INDIE DUETS songs-n-clips
INDIE DUETS songs-n-clips!
By Ian Browne
The following artists and their songs featured this year on my social media sites. I enjoyed putting this series together, sharing the talents of all chosen.
14 voonderval songs, enjoy!
1 “Candy”- Iggy Pop & Karen Pierson
….Beautiful, beautiful girl from the North You burned my heart with a flickering torch”
Born to Muskegon Michigan, I believe that Iggy & the Stooges’ I Wanna Be Your Dog, which features splendidly on the 2021 film Cruella, is this planet’s first ever punk song. From his 9th solo album Brick by Brick, CANDY was The Godfather of Punk’s mainstream moment: into the Top 40 in the US - while reaching #9 in Oz. Iggy chose the B-52’s Karen Pierson to join him on this popular single, and on a personal note, I feel that Karen Pierson has one of the planet’s grandest voices.
Born to New Jersey, Karen joined the B-52’s in Athens Georgia, 1976. While multi-talented instrumentally, she initially sung & played keyboards for the eccentric punk-pop groovers. Karen Pierson has also invigorated many, while alongside the Ramones & R.E.M.
CANDY: This song was written about Iggy’s teen love Betsy. Kate Pierson sings as Betsy. With Tod McCoy for the Pittsburgh State-Gazette (1990) Iggy reflects: ‘I was looking back on my relationship with her, and I thought “Let's be fair. Let the girl have her say.” I wanted a girl who would sing with a small town voice, and Kate has a little twang in her voice that sounds slightly rural and naïve.’
“Candy” (1990) https://tinyurl.com/22a2e98a
2 “Tomorrow Wendy” - Andy Prieboy & Concrete Blonde
...It is complete now 2 ends of time are neatly tied.”
…Now, it’s hard to top last week’s soulful dazzler, but Tomorrow Wendy is an interesting insight into loss − the loss of a will to live. A tune about a drug addicted sex worker who contracted AIDS, it wasn’t just the fact that she is looking into a mirror and lamenting the need to end it all, but she also mentions her creator’s kinks, and this upset the Bible Belt of America where the sending of angsty mail ensued. Tomorrow Wendy was written by former Wall of Voodoo’s Andy Prieboy, who shared the song duet with Concrete Blonde front-woman Johnette Napolitano. Preiboy has also written music for films. He wrote this song about a young lady he knew while growing up in the industrial region of East Chicago, where a deep sense of ‘hopelessness’ prevailed.
Concrete Blonde released this popular number on their own album Bloodletting, from which Joey reached #2 here in Oz. It sits within my vinyl collection too. Concrete Blonde’s alternative rock sound kicked off in Hollywood, 1982. In an interview for the Los Angeles Times (1991) with Mike Boehm, Napolitano announced, “I’ve gotten a lot of letters from full-on Christians who want me to burn in hell,” Napolitano said. “I’ve gotten about 20 from people in the Midwest and the South who said they actually took the record back” after buying “Bloodletting” on the strength of “Joey.”
….While, Andy Prieboy, after suggesting he believes in God as a ‘positive force of love and light’: “It’s not an anti-Christian song in the least. It’s just an accurate depiction of someone who’s dying without hope, without faith, without family and without friends.”
Another sad song with a similar theme via Concrete Blonde’s ‘Bloodletting’ is Caroline. I love it.
“Tomorrow Wendy” (1990) https://tinyurl.com/p3uww69s
3 INDIE DUETS – BOWIE & Robert Smith
In 1997, Bowie performed Quicksand & The Last Thing You Should Do live on his 50th birthday with Robert Smith in Madison Square Garden, NYC…
If there were ever two creatives in the world of music that have entered the very core of millions, then these wizen gentlemen would be hard to resist. It’s not hard to understand why anyone from The Cure would be so excited to share the stage with David Bowie, as he was such an influential part of what inspired and helped formulate not just punk, but too post-punk & later goth. He was a slightly less brutish hero to punk as his pal Iggy Pop. To many, Bowie was so seductive in his camped-up-glam-art, his crafty dark sonic edge, and especially via Ziggy, his striding between the canyons of sexual montage. Songs like Heroes is particularly striking for most, but too is the delicious lamentation of Ashes to Ashes. This song stole me when I was 10, and it was a hit with the emerging New Wave/Romantics/Goth scene in the UK. Bowie will also rock up on another Indie Duet here in coming weeks.
