Musical coincidences # 264

June 19, 2012

This coincidence is the result of the fabulous Steve Simels (whose name I keep wanting to type as “Steve Smiles” – Hi, Steve!) and a song he posted on the PowerPop blog some time ago. Although the post is old, old, old (from 2009), Steve mentioned it on Facebook the other day and that’s where I first heard about it. I have no idea why Steve was in the mood to mention something he posted back then, but I’m glad he did because it’s prompted this coincidence.

The song is “Won’t Find Better (Than Me)” by The New Hope. It’s five minutes long, and the first two-and-a-half minutes is taken up with some Springsteenesque piano noodling. The noodling contains snatches of a tune that eventually appears fully formed as the main tune of the chorus. This is the tune:

The New Hope – “Won’t Find Better (Than Me)” (1969) (excerpt)

Link

That particular melody instantly reminded me of the main tune in power-popper Roger Klug‘s “About Time”, which Roger rather conveniently begins by singing the tune on its own:

Roger Klug – “About Time” (2009) (excerpt)

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Thank you, Roger, for singing that on its own.

Here are the full versions:

The New Hope – “Won’t Find Better (Than Me)” (1969)

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Roger Klug – “About Time” (2009)

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Song of the day: Flap! – "The Boogieman"

May 6, 2012

Today’s post comes to you courtesy of an Australian music publicity company called Heapsaflash who told me about a band and their album.

The band is called Flap!. Musically, they’re nowhere near modern pop – or rock for that matter. They’re not influenced by the Eighties, or the Seventies, or even the Sixties. “OK,” I hear you ask, “how far back do they go?” Well, they play music in the vicinity of the Jazz Age, because the band sound as if it’s playing in some club somewhere in the Roaring Twenties.

Incidentally, when I first saw the band name I thought it may have been a reference to birds and flying, but when I heard the music I thought “Nope – it’s a reference to flappers.”

Come to think of it, there are a few Australian bands nowadays that are mining this early, pre-electric era of music-making. (There’s also The Harry James Angus Band and C.W. Stoneking among others.) I don’t quite know why this very, very old sub-sub-genre of music has popped up in Australia in the last couple of years, but it seems to be a burgeoning thing.

In a happy coincidence, I’m currently watching an Australian television program called Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. It’s set in Melbourne in 1928. Miss Fisher is a woman of independent means who lives life gaily whilst solving murders. The show’s on every Friday night, and I’m loving it because it evokes the era wonderfully.

The music of Flap! fits right in with Miss Fisher and her mysteries. That could be one reason why I enjoyed their album.

The album, A Great Day For The Race, is Flap!’s second (or as Americans have a habit of saying, “sophomore”). I must admit that, as with the band name, I had a way-off-base first impression. I thought the band meant that it was a great day for the human race, but then realised it must mean a race around the world.

The opening track, “The Boogieman”, announces exactly the musical milieu the band dwells in:

Flap! – “The Boogieman” (2012)

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And here’s a song that’s a plea to a certain Danish (ex-Tasmanian) royal to ditch her current hubby (the Crown Prince of Denmark):

Flap! – “The Princess Mary Rag” (2012)

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Oh, before I forget: I want to mention three things Flap! and their album reminded me of.

1) It reminded me of the only other album I have of this kind of stuff, Living-Room by Paris Combo. A sample track:

Paris Combo – “Terrien d’eau douce” (1999)

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2) The Triplets of Belleville:

3) Flap!’s “The Boogieman” (see above) reminded me of American power pop artist Roger Klug‘s “Bogeyman”. As well as having a similar song title, I think the music’s in the same territory:

Roger Klug – “Bogeyman” (2009)

Link

But back to Flap!’s album:

I like it. It’s fun.

If you’re interested in seeing Flap! in action, here they are:

And one last thing. Flap! covered the Steve Miller Band‘s “Abracadabra“:

Flap! – “Abracadabra (2011)

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Musical coincidences # 139

November 3, 2011

Today’s coincidence is tiny, tiny, tiny, and involves two not-terribly-well-known artists – but that ain’t gonna stop me letting you know about it.

Tiny vocal melody fragment 1:

Summercamp – “Nowhere Near” (1997) (excerpt)

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Tiny vocal melody fragment 2:

Roger Klug – “The Day I Had My Brain Removed” (2009) (excerpt)

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The full versions:

Summercamp – “Nowhere Near” (1997)

Link

Roger Klug – “The Day I Had My Brain Removed” (2009)

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Roger Klug on Facebook


Song of the day: Roger Klug – "For The Kids"

July 20, 2011

I was all set to play you something else today, but I woke up with this song stuck in my head:

Roger Klug – “For The Kids” (2009)

Link

And it’s still there.

Buy More Help For Your Nerves at Mental Giant ($10)
Buy More Help For Your Nerves at CD Baby ($12.97)
Buy More Help For Your Nerves at Kool Kat Musik ($13)
Buy More Help For Your Nerves at Not Lame ($13.50)
Buy More Help For Your Nerves at Amazon.com ($19.05. Huh? You can get it at Mental Giant for $10)
Roger Klug on MySpace
Roger Klug on Facebook


Song of the day: Roger Klug – "Hi-Hat"

December 6, 2010

Here’s Roger Klug doing what he usually* does (i.e., play power pop) with a splendid little number:

Roger Klug – “Hi-Hat” (2009)

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“Hi-Hat” appears on Roger’s album from last year, More Help For Your Nerves. You certainly get value for money with the album: 17 tracks lasting almost an hour. Now, before you start thinking “Yeah, but most of those’d be duds,” let me correct you. They’re not. (Well, not to me, anyway.)

