Out of Obscurity

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EI3 Monk Turner “God Complex” & Leslie Hall “Songs in the Key of Gold”

Purchase our album picks on Bandcamp:  https://monkturner.bandcamp.com/album/god-complex

& https://lesliehall.bandcamp.com/


Structure:  Robert introduces MT (0:53-8:38); Creative Commons & personal feedback on demos, “making-of” videos, collaboration(8:38-17:10); Concept albums of MT & compared to Holst’s “The Planets” (17:10-25:37) Stylistic variety on one album & individual songs on “God Complex” (25:37-42:22) gods & goddesses, genders of vocalists, looking for inspiration & songs “about characters” sung from their perspective concluding thoughts on the album, receptiveness to recommendations & RIYLs (42:22-49:27) Discography quantity & quality over 25+ albums & Robert’s favorite MT albums, Robert rates numerically in comparison to MT’s other albums (49:27-53:36) DJ Poseur is critical, Robert defends, & agreement to disagree (53:36-56:55) Transition between MT & LH, concept Vs. novelty Vs. comedy albums in general, “Name Your Price” Vs. free on Bandcamp, Bandcamp browsing strategies (56:55-1:05:01)  LH’s viral popularity > MT’s obscurity but both are relatable, The physicality of pop music, the “outsider music” question (1:05:01-1:10:20) “Songs in the Key of Gold”, music videos, Robert compares to Weird Al, original Vs. remixes, rediscovering pop of the past, ironic Vs. unironic listening (1:10:20-1:20:54) “the look” of a pop star & giving the people what they want in performances (1:20:54-1:26:08) Individual songs after a little more on MT (1:26:08-1:30:36) body positivity, full album conclusions, RIYLs (1:30:36-1:36:13) Ratings for LH (1:36:13)


Monk Turner is RIYL:  biographical rap battles of historical figures (ERB of History).  Tree-planting streaming services like streambystream.com , plantatreemusic.com , Pitch Black Manor, Kids of Widney High, Neon & Nude, Disney showtunes


Leslie Hall is RIYL:  Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, electronic pop & dance/house music, Felix Da Housecat (but she namedrops Britney & Beyonce), Kevin Blechdom, Chicks on Speed


https://nardwuar.com/nardwuar-vs-leslie-hall/ nardwuar interview with Leslie Hall.  Leslie Hall’s highly assured body positivity has a thematic list on Ranker https://www.ranker.com/list/songs-about-being-fat/ranker-music   But of course DJ Poseur prefers his much more obscure mix, leading w/ her absolutely one-of-a-kind, brilliant music video for “Tight Pants/Body Rolls” https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCBeakfAKFQapdqtvHBRDyZ9HQdx2IeFs   


We mention in passing Little Big’s “Sex Machine” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VDzezv7atU  &  Larry Groce’s “Junk Food Junkie” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7oOhMlsfeQ  Soundtrack to “Xanadu” https://www.allmusic.com/album/xanadu-original-motion-picture-soundtrack-mw0000313750   The aptly named Brave Combo https://www.allmusic.com/artist/brave-combo-mn0000933281 & the enduring appreciation of “Seven Ways” https://www.allmusic.com/album/seven-ways-mw0000601078


For those too young to get the reference, the question is posed whether LH’s album might serve the same purpose as Richard Simmons’ “Sweatin’ to the Oldies,” updated for the 21st century https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Awsp0L4WLxU


Robert’s glowing review of “God Complex” http://www.imaginaryplanet.net/weblogs/idiotprogrammer/2016/03/monk-turners-god-complex-a-suburban-rock-opera-with-mythical-overtones-review/

is accompanied by extensive coverage of Monk Turner’s sizable body of work http://www.imaginaryplanet.net/weblogs/idiotprogrammer/2011/06/monk-turner-la-song-writer-and-concept-album-creator/ .  His favorite album is “Love Story” https://monkturner.bandcamp.com/album/love-story .  Podcast interview w/ MT https://archive.org/details/170723MusicManumitPodcast/170723-music-manumit-podcast.mp3 .   Making-of videos about “God Complex” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJnmYWQerpc&list=PLz_TltsG83Liz6_pU2O7LsexPK2XCL-rr&index=1 .  Robert also recommends Live performance of Monk Turner and his sometimes collaborator Alanna Lin singing a song from Emergency https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOCFAlbRBrQ  Monk's on guitar.

(Alanna did not do any of the tracks in God Complex) Might he be MT’s biggest fan (on the internet at least)?