The Cure, yes, big fans of Bowies, and anyone in a live Cure crowd would probs love Bowie too. It’s hard to find anyone as masterful of the ‘dark -meets- sonic delight’ that this band has delivered over the decades. They mean many things, to many folk. So, the likes of Heroes & Ashes to Ashes are both in good company. I have seen The Cure live three times and they will always be my fav band of all time, just as legends The Beatles, and Bowie himself, are, to many. Smith deserves this respect in song writing and instrumental intrigue, his poetic stance is insightful & romantic: the music original.
“The Last Thing You Should Do” (97) https://tinyurl.com/kcm9fnrr
“Quicksand” (97) https://tinyurl.com/5xy6np9p
4 INDIE DUETS – BJORK & PJ Harvey
…. I can't get no... satisfaction”
Two queens of the post-punk era based in London, by now Bjork was thriving away from The Sugarcubes with her popular 90’s trip hop experiment. A fan of this lady in all her inventions, it would be left up to three of my friends to spend time with her instead. A Cronulla friend of mine lived across the road from Bjork in London, receiving a neighbourly morning wave each day. Later on, down the track, another friend used to massage Bjork while living in London’s Holland Park, while my best pal Pickle used to chat to Bjork online, well that was until he invited her to read my story I penned & photographed on Sarawak … then he never heard from her again!
In the meantime, PJ Harvey was enjoying teaming up as a trio; PJ on guitar & singing, her name the band’s title. A year before the clip below all happened, PJ, with her English slant on blues meets goth-n-grunge, released Rid of Me. The trio broke up after a tour leg with U2 in August of that year. Including Down by the Water, PJ went on to establish many a fine tune with The Bad Seeds’ Mick Harvey (her cousin) and will return here soon with Nick Cave.
BJORK & PJ Harvey singing The Stone’s “I Can’t get No Satisfaction” (94)
5 INDIE DUETS – HAYLEY MARY & Birds of Tokyo
…let me take you with me On a little twist”.
Australia’s biggest indie rock band, these Perth lads decided to change it up with the help of producer David Botrill by recording an album in Sydney which was a little bit heavier, a little darker & louder − than the usual Bird’z sound. A touch of Muse, a hint of Tool, Brace’s darkwave cinematic sound came naturally to Dave B, as he had also put the sound together for these two big bands. Inviting the stunning voice of Hayley Mary along on the clip below, she reaches an exotic pitch. Now doing her own thang and having headlined alongside Wolfmother in her hometown of Byron for the 2021 music festival, Hayley has also enjoyed Triple J & ABC TV ‘The Sound’s’ airtime.
I chat to Hayley from time to time, The Jezabel’s are one of my most loved bands. Hayley’s voice is divine, and along with Azam Ali, is my pic of the dark-femme-seduction: Elizabeth Fraser, Siouxsie Sioux & Toni Halliday also splendid!!!! You can read my CD review for The Birds of Tokyo’s ‘Brace’ & Hayley’s Jezabels days in the earlier posts from the link above. Sonic, gothic, spacey…enjoy Discoloured.
Birds of Tokyo feat. Hayley Mary “Discoloured” (2016) https://tinyurl.com/yd3atv4s
6 INDIE DUETS – THE CURE & Placebo
…then an angel would come With burning eyes like stars And bury us deep in his velvet arms”
Well, I have said plenty about The Cure on this site, and it’s no wonder Placebo were happy to share the stage to join in on a couple of Cure stunners: Robert Smith & the fellas obviously one of the band’s influences. As post-punk-goth let time distort and refashion, the term Emo rocked up, and Placebo glittered as dark royalty. Both British bands have found success globally within the desires of millions of fans. I was so pleased when I found this collaboration last year, just wish I had been there in the crowd! The first clip below is a splendid Cure song, world music lovers too will enjoy. I also dropped in a Placebo tune that sends me high.
One of my favourite Cure songs, a beautiful number from Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me…
“If only tonight we could sleep” https://tinyurl.com/zb4vjthc
…”Taking Off” https://tinyurl.com/fnxdby2w
PLACEBO “The bitter end” (2003) https://tinyurl.com/w8m6hcv3
7 INDIE DUETS – NICK CAVE & PJ Harvey
…..You won't find a girl in this damn world That will compare with me”
A man from Melbourne moves to London, then Berlin, and back to London, and in the midst of the innovative 90’s − falls in love with a lady who also found her roots in punk. Nick Cave: “I almost dropped my syringe” ….for Roisin O’Connor in the Independent (Aug, 2019), as he suggested the collapse of their relationship this was due to the drugs & infidelity. Nick also describes both creatives as being ‘too self-absorbed’ − but before all this sin crept in − they would have been quite a pair. As he did later-on-down-the-track with Kylie Minogue, Nick & PJ released the popular Henry Lee. Aptly featuring on Murder Ballads, tis a song about a woman’s desire turning sour. This was originally written by West Virginian blues-n-folk singer Dick Justice in 1930, whose Christian name was also Henry. Nick did add in a few extra lyrics & la la lee’s.
