The other day I dreamed about Jack White. We weren't doing what I'd thought we'd be doing if I dreamed about Jack White. In the dream, we were at a beautiful modern house, but a huge one - a sort of Fallingwater-as-a-condo - with his cronies (whom I didn't recognize).
Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater
Someone asked me something about becoming an American, and I said, "I've learned so much about California from songs."
Dream Jack White said, "Who gave you permission to learn history from music?"
I said, "Learning is enhanced when you utilize multiple modalities. A song is as legitimate as a text.'
Dream Jack White retorted, "It's totally illegitimate!" And walked out.
I'm still trying to work out why anyone might feel that way. I've forgotten what I had in mind in the dream - something obscure and pointless, I'm sure - but the Beach Boys, the Eagles and Frank Zappa were my foundation in understanding California and even after more than twenty years here, I still find myself going back to their frames of references to understand what I'm seeing.
A day later, Aquarium Drunkard offered a download of their Companion Mix 1 and I was delighted to learn the first part of it seemed to be from bands whose esthetic hailed from Manchester but whose aspirations were to enjoy the California surf. (I come from Leeds, not Manchester, but despite our 500 years or so at war with each other, as far as the rest of the world cares, we're indistinguishable, so I count this as a close enough match.) The similarity to my dream is quite uncanny.
I liked many of the tunes. A bunch struck me, old person that I am, as Joy Division taking on the surf scene. (e.g. Daydream by the Beach Fossils.) Or Annette Funicello singing with the Jesus and Mary Chain. I loved the sampler.. at least until the later stages when it seemed to veer into the mild, hopeless and shapeless folk music that American bands seem to hit upon as default, as though tuneless folk was the sticky-backed plastic drawer-lining in the brain of the average teen American.
Love Catholic Pagans' Surfer Blood, a Weezer-style work out that begins, "Never could/be still for long/and I could never hold a job/coupled with a weakness for cocaine/and liquor..."
How can you not love that?
Honorable mention to Fake Blues, by Real Estate, the answer to the question, "What would the Blues sound like to someone who only knows how to play Chopsticks on piano?" The answer is a chart hit.
More than honorable mention to the Condo Fucks, who take on one of my fave tracks, The Beach Boys' 'Shut Down'. Execution gets three out of ten (seems to be a real garage band in a real garage) but 10/10 in attitude and 13/10 in in-your-faceness.
There's a second sampler here, but I haven't listened to it yet.