Archive for the ‘Waitresses’ Category

James Brown and Robot Funk

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Oh god I’m in American again how the hell did this happen?

It took nearly a year and a half, but my family finally convinced me to go back home for a visit. I blame the nieces and nephews. Damn cute kids blackmailing me with their cuteness.

My trip is transcontinental, with stops in Oregon, Florida, Ohio and finally Pittsburgh before heading back to the land of the rising son and my lovely adorable boyfriend whom I’ve only been apart from for only 48 hours and already miss dearly.


Anyway, I’m going to make the most of this trip, enjoy the time with my family and hopefully buy some stupid and weird music that I can share here. I also plan on eating all the cheese an drinking all the root beer. So you best not stand downwind from me.

That’s right, I’m bringing out the class. Fart jokes.

Honestly, I’m hella jet lagged right now so don’t expect much insight into tonight’s selections. But it had been a while since my last post and wanted to put something up before even more of you forgot about me.

Friends of Earth
Sex Machine
Sex Machine (Instrumental)
One thing the Japanese are not known for is funk, so I was surprised to find that YMO’s Haruomi Hosono tackled James Brown’s classic “Sex Machine” on the sophomore album of his side project F.O.E. (Friends Of Earth). I was even more surprised to find that this version features new vocals by Brown himself, as well as sax work by his longtime collaborator Ray Maceo Jr.

As much as I love James Brown and Haruomi Hosono, I’m going to have to say that this is not an example of two great tastes that go great together. The raw, funky power of Brown’s original tune really doesn’t translate well into the cold, emotionless robotic sound of Hosono. Still, I’d be lying if hearing the two combined didn’t at least sound interesting.

But yeah, there’s a reason why you don’t hear much about Japanese funk.

The Waitresses
Another lost gem from Stiff Records’ Akron compilation, and from a band that some people probably have actually heard of!

The Waitresses were a one-hit wonder of the early-MTV era, scoring a minor hit single with “I Know What Boys Like” in 1982. That song is probably most notable for the Patty Donahue’s amazing dry vocals, but she’s nowhere to be found on this track. While the vocalist isn’t credited in the album’s liner notes, I assume the singer is Chris Butler, the guitarist/songwriter of the group. This track is a little more bluesy than other songs by The Waitresses that I’ve heard, but it’s just as strange and vaguely offputting while simultaneously being oddly charming and catchy.

The Waitresses were a really weird band. I recommend everything by them, especially their under-rated second album.

4 Minutes (Tracy Young Mixshow)
4 Minutes (Peter Saves New York)
I plan on posting quite a bit while I’m here in the states, but most of the music I have set aside is by Madonna, so I’m going to have to try and space them out a bit. These extended dance mixes were taken from a bonus 12″ that came with the Hard Candy vinyl release. To my knowledge they’ve never been released digitally.

Amazing Women and a Numan

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

My April curse is in full effect already. Sure, I haven’t been robbed at gunpoint; broken a leg; gotten a strep infection; been fired; broken a rib; had my parents split up; or have my car break down (all things that have happened to me in past Aprils), but shit ain’t getting off to a good start.Hopefully I can use the power of 80s pop music to scare away the bad vibes.

Cyndi Lauper
Money Changes Everything (This Version)
Money Changes Everything (That Version)
Oh Cyndi, my first crush. I will not rest until I have all of her amazing singles on vinyl. I got one step closer with this release, a really odd promo single that I found in a bargain bin a few months back. Both versions of the track are live, in fact, both are the same performance. However, the “That” cut is about 30 seconds longer, keeping in a bit near the end that’s cut out of the “This” version. Do I need to feature both versions here? Not really, but that’s never stopped me before has it?

Gary Numan
White Boys  And Heroes (Extended Version)
We Take Mystery To Bed (Extended Version)
These untiled extended mixes are taken from a 12″ promo single.

Okay, now that I got that out the way, I can get to the important part…what the FUCK does “We Take Mystery To Bed” mean? I mean, who the hell would want to hear that from a prospective boyfriend/girlfriend/random one-night-stand? “Hey baby, lets hook up, I take mystery to bed.” That would be the worst pick-up line in the history of the world. I don’t know about you, but the bed is one place where I definitely don’t want mystery. I like to know what I’m getting myself into, thank you very much.

And now that I think about it, “White Boys And Heroes” is a pretty damn weird name for a song too. WTF Gary Numan?

Everything’s Wrong If My Hair Is Wrong
Open City
The Waitresses are remembered as a one-hit wonder thanks to “I Know What Boys Like” and that’s a damn shame. What they should be remembered for is being one of the most interesting and unique bands to come out of the new wave era.

So why are they relegated to second-class status in the annals of New Wave History? While it would be easy to say that it’s because they had a female singer and people are sexist pricks, I think the real reason is because they were a New Wave act from Ohio that wasn’t Devo.

Ohio always gets screwed. Ohio musicians are the Ohio sports teams of the music world, destined to runner-up status at best and forgotten has-been status at worst. People always site New York and LA as the birthplaces of punk in America, they forget about Pere Ubu, The Dead Boys, The Electric Eels, The Styrenes and Rocket From the Tombs, many of which predated the punk scenes in NYC and LA by years. Show Ohio some respect people. It doesn’t earn it that often.

But anyways, I’m straying from the topic at hand, which is the Waitresses. Despite the staying power of “I Know What Boys Like,” neither of their albums have been re-issued on CD, instead highlights from the two records have been repeatedly culled for “greatest hits” releases. But who decides what a highlight is? In the case of the Waitresses, its someone who really doesn’t think much of their second album, Bruiseology. All of the above tracks are from that great record, and none of them have ever been re-issued on any of the band’s greatest hits. They’re among some of the best songs on the record, and are well worth hearing, especially “Everything’s Wrong If My Hair Is Wrong.” That song is spectacularly weird in a way that few songs are.