abp: space

Here’s the Spotify link to the playlist. You’re welcome to recreate it on any platform you choose. Just press play and read along, acting like the voice in your head is the DJ. The times listed are that of the song playing, not the full episode length. I play this with a 5-second cross-fade enabled. Have fun!

Intro

FMF#TrackArtistAlbumYear
1“Rocketship XL-3”Man Or Astro-Man?Your Weight On The Moon1993

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 Hello and welcome to abp’s space episode where intergalactic planetary audio comes flying towards your ears at the speed of light! Today we celebrate the great unknown, the dark skies above, our galaxy and every other one beyond it. We’re all about space today. Not necessarily that kind of space you need for safety or from others, but the space that exists beyond Earth’s atmosphere. We’ll talk about John Dwyer, Dirtnap Records, Ramones-core, blink 182, and a bunch of other interstellar stuff.

01:10 There seems to be a common draw amongst surf, garage, and punk rock songwriters that compels them to scribe about the stars. There’s a lot out there, and the unknown provides unlimited possibilities of storytelling.

01:40 I suppose I could venture a guess that isolation, loneliness, and the feeling of unwelcome might contribute to a writer’s ideas of leaving this planet. Maybe someone out there understands me, they think. Or maybe the thought of what could be out there is just so appetizing that it deserves a song. Space is that great unknown that we can actually see and hope to get to, leaving the imagination to run wild with possibilities.

02:10 One of the most common tropes in a space song is finding your interplanetary love interest out there in the stars. Let’s dig into a few songs about that very topic. Starting things off is the London power pop group The Only Ones. Their debut LP, released in 1978, included their biggest ever song “Another Girl, Another Planet”; a tune written about being in love on another planet. The Replacements famously covered this song, as well as blink 182 for the reality TV show Meet The Barkers. Here’s the original, though.

Set 1: Shuttle Love

2“Another Girl, Another Planet”The Only OnesThe Only Ones1978
3“Space Age Love”Zolar XSpace Age Love1973
4”Space Age Love Song”Brief CandlesThey Live We Sleep2006
5“2000 Light Years Away”Green DayKerplunk!1991
6“Stranded In Space”The RiverdalesTarantula2010

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 Much like The Only Ones space tune, The Riverdales wrote about being in love on another planet. Sometimes it can feel that way, I suppose, when you find that one person in the world who gets you. The Riverdales were a musical outlet for Screeching Weasel frontman Ben Weasel when the band first broke up. They would serve as the band that Ben played and recorded with whenever SW wasn’t active. We heard “Stranded In Space” from their 2010 LP Tarantula.

00:40 The Riverdales first gained national notoriety when they opened for Green Day during their 1995 tour. Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong co-produced The Riverdales debut album. It was released on Lookout! Records, the same label that released Green Day’s Kerplunk! just a few years prior. “2000 Light Years Away” is Billie Joe’s ode to his future wife Adrienne, who lived in Minneapolis at the time while he was in Berkeley.

01:10 Brief Candles dropped in for a shoegaze, spaced-out cover of A Flock Of Seagulls’ “Space Age Love Song”. The band scoops their name up from an old track by The Zombies and is based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The mix on this brings the vocals to the background, but its a beautiful rendition nonetheless.

01:40 Before Brief Candles, we heard the legendary Zolar X. Zolar X was an alien band from another planet based out of LA in the early 70s. Zolar were early frontrunners in the glam scene in LA, playing Rodney’s English Disco and landing a residency at the Troubador. They only recorded one official single, of which ten copies were pressed in 1974. Jello Biafra is a fan, though, and in 2004 helped reissue a deluxe edition of their 1982 Timeless compilation.

02:10 We’ll talk more about Jello a bit later. Coming up next is a set about one of the most mysterious, yet well studying phenomenon; black holes. You know, those things in space that would suck you into another dimension or time? A collapsed supernova? First up is “Black Hole, Weirdo Shrine” from La Luz. La Luz had to cancel their spring 2022 tour due to the diagnosis of cancer in lead singer Shana Cleveland, but were back playing shows by June. Here’s the quasi-title track produced by Ty Segall from their 2015 LP Weirdo Shrine.

