Heartbreak. It can happen to all of us. While the festive season brings with it ubiquitous feelings of warmth and joy, these are not sentiments shared by all. Be it memories of a lost kin, friend or lover, some of us share rather a common wound to the heart. For the lovesick and forlorn among us, SSFB founder Quintin van der Spek offers five unconventional Christmas carols to help sweeten the bitter nights ahead.
Of the countless tracks that make it to the airwaves each week at Red Light Radio, some leave a more lasting impression than others. From month to month, enjoy a sampling of favorite tracks heard on air, courtesy of the team at RLR. December’s picks include music by Frank Zappa, Ambi Pur, Peter Gabriel, Section 25 and more.
Alyssa: Frank Zappa – “Peaches III” (1981)
When it transpired that Hippies Punch Cats’ show was going to be dedicated to Frank Zappa, I was instantly sold. After going through a heavy Zappa phase when I was 15 (I even named my iPod after his son, Dweezil) this was finally a chance to revisit some old classics and discover some new gems. One of these was “Peaches III”, a live version of the 1969 single Peaches en Regalia… an instrumental jazz/rock fusion punctuated by glockenspiels, experimental improvs and where the main man himself was trying to remember the name of his band members (someone was so kind as to transcribe the whole thing). It was the perfect antidote to a dark, snowy day and a reminder that Zappa remains one of the greatest songwriters of our time.
Dominik: Ambi Pur
My monthly pick goes to an as yet unreleased track by Dutch artist Ambi Pur. For those who don’t know him, he describes himself as follows: Ambi Pur makes music for corporate videos. Whether you need an upbeat tune to accompany gummy bears sliding off a conveyer belt or a more glamorous vibe to capture the great feeling of just having moved to a new office, you can count on Ambi Pur. Ambient for corporate environments.
Sounding like the cheesiest commercial out there, this music is among the finest. This tune, played by Twan Stoffels (also known from the Durk Tabak Show) for the Subbacultcha LAN special, was an immediate ear catcher and got me running down the stairs one more time.
Also listen back to Twan’s whole show if you have the time. A mix of strictly Dutch rarities for the early morning hours – more than recommended.
Orpheu: Peter Gabriel – “This Is The Picture” (Excellent Birds) (1986)
As played by Beesmunt during their final BSS Radio of 2018 on December 14th.
Sometimes I’m surprised by how little I know about pop music, but it’s great to hear something for the first time that turns out to be very easy to find and well known.
Maybe this tune resonated with me because earlier that week I was stuck in an airport for 48 hours due of snow, and “falling snow” was what was sung about in the early part of the song.
Anyway, it’s a cool jam and not knowing what it was, it almost sounded like a more pop version of Stroer Brothers.
Kat: Section 25 – “Girls Don’t Count” (1980)
Although its title is maybe not the putting out the best message, I love this track! Schompus played it on Monday last week and I had to grab it from him. Released in 1980, it was produced by Ian Curtis and Rob Gretton from Joy Division. It is grungy new wave style rock and I particularly like how repetitive it is. Also, there were three 12” sleeves made depicting the band’s girlfriends. I just think it’s very good, so have a listen!
Boris: Novae Militiae – Koakh Harsani (2017)
Mike was riding solo last Thursday during the last episode of The Void. A heavy power hour with the latest black and death metal releases. So in a whirlwind of tremolo guitars and blast beats it is quite an accomplishment to really stand out and grab you by the balls. But this “mystery” band did it. These Frenchmen deliver a constant barrage of slamming black metal riffs & beats that leave the listener exhausted. Pure aggression with very little melody, the vocals are LOUD in the mix. The band wants to stay anonymous so there was some gossip that it could be a secret side project of some black metal veterans. At this moment there is only a CD version, released by Nihilward Production from Ukraine, so I hope someone will put it out on vinyl sooner than later.
Sara: Nimco Jamaac – “Buuraha U Dheer” (The Highest Mountains) (2017)
This is a track I discovered thanks to last week’s edition of The Edward Said Show. It belongs in the compilation Sweet As Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes From the Horn Of Africa. Despite its title suggesting an immediate and obvious link with the African tradition, this beauty is a melting pot of cultures, the result of a crazy mix between traditional Somali music and psychedelic funk filled with an Arabic touch in the vocals and a sprinkling of Asian ancient melody in the background.
5 minutes and 55 seconds for a quick trip around the world to admire its colorful traditions.