Things Worth Fighting For

I thought I’d posted this Stereolab song fairly recently but it turns out it was back in 2014 and that is not very recent at all so I’m posting it again. It is a simple fact that Stereolab songs work really well, best maybe, on shuffle mode/playlists/CD compilations/mixtapes. They work well in relation to what comes before and after. French Disco is a prime example- stick it in the middle of a compilation and it sounds amazing.

French Disco

The song was first released as part of the 1993 e.p Jenny Ondioline but rapidly became the song from that record that got played on the radio. It was then re-recorded later on the same year and released as a limited edition 7″. The original release on 10″ is a great e.p., setting the Stereolab stall out and there’s no messing about in French Disco- a brief vintage synth intro and then banging drums and a pummelling guitar riff before the organ and French accented vocals come in singing the verses. The lyrics reference Albert Camus and his philosophy of absurdism.

‘Though this world’s essentially an absurd place to be living in
It doesn’t call for total withdrawal
I’ve been told it’s a fact of life
Men have to kill one another
Well I say there are still things worth fighting for

La Resistance!

Though this world’s essentially an absurd place to be living in
It doesn’t call for (bubble withdrawal)
It said human existence is pointless
As acts of rebellious solidarity
Can bring sense in this world

La Resistance!’

Absurdism, as Camus expressed it, is the conflict between the need humans have to find meaning in existence and the concurrent inability to find any such meaning. Life isinherently absurd. Camus’ response to this crisis was that in the face of an unfair world one must become so free that existence itself is an act of rebellion – la resistance! Anyway, I’m sure had Camus been around to appreciate Anglo- French indie guitar/synth bands he too would have stuck their songs in the middle of a mixtape, opened the windows onto his balcony and shared them with his neighbours.

 

Monday’s Long Song

Not so much a song today, more a thirteen minute groove with staccato organ chords, crunchy guitars and trumpets, lightness rather than shade. Stereolab could do this kind of thing in sleep I think but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. From their 1996 Flourescences ep (and the 3 cd box set Oscillons From The Anti-Sun from 2005 which is a treasure trove of ep tracks, a dvd of videos and TV appearances and some stickers).

Soop Groove #1

It’s half term here this week and the weather looks good with some late October sunshine promised today. Some of the leaves are still clinging on to the trees. The rest are scattered all over the ground in a random autumnal colour chart. Quite often up here the seasons tend to blur and become a smudge but sometimes there’s a week or two where we get a proper autumn, before the clocks go back and everything becomes unpleasantly grey and dark wintry.

French Disko

It’s a video only day today- I’m doing this on the run and haven’t time to rip and stuff.

C from Sun Dried Sparrows left a comment on my Timothy J Fairplay/Editors post mentioning Stereolab and everybody needs a little Stereolab in their lives, especially the mighty French Disko played live on The Word (you’ll have to put up with a couple of seconds of Terry Christian first). The driving indie guitars and droning keyboards, Letitia’s vocals- pop and experimental in one handy package and a real highlight from the early 90s.

C pointed me towards Editors cover version which is driving and Joy Division-esque and, hey, actually pretty good.

And it turns out that Scandinvian aces Raveonettes cover it too, as seen here at Austin, Texas in 2008.

 

I Hate To See Your Broken Face

Just to prove it wasn’t all serious Marxist dialectic round Stereolab’s way I’ll post another favourite of theirs of mine- it was a toss up between this and sunny day optimism of Captain Easychord but I’ve gone for this one off the Emperor Tomato Ketchup album.

The Noise Of Carpet

And the video was good too…

It’s Alright ‘Cos The Historical Pattern Has Shown How The Economical Cycle Tends To Revolve

Marxist political and economic theory set to a counter-revolutionary 60s ye-ye beat by Stereolab, back in 1994- singalong together now…

‘A slump then a war then peel back to square one and back for more

Bigger slump and bigger wars and a smaller recovery

Don’t worry, be happy things will get better naturally
Don’t worry, shut up, sit down, go with it and be happy

Dum dum dum, de dum dum, de duh de dum dum dum, ah, ah’

Ping Pong

Should The Bible Be Banned?

Described by Nicky Wire as ‘communism with tunes’ McCarthy were Stereolab man Tim Gane’s first band, releasing three albums and numerous singles in the mid-to-late 80s. This one, Should the Bible Be Banned?, is one of their best- shimmering guitars and a satirical lyric asking if the murder of Abel by Cane would inspire copycat killings, at a time when the tabloid press asked the same question but about TV and film rather than the bible. There’s a nice compilation album That’s All Very Well But… which is worth getting if you can find it (or you can download it from emusic).

McCarthy_02_Should The Bible Be Banned.mp3

Stereolab ‘Les Yper Yper Sound’

Stereolab- I’m no expert. Liked what I heard but never got into it in a buy-loads-of-records way. There was a 3 cd box-set called Oscillons From An Anti-Sun I bought and this was on it. I think it’s a remix of a single Les Yper Sound. This is something else. 5 minutes of krautrocking rhythm and lounge-techno noises and buzzes. I’ve been rediscovering Saint Etienne recently,through the re-released and expanded Foxbase Alpha and So Tough albums, and in the liner notes Bob Stanley said they offered Stereolab a split single at some point in the 90s. Stereolab turned it down because they were worried it would chart. That’s either admirable or stupid but either way I like it.

03 Les Yper Yper Sound.wma