Plenty of stuff to talk about this week, though very little of it is new. We’ll get that new stuff out of the way, first: the studio’s phones lit up like crazy early on in the show thanks to the new Jeffrey Lee Pierce tribute record out on Glitterhouse. We Are Only Riders features musicians like Nick Cave, David Eugene Edwards, Mark Lanegan, Debbie Harry, Mick Harvey, and Lydia Lunch performing songs that Pierce had demoed or left incomplete before his death in 1996. As the BBC points out in their review, the whole thing sounds a bit Nick Cave-ish, but that isn’t a bad thing. Pierce’s writing is perfectly suited to that style of half-blues, half-American-something rock ‘n’ roll. Unfortunately We Are Only Riders is available only as an import, which means you’ll be paying a pretty penny for it until someone picks it up for American distribution. People wonder why the music industry is dying when cheap plastic discs cost close to 30 bucks… Alternatives exist.
Aside from providing the theme music for Twin Peaks and making a few appearances during that show’s run, some people might know Julee Cruise for her contribution to another David Lynch film: Blue Velvet. Of course, Cruise ended up winning a Grammy thanks to her work on the Twin Peaks soundtrack, which is apparently still the best selling television soundtrack of all time. After working with Angelo Badalamenti on Blue Velvet, Cruise went into the studio with him and recorded many of the songs that would end up on her 1989 album, Floating into the Night. As a result, Cruise’s debut was cut through with the now familiar Badalamenti sound: film-noirish atmospheres, dark pseudo-jazz rhythms, and often glacial pacing. Instrumental cuts from that record went on to appear in Twin Peaks and Cruise herself was featured prominently in scenes throughout the series, many of them integral to the plot’s development (it’s clear Lynch felt a special fondness for Cruise). But, there are a lot of great songs on Floating into the Night that never made it to the TV and plenty of dark, cooler songs on it that help balance out its more sugary moments, including “Into the Night.” She has a new album due out sometime this year according to Wikipedia, but I can’t find any information about it anywhere else.
The second half of the show had three distinct parts: one dedicated to Charles Hayward, one to some early synth-based pop, and another to the increasingly-fashionable genre of krautrock. Hayward might be best known as one of the founding members of This Heat, but he’s been a part of many more projects than that, including Camberwell Now and Quiet Sun. All of them are featured in this week’s show. The synth and kraut stuff popped up because of a couple of documentaries I saw this past weekend, both produced by the BBC. They’re available on Youtube and instead of talking too much about them, I’ll just post the beginnings for both and suggest you give them a shot. The krautrock-based one is especially interesting as it situates the music in the context of post-World War II Germany (politically and culturally) and provides a lot of information on how the bands formed, why they formed, and how they were received in other parts of the world (especially England). Members of Faust, Can, Tangerine Dream, Popul Vuh, Kraftwerk, OMD, Depeche Mode, The Human League, and others make appearances and talk pretty candidly about their music and why they did what they did… Anyways, they’re only an hour long each, but are very well produced and very informative despite their brevity.
That does it for this week. Thanks for all the calls and the emails and messages. I’ll talk to you next week.
01. Julee Cruise “Into the Night” from Floating Into the Night (1989) on Warner Bros
02. Barry Adamson “Something Wicked This Way Comes” from Oedipus Schmoedipus (1996) on Mute
03. Kyle MacLachlan “Diane 12” from The Twin Peak Tapes of Agent Cooper (1990) on Simon & Schuster Audio
04. Rebekah Del Rio “Llorando (Crying)” from Mulholland Drive Soundtrack (2001) on BMG
05. David Eugene Edwards and Crippled Black Phoenix “Just Like a Mexican Love” from We Are Only Riders: The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project (2010) on Glitterhouse
06. Calexico “Close Behind” from Feast of Wire (2003) on Quarterstick Records
07. The Gun Club “Sex Beat” from Fire Of Love (1981) on Slash
08. Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-la-la Band “God Bless Our Dead Marines” from Horses In the Sky (2005) on Constellation
09. Nick Cave “Ramblin’ Mind” from We Are Only Riders: The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project (2010) on Glitterhouse
10. Iggy Pop & the Stooges “Penetration” from Raw Power (1973) on CBS
11. Dirty Three “Sister Let Them Try and Follow” from She Has No Strings Apollo (2003) on Touch and Go Records
12. Joy Division “Atmosphere” from Substance 1977-1980 (1988) on Factory
13. Camberwell Now “Greenfingers” from Greenfingers (1987) on Ink
14. This Heat “Twilight Furniture” from This Heat (1979) on These — originally released in 1979 on Piano Records
15. Quiet Sun “Mummy Was An Asteroid, Daddy Was A Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil” from Mainstream (1975) on Polydor
16. Human League “The Black Hit of Space” from Travelogue (1980) on Virgin
17. The Normal “Warm Leatherette” from Rough Trade Shops – Electronic 01 (2002) on Rough Trade – originally released by Mute Records in 1978
18. Fad Gadget “Collapsing New People” from Gag (1984) on Mute
19. Harmonia “Watussi” from Musik von Harmonia (2006) on Lilith — originally released on Brain in 1974
20. Faust “Giggy Smile” from Faust IV (1973) on Virgin
21. Popul Vuh “Würfelspiel” from Einsjäger und Siebenjäger (2004) on SPV — originally released in 1974 by Kosmische Kuriere
22. Can “Dizzy Dizzy” from Soon Over Babaluma (1974) on Mute