Primal Scream - “It’s Alright, It’s OK”
From More Light, out now on Ignition.
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 2/1/13
We were having some technical difficulties in the studio at WNHU last night, and the online stream may or may not have been working for the entirety of the broadcast. Anyway, if you did get a chance to tune in, or if you’re just interested in what I played, here is the full playlist from Left of the Dial last night. I won’t be doing my show next Friday because I’ll be seeing Jeff Mangum, but be sure to tune in the Friday after that for another live broadcast.
Stream the available tracks from the playlist below via Spotify.
- 1. The Antlers - “I Don’t Want Love”
- 2. The Velvet Underground - “Beginning to See The Light”
- 3. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - “A Teenager In Love”
- 4. Los Campesinos! - “Romance Is Boring”
- 5. Grimes - “Genesis”
- 6. Wise Blood - “B.I.G. E.G.O.”
- 7. Dirty Projectors - “Gun Has No Trigger”
- 8. Animal Collective - “Also Frightened”
- 9. Primal Scream - “Higher Than The Sun”
- 10. The Beach Boys - “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)”
- 11. The Stone Roses - “Waterfall”
- 12. Elvis Costello - “The Greatest Thing”
- 13. Cat Power - “Manhattan”
- 14. The xx - “Islands”
- 15. David Bowie - “Sound and Vision”
- 16. The Jam - “Start!”
- 17. Titus Andronicus - “Ecce Homo”
- 18. The Modern Lovers - “Roadrunner”
- 19. LCD Soundsystem - “Beat Connection”
- 20. Tame Impala - “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”
- 21. Iceage - “Coalition”
- 22. Bright Eyes - “Take It Easy (Love Nothing)”
- 23. Crystal Castles - “Untrust Us”
- 24. WHY? - “These Few Presidents”
Stream via Spotify:
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 2/3/12
Thanks to everyone who called and tuned in last night for this week’s live broadcast of Left of the Dial. It was a lot of fun doing this show last night, especially because the lead singer of Palomar happened to call in and compliment the music I was playing! Naturally, I felt obliged to play one of their songs towards the end of the set. Tune in next Friday for another broadcast on WNHU.
- 1. Modest Mouse - "Styrofoam Boots/It’s All Nice On Ice"
- 2. Grandaddy - "Now It’s On"
- 3. Dum Dum Girls - "Bedroom Eyes"
- 4. The Shins - "Phantom Limb"
- 5. Bright Eyes - "Shell Games"
- 6. LVL UP - "*_*"
- 7. Bruce Springsteen - "No Surrender"
- 8. The Smiths - "Still Ill"
- 9. The Beach Boys - "Good Vibrations" (The Smile Sessions version)
- 10. Big Star - "Thirteen"
- 11. Matt Elliott - "This Is For"
- 12. David F. Bello - "Gemini (Birthday Song)" (WHY? cover)
- 13. Sufjan Stevens - "All Delighted People (Original Version)"
- 14. Perfume Genius - “No Tear”
- 15. Primal Scream - “Higher Than The Sun”
- 16. MDC - "Born To Die"
- 17. Bad Brains - "Banned In D.C."
- 18. Secret Plot To Destroy The Entire Universe - "Roswell, NM"
- 19. Mineral - "Gloria"
- 20. 10,000 Blades - "I Hate Everything And I Like It That Way"
- 21. Have a Nice Life - "Guggenheim Wax Museum"
- 22. Slow Warm Death - “Sleep”
- 23. Loma Prieta - "Uniform"
- 24. Embrace - "No More Pain"
- 25. Palomar - "Top Banana"
- 26. Pavement - "AT&T"
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 10/21/11
Thanks to everybody who listened to my show last night. Just as a heads up, I’m not going to be doing my show next Friday (October 28th) because I’ll be playing a show at my school. Regular broadcasting will resume as usual the following Friday, November 4th.
Here’s the full playlist from the show last night, complete with youtube or bandcamp links to each song when I could find them.
- 1. Pixies - "Debaser"
- 2. Titus Andronicus - "Upon Viewing Breughel’s ‘Landscape With The Fall of Icarus’"
- 3. Ramones - "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend"
- 4. The Stone Roses - "I Wanna Be Adored"
- 5. M83 - “Reunion”
- 6. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - "Heart In Your Heartbreak"
- 7. Girls - "Lauren Marie"
- 8. The Feelies - "The High Road"
- 9. Real Estate - “Easy”
- 10. Elliott Smith - "Son Of Sam"
- 11. Elliott Smith - "Waltz #2 (XO)"
- 12. Elliott Smith - "Rose Parade"
- 13. St. Vincent - "Year Of The Tiger"
- 14. Dntel - "(This Is) the Dream Of Evan And Chan"
- 15. Primal Scream - "Higher Than The Sun"
- 16. Coldplay - “Hurts Like Heaven”
- 17. Fugue - "White Tiger Of The West"
- 18. Into It. Over It. - "Pinky Swear" (Daytrotter Session Version)
- 19. The Postal Service - "Nothing Better"
- 20. Youth Lagoon - "July"
- 21. Modest Mouse - "Cowboy Dan"
- 22. The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die - "I Will Be Okay. Everything"
- 23. Trash Talk - "Awake"
- 24. Invisible Hand - "There’s Room In My Will"
- 25. Snowing - "Pump Fake"
- 26. My Heart To Joy - "All Of Life Is Coming Home" (Virgin Sails version)
- 27. Pavement - "Fillmore Jive"
Primal Scream - XTRMNTR (2000)
I’ve always admired Primal Scream, even before I started listening to them, for their great band name. Honestly, can you think of a name more loaded than Primal Scream? Those two words immediately conjure rebellious thoughts in some and inspire fear in others; “Primal Scream” calls to mind certain ideas and words — rawness, anger, revolt — that form the basic tenets of punk, both as a social movement and as a musical one. It should be said, then, that based on their output before 2000, Primal Scream were not a punk band by any stretch of the imagination. Not much to behold, their earliest records found the band playing a Smiths-influenced type of jangle pop, the vaguely psychedelic kind that The Stone Roses would go on to perfect in 1989. Those first two records were inoffensive and largely uninteresting; however, they did lay the groundwork for Screamadelica, Primal Scream’s third record, which was a landmark achievement in the emergent acid house scene in the United Kingdom. Building on the work of their proteges The Stone Roses, Screamadelica blended the rhythmic spirit of electronic music with the haze of psychedelic rock to a frighteningly brilliant degree. Screamadelica was an incredible album, but it wasn’t punk. Their subsequent two records certainly weren’t either.
