Several new (or new-ish) songs have grabbed my ears lately (ow.), and so I thought I’d pass them along. They don’t really have anything in common other than that I’ve been paying each of them a lot of attention recently.
First, people really should remember A Flock of Seagulls for something other than the singer’s utterly ridiculous hair. (And the bad band name.) Because while “I Ran” (hopefully John McCain won’t ruin that song, too) isn’t a bad little song, but two lesser hits, “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)” and “Space Age Love Song,” are even better. Somewhere, I think I have the two LPs those tracks are from – but for now, you’ll have to make do with this excellent cover of “Space Age Love Song” from Brief Candles – who are, as I found out after hearing the track, fellow Milwaukeeans. (The band name links to their myspace site, if those bug you.)
Brief Candles is, of course, named after the Zombies song of the same name – and while that band doesn’t sound much like the Zombies, England’s the Hidden Messages kinda do. There’s a similar yearning, soaring quality to the vocals, and the songs are as exquisitely arranged as those on the world’s most famous misspelled album, Odessey and Oracle. Here’s a new song from the Hidden Messages, “As If.”
I don’t know if there are any hidden messages in the lyrics to Love Psychedelico‘s “Standing Bird” (groan…yes, I am going to arbitrarily find links among each of the bands today…) but they rather sound as if they were composed by taking lyrics in the band’s native language, Japanese, and finding phonetically similar English words to take their place. At first I thought the words were in another language. Funky, old-school analog keyboard, too.
Speaking of old-school and analog, you call your band “Phonograph” and you’re creating certain expectations. The actual band Phonograph sort of fulfills them: you’ve got a country feel and a powerful steel guitar sound…but along with that, an experimental/electronic streak that makes some of their songs just a bit stranger than you might expect, such as “Paper Bag” (this version from the band’s recent Daytrotter session), which is more country-lunar than country-western.
Brief Candles “Space Age Love Song” (They Live We Sleep, 2006)
The Hidden Messages “As If” (band website, 2008)
Love Psychedelico “Standing Bird” (This Is Love Psychedelico, 2008)
Phonograph “Paper Bag” (Daytrotter session, May 27, 2008)