South Park’s take on conceptual Rob Schneider movies:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iS9H9WPPDS8 The AV Club includes concept albums in its yearly feature on the “least essential” music, starting w/ the whole decade of the 90s (see around the middle of the article for the take-down of lame concept albums) https://www.avclub.com/least-essential-albums-of-the-90s-1798208448


Robert hears similarities between Leonard Cohen’s “Future” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VAxwimExn0 & MT’s Hades’ song.  Rick & Morty S3E9 on “The Hunt” as a complement to Artemis’ song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y201T3OXZg .  Some more “obscure gods” not featured are listed here:  https://mythnerd.com/most-random-obscure-and-unknown-greek-gods-and-goddesses/


The “outsider” & production values questions (to be revisited in future episodes), posed by Kids of Widney High https://www.youtube.com/c/TheKidsofWidneyHighOfficialYouTubeChannel

DJ Poseur has an ongoing, similar beef w/ DJ Keep Roomie about how much to praise & how to appreciate the Young@Heart Chorus https://www.youtube.com/user/youngatheartchorus

Maybe we’ll hash out ironic listening, whether outsider originals or outsider covers of hits are “better” in a future scheduled digression.


DJ Poseur mentions a preference for Har Mar Superstar over both of this episode’s picks (for being very slightly more subtle & better produced/more listenable), though he’s too famous to be featured.  He furthermore appreciates the non-ironic indie sound of Sean Na Na, but these two music videos are, in his humble opinion, a perfect combination of the sex appeal & fantasy pop stardom this episode’s picks aspire to:  “Prisoner” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgHEeYIV62w & “DUI” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSMCNLpgZ5o

DJ Poseur is a snobbidy snob snob.

Obscurity Quiz Concept Albums

Robert Nagle (idiotprogrammer) is a contestant for a third time in a quick conversation about some seminal concept albums from the 60s & the first decade of the 21st century.  

We fixate a bit on The Beatles, leading DJ Poseur to bring up the “Almost Beatles” record art at the Archive of Contemporary Music https://arcmusic.org/galleries/almost-beatles/

Preview of Peter Jackson's "Get Back" https://youtu.be/UocEGvQ10OE?t=84 

Consider this a preview of topics to be considered in the upcoming episode on Monk Turner & Leslie Hall.

EI2: Onuka “Mozaïka” & Mireia Vilar “La Plaga”

This episode features two “unpopular pop” albums.  One from a group who apparently survive on viral word of mouth in Eastern Europe, and the 2nd a 2019 album translated as “The Plague” that in a just world would have spread more than Covid-19 or at least should be one of those globally prescient coincidences for future music historians to unearth someday.


Purchase our album picks on Bandcamp https://mireiavilar.bandcamp.com/

or eMusic https://www.emusic.com/album/150248559/ONUKA/MOZAKA



Official sites:  http://www.onuka.ua/en/



YouTube channels (please use them only for the music videos and buy the albums):  https://www.youtube.com/user/onukaofficial   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdLwWPkbw7jpwwGPNMvkGgw


Structure:  Basic specs for “Mozäika” & Robert explains Eurovision (up to 9:08) Live and studio versions, Onuka’s views on Russia as a Ukrainian, the insular American pop music market & its imperviousness to Eurovision, contrast w/ U.S. music/singing pageantry, Robert on the “love fest” of Eurovision (9:08-15:50) Is competition good for music?  Does it make the music better or just more conformative? Robert on pop voices and yet more Eurovision details, “winning” versus “losing” the contests, telegenic appearances, must a pop diva be able to belt out and hold a single note? (15:50-24:20) The joys of liner notes & other merits of “Mozaïka”, variety and popularity of the album (24:20-27:28) Onuka’s “Strum” music video & a detailed description of a very short song/interlude via Chernobyl architecture, pop music & militarism, “Golos” & “Guns Don’t Shoot”, human sincerity with electronics, Ukraine’s geopolitics (27:28-34:08) Robert praises individual songs & gives RIYLs (34:08-38:56) Reviews on eMusic, DJ Poseur’s album summary, Onuka’s music videos, lack of professional reviews, comparison to the self-entitled album (38:56-43:31) Ratings (43:31-45:48) Transition between album picks, YouTube views disparity, Synth/dream/space pop?,  (45:48-49:30) Pop music, popular music, chart music, yacht rock, production convergence & conformity, nostalgia for certain time periods (49:30-56:01) Robert starts to opine on MV & gets steered back to obscure, “unpopular pop” & regional versus global popularity & whether there’s a single global (Western) style of pop music today.  How globally popular must a song be to pierce the USA?  Other media introduce new music and popularize it.  Being a fan w/out hope of seeing someone perform.  Foreign languages, time versus place influences in pop styles. (56:01-1:05:44) Mireia Vilar’s “La Plaga” & very literary lyrics in “Estado de Flow”  & other lyrical interpretations of individual songs on the album (1:05:44-1:11:56) Robert’s favorite song of the year & his RIYLS for MV.  Lyrical poetry listening versus general pop listening.  One person can make a difference w/ a review if no one else has? Music videos and performance videos, simplicity of composition.  Demographics & music markets. (1:11:56-1:21:10) Other songs on the album.  MV’s evolution from previous album and her future, would this work w/ a live audience? (1:21:11-1:26:33) RIYLs, mostly other obscure artists for fans of MV (1:26:33-1:27:52) Ratings (1:27:52)


