Episode #83: Neon Indian & Relaxer

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If the Joel Potrykus movie Relaxer had a smell, it would be sweat on a vinyl couch, with a faint whiff of sour milk somewhere in the background. Y2K’s on the horizon, and a sense of mild panic is palpable. If The Greasy Strangler left you uncomfortable, Relaxer will have you cringing. And, yet, the film manages to achieve a hallucinatory buzz that washes over the viewer.

Relaxer is fascinating and enveloping, and no small part of that is due to the music from Neon Indian, the electronic music project from Alan Palomo, who’s no stranger to working with the sounds of previous decades. Neon Indian’s most recent album, 2015’s Vega Intl. Night School, is awash in synthy ’80s vibes, so it makes sense that Palomo would be able to get into a late ’90s groove with no trouble.

We spoke with Palomo by phone about his work on Relaxer, as well as Neon Indian's work on the video game, Grand Theft Auto V.

PRE-ORDER RELAXER FROM OSCILLOSCOPE LABS.

Tracklist:

Neon Indian, "Change of Coast" (The Music of Grand Theft Auto V)

Neon Indian, "Polish Girl" ("Fallout" single)

Wang Chung, "To Live and Die in L.A." (To Live and Die in L.A. OST)

Neon Indian, "Annie" (Vega Intl. Night School)

Episode #82: Wang Chung's Jack Hues

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The English New Wave / dance pop band, Wang Chung, formed in 1980, and rode a wave of success in the mid-'80s, with such hits as "Dance Hall Days," "Everybody Have Fun Tonight," and "Let's Go," along with the soundtrack to William Friedkin's 1986 crime thriller To Live and Die in L.A., as well as "Fire in the Twilight" from the soundtrack to The Breakfast Club.

In the decades since, the band's music has become synonymous with the '80s, and featured in dozens of films and TV shows. This Friday, May 10, Wang Chung releases Orchesography, which sees original members Jack Hues and Nick Feldman recording reimagined versions of their classic cuts with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

I spoke with Jack Hues by phone about all this and more.

Tracklist:

Wang Chung, "Dance Hall Days" (Orchesography)

Wang Chung, "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" (Orchesography)

Wang Chung, "Let's Go" (Orchesography)

Wang Chung, "To Live and Die in L.A." (Orchesography)

Wang Chung, "Fire in the Twilight" (The Breakfast Club OST)

Episode #81: Disasterpeace & Under the Silver Lake

photo: Shane Lopes

photo: Shane Lopes

On this episode, we speak with composer Rich Vreeland (aka Disasterpeace) about his work on the recently-released neo-noir, Under the Silver Lake. Sorry for the delay, kids -- Easter weekend was taken up with feeding cheesy potatoes and ham to an adorable baby, and the week following was an utter shitshow of financial ruin. That said, we have a really great episode for you, so let's get into it.

As a composer Disasterpeace came to prominence with his work on the 2012 videogame, Fez, as well as his score for the indie horror film, It Follows, released in 2015. That marked his first collaboration with director David Robert Mitchell, with whom the composer has teamed up again on Under the Silver Lake, which is now available as video-on-demand pretty much everywhere.

For the film's score, Disasterrpeace, best known for his synth-driven work, delivers a full orchestral score for the first time. It's an impressive array of music which hearkens back to the scores of classic thrillers of the '40s and '50s, while also standing tall alongside music from R.E.M. and others.

I spoke with Rich Vreeland ahead of Under the Silver Lake's release, and we talked about everything from video games to film to what he has coming up.

Tracklist:

Disasterpeace, "The Curse of Edendale"(Under the Silver Lake OST)

Disasterpeace, "Beware the Dog Killer" (Under the Silver Lake OST)

Jesus & The Brides of Dracula, "Turning Teeth" (Under the Silver Lake OST)

Disasterpeace, "Inconclusion" (Under the Silver Lake OST)

R.E.M., "Strange Currencies" (Under the Silver Lake OST)

Episode #80: Record Store Day 2019

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On this episode, we run down the soundtrack releases for Record Store Day 2019, in both the US and UK. We cover nearly thirty exclusive albums, singles, and books.

