I’ve got a LOT of posts I want to make over this four-day weekend – reviews of The People’s Manifesto by Mark Thomas, This Town Will Never Let Us Go by Lawrence Miles, and I, Claudius and Claudius The God by Robert Graves, a post about Batman comics, a review of the new MoffWho, my incredibly belated review of Asterios Polyp, my contribution to Plok’s recent ‘meme’…
It may be that not all of these will get written in the next three and a half days, especially since I’m also trying desperately to recover data from a nearly-full terabyte external hard drive I dropped on the floor (it doesn’t have that many bad blocks, but unfortunately the boot sector is one of them – I could use photorec, but don’t really fancy hand-renaming and tagging tens of thousands of files, especially all the Beach Boys bootlegs – “Does this version of Barbara Ann sound more like the 1971 touring band or the 1972 one?”)…
Right now, however, I’ve got a migraine, so here’s a playlist of (mostly) relaxing, fun, light music.
I Am The Walrus by Papa Doo Run Run is an oddity. Papa Doo are a band from California who normally do painfully faithful recreations of early ’60s pop (they’re made up of people who used to be sidemen in the Beach Boys or Jan & Dean backing bands), and the album this is from is no exception, with karaoke-esque versions of California Girls, .Walk Like A Man, Eight Days A Week and so on. But this track is different – the Beatles’ psychedelic classic, reimagined as a one-minute surf guitar instrumental. It works astonishingly well…
Go Away Boy by The Pearlfishers is the first of three songs from Caroline, Now – a favourite album of mine that recently turned up on Spotify, consisting of remakes by (mostly) Scottish indie musicians (members of Teenage Fanclub, Belle & Sebastian, and so on) of obscure Beach Boys tracks. This one is a song Brian Wilson wrote for an out-of-print 1983 album by his ex-wife’s band The Honeys, and is girl-group-as-torch-song. Absolutely gorgeous.
Oh, Oh, Ooh, Ei, Ei, Ei, Wo Immer Es Auch Sei by Daisy Door and Peter Thomas was the song Tilt suggested I enter for the Pop World Cup round two, and I won with it…
Tam Lyn Retold by The Imagined Village is from the first Imagined Village album (the first is more interesting, the second better music). The Imagined Village are essentially an attempt by folk musicians to say folk you to the Bastard Nazi Party. The BNP have tried recently to use traditional English folk music as an expression of ‘ethnically British’ (i.e. white) ‘values’ (i.e. bigotry), BNP leader DickIbegyourpardonNick Griffin having claimed Eliza Carthy as one of his favourite musicians. So The Imagined Village are a loose grouping of musicians centred around Chris Wood and Martin and Eliza Carthy, who bring in musicians from the various traditions that have *added* to Britain over the last sixty years, and rework traditional English music with those influences. In this case, this is the traditional song Tam Lyn reworked by dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah, dance musicians Transglobal Underground, and Eliza Carthy, in a modern setting.
All I Wanna Do by June And The Exit Wounds is another one off Caroline, Now – a remake of a Mike Love/Brian Wilson song from Sunflower. I always thought this, even in its original version, sounded just like New Order – especially the middle eight (“Ooh when I sit and close my ey-eyes”).
It Might As Well Be Dumbo by The High Llamas is my personal favourite of their tracks.
The Diner Song by Jake Holmes is very much of a piece with his work on Genuine Imitation Life Gazette and Watertown (two of my very favourite albums). Those who like late-60s Scott Walker might like this one.
That’s What You Think by Janet Klein and Her Parlor Boys is a lovely, fun version of a 1920s jazz song, all clanking banjos and ukuleles.
Miss Clarke And The Computer by Roy Wood is one of the saddest songs ever – a song from a computer who’s in love with an engineer who is dismantling him. Wonderful instrumentation as well – what sounds like ‘cello, bouzouki, acoustic guitar, double bass and glockenspiel, all played by Wood himself.
Wax Minute by Michael Nesmith is from Nesmith’s third solo album after he quit the Monkees, Tantamount To Treason. It’s generally considered one of his weaker efforts, but this is an astonishingly literate lyric (“As you complicate things greatly since you came into my life/Old veneers and stately postures wax minute within your sigh/And the taxing way of adjusting to all the thoughts which you reveal/Only incites me to motion, well that’s the crux of your appeal”) and while the melody is a little too close to In My Life, Nesmith’s vocal here is possibly the greatest of his career.
Yellow Man by Ella Fitzgerald is a cover of the Randy Newman song. Ella was such a professional singer, and sold songs so well even when she hated them, that I honestly can’t tell if she ‘gets’ the joke here or not – and I’m not sure if it would be better if she did or didn’t…
You Don’t Have To Walk In The Rain by The Turtles is from one of the great unsung albums of the 60s, Turtle Soup. This album was essentially the Turtles’ attempt to do their own Village Green Preservation Society – to the extent that they got Ray Davies to produce the album. The end result, with its combination of California pop and British toytown psych, resembles nothing so much as the Zombies’ Odessey & Oracle. This track also has my favourite line of any lyric ever – “I look at your face, I love you anyway”.
Rainbow Skies by Kie (not K*Le as Spotify have it) is the third song here from Caroline Now. This one is a song that had at the time not been legally released before, and it’s one of my very favourite late Brian Wilson songs. Kie’s version is very close to Wilson’s recording, but with far better vocals.
And to finish off we have Love Songs by Margo Guryan. This song has been a favourite of mine for a while, but this demo version is if anything even better than the released one.
This week’s playlist doesn’t have a theme as such, but is just some music I like.
