Sunday, October 02, 2005

Things I've learned from "The Alternative"

VH-1 Classic has a show that runs Wednesdays and Thursdays for an hour, and Sundays for two hours (10:00 am and pm Central time). Today's really sucked, but was salvaged at the end by showing the Damned's version of Arthur Lee and Love's "Alone Again Or".

This show has some issues, in my opinion. First, while they do tend to stick what one generally would consider "alternative", occasionally they'll throw a White Zombie or Ministry video in there. I like to think I was pretty well tuned in to the mainstream wing of the alternative scene 15 years ago, at least up until KROQ started playing really crappy stuff at the end of the '90s. These are not bands I would have considered alternative at the time. Second, and this isn't really a criticism, they play stuff that never got anywhere near a radio station with more than 1,000 watts while it the music was contemporary. Just today they played "Eye of Fatima" by Camper Van Beethoven. Also, they'll play obscure videos from bands that had decent hits, but they'll never play the hits. Take Gang of Four, for example. They play the video for "Is It Love" all the freaking time. But they never play "I Love a Man in a Uniform". Maybe they need an order.

One of the most interesting things I've noticed, however, is their selection of artists in heavy rotation. I swear, if you were a 17 year old kid doing a paper on major alternative acts of the last 25 years, you would thing that The Jam/The Style Council/Paul Weller, and the Sisters of Mercy were among the hugest fucking acts of all time. Now, the Jam were huge, but mostly only among people who wore black nylon jackets with orange lining and rode Vespas. And the Sisters of Mercy? I'll admit, I think Vision Thing is a pretty terrific album, and that's before taking into account the camp value, and "This Corrosion" is a classic song, but did anybody really listen to these guys back then, at least in this country? You certainly wouldn't expect them to show up on virtually every program.

That said, I'll give the VH-1 folks props, as they do play Lush and My Bloody Valentine a lot, but they don't play nearly enough Stone Roses or Echo and the Bunnymen. I guess I could start doing a "video of the every couple of days", but I wouldn't want to step on Pinko's toes.


Pinko Punko said...

That show is great because they DO play things I had never heard on the radion ("Big City" by Spiritualized for example).

Sisters were big in the US. Vision Thing got the most play- three songs got play in SLC, plus This Corrosion of course was big before that.

I always forget to watcht that show, but I like the fact that I might discover a song by watching that show vs. only hearing stuff I already know.

You should do a Random 10 with that show- blog about 10 songs in a row.

Go Angels!

Pinko Punko said...

Eye of Fatima was one of three Camper songs that got played on the radio (...skinheads, E of F, and Pictures of Matchstick Men)

Pinko Punko said...

IF you don't want to step on our toes, post it over at SofTD- we can have "Seitz Video Extra"

I'll give you an invite if you want.

teh l4m3 said...

Thanks for the tip. I had pretty much written it off because of the first three letters. I think I'll give the VH1 Alt. thing a try.

Seitz said...

I think Big City is actually Spacemen 3, but close enough. I only have one Spacemen 3 CD, but it has the greatest title of any CD ever. Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs to. I have all of the Spiritualized stuff.

I wouldn't say SOM were big, really. I mean, I think of bands like the Smiths being big, and even they, when all is said an done, weren't THAT big where the general population was concerned. I'll bet if I went around randomly asking people, about one in 50 have ever heard of the Sisters of Mercy.

Eye of Fatima must have gotten play during my "non-listening to music phase" around freshman year of high school or so. Somewhere I've still got an old tape of them on the late Dierdre O'Donahue's show on KCRW around the time Vampire Can Mating Oven came out.

Sure, I'll do a "video extra". Hell, it's on three times a week. Something good will pop up.

As for a random ten, check my sidebar on weekdays (when I'm at work). There's a program that another Angels blogger turned me on to. There's a plug in that takes your media player and lists your songs out, and well, just check the sidebar and you'll see.

Pinko Punko said...

Oh, I gotta get that- yeah I totally meant Spacemen Three- the song is from their last album which is basically their Abbey Road, a J. Spaceman side and the other guy side. It is OK, especially if you like Spiritualized. It is out of print by I found it used. I'll kick you an invite to Song of the Day

Pinko Punko said...

although I'll need an e-mailsies for ya to do that.

Seitz said...

That would be Pete "Sonic Boom" Kember.

For the email, you could always look to your upper left, but it's

Matchosan said...

I always thought K-ROQ stopped playing good music in the late `80's.