Don’t Touch My Bikini

Matt and I keep finding videos for old favorite bands and songs that we didn’t even know had videos. And the Halo Benders’ (Calvin from Beat Happening and Doug from Built to Spill) “Don’t Touch my Bikini” even has a moped in it, so I have an excuse to post it here!

I ♥ K, and I ♥ grainy out-of-focus un-color-balanced Super 8. Makes me wanna put out a ‘zine again.

Mekons: Work All Week

Thanks for registering for 2strokebuzz. As a bonus to registered 2sb users, we’re relaunchng our quasi-legal “What Rocks Us” music column. We’ll try to post a new song every Monday. Enjoy!

Work All WeekThe Mekons:
“Work All Week”
from Virgin 7″

All my friends know how nuts I am about the Mekons. They’re a band that’s hard to explain, they’ve been around for 30 years, gradually moving from Leeds to Chicago, as bandmates came and went and came back, and they switch styles every few albums (Post-punk, art noise, country, indie rock, country again, sea shanties, electronic disco, more country, disco versions of their greatest hits, etc.). When they play live it all comes together and makes sense, and there’s something there for everyone. Probably my favorite thing about the band is how they temper their highbrow musical, political and literary references with lowbrow boozy self-deprecation and a great sense of humor.

The sleeve for the 7″ of “Work All Week” is a good example of their appropriation and humor, and the song is a good example of their very early post-punk style, basically a sloppier, catchier version of their Leeds neighbors Gang of Four. It’s not their best song, but I chose it because it’s a bit rare (This mp3 was made from the Meek’s third single from 1979, it’s never been released on CD in the U.S.) If you hate this song, don’t write them off, somewhere in their vast repertoire there’s something you’ll like. There’s finally a must-have (import-only, sadly) Greatest hits album, which was always nearly impossible considering all their label-hopping, that’s a great place to start, or pick up “Rock and Roll” or “So Good It Hurts,” both are late-80s masterpieces finally available on CD again.

What Rocks Us: Beats International

threelions.jpgSince Norman Cook has given up scootering, here’s a track from his sort-of-forgotten days between the Housemartins and Fatboy Slim: “Won’t Talk About It” from Beats International’s 1990 album “Let Them Eat Bingo.” The song features Billy Bragg, not only in a far-out-of-context sample from “Levi Stubbs’ Tears,” but also on falsetto lead vocals. Don’t ever say Billy is not versatile. The rest of the album’s a treat, too, if you can find it, notably the remix of “Dub Be Good to Me” with the bass part from “The Guns of Brixton.” Both these tracks were popular during the 1990 World Cup (note the “No Alla Violenza” slogan in the video, which sadly does not feature Billy Bragg or his guitar sample).
Won’t Talk About It (mp3)
Won’t Talk About It (Bragg-less video)

What Rocks Us: England WC Anthems

When 2sb relaunched, one of our promises was secret MP3s for subscribers only. We did a few but dropped the ball. Speaking of balls, England plays tomorrow, so let’s revive the “What Rocks Us” tradition with an England World Cup Anthem Spectacular. If you play all these at once, England might have a prayer tomorrow.

Italia’90: New Order:World In Motion
WIM.jpgWe’ll forget about pre-1990, when the squad itself (e.g. Kevin Keegan) would generally sing the anthem (badly). New Order and comedian/actor/singer Keith Allen changed all that with “World In Motion.” They kept the team involved for some chanting, and let John Barnes rap through the middle. This is not New Order’s best work (It features the Ibiza/House flavor of “Technique” but lacks that album’s sonic depth and creativity), but I bought it when it came out, and it actually had a lot to do with turning me into a soccer fan, so props to them.
Here are all the versions on the CD EP:
World In Motion (mp3)
World In Motion-The B-Side (mp3)
World In Motion-No Alla Violenza Mix (mp3)
World In Motion-Subbuteo Mix (mp3)
World In Motion (Video)
World In Motion (Live Video 1998)
The Result: Impressive, England eliminated in semis by winner Germany, loses consolation match to hosts Italy.

