Earworms 11 June 2012

Too many ready to call it a day
Before the day starts

1: Swarrrm – Pain ~ Panthersan

I realise that Japanese grindcore may not be immediate Earworm material, but I played this LP a few nights ago and the bluesy riff that runs through this track has been in my head ever since. Don’t forget to play it LOUD……or perhaps cover your ears and hide behind the sofa!

2: Curved Air – Backstreet Love ~ Severin

Much though I love Sonja’s recent adventures into ambience (aka Mask) I do find that this song takes me back to the age of thirteen and that performance on Top of the Pops. I saw the revamped version of the band in London recently and they can still send shivers down your spine.

3: P.J. Proby – Nikki Hoeky ~ SpottedRichard

Jim Ford wrote this song. Although it’s been covered by Aretha Franklin, Bobbie Gentry and others, this is my absolute favourite version. P.J. Proby rocks!

4: Scarlet Fantastic – No Memory ~ Zalamanda

Apparently this song’s parent album was rereleased last year, “due to popular demand” (I’m happy with my vinyl copy). This – the hit – is easily the pick of the record. Upbeat 80s pop-rock, slightly cheesey, sufficiently alternative/indie in feel to belie its PWL source.

5: The Housemartins – Flag Day ~ bishbosh

Is it juvenile of me to want to play this VERY LOUDLY every time I hear the words “Diamond Jubilee”?

6: Darden Smith – Little Victories ~ SweetHomeAlabama

Texan Darden Smith had one of those careers that never seemed to fit any defined radio format. After recording country in the ’80s, his biggest hit “Loving Arms” was lite rock, and “Frankie and Sue” was a perfect retro-pop song that became an unlikely college radio/alternative hit and reads like a romantic comedy just waiting to be made.


PLEASE!  Send your juiciest worms plus a line or two per song on how you got hooked: to either earworm@tincanland.com or a wormbank near you. Thank you.

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43 thoughts on “Earworms 11 June 2012

  1. Well done for getting the post up, SR! And with a lovely red arrow on the player too! Will comment properly on the tracks later. Suffice it to say that panth’s selection is scaring me a little so far… (Btw, I have several times contemplated “No Memory” as an earworm myself – the band is actually Scarlet Fantastic, not Fantasies. But no biggy!)

      • I still find it a thrilling four minutes – even if it is now imbued with nostalgia for all that potential ‘life’ I thought lay ahead when I was 15! (Of course life did lie ahead; it just panned out differently than my fantasies!) Funny, I’d never thought of Maggie as sounding like Chrissie Hynde, but perhaps she does a bit. Ooh, just found her on facebook. Tempting to ‘friend’ her…

  2. Very fine first list SR.
    Swarrrm The start reminds me of something by Screaming Lord Sutch. I actually quite liked this piece of nonsense.
    Curved Air. I was always a liker of this band. My mate, Jim Russell, played drums with them for a while. (He was also an Inmate & for a short stretch, a Wild Angel)
    P.J. Proby. I bought the 45 of this when it was issued back in 68. I still like it.
    Scarlet Fantasies. One of those tracks which I listen to…and then move on. Not bad, but not my usual thing.
    The Housemartins. I’ve never been a fan and I don’t know why. Musically, they are excellent, but there’s just something I don’t like about their tracks.. My son is a big fan, but they just don’t move me…..sorry.
    Darden Smith is a fine sound.

    Well done Ms SR.

  3. Swarrm: Absolutely terrifying. Not really my thing (obviously), but impressive in its way!

    Curved Air: I should have heard of this lot, shouldn’t I? Love it anyway. What a voice. Great.

    PJ Proby: Yeah, this is great too. I am bopping. Groovily. Eh? No really, I AM! Ooh the cheek of it…

    Scarlet Fantastic: My favourite one-hit wonder of all time. Love it.

    Darden Smith: This is utterly, utterly gorgeous. So soothing. Best (new to me) thing I’ve heard in months. Hearing songs like this is why I love earworms.

    Well done, SpottedRichard – a fantastically varied (but not jarring) playlist! A very fine debut. Now all you lot who aren’t me, start sending more tracks in! I’m getting embarrassed by my ubiquity. Well, a little bit anyway…

  4. Nice one SpottedRichard.

    Swarrm is not music from my comfort zone, but that guitar really rocked, and I like that the singer sounded out of breath by the end – not surprised.

    Curved Air – just a name to me before, and I’m too young to know what “that performance” was, but I liked this.

    PJ Proby – yes, this bopped.

    Scarlet Fantastic – also new to me, and really liked – the vocals reminded me of Chrissy Hynde – always a good thing. The mix of unashamed pop with a bit of indie cred (and lyrics about sunsets) also put me in mind of the new Frida Hyvonen album, which remains a fixture on my speakers. [By the way, it's "File Not Found" in the playlist, but does play if you click on the link]

    Housemartins – this certainly came into my head once or twice over the last week or so. I have a soft spot for them, since the first record I ever bought was a Beautiful South album.