Tracklist:

Louis Armstrong, "Heigh Ho" (Disney Songs The Satchmo Way)

The Jim Carroll Band, "People Who Died" (Catholic Boy)

Hooverphonic, "2 Wicky"

Mary Kay Bergman, "Blame Canada" (Soith Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut)

TMNT, "Pizza Power" (Coming Out of Our Shells)

Paul Zaza, "Prom Night" (Prom Night)

Juice People Unlimited, "Disco Godfather" (Disco Godfather)

Francois De Roubaix, "Les Dunes D'ostende" (Daughters of Darkness)

Wendy Carlos / Rachel Elkind, "The Shining Main Title Theme" (The Shining)

Episode #79: Stinker Lets Loose! with Mark Rozzo

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Okay, so this episode is a little complicated. A couple months back, I spoke with Mark Rozzo, a Brooklyn musician, about Burger Records' reissue of the soundtrack to the 1977 trucker movie, Stinker Lets Loose!. Rozzo's uncle, C.J. McKnight, had evidently written and performed the music, and and Rozzo had happened to find all of his uncle's old stuff right around the time he met comedian Mike Sacks, who was in the process of re-releasing a 40th anniversary paperback edition of the movie novelization by James Taylor Johnston.

We connected, and we had this great interview, and then I received some information, and, well — I'll just let you listen to all of this, and then I'll explain after.

Tracklist (all cuts from Stinker Lets Loose!):

C.J. McKnight, "Stinker Lets Loose!"

C.J. McKnight, "Legend of Stinker"

C.J. McKnight, "Ears On"

C.J. McKnight, "Ears On, Part Two"

C.J. McKnight, "Stinker Lets Loose! (End Credits)"

Episode #78: Your Favorite Soundtrack with Taco the Town's W. David Keith

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On this episode, we continue our series, Your Favorite Soundtrack, where we talk to our favorite people about the soundtracks they love. Our third installment features the host of the Taco the Town podcast, W. David Keith, talking about the soundtrack to the 1997 film, Boogie Nights.

Tracklist:

The Emotions, "Best of My Love"

Three Dog Night, "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)"

Night Ranger, "Sister Christian"

The Beach Boys, "God Only Knows"

Mark Wahlberg & John C. Reilly, "The Touch"

Episode #77: Steve Horelick & Madman

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Composer Steve Horelick is definitely best known for his work on children's television programs like Shining Time Station and Reading Rainbow, the latter of which he composed the iconic theme song for. However, early on in his career, Horelick worked on the 1981 slasher film, Madman, a movie made somewhat infamous by the fact that it shares a similar storyline with the contemporaneous The Burning. Madman was released on Blu-ray back in 2015 via Vinegar Syndrome, and while there was an announcement at the time that Death Waltz would be releasing the score, here we are over three years later with nothing yet. Thankfully, the composer was more than willing to share his story of the score, as well as his illustrious career.

Tracklist:

Gary Sales, "Madman Marz"

Steve Horelick, "Madman Theme"

Electronic Art Ensemble, "Three Bursts Set Out" (Inquietude)

Steve Horelick, "Reading Rainbow Theme"

Episode #76: Unusual Sounds with David Hollander

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Sorry for the delay, kids. A long weekend of snow, freelance deadlines, and making tamales pushed this episode back a couple of days. I'm also recording this after pulling every muscle in my right side, so expect some weirdness due to pain meds.

That said, I'm excited about this episode. I spoke last month with author David Hollander, about Unusual Sounds: The Hidden History of Library Music, the book released last May by Anthology Editions. In my review for Starburst Magazine, I described the book thusly:

"David Hollander has crafted a book which appeals to the reader interested in history, music, or visual arts. Most readers will approach it, thinking they know nothing of what the author is discussing, only to be amazed at just how much of the music discussed within the cover of Unusual Sounds is familiar to them."

We had a great chat about the book, its companion album from Anthology Recordings, and Hollander's history with library music.

