Monday, March 15, 2010

Viral Video (Re)Creates Another Celebrity Out of Left Field!

Eduard Khil' is everywhere these days.

By now, you've either seen his jaw-dropping, mind-bending performance from decades past of the song "I Am So Happy to Finally Be Back Home" (which has become known online as "The Trololo Song" or simply "Trololo"), or you've been exposed to any of the myriad remixes and parodies of it.

If you've been living in a cave for the past few weeks and have no idea what I'm talking about, go back and read my post from March 5th, A "WTF?" Explained, to see the original clip and get the story behind it.

The clip quickly entered the hallowed realm of the viral video, and all these years later, Khil' himself has been tracked down...and he has a challenge for us all!

I don't know what I find cooler - that Khil' has been found, that he is clearly reveling in his renaissance, or that he still has the same bad brown suit and haircut!

What is undoubtedly awesome is the idea of writing "real" lyrics to the song and having Mr. Khil' himself sing it anew!

More details to come as they become available regarding dates and places for submissions. Now then, I have lyrics to write...

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New Wave for the New Week #57


"When we started off our driving energy, our driving force, was to have a lot of beer in the dressing room and be very, very rich and famous. Umm, we've had the beer in the dressing room..."
-Andy Partridge of XTC

There is no real need to go into extensive discography or biography here; most of you who would be reading this are already humming your favorite XTC songs in your head.

For those uninitiated, here is a quick "pocket guide" to XTC: Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding met up in Swindon in the UK in the early 1970's, and began playing New York Dolls-inspired glam rock as The Helium Kidz. By 1976, drummer Terry Chambers and keyboardist Barry Andrews had joined them, they changed the band's name to XTC, and found their own sound within the Punk/New Wave scene.

Playing keyboard-driven, syncopated, chirpy-punky-pop with elements of funk, reggae, and baroque music tossed in, they were hyperactive, skittish, and easily identifiable among the onrush of bands forming in the wake of The Sex Pistols and The Ramones. This lineup lasted through two albums, White Music and Go 2, before Andrews left the band to create what would eventually become the band Shriekback.

Andrews and his keyboards were replaced by Dave Gregory and his ringing guitar, and the band's sound made a noticeable shift toward more Beatlesque rock. In this variation, XTC hit their stride with singles like "Respectable Street," "Living Through Another Cuba," "No Thugs in Our House," and "Sgt. Rock (Is Going To Help Me)." By 1982 they were regularly hitting the UK Top 40 and were developing a huge cult following in the US, where they were the darlings of college radio playlists across the country. They were set to launch on a huge multi-country tour when Partridge had a complete mental breakdown, which manifested itself from that point forward in crippling stage fright. XTC never played in front of a live crowd again.

However, much like the Beatles (to whom they were beginning to be compared at least stylistically), the cessation of touring did not slow their musical output. Chambers left the group around this time, not wanting to be simply a studio musician, and Partridge, Moulding and Gregory forged ahead. The studio version of XTC saw them begin to expand their musical horizons, often finding themselves on more acoustic-ballad turf then they might have expected. This version of the band sold more records in the US than ever before (although they never scored a big breakthrough hit here), especially 1986's Skylarking and its associated single, the controversial "Dear God."

Their recorded output had been with Virgin Records from the very beginning; by 1992 the band and the label were embroiled in bitter dispute over unpaid royalties. Partridge and Moulding asked the label to release them outright, won a settlement over royalties due, and began to record independently as a duo. Shortly thereafter, Moulding decided he was done with the music industry. Partridge didn't want to continue XTC without Moulding, and the band ceased to exist.

The continued popularity of the band was demonstrated in the fact that they won their spot as this week's NW4NW entry in a poll conducted over on That's What I Was Going To Say's Facebook fanpage (if you're not a fan yet, get yourself there lickety-split and fan up!), where XTC took 57% of the vote in a field of five bands! I've chosen two clips: the first, from their Barry Andrews keyboard era, "Radios In Motion," and the second from their Dave Gregory guitar era, the wonderful "Senses Working Overtime." Enjoy!