FMF Episode #42 – Hair

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DJ: Walk right in, sit right down, baby let your hair hang down!  Welcome to another round of Feel Me Flow! Today we’re all about that dead fur that’s laying on your head, or maybe there’s nothing on your head?  Either way, we’ve got a song for you!

Hairstyles have evolved over time through countless cycles of fads, from long to short, up to down, wild to bland, and everywhere in between.  We’ll go over a few of those fads today, including some tunes about mohawks, the Native American hairstyle that was adopted by punk rockers in the 80s.   We’ll hear a set about shampoo, a set about being bald, and other random hair-related themes like the one in our first set; a comb.

Kicking things off today is perhaps the song you thought of when you saw the theme.  Stephen Malkmus and the legendary Pavement from Portland, Oregon broke through onto the mainstream in 1994 with the release of their most accessible and melodic album Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.  Led by the single “Cut Your Hair”, the band would end up performing on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and receiving rotation on alternative radio and MTV.  We’ll get to a few “comb” tunes post-Pavement, but here’s that classic haircut song from ’94, “Cut Your Hair”.

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DJ: When The Orwells were discovered by Aquarium Drunkard blogger Justin Gage in 2011, they were making grades in high school.  In fact, when the band released their debut album Remember When on Justin’s Autumn Tone record label in 2012, they were still in high school.  They would graduate early in 2013 to pursue their music career and sign with Atlantic Records shortly after that.  We heard “Painted Faces And Long Hair” from that debut.

The Beatles recorded their first song while in high school as The Quarrymen.  Early Beatles demos and recordings show strong influence pulled from Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Carl Perkins.  They would cover Carl’s final Sun Records single “Lend Me Your Comb” during the Pop Go The Beatles radio show on BBC in 1963 adding their famous harmonies to the tune.

Ted Hawkins faded in and out of obscurity and legality throughout his life but turned to music after hearing Sam Cooke’s voice in the early 60s.  Ted recorded a few cuts in the 70s but wouldn’t have them released until the 1982 LP Watch Your Step compiled them.  Watch Your Step failed to sell, but Rolling Stone gave it a five-star review.  We heard “Where’s My Natural Comb?” from that five-star masterpiece.

Ty Segall put out a second self-titled album in 2017 (his first was his debut in 2008), this time recorded by Steve Albini.  In the Nardwuar interview with Steve, apparently, Steve tells Nardwuar that Ty and the band smashed a toilet in the studio just for the hell of it.  Later in that interview, Nardwuar gives Steve the Pansy Division EP Manada to which Steve reminisces about their cut “Hockey Hair”.  We’ll hear more from Nardwuar and Pansy Division a bit later, but here we heard Ty’s “Take Care (To Comb Your Hair)”.

Up next is David Crosby’s ode to his “freak flag”, “Almost Cut My Hair”.  Jimi Hendrix had referenced hair being a “freak flag” in his 1967 song “If 6 Was 9”, but Crosby is credited with writing the anthem of the hippies’ hair rebellion.  The song is one of the only tracks on Déjà Vu that features a solo singer instead of maximum melodic harmony per the usual style of CSNY.  Here’s the paranoia-laden locks ballad “Almost Cut My Hair”.

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DJ: The Vandals were perhaps the first silly punk band to hit the scene.  Joe Escalante’s wordplay lyrics like “if you want to be free, order yourself an anarchy burger (hold the government please)” were just the start of a long career of jokey tunes and fun puns.  The 1998 song “I’ve Got An Ape Drape” makes a subtle reference to Billy Ray Cyrus, name drops Queensryche and pokes fun at guests on Jerry Springer all with the same common theme between them; the mullet.  I’m sure “hockey hair” will come up again later this episode.

AFI has truly become one of the most evolutionary punk bands in existence.  Their debut LP Answer That And Stay Fashionable was co-produced by Tim Armstrong of Rancid and is described as “East Bay hardcore” punk rock.  The band moved toward a more grunge/alternative rock sound in the late 90’s when guitarist Jade Puget joined and eventually would grow to sound close to 30 Seconds To Mars or Depeche Mode with their most recent work.  It’s like digital punk rock-opera, in a way.  From that debut LP, we heard “I Wanna Get a Mohawk (But Mom Won’t Let Me Get One)”.