Tracklist:

Keith Mansfield, "Funky Fanfare" (Unusual Sounds)

D. Patucchi, "La Dimostrazione" (Unusual Sounds)

The Syd Dale Orchestra, "The Hell Raisers" (Something Weird Greatest Hits)

Keith Mansfield, "Teenage Villain" (KPM 1043: Beat Incidental)

Stringtronics, "Tropicola" (Unusual Sounds)

Episode #75: HERO & HBO's Insecure

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For our first episode back from winter break, we're speaking with HERO. The Canadian electronic musician was originally from Calgary, but now calls Montreal home, and we spoke with him in December about his excellent new EP, Dirty Work, which is out THIS VERY FRIDAY, JANUARY 10, as well as having his song, "The Juice," featured on HBO's Insecure.

Tracklist:

HERO, "The Juice" (HBO’s Insecure Season 2 OST)

HERO, "Stay the Night" (Dirty Work)

HERO, "Dirty Work" (Dirty Work)

HERO, "Bitch I'm David Bowie" (Soundcloud)

Episode #74: Jon Spencer & the Films of Edgar Wright

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Musician Jon Spencer and the attendant Jon Spencer Blue Explosion were college radio and underground faves long before director Edgar Wright used the Blues Explosion's "Bellbottoms" -- from the band's 1994 album, Orange -- to blow open the beginning of his film, Baby Driver. Spencer's been making music for decades now, going all the way back to the days of Pussy Galore.

However, Spencer's profile has definitely been raised by Baby Driver, and so we were super-thrilled to finally be able to talk with the musician about that movie, as well as Hot Fuzz and his first-ever solo album, Spencer Sings the Hits.

Tracklist:

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, "Bellbottoms" (Orange)

Jon Spencer & the Elegant Too, "Here Come the Fuzz" (Hot Fuzz OST)

Jon Spencer, "Do the Trashcan" (Spencer Sings the Hits)

Jon Spencer & the Elegant Too, "Quilt Thief" (Bob's Burgers)

Episode #73: Record Store Day Black Friday 2018

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On this bonus episode, we’re running down all the soundtrack-related Record Store Day Black Friday releases. You can find a complete list of everything coming out on Friday, November 23 at the RSD site.

We also mentioned Fathom Events’ Jim Henson’s Holiday Special featuring Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas and The Bells of Fraggle Rock. It’s happening on December 10 and 16 (not December 14 and 16 as mentioned in the episode). You can buy tickets here.

Tracklist:

Cheap Trick, "Spring Break" (Spring Break OST)

Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein, "Turn On the Lights" (Stranger Things Halloween Sounds Of The Upside Down)

Duke Ellington, "Chim Chim Cheree" (Duke Ellington Plays With The Original Motion Picture Score Mary Poppins)

Perry Serpa, "And You Are?" ft. Scott McCaughey (Wherefore Art Thou)

Joan Jett, "Fresh Start" (Bad Reputation OST)

U2, "Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me" (Batman Forever OST)

Cal Tjader, "Mamblues" (Fritz the Cat OST)

Syd Dale, "The Hell Raisers" (The Sounds of Syd Dale)

Paul Williams, "Riverbottom Nightmare Band" (Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas)

Paul Williams, "Ain't No Hole in the Washtub" (Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas)

Episode #72: Scott Bomar & the Films of Craig Brewer

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Director Craig Brewer's films, Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan, are just as much about the soundtrack as they are about the film. Thus, Brewer's collaborations with Memphis musician Scott Bomar only makes sense. Perfect sense, really, given that Bomar's band the Bo-Keys have backed any number of nearly-forgotten soul musicians in a live setting.

Bomar's film work is absolutely fascinating, and it was wonderful to spend some time speaking with him about his work with Brewer, the history of the Bo-Keys, and more. We even got a little bit into his work with his studio, Electraphonic Recording.

