Love and Deception

It’s Valentine’s Day, so naturally, I was going to write something about the emotion of love from the standpoint of my musical tastes.  Most of the music I listen to doesn’t contain the standard ‘boy-meets-girl-falls-in-love’ type of lyrics.  I’m more Joy Division than Olivia Newton John, or something to that effect.  I’m cynical, curmudgeonly, and not prone to public displays of affection, and my musical tastes follow suit.  I was trying to think of some honestly romantic songs in my collection – not sarcastically romantic, or caustically, or casualty romantic – but actual proclamations of love and devotion.  Sadly, the best one to come to mind was “Love Song” by The Cure, from their Disintegration album, one of my favorite records of all time.  Except for…that song.  Which is horrible, trite, and shmaltzy.  OK, so maybe I’m just not the type of person for whom a romantic song is going to resonate.  That’s fine, I’m not expecting my tastes to change just to fit a made-up holiday.

What’s truly strange is what was going on with KEXP today.  On my way home from the gym, I flipped on KEXP, and they were right in the middle of playing Rick Astley’s ultra-cheesy late-80’s goob-fest “Never Gonna Give You Up.”  When’s the last time you heard this song?  I guarantee you, it hasn’t been long enough.  Now, KEXP is a public radio station and as such, can play anything they damn well like.  But, they tend to play ‘alternative’ and ‘even more alternative than that’.  They’re not trying to be top 40 or even Alternative Nation – they really try to mix it up; however, if I had to make an argument for what you might hear on KEXP during drive-time hours, it would be ‘popular alternative/hipster tunes of today and yesterday’.  This isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it’s a large part of why I love them, and I love that they’re in my hometown as well.  So, when they played a Rick Astley song on Valentine’s Day, it was…a little unusual for them, BUT, they’re allowed to go off-script, so, I didn’t think too much about it.  They followed Rick up with a very serviceable Beck tune “Think I’m In Love”, and then “Gimme All Your Love” by Alabama Shakes.  Then I got home, so I was out of the car and not listening to the radio anymore.  The nice thing about KEXP is they keep their real-time playlists alive for a period of time.  Once inside, I decided to check the list (because I’d forgotten the name of the Beck tune and wanted to listen to it again).  Well, well, well…no mention of Rick Astley on their website playlist for today.  It goes right from REM’s “The One I Love” at 9:54 AM to a mandated air break at 9:57 AM, and then into the Beck tune at 10:02 AM .  Where’s Rick?  Why was he scrubbed from the playlist?  Were they too embarrassed to post that they’d played a Rick Astley tune?  That’s what’s great about KEXP, they can say “screw you, we’re playing Rick Astley, suck it hard”.  But no, Rick’s not there.  Maybe KEXP is Rickrolling everyone who happened to catch that moment of the broadcast.  We can’t prove to anyone that they played his (admittedly terrible) song, because it’s not on the playlist.  Now I see what’s going on.  KEXP, messing with me!  Well played, KEXP…well played.  However, isn’t that more an April Fool’s move than a Valentine’s Day move?

Coincidences Abound


This weekend there are lots of women’s marches happening around the country – a response to 45’s anti-female actions, and to keep the #metoo movement in the spotlight.  That’s great.  The Fault would go out and march proudly with his female allies, but alas, The Fault is only on day two of the flu, and can barely hold it together.  As is my wont on a Saturday, I turn on local (but streaming worldwide) station KEXP.  KEXP is the best radio station in the world, hands down.  They always mix it up and keep it fresh.  You’ll hear recognizable classics that you won’t hear anywhere else, but you’ll also hear new jams, which you also won’t hear anywhere else.  KEXP is committed to breaking boundaries, defying convention, and bringing the best in music – old and new – directly to your eardrums.  I can’t tell you the number of bands I’ve discovered or rediscovered thanks to KEXP.  And Saturday is my favorite day to listen.  They have Positive Vibes reggae in the morning until noon (and we’re talking deep cuts here), and then from noon until six we get a variety – usually new music with some classics thrown in the mix.  At six we get Audioasis, which is Northwest homegrown artists, and then from 9 to Midnight it’s Sonic Reducer – punk and hardcore.  At Midnight you get metal, so really, there’s no better sonic lineup out there on a Saturday into Sunday.  You’ll never be bored, let me tell you that much.

Is there a point to this, other than free plugging for KEXP (no seriously, go listen to the station.  They’re non-profit, so if you like what you hear, think about making a donation).  There is.  This weekend, all of KEXP’s programming is going to be women artists, in honor of the women’s marches.  The Fault listens to, and buys, mostly retro music.  Oddly enough, the only new music The Fault has been buying has been female-led or all female bands.  A couple weekends ago I picked up the EP, 7″ single, and full-length debut from the band Diet Cig.  Diet Cig is a power-pop-punk band, think White Stripes crossed with Go-Go’s.  They’re a lot of fun and I hope to catch them live.  A newer band I am catching live is Alvvays, who are playing Neumo’s, one of The Fault’s favorite local clubs, in April.  Alvvays is power-pop with a bit of 60’s French pop a la Serge Gainsbourg thrown in.  They’re very reminiscent of Saint Etienne, one of my all-time favorite bands, which may be why I liked them from the first time I heard them.  And finally, I discovered another new band called Dream Wife, whose debut album drops next week.  Click the link to check out their awesome video for “Hey Heartbreaker”, it’s not only a great video, but also a super catchy song.  The Fault is hoping they tour the states, and right soon at that.  Other than being new-ish female fronted bands, I first heard them all on KEXP, bringing this post neatly full circle.  And now I can crawl back into bed.