FMF Episode #36 – Space

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DJ:  If you listen closely, you might notice what was a recording of a toilet flushing being played backwards.  Oh, it wasn’t obvious?! Welcome, all you stargazers to another galactic episode of Feel Me Flow!  Today, we celebrate space, the universe, the stars above and the darkness that surrounds them.  We’ll fly through our solar system, talk about UFOs, and also have a little bonus packed for later.

Our intro track is a cover of “Telstar” by The Ventures.  The original was recorded by The Tornados from the UK, not to be confused with The Tornadoes from the USA and of “Bustin’ Surfboards” fame.  Both the original Tornados song and the Ventures’ cover used a recording of a toilet flushing played backward as the intro to the song.  Potty humor, ha.

We start our first set off with some more British music from The Only Ones.  The band formed in 1976 by Peter Parett.  After recruiting members including ex-Spooky Tooth drummer Mike Kellie in the lineup, they recorded and released a debut album just over a year later.  “Another Girl, Another Planet” would go on to inspire an entire generation of punk bands, netting covers from The Replacements and Blink-182 to name a few.  Oh yeah, and we’ll probably hear from them too…

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DJ:  It sounds like Jack White has the whole microphone in his mouth when he counts that song off.  “Wunghtoofweefo”.  From a hell of a debut back in the 90s, yes the 1990s, The White Stripes closed out set one with “Astro”.

Wolf Alice put out Visions Of A Life last year on Dirty Hit records to high critical acclaim.  The album came after the smoldering of their Grammy-nominated first single “Moaning Lisa Smile”.  Featuring genres all across the rock world, the track “Space & Time” exemplifies some of those punky, garage rock vibes we dig around here.

When The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on May 26, 1967, the summer of love officially kicked off.  Artists everywhere were completely blown away by the production and magic of the album and many tried to replicate it immediately.  Brian Wilson shelved The Beach Boys’ Smile after realizing it wouldn’t compete against The Beatles’ masterpiece.  Many others just took some LSD and recorded a bunch of weird noises and put it out as a concept album.  The Rolling Stones were one of those groups with the release of their trippy effort Their Satanic Majesties Request.  While never released as a proper single, “2000 Light Years From Home” would find radio play throughout the years on many classic rock radio stations.

Blink-182 split up after the release of their self-titled 2003 album.  Guitarist and vocalist Tom DeLonge envisioned a different musical direction for the band which was quite evident on that effort, a direction that bassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker didn’t really want to pursue.  Tom was into this whole U2-esque, extra-terrestrial, celestial atmospheric vibe that he would play out in his next venture Angels & Airwaves.  If you’re a fan of synth swells, The Edge-style guitar work, songs about love and aliens, and Tom’s vocal styling, you will love AVA!  Tom’s obsession with alien life shone through brightly in the 1999 Blink-182 cut “Aliens Exist”.

Up next is something a little different for FMF.  We’re going to travel through our solar system stopping at each planet on the way, including the dwarf planet Pluto.  Leading things off is one of three John Dwyer connections in our set today.  Lars Finsberg from The Intelligence joined John Dwyer and Thee Oh Sees on their 2011 effort Carrion Crawler/The Dream as a second drummer.  Blasting off our trip through “Our Solar System”, here’s The Intelligence.

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DJ:  If you read the insert included with The Misfits’ 1979 Horror Business EP it would lead you to believe that the band traveled to a haunted house in New Jersey to record.  While mixing the tapes afterward, strange noises and voices could be heard with no explanation. Spooky!  Of course, none of this is true and the band actually recorded the EP along with “Who Killed Marilyn?” and “Where Eagles Dare” at C.I. Recordings in New York.  We heard the classic “Teenagers From Mars” close out our set.

Another rare record, almost impossibly rare, is Kathy Heideman’s Move With Love.  According to the Discogs page, the album was a private press and released only at shows and locally around San Jose, California in 1976.  It was virtually unknown to the outside world until Vetiver covered the song “Sleep A Million Miles” with Vashti Bunyan on their Things From The Past LP.  Allah-Las followed suit in 2017 with the release of their Covers #1 EP.  The EP included another Heideman cover, “The Earth Won’t Hold Me”.