Tracklist:

Impala, "Experiment In Terror/Stalkin'" (El Rancho Reverbo)

Scott Bomar, "The Chain" (Black Snake Moan OST)

Anthony Hamilton, "Soul Music" (Soul Men OST)

Samuel L. Jackson, "Stack-o-lee" (Black Snake Moan OST)

Djay, "Whoop That Trick" (Hustle & Flow OST)

Episode #71: Atlanta with Bryce Hitchcock

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FX's brilliant comedy / drama / exploration of humanity, Atlanta, is as noted for its music as it is for the writing, directing, and acting. The show's soundtrack is a perfect combination of brilliantly-selected gems like Funkadelic's "Hit It and Quit It," as well as of-the-moment Soundcloud rap like Amindi K. Fro$t's "Cocoa Butter Shawty."

Hell, even Migos have popped up on the show. It's brilliant, and to explain it would be deceptively simple, given the multitude of layers the program features, but at it's heart, it's about Donald Glover's Earn trying to help his cousin, Brian Tyree Henry's Al, become a hip-hop star, while trying to navigate his other relationships.

One of the most-accurate skewerings of pop culture zeitgeist came from the second episode of Atlanta's Robbin' Season. The episode, entitled "Sportin' Waves," sees Al and Earn visiting a tech company and the various ways the majority-white company responds to them. The episode ends with a white-girl acoustic YouTube cover of Al's rapper self, Paperboi's big local hit.

It's hilarious and it's perfect and it's by an actual YouTube cover artist. Her name's Bryce Hitchcock, and she has a slew of original music as well, and it was a great conversation when we spoke with her last month about the show, acting, and her original music.

Tracklist:

Stephen Glover, "Paper Boi"

Bryce Hitchcock, "Paper Boi"

Bryce Hitchcock, "Endless Dream"

Bryce Hitchcock, "Through the Night"

Episode #70: The Hidden with The Truth's Dennis Greaves

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1987's The Hidden is a sci-fi action horror film directed by Jack Sholder, and starring Michael Nouri and Kyle MacLachlan. The film's a really great underseen gem, although several articles last year for its 30th anniversary helped raise its profile. It's a very early role for MacLachlan, and shows that directors were putting him into odd characters right from the start.

The soundtrack, compiled by IRS Records, is one of several that the label put together around that time, and thus, this is the second film in a row that featured Concrete Blonde's "Over Your Shoulder" and "Haunted Head," as did the previous year's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. There was never an actual soundtrack release, although Michael Convertino's score was put out by Varese Sarabande, and the Truth's "It's Hidden" was released as a single by IRS.

We spoke with the Truth's Dennis Greaves this summer about the band's work on the soundtrack and their experiences making a music video for the film's theme song.

Tracklist:

The Truth, "Weapons of Love" (Weapons of Love)

The Truth, "It's Hidden" (single)

Concrete Blonde, "Your Haunted Head" (Concrete Blonde)

Michael Convertino, "Final Transference" (The Hidden OST)

Episode #69: Creedence Clearwater Revival in the Movies with Doug Clifford

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Drummer Doug Clifford is best known for his work in the seminal band, Creedence Clearwater Revival. The group celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and as part of that, Craft Recordings released a remastered version of Clifford's 1972 album, Cosmo, along with Tom Fogerty's 1972 solo release, Excalibur. We were lucky enough to speak with Clifford about that release for Modern Vinyl, and also managed to sneak in a discussion about the use of Creedence Clearwater Revival in film.

Tracklist:

Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Fortunate Son" (Willy & The Poor Boys)

Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Looking Out My Back Door" (Cosmo's Factory)

Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Sinister Purpose" (Green River)

Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Midnight Special" (Willy & The Poor Boys)

Episode #68: Chris Butler of the Waitresses

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In addition to his work in the pioneering New Wave band, the Waitresses, Chris Butler has worked for years as a musician and producer on such albums as Freedy Johnston's debut, The Trouble Tree. His most recent work, out next week on Smog Veil Records, is a collaboration with Tin Huey's Ralph Carney, entitled Songs For Unsung Holidays. It's Carney's last recordings before his death in December of 2017.

We spoke with Chris Butler by phone about his work with the Waitresses, including their iconic theme for the '80s TV show, Square Pegs, the new album on Smog Veil, and a surprising connection to a recent horror film.

