Saturday, July 11, 2009

Freaks Vs. The Establishment

Like a lot of people who are interested in American politics, I'm reliving the culture wars of the late sixties. And to my credit, I give both sides a chance.

Narrowing down further, my internet radio tastes run almost exclusively to two stations: and Technicolor Web Of Sound. Both focus on music from the late sixties/early seventies. Technicolor Web has the narrower mission, psychedelia all the time. Admittedly they pepper it (pepper! ha ha!) with period commercials and newscasts, and the playlist is about 20% sunny, undruggy pop but for the most part it’s a real trip, man. It’s the obscurities that all the cool kids listened to in college, before they went on to run America into the ground.

Those kids would have hated, hated the fare on Luxuria Music. Though the playlist is a bit more adventurous the meat and potatoes of these guys is easy listening/lounge music. Got a hankering for Enoch Light? Martin Denny? 101 Strings? Pour yourself a highball and come on in! Ever since SWINGERS came out I’ve been enamored of easy listening music. It’s top musicians working at the the peak of their powers to produce a dubious result, which is fascinating.

And the Luxuria people know that people like me don’t have the patience to take this stuff straight, which is why they find as many examples as they can of the aesthetic pushed too far. Last night I heard the theme to Bonanza, sung in German. In fact there is a whole three hour show on Mondays devoted to kitsch. Luxuria branches out a lot more, occasionally playing trance music and disco and garage rock. The week Michael Jackson died there were equal parts tribute shows to Jacko and Sky Saxon, lead singer of The Seeds.

If you wonder why the music business and commercial radio is on the way out, it’s because a guy like me can get everything he wants from these stations. And most of the artists they play are dead and don’t need royalties.

(h/t to April Winchell for Bonanza. I knew you wouldn’t believe it unless you heard it yourself)

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