NWT: Electric Light Orchestra’s “Time”

2 10 2007

ELO Time

Fans of Midnight Juggernauts and Cut Copy’s disco-rock beats, sweeping synths, Beatle-esque harmonies, vocoders and laser beams: we need to talk about Electric Light Orchestra. And not the ELO who brought you “Evil Woman” or even “Don’t Bring Me Down”, but specifically their hugely influential and yet under-the-radar 1981 synth-heavy experimental space-disco/rock concept album, “Time.” So I asked Ken Robin, a S.F.-based attorney, to talk about it, because he is my dad. He wrote this:

“When I first heard of Electronic Light Orchestra in the ‘70s, I immediately pictured polka playing Lawrence Welk and his Champagne Music Makers. What else was one to think of in the early to mid 70’s when one’s idea of rock was anything but an “orchestra”? The whole idea of what became known as “symphonic rock” was not just a little bit off-putting to those who thought of the Beatles and Stones as something quite different from their parents’ music. But there was simply no denying the infectious nature of ELO and the genius that was Jeff Lynne.

ELO Live

So what was one to make of “Time” when it came out in ’81? Certainly this was a ”concept album” that had some “central theme” — but what was it? Space travel? The world changing so fast it was becoming unrecognizable? The dark side of technological advances? And was it more silly than academically stimulating in its presentation? I saw ELO perform the album live in the Oakland Arena when it first came out and it started with a midget sized robot doing the Prologue on stage as the band itself arose from under the stage in a huge plastic bubble. But we in the audience did not laugh or jeer. We were astounded. We cheered and yelled out in joy. Does this mean we were naïve? Unhip? I don’t think so. Nonetheless the passage of a quarter century forces one to pause and ask: Was it silly?

This video for Electric Light Orchestra’s “Twilight” conveys a bit of what it must have been like to see that laser-riffic 1981 show – shades of Daft Punk at Coachella, anyone?

Most people would likely include very few “Time” songs on their “ELO’s Greatest Hits” list, other than “Hold on Tight”. So what makes the album stay with me? Maybe it’s just a recognition that the ‘80s were here and we were not who we had been in the 50’s and 60’s and 70’s and that this new 80’s decade, which would bring us PCs and glam rock and the rest of its “look at me” cultural icons, had changed us forever. In a wistful look at the situation, Jeff Lynne invited us to see a future of IBM computer robot lovers (“Yours Truly, 2095”) and other technological tools for escapists (“Twilight” and “Ticket to the Moon”) and to try to envision that world with both its possible benefits (“21st Century Man”, “Here is the News”, “The Light Goes Down”) and detriments (“Rain Is Falling” and the probing question of “The Way Life’s Meant to Be”).

“Time” didn’t prevent war or ensure justice but it was a decent and memorable effort, all the same.

Thanks Dad!

Fans of Midnight Juggernauts’ “Into The Galaxy” should definitely check out “Here is The News”:
MP3: “Here is the News” – Electric Light Orchestra

My favorite song from “Time” is the opening track “Twilight”, with its huge, simple synth line, massive, bombastic drums and crazy falsetto harmonies:
MP3: “Twilight” – Electric Light Orchestra

This next one is for all you vocoder lovers – the story of a man in love with his new IBM PC:
MP3: “Yours Truly, 2095” – Electric Light Orchestra

The album’s biggest hit was essentially a 50’s blues/rock song with updated production (but then again, that pretty much describes The Ramones entire catalog). This song was also used in a bizarre series of jittery commercials in the 80’s, the theme of which was “Be a Coffee Achiever!”
MP3: “Hold on Tight” – Electric Light Orchestra

You can buy ELO’s “Time” on iTunes or Amazon.

Baron von Luxxury


Disco Sunday #6: Sparks’ Moroder Phase

29 08 2007


My man Disaster from Missingtoof knows *everything* about our disco planet, so I was shocked, SHOCKED to learn that he hadn’t heard of Ron and Russel Mael, aka Sparks. So this post is for him!

The bros. Mael formed their first band, Halfnelson, in 1968, and were discovered by Todd Rundgren. Their first record, produced by Rundgren, did poorly, but after renaming themselves Sparks (as a nod to the Marx brothers), tweaking their sound and touring the UK they began to blow up in the burgeoning glam scene. After placing an ad in Melody Maker which read: “Wanted bass player for Sparks. Must be beard free and exciting”, the band released the album “Kimono My House.” The album spawned their first big UK single, “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us”, and has been covered by bands like Siouxsie and The Banshees as well as The Darkness. It’s not terribly disco but it’s definitely bizarro, and worth a listen to help get yer musical edumacation straight:

MP3: Sparks – “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us”

