Discovery :: Sandie Shaw

Sandie Shaw

Sandie Shaw


So for the last few months, every Wednesday and Saturday nights we make cocktails and watch Transmission on Twitch.
If you don’t know, Transmission is a show produced by DJ Jake Rudh who has been a DJ in Minneapolis for over 20 years and has a regular show on The Current.
Since the pandemic, he started doing shows on Twitch, in which he plays videos from these amazing 80s artists. He specialized “in punk, post-punk, dark wave, new wave, new romantic, synth-pop, dream pop, shoegaze, brit-pop & indie.”

Anyway, I thought I was an 80s music expert and more importantly, an expert on The Smiths. I have been listening since the beginning and I love them.

So imagine my surprise one night, while watching Transmission and Jake played a video of The Smiths song, “Hand in Glove” but instead of Morrissey, it was a woman singing lead. Apparently, this is lore and I just wasn’t aware of it. Back in 1984 when The Smiths played on Top of the Pops (Britain’s version of “American Bandstand”) they performed with Sandie Shaw.

Sandie Shaw was born Sandra Ann Goodrich in Essex England. She’s a very well-known pop star in Britain in the ’60s. You probably know her hit, “Always Something There to Remind Me” but you probably know it by Naked Eyes. I didn’t know Sandie’s but I heard Dionne Warwick’s version growing up, which was before Sandie’s but only by about a year. 
 


According to Wikipedia, in 1983,

“a new phase in her career began after she received a letter from “two incurable Sandie Shaw fans” – singer Morrissey and lead guitarist Johnny Marr of the Smiths – telling her that “The Sandie Shaw legend cannot be over yet – there is more to be done.” Shaw’s husband was a friend of Geoff Travis of Rough Trade Records, the label to which the Smiths were signed, and she agreed to record some of their songs.
In April 1984, her version of “Hand in Glove” (the Smiths’ first single) was released and peaked just inside the UK Top 30.”




She also had a single in 1969, called “Heaven Knows I’m Missing Him Now”, which was the inspiration for The Smiths song, “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”, 15 years later.

I just thought all of this was really interesting and something I had no idea about.


If you’re interested in more, check out her Wiki Page 
Sandie Shaw Official
Sandie Shaw YouTube

Sandie Shaw

Image: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Also come on over to Twitch tonight and each Saturday night to watch 80s videos!!

 

Podcast Rec :: Fairytales for Unwanted Children

Today’s Podcast Recommendation is Fairytales for Unwanted Children. Fairy Tales for Unwanted Children

The episodes are stories written by the host, Scott Thrower. They are wonderfully dark stories with a lesson, a twist, or just food for thought. He ends each episode with “did you find a moral of the story?” and then invites you to go to his Twitter, or the Facebook page for discussion.

The characters rarely have names, but they are very well written personalities. The stories are magical and beautiful. Scott has a lovely soothing voice that I could listen to all day. I tend to listen to these at night to wind down. Then I have to listen again later because I often fall asleep!

Scott is also really great to his supporters. Shortly after I joined the Facebook group and offered to help him copy edit* his new book, he sent me a handwritten letter and a new story he’d written. (*I’m not a copy editor – I wish I was – but he asked fans to help out).

Scott's letter to Amy

He’s very generous to his listeners and readers, letting us get first listens to his new episodes and freebie copies of his books. He also reaches out to fans for story ideas or prompts.

Come on over and join the Facebook group, it’s filled with lovely people who love the podcast and his books and want to support it, and each other. He will sometimes post a scenario and question for fans to comment on, and it’s always interesting to see responses (and his responses to those).

Please listen and consider subscribing on Patreon to support this wonderful podcaster, or you can buy his books on Amazon too (see below).

Just some of my favorite episodes:
28: Ship (the wind falls in love with a ship)
38: The Dragon and the Staircase (an elderly couple take care of a dragon)
42: Pockets (pockets refill themselves)
51: The Woman at the Bar (a stranger leaves a magic coin)
56: Feathers (a man turns into a bird)
The Woodcut series (4 parts 60-63) – this one was also a book. The book is excellent!
67: Dead Man’s Clothes (tattered clothing makes a man rich)
74: Tiny (a tiny village and a large woman)
The Sleep Series (6 parts, 100-105)

 

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Amazon

Official
Instagram – for lots of kitty pix! 
Twitter  
Patreon
Facebook

 

Artist Rec :: Matthew Sweet

Today’s Artist Recommendation is Matthew Sweet!

