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DJ: Hello and welcome back to another episode of Feel Me Flow! Today is National Best Friends Day here in America, and we’re going to celebrate! Not to be confused with International Friendship Day which happens later this summer, today is a day to celebrate that one friend who you can always count on. Best friends are whatever we want them to be; whether it be a long known pal, a pet or animal, a family member or spouse, or even an online presence. In his works The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle classified friendship into three kinds: Friendship of Utility, Friendship of Pleasure, and Friendship of Good. We’ve all used someone to benefit ourselves, and that’s the basis of the utility kind. The pleasure kind exists mostly in young people and is driven by emotion and sometimes eroticism. Nowadays, we call them Friends With Benefits (hehe). The Good kind is the all-encompassing friendship. The kind that you get enjoyment from seeing your friends succeed. Those are good feelings.
We’d like to believe that everyone has a friend of some sort, even if said friend isn’t a fleshy being. So we’re gonna play songs about best friends, help from friends, buddies, an ode to a best friend’s girlfriend, and even a few songs slamming former friends. We’ve started with Angelo Badalamenti‘s “Best Friends” from the Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me soundtrack. If you haven’t checked out the new season of Twin Peaks, please do so at your earliest convenience!
Leading off the first set is the London, England band Palma Violets. Palma Violets made big waves in 2012 with the internet release of their debut single “Best Friends”. The song took the top spot of NME’s 50 Best Songs of 2012 and had the country a-buzzin’. Unfortunately, it seems as of 2016 rumors they may have split, but there’s been no confirmation from the band. Regardless, here’s Palma Violets doing there headbanger of a track, “Best Of Friends”.
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DJ: Member The Wonder Years? I member. Joe Cocker took the Ringo jam and transformed it into an epic rock number complete with breakdowns and backup singers. The song would see a revival in the late 80’s when it was used for the intro to The Wonder Years.
Norman Whitfield wrote “Friendship Train” in 1969 and gave it to Gladys Knight & The Pips for the end track on their album Nitty Gritty. The song would show up a year later on another Whitefield album; Psychedelic Shack by The Temptations. The Temptations’ version would clock in at just under eight minutes as was typical of psychedelic soul at the time.
Levelland, TX band The Sparkles went through five lineup changes in their fifteen-year span; the fourth lineup being the most successful. That lineup recorded “No Friend Of Mine” and “Hipsville 29 BC”, the former of which we played. Sundazed reissued an EP with these tracks and a third, “I Want To Be Free” in 2005; marking the only official non-single release by the band.
After starting Weezer, bassist Matt Sharp wanted to go in a different direction. Leaving the band after permanently in 1998, Matt would move his side project, The Rentals, to the forefront. We heard “Friends Of P.” from their 1995 debut Return Of The Rentals.
War is going to ask the burning question in all of our minds when losing someone close…”why can’t we be friends?”. When War released their album Why Can’t We Be Friends? in April 1975, they never could’ve imagined in their wildest dreams that by July the song would be broadcast through space when NASA beamed it to the linking of Soviet cosmonauts and U.S. astronauts for the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project. What was left of the lineup of War would perform the song on Jimmy Kimmel Live in a similar tongue-in-cheek fashion celebrating National Unfriend Day. Here’s the classic funk band with one if their big hits, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”.
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DJ: New Jersey’s Pinegrove released their debut album Cardinal last year on Run For Cover. The album would make many year-end Top 50 lists, including landing a number four spot on The A.V. Club’s Top 50 Albums of 2016. I love their loose demeanor, it represents a casualness that’s difficult to emulate.
Before Pinegrove, we played Austin, TX legend Alejandro Escovedo. Alejandro has been releasing albums since 1992, the most recent one being 2016’s Burn Something Beautiful. Making a name for himself in Austin clubs over the years, Alejandro has produced quite a career in the rock world.
Prior to Alejandro, we played an LCD Soundsystem cover of “All My Friends” from Franz Ferdinand. James Murphy broke LCD Soundsystem up in 2011 but released two singles in May of 2017; “Call The Cops” and “American Dream“. “All My Friends” was our favorite track from 2007’s Sound Of Silver and we thought we’d stick to the garage vibe with a Franz Ferdinand cover of the song.
The Orwells put out a new album back in February. Terrible Human Beings is the band’s third album and features the single “They Put A Body In The Bayou”. The Orwells launched into national fame with their hit “Who Needs You” from their sophomore effort 2014’s Disgraceland.
And now for an uptick in bro anthems. Let’s hear the Bouncing Souls play “Manthem” from 2001’s How I Spent My Summer Vacation. As the song sings, “he’s my friend he’s my alibi; my accessory to the crime.”
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DJ: Elmore James was known as the “King of the Slide Guitar”. Famous for his distinctive riff transcribed by Jesse Stone as “Changety changety changety changety chang chang!”, James’ slide style would go on to influence every single blues guitar player moving forward. Elmore James is engrained within blues music as much as the 12-bar scale is.
Jack White was absolutely one of those guitar players influenced by James. On the White Stripes’ first two albums especially, Jack plays an exceptional amount of electric slide guitar. We heard him and Meg play us “A Boy’s Best Friend” from 2000’s De Stijl.