Intermission

7“Love In Space”Santo & JohnnyCome On In1962

Set 2: Black Hole Fun

8“Black Hole, Weirdo Shrine”La LuzWeirdo Shrine2015
9“Black Hole”The MeantraitorsFrom Psychobilly Land1991
10“Black Holes In Stereo”King TuffBlack Moon Spell2014
11“Big Black Hole”ObliviansSix Of The Best1995
12“Black Hole In My Mind”The LillingtonsDeath By Television1999

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 I wonder if any of The Lillingtons claim to have seen UFOs in that vast Wyoming night sky. More Ramones-core came to us out of the Equality State, with Kody and the gang doing “Black Hole In My Mind”.

00:40 Greg Cartwright and Oblivians dropped in for a blast from their 1995 EP Six Of The Best. “Big Black Hole” was one of a group of songs from two EPs that Oblivians recorded for Sympathy For The Record Industry that year, which were rereleased in 1996 as Sympathy Sessions. Due to the sexual nature of the cover art on both releases, I am questioning the subject matter of this big black hole song.

01:10 Kyle Thomas played us a King Tuff track called “Black Holes In Stereo” from his third LP Black Moon Spell. Kyle plays in Ty Segall’s band The Muggers, and Ty played drums on this albums opening title track. Bobby Harlow of Detroit band The Go, which featured Jack White early on, produced the album. The tune is an homage to the endlessness of the record world, with the vinyl disc on your turntable representing the black hole for you to get lost in.

01:40 Straight outta Russia, now. The Meantraitors were Russia’s first psychobilly band, well at least that’s what they claim. The vocals of singer Stas Bogorod stand out amongst other psychobilly bands, incorporating a Geddy Lee-like wail to the style. Their debut LP From Psychobilly Land remains their best known, and the band re-recorded “Black Hole” in 2022 with Stas singing down a pitch or two.

02:10 “Black Hole Sun….won’t you come….”. What a cool surf cover going on behind us now with a cut from the Fujiyama Monsters. Coming up next is a set about planets, some of them located right here in our Milky Way galaxy, in the “Solar System”. Riverdales guitarist Dan Vapid is about to re-educate us on the planets of our solar system with a song titled exactly that.

Intermission

13“Black Hole Sun”The Fujiyama MonstersFurther Beyond The Sea2009

Set 3: There Is No Plan(et) B

14“The Planets Of Our Solar System”Dan VapidAll Wound Up Vol. 22018
15”No Home Planet”ScrunchiesFeral Coast2022
16”Rogue Planet”Thee Oh SeesMutilator Defeated At Last2015
17”Teenagers From Mars”MisfitsStatic Age1997
18“One Way Ticket To Pluto”Dead KennedysBedtime For Democracy1986

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15  The cartoon imagery of blasting off to Pluto on a rocket is so great. Picture Ronald Reagan in a cosmonaut suit. Why not? Jello Biafra and the Dead Kennedys had already stopped playing shows and were on the verge of a split by the time Bedtime For Democracy came out. Jello and the band still haven’t made amends, but the rest of the members still flaunt the DK name in order to land gigs. Jello forever, though. We heard “One Way Ticket To Pluto” from them.

00:30 More 80s punk legends played before DK with the Misfits’ “Teenager From Mars”. There are a handful of versions of this track, with it being recorded multiple times during the late 70s/early 80s messy years of the Misfits discography. That bands has one of the most complicated release catalogs in existence. To make things mildly simple, we played the version first recorded for their Static Age LP, which was scrapped upon initial recording and not released until 1997.  

0:50 The Oh Sees are fans of 80s punk, as is evidenced not only by their sound on certain tracks but also by their live covers. The band covered 4 Black Flag tunes in 4 minutes during their 2020 pandemic album Live In Big Sur 2020 Henry Miller Memorial Library. Along with King Gizzard and Ty Segall, The Oh Sees have become the 21st century’s most prolific rockers, releasing over 20 albums in this century alone. Thank you John Dwyer.

01:20 Minneapolis’ Scrunchies tore through the set with their 2022 track “No Home Planet”. The cut comes from the groups sophomore release Feral Coast, out on Portland’s Dirtnap Records. Scrunchies shared members with Twin Cities punk group Kitten Forever, whom opened for Peach Kelli Pop in 2018. However, in June 2022, Kitten Forever called it quits. Ideally, that would leave more time for singer Laura Larson to continue with Scrunchies…

01:40 Alright well now we’re going to get weird with it. Mysterious, rather. Let’s talk about things in the sky and what is out there. The “truth is out there” according to The X-Files. We’re all about UFOs in this next set. Kicking it off is more Ramones-core from Chicago. Ben Weasel (Foster) reformed Screeching Weasel as soon as possible following an incident at 2011 SXSW where he got into an altercation with a female fan and club owner. The rest of the band quit after that, but Ben chugged on and stated “Screeching Weasel is never breaking up again. The band dies when I do.” Here’s Ben discussing his personal beliefs with “I Believe In UFOs”.

