SYNOPSIS: Take a deep breath… relax… close you eyes and imagine yourself as a spy in the wires, just like that old Cabaret Voltaire song. You can go anywhere, do anything, hear everything… Now, if you’re feeling insidious, imagine your Uncle LD as the handsome, forthright, Brooks Brothers besuited company man played so prettily by Pat Harrington Jr in THE PRESIDENT’S ANALYST. Sorry — that’s actually James Coburn (who plays the mad, mod, befuddled title character in the picture you just saw) because we couldn’t actually find a picture of Pat. And anyway, Uncle LD probably has more in common with Severn Darden. Sad but true. But what are those Beatlesque guys doing on my yacht? And what’s Grampa Walton doing here? Um, and just who is Lance Bass, anyway?
Take a break from pondering your favorite conspiracy theory and/or the really scary stuff and ease back into this week’s HB. Part One seemed to have been all about introverted beardies. Part Two, well — isn’t.
Next week: Almost Like Being In Love
Intro: “Titles” by Stephin Merritt, from the EBAN & CHARLEY soundtrack, (Merge, 2002)
Yes, yes… more shamelessness of the promoting — one’s — friends sort. Still, this and “Victorian Robotics” from the same soundtrack are like pornography to funny Uncle LD. But then so are certain characters in certain drawings by Edward Gorey, especially those guys with bad posture, huge mustaches and bowler hats pictured cheerfully driving their sleek, open 1914 motorcars over unsuspecting waifs and waifettes. Why, we practically learned our ABCs with Gorey’s “Gashlycrumb Tinies”. Note to self: Please stop us before we hurt ourselves or someone else.
“Redneck” by Luxuria, from UNANSWERABLE LUST (Beggar’s Banquet/RCA, 1988)
One of the guys from punk prophets Magazine, here being all wordy and significant and longform. Nobody seems to know who his bandmate Noko was, but that doesn’t matter. It’s all about the last line here anyway.
“Camara Lenta” by Javiera Mena, from ESQUEMAS JUVENILES (Indice Virgen, 2006)
Chilean chanteuse about whom we know almost nothing, but about whom we want to know everything. Sent to us by Jesus — not this one; rather, this one. We are utter fools for this sort of dreamy chickfactoresque pop. Now if only she’d record a duet with Lupe from Pipas we could die happy. Well, happier. Well — we’d like it anyhow.
“Ambitious” by Wire, from 1985-1990: THE A LIST (Mute US, 1993)
Uncle LD always tells anyone who asks — as well as many people who do not — that Wire is his favorite band he’s not in. Wonders never ceased with this quartet… Colin Newman: skewed pop genius. Graham Lewis: “mean, moody and magnificent,” and knows his Sartre. Robert Gotobed: “tall enough to be your mother” (yes, another quotation) but what a drummer, and everyone knows how icky drummers usually are. Bruce Gilbert: gentleman, scholar, and wizard with a delay pedal. Start with CHAIRS MISSING (angular pop miniatures), then get PINK FLAG (art-punk/punk art), then get A BELL IS A CUP (droning, mysterious dark soundscapes for grownups).
“Pagan Lovesong (Vibeakimbo mix)” by Virgin Prunes, from PAGAN LOVESONG ep (Rough Trade, 1982)
It’s always disturbed your Uncle LD that the VPs have blood connections to U2. Gender ambiguity was rampant in this Dublin band, which was more or less lead by a pre-cabaret Gavin Friday. The truly bizarre thing is that Colin Newman (see above) produced this track from their amazing debut… IF I DIE, I DIE. We hear they’ve reformed. Now only if they could only get Princess Tinymeat to open for them.
“Kinetic” by Hilary, from KINETIC ep (Backstreet, 1983)
As birthday boy — and pock-marked Jew fairy — Harold asks in BOYS IN THE BAND, “Who is she? Who was she? Who does she hope to be?” We sure never knew, but we all had this obscure 12-inch single in our collections back in the days of youth. One of our old pals at that time thought this was some sort of encoded anti-new age conspiracy anthem, but we weren’t schizophrenic, so somehow we didn’t hear it; he was later institutionalized and committed suicide, of course. Ah, memories. Anyhow, notice how the riff keeps tripping over itself, making it perfect for that low-slung 80s style of solo dancing, usually performed in front of a mirror — in one’s bedroom or at “the club” — eyes closed.
“Pretty and High” by the Roches, from THE ROCHES (Warner Bros, 1979)
A gift from the l’il lady who was Uncle LD’s best friend in 6th grade. Incidentally she was a devout fan of KISS and Boney M, too. Obviously Pollyanna — no, really! It’s her real name! — was an early and enormously important influence on your Uncle’s budding pop aesthetic. We remember seeing the Roche sisters on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE about this time, singing their famous version of the “Hallelujah Chorus,” arranged for their three mellifluous voices.
“Tragic Bells” by the Residents, from THE COMMERCIAL ALBUM (Ralph, 1980)
Another fragment from the boiling minds of these disturbed children. While not everything these guys (we guess they are all guys, but who knows?) do is good, as we always say, it’s certainly all interesting… even without the huge, bloodshot optical toppers.
“Eighteen” by Severed Heads, remixed by “Warhol Slave,” from LARD MOTEL/SUCCULENT online remixes (2001)
We haven’t the faintest idea who Warhol Slave is, or how he/she/it/they came to remix this Severed Heads track, which was sent to us by our nephew Jeb in Kentucky. But who cares. We at Uncle LD’s Tree House always say “Kentucky” in a fake, snotty Mancunian accent in homage to the lower primate who played Shaun Ryder in Michael Winterbottom’s 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE. Someday soon we’ll play “4-Wheel Drive” by Severed Heads, which is a happy little song about the joys of running people over in your sleep, all-terrain vehicle. Maybe that was the inspiration for Lizzie Grubman? Hmmm, is a pattern emerging?
“Grown Up Girls” by Eurythmics from “There Must Be an Angel” 12-inch (RCA, 1985)
If anyone can translate the French in this song, please let your poor old Uncle know. Whatever she’s saying it’s probably elegantly cruel — or vice versa. When we were children living in the southern hinterlands, we used to beg various DJs (all dead now!) to play this for us. That was when people actually danced. Finallyfinallyfinally this sublime b-side is available on CD, as a bonus track on the reissued BE YOURSELF TONIGHT ALBUM. And we probably don’t need to tell you, dear one, that IN THE GARDEN, Eurythmics’ divine debut (yes, there were around prior to “Sweet Dreams”) is also finallyfinallyfinally available on domestic CD. Oh, Connie Plank! Oh, Clem Burke! Oh, Oh, Oh!