Ach-Tunes - Artists who performed their hits in multiple languages (Episode 44)

February 10, 2019
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As the relevance of rock and roll began to explode, labels and managers wanted to exploit and milk those hits for all they were worth, for fear of it being a fad and dying out quickly. To maximize popularity and exposure, labels in the UK would often prep bands for European tours by having their stars record their own hits in other languages. Most famously, the Beatles were strong-armed into recording German versions of both “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and She Loves You”. These were recorded in Paris and for I Want to Hold Your Hand, they simply recorded the new vocals over the existing instruments like a Liverpudlian karaoke night. With “She Loves You” however, the masters had been erased by EMI which had been standard practice at the time. They re-recorded the whole song, which made this the only song they recorded outside of London.

Today, we go over a marketing gimmick designed to expand popularity and ingratiate bands to potential fans across the globe. Some bands were far more prolific and successful with their foreign language recordings. Some were abysmal. Enough of them were fascinating.

These are some of the stories of bands and artists performing their own tunes in foreign languages.

 

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The Avándaro Festival - Why Don’t We Know More About It? (Episode 43)

January 24, 2019
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Are you as sick of Fyre documentaries as we are? We thought so. This week's episode is all about a festival that took place over two September days in 1971.  The festival was controversial and featured historic performances from Mexican psychedelic bands at the height of La Onda. It was also condemned by conservative government leaders, with the president of Mexico declaring, "While we regret and condemn the phenomenon of Avándaro, it also encourages us in our belief that only a small part of our youth are in favor of such acts and entertainment."

Find out how the festival came about, why it upset so many people, and hear about some of the best psychedelic bands you may know nothing at all about. Yet.

Join us, won't you?

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The Butthole Surfers in the 1980s - Fecal Manna from Heaven (Episode 42)

January 12, 2019
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In this episode, we explore the world of the Butthole Surfers during the 1980s when they were the best live band in the country and one of the most interesting bands ever. Much of the show is spent on stories of debauchery, including feeding excrement to fish, exploring the flammability of New Jersey, ex-presidents touching defiled suitcases, and more! Join us, won't you?

 

Most of the research for this episode came from these three books:

Let's Go to Hell: Scattered Memories of the Butthole Surfers by James Burns

Scatological Alchemy: A Gnostic Biography of the Butthole Surfers by Ben Graham

Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 by Michael Azerrad

 

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Silly Musician Anecdotes (Episode 41)

December 27, 2018
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For this episode, we look back on stories we spent time researching but couldn't fit into an episode. That, and just plain goofy stories about goofy musicians.

Find out what Prince did to make Michael Jackson run screaming from a room. Find out how to pronounce Hasil Adkins first name correctly. Find out how Ryan's cold sounds after an hour of talking (not good). All that and more!!

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Music on the Bones: Commie Flexi-Discs (Episode 40)

December 13, 2018
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In our previous episode, we discussed the history of the flexi-disc. Today we delve into its pinko commie cousin, Bone Records. 

During his post-World War II rule, Joseph Stalin controlled culture in the Soviet Union. Nothing from the west could be allowed in if he deemed it an affront to Soviet dignity. Art, movies, and music were all heavily censored. Western culture was an enemy of the state. 

The music of America: Blues, jazz, and rock n roll were seen as especially vile to Stalin’s regime. Jazz was officially regarded as decadent capitalist filth. Just talking about jazz was a criminal act. These free-form musical expressions were thought to focus on the individual rather than the state as a whole. Style was propaganda and strictly forbidden.

How did music from the west reach the ears of the youth in the CCCP? 

The answer is, of course, broken bones. Lots and lots of broken bones.

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Cereal Killers: The History of the Flexi Disc (Episode 39)

November 29, 2018
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Today, the story of the most utilitarian format of the vinyl record, the flexi-disc. It was embraced by both capitalism and communism. It was disposable enough to be embossed into cereal boxes and mailed as postcards, but valuable enough to create collector frenzy.

It's been embraced by the likes of ABBA, Richard Nixon, Jack White, and Alf.

It is auditory planned obsolescence.

Today, part one of a two-part saga on the strange reign of flexible records: the what and why of Flexi Discs.

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Junkshop Glam (Episode 38)

November 8, 2018
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There may never have been a pop music trend as both enthrallingly vapid and often highly critically praised as glam rock. Glam was a performance of reality as opposed to actually presenting it, the precession of simulacra to quote the philosopher, Jean Baudrillard. Though he wasn’t referring to glam, it fits perfectly. It was all about living in a copy of what was real instead of the reality itself which they saw as crumbling detritus.

Glam rock was innocence and insincerity gone feral by way of a nostalgia in the future tense. Glam Rock is Stanley Kubrick directing Barbarella. Or, as Bryan Ferry aptly phrased it, “a danceable solution to a teenage revolution”.

 

Books we used for research and suggest you purchase:

Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy, from the Seventies to the Twenty-first Century by Simon Reynolds

Glam Rock: Dandies in the Underworld by Alwyn Turner

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Screamin’ Jay Hawkins Beats Up Drifters (Episode 37)

October 25, 2018
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Screamin' Jay Hawkins was a dealer in terror, showmanship, hyperbole, and shock.

Join us as we go through his climb from being a POW in WWII to drunken recordings, getting banned by a casket association, laying in his own fluids, and Jim Jarmusch.

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The Disagreeable Turtle-Loving John Fahey & His Ilk (Episode 36)

October 11, 2018
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This week's episode is about the legacy of John Fahey and how he spawned a new style of music, American Primitive Guitar, by culling from the old, weird American sounds that came before him. Fahey lives on in many young and vital guitarists working today. Unfortunately, he also lives on in other ways too. You know that guy who goes to record stores only on Record Store Day so he can buy as many of everything as is possible so he can flip them on eBay? John Fahey lives inside of them too.

American Primitive Guitar is the sound of the emptiness of this nation. The vast rocky space of the Western deserts. The impassable swamps of the south. The abandonment and grime of Midwest factory towns. Ribbons of highways cutting through infinite cornfields and suburbs.The cold, Stark forests of the northwest and the elitist metropolises of the Eastern seaboard. Each equally harrowing and oddly beautiful landscapes.

The sound is simple. Steel string acoustic guitar finger picked in the traditional blues style usually in odd open tunings. But the concept is much more. The playing transcends the tired 1,4,5 frameworks with an eye on classical, exotic, and experimental ingenuity. Whereas the blues and country music was familiar and warm, this guitar sound was dissonant and melancholy. Speed and precision were resigned in favor of playing that is emotional, intense, self-aware, and honest. There were spaces in between the notes that would be left hanging in silence for far longer than comfortable. And when the note finally arrived to relieve you of your anticipation it sounded unexpected, maybe uninvited.

Much of the research for this episode came from this biography:

Dance of Death: The Life of John Fahey, American Guitarist by Steve Lowenthal and David Fricke

 

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The Library Music Film Interview with director Paul Elliott (Episode 35)

September 27, 2018
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This episode is a bit of a continuation of our Library Music episode but we're joined by someone who has legitimate knowledge of the genre. 

Paul Elliott, one of the directors of the new documentary, "The Library Music Film", was gracious enough to spend some time with us discussing the film and Library Music. Paul is a wonderful person and incredibly articulate, knowledgeable, and entertaining. We hope you enjoy listening to him as much as we did speaking with him. 

The Library Music Film opens in the UK on October 6. Find out more here:

The Library Music Film

Pre-order the soundtrack

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