The Nude Party
As it happens, if yours truly has a Valentine’s gig, it’ll be followed by one on Pi Day. Except on leap years. But the point here is that I thought about doing a show themed on circles, spheres, and other such expressions of the number and decided against it, but keep your ears peeled for some future incarnation of a “Round and Round” playlist. Instead, tonight we kick things off with the sort-of eponymous track from The Nude Party’s latest release, and wrap things up with about 30 seconds of Railroad Jerk, because technical difficulties.
It’s a bitterly cold night, though the thermometer is not the lowest it’s been this winter. Warming things up is King Tuff, whose twisted bedroom psychedelia is heating up my house in the manner of an unexpected early spring. It’s a strong start for an extended set of sounds simultaneously catchy and powerful. Technical note: The Mixtape sounds best when recorded on TDK SA90 cassettes. Do not attempt to do this on Maxell XLIIs.
Every six years or so, Valentine’s Day lands on a Tuesday, and it’s a grand excuse to update and refine the Fight Night playlist, featuring two hours of music about verbal, physical, and emotional aggression. Why go the opposite way? I’m sure those with dates have better things to do than listen to the radio, and those without might appreciate the theme. Tonight’s Final Hour is a replay of tracks from another Final Hour from about a year ago, with all-new live commentary from yours truly.
It’s a formula as old as time — take four Japanese ladies, dress them up in color-coordinated dresses and makeup, and have them play aggressive earworms featuring kawaii harmonies and the lethal precision of a veteran death metal band. And yet somehow Otoboke Beaver rise above the rest of the entrants in this crowded field. Who am I kidding, they are one of a kind, and if you’re not listening to their latest album on repeat, you are missing out on a lot of endorphins.
Maybe it’s the lackadaisical groove she can effortlessly establish, or her warm confident voice, but listening to Madison Cunningham is like sinking into the sofa for a new episode of your favorite show, a general feeling of ease, comfort, and complete enjoyment. Also, maybe you thought you heard a dirty word during “Tounge-Clucking Grammarian”, but you didn’t — let’s face, there’s a lot of rhymes for “clucking” that could register a false positive.
The Streetwalkin' Cheetas
Tonight’s opening theme is clearly tribute to the Imaginary City — the opening cover is from the town’s The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, who are named after an Iggy and the Stooges lyric and have been pumping out a corresponding racket for about 30 years now. The song itself, originally by X, is about a friend of the band that left for England to hook up with the Damned’s Captain Sensible. The lore is unclear on whether the Captain was expecting that or not.
Sex Clark Five
I used to get a couple of dozen packages containing CDs each day, but these days receiving even one is something that happens once in a blue moon, a rare treat. It’s even more special when it contains a couple of releases from Sex Clark Five, one of my personal favorites. They sound like blurting out that thing you told yourself you weren’t going to say but felt good to say.
Dating back to a time before the whole phrase was unceremoniously truncated to “chillax”, Serge Gainsbourg’s imploration to enhance your mood is given a frantic workout by Stereo Total and in this case, their toy electronic noisemakers are a welcome homage. Elsewhere this show, we have Carl King’s prog-rock-and-glockenspiel interpretation of Rebecca Black’s infamous “Friday” … and it’s quite the improvement.
Mimi Parker / Low
Mimi Parker, vocalist and drummer and half of the Minnesota band Low, passed away a couple of weeks ago while I was traveling. It’s a shocking loss and an abrupt end to a musical career that was still unfolding; the band’s last two albums, coming at the tail end of a discography that spans decades, showed a blossoming new direction for an act that was famed for their quiet and glacial approach. We open the show with Low’s rendition of a Bee Gees classic in tribute.