Friday, July 29

Friday Shuffle, Obscurities From the Basement Edition

I've been kittenproofing the basement for the last three days, and I'm probably a third of the way done. Framing and panelling the open end of the stairs, blocking off access to the furnace, sump pump, and chimney, plus securing anything else he can get into (which is considerable) and a general clean-up while I'm at it. Part of that was refiling the twenty or so LPs that were indolently left atop the CD carousel. That effort, and the sort of peevishness that comes from hours of inhaling cobwebs, suggested the game of Stump Corndog without dipping into the stuff that's unfairly obscure.

Cactus World News The Bridge
Mid-80s. Produced by fellow Dubliner Bono, if I recall, and I'm not going back down into the basement to check that. Good anthemic rock in the U2 mold.

Joe "King" Carrasco and the Crowns Caca de Vaca
Late 70s. Tex-Mex "Nuevo Wavo". Doug Sahm and ? and the Mysterians played for laughs, mostly, and not too funny at this point.

Cock Robin When Your Heart Is Weak
Mid-80s. Peter Kingsbery still makes music and he's got a gorgeous voice. It's more Duran-Durany than I remembered. The French love it.

Deaf School Taxi
Late 70s. Liverpool art school kids who made witty caberet/ Kurt Weill New Wave pop instead of witty garage band New Wave pop. Resolutely non-commercial. Highly enjoyable.

Gruppo Sportivo Girls Never Know
Late 70s. Dutch New Wavers. Funny and geeky. Bette Bright of Deaf School sang with them for a time.

Klark Kent Theme for Kinetic Ritual
1980. Pseudonymous slumming popstar from one of the biggest bands ever. There's a prize for whoever names him without googling.

Jona Lewie (You'll Always Find Me In The) Kitchen At Parties
Late 70s. Probably the least known member of the Stiff Records stable. Oddball pre-synth rock synth rock. I think he has a song that's a perennial Christmas favorite in the UK.

Sadistic Mika Band Time Machine
Mid-70s. Japanese rockers. Roxy Music influenced. Vocals in Japanese. One of those albums I bought to drive people out of the house when the party was over.

John Simon King Lear's Blues (Cordelia)
1972. Better known as the sixth member of the Band and producer of Music from Big Pink. This one's got a remarkable studio band: Dave Sanborn, the Brecker brothers, Howard Johnson, Dave Poe, Dave Holland, Simon's piano and his cheerily downbeat songs. School of Can't Sing/Can Phrase vocals ala Dylan and Randy Newman. Unfairly forgotten gem.

Woodentops Good Thing
Mid-80s. One of the best first albums of all time. These guys don't sound like anybody else, and they still sound fresh. I listened to the entire first side, which is why I'm still typing at 2 AM.

Young Marble Giants Wurlitzer Jukebox!
1980. Welsh trio. I always considered this the first post-punk album. Minimalist with zombie vocals. Resolutely non-commercial and undanceable. Still kinda shocking, actually.


harry near indy said...

dang, that's for the trip back in time re: the cock robin song when your heart is weak.

i remembered the song when i read the title, and it was beautifully sung.

Anonymous said...

So what you're saying is cobweb-inhaling peevishness makes you think of me? Well, they say there's no such thing as bad publicity.

Since you went to all this trouble, I better play along. I don't know if the rules are that I can't have heard of it or heard it or that I don't own it, so here's the breakdown.

Heard of only:

"King" Carasco. I seem to remember seeing his picture in the late, lamented CREEM circa 1978.

Gruppo Sportivo. Kind of a hard name to forget although for some reason I think I'm confusing them with Plastic Bertrand of "Ca Plane Pour Moi" fame, which I hear once a year or so on the community radio 80s flashback show called, I kid you not, Les Temps Perdu

Heard it:

Cock Robin. Hadn't heard this or thought of it in probably 20 years but I remember it fondly and I'm listening to a live mp3 of it now as I type and it sounds nice.

Cactus World News. I know I've heard this, in fact I think we may have played this or another one of their songs on the Ralph, Bill and Sam show on WBRU-AM, but I have no impression other than one similar to yours, that they were a less succesful U2 wannabe than The Alarm.

Actually have:

The Woodentops. "Good Thing" really is a great, nearly perfect pop song. I don't remember the whole album much, so I'll be digging it out tonight after the boys are in bed.

All the rest - no frickin' clue.

So overall, a pretty successful round of Stump Corndog. Achingly close to pitching a shutout on the ownership version. Well played, my good man.

Pete said...

Klark Kent was Stewart Copeland, no?

doghouse riley said...

Pete, you win! Makes me sorry I lied about the "prizes" business. "Theme for Kinetic Ritual" was the theme song for MTV's The Cutting Edge, back before the Second World War.

And Dog, challenge well met! Plastic Bertrand almost made the cut, but I wanted to include Cock Robin since I thought there should be one item some of you might remember fondly. Deaf School did some great stuff. If I ever get set up to digitize vinyl again I'll send you some if you don't mind snap crackle and (power) pop. Void where prohibited by law, naturally.

Gavin M. said...

Klark Kent Theme for Kinetic Ritual
1980. Pseudonymous slumming popstar from one of the biggest bands ever....

Mr. Copeland of the Police, although I'm beaten to it. Also played uncredited on the Brian James 'Aint That A Shame' 12" (another IRS Records release from the same model year).