[Modcast 2013-10-14] Songs Without Moustaches

 

Lee Hazlewood – “You Look Like a Lady”
Tom Jones – “Stop Breakin’ My Heart”
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – “Gold Rush Part 1 / Dollars In the Night / Gold Rush Part 2″
Thee Mighty Caesars – “69 Seconds”
Television Personalities – “I Was a Mod Before You Was a Mod”
Otis Spann – “I’m Ready”
Liz Brady – “Palladium”
Cal Tjader – “Soul Motion”
The Ups and Downs – “In the Shadows”
The Jetset – “The Man Who Lives Upstairs”
Long Tall Shorty – “Falling For You”
Neils Children – “Get Away From Me, Now”
The Chantalles – “I Want That Boy”
Booker T & the MG’s – “Hang ‘Em High”
Manual Scan – “New Difference”
Makin’ Time = “Honey (Fast version)”
Jacques Dutronc – “les Cactus”
Style Council – “The Whole Point of No Return”
Tom Waits – “More Than Rain”

———–
I know what you’re thinking and nope, sorry, Hazlewood released the album that one is on after demoustaching. I know, I know, it seems wrong to me, too, Lee hazlewood without a mustache, but it happened and we don’t talk about it.

While I have you here, today only, I have a coupon code for my Etsy shop. In theory, it’s a Tumblr exclusive, but this gets cross-posted to there, anyway, so go check it out. ☺

[Modcast 2013-10-07] Music to Protect Your Drag Clothes from Your Cat To

 

John Cooper Clarke – “Midnight Sun”
Makin’ Time – “I’m Not Really a Welder”
The Moodists – “Where the Trees Walk Downhill”
Graduate – “Elvis Should Play Ska”
Department S – “Somewhere Between Heaven and Tesco’s”
The Headcoatees – “True To You”
Franz Ferdinand – “Tell Her Tonight (in German)”
Broder Daniel – “Lovesick”
United Future Organisation – “Fool’s Paradise”
The Prisoners – “Say Your Prayers”
The Real Kids – “She’s Alright”
The Pretty Things – “Mama, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut”
Rousers – “Face Toward the wall”
Powder – “I Try”
Purple Hearts – “Restless Dream Recurring”
Mick Harvey – “The Ticket Puncher”
The Fall – “Jawbone and the Air-Rifle”
The Go-Betweens – “People Say”
Tom Waits – “The Ocean Doesn’t Want Me”

Poppare

So, here’s my latest Mod-influenced find, thanks to The Internet:

Pandafrisyr / 60’s mod from Amanda Lindblom on Vimeo.

“Poppare” (“pop fan”, according to most translations i’ve found on fansites) is a near-exclusively Swedish subculture style (a few people, usually girls, in “poppare” style have been noticed in Denmark, Finland, and even Paris, but for the most part, it seems contained to Sweden) that seems linked to a fans of shoegaze-influenced indie rock and pop music. Swedish bands like Broder Daniel, Florence Valentin, Kent, and others are popular, as are English bands such as The Smiths and Morrissey solo, The Cure, Franz Ferdinand, Joy Division, and a few others. The usage example of “poppare” in urbandictionary.com likens the look to “Emo from the 1960s”, and it doesn’t seem that far off a description.

The most popular hairstyle on girls seems to be these painstakingly-sculpted A-line bob-influenced bouffants (the back tends to be up higher and hair hangs lower in the front at a sharp angle), and popular dress for young women includes 60s Mod-influenced A-line skirts and shift dresses, Mary Jane shoes, Go-Go boots, heavy eyeliner and thick false lashes. The most common variants are “glitter poppare”, which is colourful, and hair is often accessorised with baby barrettes, and cheap plastic jewellery also seems popular with that style; then there’s “panda poppare”, named for the stark black-and-white colour scheme and often smokey eye make-up, and the look is generally more “grown-up”, in comparison; and then there’s a more casual look, with ‘smaller” hair, cigarette-slim jeans and Capri pants, oversized t-shirts, and big sunglasses. While photos of the boys, tagged popparpojke on Fuck Yeah Poppare, seem rarer, I’ve found a few pictures that seem to pick up on some later Mod and Mod Revival influences:

(above images found on the Tumblrerg “Fuck Yeah Poppare“)

(image found from Tumblr user olaf-g.tumblr.com)

Image found on the emocore.se forum

more popparpojke photos, are here.