That darn Nardwuar made a presence again, this time singing about “Mohawks & Dreadlocks” with his band The Evaporators.  John Ruskin, Vancouver’s most knowledged musichead, began his run as Nardwuar the Human Serviette on CITR 101.9 FM in 1987 and has been digging deep into the archives of rock every Friday since then.  We wouldn’t be here without him and his style.  The type of music journalism and love for the art that goes with Nardwuar’s radio program and interviews is unmatched by so many, even outside of the music world.

Swedish neo-garage rockers Caesars smashed onto the international scene back in the early 2000s when their single “Jerk It Out” was featured on an iPod Shuffle commercial.  You remember, the ones with the all-black silhouettes and white headphones dancing like crazy?  The band was known as Caesars Palace then but had to rename for obvious reasons once growing in popularity.  Referencing the 60s hippie counterculture and rebellion, the band played us “Let My Freak Flag Fly” from the same album as their Shuffle single, Love For The Streets.

Bald women, bald men, it doesn’t matter to us if you have hair or not!  This next set is all about the absence of hair.  We’ll hear a few songs about bald women, a proud proclamation of baldness, and an ode to wondering if you’re losing your hair.  From 1967’s Smile replacement, Smiley Smile, here’s The Beach Boys with “She’s Going Bald”.

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DJ: Rush’s Caress Of Steel is somewhat known as their nerdiest, least accessible album from the early years.  As if Rush wasn’t nerdy and inaccessible enough, especially for the female rocker scene.  In their documentary Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage, the band even mentions how male-dominated their fan base seemed to be for the longest time, up until their more synth-driven sounds of the later 80s.  From 1975’s Caress Of Steel, that was “I Think I’m Going Bald”.

Members of Chicago’s Alkaline Trio and The Lawrence Arms decided to form a somewhat of a supergroup called The Falcon back in 2004.  AK3’s Dan Adriano and LA’s Brendan Kelly had previously played together in the ska band Slapstick before going their separate ways into each respective band.  Coming back together in the early 00s with The Lawrence Arms’ drummer Neil Hennessy, the band would record an EP and two LPs for Red Scare Industries.  Red Scare put out a compilation in 2014 with the exclusive track “We Are The Bald” from The Falcon.

Memphis’ Oblivians chipped in a little b-side from their Best of the Worst: 93-97 compilation.  “Bald Headed Woman” isn’t the old blues track, nor is it The Kinks’ debut album deep track either, but rather a simple tune recorded in Memphis in 1995 that never made it to an official album.

John Sebastian and The Lovin’ Spoonful played us a deep cut from their Daydream LP.  The singles “Daydream” and “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice” carried the album to #10 on the Billboard 200, their highest charting album.  We heard “Bald Headed Lena” from that chart-topper.

We’re featuring a double Set 4 Score this week.  Chicago garage rockers Flesh Panthers and Minneapolis wrecking crew Scrunchies will give us some ear candy after we get super weird with The Cowsills.  The family band, known for their bubblegum pop hits like “The Rain, The Park, And Other Things”, had an incredibly successful single with a cover of the title track from the musical Hair.  Listen for a reference to your favorite Bay Area jam band, too!

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DJ: I’ll have to ask the band for confirmation of this, but there sure seems to be some influence pulled from Nirvana in Scrunchies’ music.  Nirvana’s debut album Bleach featured some of their most raw sounding songs, save for the smash hit “About A Girl”.  “Floyd The Barber” showcased their choppy, gritty, chugging punk guitars and marking the slower, heavier sound of punk rock.  Those three snare hits sound perfect paired with Scrunchies’ single “Wichita”.

Borrowing members from Kitten Forever, Bruise Violet, Double Grave, and Tony Peachka, Scrunchies turns up the volume on what rock and roll could sound like.  Their debut single “Wichita” features a menacingly catchy earworm in the “ha ha ha” of the chorus and a left-to-right headbang throughout the track.  The debut album Stunner lives up to its name and was released on June 1, 2018, on the Twin Cities coolest cassette cartel Forged Artifacts.  So good!

Chicago’s Flesh Panthers‘ sound ranges from garage punk madness to a country-tinged taste test with dabbles in between.  Their latest album Willows Weep perfectly accompanies the Black Lips’ more country-esque songs, if that’s your jam.  It’s ours, too!  Earlier on, though, they rocked a more bluesy, garage punk sound.  From their 2014 Nice Things EP, we heard “Charged Hair”.  Keep an eye on this band!

