Friday, January 20, 2006

The Best Music Show for People Without Cable...

IN THE EARLY TO MID-1980s I used to tune into staticky UHF channel 68 for their music video show, which featured mostly novelty rap with the occasional Replacements or REM tune throw in for good measure. This was before rap showed its vicious & violent vicarious gangster side, or was just beginning to "celebrate" this side of the relatively new genre. So you had groups like 3rd Base, Young MC and Digital Underground with its Humpty Dance and the Roxanne answer records, your RUN-DMCs and Kurtis Blows and Grandmaster Flashes the exception more than the rule. Then MTV institutionalized the whole thing and did its best to ruin good music much the same way ESPN has fucked up sports for those purists who can do without all the self-referentialty and self-congratulation.
Which in a roundabout way brings us to the closest thing in spirit to that below-the-radar experience, NewYork Noise on Channel 25. I catch it like 3 or 4 times a month without really looking for it, but it's on Fridays and I think Tuesdays and Sundays also. It's progressed from showing exclusively NYC bands but now that's just kind of a guiding principle. The bands? Well, they're usually arty in a willfully playful kind of way, if that makes any sense...
Here's the playlist from a recent show. I don't know if it's the same show all 3 nights in the same week. This was from Friday the 20th:

The Magic Numbers - Forever Lost. I have this tune on my 'Pod, so I was amazed when they kicked the show off with this. It's that kind of serendipitous coincidence that happens in music that makes you feel you're on the right track somehow. I found the song on a dollar compilation I picked up a few weeks ago and know absolutely nothing about the band except this shiny, catchy song.
Ramones - Rock & Roll Radio. Ah, the NewYork connection. I never liked this song really. Too polished and radio-friendly bland. Phil Spector's to blame.
Danielson Famile - Rubbernecker. The video and the song nothing to write home about. Anyway I'm home already, so it would be a waste of a stamp.
The Shins - Pink Bullets. Haunting and elegaic song, and a very inventive video, as only a video about two talking paper-mache cows can be. But I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.
33Hz - Hot Flashes. Passable punk-funk tune. Computer generated video seems old hat by now.
Cut Copy - Hot Flashes. Two tunes in a row called Hot Flashes. That's never a good thing. I don't remember anything about the video or the song, and it's only been about an hour. I don't know if hat says something about me or the group.
Pixies - Here Comes Your Man. I don't see any New York connection, except I'm sure the band was here at least once. It's the video where their heads are freakily elongated. I don't have a problem with that.
Langhourne Slim - In the Midnight. This was a very cool video. The guy's riding in a cab at night around NYC, soaking it all in. It captured that feeling you get when your'e out in the City and it's around, well, midnight and you're kind of really glad you're out tonight and in the soup and not sitting home on the couch. Yeah.
Mum - Green Grass of Tunnel. I think they put a lot of thought into the song title. Maybe too much.

And that was it, except for the lame-ass anti-drug PSA ads. It's nice to see how creative and oroginal videos can be when it's not all about mindless bling posturing and gratuitous grinding and gun glamorizing. As opposed to forced alliteration.

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