PJ Harvey & Nick Cave “Henry Lee” (1996) https://tinyurl.com/y9b9m3pb
8 INDIE DUETS – NIRVANA & St. Vincent
In 2014, Nirvana invited St. Vincent to perform their 92 hit Lithium at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Born to the streets of Dallas Texas, Annie Erin Clark - aka St.Vincent’s indie rock sound has netted her Grammy & fav album awards. The year she joined Nirvana on stage, St.Vincent also toured Oz, winding up the year supporting the Black Keys; The Pixies & Beck the following year. By 2014, Nirvana could be seen as various incarnations of the Foo Fighters (as seen in my book review from the link above in the older posts). Dave Grohl really helped shape the move from Nirvana to a post grunge sound that helped continue to inspire fans around the world. He is known as one of the great drummers in rock history. To say Nirvana are important lineage to alternative rock is an understatement. Post punk-grunge, they not only helped dissolve that vile hairspray cock-rock debacle emanating from the US but allowed the mainstream to know what it feels like to live a bit on the wild side! (My Foo Fighters’ book review lives on this website)
Nirvana & St. Vincent “Lithium” https://tinyurl.com/ezz4bw9j
9 INDIE DUETS – BOWIE & Nine Inch Nails
… you could have it all My empire of dirt”
During this series we have seen musical mentors sharing time on stage alongside younger aspirers. Yep, Bowie returns with another group of admirers. Nine Inch Nails were popular in Oz within the big city goth scenes. These noisy buggers from Cleveland Ohio certainly had that essence of the dark romantics, but more on the industrial alternative rock side of things, with a metal edge. They showed up on the scene back in 88. Touring with the likes of UK indie rock royalty: Peter Murphy & Jesus & the Mary Chain - blimey even Johnny Cash gave da Nails ‘Hurt’ a go in 2002! Shocking many with vulgar lyrics, Closer (94) was their most popular single. Bowie was fascinated by how MTV had banned this song’s clip. AC Speed for RAWMUSICTV.COM (2019) describes Bowie as always looking for new creative angles, while wanting to ‘bring something different to his audience’. Labelled the Outside Tour, Nine Inch Nails toured with Bowie for two months in 95-96. Other greats NIN have hit the stage with include Faith No More, Marilyn Manson, Type O Negative, & TOOL.
NIN front-man Trent Reznor wrote Hurt to communicate the misery of addiction. Bowie joins him in 95, and once again in 97 with ‘I’m Afraid of Americans’.
“I’m Afraid of Americans” https://tinyurl.com/3h4wu9j7
10 INDIE DUETS – NATTALI RIZE & Julian Marley
…dready got a job to do”
Teaming up to produce the world’s biggest reggae tune of that year, Northern River’s singer songwriter Nattali Rize & Julian Marley recorded a song for the ‘now’. Having left Melbourne and reggae roots outfit Blue King Brown to earlier days, Nattali moved to Jamaica in 2014 - where among other artist devotions, was fronting local dready gents Notis. They toured Oz, which included playing at Nat’s hometown - where I was living at the time, Brunswick Heads (Nattali was street performing during her Bruns/Byron days as Skin). Notis also toured with Nattali’s pal Michael Franti. Ms Rize has since amassed an even bigger fan base, while touring Europe and doing grand things in the US.
Yes, born to the Marley genetics we all know − but growing up in England, not unlike Nattali he is a humanitarian who follows both Rastafari and Christianity. In time he would connect with family in Jamaica, recording there and playing around the planet. Flavoured Jamaican with Juju’s (Julian’s) creative input, Nattali’s partner, and this song’s creator - Carlo Santone for Rootfire (2016) announced, ‘I love the cross cultural vibe that is created with this track, and it has been resonating with people on a number of positive levels.’
