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Feature Crush: C.D. On Songs, 08/04/09

August 4, 2009

The Hammond Group – “You Touched It!”

It was 20 years ago today that Mike Patton and the rest of Faith No More teased us that “It’s in your face, but you can’t grab it.” Whatever “it” was or is, we’ve apparently touched it now, and the Hammond Group is bouncing up and down and pointing fingers, intoning that “You touched it!”
This song has an overall sing-songy and teasing tone. The lo-fi transistor organ “Nyer-Nyer-Nyer!” loops make it sound as if the keyboardist is somehow wagging his wingers from his ears like antlers and playing at the same time. Even the buzzy hits of guitar seem accusatory, like some weird, repeating alarm that goes off whenever one disregards the “Do Not Touch” sign.
The vocals have the gleeful defiance of an unruly preschooler that takes delight in someone else doing something wrong, repeatedly intoning “You touched it!” until the listener either agrees to never touch it again or decides to repeatedly touch it. Whether this song means something or is 1:43 of purposeful obnoxia, the world may never know.

From the very beginning, “Universal Love” features a universal and almost seamless flow in every sense of the word. The beginning of this track is so smooth that it’s almost hard to identify. It simply seems as if we have faded into a song already in progress, yet have missed nothing.
This is a comment on the band’s overall sound in “Universal Love.” The instrumentation remains largely unchanged – a distantly ethereal background vocal, a close and softly intimate lead vocal in trade-off parts, a few ringy guitars echo in both foreground and background. The end result is soothing without being sleepy. There is an energetic presence in this song that is simply hard to pin down.
If they, for some reason, release another Trainspotting soundtrack album, this track seems like it would find itself right at home in the listing. The song does have a pulse, but it’s not at one specific point in sound – it’s more an overall sensation, like this song is occurring in some other dimension and we’re just tapped in through a wormhole in the continuum. Whatever the case may be, our plane of existence is enriched by this song, so we should be pleased with whatever astral confluence has brought it to us.

Televandals – “Good For Nothing”
The whole “alternative isn’t alternative” anymore argument/joke is so tired that not even Gallagher will touch it (he’d rather smash watermelons, and rightfully so). So what do we make of a band like Televandals that takes the almost 30-year-old term “new wave” and somehow makes the wave sound new again? If you had no contingency plan for this occurence, it’s time to make one up if Televandals’ “Good For Nothing” is any sort of indication.
This song is a mishmash of sound, as if the hazy early musical memories of someone with extremely hip parents were somehow uploaded into the multitrack machine which consequently spat out “Good For Nothing” like an Everlasting Gobbstopper. This song has the shiny guitar jangle of The Violent Femmes, the anthemic fist-pumping of The Clash and a whole mess of other inputs and outputs from late-’70s/early-’80s FM radio.
While this song has the shiny, snazzy new-wave packaging, it still displays one of the hallmarks of a good song: it takes you somewhere. The piece has an overall arc, from the almost tentative early strains of guitar through the boisterous vocal presence to an ending which is nigh anthemic – almost every ear will find someone to hitch onto within the 4-minute-ish run of the inappropriately titled “Good For Nothing.”

Want to submit your band’s song to C.D. On Songs?

To be reviewed in a C.D. On Songs column:
  • Be a Boston-based band/artist.
  • Email a single mp3/m4a/etc. (or a download link to one) to cdonsongs (at) gmail (dot) com, with the subject line “C.D. on Songs” (DO NOT send us a bunch of songs and make us pick, we will ignore you). We require a file – not a streaming link.
  • Include album cover art if you have any. If you don’t, a band photo or logo is acceptable.
  • We will assume that we have your permission to make the song downloadable on Boston Band Crush (readers will want to hear it, after all).
  • If that’s not ok with you, say so and provide us with a link to the song on an embeddable player like ReverbNation – something we can include in the post (and not just link to).

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