Thursday, May 28, 2009

foot set.

club foot set 5/25/09.
(this was, by far, the best and most fun set i've played since the old Hideout dance party days).

sleater kinney- little babies
le tigre- let's run
scissor sisters- comfortably numb
familjen- det snurrar
ladytron- blue jeans
tears for fears- everybody wants to rule the world
polyrock- love song
i, futurologischer congress- korperwarme
grace jones- love is the drug
bohemia- white couches
toyah wilcox- danced
nina hagen- new york new york
fuzzbox- love is the slug
lene lovich- lucky number
au pairs- inconvenience
a certain ratio- do the du
konk- your life
essential logic- collecting dust
bush tetras- cowboys in africa
raincoats- no side to fall in
adam & the ants- stand and deliver
big country- in a big country
fishbone- party at ground zero
specials- nite klub
funboy three w/bananarama- it ain't what you do...
esg- you're no good
wall of voodoo- tomorrow
pete shelley- homosapien
sigue sigue sputnik- love missile F1-11
kraftwerk- radioactivity
erasure- a little respect
men without hats- living in china
gleaming spires- what's coming next
flying lizards- the window
soft cell- sex dwarf
wreckless eric- whole wide world
sham 69- if the kids are united
maneater- nine to five
wire- the 15th
rezillos- someone's gonna get their head kicked in tonight
dickies- you drive me ape (you big gorilla)
hubble bubble- i wanna die (but not right now)
plastic bertrand- ca plane pour moi
only ones- another girl, another planet
the boys- first time
devo- gates of steel
rave-ups- they do talk
clash- revolution rock
johnny thunders & the heartbreakers- chinese rocks
bad brains- sailin' on
dictators- california sun
siousxie & the banshees- spellbound
kleenex- you
josie cotton- johnny are you queer?
jay reatard- my shadow
real kids- all kindsa girls
damned- neat neat neat
(break here in which we sang the Golden Girls theme song over the PA)
sisters of mercy- this corrosion
boys next door- shivers

Friday, May 01, 2009

History Lesson #1: Vivian Girls

i like the Vivian Girls.

they are fun. they are cute. they sing weird harmonies and play hard. one of the best shows i went to last year was Vivian Girls at People Projects (RIP). we waited for like 6 hours in the sweatiest/humidity-drippiest basement for them to go on, and i spilled someone's big-gulp all over the place (sorry, Sam), but it was way worth it.

and since i'm an obsessive-compulsive maniac, i can't stop making these little "history chains" in my head for every "hot band" that i come across. so here we have a synopsis: the groups for which the Vivian Girls (and by extension, Dum Dum Girls, etc.) would not exist. . .

to break this down, here's a fairly simple formula:
(early girl groups + 90s twee & indie pop + early riot grrrl) x shoegaze style + lo-fi

60s "girl groups" were the main impetus for pretty much every band i'm going to mention here. this is both a fact and a no-brainer, so i won't delve to deeply except to say that the Ronettes and the Shangri-Las were at the forefront (harmonies!), in addition to groups like the Crystals, the Marvelettes, and hell, even some of Skeeter Davis' pop crossover songs.

now we move into 60s girl garage bands. if you want to dig deeper, definitely check out any one of the eleven (i shit you not) Girls in the Garage compilations, all of which are out-of-print and very hard to find. worlds tiniest nutshell alert: a lot of these bands took the "girl group sound" into Nuggets garage territory (and played their own instruments!). some of these girl garage bands have become fairly infamous in a cult-band sorta way: The What Four and the Daughters of Eve (an assembled band out of Chicago, btw!), for example, trailblazed beyond the overly-saccharine yet still retained the 'cuteness' of the girl group era. the Luv'd Ones were straight-up proto-punk, fuzzed-out and pure garage rock, proving to be a key extension from girl group to girl rock.

80s time: another Vivian Girls influence and a big inspiration for the impending indie pop explosion was the Marine Girls (Tracey Thorn of Everything But The Girl's first band). Marine Girls were super minimal, post-postpunk and pre-twee, and generally very awesome. the scottish band Shop Assistants were another major bridge between minimal postpunk and twee, and probably one of my favorite bands ever. here we get even more connections to the shambly pop of the late 80s/90s: one member of the Shop Assistants ended up playing with The Pastels, and Stephen Pastel produced some of Shop Assistants' earliest tracks. aaaand, if the Pastels never existed, neither would Talulah Gosh, who formed over a shared love over the Pastels. seriously, Talulah Gosh are soooo proto-Vivian Girls (and also THE band of the twee pop movement). just listen to them for like one freakin' minute and the Vivian Girls influence is the most obvious thing ever, re: sweet harmonies, jangly guitars, and overall cuteness. After Talulah Gosh disbanded, Amelia and Matthew Fletcher started Heavenly, who took delicate sunny indie-pop into the 90s.

Tiger Trap (pictured above) was the American extension of Talulah/Heavenly. again, harmonies + sugary melodies + jangly twee. Tiger Trap also connected the early 90s indie-pop scene with what would eventually be called Riot Grrrl, thanks to their early split release with Bratmobile. the "riot grrrl" tag has become a pretty major turn-off to (uhh mostly male, ahem) music geeks everywhere, which is unfortunate because soooo many bands under the riot grrrl umbrella are exceptional lo-fi pop/punk masters (see the latest Z-Gun for more on this). bands like Pussycat Trash and Skinned Teen are both perfectly underrated and overlooked lo-fi girl bands. Comet Gain, another one of my most loved bands, formed in the UK in the early 90s and were equally inspired by Riot Grrrl bands, twee- and indie-pop, and 60s girl groups. back to Tiger Trap; Rose Melberg (singer/guitarist) eventually continued her career with The Softies, who were a much...softer version of Tiger Trap.

the end? i'm not even gonna go into the shoegaze stuff because that's just too easy and i honestly don't think the Vivian Girls are thaaat shoegazey (or "shitgazey", for that matter). there's definitely some shoegaze style going on in their songs but not enough for me to expound on the merits of Jesus & Mary Chain. yawn.

if you've made it all the way through, here is a gift:
Click here to download a mix of most every band mentioned above, "The Roots of Vivian Girls."