Sunday, December 26, 2021

It's A Wonderful Record & Shows # 914 & 913

Released in 1994, It’s A Wonderful Record is an EP that was originally released on vinyl by Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet. This Christmas and holiday themed release featured SMOASP playing different holiday songs in addition to some originals. When it was originally released the album featured one side that was recorded at 45 RPM while the other side (side two) was recorded at 33 1/3 RPM. Side one, the 45 RPM side featured the instrumental track “Winterfresh” with its shuffle beats and frosty rhythms that are complimented with jingle bells towards the songs close and a choir. Track two on side A is actually a track by New Orleans band M.O.T.O (Masters of the Obvious). “Christmas is Coming” is a short garage pop track that is also jangly and catchy.

Track three starts side two. It is SMOASP’s take on the Christmas classic “Deck the Halls.” It is brief and also features the Vienna Boys Choir (as mentioned in the song). This coupled with the band’s trademark instrumental rhythms makes for a brief, but fuzzy feeling atmosphere that is captured on this holiday classic. It’s a Wonderful Record ends with longer track “The 12 Answering Machine Messages of Christmas.” This track is made up of both spoken word and musical parts. It is both hilarious and festive. The band launches through phone machine messages, brief instrumental tracks and even a message from Joey Ramone in twelve separate segments all composed into one collage of sounds. This track is one of the highlights of this release. It shows the band in all with their irreverent humour and instrumental prowess all in one track. It’s A Wonderful Record ends with the band’s take on “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” Following the release of this EP, Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet did the soundtrack to the film Double Happiness (released in 1995) and are featured on three tracks of Fred Schneider’s Just Fred album (released in 1996). Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet did a reissue campaign of their albums in 2016, along with a reunion, not all tracks from their releases were present. It’s A Wonderful Record was also one of the last releases by the band before their original split in 1996. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet has a myriad of different, unique and cool releases in their catalogue. This is just another example. 

I wrote about SMOASP’s K Records EP Music For Pets recently. You can read about that here.

For more info about Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet visit:
Shadowy Site on a Shadowy Web
SMOASP Facebook Page

Show 914 Playlist (Originally Aired On December 25th, 2021)(2021 Holiday Episode):

1. James White - Christmas With Satan
2. Suicide - Hey Lord
3. Cristina - Things Fall Apart
4. Boris - Last Christmas
5. The Residents - Santa Dog '78
6. El Vez - Santa Claus Is Sometimes Brown
7. Iggy Pop - White Christmas
8. Arcade Fire - Jingle Bell Rock
9. King Khan & Friends - Christmas Time
10. The Galaxies - Please Come Home For Christmas
11. Mark Malibu & The Wasagas - Canadian Christmas
12. Surf Hermits - Santa's Rant
13. Low - Just Like Christmas
14. Descendants - Christmas Vacation
15. Duotang - Old Man Davie's Christmas Kingdom
16. The Ramblin' Ambassadors - Don't Fear the Reindeer
17. The Pointed Sticks - Power Pop Santa
18. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Faster Santa Claus, Ho Ho Ho
19. The Damned - There Ain't No Sainty Claus
20. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Santa's Compromise
21. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Winterfresh
22. Thee Dundrells - Green Christmas
23. The Bell Peppers - I Can't Wait For Xmas
24. Deja Voodoo - Bugs For Christmas
25. Reigning Sound - If Christmas Can't Bring You Home
26. The Cosmonauts - It's Christmas Day
27. Quintron & Miss Pussycat - Jingle Bell Rock
28. Psychic Ills - Run Rudolph Run
29. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - The 12 Answering Machine Messages of Christmas

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the December 25 file to download/stream the episode.