Intermission

19”The X-Files Theme”Mark SnowMusic From The X Files: 20th Anniversary Celebration2013

Set 4: Unidentified Flying Objects

20”I Believe In UFOs”Screeching WeaselBoogadaboogadaboogada!1988
21”UFO”WimpsRepeat2013
22”Books About UFOs”Hüsker DüNew Day Rising1985
23”Zero Zero UFO”The RamonesBrain Drain1989
24”UFO, Please Take Her Home”CoachwhipsGet Yer Body Next Ta Mine2002

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 Oh Sees frontman John Dwyer originally had all of his different sounds separated by bands. OCS was his psych folk outfit, Zeigenbock Kopf was his electronic/noise psych outfit, Damaged Bug was his electronic/experimental outfit, Coachwhips was his noise punk outfit, etc. At this point, most of those sounds run through Osees as a spectrum of genres channeled through one band. But in 2002, Coachwhips was stomping out noise punk better than anyone. Ty Segall took notice and replicated it in his own way, landing him where he his today. We just heard “UFO, Please Take Her Home” from Coachwhips.

00:40 Nobody does Ramones-core better than…the Ramones. Although some of their later albums might suggest otherwise. Might. 1989’s Brain Drain was the last Ramones album with Dee Dee, because he left to be a rapper. Yes, that happened. Check out his Dee Dee King record some time, if you dare. Brain Drain does have some of the band’s bigger hits, though. “Pet Sematary” was their biggest selling single ever, and the album closer “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)” has gained a large audience over the years. We heard “Zero Zero UFO” from that LP.

01:10 Moving West from New York City over to St. Paul, we heard a cut from Hüsker Dü. “Books About UFOs” is a bouncy little piano-laden punk ditty about a woman Grant Hart knows who is obsessed with space. Or maybe she isn’t even real and is just the subject of this little story. Either way, she’s just sittin’ in her room reading books about UFOs.

01:40 Wimps are Seattle’s best nerd punks. They’re not even that nerdy, but their vibe sort of is, and its amazing. They play punk tunes with odd chord changes, stops, and unique subject matter within the lyrics. Lead singer Rachel Rattner has the ability to channel the mundane, the under-thought-about day to day subjects like naps, work, frustration, food, and wet boxes. We heard “UFO” from their 2013 debut LP Repeat on Kill Rock Stars.

02:10 Up next is more little green men subject matter. Before UFOs were given an official title, the mid 20th century space craze had dubbed them “flying saucers”. Tell me, do you have any saucers in your kitchen these days? Who uses a saucer anymore? Anyway, we’ve moved on to a more scientific term. The Rezillos didn’t, though, and are here to tell us about when the little men from Venus and Mars came to visit.

Intermission

25”Spaced”[bsd.u][Late Night Bumps 2]2014

Set 5: We Come In Peace

26“Flying Saucer Attack”The RezillosCan’t Stand The Rezillos1978
27“Flyin’ Saucers Rock & Roll”Billy Lee Riley And The Little Green MenFlyin’ Saucers Rock & Roll1957
28“Astro”The White StripesThe White Stripes1999
29“Big Headed Alien”The AquadollsStoked On You2013
30“Space Guitar”The SpitsThe Spits2003

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 That was The Spits with a song from The Spits. Which one you might ask? 3. The Spits albums are all self titled, but they don’t use that gimmicky color crap that Weezer is obsessed with. Its like they took a joke and just kept using it for some reason. The 3rd Spits album was released on Portland’s Dirtnap Records and features the cut “Space Guitar”.

00:40 Before The Spits, The Aquadolls dropped in for some mermaid rock and roll. The garage/surf trio from SoCal put out Stoked On You in 2013 with the LP released by Burger Records. One of the first songs on their Bandcamp page is called “I’m Your Burger Dream Girl” and oh my goodness does that song hit differently after the whole Burger Records sexual abuse and grooming fiasco. I highly doubt anyone would write that song these days, but maybe? Despite all the terrible shit, there was some great music put out by that label. We heard “Big Headed Alien” by The Aquadolls.