Onuka is RIYLShuma, Bjork, Boomclap Bachelors, Jorane, La Roux, Линда (Linda from Kazakhstan)


Mireia Vilar is RIYL… SingerSen, Orbital, Goldfrapp, Beach House, other Spanish synth-pop?, Mow, Jeanette, Suzanne Vega, Enya

The RIYL Spanish band Mow is impossible to find w/out more of a lead, so try their music video for “Grasiah” here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92YtTynOyAM 


Onuka interview 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsrjjQmC364 


George Gittoes’ “Soundtrack to War” https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0470161/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0 


MV has a special treat for psychologists…   Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. 


Robert thinks Onuka sounds like Linda, Kazakh pop star from the 1990s


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_(singer), as well as Shuma, the Belarussian band https://youtu.be/K7VBU1TZwCo

Skryabin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skryabin_(band)  1997 album https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idGFNH0T6OA  , Lyube https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyube   https://www.emusic.com/album/123498320  , 

and MV sounds like Jeanette https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAe0gyrDSyg 


Laibach’s “Volk” album of national anthems https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_kxo4FIzLWoQPV-V-gUEycoRKKpWUWVI9E 


Eurovision:  Eurovision likes to laugh at itself, so they made this great music video to explain Eurovision to newbies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv6tgnx6jTQ&list=PLUczN3tkUHz7fi-jV2ab0oA8mQQXmqWUk&index=2 (the people who participate in the performance are all previous winners -- including the MC's!)

epic sax guy from Eurovision

https://youtu.be/pHXDMe6QV-U Moldava scored next to last place, and then 5 years later they made a meme out of him and literally epic sax guy was the most anticipated act in 2019!

Eurovision vigorously geo-blocks youtube content from USA.

idiotprogrammer’s blog:  http://www.imaginaryplanet.net/weblogs/idiotprogrammer/ 

Obscurity Quiz Europop Divas with Idiotprogrammer

As a preview for Idiotprogrammer's 2nd episode of OoO on "unpopular pop music," we take a brief look at some of Europe's most popular female vocalists since the 1980s.  We have differing views on which we'd actually choose to listen to today and whether we'd prefer any of them over our episode's album picks, neither of which is listed in All Music Guide, as ever the measurement standard for the quiz.

EC1: The Faint “Danse Macabre” & Nurses “Dracula” w/ Ced

Purchase album picks on Bandcamp: https://thefaint.bandcamp.com/album/danse-macabre-deluxe-edition-remastered 



Nurses’ 2017 follow-up is on Bandcamp on a “name your price” basis and should be owned by everyone w/ the faintest interest in experimental, electronic pop music or edgy music in general:  https://nurses.bandcamp.com/album/naughtland    .  The music video for the “single” from the album, “Fortress”, is excellent, involving a Portland queer art collective:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bq2zcdjA7Ps 


Structure:  Ced’s thoughts on “Danse Macabre” (up to 2:36); Songs versus albums, owning versus streaming (2:36-4:10); Ced’s consideration of song themes & genre on “Danse Macabre” and an explanation of the appeal of the controversial “Agenda Suicide” & his legal background/rejection of capitalism (4:10-8:37); Does dance music age well?  Ced’s nostalgia & general taste in music (8:37-10:30); The possibility of dying before 40 & how “successful” are The Faint as a band? Oberlin memories & Beach House connection.  Ced the indie rock partisan was there before the bands hit the big time.  Recommending music to friends & loved ones.  Selling out as a hipster concern  (10:30-19:14).  Black and dark but not goth.  Electronic dance punk as a style of music w/ consideration of imitators & “derivative” sounds.  Cel’s current musical interests & uses for music, his appreciation of Spotify, and his intensity.  (19:14-24:40)  Side projects of The Faint & Wolf Parade, thoughts on the discography (or at least other favorite songs).  Leaving it to Spotify & what makes a good or bad song, thoughts on very popular music.  Artist compensation on streaming services  (24:40-33:50).  The deluxe version’s additional tracks.  Spotify playlists as an existential threat to the album.  Relative concerns of artist compensation versus existential threats to humanity, democracy, etc. (33:51-37:35).  RIYL The Faint (37:35-40:56).  Ratings for “Danse Macabre” (40:56-41:42).  Transition between album picks & Cel’s initial thoughts on “Dracula” (41:42-45:02).  The importance of a good live show and whether we’d ever go to a concert “blind” today (45:02-48:04).  Basic specs for “Dracula” & hypotheses for the ongoing obscurity of Nurses.  Music Ced doesn’t like and reasons to remember names of musicians/bands (48:04-52:53).  “Best-of” lists on Pitchfork & elsewhere, favorites from the 2010s (52:53-58:45).  Ced is a fan of Dracula.  Reviews of the album. DJ Poseur heaps praise on “Dracula”, albums where songs connect to each other (1:03 ish).   Nurses discography, Spotify’s algorithm & the lure of the obscure for DJ Poseur, putting the kibosh on Kanye conversation.  RIYLs (1:04:01-1:09:05).  Ratings for “Dracula” (1:09:05 to end).


