Song of the day: The Quick w/ Earle Mankey – "Bigger Than Life"

November 30, 2011

Someone, somewhere, sent me an email on behalf of a company called Burger Records about a band from the 1970s that’s releasing a 7″ vinyl single of two songs that were recorded in the 70’s but never released until now. On vinyl.

(I feel I must warn you about the Burger Records website. If you go there, be prepared for the blinding colour scheme. It’s red and orange, and I couldn’t look at it for more than a few seconds.)

This is part of the email I received:



We thought you might be interested in our newest release, it’s…

“Bigger Than Life” b/w “Beautiful Island”

Two unreleased songs from 1977 by The Quick (Mondo Deco, Untold Rock Stories) featuring Earle and Jim Mankey (of Sparks)!


We’ll be pressing 500 copies (200 on red vinyl / 300 on black vinyl)

Listen to “Bigger Than Life” here:

Pre-order can begot here:

Thank you!



(Red vinyl?)

Although I didn’t enjoy the song much, they took the trouble to let me know about it, so I’m happy to let you know about it. Enjoy! (Maybe.)

The Quick w/ Earle Mankey – “Bigger Than Life” (2011)

Song of the day: Sherbet – "Hound Dog"

November 29, 2011

Here are Australia’s 1970s kings of satin shirts and platform boots, Sherbet, with their splendid* rendition of “Hound Dog”:

Sherbet – “Hound Dog (1973)

A live performance in black-and-white:

A live performance in colour: Video (embedding disabled. Grr.)

And here’s the original:

Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton – “Hound Dog (1953)


(*Depending on how you feel about that version, you may prefer a different adjective.)

Musical coincidences # 152

November 29, 2011

According to Australia’s recent ARIA Awards (something I didn’t watch when it was televised last weekend), a chappy called Gotye (someone I don’t listen to) was awarded Best Male Artist. Mr. Gotye also won Single of the Year and Best Pop Release for his song “Somebody That I Used To Know“.

Having not heard the song before, I thought I might see what the chart-topping fuss was about and listen to the little beastie. When it started, I was reminded me of another song.


Gotye – “Somebody That I Used To Know (2011) (excerpt)


…reminded me of this:

XTC – “Senses Working Overtime (1982) (excerpt)


Here are the full versions:

Gotye – “Somebody That I Used To Know (2011)


XTC – “Senses Working Overtime (1982)


Song of the day: The CRY! – "Think I’m In Love"

November 28, 2011

I was contacted by someone called either John or Greybush (I’m not sure which) about a band called The CRY! who are from Portland, Oregon. I need to specify that they’re from Oregon because they’re not from Portland, Victoria or Portland, England.

Anyway, John/Greybush (or maybe he’s “Greybush John”, like a pirate) stated quite unequivocably:

“We are The CRY! out of Portland Oregon. WE ARE THE BEST NEW POWER POP BAND IN THE WORLD!! No kidding!! Let us prove it then give us some love!”

Greybush John provided me with some songs (thanks, GJ!) so I put on my listening ears.

The CRY’s music reminds me of those British punk bands that endeavoured to write pop songs while retaining their punkiness – bands like The Undertones and the Buzzcocks and plenty of others I can’t think of at the moment.

I must admit that I find the band name (The CRY!) slightly confusing, because the word “CRY” is quite deliberately in capital letters. That makes me think it’s an acronym. If it is, do the letters mean something like “Combustible Rancorous Yeti” or “Carnival Ridin’ Yams” or “Can’t Really Yell”?

But you’re not interested in rhetorical questions – you’re interested in music. I’ll play you the first four tracks I received. I won’t play you all the songs I was presented with because I wouldn’t want the boys in the band to send me emails along the lines of: “Why are you giving away all our songs??? We’ve only just put them on an album!!!”

I’ll comment on the songs as they play, and I’ll leave it up to you whether you want to read them or not. (I don’t blame you if you don’t.)