01:10 Maybe Tesla does the Astro? Jack White wrote the lyrics to “Astro” just before the band recorded it. It was initially an intrumental jam, but Jack decided to write it like a dance craze song from the 50s and 60s. See “Mashed Potato” or “The Twist”. The “Astro” is what you do in secret; like space gaze or read books about UFOs. Jack played with Bobby Harlow in The Go during this time, too. The song comes from the White Stripes’ debut 1999 self titled LP, produced by Jim Diamond of The Dirtbombs.

01:40 Billy Lee Riley recorded “Flyin’ Saucers Rock & Roll” in 1957 in Memphis for Sun Records. It was a hit, but nothing like his next song; “Red Hot”. “Red Hot” was climbing fast and about to make him a star, but then came Jerry Lee Lewis and his “Great Balls Of Fire”. There just wasn’t enough room at Sun Records for two men with hit singles about hot elements. Sun focused on promoting Jerry Lee, and Billy Lee faded away. Both songs made a comeback in the late 70s when Robert Gordon and Link Wray covered them.

02:10 Speaking of cover songs…how about we play a couple? First up is the first punk cover I ever heard. Back then, it was a mislabeled Limewire mp3 file titled “blink182-rocketman.mp3” that I had downloaded with the hopes of learning about more blink 182 songs. Instead I got a computer virus and this banger. My world was changed immediately and my fascination with punk covers lives on today. I mean, punk bands have been covering songs since Day 1. The Clash, anyone? Here’s Me First And The Gimme Gimmes doing Elton John’s “Rocket Man” from their 1997 debut LP Have A Ball.

Intermission

31”Space Cowboy”SaibIpanema2015

Set 6: Space Commodity

32“Rocket Man”Me First And The Gimme GimmesHave A Ball1997
33“50,000 Spaceships”Groovie GhouliesWorld Contact Day1996
34”Alien Motion Technology”The MugwumpsBanana Brain2007
35“A New Hope”blink 182Dude Ranch1997
36”Major Tom”The TravoltasThe Highschool Reunion2004

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 Earth below us. Drifting, falling. Floating, weightless. Calling, calling home. We all know the melody, but only a handful of us understand what the Travoltas were singing about there. That was “Major Tom”, the song not written by David Bowie but totally taking place in the Bowie universe. Major Tom was the character in “Space Oddity” communicating back and forth between him and ground control. Peter Schilling took the character and placed him into a new space-themed track in the Reagan era, and then the Travoltas covered that song.

00:40 One of Ronald Reagan’s noteworthy policies was the creation of Star Wars. No, not the movie franchise. The Cold War heightened people’s nuclear missile panic to an all time high, and Ron didn’t like the idea of mutually assured destruction. So, he created this stupid ass named program to fund more military endeavors in the name of fear. Nevertheless, this tune references the real Star Wars. Mark Hoppus laments his love for Princess Leia in the 1997 blink 182 track “A New Hope”.

01:10 The Mugwumps hail from Wyoming and are possibly the least known group on the setlist today. In fact, I only discovered them through Teenage Bottlerocket’s Stealing The Covers album. The fellow Wyomingites, Wyomingans, Wyomingos, or whatever they’re called put out an album of cover tunes in 2017 that featured some very unknown tunes to the mainstream world. They gave the songs a whole new light and thankfully introduced us to a grip of other bands that rock that Ramones-core sound. The Mugwumps played us “Alien Motion Technology” from their 2007 LP Banana Brain.

01:40 More Lookout! Records punk rock bounced through the skull with Groovie Ghoulies’ “50,000 Spaceships”. The band held a perfect niche in the punk world for nearly 40 years, channeling pulp comics, classic horror and sci-fi, and adding in a splash of 60s bubblegum pop. The Ghoulies ended when founders Kepi and Roach, who were married since the start of the group, divorced in 2007.

02:10 And on that note, we’re blasting off! Its been a real pleasure spending time and space with you all today and I hope you enjoyed our galactic jams. Live long and prosper. May the force be with you. To infinity….and beyond!

02:15 (music plays and fades out)

Outro

37”Space Oddity”The NeanderthalsThe Neanderthals In Space2005

Check out my List for all of the releases featured!

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