Friday, May 02, 2003


1. Kind of a "commercial" choice for my station, tending as I do towards the b-side, the bonus track, the poorly-recorded piece of soundcheck detritus - there's more than a little of the stuffy-nosed sound archivist in me, I admit, as this playlist (and all that precede and follow it) makes abundantly clear. In fact, I've come to realize that my chronic downloading activities, which focus almost exclusively on out-of-print albums, hyper-pricey imports and even-hyperer-pricey bootlegs, aren't so much a blow against the lumbering beast that is the recording industry as a rude gesture aimed at the used-record-store clerk I secretly long to be. The belittlement, the utter septic contempt that those people can evoke with a simple scowling perusal of your precious second-hand purchase and a dead-eyed stare shot your way as they sightlessly toss your money into the coolly-retro till purloined from the inventory of a defunct Mom-and-Pop grocery store (Pop probably died of a sudden coronary, or maybe he drove Mom out of her mind Gaslight-style and took up with the receptionist at his endrocrinologist's office; they tried to keep the business going but nobody felt comfortable shopping at a Pop-and-Mistress store) - God, the artistry of the petty-elitist retail slug, a skill my politeness-addled brain can only dream of approximating... Well, you gracefully cruel rat bastards, you just see if you get my hard-borrowed $22.50 for that first edition vinyl of Godz 2 you have tacked smugly to the wall. You just see...

Oh, fuck, what was I talking about? Oh, yes, the Dandies. "Every Day..." may be somewhat better known or at least more readily accessible than much of what I twist folks' unsuspecting lobes with - a high-profile track on an in-print major-label recording that hasn't even been mid-lined yet - but, damn, I adore it so. Brazenly imitative as always (the shadow of ZZ Top's "Legs" hangs all over it), and suggestive of various banal depravities as they tend to be (the yawning grind of the hipster too jaded to even pretend that what he's doing is exciting himself, much less offending anyone), but (and?) it has the kind of refrain - not soaring, quite, but elated enough to hover a couple of inches off the ground and drift for a few minutes - that induces the kind of mild, slightly dizzy euphoria that the finest pop does best. Never fails to make me smile. On the inside, of course. So as not to arouse suspicion.

2. The noisy end of the circa-'81 Flying Nun spectrum - these murky clamorers later perfected a more accomplished brand of skreek as Bailter Space - and indicative of my desire to spin a New Zealand band that isn't the Chills, the Clean, or one of Chris Knox's many outfits.

3. From the last-ever local gig in MoB's initial go-round, and notable mainly in that this is one of the few songs that never made it to any release, official or semi-. Sound's a bit murky, but think of it as a boon - now you can experience what it must have sounded like inside Roger Miller's head! Um, great, right?

4. Fanboy geekitude nonpareil: Not only do I lace my 56k stream-of-self-consciousness with numerous works from my most-enamored-of cultish faves, I also feel it necessary to plop in the occasional tribute to said faves. I've already favored my micro-mini-sampling of the listening public with "Shoot the Sexual Athlete," Belle & Sebastian's ode to the Go-Betweens (and homemade Pere Ubu button badges), and now this, one of a shockingly large number of musical paeans to the speed-and-lager-ravaged inscrutability of a certain Mark Edward Smith. This Suede tune actually turned up while searching for an appropriate selection by Elastica (another favored band of brazen pilferers and bouncy hepster charlatans - "the connection is made," indeed; there's a foolish consistency running through this entire enterprise o'mine, for feck's sake), and I'm glad I dredged it up. Sure, this pisstake/homage (dating from when 'stica's Justine Frischmann was both in and, ahem, with the band) isn't the most representative swatch of Suede out there, but, once past the somewhat silly lyrics ("The boy Smith's called a super Scotch homo/ Bald, insane, Satanical romo" - okay, I changed my mind, scratch "somewhat"), the fuzzy, buzzy, almost Mary Chain-esque bluntness of this song - never truly grubby, mind you, that would compromise Brett Anderson's fabulous fringe cut, but the similacrum sings the same - handily reminds one of how surprisingly keen even their toss-offs (now, now) could be. Suede's slipped a bit in recent years, granted, but back when the nineties Britpop Marathon was being run, they consistently lapped the field while, after strong early starts, Blur lost ground nervously trying on everyone else's jerseys while still in motion and Oasis wound up disqualified for nutting each other and calling the timekeeper a "coont." The little fey games that Suede played at the outset were just a ruse, and an extremely clever one in pop terms - coy homocentricism was such a given by the mid-nineties that no one really cared and were even slightly embarrassed by the boy-smooching cover art and the bum-waggling stage act, so the harsh spotlight of media attention were busy singeing second-hand pudding-bowls and monobrows elsewhere while Suede was left to craft their grandly foppy bits of glamorama fa fa fa in relative peace. If you don't believe me, check out Coming Up, a brilliant album recorded after original guitarist/co-songwriter Bernard Butler split and not even the howling fan-tawds thought they had it in 'em, or better, grab 'hold of Sci-Fi Melodies, one of the very few consistently strong two-disc sets of the era - and it's nothing but b-sides. Bless their tarnished gold-plated hearts.

To be continued...

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