Many of us know Shocking Blue as a one-hit wonder.  “Venus” hit #1 in nine countries including the US back in 1969.  Writer Robbie van Leeuwen lifted most of the melody from The Big 3’s “The Banjo Song”, a rework of “Oh Susanna!”, and wrote lyrics about the goddess Venus.  Actually, in the first line of the original recording, he had written “godness” and that’s how singer Mariska Veres sang it.  The band also released an Arabian melody-inspire track called “Love Buzz” that Nirvana would cover on their debut album.

The first planet featured in our set was “Mercury”, represented by the Bat Fangs track of the same name.  Bat Fangs is the result of Betsy Wright of Ex Hex and Laura King of Flesh Wounds starting a duo focused on blending each person’s styles.  We got a bluesy-garage album to add to the annals of rockdom fitting nicely in with our vibe on the show.  Bat Fangs is on tour this summer and stops in St. Paul on June 13th for a show at the Turf Club.

BROCKBEATS’ “Jupiter” is carrying us through the solar system and on to our outer planets.  We skipped Ceres, because why not?  Also, it’s such a new addition that there are hardly any rock songs about it!  Therefore, Saturn is up next.  With a bit of psycho/neobilly from one of the more popular revival groups in the genre, here’s “Under Saturn’s Shadow” from their sophomore release II: Power Of Moonlite.

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DJ: The Beach Boys Love You signaled the return of the group’s main man, Brian Wilson.  Brian had quit touring and backed off of writing for the group during his depressive, mental health issue-prone period of the 1970s.  Originally planned as a solo album, the tracks were brought to the rest of the band and Carl Wilson added guitars and drums to fill it out a bit.  Brian would begin work on a follow-up album Adult/Child five days after Love You was finished, but that album never saw the light of day.

Jello Biafra and Dead Kennedys turned on hyper-drive to jet us out on a “One Way Ticket To Pluto”.  The band’s final album, Bedtime For Democracy, would be recorded after they had already decided to break up.  In the midst of an obscenity trial over the insert artwork from their previous album and frustrated with the scene in general, Jello, D.H. Peligro, East Bay Ray, and Klaus Flouride decided to call it quits.

Jimi Hendrix’s estate released a posthumous album in 2010 featuring 12 unreleased studio recordings titled Valleys Of Neptune.  The artwork featured Jimi’s portrait in a high contrast setting layered over a photo of what looks like the Pillars of Creation.  The title track, which we just heard, was released as single and fits in perfectly with the later Jimi Hendrix catalog of jazz-inspired rock a la Electric Ladyland.  Jimi died in 1970 before releasing a finalized version himself.

Klaatu released their debut album in 1976 and launched a frenzy over whether or not they were actually The Beatles reunited.  The album uses many of the similar techniques heard on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the vocals were just close enough to be mistaken for Paul or John.  There were no names on the album or credits other than to Klaatu, further moving along the rumors.  Not true, obviously.  The entire LP would fit in great with today’s theme, so if you’re looking for more space music check it out!

Coming up in our Set 4, is a double Set 4 Score from Moonwalks and Wimps.  But first, we need to hear Jim Sullivan.  Jim had another one of those long lost rare albums with a mystery surrounding it with his debut U.F.O.  The story goes that Jim disappeared in New Mexico in 1975, leaving his hotel room, guitar, and car all intact and completely fine.  How wild!  For a really great detailed write-up of the album, check out this post from Aquarium Drunkard. Crazy! Here’s Jim Sullivan with the ominous “U.F.O.”

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DJ: She’s just reading books about UFOs.  Grant Hart lost his battle with liver cancer and Hepatitis C in September of last year and brought Minneapolis to its knees once again.  It was another knot in a long string of blows against the punk empire happening right before the Triple Rock Social Club announced it was closing its doors.  The cycles of life sure are heartbreaking sometimes.  From New Day Rising, that was “Books About UFOs”.

Coachwhips is the second Jim Dwyer association we’ll be playing today.  The band has a style reminiscent of late 60s fuzzy garage rock with noisy, distorted vocals like The Sonics so nicely played.  Coachwhips broke up in 2005 but reunited in 2014 for a show at South By Southwest.  From their debut, we heard “UFO, Please Take Her Home”.