Broder Daniel “Shoreline” musicvideo from Karl-Johan Larsson on Vimeo.

I’ve been listening to a few Broder Daniel albums, lately, and I have no idea why these boys didn’t break into the UK or US indie pop/rock scenes, cos they go really great alongside shoegaze staples like The Smiths, The Cure, The Go-Betweens, or My Bloody Valentine —the guitars are a little heavier, but really no moreso than the heaviest offerings from the Jangle Pop and Paisley Underground scenes of the mid-1980s (a scene I plan on writing an entry about, soon), which does make some sense, as they formed initially in 1989, and their first album was released in 1994, so it would make perfect sense if a lot of their influences lay in British shoegaze and jangle pop. Their emphasis on emotionally-charged lyrics rather than what they’ve referred to as “musical correctness” could’ve also given them a bit of a cult following when Emo was big a few years ago, but alas, I guess it wasn’t meant to be, and unfortunately, they disbanded in 2008, so short of a reunion, any cult following they gain outside of Sweden will be posthumous.

As I’ve previously noted, a lot of shoegaze and Australian Swamp seems to borrow bits and bobs from the 60s Mod and garage sounds, as well as jazz, rhythm & blues, and old blues inflused with a post-punk sensibility, which certainly helps a lot of the music more closely associated with those scenes appeal to Mods, even if the fashions associated with those scenes seldom seem to display much in the way of Mod influence, unless you count the fact that a handful of bands seem to be outfitted partially by old clothes from the mid-1960s that ended up in charity shops between 1979 and 1985. Here, i see a bit more in reverse —while the music tends to draw from newer sounds and influences, the associated fashions are clearly 60s-inspired, though with a few “updates” here and there.

That said, I think I’m showing my age when I see pictures of poppare girls in outfits like this:

and i immediately think of Strawberry Swithblade:

…and again, we do see a clear bouffant made with the hair, and if you’re familiar with Rose McDowall’s work after Strawberry Switchblade, then you’d know she did a record and EP of some pretty spot-on covers of 1960s folk rock, beautiful music, and chanson, (including Nancy & Lee‘s “Big Red Baloon”), under the name Spell.

To further align the poppare scene with Mod Revivals and similar scenes, an apparent influence and reference I keep seeing in the Tumblr tags is Mats Johnsson’s autobiographical graphic novel, Hey Princess, which apparently features a lot of references to 1990s Britpop, especially Oasis.

So yeah, I’m sure a lot of purists in the Modernist Front Party would insist that three’s no relation between the two scenes, but i think it’s pretty apparent, glaringly so, at times.

Modcast for 22 July 2013

 

The Triffids – “Love & Affection”
Go – “Don’t Take Her Away”
Sharp Ties – “Get That Beat”
The Killermeters – “Twisted Wheel”
The Go-Between – “On My Block”
The Distractions – “Something For the Weekend”
The Merseys – “Sorrow”
Pizzicato 5 – “Sweet Soul Revue”
The Monochrome Set – “Crystal Chamber”
The Saints – “Simple Love (original)”
The Art woods – “Keep Lookin'”
Sharon Forrester – “Silly Wasn’t I?”
Les Elite – “Get A Job”
The Prisoners – “Go-Go”
Billie Davis – “Nobody’s Home to Go Home To”
Sandie Shaw – “How Can You Tell?”
The Chesterfield Kings – “Time to Kill”
Squire – “Live Without Her Love”
Jean Dushon – “Hitch Hike!”
Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band – “She Shot a Hole In My Soul”
Gloria Jones – “Stage Coach”
Wall of Voodoo – “(Don’t Spill My) Courage”

Ex-Goth Revelations

73811_The Beatles are about as Mod as Marilyn Manson is Goth, which is to say that if you were one before x-band got ridiculously popular, or completely independent of said band, you’re at least 90% less likely to consider the band to be at all related to your subculture than an outsider would assume. On the other hand, if said band was your gateway to the subculture, chances are far more likely that even if you no longer think they’re necessarily of the subculture, you’ll probably think they’re still important to the subculture, if only as, well, a gateway. You know, they’re kind of a misunderstood caricature of each subculture that’s ironically gained a modicum of credibility cos, well, kids and stuff.