Suffice to say that for a large portion of their career, Primal Scream’s music seemed to be dramatically out of step with their name. This brings us to XTRMNTR, the ominously titled fifth album from the Glaswegian indie rockers. From the noisy opening bars of “Kill All Hippies”, it is very clear what they were trying to “exterminate.” In a 1993 interview with the NME, British pop band Blur's frontman Damon Albarn was famously quoted as saying “If punk was about getting rid of hippies, then I'm getting rid of grunge.” It is evident that with the new musical direction taken on this record, singer Bobby Gillespie's intention was to get rid of britpop, an unfortunately popular movement which by 2000 had dominated the British music scene for nearly a full decade.
Just minutes in, XTRNMNTR already justifies its own name, as well as that of the band. As “Hippies” develops from an amorphous sample-based drone piece, it becomes a chugging freight train of a song, with clipped drums and searing synthesizers forming a powerful rhythm over which Gillespie’s repetitive falsetto vocals dance. Like many of the tracks on XTRMNTR, the song follows a standard formula of electronic music, repeating a basic theme while adding or subtracting melodic or rhythmic elements to it. Album centerpiece “Swastika Eyes”, which appears here in the form of two very different mixes, utilizes the same formula. The Jagz Kooner mix is built around enormous pounding drums and a great vocal hook consisting of the song’s title sung in between Gillespie’s paranoid political musings. The less-essential remix by The Chemical Brothers develops around a swirling three note bassline, which forces Gillespie’s vocals to the back of the mix in favor of even more enormous sounding drums and a throbbing, proto-dubstep style bass drum. This pulsating bass sound returns on “Exterminator”, a hazy track that finds the band experimenting with noise and dissonance over a characteristically pounding rhythm. Just when Gillespie’s admittedly unusual voice begins to grate, the band steps in with lengthy instrumental electronic pieces such as “Blood Money” and “MBV Arkestra (If They Move Kill Them)”, a notable highlight on a record full of great songs.
Though electronic in nature, XTRMNTR is very much rooted in punk rock. Perhaps there is no better example of its punk roots than the second track, a raucous anthem appropriately named “Accelerator.” Showcasing the record’s ingenious production by Kevin Shields, “Accelerator” almost desperately begs to be a classic punk song, with horribly distorted noise rock guitars and entirely incomprehensible shouted vocals. “Accelerator” is the antithesis of britpop: an angry, raw, distorted mess compared to britpop’s characteristically clean-tone pop/rock. It is a demanding listening experience, and even uncomfortable at times, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Such is the nature of the album as a whole. On XTRMNTR, Primal Scream craft a brand of punk derived in equal parts from the complex art-rock stylings of 1977 New York City, the bass-heavy post-punk of late 70s Manchester, and the newly mature electronics of trip-hop and acid house. In hindsight, although it didn’t kill britpop, and has yet to dramatically change popular music as a whole, the album’s influence can be felt throughout much of the underground music of the 21st century. Eleven years after XTRMNTR's release, the record still sounds as fresh and as poignant as ever, stacking up on a musical level to more modern releases by so-called “new-rave” groups such as Crystal Castles, whose thrashy electronic sound was no doubt influenced by this album. With the success of such bands in 2010, perhaps it is reasonable to suggest that although it failed to make an impact on the pop world in the past decade, XTRMNTR may very well be the template on which much of the music of the following one is built. One can only hope.
- Kill All Hippies
- Swastika Eyes (Jagz Kooner Mix)
- Blood Money
- Keep Your Dreams
- Insect Royalty
- MBV Arkestra (If They Move Kill Them)
- Swastika Eyes (Chemical Brothers Remix)
- Shoot Speed/Kill Light
Best tracks: “Kill All Hippies,” “Accelerator,” “Swastika Eyes (Jagz Kooner Mix)”
Song of the Day Number Seventy Seven
Primal Scream - “Swastika Eyes”
Primal Scream's ”Swastika Eyes” is a rousing dance-rock anthem that perfectly captures the aggressive spirit of the post-Britpop indie rock movement. Perfectly situated after the trite and boring era of Oasis and other British pop revival acts, Primal Scream's XTRMRNTR (2000) and its album-centerpiece “Swastika Eyes” seemed to be just loud and angry enough to really shake things up. With blaring sirens and massive, pulsating beats, the electrified “Swastika Eyes” injected a perfect mix of aggressive punk rock and big-beat electronic music to the stagnating U.K. quasi-“alternative” rock scene. Unfortunately, Primal Scream’s masterpiece wasn’t enough to save it, and for the subsequent nine years, bands like Coldplay took over where Oasis left off, bringing an even less interesting brand of pop/rock to the ears of millions of hungry listeners.
Thankfully, the rest of us can listen to this.