Mason Jennings put out his first album 20 years ago after recording it on a four-track in his living room. After opening for Modest Mouse in 2004, Jennings would get recruited to Isaac Brock‘s Glacial Place, a subsidiary of Epic Records. Jennings was Glacial’s first artist signed. Mason would make his way onto the I’m Not There soundtrack with “The Times They Are a-Changin’” and “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.” Look for Mason to be featured on our Pachyderm Studios show.
Another Minnesota artist, Dillinger Four, crashed in before Mason. D4 has been a Twin Cities punk rock staple since their formation in 1994. releasing four albums in 23 years. When not playing random unannounced shows through the area, you can usually find bassist Paddy at Grumpy’s or guitarist Billy at the Triple Rock, which is co-owned by Erik Funk, another guitarist.
Atlanta’s Manchester Orchestra is gonna kick off our next set with “I’ve Got Friends” from 2009’s Mean Everything To Nothing.
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DJ: Another show with a double dose of the Set 4 Score! Capping off the set was the French trio Dusty Mush with a brand new track from their debut full-length album Cheap Entertainment. The band has released a few EPs since their 2011 formation. Playing a fuzzy, lo-fi brand of garage psych, we were absolutely obliged to include them in our show and featured “Ugly Buddies” from the new album.
Before Dusty Mush, we heard The Regrettes from Los Angeles. The band exudes attitude and bubblegum in the same breath; like a cute carhop at the drive-in who accidentally spills your shake on you, but gives you that smile that you can’t get mad at. They’re on tour now across the states and are heading to Europe this fall. Check them out!
Alex Chilton and Big Star chimed in on “Thank You Friends” from their third LP Third. The band would suffer financial troubles and mishaps, leading the album to be delayed three years; finally being released in 1978.
The Cars’ debut album was also released in 1978, starting a new wave of rock and roll. After some failed bands, including a harmonic folk group called Milkwood, Ric Ocasek would finally land a group that fit his songwriting style. Along with David Robinson from The Modern Lovers, Ocasek would start The Cars and find immediate success with their debut album, which was swamped with rock radio singles.
Local H has released two cover mixtapes over the last seven years, honoring artists from Daft Punk to David Bowie. We’re gonna play a friendship anthem cover from the likes of New Zealand’s Lorde. Here’s Local H doing “Team”.
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DJ: Brooklyn’s Friends were only together for about three years, releasing one album and scoring high on music critic polls. Their only album Manifest! hit the public in 2012 and catapulted the band into a whirlwind of attraction. Unfortunately, they disbanded in 2013 and the one album was all we got. We played “Friend Crush” from the LP.
The Beach Boys were one of many bands to succumb to the Transcendental Meditation craze of the late 60’s. After Pet Sounds, they released the notorious Smiley Smile, the sound shifting Wild Honey, and then came the soft, sunshine pop effort Friends. “Friends” would be the only single released from the 1968 album, peaking at #47 on the charts.
Willie Nelson’s Good Times from 1969 was his eighth album, and he was well on his way to country fame by that point. We took “Buddy” from the album, a track that was later reported to be about his dog. That makes perfect sense! Dog’s are a great example of a best friend. Willie has cranked out sixty-one studio albums over his career. Sixty-one! Willie released God’s Problem Child in April of this year which featured plenty of cameos from different music legends, including one of the last recordings of the late Leon Russell. If you haven’t jumped down the Leon Russell rabbit hole yet, please do. He’s played along with artists from Frank Sinatra to Elton John and led an incredible career.
East Bay punks Rancid put out Indestructible in 2003 and received backlash from some of their fans. The album would be distributed with Warner Bros. and have a more polished, poppy sound. Between the major label distribution and polished punk sound, some of the purists got upset and cries of “sell out!” rippled the waters. From that 2003 breakup record, we heard “Fall Back Down”.
Let’s jump into our final set with another band that quit too soon. Here’s Chicago’s Smith Westerns doing “Best Friend”.
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DJ: Ahhh a classic. That song always makes me smile when thinking about a good friend. Queen‘s Freddie Mercury, rock’s most famous member to succumb to AIDS, left this world too early at the young age of 45. After a tremendously successful career with Queen, Freddie sang his heart out all the way until 1991 when he died. While recording “The Show Must Go On”, Freddie, who guitarist Brian May felt was too weak to go on, apparently slammed a shot of vodka and exclaimed, “I’ll fucking do it, darling!”. That’s epic.
Jefferson Airplane played us “My Best Friend” from their 1967 masterpiece Surrealistic Pillow, a title thought up by Jerry Garcia. The band was a staple in the San Francisco summer of love, which we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this year!
You may have recognized Freddie Scott’s piano in “(You) Got What I Need”, as it was sampled by Biz Markie in “Just A Friend”. Just knowing the rap song is enough to sing along with Freddie’s tune. So catchy.
Hailing from Atlanta, GA, Raury blends soul, folk, and hip-hop. Releasing his debut in 2015, Raury would get help from artists like Danger Mouse, RZA, and Tom Morello who was featured on the track “Friends”. “Friends” sure plays like a global calling and has a teamwork feel to it. Great tune, Raury.
Alright, that about wraps it up for this week’s Feel Me Flow! Call your friends, hug your friends, and remind your friends that you appreciate them today. See you next time!