The answer to “What’s the difference between a Mod and a trad skin?” and “What’s the difference between a trad goth and a romantigoth?” are the same: At least two stone to the latter, with an optional addition of ten years, and/or less hair for the gents. The implication of the joke is “when you’re young and / or slim, you’re the former, and then you age into the latter.” This is usually tongue-in-cheek, even though it generally speaks to an assumed-to-be-acceptable amount of sizeism and ageism in both scenes. 1089569-fook_mi___austin_powers_by_yayacosplay--001

Where the overculture’s caricatures of punk and hippie subcultures are, generally speaking, more accurate than inaccurate (feel free to disagree, but I speak from experience), the overculture’s caricatures of Mods and Goths are, generally speaking, more inaccurate than accurate (again, feel free to disagree…) Where punks and hippies generally ignore the stereotypes, Mods and Goths seldom do, but will generally regard the stereotyping disdainfully when outside subcultural spaces (seriously, watch an outsider ask a Mod about the Austin Powers films, or ask a Goth about Fairuza Balk’s character in The Craft), but will laugh at it amongst themselves.

The+Who+WhoHalloween1It’s fairly easy to break up each subculture into several “types”. It’s also easy to compare the Mod/Skinhead division to the Goth/Industrial (or Rivethead) division. Both divisions happened fairly early on, and it is generally fairly easy for one from X-side to move back-and-forth between that and Y-side; it’s also not as easy as some would like to believe to pinpoint the exact year or band/musician that sparked the division, though some hypotheses (1969, or Symarip’s “Skinhead Moonstomp”, etc…; 1980, Genesis P-Orridge, etc…) are certainly more popular than others. To the untrained eye and / or the unaware outsider, it might be difficult to tell the differences between a Mod and Skinhead or between a Goth and Rivethead, and there are more than enough “insiders” who really stopped giving a fuck about compartmentalising everyone at the clubs years ago, because it’s really not as important as some people might want to believe. Morrissey-My-Life-With-Morr-317378

Generally speaking, racism and queerphobia is considered fundamentally antithetical to both subcultures, and it’s actually pretty damned easy to point to examples in the history of each subculture to support this fact, if you actually understand the histories, but every so often, you run into some person or another, and let me tell you, Internet….

And as I’ve said before, there is a clear and noticeable trend of Goths “ageing into” Mods. To be fair, though, some age into Rockabilly or revival Teds —but to be fair, I have it on good authority that the animosity between Mods and Rockers was blown WAY out of proportion by the press. And some shoegaze bands, especially Joy Division and The Smiths, are honestly equally popular among both subcultures, and it’s easy to find people in each cult that will point to Morrissey or Ian Curtis and say “obviously, this man is one of our own”.

Mod Mock Goth

The following is a draft version. If anybody has any additional information to improve this piece, pass it along! :-)


I’m not the only person who has noticed a cultural link, even similarities between the Goth and Mod subcultures. There’s not a lot of evidence to support a conclusive and direct link, but there are enough Goths who become Mods (this has even been noted in literature, albeit of a humorous nature, in Field Guide to the Urban Hipster) and enough Mods and Mod-friendly bands and musos who entertain “darker” themes in music, clothing, aesthetic, and interests to at least suggest a clear alliance between the two subcultures.

Origins of the Link:
This is hard to pinpoint. If the commonly-assumed origin of Mods as originating as a sort of UK interpretation of the US Beats (certainly a reasonable assumption, considering the shared love of Modern Jazz, Sartre, and coffee bars), there is no shortage of darkly-themed material to build a link from. Looking at the Ready! Steady! Go! wave of Mod’s first generation, it’s easy to pick out songs by The Who (“Boris the Spider”), The Rolling Stones (“Paint It Black”), The Animals (“House of the Rising Sun”) and even more widely commercial groups, including The Beatles (“Eleanor Rigby”) that entertain dark or melancholy themes or even a sort of black humour. Returning to the Beats, Stateside The Doors clearly were more of a Beat band than Hippies (Jim Morrisson fancied himself among the Beat poets he idolised and thought the Flower Power thing was a bit of a joke), as were The velvet Underground, and Nico’s second album, The Marble Index, has been described by some as possibly the first Gothic rock record —complete with a black-haired Nico on the cover, minimal make-up and eyes done vaguely resembling the famous lashes of Twiggy. While Nico, The Velvet Underground, and The Doors were less clearly associated with the then-waning Mod scene in the UK, but it’s hard to imagine that that those who did or formerly-identified themselves as Mods, especially those who clearly were smartly-dressed, evolved forms of Beatniks, would have been unfamiliar with these musicians and their work.

