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Adventure's waiting just ahead So, as you may have noticed, Sounds Radical announced the release of RAD-018, Shards vol. iii this week, and I figured it'd be timely to do a song from it for the Wodnesdæg Song for Odin thing, test-pressing style. And here you go, the test pressing, playing "Speed Racer": https://youtu.be/czAPmM6LZmc Well, of course, the video is of the test pressing spinning, and the audio is the newly-mastered digital audio dropped in. The image just a visual aid, but you get the idea. And wait'll you hear it in real life. This original recording was hastily thrown together on the eve of our departure for our first European tour in Summer of '92 and quite haphazardly hurried through every stage of the game. I'd gotten so used to the small, thin, brittle sound of it in its original form that I wasn't prepared for the sound that came out of the speakers when I finally got the disk and put it on. So that's what it was supposed to sound like, I said to myself. It was a long time ago. One forgets. Anyhow, that's a pretty nice situation to be in. Stellar job from Justin Perkins who did the mastering and Dave Polster who cut the vinyl at Well Made Music. They really brought it back to life. If you're familiar with that original release of Strum und Bang Live?! on the Spanish label Munster Records, you'll know that it was styled as a "live" record, and that there were crowd noises snatched from various live records placed at the intro and outro of each track. For this track the intro was from KISS Alive II, and the outro was a laugh track from a comedy record -- not sure which one now, but I bet it was a Bob Newhart LP, because I had a whole stack of them. But, chastened by our experience with the "Danny Partridge" intro (see notes below), we decided not to open that can of worms for this thing. I bet we could have got away with the laugh track, but since we were removing extraneous sound effects it seemed better just to strip them all off and present them as individual tracks the way they were recorded. It was easy to do because this editing was meant to be funny rather than convincing and there was a good space between the "samples" and the actual track in each case. As for the song itself, well, it's a fun one. Semi-ironic punk rock TV theme song covers was something we learned, like most everyone else, from the Dickies. Initially, this "genre" was lampoon more than nostalgia, and even, at a stretch, a sort of statement of good-natured nihilism, a wallow in the pop culture gutter, an exercise in irreverence. Hey you with your heavy heavy art rock and tough guy pretensions, get a load of this Brady Bunch song, that's what we think of your heavy heavy art rock and tough guy pretensions, we love it because it's trash. And, uh, we mean it, man. I found it thrilling beyond measure when I heard the Dickies' "Banana Splits" cover coming out of the radio alongside, like, "Tommy Gun" or "Alternative Ulster". I loved those songs, too, but I also liked them being taken down a peg, and, to be honest, I was a man of my time and loved the Banana Splits just that much more. It hit me where I lived. Pretty soon, though, this whole thing became standard and ordinary, with no particular meaning outside itself, which is how things stood when we took up that tattered banner ten years or so later. And I doubt anyone hearing the MTX "Speed Racer" cover ever found it pugnacious, or irreverent, or meaningful, or statement-y, or thrilling in that, or in any, way. It was a different world. Despite the changing tide of the ironic cover ocean, though, it all still works alright when the song being stripped down and fed through the meat grinder is genuinely great, as so many of the TV songs of that era (1960s) were. And as this one certainly is. A good tune survives even the most determined efforts to mess it up and stomp it into the ground and play it for laughs. At any rate, I had, since my thirteen-years-old Dr Demento and KALX radio days, been compiling a mental list of such songs I always imagined I would try to throw together if I ever had a band and if the opportunity arose, as it did here. Why choose "Speed Racer"? Well, the Dickies had already done the Banana Splits, and Underdog and the New Zoo Revue were too hard to learn in half an hour. I'm sure a band or two besides us has tackled the Speed Racer theme, though I've never come across another that I recall. I'm sure it was more or less just as cool, as it pretty much has to be, even though it might not "mean" very much. It's just a cool song. I still get a kick out of ours though, I don't care who else did or did not do it. I'm sure I'll have more to say about Shards vol. iii as the weeks go by here. Official "dibs" begins next week, May 10, with orders beginning in June, and a street date of July 9. More to come, stay tuned. notes: -- Sounds Radical dibs info: https://www.soundsradical.com -- original Speed Racer intro (English): https://youtu.be/89GkmegK9NQ -- original intro (Japanese): https://youtu.be/_YTq7AJm_GI -- the "Danny Partridge" Problem: https://drankf.medium.com/dr-frank-weakly-reader-for-10-25-2019-31fee09df6a7 -- more on the Strum und Bang seven inch: https://www.minds.com/newsfeed/808018176924844032?referrer=frankportman -- more on ironic pop culture covers: https://www.minds.com/newsfeed/1038904546974846976?referrer=frankportman -- still more on ironic pop culture covers (scroll down to Dickies): https://drankf.medium.com/appreciating-records-with-dr-frank-e3d356b7a0e0 -- Songs for Odin playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLommF46BbnATopffORs0YkspebJHka2o_ #music #songs #punkrock #nostalgia #minds
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