1. “Think I’m In Love”


When I heard this, the first word that came to mind was “fun!”. And the title reminded me of:

Eddie Money – “Think I’m In Love (1982)*


But back to The CRY!…

2. “I Wanna Know”

I’d love to know what on Earth possessed the band to play parts of the song at double-speed. For me it doesn’t quite work. I usually don’t mind “OK, now let’s play it twice as fast!” songs, but here I think it results in the song having too much of a split personality. I didn’t mind the slow part, and I didn’t mind the fast part, but I wasn’t keen on them being together in the same song. Ah well. C’est la vie.

3. “Sleeping Alone”

Oh-oh. The song starts with a not-terribly-well-disguised lift from “Lust For Life“, but once that’s out of the way it settles into its own (enjoyable) song.

4. “Be True”

I was surprised when the song started at the instant musical coincidence here:

Paul McCartney & Wings – “Jet (1974) (excerpt)


But that’s only a small part of the song. The rest of “Be True” doesn’t mention Paul McCartney at all.

The other songs I heard are pretty much par for the course. (The course being British-punk-inspired power pop). I reckon those four songs will give you a decent idea of the band’s raison d’être. Some of the other songs are more melodic (i.e., have better tunes), but I think the tracks presented here today are representative of the band’s oeuvre.

And sorry about the needlessly French phrases in this post.

The CRY! official website
The CRY! on Twitter
The CRY! on Facebook
The CRY! on MySpace
The CRY! on YouTube (playing “I’m Henery The Eight, I Am“, believe it or not)
The CRY! on ReverbNation

(*Believe it or not, I’ve been wanting to put that Eddie Money song on the blog for ages but never thought it was a good time because either: a) readers would wonder what a non-Australian song from 1982 is doing on an up-to-date and hip-n-happening blog; or b) readers would think that song is nowhere near ‘cool’ enough to go on a blog – any blog. Thanks to The CRY!, I have the perfect excuse to play it. Thanks, guys!)

Song of the day: A band I’d rather not mention by name – "Somebody’s Trying To Tell Me Something"

November 27, 2011

Here’s another case of a blog reminding me of a song for this here blog. Actually, it’s just the name of a song that did it this time.

Powerpopaholic (Hi, Aaron!) reviewed an album by Italian band The Sick Rose. PPA mentioned that the first song on on the album is “Putting Me Down“, and that title reminded me of the phrase “breaking me down” which is repeated in…

A fairly litigious band – “Somebody’s Trying To Tell Me Something (1982)


For this song to have maximum effect, I recommend turning the volume way, way up at 2:14. Thank you.

Musical coincidences # 151

November 27, 2011

After Steve Simels over at the Power Pop blog (Hi, Steve!) unwittingly prompted me to remember a Procol Harum song I hadn’t heard in years, it caused a bit of a chain reaction. As I listened to (and enjoyed) that song again after a long time of not listening to it, it prompted me to seek out a whole lot more Procol Harum to find out what I’d been missing in the last few decades. (I’d only ever heard a few songs here and there, and have never heard any of their albums.) As a result, I’m now in a moderately large Procol Harum phase and playing catch-up with their back catalogue. I’m also considering buying a Procol Harum DVD. (It looks good, and it has a great version of “Conquistador” on it, and the DVD’s only $10. Should I buy it?*)

At the end of my Procol Harum Quest™ I’ll be in a better position to say whether I’ll be thanking Mr. Simels, or shaking my head in disbelief and saying “Oh, Steve, why did I ever read that post of yours?”.

But in the meantime, one of the Procol Harum songs I hadn’t heard before but have now (thanks, Internet!) is “Homburg“. Here’s how the verse starts:

Procol Harum – “Homburg (1967) (excerpt)


That sounded familiar to me. It sounded a lot like:

Alice Cooper – “Only Women Bleed” (1975) (excerpt)


Here are the full versions:

Procol Harum – “Homburg (1967)


Alice Cooper – “Only Women Bleed” (1975) (excerpt)


(*Update: I just bought it.)