    Darden Smith – this was lovely, despite – or perhaps because of – the chorus being stolen from REM’s “Perfect Circle”.

  5. Oh bother – track 4 wasn’t coming up for me, so I refreshed to see whether it would come (it wouldn’t) and of course I lost what I’d already written. D’oh. Let’s see…

    Swarrm: sorry, panthersan, I had to turn the sound down on this. Liked it though – a bit worried about the bloke’s health though.

    Ha ha, bish is too young for Curved Air. But I’m not. Lovely song.

    As SR knows, I already have the PJ Proby track and – coincidence city – very soon after I first listened to it, TP played it on his radio programme. So of course I like it! (No, I really do.)

    Housemartins: no…not my thing, sorry, bish!

    Durden Smith: think I would prefer the more countryish stuff really, SHA. But an interesting listen.

    I’m still not getting Scarlet Fantastic I’m afraid and the box still has last week’s worms. But it’s a really interesting and varied set anyway – great start, SR!

  6. Welcome to your first day on the job, SR. I hope you remembered your packed lunch.
    Swarrrm – I really like the music but really can’t see the point of the bloke’s aural gurning (apart from the rather crude portrayal of pain, I suppose).
    Curved Air – I, too, remember them from the first time around. It’s good but still doesn’t light my fire, 40 years later. And an ending would have been nice.
    PJ Proby – another blast from the distant past, but with ripped trousers. Yes, he did have a great voice and this is good but…. (And another song in need of an ending.)
    Scarlet Fantasies – ah, my favourite genre: eighties synth-pop! The voices are rather good but the backing makes my trigger-finger itchy.
    Housemartins – there’s something in there that redeems the blandness, although I can’t quite put my finger on what it is (the trumpet, maybe?). Paul Heaton lives near me and is a minor local celeb in the Albert Bowling and Tennis Club.
    Darden Smith – yet more uninspired drumming (a fairly nice groove but put the occasional fill in, dammit!). Quite a good song though.

    So, how do you make the player have a red Play button, and what makes the track times count down rather than up, SR?

    • Hi Chris. I was wondering who would notice that the time is counting down rather than up. I thought it would be a good experiment. It’s probably quite useful on longer tracks. You will see that I’ve also stretched out the player to about the same length as the text column – good for long song/artist titles.

      The code is:
      Red Play Button |righticon=oxffooo
      Width |width=500
      Counting Down |remaining=yes

    • I always thought the Housemartins’ lyrical bite cut through any potential musical blandness. But then, I’m not averse to a bit of pleasant tunery, so hadn’t really considered them bland to begin with! (The Beautiful South, on the other hand… – although even they usually get away with it in my book.)

      “Flag Day” isn’t my absolute fave Housemartins track (that would be “Build“, which I’m sure you would think terribly bland, Chris!); it just seemed topical. “The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death” would have perhaps been even more so.

      • Please don’t take my comments personally, bish (or anyone else, for that matter). I’m hard to please/over-pernickety/full of unjustifiable bias.

      • Not at all – sorry if I sounded defensive. I was just trying to work out what I enjoy about them really (in response to your not quite putting a finger on things). The catchy tunes are a big part of it, but I do think Paul Heaton has a way with words that helps.

  7. Thanks for taking up the baton, SR.

    Swarrrm – OK but don’t mind if I never hear it again

    Curved Air – like this, I had the original album with this on, how sad is that …

    P J Proby – See Swarrrm

    The other three – not my thing, sorry

    I always come across all curmudgeonly on Earworms, please don’t take it personally. Will have to send some in, then you can all complain about mine.

  8. I’m sad to be struggling for time for Earworms recently. But I just wanted to pop in and say Hello, good on yer SpottedRichard, and much 1971 love for Curved Air, I was just nine but remember it fondly.

  9. Right – time to comment with the impunity that comes with not being ‘Worm Meister!

    I did really like the guitar on the Swarrrm track, but am not convinced by the vocals. Although, I must say that the way they veer from hiccough to scream to – was that a burp? – does reflect the title of the track very well.

    I really, really like the Curved Air track. I was a little bit sad when it came in, right at the end of my tenure, because I knew I wouldn’t be the one to find it a home. I actually knew the song already – as a cover. It was recorded by britpop also-rans Salad for the Childline charity compilation, which I have on cassette. So I dug the cassette out. … Then I found that part of the song – the bit where the lyrics go Try to see / She didn’t mean to / Make you feel so sad reminded me of something. An All About Eve something. I eventually narrowed it down to “Calling Your Name”. (Lyrics, totally different, eg Love lamented/His soul tormented…).