If I was ever asked to provide a mini-review for the album (and I can see that the queue for that is currently at zero people), I’d say that it’s enjoyable but can be occasionally infuriating. The parts that are infuriating (to me) are when Roger goes and messes up his songs for no good reason that I can see. For example, “Man’s Man” speeds up in places, and it gives me the heebie-jeebies:

Roger Klug – “Man’s Man” (2009)

Link

Boy, that annoys me. (But the song does stick in yer brain.)

Overall, though, I like the album a lot. The songs are well played and generally as catchy as all get-out. For example:

Roger Klug – “For The Kids” (2009)

Link

It’s no wonder that this album was either at or near the top of most power pop blogs last year. (Hint: it’s a good album.)

Buy More Help For Your Nerves at Mental Giant ($10)
Buy More Help For Your Nerves at CD Baby ($12.97)
Buy More Help For Your Nerves at Kool Kat Musik ($13)
Buy More Help For Your Nerves at Not Lame ($13.50)
Buy More Help For Your Nerves at Amazon.com ($19.09. Huh? You can get it at Mental Giant for $10)
Roger Klug on MySpace
Roger Klug on Facebook

(*If you have no idea what I’m talking about there, please see yesterday’s post for an explanation.)


Song of the day: The Coney Islanders – "Sport Utility Vehicle"

December 5, 2010

Now, this is a gargantuan heap of fun.

American power popper Roger Klug released an album in 1999 purporting to be a collection of long-lost recordings from the ’60s. The songs were all by different artists, and were all supposedly “written, arranged, and directed” by a shadowy individual named “Clem Comstock”.

The album is called Where Has The Music Gone?: The Lost Recordings Of Clem Comstock, and I think it’s so enjoyable that if you can find it, my advice is to buy it. Immediately.

The album features a plethora of ’60s artists in their appropriate styles for the era, but it’s all Roger.

To give you an idea of what you’re letting yourself in for, here are some of the liner notes:

Local musician Roger Klug picks up the story: “It was the craziest thing. I had just bought an old 3-track tape machine from the early ’60s because, like everyone else, I was looking for that Big Fat Thick Analog Sound and I was convinced I could only get it from vintage equipment. Anyway, part of the deal was it came with ten or twelve crates of tape reels, the guy selling it was adamant about that. I guess he wanted to clear the place out. I wasn’t arguing because I figured if they were in decent shape, I could use them to record on. Well, when I put the first reel on to check it, I wasn’t prepared for the shock I received. Needless to say, I didn’t record over what I heard.” What Roger heard was an entirely documented 6-hour recording session culminating in a final master-take performance of “Never Gonna Get Married,” a regional hit in 1964 by the Schulte Sisters (featuring Bridgette Schulte). “I knew the song ‘cos Mom used to play it around the house quite often, but I didn’t know anything about the group or who wrote it, zilch.” Intrigued, he tracked down the 45 RPM single and just below the record label’s logo were the cryptically enlightening words, “Written, Arranged & Directed by Clem Comstock.” More auditioning of the tapes revealed take after take, song after song, session after session, of performances by little-known-outside-of-Hamilton-County artists and groups, many of whom had scored local and regional hits, all “written, arranged and directed” by Clem Comstock. “It became apparent,” Roger says, quite dramatically, “that I was now in possession of Clem Comstock’s master tapes.”

The 12-page booklet has wonderfully detailed information on all of Roger’s fabulously fictitious artists.

One of my favourite songs on the album is a splendid Beach Boys rip-off entitled “Sport Utility Vehicle”. Here’s the track and the liner notes for it:

The Coney Islanders – “Sport Utility Vehicle” (1963)

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The incredibly clairvoyant Sport Utility Vehicle stems primarily from Clem’s desire to jump on the sirf music bandwagon, whose wave rushed across the U.S. of A. throughout 1963, dousing even the beachless Midwest in its wake. Clem lured local surf combo the Coney Islanders into the studio and foisted this toe-tapping ditty upon them. “S.U.V.” actually began zooming up the national Billboard charts but ultimately stalled when countless radio disc jockeys mistakenly interpreted a lyric in the first verse as “my seed is cranking” and banned the song, citing “explicit sexual innuendo.” Close listening today reveals the offending words are actually “my CDs cranking;” compact discs would not be commercially available for at least another twenty or so years.

And here’s another one of my favourite tracks:

The Schulte Sisters (featuring Bridgette Schulte) – “Never Gonna Get Married” (1964)

Link

The aforementioned Never Gonna Get Married needs no introduction. Clem’s biggest production and most lucrative copyright, he ceremoniously bestowed the song upon his No. 1 diva act, the Schulte Sisters (featuring Bridgette Schulte), one night in the studio. Released in June 1964 amid a sea of British Invasion infatuation, even the stolid and the indifferent could not deny the song’s seductiveness and universal appeal. Russell Simons: “He worked like a pig on it, he ran them through something like 114 takes of the song! Tweaking, pruning, cutting, cementing, he just wasn’t sure…at one point, it was a polka number.” Clem wisely avoided crossing over into that market, for the success of “Never Gonna Get Married” ushered in an optimistic and creative time for Clem, not to mention some much-needed cash to keep the Wolves of the Outside World (i.e., landlords, finance companies) at bay.

It took me ages to find this album on CD. I have no idea if it’s currently available anywhere. There’s a page of links for it, but they don’t all work. (Hey, Roger – do you have any spare copies of the CD for sale?)

As stated earlier, if you can find this CD, whip out your wallet as quickly as humanly possible. You won’t regret it.

Forehead-slapping Update: I just discovered that you can buy the album on the Mental Giant website (for $10). Mental Giant is the album’s record label. Can I borrow your hand as well to slap my forehead?

Roger Klug on MySpace
Roger Klug on Facebook
The Home Page of The Clem Comstock Appreciation Society