steroid-fueled juggernaut that it is today, a quirky little girl from the boroughs, with a thick Queens accent got a little help from Captain Lou (and WWF owner Vince McMahon) to launch her career and at the same time, successfully merge the world of pop music and professional wrestling.

Whether such a pairing should even qualify as successful is another question altogether.

The pile driver of the Rock-N-Wrestling frenzy was 1985's cover of Wilson Pickett's classic, Land of 1000 Dances. There was more juice on that set than an Anita Bryant commercial.

Thankfully, mercifully, the Rock-N-Wrestling movement was eventually put in a sleeper hold and remained down for the count. Albano went on to manage, among other craptastic bands, the lame 1970's hold-overs, NRBQ. They even wrote a lame song about him.

R.I.P Capt. Lou.

I'm just sayin'.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Cyndi Lauper- Girls Just Wanna have Fun (1983)

Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want To Have Fun (Official Music Video) - The funniest home videos are here

WWF Wrestlers- Land of 1000 Dances

NRBQ- Captain Lou

Cruel Summer

Considering it's halfway through October and I am just beginning to post again, suffice to say my summer vacation was a long one. Let the erstwhile musings commence.

For all intents and purposes, the summer started back in July, with an impeccable Wilco/Yo La Tengo show at Cyclone Stadium on Coney Island. A perfect way to kick off summer. Unfortunately, not a week later, it came crashing down as I watched the pitiful wreck that was once Bob Dylan mumble through a completely incomprehensible set at the Mecca of all things hippie, the Bethel Performing Arts Center. It's amazing what 40 years can do. Dylan seems to be slipping into dementia while Yazgur's farm is now a money-making memorabilia machine, replete with plush, manicured lawns and $8 Bud lights.

Didn't see any other shows all summer and wasn't really too bummed about it either. Recently, I have been on a deep 70-80's dance kick that was reignited by my return to roller skating. Thanks to my USB turntable and some delving into the depth of the iTunes Store, I have pretty much rounded out my collection of hard to find 12" from back in the day.

With that, I won't push it too hard for this first return posting, but I do ask that you enjoy these very rare and danceable offerings.

I'm just sayin'.

A Lovers Holiday

I'll Do Anything For You

Heartbeat (Club Version)