I’ve been a fan of Matthew Sweet since I heard the song “Girlfriend” off the album of the same name.

Matthew Sweet with guitar, seated

That album was my soundtrack for that whole year it came out. My husband and my bestie both loved it too so we would go see him in concert together often. We have great memories of those shows. Even the one where Matt got food poisoning and had to leave the stage to barf, only to pop back on stage and play another song. What a trouper! His shows are always great.

So I was very pleasantly surprised last week when I got a notification on Facebook that he had just started a livestream from his home. I clicked over and was immediately transported to First Avenue in the 90s. His songs are so comforting to me. His banter was great too. He just seems like such an awesome human.

I’m usually not one to appreciate a guitar or bass line, but with his music, I honestly do appreciate the composition and great guitar playing on his songs. He really rocks!

He’s a beautiful songwriter too. Some of his songs remind me of The Carpenters (“If Time Permits”, for example), while others he shreds like Hendrix (“Sick of Myself”). He’s just so amazing. In one of my favorites, “Thunderstorm” there’s a line, “…and nothing is wrong when it rains, even from my eyes” *sigh*

In doing some research for this feature, I realized that there is not only one volume of Under the Covers, a cover album he did with Susanna Hoffs, but there are THREE!! Vol. 3 is 80s music (my heart). It has covers of “Save it for Later” (English Beat), “Kid” (Pretenders) and “Killing Moon” (Echo and the Bunnyman) for starters. I’m super excited to have found this!

As luck would have it, he also has a new album coming out on the 15th called CatsPaw. You can pre-order it now (and listen to three songs from it right away)

If you are not already a fan of Matthew Sweet, I really recommend checking him out.

**The audio version of this blog post, aka the Podcast, is up now too, just check your regular podcast app or go here. If you want to subscribe but can’t find it in your favorite app, copy and paste this into your app: < https://feeds.redcircle.com/990a2251-82b3-49e3-b3c1-fdee6585d958 > (without the carats)

Some of my favorite songs:
Girlfriend ( Girlfriend. If I’m being honest, ALL the songs on that one)
Sick of Myself (100% Fun)
Time Capsule (Altered Beast)
Thunderstorm (In Reverse) – this one is epic. It has movements!
Trust me, I had to stop or I would just list them all.

 

Links
Official 
Instagram 
Twitter 
Facebookhere’s the livestream
YouTube 

 

Discography
Inside (1986)
Earth (1989)

Girlfriend (1991)
Altered Beast (1993)

Son of Altered Beast (1994)
100% Fun (1995)

Blue Sky on Mars (1997)
In Reverse (1999)

Kimi Ga Suki (2003)
Living Things (2004)

Under the Covers (2006 60s covers)
Sunshine Lies (2008)
Under the Covers Vol.2 (2009 – 70s covers)
Modern Art (2011)
Under the Covers Vol.3 (2013 – 80s covers)
Tomorrow Forever (2017)

Tomorrow’s Daughter (2018)
Wicked System of Things (2018-this one is rare, I can only find it on eBay for $80)
Cat’s Paw (2021)

 

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Amazon

 

NOTE If you are using an Adblocker, you’ll need to pause it for this site, so you can see the albums. It considers these links to be ads. They’re just links to products, but it is through an affiliate program.

Artist Rec :: Gracie and Rachel

Today’s Artist Recommendation is Gracie and Rachel. They’re a fantastic “baroque pop” duo. They’re on Ani DiFranco’s label, Righteous Babe Records.

Gracie and Rachel sitting on the floor

Photo credit Tonje Thilesen


Pianist-vocalist Gracie Coates and violinist Rachel Ruggles met as high schoolers in a modern dance class at their public high school in Berkeley, CA. They are now based in Brooklyn, NY. Lucky for us they live together and have been able to release a new record in 2020. It’s called Hello Weakness, You Make Me Strong and it’s wonderful.

