Thu. May 30th, 2024

Had a listen to that Brian Wilson tribute album, Smiles, Vibes & Harmony, I bought at the Box Hill Record Fair. Wow, it’s so raw and garagey! Most of the bands were unknown to me, but there was Sonic Youth, Billy Childish and thee Headcoats, and The Records, who are known to me. The Records are classic powerpop, and I have a cherished copy of their Starry Eyes single. They cover Darlin’ on the album, and it’s probably the most mainstream moment with the best vocals by far. They would have to be, as Carl Wilson’s vocals on the original are pretty amazing. But that was one of the interesting things about this album: unlike any Beach Boys album, it’s not about the vocals, it’s more about the rough indie vibe. A cover that stands out is the version of Wind Chimes by Mooseheart Faith, which is really different in that the band have given it an uptempo treatment. Imagine that: an uptempo version of Wind Chimes. Great! I Know There’s An Answer, from Pet Sounds gets the Sonic Youth treatment and sounds great, as I knew it would. It was probably their involvement in this project that tipped the scales in me buying the album, truth be told. My favourite Beach Boys album is Love You, and there are two songs from that album here: Johnny Carson and I Want To Pick You Up. The original version of the latter, with Brian and Dennis singing, has been known to bring me to tears. I don’t know if Sharky’s Machine‘s version will ever do that, but I like it and salute them for choosing such an unheralded gem to cover. It sometimes gets criticised for being a little ‘pedo’, but that’s downright bullshit. I’ll enjoy discovering the joys of the other tracks as I keep playing this marvellous record.


Patterson: does he write his own books these days?

There was a funny thread on Twitter/X about blockbuster author James Patterson. Because he’s so popular and so ‘prolific’ (see comments below), basically just a brand name these days, we in the library world tend to look down on him. It doesn’t help that lately he’s been seen making comments about how libraries shouldn’t be concerned about how books and authors are being targeted for banning – usually by parents groups, and usually in the US. Easy for him to say. One Tweeter, Stacked Librarian, responded ‘As one of the wealthiest authors of the 21st-century, James Patterson does not get to tell Library Staff that we are overreacting to the book ban crisis.’ Another, Jenny, spilled the beans a bit with, ‘Is he even writing his books now? Thought it was all ghost writing.’ Indeed. I liked Snarking Boojum‘s comment, ‘My librarian daughter’s favorite work activity is getting to cull the Patterson collection once a quarter to keep him from taking up more than one shelf.’ This is a suggestion I want to take up with my own library system.


I happened to be watching commercial television today (don’t ask why) and saw a travel ad using I’ll Be Your Mirror by the Velvet Underground for its sales pitch. And it wasn’t a cover version, that was Nico‘s unmistakable voice I heard. Firstly, kudos to the ad agency for not only getting the song, but for choosing such a cool classic. But geez, Lou Reed and Nico must be turning in their graves. I have been seeing another ad recently that uses Aespa‘s Next Level to flog some car. This time it’s a cover version. That one needs some explaining. Was the car popular in Korea? Did the ad agency think Australian audiences would be clued in to the songs of Aespa? Or were they just going with the ‘I’m on the Next Level’ lyric as a cool tagline? Pop songs in ads: it’s a thing. I’m not a fan of ads in general, but I definitely have a favourite one. It’s the old Uncle Tobys ad that features a cute girl called Sally grooving to All Day and All of the Night by the Kinks. She’s even sporting a vintage Word of Mouth t-shirt.

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