1. The other night I was telling Dewey about a new band called Lake who had a new song I really loved, called "Madagascar." In the course of this same conversation, the so-called Monsters of Folk also came up, that supergroup featuring Jim James, Bright Eyes and M. Ward. Next thing you know, Dewey plays a song clip from the iTunes store and I couldn't believe what I was hearing: the Monsters of Folk had evidently taken a wildly artistic left turn into "Wasted on the Way"-era CSNY, complete with sleek disco-era production, pristine and feather-light six-part harmonies and Styx-like prog instrumentals. I thought, Brilliant move, fellas. Wow. Who's the genius in the group? Jim James?
Well, of course, it wasn't Monsters of Folk at all. It was Lake -- but NOT the new band called Lake, who are on K Records. Dewey had tripped upon a 30-year-old German prog-pop group called Lake, who some apparently consider "one of the great unknown bands of the 70s." As it happens, two days later I was flipping through some vinyl in Manhattan and happened upon their second album, which I bought immediately, if only to make Dewey laugh. It's entitled Lake 2 (1978). Without saying too much, let me ask that you simply listen to this from beginning to end. Yeah, I know, unbelievable. Paging Ween! But then imagine for a moment that it's a brand new Monsters of Folk single -- and then see how you feel about it. For a moment, if you can suspend disbelief, it almost reveals something corrupt about postmodern taste-making and the way the mind forgives when it forgets.
Scoobie Doobies - Lake
2. A long time ago -- in fact, my very first post in 2005 -- I surmised that my musical tastes might have been formed listening to AM radio in the back of my parents' VW microbus on family vacations in the late 70s and early 80s. But there was another sacred location: laying on a sheep skin rug in front of my dad's Kenwood in the living room at night while gazing at LP covers and listening through those massive 1970s headphones. Some of the first inklings of what adult love and lust must be came to me while staring at the pictures of Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt inside the gatefold of the Endless Love soundtrack. I was 10. When I hear it now, wow, it envelops me totally, revealing an unexpected pocket of warmth beneath the cold surfaces of present life, one so deep and pure that calling it nostalgia doesn't even begin to touch it. It seems to bend time like light through curved glass and suggests for a brief moment the impossibility of mortality. So close, yet so far away. This, my friends, is why I love pop music.
Dreamin' - Cliff Richard