Big Electric Playlist, August 2018: The “Where Did the Summer Go?” Edition

It’s a few days past due, and a little underbaked (unlike the current heatwave in SoCal), but I’ve finally scored some free moments to get the August edition of the Big Electric Playlist ready and served. This one’s a weird collection, slightly lopsided and a tad schizophrenic, yet still brimming with some fairly decent and mostly classic tunes. I’ve also dubbed it the “Where Did the Summer Go?” edition, because quite frankly, I seemed to have missed it. That’s Corona for you.

Back at August’s outset, I mentioned I’d probably author a significantly lesser number of posts – concerts, recommends, or whatever else struck my fancy – due to an anticipated intensive work schedule and a consequent lack of time/energy. That proved to be entirely true, much of which I’m still recovering from today. Hence, the reason I didn’t get the Big Electric Playlist published on the first of the month, as per tradition.

But somewhere between all the long days and short nights, I managed to carve out some sedentary moments and requisite motivation to author at least a few posts of interest. Like I said, though, this compilation might seem a bit obtuse, since my focus was mostly elsewhere. Also, for reasons unknown, it’s heavily slanted towards the ’80s alternative scene.

The bulk of it comes from “80’s Weekend #9,” one of four concerts I happened to catch before the pandemic killed live entertainment. There’s a whole slew of artists from the decade that showed up … Wang Chung, Violent Femmes, Big Country, MC Hammer, A Flock of Seagulls, The Romantics and Josie Cotton, to name most of them.

I also subconsciously did a bit on Public Image Ltd, mainly their provocative post-punk tunes from the seminal era, like “Rise” and “This is Not a Love Song,” motivated primarily from a totally different track, “The Order of Death, which I heard while watching season 2 of “The Umbrella Academy,” the Netflix adaptation of the comic from My Chemical Romance’s founder and vocalist Gerard Way. I guess John Lydon ain’t so punk (or post-punk) to refuse a royalty for use on a popular streaming show. At least it’s a mostly subversive one …

Anyway, all that alone covers roughly two thirds of the August runtime. The remainder gets filled up by more recent acts, like Austin’s synth-heavy instrumental outfit S U R V I V E, who coincidentally is also inspired by the’80s, namely the horror film scores from the era by the likes of filmmaker/composer John Carpenter. They did a show at the Echoplex back in 2016 that I managed to unearth from the archives.

Switzerland’s One Sentence. Supervisor is another contemporary offering, blending stompy big beat electronic psychedelia with Middle Eastern flavors for their enigmatically titled single “Onomatopoeia.”

There’s a pair of local acts (as in Los Angeles), by the names of Midnight Faces and Deserta, both founded by guitarist/synthesist Matt Doty, who I don’t expect anyone to recognize, but I do hope will enjoy his work. The former falls in the post-punk adrenalized pop mold, the latter reclines deeply into the infinite layers of reverberating shoegaze.

And then there’s Butthole Surfers‘ “Pepper,” a track I totally forgot about that also popped up in my viewing of “The Umbrella Academy.” In the absence of all the usual haunts, still shuttered, quarantined and/or out of business, I’m finding streaming shows to offer some form of exposure and inspiration – albeit begrudgingly so. But with the likes of the Buttholes and P.I.L., I guess I can’t complain too much.

That does the August edition of the Big Electric Playlist, which also wraps up an unprecedented and remarkably surreal summer that I still feel was misplaced and/or cancelled.

September is also shaping up to be a busy work month, so hopefully I’ll strike a better balance when it comes to time and energy, meaning more entries for the blog. I’ve certainly got a lot material that I’m quite enthusiastic about featuring. But for now, no promises on how quickly it’ll see the light of day.

Stay safe and enjoy August’s Big Electric Playlist!