You can find more music by Chris Butler at his Bandcamp page.

Tracklist:
The Waitresses, "Square Pegs" (Your Choice of Sides)
Chris Butler & Ralph Carney, "Polka Day" (Songs For Unsung Holidays)
Chris Butler, "Square Pegs Part 1"
The Waitresses, "I Know What Boys Like" (Your Choice of Sides)
The Embarrassment, "Sexy Singer Girl" (Heyday 1979-1983)
Chris Butler & Ralph Carney, "World UFO Day" (Songs For Unsung Holidays)

Episode #67: Your Favorite Soundtrack with Aaron Vehling

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On this episode, we continue our summer series, Your Favorite Soundtrack, where we talk to our favorite people about the soundtracks they love. Our third installment features Aaron Vehling, writer, podcaster, and synthwave expert, talking about the soundtrack to the 2011 Nicolas Wending Refn film, Drive.

You can find all of Aaron's work at his website.

Tracklist:
Chromatics, "Tick of the Clock"
Kavinsky, "Nightcall"
Cliff Martinez, "I Drive"
Cliff Martinez, "Kick Your Teeth"
Desire, "Under Your Spell"
College ft. Electric Youth, "A Real Hero"

Episode #66: Your Favorite Soundtrack with Charlie Brigden

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On this episode, we continue off our summer series, Your Favorite Soundtrack, where we talk to our favorite people about the soundtracks they love. Our second installment features Charlie Brigden, freelance writer and film score expert, talking about John Williams' score to the 1980 Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back.

Tracklist:
All tracks by John Williams, from The Empire Strikes Back
"Main Titles"
"The Battle in the Snow"
"Imperial March"
"The Asteroid Field"
"The Duel"
"Hyperspace"
"End Credits"

Episode #65: Your Favorite Soundtrack with Josh Robbins

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On this episode, we kick off our summer series, Your Favorite Soundtrack, where we talk to our favorite people about the soundtracks they love. Our first installment features Josh Robbins, bassist and vocalist for Charlotte, North Carolina's Late Bloomer, talking about Ken Higgins and James Calabrese's score to the 1986 horror movie, Spookies, as well as the band's new album, Waiting.

Tracklist:
Ken Higgins and James Calabrese, "Zombie Theme (End Credits Music)" (Spookies OST)
Ken Higgins and James Calabrese, "Opening Credit Theme" (Spookies OST)
Ken Higgins and James Calabrese, "Muck Men" (Spookies OST)
Late Bloomer, "Complacency" (Waiting)
Late Bloomer, "The Truth" (Waiting)
Late Bloomer, "Life is Weird" (Waiting)

Episode #64: Donna Loren

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Summertime starts this week, so on this episode, we could think of no-one better to speak with than American singer and actress, Donna Loren, best-known for her work in the American International Pictures Beach Party movie franchise.

Loren not only appeared in Beach Blanket Bingo, Bikini Beach, and Muscle Beach Party, but the prolific '60s performer was the "Dr Pepper Girl," the featured singer on Shindig!, and guest-starred on both Batman and The Monkees. She left entertainment at the height of her fame in 1968 to start and raise a family, and while she recorded occasionally in the '80s, didn't return to music in a big way until 2009.

Additionally, she's the mother of that dog's Anna Waronker and Joey Waronker, drummer for Atoms for Peace. Her first book, Pop Sixties: Shindig!, Dick Clark, Beach Party, and Photographs from the Donna Loren Archive, was released last year, and a second edition is out now. We talked about all of this and more in a career-spanning interview.

Tracklist:
Donna Loren, "It Only Hurts When I Cry" (Beach Blanket Bingo)
Donna Loren, "The Devil Made Her Do It! (I Can’t Help It)" (Mansfield 66/67)
Donna Loren, "Among the Young" (Pajama Party)
Donna Loren, "Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows" (Shindig!)
Donna Loren, "Beach Blanket Bingo" (Beach Blanket Bingo)
Donna Loren, "Two Timin' Angel" (Sergeant Deadhead)
Donna Loren, "Muscle Bustle" (Muscle Beach Party)