Saturday, November 2, 2013

November 2, 2013 CHIRP Radio Show -- The Sparks-travaganza (Show #181)


On November 6 and 7 of this week, Sparks will be playing Chicago. The last time they played here? In 1983. I was there for that show (opening for Rick Springfield) and they were well on their way to becoming my all-time favorite band. In honor of their long awaited return to Chicago, I decided to turn this week's show into a Sparks-travaganza. So I deviated a bit from CHIRP's format, while still playing plenty of new and local music, to play Sparks tunes, covers of Sparks tunes and other songs that somehow related to Sparks. It was a blast and I can't wait, after traveling to New York City, London and Los Angeles to see them, to only have to take the el to see them this time. I have added annotations to explain how many of these songs were connected to Sparks.

9:01 AM Neko Case • Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth • Middle Cyclone • ANTI- (Sparks cover of tune from Propaganda album)

9:03 AM Sparks • My Other Voice • No. 1 In Heaven • Elektra

9:08 AM Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin • Ms. Dot • Fly By Wire • Polyvinyl

9:12 AM Cameron McGill • Everybody Hold On • Gallows Ettiquette • Post-Important

9:15 AM The Go-Go's • Yes Or No • Talk Show • I.R.S. (Go-Go's guitarist Jane Wiedlin, who dueted with Sparks on their minor hit Cool Places, co-wrote this song with Ron and Russell Mael)

9:20 AM The Equals • The Skies Above • Baby Come Back • RCA (request)

9:24 AM R. Stevie Moore • Fletcher Honorama • The Future Is Worse Than The Past • Megaphon (Cover of song on Sparks' debut album and my favorite song from that album)


9:27 AM The Futureheads • The No. 1 Song In Heaven • Rant • Nul (A capella cover of Sparks' influential electro-disco hit from 1979)

9:31 AM Botany • Simple Creatures With Ryat • Lava Diviner (Truestory) • Western Vinyl

9:37 AM Earle Mankey • Mau Mau • Earle Mankey • Frigidisk (Solo song from original member of Halfnelson/Sparks, who went on to become an engineer and producer of lots of cool records)

9:40 AM The Beach Boys • Roller Skating Child • Love You • Brother (Engineered by that Earle Mankey fellow)

9:43 AM Mickey & The Soul Generation • Football • Iron Leg: The Complete Mickey & The Soul Generation • Cali-Tex

9:48 AM Mark Lanegan • You Only Live Twice • Imitations • Vagrant

9:51 AM Sparks • Suburban Homeboy • Lil' Beethoven • Palm Pictures (Played a b-side version with Ron Mael narrating the lyrics over the music and backing vocals)

9:55 AM Telex • Sigmund Freud's Party • Sex • PVC (Belgian synth-pop band, Ron and Russell Mael wrote the lyrics)


9:57 AM Hollows • Up & Down • Vulture • Trouble In Mind

10:02 AM The Dirtbombs • Sherlock Holmes • We Have You Surrounded • In the Red (Detroit garage band covers track from Sparks' Angst In My Pants, the Sparks album I've played more than any other)

10:05 AM Sparks • Girl From Germany • A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing • Bearsville

10:08 AM Elsinore • Life Inside An Elephant • PUSH/PULL • Parasol

10:14 AM William Steffey • Belfast • Belfast single • Aquariphone

10:18 AM Martin Gordon • Hit Him On The Head (With a Hammer) • The Baboon In The Basement • Radiant Future (Gordon played bass on Sparks' classic Kimono My House album. He went on to form Jet and Radio Stars, play scad of sessions, and eventually make witty power pop solo records)

10:21 AM Ra Ra Riot • Saccharin and the War • Boy • Barsuk (cover of song from eponymous debut of Halfnelson...who soon changed their name to Sparks, and the Halfnelson debut was reissued as Sparks' eponymous debut)

10:27 AM Big Hello • In My Mind • Orange Album • Break-Up! (This Chicago band featured Brad Elvis and Chloe Orwell, now of The Handcuffs. Brad is a major Sparks fan and wrote the lyrics to this track, which name checks Ron and Russell Mael)

10:30 AM William Onyeabor • Fantastic Man • World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who is William Onyeabor? • Luaka Bop

10:34 AM Hilly Michaels • Russian Girls • Lumia • Warner Bros. (Hilly played drums on Sparks' Big Beat album and made two fizzy power pop records in the '80s, though this is more of a synth-pop number)

10:39 AM Sparks • At Home, At Work, At Play • Two Hands One Mouth Live In Europe • Lil' Beethoven

10:43 AM Sara Savery • Sonoe • The Diver • DPC

10:46 AM Christopher Milk • The Tough Kids • Some People Will Drink Anything • Reprise (Surly Ralph and John Mendelssohn from this band were early members of the forerunner of Sparks, Halfnelson, leaving before the sole Halfnelson album. Mendelssohn went on to write for Creem Magazine, among other things)

10:50 AM Poli├ža • Matty • Shulamith • Mom + Pop

10:55 AM Gemma Ray • How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? • Island Fire • Bronze Riot (Contemporary British singer-songwriter covered two Sparks tunes on a 45 that were appended as bonus tracks to this CD. This song was originally on the 2002 Sparks album Lil' Beethoven, which re-established them a significant artistic force)

11:00 AM Sparks • Tips For Teens • Whomp That Sucker • RCA (This is the first Sparks song I ever heard. I was hooked right away)

11:04 AM 20/20 • Yellow Pills • 20/20 • Portrait (One of my all-time favorite songs, this power pop classic was produced by original Sparks member Earle Mankey)

11:08 AM Boldy James • Bold • My 1st Chemistry Set • Decon

11:13 AM Dean Wareham • Air • Emancipated Hearts EP • Sonic Cathedral

11:16 AM Siouxsie & The Banshees • This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us • Through The Looking Glass • Geffen (The legendary post-punk goth band did a nice job covering Sparks' first big hit single in the UK, and still the song that is their calling card)

11:19 AM NOMO • Nu Tones • New Tones • Ubiquity

11:25 AM Mark Burgess and Yves Altana • Moon Over Kentucky • Sin • Dead Dead Good (Burgess is the lead singer for the great British post-punk band The Chameleons. This is a cover of a song off of Sparks' first masterpiece, their second album, A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing)

11:29 AM The Electric Peanut Butter Company • Mono Man • Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Vol. 2 • Ubiquity

11:31 AM Gleaming Spires • A Christian Girl's Problems • Walk On Well Lighted Streets • PVC (The four members of Gleaming Spires also played in Sparks from 1981 through 1984)

11:36 AM Cave • Shikaakwa • Threace • Drag City

11:41 AM Jet • It Would Be Good • Jet • CBS (Fans of Sparks' glam rock era material would probably also like Jet. Former Sparks bass player Martin Gordon wrote the tunes for Jet and, of course, played bass)

11:43 AM Cockeyed Ghost • I Wish I Was A Girl • The Scapegoat Factory • Big Deal (Original Sparks member Earle Mankey engineered this track from a swell L.A. power pop band)

11:49 AM Sparks • Amateur Hour • Kimono My House • Island (Second smash hit from Sparks' breakthrough album)

11:52 AM Epicycle • Residential Area • You're Not Gonna Get It: 1978-81 • HoZac

11:55 AM The Quick • My Purgatory Years • Mondo Deco • Mercury (This L.A. band really, really tried hard to sound like Sparks. No wonder they got original Sparks member Earle Mankey to co-produce the record with legendary crackpot and Runaways svengali Kim Fowley)


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