USA’94: England didn’t qualify!
We’re guessing it woulda been Primal Scream with Ian Wright and Matt LeTissier, and the song would have been called “Lion-Hearted World”

England’96: Baddiel & Skinner & The Lightning Seeds:Three Lions
threelions.jpgOriginally recorded for the ’96 Euro Championships, Three Lions found new life when it was re-recorded with new lyrics for 1998, and the France’98 official song (below) turned out to be so bad. A bit overproduced, but so totally English-sounding, and one of the better, and more enduring, songs of the bunch. It’s also the most optimistic of the songs– where the others talk about the brotherhood of man and “you can do it,” this one pretty much takes it for granted that “it’s coming home.” Probably because the Euro’96 tournament was actually in England, but in the context of France’98, it sounded so sure of itself.
Three Lions (mp3)
Three Lions (video)

France’98: England United (Spice Girls/Ocean Colour Scene/Echo and the Bunnymen): (How Does it Feel to Be) On Top of the World
topworld.jpgvindaloo.jpgI remember hearing about this, but never heard it until just now. It managed to offend Spice Girls, Bunnymen, AND soccer fans, and the re-issued version of “Three Lions” (above) easily topped it in the charts. Keith Allen (of “World in Motion” fame) was back, with Damien Hirst and the bassist out of Blur, calling themselves “Fat Les” and putting out Vindaloo, which is a great anthem, even if it was meant to be an oikish parody of football anthems. Chumbawamba’s song “Top of the World” (they got the title right) was described as “better than the Spice Girls song, but not much.”
On Top of the World (video)
On Top of the World (Live TV video)
Vindaloo (mp3)
Vindaloo (Video)
The Result: Luckless England meets Argentina in the round of 16, and loses a historic ugly-but-tight game in penalty kicks.

Japan/Korea’02: Ant & Dec:We’re on the Ball
onball.jpgWe couldn’t find this one, and it seems generally unloved despite reaching number 3 on the charts. No fewer than 9 World Cup songs made the charts in ’02, including (again) a repackaged “Three Lions” (#16), and another dozen were recorded but didn’t chart. The de-facto anthems became Ricky Martin’s shitty Cup of Life and JXL’s remix of Elvis’ A Little Less Conversation.
The Result: Not bad, England finishes behind Sweden in group and makes it to the Quarterfinals, but gets eliminated by winner Brazil.

Germany’06: Embrace:World at Your Feet
worldfeet.jpghurryup.jpgFootball fans and music lovers were so disappointed with this boring crapfest that, as in 2002, several ‘alternate’ anthems surfaced, most notably Sham69 and Graham Coxon’s sophomoric-but-rather-great “People’s Anthem” Hurry Up England, which is far more optimistic, and rhymes “John Terry” with “Wemberly.” Crazy Frog has a new single out too, but we’ll spare you that, or Wreckless Eric’s, or any of the other dozen contributions.
World At Your Feet (mp3)
World At Your Feet (Video)
Hurry Up England (mp3)
The Result:We shall see! Hopefully the quality of the song is inversely related to the quality of the football.

Thanks a million to Lucash and Cy for all their help on this, sorry I didn’t post it earlier. has a bit about what songs were on the british charts for every world cup, including an exhaustive list of each World Cup’s official and unofficial England anthems and their chart positions.

What Rocks Us: Stereolab

from the Black Sessions (French radio?)

Alfredo and I went to see Stereolab last week (thanks Alf!), and while the show was really really great, it was the first time I’d seen them without guitarist/backing vocalist Mary Hansen, who was killed in a bicycle accident in London in 2002. The band bravely and wisely went on without her, replacing most of her vocals with french horn and trombone, which works amazingly well. I only recognized a few songs they played, it was heavy on the newer stuff, which, again, is all very good, but their spiffy professional musicianship now lacks the slacky, noisy indie charm of their first few records, in the same way that today’s Belle and Sebastian just isn’t the same as “Lazy Line Painter Jane.” Both bands have always been tight and densely layered, but both have mellowed out sonically with age.

So in tribute to Mary and the concert last week, here’s a great live version of their first Too Pure single, “Super-Electric,” with Lætitia and Mary on vocals, from French radio circa 1993. It was my favorite Stereolab song until Vina and I decided to get married while “Jenny Ondioline” happened to be playing.

What Rocks Us: Edith Frost

wru_frost.jpgEdith Frost:
“If it Weren’t for the Words”
from It’s a Game
Drag City DC301

We start out with Chicago-by-way-of-Austin-and-NYC singer/songwriter Edith Frost. This song has been a WLUW staple for the last couple months, and the whole album is a mellow Sunday-morning classic must-have. I could name drop all the albums she’s appeared on, but I’ll let the song speak for itself. If you ever get a chance to watch Thrill Jockey’s Looking for a Thrill video, be sure to check out her story, it’s the best on the DVD.