Show 913 Playlist (Originally Aired On December 18th, 2021)(The Scarlet Drops, Radiohead Kid A Mnesiac, The Beatles Let It Be):

1. Squid - Clapping Music
2. Ducks LTD - As Big As All Outside
3. Yoo Doo Right - The Moral Compass of a Self-Driving Car
4. Look Blue Go Purple - Cactus Cat
5. The Scarlet Drops - Dogma Self
6. The Scarlet Drops - Strain
7. The Adam Brown Band - Spirit Tacos
8. Ex~Po - Constant Commuter
9. Dean Marino - Pieces
10. Teke::Teke - Corpse Pose
11. Courtney Barnett - Turning Green
12. Casper Skulls - Thesis
13. Daniel Romano - Novus
14. Brown Hornet - Atomic Wasteland
15. Obits - Talkin' To The Dog (Live)
16. James Sullivan - Get Our Sense Away
17. Atomic 7 - Loving Not Goughing
18. Bloodshot Bill - Guess What
19. La Luz - Metal Man
20. Radiohead - The National Anthem
21. Radiohead - I Might Be Wrong
22. Radiohead - If You Say The Word
23. Radiohead - Trans-Atlantic Drawl
24. The Beatles - For You Blue (Take 4)
25. The Beatles - One After 909 (1969 Glyn Johns Mix)
26. The Beatles - I Got A Feeling (Take 10)

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the December 18 file to download/stream the episode.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Hunky Dory's 50th Anniversary & Shows # 911 & 912

2021 marked the 50th anniversary of David Bowie’s Hunky Dory album. This album is commonly referred to as the album where “David Bowie became David Bowie.” It was the beginning of a new artistic path that would continue for some time. From this album forward David Bowie would continue to push the boundaries of pop music. Prior to Hunky Dory, David Bowie recorded and released the album The Man Who Sold The World. This album was more guitar heavy and was originally released in 1970. Following this album’s release Bowie took some time off from recording and touring. He began writing songs on piano instead of guitar. The songs that he wrote would make up music on what would become 1971’s Hunky Dory and 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. This was also the first album to feature his backing band The Spiders From Mars. Although guitarist Mick Ronson and drummer Mick Woodsmanley played in Bowie’s previous band, this band featured the addition of Trevor Bolder (who replacement previous Bowie bassist Tony Visconti). Rick Wakeman (of the The Strawbs and eventually Yes) joined on piano as well. 

Hunky Dory explored more pop and pop art elements in the music. Songs such as “Changes” and “Life On Mars,” would both become very well known David Bowie songs, but at the time of Hunky Dory’s initial release it was not a commercial success. It would not be until 1972’s release The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars that it would find success. But, in 1971, Bowie was proposing a more piano pop driven album. Lyrically, the songs found themselves on a deeper lyrical level. “Changes” explored elements of artistic reinvention and also was the first Bowie recording where he played saxophone. The song itself is an art pop track that features some different time signature changes that all add to the song’s originality. “Oh! You Pretty Things” is an almost music hall song that has an infectious chorus, sounding like it pulls from a Ray Davies/Kinks influence as lyrically it is essentially about the fall of the human race as it reflects the philosophical influence of Nietzsche and occultist Aleistar Crowley. 

Three of the songs on Hunky Dory are also about American icons. Bowie was inspired to write these songs after a tour of the US that he had done. “Queen Bitch,” the heaviest guitar oriented track on Hunky Dory (a song he would explore in greater depth on his next album with The Spiders From Mars) was his tribute to Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground. “Song For Bob Dylan” is folkier and pop oriented. Lyrically, it is pretty self explanatory, but in 1976 Bowie commented on the song’s intentions in Melody Maker: “That laid out what I wanted to do in rock. It was at that period that I said, 'okay (Dylan) if you don't want to do it, I will.' I saw that leadership void. Even though the song isn't one of the most important on the album, it represented for me what the album was all about. If there wasn't someone who was going to use rock 'n' roll, then I'd do it." “Andy Warhol” is an acoustic driven track about Warhol featuring a very distinctive guitar riff played by guitarist Mick Ronson. 