RIYL The Faint - Supersystem, Mobius Band, The Fever, The Faux, Out Hud/!!!, The Rapture, The Show Is the Rainbow (also NE)


1.3-hr. mix of 20 songs for fans of The Faint:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCBeakfAKFQa3K0yjwO9ZlvZgxSgLsjW5 


Nurses is RIYL - We Ragazzi; Dios (Malos); Shimmering Stars; Animal Collective; Fredrik


I mention that “Dracula” is #2 on my list of favorite albums of the 2010s, in full here:  http://www.omnifoo.info/pages/Favorite%20Superlatives.html#2010s 


The vampire rock band movie from Canada (starring Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, and many more) “Suck” https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1323605/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_5 

Obscurity Quiz with Ced Severino

First-time guest host shares his concert memories, thoughts on fame versus obscurity, with reverences to seminal acts like The Fall, The Smiths, and Neutral Milk Hotel.  Our episode on The Faint's "Danse Macabre" & Nurses "Dracula" will follow soon.

EI1: Many Birthdays “Black Mountain Blue Sea” & 13 Year Cicada “00YES” & “Totem Tongue”

Purchase our album picks on Bandcamp https://manybirthdays.bandcamp.com/album/black-mountain-blue-sea    https://13yearcicadas.bandcamp.com/  

or eMusic https://www.emusic.com/artist/rs_3624495/13-Year-Cicada 


Structure:  The first album pick is an EP and the second is more of a comparison of two albums.  (1:10) Robert’s discovery of & history appreciating Many Birthdays & IUMA music hosting site (5:20) turning Japanese and then less so over their discography (12:24) RIYLs (w/ whom would we “lump” MB?)  (17:20) “Black Mountain Blue Sea” EP thoughts (20:42) Robert’s thoughts on Austin, TX  (23:40) alternative explanations for MB’s obscurity:  the importance of record label support & full albums  (30:35) MB’s many genres and individual songs from the EP, comparisons to Mitchell Froom (35:37) MB’s music videos in comparison to 13 Year Cicada  (41:20) Album ratings for “Black Mountain Blue Sea” & Robert’s thoughts on music reviews and “interesting failures”  (48:38) transitioning to 13 Year Cicada with similarities between the groups  (50:50) 13 Year Cicada’s “00YES” introduction & Robert’s introduction of the band (53:17) RIYLs & reaching for similar sounds to 13 Year Cicada, Robert compares to previous album “Totem Tongue” (57:05) Critics didn’t get the album, “Ride” compared to The Shaggs, other individual tracks from “00YES” (1:01:26) Who is the audience for this audience?  Lyrics to “Squirrel”, video for the new track “What Will You Be Wearing?”, thoughts on individual songs with that song as a bridge between the quiet and loud of their two albums. (1:11:06) Why DJ Poseur prefers “Totem Tongue” & Robert’s preference for “00YES” friendly disagreement, their other music videos (1:13:52) Rating the two albums by 13 Year Cicada


Many Birthdays RIYL:  The Kills, Asobi Seksu, Deerhoof, Trans Am, Sonic Youth, Parts & Labor, IQU, the soundtrack to "Zombies Ate My Neighbors" for SNES, Love Psychedelico, Takako Minekawa & J-Rock generally


13 Year Cicada RIYL:  Pharmakon, Shilpa Ray, The Low Budgets, experimental punk w/ fem. vocals, Animal Collective


My favorite MB music video (for “Days Like Turtles”):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGxrhFljxF0    and one I call lo-fi Cyriak, “Minnawa”:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xlt5CEZ9J8  


