UNDER THE RADAR: Literature – “Kites”

UNDER THE RADAR: Literature – “Kites”

Literature’s new Chorus is a record that really earns the adjective “kaleidoscopic.” Their music is lovingly indebted to ’60s pop, while being in tune with the jangling textures of ’80s bands mining that same sound, but it’s also a record that sounds right at home with indie rock in the 2010s. Together it makes for a colorful mashup of reflective styles. The band’s new video for “Kites” essentially looks the way their music sounds.


THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Public Image Limited – “Public Image”

THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Public Image Limited – “Public Image”

“Public Image” was written when Lydon was in the Sex Pistols. The song addresses John Lydon’s feelings of being exploited in the Sex Pistols by Malcolm McLaren and the press. Along with being released as a single, it appeared on PiL’s 1978 debut album Public Image: First Issue.

On the song, PiL leader John Lydon has said:

‘Public Image’, despite what most of the press seemed to misinterpret it to be, is not about the fans at all, it’s a slagging of the group I used to be in. It’s what I went through from my own group. They never bothered to listen to what I was fucking singing, they don’t even know the words to my songs. They never bothered to listen, it was like, ‘Here’s a tune, write some words to it.’ So I did. They never questioned it. I found that offensive, it meant I was literally wasting my time, ’cause if you ain’t working with people that are on the same level then you ain’t doing anything. The rest of the band and Malcolm never bothered to find out if I could sing, they just took me as an image. It was as basic as that, they really were as dull as that. After a year of it they were going ‘Why don’t you have your hair this colour this year?’ And I was going ‘Oh God, a brick wall, I’m fighting a brick wall!’ They don’t understand even now.

THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Blondie – “Dreaming”

THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Blondie – “Dreaming”.

Blondie was unusual among the New York punk bands in that they were unafraid to dabble in the cheesiest conventions of pop music, not out of their much-vaunted “sense of irony,” but because they genuinely loved them.

As a result, Blondie was the only New York punk band to write many honest-to-AM love songs, and “Dreaming” is probably the gooiest of the lot. For all the downtown hipster references of Debbie Harry’s lyrics, the soaring chorus is as googly eyed as Davy Jones in any episode of The Monkees where he falls in love with that week’s guest star, and she jumps into it with the guileless verve of Lesley Gore singing “Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows.”

The song’s real stars, however, are Chris Stein’s bumblebee buzz guitar riff and especially Clem Burke, who overplays like Keith Moon on espresso-laced purple hearts, throwing utterly unnecessary rolls and fills into nearly every bar of the song. It’s an amazing performance, possibly the most over-the-top effort by a rock & roll drummer in the entire 1970s, and a must to hear.



UNDER THE RADAR: SHARON VAN ETTEN – “Every Time the Sun Comes Up”

UNDER THE RADAR: SHARON VAN ETTEN – “Every Time the Sun Comes Up”.

Sharon Van Etten, ‘Are We There’ released on May 27th, 2014 on Jagjaguwar.

 In the video for “Every Time The Sun Comes Up,” an aging late-night horror TV host and an animated version of Sharon Van Etten summon both dark humor and real human sadness, beautifully sung.