“Natty Rides Again” (2017) https://tinyurl.com/4kzhh8
11 INDIE DUETS –DAVID GROHL & Queens of the Stone Age
….nobody's coming down the hall Nobody echoes in my head”
From their third album ‘Songs for the Deaf’ - in 2002 Californian lads Queens of the Stone Age were happy to have Dave Grohl along for the ride. Dave himself loved what the Queens were doing. Mr Grohl needed a break from the daily grind of fronting the gargantuan Foo Fighters, deciding it high time to return to just being the drummer once again. Though Dave would move back into his busy role as Foo Fighter’s commander in chief, with various band member changeups QOTSA still hit the stage to this day. Eerily, it has been suggested that the song featured below, ‘Song for the Dead’ is about a dead man whose grave invites folk to rock up and have a little singalong.
According to fandom.com, this fan-fav-tune ‘is usually played to end a QOTSA concert− or to end the non-encore set. Dave Grohl said that the reason for the break at the end of the song is that they were jamming on the riff and went to end the song, but they were so into it that they started it back up again without really even realising it.
Song for the Dead (2002) https://tinyurl.com/2zsbsmun
12 INDIE DUETS – GWEN STEFANI & Bush
…it must be your skin, I'm sinking in."
There are a few reasons why I appreciate Gwen Stefani, the first being that she invited me to one of her social media platforms a few years back. Did you know that the Chili Peppers were neighbours of Gwen’s in Hollywood and she used to listen to the Peppers jam from her own joint? Funky-punky-2toneSKA, No Doubt were a popular sound, Gwen herself doing well under her own banner in the days beyond. Forming in London 1992, Bush’s grunge, alternative rock explosion inspired many. This was an era when so much great indie music was spewing forth from Britain, and Bush took the distortion bull by the horns. Their journey lasted ten years but have since enjoyed reunion gigs. And why are Bush’s front-man Gavin Rossdale & Gwen on stage together here blasting out Glycerine (94), well they were an item at one time, eventually marrying. They met while No Doubt & Bush were touring in 95.
Glycerine (on stage 2012) https://tinyurl.com
13 INDIE DUETS – MIKE MUIR & Steve Jones
This featured within my PUNK & Hardcore series last year which my pal Screamen Larry co-hosted. An indie duo none-the-less!
CYCO MIKO I didn’t know much about Cyco Miko really, but I do like what I’ve heard. More surf punk California style than the heavier skatecore sound of Suicidal Tendencies - and while talking ‘them’ and the ‘times’ - I loved the bass in Infectious Grooves, ST’s Robert Trujillo went on to join Metallica in recent years. What do you reckon Screamen?
Screamen Larry: Mike Muir from Suicidal Tendencies / Infectious Grooves solo project: 'Cyco Miko'. The first album released in 1996 'lost my brain' featuring Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols on guitar. Being a fan of Steve Jones power rhythm chords and progressions, and the distinctive voice of Mike Muir from Suicidal Tendencies. To me this was just the best mix of that late 70's London punk thanks to Steve Jones, and that 80's hardcore skate punk, thanks to Mike Muir. Lost My Brain received mixed reviews but fuck the critics!!! This album’s punk as, and I still play it to this day. Other stand-out tracks include “All I ever get” (96)
“Lost My Brain Once Again” (95) https://tinyurl.com/4ybn8t83
14 INDIE DUETS – MASSIVE ATTACK & Sinead O’Connor
… Don't be afraid Open your mouth to say Say what your soul sings to you Your mind can never change Unless you ask it to”
An interesting marriage in music, three songs from 2003 that add further intrigue to the 100th Window mystique. While Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins) seduced millions with Teardrop on Massive Attack’s previous dark sojourn, Mezzanine… 100th Window blew me away with its heavy beats and alluring Egyptian wonderment. Now it was the gorgeous Irish activist’s turn, and of course the mention of how important teachers are to the welfare of youth, a country in general, well this can only boost my ego further. If you have followed me here over the years, then it is no secret that Bristol’s Massive Attack are one of my Top 5 of all time: Two’ tone-reggae-trip hop-dub-goth-electronica - how could you possibly go wrong!
Sinead stopped touring with MA and decided to quit the music scene. Thankfully she returned in later days. In 2018, Sinead converted to Islam and changed her name to Shuhada Sadaqat− but continues to record and sing under her birth name. While the first clip here is a sweet thang, I make no apology, what follow are dark numbers. But true to 80’s Queen of pops Sinead, they are rich and explorative.
… That tickle on your hand That tingle in your ear” What your soul sings https://tinyurl.com/f8wra7mn
….it takes two to make love, two to make a life” Special Cases https://tinyurl.com/53da683x
…..Let not another search be made in vain” A prayer for England https://tinyurl.com/yn5wwa4j