Our double Set 4 Score this week features Seattle band Wimps.  We’ve actually played Wimps before in our Mondays episode, but we hadn’t quite set up our Set 4 Score yet.  We’re very glad to be featuring them in this week’s Set 4 Score and another track from their 2013 debut LP Repeat, “UFO”.  Be sure to look for their new album Garbage People this July on Kill Rock Stars.

The other fantastic Set 4 Score band this week is Detroit, Michigan’s Moonwalks.  Moonwalks just released In Light in January and it is stellar! Swirling swells behind crunchy riffs and pulsating drums will always draw me in, but add that tinge of lo-fi that Detroit is so good at and I’m hooked!  We featured a track from Moonwalks’ previous album, Lunar Phases; “UFO Factory”.

Up next is a classic punk tune from Scottish band The Rezillos.  Influential for many bands to come, including Green Day, The Rezillos’ debut album Can’t Stand The Rezillos holds up magically even today.  Perfect power pop punk.  Here’s a song sure to get stuck in your head for a week, “Flying Saucer Attack”.

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DJ:  There just wasn’t going to be a possible way to avoid Pink Floyd in a space episode, sorry about that.  From the wild minds of Syd Barett, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright, the lead track “Astronomy Domine” from the band’s debut The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn was absolutely face-melting when people first got a listen.  Imagine hearing that Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album in May and then dropping the needle on this record a few months later.  Wow, music evolves quickly!

Are you noticing a common trend among all of these spaced out songs?  The combination of the 1960s space race mixed with LSD churned out incredible imaginative music and stories.  In 1966, The Byrds were getting psychedelic ahead of the game with the release of their third album Fifth Dimension.  Featuring the super trippy psych single “Eight Miles High”, the album was a departure from their earlier folk-rock.  We played “Mr. Spaceman” from that venture.

Billy Lee Riley enjoyed a rock and roll life in the late 50s/early 60s playing his own brand of rockabilly and also working as a session musician in LA before moving back home to Arkansas in the 70s.  After settling down at home, Link Wray and Robert Gordon would record covers of Billy’s hits “Red Hot” and the track we featured, “Flying Saucers Rock ‘n’ Roll” causing Billy to revive his music career and return to touring.  His 1997 album Hot Damn! would go on to be nominated for a Grammy.  Probably a good idea coming back to the music world!

More punk rock from the Bay Area played with Green Day’s first what you might call “hit”.  The catchy “2000 Light Years Away” was a staple of the band’s live shows early on and helped launch the band’s sophomore release Kerplunk! up to the highest selling Lookout! Records catalog item.  After Kerplunk!, the band would explode into fame with the release of their third album Dookie.

Alright moving into the last set we’ll get some John Dwyer closure with Thee Oh Sees doing “Rogue Planet”.  We hope you enjoyed all of that Dwyerdom!  Let’s let Thee Oh Sees launch us into the final set!

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DJ:  We love to throw those curve balls in there at the end, don’t we?  A smooth classic about little green Martians comes from the immensely talented Ella Fitzgerald.  “Two Little Men In A Flying Saucer” closes out our 6th set in today’s space episode.

The Undisputed Truth, known for their rendition of The Temptations’ “Smiling Faces Sometimes” would get funkier and spacier as the 70s played on.  Midway through, in 1975, they released Cosmic Truth, an album packed to the brim with space funk.  Something tells me George Clinton was inspiring them a bit.  From that space funk session, we heard “UFO”.

Before the space funk was the “Space Junk”  Akron, Ohio’s weirdest rockers DEVO played the track from their debut new wave/punk album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!.  I love how the Texas twang is emphasized when talking about the state.  Also, Kansas.

The Heartaches outta San Diego play some blistering rock and roll and showcased it well with “Rock N Roll UFO”.  The band put out their self-titled album in 2006 and according to their Facebook page are preparing to release a video for the song “Built For Speed” but we haven’t seen it yet.  Here’s to hoping that sees the light of day soon!

Normally, this is the point where we would say farewell.  However, this week we wanted to add a little bonus set.  There just isn’t a world existing that could theme a playlist on space and not include music from David f*cking Bowie.  Therefore, in the final set, the bonus set, will be five Bowie tracks revolving around space, each track from a different album.  We could’ve featured many more, but to stick to the format we kept it to five.  Cheers to Ziggy Stardust!  Thanks for joining us this week on Feel Me Flow and we hope to see you next time!

Check out ourDiscogs_logo.svgList for all of the releases featured!


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