It Came From the Garage!
There was certainly a period where the Mod subculture, suffering media burnout, waned considerably, factioned, and re-invented itself. At first the factions were Dandies and Hard Mods, and the former begat Glam Rock and UK psychedelics while the latter begat Soul boys, Skinheads and Suedes. Hard Mods tended to stick with soul music and eventually embraced Ska, Bluebeat, and (according to some sources) Funk and the more “rock-oriented” Glam Rock such as Slade and Sweet. Dandies and the subcultures that grew from them, were a bit more open-minded, musically, and embraced “freakbeat”, US Garage, psychedelic music, and the more pop and poetic school of Glam that included David Bowie and Marc Bolan —from the Dandy faction, we can see a clearer genealogy to the Goth subculture.

Australian Swamp: The Missing Link?
I don’t know if I’m being presumptuous here, but in the last couple years, I’ve been fascinated and almost desperate to learn more about a unique Australian subculture known as the Swampies. I was introduced to the idea of this subculture by one of my best friends, a young woman from Brisbane, QLD, who described the Swampie scene as sort of a proto-Goth, similar to US Deathrock.

The Deathrock scene is typically traced to California, especially Los Angeles, and the 1978-81 hardcore punk scene. Don Bolles, The Germs’ longest-held drummer, formed 45 Grave. Rikk Agnew, formerly of Social Distortion and The Adolescents, soon became one of the founding members of Christian Death. These are just the most famous examples. On the other hand, it’s also easily arguable that UK bands like Rubella Ballet, originally an anarcho-punk band, formed a simultaneous UK Deathrock scene, or at least influenced the eventual emergence of a New York Deathrock scene on the East Coast.

Looking at some of the bands that I’ve since learned were considered essential to the Swampie scene (which, at one time in 1980s Australia, was considered clearly separate from Goth) have a more-clearly Mod and Garage-influenced history. The Scientists started life as a Power Pop band. “Last Night”, an original song from The Scientists’ early years, is something of a staple on Power Pop collections, and the earliest photos of the band include “mop top” haircuts.

The Boys Next Door, Nick Cave’s first band that would later absorb Rowland S Howard into their personnel and after a single album become The Birthday Party, was little more than a Power Pop and Garage Rock cover band until Howard joined. After The Boys Next Door morphed into The Birthday Party, the garage/proto-punk elements remained, but became rawer, and went deeper into the roots of Garage and Rhythm & Blues, pulling in influences from straight up blues of the 1930s and free jazz, among other highly varied influences (some songs showing a clear rockabilly-influenced sound).

Even prototypical Australian punk band, The Saints (formed 1974), begat Laughing Clowns, another example of taking much of what was learned in Ed Kuepper’s previous band, including the influences of garage and proto-punk, and infusing it with some of the heaviest free jazz influence I’ve ever personally heard; Laughing Clowns also (possibly even unbeknowest to them) return to the Beat influences with lyrics often addressing basic existentialist themes.

The typical Swampy look seemed a mix of charity shop paisley shirts, some essential back items (slacks, jeans, suit jackets, boots), haphazardly back-combed hair, and a smear of eyeliner (appropriate for ladies or gents). The Usenet posts suggest a stereotyping of dyed black hair, but some clearly did not. Not being apparently the most widespread or longest-lived subcultures, and with very little information currently available about it, it’s harder to note the variations of personal expression that are relatively well-known in the bigger and more successful subcultures.