America continued to ignore Sparks, while their popularity in the UK continued to grow. This was in no small part based on their appearance on shows like “Old Grey Whistle Test”, in which viewers learned that the band’s bizarro pop melodies were being made by this guy:


Ron plays it totally stone faced, cold and creepy, in sharp contrast to the bouncy hooks and Freddy-esque falsettos of vocalist Russell. And then there’s the Chaplin…ok, fine: Hitler mustache (I’m pretty sure they’re Jewish, so it’s, you know, OK). The overall effect is fantastically off-putting, in that “are they kidding? Of course they are! I think!” kinda way. And it makes for pretty compelling TV, as you can see in this clip from Top of The Pops for their song “The Number One Song in Heaven” from their 1979 album of that name produced by Giorgio Moroder:

MP3: Sparks – “The Number One Song in Heaven”

Here’s a second song from that same Moroder-produced album, which is my favorite and certainly the most relevant to Disco Sunday. The track is called “Beat the Clock”, and is probably their most enduring dancefloor track. I even saw it on a Sasha comp around ’99 (so sue me, I have a Sasha comp!)

MP3: Sparks – “Beat The Clock (Remix)”


Sparks finally made a splash in the U.S. in 1983 with a new, uber-synthpoppy sound. Their album “Sparks in Outer Space” featured a hit single, “Cool Places”, that featuring the Go-Gos’ Jane Wiedlin on vocals. The whole album is infectious, in a simplistic, minimal kinda way, with the as-always-characteristic sardonic lyrics. I love this track for many things, not the least of which is the line “Think of all the places/we’ve had our little fun/In the church at Christmas/Busted by that nun.”

MP3: Sparks – “All You Ever Think About is Sex”

Baron von Luxxury

MP3: Sparks – “The Number One Song in Heaven”
MP3: Sparks – “Beat The Clock (Remix)”
MP3: Sparks – “All You Ever Think About is Sex”
MP3: Sparks – “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us”

Buy Sparks on Amazon
Sparks Webby Web
Sparks Fan Site


P.S. Rumor has it that Disaster is taking his DJ gear outta the closet and back from R. Kelly for a big gig in SF on Friday…check Missingtoof dot commmm for deets!

Luxxury Remix Album Parties: Tonight and Tomorrow!

25 05 2007

So as not to sound overly self-hype-y, the following is lifted directly from (and with the kind permission of) the fantastic Disaster from Missing Toof:

“This weekend it’s going down! San Francisco based ‘lectro rockers Luxxury have finally unleashed their long awaited ‘Sweet and Vicious, The Remixes’ CD (cover art work by me!). There will be two back to back record release parties starting this Friday.

First up, Friday, Lights Down Low vs Luxxury. Featuring live performances by Baron Von Luxxury & Johnatron of The Workout joined by the likes of Canada’s ‘All Night Dance Party‘. Special guest DJ Devin Dirt all the way from Brooklyn & of course resident dancefloor destroyer Sleazemore on the ones and two’s.

Michaela your fave door girl taking your money & your hearts. Photos by Vaindeer.

Then this Saturday in the South Bay, record release party #2 presented by Missingtoof! This rowdy bunch invades San Jose’s Johnny V’s for another night of disco debauchery. Live performances by Luxxury (Disco Version), ANDP & Devin Dirt. This time DJ Barbeau of Dirty Sanchez and Missingtoof’s own DJ Basura are holding it down on the decks. Photos will be taken by Chromesick.

Luxxury’s new CD ‘Sweet & Vicious, The Remixes’ is out now on itunes. If you haven’t caught their song ‘Drunk’ in the Pontiac/Transformers commercial peep the beats below. These tracks are guaranteed to totally mess up your parents car stereo speakers.

MP3: Luxxury – Drunk (Toulouse Fight Club remix)

MP3: Luxxury – Sweet and Vicious (All Night Dance Party’s More Vicious Than Sweet remix)

MP3: Luxxury – Rock and Roll Is Evil (Devin Dirt’s Fat Elvis remix)

Yes, There’s More Out There Than Porn

10 05 2007

Luxxury Dim Mak Cobrasnake Cory
Luxxury at Cinespace, LA. Photo: Le Cobrasnake.

Today’s post is filed under “Other Blogs Need Love Too”:

• Track #10 from Justice’s minutes-away-from-being-released debut album is up over at Put the Needle on the Record as well as Call Me Mickey (among others):

MP3: “Stress” – Justice

Plus La New Shit posted a radio rip of track #9 “D.V.N.O.” earlier this week.

So now you *should* have about 2/3 of the whole album, right? Plus another 500 re-edits, unreleased Britney Spears remixes and unauthorized mashups, and perhaps a ripped video or two? I need an entire iPod just for all my Interwebbedly ill-gotten Justice shit.

