Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Garden Of Earthly Delights

My September FTOTZ mix:

Cover art was stolen from the brilliant artist SHAG.

01 - XTC - Garden Of Earthly Delights
02 - The Dresden Dolls - Lonesome Organist Rapes Page Turner
03 - The 5th Dimension - Orange Air
04 - Josie Cotton - License to Dance
05 - Arthur Brown - I Put A Spell On You
06 - The Puppini Sisters - Walk Like An Egyptian
07 - Herbie Hancock - Honey From The Jar
08 - Sophie Tucker - Red Hot Mama
09 - Iceberg Slim - Broadway Sam
10 - July - Jolly Mary
11 - Boy George - She Was Never He
12 - Janelle Monáe - Many Moons
13 - Scrugg - Lavender Popcorn
14 - Cassandra Wilson - Last Train To Clarksville
15 - The Turtles - You Don't Have to Walk in The Rain
16 - Donnie - The Daily News
17 - Black Lips - Everybody Loves a Cocksucker
18 - Gavin Friday - The Slider
19 - The Grip Weeds - Telescope
20 - Brazilian Girls - Nouveau Americain

No theme on this multi-genre mix but a higher concentration than usual of psych rock and sixties influences. For instance, it opens with XTC's "Garden of Earthly Delights," a bit of Brit-pop psychedelia from their 1989 album Oranges & Lemons.

The Dresden Dolls coined the term 'Brechtian punk cabaret' (for fear of being labeled something that would include the word gothic) to describe their take on piano pop. "Lonesome Organist Rapes Page Turner" is a highlight of their 2008 release, No, Virginia.

I can't get enough of the smooth soul-pop stylings of The 5th Dimension, especially when they dip their toes into sunny psychedelia. Peep the lyrics to "Orange Air," from their Jimmy Webb-penned album The Magic Garden.

If I had to explain eighties new wave pop to someone who had never heard it, Josie Cotton's "License to Dance," from her 1984 album From The Hip, epitomizes the sound for me.

"I Put A Spell On You" is one of those songs I like well enough to have collected a folder full of covers (29 and counting). This version is from Arthur Brown's 1968 psych rock classic The Crazy World of Arthur Brown.

I used to love The Bangles, then they released the hellishly overplayed "Walk Like An Egyptian" and I got over them. I never thought anyone could make me like this song but damned if The Puppini Sisters didn't make it catchy, and not in a way that makes me want to jam screwdrivers through my eardrums. Here they are performing it live. From their 2007 album The Rise & Fall of Ruby Woo.

Herbie Hancock's "Honey From the Jar" is a sticky-sweet serving of vocoder funk that would not sound out of place on a Funkadelic album. Appeared on his 1979 release Feets, Don't Fail Me Now.

"Red Hot Mama" is by Sophie Tucker, delightfully bawdy star of vaudeville, Broadway and film. Tucker "was billed as The Last of the Red Hot Mamas, as her hearty sexual appetite was a frequent subject of her songs, unusual for female performers of the era (wiki)." You can hear the song on Last of the Red Hot Mamas.

"Broadway Sam" pairs a jazz-funk instrumental with a great spoken word tale by Iceberg Slim, the famed pimp, writer and forefather of rap. From his seminal 1976 album Reflections.

July's "Jolly Mary" is probably the only psychedelic sea shanty I know. Odd and engaging. From their 1968 album July, another psych rock classic.

"She Was Never He" is a great but unknown Boy George tune with lovely vocal harmonies and flamenco guitar. From his little-heard 1999 album Unrecoupable One Man Bandit, Vol. 1.

Janelle Monáe's music blends rock, hip-hop, soul and cabaret into a theatrical melange I haven't quite heard before. She's great live too. "Many Moons" can be found on her debut EP Metropolis, Suite I: The Chase.

"Lavender Popcorn" is by the British psych rock band Scrugg. The song was compiled on Paisley Pop - Pye Psych (& Other Colours), 1966-1969.

I love a cover that takes a familiar song in an unexpected direction, as exemplified by Cassandra Wilson's cool jazz take on the Monkees hit "Last Train to Clarksville." From her 1995 release New Moon Daughter.

"You Don't Have to Walk In The Rain" by sixties pop group The Turtles, is easily as fine and memorable a tune as their best known hit, "Happy Together." Found on Solid Zinc: The Turtles Anthology.

"The Daily News" is the title track from soul singer Donnie's second album. If you like good soul music with socially conscious lyrics in the manner of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, you should check this guy out. He's amazing.

What can I say about a song title like "Everybody Loves A Cocksucker"? This dissonant, slurry psych-out from Atlanta garage punks Black Lips still manages a melody catchy enough to sing along to, when you can make out the words. From their 2003 debut Black Lips!

Former Virgin Prune Gavin Friday released a great glam-cabaret-pop album in 1996 called Shag Tobacco that remains one of my favorites from the era. If you liked "The Slider "you should go buy it- not a bad tune on there.

The Grip Weeds are psych pop revivalists who have been around since 1994, although I only recently discovered them. "Telescope" is on their 2004 album Giant On The Beach.

Brazilian Girls are an eclectic electronic group featuring the sultry multilingual vocals of Sabina Sciubba. "Nouveau Americain" is from their latest release, New York City.

Download "Garden Of Earthly Delights"

Listening to: Janelle Monáe - Violet Stars Happy Hunting!