Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Whistling in the Dark

Whistling over here

I can't really whistle properly - just never properly mastered the combination of lips & tongue & breath. I can do a reasonable approximation, but I sound like a sickly air mattress leaking air. My Father had a tremendous taxi whistle; with his two fingers in his mouth he could hail a cab from Jupiter. But alas, he never taught me how to do it...

OK, so I have some whistling baggage, I'll admit to that. Nevertheless, I think this week's Contrast Podcast theme is grand; Dearest Tricia (of no fixed blogabode) challenged contributors to come up with songs that make use of use sibilancy, and the result is indeed sooooper contrasty. You should really download the 'cast here, and feel free to comment here.

Here's something to wet your whistle:

(00:00) DeVotchKa - The enemy guns

(05:58) Alfredo Linares y su Sonora - El Pito
The In Crowd from I’m Learning to Share!

(10:10) Alphabeat - Public image
FiL from Pogoagogo

(15:11) Paul K and the Weathermen - Golden opportunity
Greer from A Sweet Unrest

(18:33) Loose Fur - The ruling class
Natalie from Mini-Obs

(22:44) Rammstein - Engel
Adam from Pretending life is like a song

(27:07) DJ Riko - Whistler’s delight
Chip from Atomic Ned

(33:54) Geert Chatrou - Basilique de la bicyclette
Tim from The face of today

(37:32) Morgan Manifacier - I lost my dog
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away

(42:19) Lenlow - Bjorn slippy
Chris from Culture Bully

(47:50) Jan Turkenburg - Water
Eiron from The S+7 Method

(51:51) Less than Jake - Malt liquor tastes better when you’ve got problems
James from Appetite For Distraction

(54:43) Half Man Half Biscuit - Reasons to be miserable (part ten)
John Q.

(59:23) Elliott Smith - Jealous Guy
Dirk from Sexy Loser

This week I went rather contrarian and offered up a song that I really don't like. It's not that I feel that my beloved 'Public Image' is somehow too sacred to be covered, it's just that I think Alphabeat have done an exceptionally dreadful job of it. They eviscerate the song of all its snarly venom (sidebar: "'Public Image' is not the first Public Image Limited single; it is really the last Sex Pistols single. Discuss."), they flay it of its throbbing bass and jagged chaos of guitar, and replace it all with a deadpan, humourless delivery, tepid pop instrumentation, and that bloody annoying whistling. Argh. Fuck. Kill.

Before deciding I had to expose this travesty to the cold, harsh light of truth, I considered a few other whistly tunes, though none I considered awesome enough to deploy. I figured if I couldn't do ffabulous, then I'd do dreadful. See? I was feeling contrary. Crotchety old man syndrome, perhaps. Kids these days, no respect. When I were a lad, it were all wax cylinders and Morris dancing...

Happy Mondays - Step On (buy here)
Original Madchester ├╝ber-baggy. I actually saw the Mondays open for The Pixies in NYC back in 1989. Talk about a dreadfully mismatched pair of bands; we indie kids had no clue what to make of Bez with his thousand-yard stare, freaky dancing, and maracas...

J Geils Band - Centerfold (buy here)
OK, I'll admit it: I thought this song ROCKED! OK, I did when I was about 12. Ply me with drink and I might sing you the entire song, though with air-mattressy whistling.

The Monochrome Set - Jet Set Junta (buy here or e-here)
While maybe not an awesome tune, had I thought of this ditty by these London post-punks before I sent off my submission, I might well have spared you the dreadfulness of Alphablech. Oh well...

Next week is the start of another series, this time focusing on body parts. And we kick things off with: The Heart. So get submitting! How? Like this.

P.S. It's time to start thinking about Christmas! Tim's preparing another Festive Fifty episode, and he wants you to list your top songs of 2008 in order (up to 50, but top 10 is OK as well) and send them to him at by Sunday, 16 November. Zoiks! That's only four days from now! Get moving!!