Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Public Service Broadcasting – Gagarin

To infinity and beyond…


Mo Kim: If more public service broadcasting sounded like this, elevators would be a lot more fun.

Ian Mathers: If I’ve never heard of a band here I make a point not to look them up until I’ve at least started listening to the song. This is largely because most bio/press stuff is so bad I’d hate to pre-emptively condemn perfectly good music. In this case, it wouldn’t have made a difference; I’d be annoyed enough that these doofs couldn’t think of anything more interesting to do with the riches at their disposal but graft it onto limp white funk (the scare quotes are implied). Even if the execution wasn’t milquetoast as hell, there are just so many more interesting things they could have done with all the historical material.

Maxwell Cavaseno: The Shadows is the only instrumental rock band that deserved to live, because they never mistook rock in its instrumental form as anything worth getting excited about.

Brad Shoup: A neat combination of plastic prog-funk and that 30-year-old Cold War moment when musicians started poking their heads out of the bomb shelter. I love the trebly countermelody, and the brass is credibly plump. Yeah, the first half is definitely a bit “wait for Chuck Brown to come out for the encore,” but it starts to levitate from there, and there’s even a decent break.

Anthony Easton: I think they might actually believe the hype, and as much as I am glad that the internet provides endless salt mines of (once unexamined and now overly examined) kitsch, using propaganda to remake propaganda, especially the false optimism of the cold war and the space race, is as mockable as the assholes who are really into chap hop. Disregard this if they are brilliantly taking the piss, which they might be.

Will Adams: In seventh grade my space-obsessed teacher Dr. Schultz made the whole class watch SpaceCamp, an ’80s flick in which a group of wide-eyed, big-haired kids visits the titular camp in Huntsville, Alabama and accidentally gets launched into space. Even my jaded pre-teen self cringed less at that film’s corniness than I did at “Gagarin.”

W.B. Swygart: 1) Bruno Mars really does carry “Uptown Funk,” doesn’t he? 2) How many years ago did that Avalanches album come out now? 3) I am, in all likelihood, gonna have “Junior Kickstart” played at my funeral. Assorted reasons, but mostly ‘cos the idea came to me one day several months ago and it just really seemed to fit. I also feel like it would annoy people but in a kind of way that they would have come to expect from me over the years. They’d hear it and think, “Yes, this is pretty much in character for him.” It’d work with the vibe. 4) “Gagarin” isn’t as good as any of those records — it’s a bit too one-note, and the samples just don’t really do anything beyond writing the theme of today’s lesson on the blackboard — but in a sub-300 capacity venue? Yeah, I’d be dancing.

Alfred Soto: “19” wasn’t good either.

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