LA label Not Not Fun has, over the past couple of years, built itself into one of the most interesting independent left-field label of recent times. Putting out great records this year alone from Peaking Lights, Maria Minerva, Dylan Ettinger and more, it’s a consistent source of forward-thinking takes on psychedelia. Dance-oriented sub-label 100% Silk which started up in January has also been putting out some of this year’s strongest EPs and singles, with records from Gillette, Cuticle, Ital and (again) Maria Minerva demonstrating the crossover possibilities of noise and dance. Having released a collaboration record with Ital, we asked Amanda Brown (LA Vampires), who is one half of the label, to tell us something about an area of music and video she finds interesting. She chose songs on soundtracks. Read her thoughts below.
This song is undeniable; the intro alone (fingersnaps, solo-ing keys, back-up vocables all leading to the crucial bass-y beat drop) is worth the price of the soundtrack. And the soundtrack is GOOD (thank you LaFace Records), but it’s only when you SEE the Dawn that you fully understand their jazz-beat tribal-futurism – every one of their videos is retro-romantic eye candy. That’s what makes this the most bizarre meshing ever – Eddie Murphy’s dull un-funny face superimposed over rippling water and a piano player twinkling on a baby grand in front of a giant projection of the film (which is also humorless, and if I remember correctly, quite loveless too) intercut with shots of turtlenecked dancers and a wet, shiny, naked babe (Dawn classics). The result: sounds like buttery heaven, looks like utter confusion.
The nostalgia coming off this song is so potent, it makes me want to hang out with a 30 year-old version of my mom. I still work on my Michael McDonald impression daily, and Britt often likes to screw up Doobie Bros. lyrics just to make me laugh, but nothing is quite the crack-up cake-taker like this head-scratching video from ’86. Starts off traditional – that soundtrack-y route of shoving random clips together a la movie trailer – then moves into the realm of surreality, as we find McDonald and co-stars Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal getting down at this Carribean-themed dive bar. But it gets better. By the end, they’re full on goofing around, lip-synching, synchronized dancing, mugging with props… I remember thinking Billy Crystal was funny, but don’t remember how long ago. I have no recollection of this movie, though my best friend Ben swears he’s seen it. From the video, I’d say it looks like the most exciting movie ever made.
The holy WTF trinity of this song, video, and movie is enough to get Frusciante back on the stuff. Flea shines brightest on this incredible ‘Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik’ outtake (you picked Sir Psycho Sexy over this? Really!?), from a time when the Funky Monks were the coolest thing in LA. And clearly from a time when the world wanted a Coneheads movie. What I love about this match-made-in-ridiculousness is Kiedis’ take on the whole thing – Coneheads as freak-show oddities? They’re aliens, Anthony. But if you want fire-breathers and snake charmers and black and white circus bru-ha bullshit, then no one should stand in your way. I love how much of an after-thought it is to stick a cone head on an extra and tell him his motivation is “isolation.” A Chris Farley cameo… and LOOK! Is that a young Will Ferrell? Oh, no, that’s just Chad Smith in a top hat. Amazing scatting, as always, and goddamn if that Frusc guitar part isn’t soul-squeezing.
Obviously “Lovefool” is the more recognizable song, from the more respectable movie soundtrack, and much like Leo, the tune has beautifully aged like a fine blue cheese. But. This is the better video, with the better concept, and I even remember buying this stupid EP specifically because I thought being a Mod and looking like Twiggy was cool. Commonly, a known video was re-released to coincide with the film, and thusly repackaged like the two were always linked. But here’s some soundtrack vid brilliance: forget the clips; they’re lame and silly, forget the film’s actors; they’re beyond lame and sadly un-silly, but keep the theme, embrace the vibe, and do it with class. The Swingin’ Euro 60s… long, boring sigh. And at this point, we’re still years off from CQ. But I just love the Swedish cheekiness, the vintage play-acting, and seriously, Jay Roach could learn a thing or two from a soft-focus, Karenina-cute version of this era. Also, there’s the upside to circumventing any reference to Mike Myers or that god-awful Shagaledic late 90s hysteria. And now that the world’s been Don Draperized, this video seems worthy of a kitschy comeback. “Do I make you horny, baby?” Barf. “Come on and love me now.” Applause.
Everything about this hurts. It kills me that I love this song, when I hate “rock,” “rockin’,” “rockin’ out,” and that all shit. It kills me that I still worship this movie even though I know what the aughts brought to Cameron Crowe – endless schmoopiness. And it literally KILLS me that I only ever saw this video on TV once, early in the morning, sandwiched between a VH1 block of Toni Braxton and Richard Marx. I think you’re supposed to feel like this video was shot on the set of the film – the extras are thirty-something Seattle perfect – but it clearly wasn’t. The only actor they could get was Jeremy Piven – who, back then, was criminally underused in even his most memorable moments – which seems in retrospect like a total revelation; thanks to Entourage, he’s the only one from the flannel Plaid-Pack anyone’s kept up with. If you consider the fact that every other important song on this soundtrack is straight-up grunge, Paul Westerberg and his video both seem like a light-hearted lark. But I guess it all fits right in with the Crowe aesthetic, that hidden bit of hope and heart. Just think: in a few more years we won’t know this shit from the real 90s and there’s something inherently trippy about that.