Their music is composed of beautiful pop melodies, piano, violin, and lovely harmonies. Rachel not only plays the violin as you would expect, but she plucks it similar to a guitar. She also plays the loop station and drum machine.

Their music is just so peaceful and what we can all use at this time.

They also do an awesome cover of Sia’s Elastic Heart 

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Amazon

Discography
Hello Weakness, You Make Me Strong (2020)
Gracie and Rachel (2017)
Gracie and Rachel on Audiotree Live

 

NOTE If you are using an Adblocker, you’ll need to pause it for this site, so you can see the albums. It considers these links to be ads. They’re just links to products, but it is through an affiliate program.

Podcast Rec :: 99% Invisible

Today’s Podcast Recommendation is 99% Invisible.

99% Invisible Logo

This is one of the first podcasts I found when I first discovered podcasts in general. I was immediately interested because they’re so well written, and the host, Roman Mars has an amazingly soothing voice.

So the premise is that each episode is a glimpse into the “hidden world of everyday design”. I never once thought about why those benches outside buildings downtown are shaped the way they are. Turns out, they’re designed to be comfortable enough to sit for a bit when you’re waiting for the bus but not so comfortable you sit there all day. (sorry I can’t find which episode this was, if you know, drop it in the comments!)

There’s a fascinating one about where all your recycling goes. It might not be what you think (341: National Sword).

They did a sub-section of episodes that talked about clothing and fashion design that I found interesting as well (Plaid: Articles of Interest #2 and Punk: Articles of Interest #6).

If you were a bit older than me, you might remember houses that you could buy from a catalog and then put together yourself. Yep, from Sears. (323: The House that Came in the Mail).

This podcast is brought to you by the great podcast collective, Radiotopia. There are so many good podcasts on this network, but this is for sure, one at the top for me.

 

Listen on Spotify

 

Listen on Amazon

Official

Instagram
Twitter 

Artist Rec :: Jax

Today’s Artist Recommendation is Jax.

Musician Jax
Jackie Miskanic, known professionally as Jax, is an American singer from East Brunswick, New Jersey. She finished third on the fourteenth season of American Idol. (Wikipedia)

So let me preface this by saying I’m an ‘Old’. I resisted TikTok because when it started, it was marketed to me so heavily through my language learning app (Duolingo) and I found it stupid. I even complained about it on Facebook saying “Stop trying to make TikTok happen! It’s just annoying!” and the comments I got were mostly “what is TikTok?” and “I don’t get those ads, they must be targeting you for some reason”.

Then a certain someone who shall not be named started hating on it, and I thought, that’s good enough for me; I will check it out. And now I’m hooked. I am especially loving all the posts from doctors, chiropractors, nurses, and psychologists with their tips and stuff (see, I told you I’m old). I’ve actually realized that I likely have ADHD though it was never diagnosed. But that’s not why you’re here…

One day while I was scrolling through all the medical posts I happened upon this loveliness. A cute young lady was playing the piano and singing a silly parody song. I just loved her voice. I believe it was THIS ONE 

She writes a lot of short songs from people’s point of view that we maybe haven’t heard: “Bohemian Rhapsody” from “mama’s” perspective; a parody of the old Fountains of Wayne song, “Stacy’s Mom” from the mom’s POV. Very clever.

For a bit, she asked people to comment with their friend’s name or a song prompt and she’d write a song about them. It was really cute.

She doesn’t just do parodies or song prompts though. She has some great full songs. “Bitchcraft” could easily be on the radio. When she posted it on TikTok she said: “Wrote a song called bitchcraft when my best friend’s boyfriend cheated on her. Hope he hears it “

Some of my favorite Jax songs:
“Papercuts” gives me Sia vibes.
“Come Home To Me” (on TikTok)
“Ring Pop” (on TikTok)
“Teenage Dirtbag” – this is with Post Modern Jukebox


I hope you check her out, follow her, etc.

Instagram 
Twitter  
Facebook 
YouTube
TikTok 

 

I found her on Amazon and Spotify, but I think there must be more than one artist called Jax because some of these songs sound nothing like her.