    Such a lot of entertainment from one little ‘Worm.

    I liked the PJ Proby. But I haven’t got a lot to say about it.

    Scarlet Fantastic was mine, of course. I think I’ve said my piece on that.

    Would you be surprised if I said that The Housemartins were yet another magical mystical link between Bish’s record collection and mine? No? Well they are. And this is a typical combination of Heaton’s vitriol masked by the pretty music. A man, it seems, who was never afraid to display his contradictions on his (record) sleeve. Excellent stuff, if not – as Bish says – quite their best work.

    Darden Smith‘s contribution to the list is a lovely piece, and ends the list nicely in a much happier place than the pained gentleman from Swarrrm began it.

    A fantastic first list, SpottedRichard! You seem to have settled in over at the ‘Wormery very well. Hope you’re enjoying it.

  10. First of all, can I say a big THANK YOU to Zala for the great hand over, manual and spreadsheet, as well as the wrigglers. All incompetence can be laid directly at my door. I have tried as best I can but am still somewhere on the learning curve.

    I am trying to develop decent playlists rather than trying to be creative at this point. I do not expect to match Zala’s talents at putting great playlists together from slim pickings. Also, unless you want months of playlists with tunes mostly supplied by me, bish and Zalamanda (as fabulous as our taste is!) I urge you all to dig deep into your collections and send some fine examples of your extraordinary musical likes and obscure finds.

    Does anyone have any objections if I occasionally break a rule and put two songs by the same person onto a playlist if I have a theme that warrants it, for example?

    While I am not trying to be creative, I’ve put little bits in with the pics about something to do with one of the songs. You’ll have to hover with the pointer to see if you can get a clue. Occasionally ‘Spill points may be awarded.

    ~o~

    On to the list:

    I bit the bullet hard by putting Swarrrm on my first playlist. I was going to go for a very harsh list, but chickened out and softened it up. I didn’t want to scare the horses with my first list!

    I’ve now heard Swarrrm about 25 times and while I like it, I’ve not grown to love it. There is humour in it which I like. It’s a balanced track.

    Of course I remember Curved Air and Back Street Luv from the 70s. I thought it was great then, and still is now. It’s a timeless classic.

    I added P. J. Proby to lighten the list, and it’s a danceable rock n roll number and showcases P.J.’s vocal range.

    Scarlet Fantastic is a nice bit of pop-synth. I like it very much.

    Flag Day is not among my top Housemartins tunes – like, bish, Build is mine. I would also agree that Paul Heaton’s excoriating lyrics are a provocative counterfoil to the deliberately bubblegum melodies.

    Darden Smith ended the list as a soothing antidote to Swarrrm’s pain. Very pleasant.

  11. Great debut SR. Love the new player and the new layout.
    Make all the changes you think will help. Apologies to Zalamanda for having been very lazy both submitting and commenting on her watch.
    Hope to do better from now on.

  12. a fine debut SR!

    Thanks for putting Swarrrm in there and thanks to everyone for listening to such an unholy racket and not totally dismissing it out of hand!

    I knew the name Curved Air, but didn’t think they’d sound like that….I expected them to be more proggy…liked it a lot.

    P.J. Proby was another name I knew but not the music….top tune!

    Scarlet Fantastic – hmmm…very of its time…it grew on me….a bit!

    The Housemartins – I’m with Mitch and Chris I’m afraid..I’ve never liked them, I think it’s the weak vocals…the best lyrics in the world are no good when the delivery doesn’t cut it…sorry Bish !

    Darden Smith – very nice!

    • “Weak vocals”?!?! Now there I must protest! The Housemartins had a number-one hit with an a cappella song! I know the Great British public aren’t necessarily the greatest judge of vocal ability, but it says something about the singer(s) if a song based entirely on vocal harmonies hits the top spot… You may not particularly care for Paul’s voice/vocal register/accent but I don’t think his singing can be described as “weak”. I actually think he’s got a rather lovely voice. Might even be one that people used to describe as “blue-eyed soul” (but I never really knew what that meant anyway). But hey ho, horses for courses… Compared to Mr Swarrrm, I suppose any vocal might sound weak!

  13. In brief:

    Swarrm – er, I think I need to listen to this in some other context. It’s good of its kind but it’s not the sort of thing I listen to much theses days,

    PJ Proby – Great fun.

    Scarlet Fantastic – Liked this a lot – she sounded like Siouxsie to me more than Chrissie.

    Housemartins – This was the first track I ever heard by them. Still sounds good to me My own favourite of theirs is “Step Outside” – a B-Side that appeared on their compilation album.

    Darden Smith – i did enjoy this and woud like to hear more.

    And, of course, Curved Air are beyond loveliness…………….

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