Versus On the Ones and Threes
Releasing: 3 August
2010 seems to be the year that indie groups left in the bargain bins of the 1990s are coming back with a vengeance. Add one-time underground faves Versus to the list of resurgent bands making another go of it after a long hiatus, returning from a decade of dormancy with a stint on the TeenBeat 26th anniversary tour and a new album, On the Ones and Threes, due this August on Merge. From the sound of the recently leaked track “Invincible Hero”, the Pixies-ish NYC trio seems to have recharged its batteries, coming off just as forceful and insistently melodic as it was in its mid-1990s heyday.
01 Invincible Hero
02 Nu Skin
03 Into Blue
04 Gone to Earth
07 Pink Valhalla
08 Saturday Saints
10 The Ones and Threes
Matt Johnson’s pioneering alt-rock alter ego, The The, hasn’t released a proper album since 2000’s below-par Naked Self. However, Johnson has slowly developed an internet presence for The The in recent years, especially with his series of Radio Cineola webcasts. Now comes an official new The The album. But don’t expect another Infected or Dusk. Rather, it’s the soundtrack to Tony, an indie psycho-thriller film directed by Johnson’s brother Gerard. Here’s what’s known so far: The album features 24 new songs, though most if not all figure to be instrumentals. It’s available exclusively from The The’s official website and comes with a 68-page book with photos and notes from the Johnson brothers.
Ah, Twin Peaks. What could’ve been an ever-obscure, early ‘90s throwback has held its cultural ground through DVD releases, intellectual discussions on sites like PopMatters, and fan-made YouTube videos like this one. That and the fact that David Lynch made it.
Considering how many plot threads the show had going on in its short, two-season run, its pretty amazing the man going by “MC Chris” managed to fit most of them in there. With all these characters and scenes referenced at such a breakneck pace, you kind of have to sit back and admire everything Twin Peaks had to offer. The lyrics are hilarious, and the beat set to the original theme is “damn fine”. Does anyone else think it sounds like Aziz Ansari on Autotune?
And now you are probably thinking: wow, is that guy for real?
Oh, he’s real. And we have footage.
I mean, I know.
There’s so much going on here one scarcely knows where to begin.
Like: who knew Jackie Gleason had a show? (I didn’t.)
And: Can you say “The White James Brown”? (or, as Wayne Cochran was drolly known, The White Knight of Soul). Seriously, every single move and mannerism is ripped wholesale from The O.G. (Original Godfather). What we have here is not an instance of someone using another artist and incorporating his own style or making it his own. This is complete and transparent larceny. And its shamelessness is what makes it tolerable. It even manages to make it, in a circus freakshow sort of way, irresistible.
I have to confess, I’ve gone my entire life without seeing Wayne Cochran in action. (That, of course, is what YouTube is for.) He was briefly—and amusingly—referred to in the classic “Maury Sline” sauna scene from The Blues Brothers.
Wait… I can’t believe you are actually reading this and not watching that video again.
Let’s briefly break it down.
Okay, so how about Jackie Gleason “spontaneously” lighting up his cig as the camera pans in? Suave.
And how about the (obviously paid and staged) people at the tables? At first, it’s not quite as obvious (if you’re like me, your initial impression was: well, they were prepped and implored to “get into the spirit of the thing!”), but about half-way through, it’s undeniable: look at them, dancing along and grooving. The only way white people can approximate this type of synchronized movement is if they’ve been paid, or drugged. In this instance, it’s quite likely both.
Oh, yes. There is a second video.
2. That is just epic late ‘60s shlock.
3. This choreographed, insanely over-the-top audience participation also reminds us that a bunch of wealthy, utterly out-of-touch, supremely dorky old white men were calling the shots in Hollywood back in the day. And let’s face it, not too much has changed. But don’t kid yourself: it could never get this bad—and by bad I mean bad and good, as only the late ‘60s and early ‘70s could ever be—again.
It’s really nothing more than a tease, but Arcade Fire has followed up last week’s postcard missive sent to “The Internet” announcing a new single with a very, very short sample from the imminent release. Click on the virtual record and spin it a bit to hear a very Arcade Fire sounding instrumental intro. You might not learn anything at all about what “The Suburbs” sounds like, but it’s still kind of a fun interactive promotional gimmick.