Monday, April 07, 2008

Swap Meet

Two small FiLs, one large Dirk

Dearest Friends, I have been sorely delinquent in keeping you apprised of goings on in Contrast Podcast land. Now I know that I don't really need to keep you informed, since obviously you all have such exquisite taste that I'm sure you tune in each week as a matter of course. But still, I feel a sense of responsibility...

Dearest Tim, the CP Godfather, is off on holiday in New Zealand, where he's no doubt enjoying sheep pestering and kiwi stroking. But thanks to the magic of technology and his whacking big heart, he made sure we'd get our weekly fix of Contrast goodness.

So, what have I missed telling you about? Well, two weeks ago we had another fine episode of musicians introducing their own songs, which you can download here. Then last week and this week it's the Contrast Podcast CD Swap! Yes, so many CPers wanted to take part that they could not be contained in one lone podcast. By way of explanation, each participant had to lovingly compile a CD for another participant, then choose one track from the disc he/she received to submit for the episode. Pop on over here to hear part one, and over here for part two, and make sure you stop by here to see the wonderful photos the contributors supplied as icing on this scrummy cake.

I was a very lucky FiL, for I got my CD from tastemeister extraordinaire Dirk of Sexyloser. Thanks Dirk!! I say lucky, but I was also cursed, for it was extremely difficult to pick just one track from all the delicious ones on offer. In the end I went for "Girl About Town" by Helen Love. What swung me? Well, first I was taken by its compelling disco-punk franticness. Second, it namechecks Joey Ramone. Third, the title and refrain plays on the excellent "Boy About Town" by the mighty Jam. Finally, every time it played out on the car stereo Little Man would exclaim "Again!"

But of course there were other contenders:

Leyton Buzzards
- Saturday Night Beneath The Plastic Palm Trees (buy here)
Anthemic pop-punk-pub-rock with a slinky ska undercurrent from East London circa 1979. Sadly it was all downhill after that, but we don't need to talk about that here.

Abbreviated Ceiling - Partyline (gosh, try eBay)
Hailing from the increasingly hardcore Washington DC punk scene, back in 1980 these lads purveyed a sparse, spiky sound that was urgent, but not as pummeling as their cohorts. The band was originally called Absolute Ceiling, but a promoter misheard the name and the mistake stuck. I had heard of AC, but had not heard anything by them until now. Thanks again, Dirk!

Die Sterne - Universal Tellerwäscher (buy here)
One of (and arguably the most successful of) the disparate group of German bands from the so-called Hamburg School (Hamburger Schule) of the late 80s - early 90s. Though varying in style --this track is a wonderfully catchy bit of noodling guitar pop-- they all sang in German (shock, horror!) and offered up arch social commentary of one sort or another. My exposure to this brand of Teutonic indie had heretofore been limited to the excellent Lassie Singers, so I was thrilled to dig a bit deeper. Thanks yet again, Dirk!!

And as an extra-special treat, here's a video of Die Sterne in action. Note frontman Frank Spilker's bohemian locks, artistically scruffy clothes, and, er, poor dentition. Watch out also for the most excellent shuffling old guy...

Next week's theme is Snap, which sees contributors offer up different songs with the same titles. It was suggested by Eiron, a marvellously curious young man with a delightfully askew world view (or Weltanschauung, as they'd say in Germany). Pay him a visit over here.