At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, Toyah Willcox & Robert Fripp began doing a Sunday Lunch video on YouTube each week covering various pop songs to help us all get through what were sad and frustrating times. What I missed during this time was that Toyah released a new album during this time with Robert performing some of the background guitar (under the name Bobby Willcox), so as it turns out three of my favorite songs for this month come from that album:
1. “The Bride Will Return” (“Posh Pop” – Toyah – 24-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) This song has very heavy King Crimson influence, opening with intricate staccato keyboard and guitar with a Frippertonics background, while the bass and rhythm guitar provide a counterpoint rhythm, with yet another guitar playing blistering lead behind that, all in support of Toyah’s amazing vocal.
2. “Barefoot on Mars” (“Posh Pop” – Toyah – 24-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) A power ballad with a Bowiesk structure and feel that is once again buoyed up by multiple layers of guitar and Toyah’s singing.
3. “Summer of Love” (“Posh Pop” – Toyah – 24-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) Opening with Jimmy Page style acoustic guitar, this appears to be an homage to Led Zeppelin, with Toyah’s vocals putting one in mind of Heart.
4. “Cabaret” (“Cabaret” – The West End Orchestra featuring Toyah Wilcox & Nigel Planer – 16-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) Diving deep into the pool I came across this, which comes with a warning that there are two versions of this album, one of which all the songs are mistitled songs from a completely different album that may or may not be Toyah (the same record appears on Toyah’s YouTube page). Another oddity is her name is spelled wrong on both versions (though I have found other album covers that are spelled correctly). This is a straightforward performance of the musical done on the London West End stage, still epic.
5. “21st Century Supersister” (“In the Court of the Crimson Queen” – Toyah – 16-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) The title clearly a parody of “21st Century Schizoid Man” from King Crimson’s “In the Court of the Crimson King”, “21st Century Supersister” is an upbeat 21st Century Post-Punk anthem.
6. “Marionette” (“Anthem” – Toyah – 16-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) “Marionette” epitomizes that progressive rock meets punk rock sound that made me fall in love with Toyah’s music. A military cadence on snare drum and a chiming death knell backing a synthetic oboe melody provide the core of this punk dirge.
7. “Chaise Longue” (“Wet Leg” – Wet Leg – 24-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) Having sensed I might have obsessed a little too much on Toyah, I set out in search of new music and face planted into Wet Leg, who has all the flavor of early eighties avant-garde punk, flashing images of The Flying Lizards, Lydia Lunch, and Jane Siberry. As I moved through the album I fell more and more in love with their sound (especially after the fourth or fifth listen) which even evoked my favorite 21st Century artist Regina Spektor at times, but it was “Chaise Longue” that first captured my attention and therefore made this list.
8. “Dervish” (“Hermetism” – Joep Beving – 24-bit/96kHz – Qobuz) The title Modern Classical composer appears to be an oxymoron but pianist Joep Beving definitely fits the bill delivering a gentle Chopin feel with shades of Pachelbel. While most of the tunes on his latest album appear to be Waltzes (3/4 time) “Dervish” has a complex, hesitant, evolving, almost improvisational rhythm structure. Rather than being the fast-paced exciting reel, the name would imply, it is lazy and flowing, yet it elicits a hint of the subject culture’s atmosphere.
9. “Platform Blues (2022 Remaster)” (“Terror Twilight: Farewell Horizontal (Deluxe)” – Pavement – 24-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) This extended remastered version of Pavement’s final album is rather epic in scope, but “Platform Blues” speaks to me, dissonant and chaotic with a continuously evolving rhythm structure and melody.
“The Pilgrim (Live (1972/Memphis))” (“Argus” – Wishbone Ash – 16-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) This song wrested my attention for its composition reminiscent of “Discipline” era King Crimson a full ten years earlier, ridiculously ahead of their time with a hint late ‘60s Psychedelic thrown into the mix, absolutely marvelous.
Well, that’s it for this month, until next month remember it’s all about the music.
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