The link between the Swampie subculture and Australian Goths is undeniable. This thus creates a more-direct path between Mod and Goth than the Dandy model establishes. Unfortunately, Oz has never really been a cultural hub of the Anglosphere, so this shortcut between the subcultures is far more limited, and indeed finding information on Swampies at all is very difficult; among the few sources I was able to track down, mostly threads from the Usenet archives of alt.gothic, there’s somewhat of a divide over whether Swampies were a distinct subculture at all, or merely “more-disheveled Goths who hung out at coffee bars,” a quote that re-establishes the Beat similarities. It should, though, be noted that most of these threads were happening onwards from 1995, and many people remarked that it had been maybe a decade since seeing any-one who considered themselves a Swampie, but this newsclip from 1988 establishes that, at least in the mid-1980s in Brisbane, Swampies were often considered distinct from Goths:

The origin of the name “Swampie” also seems uncertain. It may have evolved from The Scientists’ “Swampland”. Or Nick Cave’s fascination with his own murky imaginings of the American South. Or just simply likening their dishevelled dandy-influenced appearance to “something that just crawled out of the swamps”. I’m really finding it impossible to figure out where the name of the subculture came from.

Widespread Recognition?
There are two bands that easily come to mind with modest mainstream popularity whose signature sound blends elements of early Gothic and/or “general post-punk” music into a late-1960s Garage or Rhythm & Blues style: The Horrors and The Black Belles. Other bands doing essentially the same sort of thing with varying signature sounds have existed since the mid-1990s: Neils Children, The Flaming Stars (whose singer, Max Décharné, previously was drummer for Gallon Drunk, an English band described as “swamp rock”), The Gore Gore Girls, and The Love-Me-Nots all easily come to mind as being bands that have created some variant of this sort of sound. Rowland S Howard’s band These Immortal Souls tends toward bluesier sounds, but adequately fills in the gap between The Birthday Party and England’s Gallon Drunk and The Flaming Stars, the latter of which is certainly “softer” in sound than the others, sounding more as a somewhat Garage-tinged Shoegaze than the rest, where the dominant musical “genes” are the heavier garage sounds.

And Speaking of Shoegaze….
I’ve noticed for a while that a lot of Mods love —be it proudly or guiltily— at least some Shoegaze music. Indeed, a lot of Shoegaze bands take some nods from classic 1960s sounds, including English Baroque and Psychedelic Folk and the idiosyncratic neo-folk prototypes of The Velvet Underground and Leonard Cohen. Talking to other Mods at clubs, events, and on-line —and from all over the glode— reveals significant numbers of people who enjoy the sounds of not only Velvets and Cohen, but also The Smiths and Morrissey solo, The Cure (especially their first two records), Joy Division, My Bloody Valentine, and The Go-Betweens, all certainly among the most accessible Shoegaze-associated bands.

It’s also noteworthy that while Mods will tend to segregate these bands as “Shoegaze music”, Goths (in my experiences) are typically less genre-obsessed and with rare exceptions will just lump any band widely appreciated amongst Goths, such as Joy Division, as being “gothic”. Of course, Shoegaze music isn’t the only example of genre nit-pickery amongst Mods and discussions, even heated arguments, about where Rhythm & Blues, Freakbeat, Garage, or Hard Psych end and the rest begin —even when there are few, if any, clear distinctions shown by a certain band or another— are not hard to come by.

Conclusions:
There is clearly a musical genealogy connecting Mods and Goths, and many amongst both scenes clearly share at least some musical tastes in common. It’s not hard at all to connect the two scenes, musically, and both scenes share similar ideals of pride in one’s appearance, dancing the night away, an individualised sense of status, and (at the origins of each scene) intellectualism rooted in existentialist and other modern philosophies. The Goth scene’s open-mindedness toward variances in personal aesthetics, and not to mention a love of a band named after the seminal German school of minimalist Modern design, makes it very easy to be a minimalist and sleek-lined Goth whilst still being eagerly accepted by others in that subculture, even though the stereotype is for fluffy back-combed hair, garish make-up, and Neo-Baroque clothing.

Considering the above, it’s far harder to be a flamboyant Mod considering the far from unspoken preference amongst Mods for some semblance of Minimalist aesthetics. Clearly the general mindset amongst Goths owes more to the Dandies and Psychedelic off-shoots than the Hard Mod factions, but this has been explained. This is not to say that everyone with a Hard Mod personal aesthetic is therefore unaccepting of anybody in the dandy faction, they just tend to be far quieter.

This all said, I’m still at a loss of how to categorise The Fall’s genre.