Other tracks such as the future hit single “Life On Mars,” is a lush piano and orchestral driven track that was inspired by Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” “Kooks” was written about Bowie's newborn son Duncan Jones. This optimistic pop driven track was also influenced by Neil Young musically, “Quicksand” is a powerful track with piano, acoustic and electric guitar. It also features string arrangements by Mick Ronson and producer Ken Scott. Like “Oh! You Pretty Things” this song digs deep into philosophical influences and darker themes contrasted with its pop style. Bowie also touched on elements of the golden era of Hollywood throughout Hunky Dory. This is in addition to the other themes mentioned. Hunky Dory's cover also pays tribute old-fashioned Hollywood lobby cards. It was shot in monochrome then coloured later. 

As mentioned earlier, Hunky Dory’s success came with a delay. Although critically acclaimed in the press, it wasn’t until Bowie released The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars in 1972 that Hunky Dory found success. It would re-chart and it’s singles would find themselves on the on the charts as well. There is just something about the songs on this album. They connected with the outcast as well as oppressed and marginalized people. This album is now viewed as one of Bowie’s best albums. Artistic reinvention would be something throughout Bowie’s career and with this 1971 album, after an initial delay, everything started looking hunky dory for Bowie.

Show 912 Playlist (Originally Aired On December 11th, 2021)(David Bowie's Hunky Dory (50th anniversary), The Minutemen's The Punch Line (40th anniversary), Mononegatives, Chad VanGaalen):

1. Paul Revere & The Raiders - Louise
2. West Coast Pop Explosion Experimental Band - Shifting Sands
3. Wilco - Kamera
4. SpaceSlave - Brightside
5. Green River - Queen Bitch
6. The Muffs -  Changes
7. Dinosaur Jr. -  Quicksand
8. Seu Jorge - Life on Mars
9. David Bowie -  Queen Bitch
10. David Bowie - Oh! You Pretty Things
11. David Bowie - Kooks
12. David Bowie - Andy Warhol
13. David Bowie - The Bewlay Brothers
14. Mononegatives - Terminal Voices
15. Mononegatives - Vision to Screen
16. Lemon Grab - Guitar
17. Night Court - Circus of Wolves
18. Chad VanGaalen - Egg Race
19. Chad VanGaalen -  Sing A Song
20. The New Pornographers - Jackie
21. Cindy Lee - Dry Dive
22. Mac DeMarco - Robson Girl
23. The Famines -  I'll Save My Sympathy
24. Thee Oh Sees - Rogue Planet
25. The Salvation Army - Mind Gardens
26. The Minutemen - Tension
27. The Minutemen - The Struggle
28. The Minutemen - History Lesson
29. David Bowie - Eight Line Poem
30. Arcade Fire (Featuring David Bowie) - Life on Mars  (Live)

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the December 11 file to download/stream the episode.

Show 911 Playlist (Originally Aired On December 4th, 2021)(Django Reinhardt, Bo Diddley, Black Flag Damaged (40th anniversary), Sloan's This One's An Original):

1. Django Reinhardt - Django's Blues
2. Bo Diddley - Diddy Wah Diddy
3. Bo Diddley - Down Home Special
4. Bo Diddley - I'm Sorry
5. Bo Diddley - Pills
6. Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley Is Loose
7. Bonnie "Prince" Billy & Matt Sweeney - Not Fooling
8. Packs - Cheshire Cat Grin
9. Iceage - Wider Powder Blue
10. Hot Garbage - Soft As Gold
11. Suckerpunch - Zap O'Hell
12. Reigning Sound - Shaking & Moving
13. Reigning Sound - Make It Up
14. Ed Keupper - Not Too Soon
15. Cate Le Bon - Running Away
16. Sloan - Fountains
17. The Stolen Minks - Party All Night
18. Mad Ones - No Pleasure
19. Actual Water - Ivory And Oak
20. Lemmy - Thirsty & Miserable
21. No Age - Six Pack
22. Los Campesinos! - Police Story
23. Misfits - Rise Above
24. Black Flag - Gimme Gimme Gimme
25. Black Flag - Spray Paint The Walls
26. Black Flag - TV Party
27. Wine Lips - Mall Walker
28. Century Egg - Mirror
29. Jesse Fellows - (The) Fly
30. Sloan - Nervous Breakdown

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the December 4 file to download/stream the episode.