Rock music’s most infamous Scientologist, Beck Hansen, donated one of his “do” ditties for our Hair playlist.  “Devils Haircut” comes from the album that made Beck a household name, 1996’s Odelay.  The single samples Pretty Purdie‘s “Soul Drums” along with Them’s “Out of Sight” (a James Brown cover) and a replay of “I Can Only Give You Everything”.

While Beck was supporting the release of his album in 1996, blink-182 were in the midst of recording this next song.  Starting off our Shampoo set is blink-182 with “Apple Shampoo” from their 1997 album Dude Ranch.

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DJ: Bleach Bath is a brand new band out of Toronto, Ontario.  They formed in early 2017 and immediately recorded the demo EP It’ll Get Worse If You Let It.  They put out two more singles in the spring of 2017 and have been playing shows since to support.  We played one of their first tracks, “Shampoo”.  Look for more music from them in 2018!

The Barreracudas put out Can Do Easy in 2015 to positive critic reviews.  By the end of 2016, the band had ended.  If you hadn’t gotten the chance to see the Ramones style garage rock of the Atlanta quintet, you’re out of luck.  Luckily, the bands that come and go will sometimes record music for us to listen to forever and ever, as is the case with these guys.  From that romper of an album Can Do Easy, we heard “Shampoo”.

FMF favorites Peach Kelli Pop played us their garage pop perfection with “Shampoo”.  PKP is touring the summer of 2018 to support their new LP Gentle Leader.  The album title is perfectly fitting for a band led by Allie Hanlon, who fosters rescue dogs in her free time.  Girl Gang TV did an interview with Allie about her foster care back in 2015, check it out here.

The Lurkers’ 1978 debut album Fulham Fallout earned them the nickname the British Ramones due to the style and vibe of the music.  The Lurkers were one of the pioneering British punk bands of the mid-late 70s.  They had broken up a few times by the time 1990’s Powerjive hit the shelves but still managed to create raucous punk rock.  From that 1990 LP, we heard “Lipstick And Shampoo”.

Coming up in our final set, we’ll hear a vacation-gone-awry biography, some long hair love, and that Pansy Division track we were talking about earlier.  Leading things off is 10cc with their track about trying to score weed in Jamaica and being hassled by a traveling street gypsy with dreadlocks.  He don’t like cricket, he loves it.  Here’s “Dreadlock Holiday”.

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DJ: Paul and his wife Linda recorded Ram over the winter of 1970-71 while The Beatles were amidst a legal battle after breaking up.  Ringo was actually the first Beatle to release a solo album post-breakup, even though John and George had released solo works earlier.  All four Beatles put out solo albums in 1970; Paul’s McCartney, John’s Plastic Ono Band, George’s All Things Must Pass, and Ringo’s Sentimental Journey released in March.  Both Ringo and Paul’s albums were released before Let It Be.  We heard “Long Haired Lady” from Ram.

The Aquadolls are led by La Mirada, California native Melissa Brooks.  After recording bedroom demos of her songs she would eventually connect with Burger Records and have her debut EP We Are Free released through them.  Burger also released The Aquadolls’ debut LP Stoked On You.  From that debut full-length we heard “Long Hair Don’t Care”.

Pansy Division was the first queercore band to gain a national audience after being asked by Green Day to open for them during their 1994 Dookie tour.  Formed in San Francisco by Jon Ginoli in 1991, the band has maintained a focus on LGBT issues and relationships with witty humor thrown in since its conception.  When Nardwuar handed Steve Albini the Manada EP in his interview with him, Steve recalled the tune “Hockey Hair”. “Hockey Hair” was also featured on the 1999 Puck Rock Vol. 2 compilation; a comp focused on punk hockey songs.

Gun Hill Road scored a number 40 single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in June 1973 with the release of their lone pop hit, “Back When My Hair Was Short”.  Kenny Rogers produced the self-titled sophomore album in 1972.  The following year, three songs were re-recorded, including “Back When My Hair Was Short”.  The new version was slightly sped up and replaced all of the drug references with more family-friendly lyrics.  What a bunch of shit!  Stick to your art!  It was just a couple of lids!  Haha.

Well, it’s time for us to get our ears lowered.  We hope you enjoyed our hairy escapades today and look forward to seeing you next time on Feel Me Flow!

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