Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Music Library: Serge Gainsbourg, Sérgio Ricardo, Seu Jorge, Sex Pistols, Shadows, Shaggs, Shangri-Las, Shark Quest, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

Serge Gainsbourg - Comic Strip (collection, 1967-69) and Histoire de Melody Nelson (1971). Gainsbourg was so ridiculously cool. He sang (or uttered, I guess) songs about sex and culture, pushing boundaries that still shock today. Comic Strip collects tracks from four of his late 60s albums with Serge singing about suicide, Ford Mustangs, comics, outlaws, and sex, lots of sex, sometimes duetting with the insanely beautiful Brigitte Bardot or Jane Birkin. Melody Nelson is a song cycle about a rich older man seducing a nymphet, as if Humbert Humbert were someone to emulate, all while the bass purrs, strings caress, and twangy guitars leer. It is the album your parents warned you about.

Sérgio Ricardo - Trilha Sonora do Filme Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (1964). This is the soundtrack to a Brazilian experimental film I've never seen. It is okay.

Seu Jorge - The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions (2005). Who could argue with samba versions of Bowie songs sung in gently lilting Portuguese? Not I.

Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols (1977) and The Great Rock & Roll Swindle (1979). Does this still offend anybody? I can't hear it as scary or offensive any more, but I sure loved it when I was 15.

The Shadows - Shadows Are Go! (collection, 1960-66). Super-influential British surf-rock led by the astonishing Hank Marvin. The Shadows were one of the first surf bands to incorporate sci-fi and secret agent overtones and to have, well, nothing really to do with surfing.

The Shaggs - Philosophy Of The World (1969) and "Paper Roses." From one of the most controlled bands of the 60s to the least! The Shaggs were--notoriously--a band of semi-competent sisters from New Hampshire whose father had an outsized belief in their talent and marketability. Despite their loose grasp of their instruments, the Shaggs managed to put together music that somehow makes internal sense.

The Shangri-Las - The Best of the Shangri-Las (collection, 1964-67). My favorite 60s girl group, the Shangri-Las were tough Queens girls singing about their love for go-nowhere thugs.

Shark Quest - Man On Stilts (2000) and Gods And Devils (2004). Very good post-rock instrumental band from Chapel Hill.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - Dap-Dippin' With Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings (2002), Naturally (2005), 100 Days, 100 Nights (2007), and I Learned The Hard Way (2010). The first album plumbs 60s soul. The second adds more funk and afrobeat influences. And the third and fourth solidify that sound into one of the most exciting bands out there. Sure, there's nothing new happening here, but the way they breathe life into these genres is excellent.


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