A great, new music video for 13 Year Cicada’s “What Will You Be Wearing”:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HCuzpYB7-E 


Media on MB:  https://www.sonicbids.com/band/manybirthdays/  ;   https://www.facebook.com/manybirthdays 


Media reviews of “00Yes”:  Fuze Magazine (Germany)  https://www.ox-fanzine.de/review/13-year-cicada-00yes-117164 ;  https://www.ox-fanzine.de/review/13-year-cicada-00yes-117164


Other media we mention:  IUMA





Mitchell Froom -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitchell_Froom


Gram Rabbit     https://gramrabbit.bandcamp.com/ (ok, maybe this connection is tenuous is best, but Gram Rabbit straddles country and electronica and occasionally punk, such as in this album)




Takako Minekawa  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takako_Minekawa

Obscurity Quiz 1979 with idiotprogrammer

The first three albums are ones that idiotprogrammer mentioned among his all time favorites, and the latter three are DJ Poseur's favorites from that year.  Just imagine that we have the rights to play the hit by Smashing Pumpkins to open and close this obscurity quiz.  A new episode with this guest is coming soon!

SD4: Profile in Music Exploration 1 w/ idiotprogrammer (Robert Nagle)

As OoO matures, it’s expected that DJ Poseur won’t know some guest hosts personally.  After admiring Robert’s work for over a year, this is the first time DJ Poseur and idiotprogrammer met in real time.  The guest shares his thoughts and experiences from a lifetime of going far above and beyond the average listener.

You can find idiotprogrammer’s music blog here:  http://www.imaginaryplanet.net/weblogs/idiotprogrammer/category/music/musical-discoveries/ 

Other links to material covered in the interview… 

the beloved 90-min. synthesizer soundscape:  https://www.jamendo.com/album/6118/electrolongtempo  

Steve Reich “It's Gonna rain” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vugqRAX7xQE


His thoughts on “Sex on the Phone”:   http://www.imaginaryplanet.net/weblogs/idiotprogrammer/2008/06/e-rotic-europop-mindless-sexy-and-embarrassing-and-very-fun/ 

& the song itself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dizyctgh2fM  & another:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjhdxsV7Ng4  

Chinese pop singer g.e.m.:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWtbGkpdoP4

Music in “Ghost World”:  https://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/36002/1/three-things-you-never-knew-about-ghost-world 

EKR4: Stuart Davis “Music for Mortals” & Mashrou Leila “Ibn El Leil”

Purchase options:  “Music for Mortals” http://www.stuartdavis.com/album/music-mortals   “ibn El Leil” https://www.emusic.com/album/84891083/Mashrou-Leila/Ibn-El-Leil 


Structure:  Background on SD (up to 6:13); “Music for Mortals” album:  songs in 3-4 tiers (6:13-16:00) Comparisons & RIYLs for SD and eclectic albums (16:00-25:36) The SD discography & ratings for “Music for Mortals” and whether to focus on one genre per album (25:36-30:31)  Transition between picks (30:31-31:56) “Ibn El Leil” album, openness to the style, the band has faced adversity for its identity, political lyrics, their Tiny Desk concert, different versions and songs repeating appearances, Middle Eastern pop production strictures (31:56-41:23) Song highlights (41:23-47:53) ML discography and RIYLs from the Middle East and the West, Synth-pop examined (47:53-51:59) Ratings and possible appeal beyond a Middle East fanbase (51:59-end)


Hopeful news article on a previous album by SD:  https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/2257208-cd-review-davis-set-become-breakthrough-artist-new-release


Pitchfork called this video for ML’s “Roman” one of the best of the 2010s, and it’s been viewed enough times to make the pick for OoO questionable:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NF__cpsDmZk 


ML lyrics in translation:  https://mashrouleilalyrics.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/the-truth-behind-ibn-el-leil-night-wine-and-gods/


ML banned from performing in Jordan:  https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2016/04/28/moderate-jordan-bans-lebanese-rock-group-for-music-that-contradicts-the-abrahamic-faiths/


Clearly showing religion is not my forte nor the focus of OoO, I misremembered this documentary as being about LGBTQ Muslims rather than Hasidic & Orthodox Jews…still relevant, I suppose, and it’s good to establish a negligent correction policy.  Sorry to anyone who’s offended.  https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/trembling-before-gd 


SD is RIYL:  90s rock, Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, RHCP, Adam Green


ML is RIYL:  Depeche Mode, New Order, Pet Shop Boys


RIYL ML:  A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Dissidenten, Ouzo Bazooka, Jerusalem in My Heart, Aufgang’s “Turbulences” album 

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