Song of the day: Procol Harum – "Conquistador"

November 26, 2011

This may sound like a disclaimer, but I’m afraid that today’s song won’t be Australian. I was all set to play you an Australian song on this (supposedly) Australian blog, but I got sidetracked*. (Getting sidetracked is something I do regularly. Curse this short attention span!)

The reason for today’s non-Australian-ness is Power Pop blog contributor Steve Simels (hi, Steve!). A couple of days ago Steve posted a track by Procol Harum, and that reminded me of my favourite Procol Harum track. The first time I ever heard it was on a jukebox in a pub. In amongst all the pleasant Top 40 songs on that jukebox was this:

Procol Harum – “Conquistador” (live) (1972)


It blew my mind.

Here’s the studio version:

Procol Harum – “Conquistador (1967)


And a couple of filmed performances:

2006 (with orchestra)

1977 (no orchestra)

(*Pun fully intended.)

Song of the day: Deep Sea Arcade – "Lonely In Your Arms"

November 25, 2011

Here’s a new Australian band I saw (and heard) by chance the other day on Australian television music program Rage. It’s wonderfully retro:

Deep Sea Arcade – “Lonely In Your Arms (2009)

I like that. A lot. (Even though the singer sounds disconcertingly like Billy Corgan.)

Here’s another one of their songs:

Yep. Retro Plus.

I’m looking forward to buying their album when it’s released.

Potentially Uninteresting Sidenote: as far as I can tell, Deep Sea Arcade is not related to an arcade band from Canada, an arcade band from America, or an arcade band from America in the 1990s.

Deep Sea Arcade on MySpace
Deep Sea Arcade on Facebook
Deep Sea Arcade on Twitter
Deep Sea Arcade on Ivy League Records
Deep Sea Arcqade at Triple J Unearthed

Song of the day: Bram Tchaikovsky – "Mr. President"

November 24, 2011

Here’s Bram Tchaikovsky with my favourite song on their 1980 album, The Russians Are Coming:

Bram Tchaikovsky – “Mr. President” (1980)


Whenever I play the album, I turn that song up as loud as I can.

Musical coincidences # 150

November 24, 2011

I’m currently reading Perfecting Sound Forever, a book about the history of music reproduction and the various ways in which it’s reproduced. One passage in it mentions a bit of wholesale thievery by Quincy Jones for a rather famous record he produced:

Perfecting Sound Forever, by Greg Milner

[pp. 323-324]

“You start with a pure sine wave,” [Cameron] Jones [of the New England Digital company, maker of the Synclavier] says of the expressive capabilities of the Synclavier. “Then you add harmonics, you put in an unrelated modulating frequency, change the index of the modulation over time, and you get these distorted-sounding bell sounds or horn sounds, and you turn those into a hit. Michael Jackson turned that into a billion-dollar record.”

He’s talking Jackson’s Thriller, released in 1982, containing arguably the most famous Synclavier-generated sound ever. It’s that “gong” that opens “Beat It.” Producer Quincy Jones apparently lifted those tones directly from The Blue Record, an NED promotional disc made to show off the Synclavier’s capabalities. (“It was the exact melody and the exact sound,” [Denny] Jaeger [of New England Digital] says of the song’s intro. “I had a copyright on that, and they just took it.”) It’s just a couple of repeating notes. If you haven’t heard them in a long time, it would be natural to edit them out of your memory, since what follows is one of the most recognizable opening guitar riffs in music history. But you remember them because the sound is so odd. The way the note decays sounds organic, as though someone were striking a surface like an oil drum. Yet it’s unsettlingly synthetic. It sticks in your mind because it really does sound like nothing else.

Here’s the sound of the “gong” in the Synclavier:


I found that at the faunæ or automat? blog. Much obliged, blog person.

And that’s the sound at the start of “Beat It” here.

The full song:

(I was going to give you an MP3 of “Beat It” but it seems that the estate of Michael Jackson is alarmingly enthusiastic in its litigiousness, so I won’t invite any legal threats from large American companies. I guess you’ll have to make do with that YouTube video, but at least I’ve linked to the place in the song where you can hear the nicked “gong”.)