• Speaking of La New Shit, they’ve just posted a few awesome tracks from the new Luxxury Remixes album. Graph Giraph has a few as well. Collect ’em all.

• I like Dragonette. I was fairly certain they weren’t cool until Fluo told me not to worry and love The Bomb. And then Kitsune called and said “we’re putting one of their songs on our next comp.” So, we’re all allowed to like it now!

MP3: “I get around” – Dragonette

• An open letter to Van She Tech from me, Baron von Luxxury.

Dear Van She Tech –

I love you and I hate you.

I love you because you are amazing.

I despise you because you are amazing.

Your productions make me envious and full of a jealous rage. But then I shake myself like a wet poodle and that moment of pettiness goes away.

And I am yours again.

I love you.


MP3: “I Love You (Van She Tech Remix)” – I Am Finn
From MFR

MP3: “Sex City (South Central ‘Dark City’ Remix)”
From Headphone Sex

• New Blackstrobe is ready for you. Dark, surprisingly rock…hell, it’s industrial.

MP3: “Girl Next Door” – Blackstrobe
MP3: “Buzz Buzz Buzz” – Blackstrobe
From Boule a Facettes

Bonus remixes:
MP3: “Never Win (Blackstrobe remix)” – Fischerspooner
MP3: “Ghost Trace (Blackstrobe remix)” – Tiefschwarz
Also from Boule a Facettes

• A few cool non-MP3 links. Clicky clicky.

Sampleur/sample. Sometimes you gotta track down the source material and scratch the itch.

Simon Reynolds’ Bliss Out. Erudite musical ramblings from the author of Rip it Up and Start Again, the best postpunk book ever written.

Out of 5 dot com. Record geeks make lists.

Music You Won’t (Possibly) Hear Anywhere Else – Old 78’s. Not Disco at all. But amazing.


10 04 2007

It has come to my attention that a lot of our hits come from people google imaging “booty”, “BOOTY” “onion booty”, ect. Therefore, if you notice today, all of the pictures I use will be known as booty tonight.

Take that search engines!

Booty BOOTY big booty onion booty
It is time for another large post of new music. Here are some things I have been listening to lately. Think of this as a mini mix-tape for my friends on the internet. I don’t know you, but I wish I did!

I have been waiting for the new remixes of “Higher State of Consciousness” by Josh Wink for a long time now. The original is a track I often bring out and DJ, but it is a gamble. About half the time I ruin the party. However, the remixes are a great updated version. The Mathew Johnson one was good, but this one is made for the dance floor.

MP3: “Higher State of Consciousness (TV Rock and Dirty South Remix)” – Josh Wink

Next up, we have yet another remix of Simian Mobile Disco’s “It’s The Beat” . The Luke Vibert one has been around for a minute on the blogs, but here is the fabulous Riton Re-rub, whom we absolutely love love LOVE.

MP3: “It’s The Beat (Riton Re-Rub)” – Simian Mobile Disco

By the way, BOOTY

onion booty

Next, a double dose of Luetzenkirchen. Well known for his work on Great Stuff, you should familiarize yourself with him if you don’t already know. For me, he straddles a fine line between electro, house, and even trance……. Sounds like a horrible description, but trust me. It is good stuff. On the remix is Huggotron which is, of course, one of the Dahlback boys. In my opinion this is one of the best jobs he has done.

big ass

MP3: “Music For The Girls” – Luetzenkirchen

MP3: “Music For The Girls (Huggotron Remix)” – Luetzenkirchen

It is getting late, so I will keep it brief. Paul Woolford presents Bobby Peru (same guy). This track is a big throwback.

black booty

MP3: “The Truth” – Paul Woolford Presents Bobby Peru

Last, a Scissor Sisters remix by Goose. A great pair up.


MP3: “She’s My Man (Goose Remix)” – Scissor Sisters


The Girls, The Girls Are Lovely

17 03 2007

 Mad props to these homegirls who have been reppin’ hard lately! Both from the land of philly, party queens with mad rhymes…look for them in a town near you.

Mp3: Take it Easy – Amanda Blank feat. MIA

Mp3: DJ Play That Shit – Amanda Blank

Mp3: MYOB – Roxy Cottontail

Mp3: You Don’t See – Roxy Cottontail 

Both these chixxx are on an album called Blow with Aaron LaCrate, featuring production from the likes of Aaron LaCrate, Debonair Samir, Scottie B, 45 King, DJ Equalizer and Low Bee. The CD is out, but the vinyl is to be released..get on the wait list here for this one homies, cuz its hot…here’s a sneak peak of one of the tracks.

Mp3: Oxy Theme – Aaron LaCrate with Roxy Cottontail

Happy Friday Homies!!!

The Teenagers…Again? Why Not?

13 03 2007

Love it or leave it…I love it.

Mp3: Sunset Beach – The Teenagers