So it goes something like this: sometime back in the mid-1970s, the benevolent aliens who had been watching over humanity undetected for ages finally felt compelled to intervene. Genghis Khan they could tolerate. The Black Death, though distasteful, was mildly interesting. Stalin had no dress sense and was a boor, but they let him slide past. However, when they saw the cultural havoc being wreaked by the likes of Barry Manilow, Captain & Tennille, and naugahyde, they decided it was time to act.
Using centuries of knowledge gained through the judicious application of anal probing, they synthesized a small child and imbued him with wit, humour, mad technical skillz, and groovy taste in music. This boy was to be their gift to humanity, a saviour. They surreptitiously inserted him into a rather normal English family, and hoped that he would germinate before the world went all Sonny & Cher-shaped. Thankfully, he did.
That child was Tim Young, and his creation, Contrast Podcast, is what saved the world.
Of course you won't find this account anywhere "official" because "They" don't want you to know. But if you download this week's CP episode from here, your eyes will be opened to a whole host of mysteries and conspiracies. Like these:
China Crisis - Tragedy & Mystery (buy here)
I never managed to classify these Merseyside marvels of the eighties. If pressed, I'd say they were most overwhelmingly pop, but with large lashings of postpunk sensibility. So poppostpunk, perhaps? This track, though appropriate for the theme, was never my favourite of theirs, as methinks it sails a bit too far into the syrupy seas of mawkish melodrama. But there are plenty more tracks to possibly post at a later date...
? and the Mysterians - 96 Tears (buy here)
Yes, a well-worn standard, but this is truly terrific 60s garage stuff. And don't forget that the Mysterians were one of the first Latino rock groups to make it big. But pity poor Question Mark himself, whose Michigan house burned down in 2007, taking with it his collection ofrock memorabilia, four Yorkshire terriers, and a cockatoo. I bet he shed more than 96 tears over that. Sorry, that last comment was utterly tasteless. So go out there and buy some of the man's albums, willya??
Fabienne Delsol - Mr Mystery (buy here or e-here)
And speaking of garage rock, here's a faaabulous slice of the stuff, dripping with retro girl group vocals. In 1996 the young Mademoiselle Fabienne Delsol crossed the English Channel and hooked up with a couple or rosbifs to form The Bristols. The band released a couple of albums on the stonkingly good Damaged Goods label before splitting up in 2003. Thankfully Fabienne decided to continue on solo.
Orouni - The Perfume Conspiracy (buy here)
I can't recall how this ended up in my collection; indeed, I only rediscovered it when trawling for potential podcast contributions. And so very thrilled I am to remake its acquaintance! It is lovely, lilting, and lifting, tremulous, touching, and twee. In other words, perfect summer fare. Orouni himself is a quirky Parisian musician, but it seems his name has expanded to encompass a shifting collective of the like-minded. I have no idea who is singing on this lovely track, but she melts my heart and pours it into an tiny, art deco perfume bottle. Sigh.
For next week, Contrast Podcast is looking for songs whose titles are questions. Want to contribute? Find out how to over here.