The Current Earworm is Grandaddy’s “Watercooler”

I was parking the car when this came on WFUV, a college station with professional DJs that is currently playing a mix of album-friendly tunes from across eras and genres. Grandaddy, it turns out, got their start 30 years ago in Modesto CA and have dabbled in various indy grunge psychedelic styles ever since.

I’ve played a bunch of their music and it has a mostly muted energy but pops with clever ideas, lyrically and musically. I suspect as I listen more I’ll like some of it more, but Watercooler is immediately classic.

Albums That Should Exist

One of the first posts here at Rock Remnants was Mike Salfino’s brilliant imagining of the album the Beatles might have made if they hadn’t broken up, based on the best songs from their initial solo albums. You can read that here.

Today I stumbled across a blogpost about a show Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe did for the BBC, playing acoustic covers of (mostly) Everly Brothers tunes as the Beverly Brothers. It’s excellent.

That blogpost is on a now dormant (since 2017) blog called Albums That Should Exist.

Paul, the creator, created scores of elpees out of material that is thematically related but was never released. The blog ended with a third album of Tom Jones duets taken from his TV show, some of which we’ve posted here through the years.

Right now I’m listening to an album of Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello demos.

The albums exist, archived on a Fileshare site called Zippyshare, which seems to be alright. At least my virus software didn’t pick anything up. It’s well worth being careful, but also well worth checking out this ambitious and accomplished project’s website.

Do You Want an Old Album to Listen to Today?

This is one you may not have heard of. Or may have forgotten. The Golden Palominos were a working outfit from 1981 to 2012, when their last record came out. Their first album was a work of No Wave, a punk jazz fusion thing that highlighted bandleader Anton Fier’s massive drumming, and lots of skronking and wailing by downtown notables like John Zorn, Aarto Lindsey, Fred Frith, and bassist Bill Laswell, who played with the band consistently. I’m not impugning the first album, but like much of No Wave, the joys are hard earned. Worthwhile? Probably, but it is on their second album that Golden Palominos became music for minds like mine. This is a great rock record. For one thing it features guest vocals by Michael Stipe, John Lydon, and Jack Bruce. It has a cover of Skip Spence’s Omaha. Richard Thompson plays guitar. Carla Bley plays organ on Buenos Aires. And it introduces us to Syd Straw, who in subsequent permutations became one of the Palominos’s front people. I only saw them once, on stage at Studio 54, with the great Ordinaires opening for them. But this is a record that is heavy, jazzy, poppy, full of songwriters and singers, with great playing and a killer rhythm section. Try it out.

The Cavemen, Night after Night

I think these guys are from New Zealand. What I know for sure is that on this elpee they’ve made great songs and arrangements that fuse the Beatles to the 13 Floor Elevators, and take most direction from the Dolls.

But to me, this doesn’t sound like homage, it sounds like joyful expression. Could I be wrong? Their earlier albums are rawer and less imaginative. But that isn’t the bar. This album isn’t about what it means, it’s about how great it sounds. And then, it means something. That’s punk we haven’t heard recently. I think.

Mannequin Pussy, Fear/+/Desire

But maybe it’s not a problem. There is a lot to like about this song. Dreamy and meandering with a wash of rhythm underneath, it’s kind of lovely, which makes it like loud folk rock. In any case, here’s a heads up.
I keep listening to this, seduced by the wiry guitars and solid drums, and realize I’ve wandered into a pretty powerful description of sexual power and the dynamics that ensue.

I feel callow, but am glad to be here.

Nico, 1988

I saw this new film last week with friends. None of us knew much about the film, it had just opened, but it was Nico, about whom good books have been written, and who sang three songs on the first Velvet Underground album (the banana one). We knew that Lou Reed hated her, that Andy Warhol added her to his house band perversely, and our favorite song of hers was a cover of Jackson Browne’s melancholy These Days. Rael thought the trailer was a stinker.

But the movie was very good. Most notably, Trine Dyrholm acts and sings as if she’s living the part of the mordant junkie who can’t help but talk about how she feels and why she lives. But the movie makes excellent narrative choices that pile up, like leading with Nico’s These Days, and then moving on to her much broader music made in an atmosphere of chaos and imprecision.

This review on Slate┬áby Carl Wilson does a good job of explaining the film, and puts it into the context of many other movie bio pix that don’t follow the form of Ray and Walk the Line. Read that, see the movie, and I’ll leave you with this. Not a spoiler, but a game changer in the film’s narrative, surprisingly enough.

 

Wussy, Teenage Wasteland

This is another one h/t to the Dean of American Rock Critics, though he didn’t plug this song. I found it on the YouTube.

These guys are old and weird. The first two songs of theirs I listened to were called Gloria, and this one, which was once a Who song. Neither was a cover.

They skew to the indie side of rock, but I’ve put this clip on repeat. I liked them at first hear. They sound like they need to do this more than anything. That’s enough for now. Maybe more later.’

 

The Dead South, In Hell I’ll Be In Good Company

Clever video. But simple.

Simple song. But maybe clever. The lyrics seem to show a dark murder ballad, though I didn’t get that on first listen.

Whatever. Somehow this cute video and folkish trad song has scored 44 million plays on YouTube. That’s huge, it is real money, and it comes from Canadians into bluegrass, even if the music isn’t bound by genre exactly.

More power to them. This isn’t rock, but if these folks can earn green on this fine but totally uncommercial song, I’d say they’re successful remnants.

Also, good title and band name. Especially for northerners. Maybe not as good as The Band.