After an introductory snippet, we start with Anyone But You by The Mumps. The Mumps were a late 70s art-rock/punk band led by reality TV star Lance Loud (who takes lead on this) and musician Kristian Hoffman (who sings lead on the middle eight). In this form, this song sounds like a very rough demo for the version on Hoffman’s 2002 duets album &, possibly the best album of the last decade, which is near-identical to this but tighter and with Stew singing Lance Loud’s part (other people Hoffman duets with on the album include Darian Sahanaja, Van Dyke Parks, Russel Mael, Rufus Wainwright and El Vez). Unfortunately, Hoffman’s solo work is not yet on Spotify, but this will give some idea of how it sounds. But buy Hoffman’s album, seriously. Best album of the last ten years.
Where Have You Been All My Life? by Arthur Alexander is, shamefully, the only track by the great soul singer on Spotify (not only that, he’s not on eMusic either – a definite argument for the continued existence of CDs). Alexander is mostly known now for his influence on British bands like the Beatles (who covered many of his songs live) or the Stones, but he really deserves much more recognition.
I’ve had a minor obsession with the Threepenny Opera since LOEG: Century was released a few months ago, especially Pirate Jenny. I usually listen to the version by Nina Simone because she interprets the English version of the lyrics best, but Lotte Lenya singing it with Kurt Weill’s original orchestration is the definitive version in the original German.
Suzy Creamcheese by Teddy & His Patches is not, strangely, a cover of the Zappa song, but a totally different song, obviously inspired by the spoken bit and percussion jams at the end of Freak Out! but sounding far more like the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, with a bit of the Count Five thrown in. A marvellous garage rave-up.
Lady Lynda by The Beach Boys is included because I’ve always felt that Al Jardine was a horribly underrated vocalist – being in a band with Brian and Carl Wilson would let anyone get overlooked, but I actually think he was at least on their level, and while this song (a hit for the band in the UK, written by Jardine about his then-wife, based around Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring) isn’t one of their best, it does really showcase his vocal abilities. In fact more than that – when the ‘live’ album and DVD this is from came out, it was claimed that there were no vocal overdbubs after the fact, in which case (as you can hear here) Jardine must be the only man in the world who can double-track himself live, while simultaneously singing a totally different backing vocal line – sometimes without even moving his lips…
Baby It’s You by The Shirelles is the first of two Bacharach songs on this playlist – in fact the backing track here is Bacharach’s home demo (as you can tell from the dropped-in solo, awkward and out of place). What always gets me about this song is the ‘cheat, cheat’ in the second verse. She knows that ‘what they say about you’ is true, but has chosen to forgive, but not to forget…
Little Miss Britten by Dudley Moore is Moore doing Little Miss Muffet in the style of Britten’s settings of folk songs for Peter Pears. Absolutely *cutting*. Moore never really got to develop his talent for musical comedy after choosing essentially to become Peter Cook’s straight man, but while these early pastiches are a little glib he could easily have become as good as Tom Lehrer or Flanders & Swann in his own right, rather than being the assistant to an even greater genius…
I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself by Dusty Springfield is another Bacharach/David song. This one has been covered by Elvis Costello (where I first heard the song) and The White Stripes, but this is the definitive version. I was reading
someone (Bob Stanley quoted by Jonathan Calder, who I also just realised isn’t on my blogroll, something I will rectify forthwith) recently talking about how at the time, Dusty Springfield was only seen as one of a number of interchangeable vocalists like Cilla Black, Lulu or Sandy Shaw, but now she’s the only one who is still an influence on many, many new singers.
Ride The Wild Surf by Jan & Dean is a fairly formulaic J&D/Brian Wilson early surf song, appaling vocals and all (these records are a lot more dissonant than people remember), but I love the ‘gotta take that one last ride’ hook, the ‘ride ride ride’ at the end of the middle eight (with that throbbing bass staying on one note while the vocals go up and up) and especially the end of the track. Those elements are all things that either Wilson or Jan Berry (probably Wilson) almost certainly lifted from the Beatles (compare the end of every other Jan & Dean or Beach Boys single up to that point, with their fades, to the ‘one-two-three, one-two-three, CHORD!’ ending of both this and I Want To Hold Your Hand).
A Very Cellular Song by The Incredible String Band is a thirteen-minute multi-sectioned song with gospel and folk elements, featuring organ, harpsichord and crumhorn. The album this was on went top ten in 1967… (relistening to this recently, I was annoyed to discover that one of my own new songs bears too much resemblance to this – I’m rewriting it in my head at the moment).
Brother Gorilla (Le Gorille) by Jake Thackray is Thackray’s loose translation of Georges Brassens’ chanson. It actually sounds just like one of Thackray’s own songs – the only clue to it being a translation is the rather forced ‘swinging lissomely out of his cage’ and ‘the judge intoned with tranquility’, both of which have too many syllables for their lines. But how many other songwriters could manage to get ‘paleolithic’ into a song and have it scan? (Incidentally, a warning – this is a comedy song about a hanging judge being raped by a gorilla. Some of you might find it offensive or triggering).
Liebster Jesu, Wir Sind Hier by Dr Albert Schweitzer is, yes, that Albert Schweitzer. As well as his missionary, medical and theological work, for which he’s more widely known, he was also one of the world’s foremost interpreters of Bach on the organ in the early 20th century, even inventing several new mic-positioning techniques for recording Bach more accurately. While this has some surface noise, it’s still a lovely performance.
Wishing Well by The National Pep is one of a very small number of songs where I wrote the words as well as the music (Tilt rewrote two lines of this). In fact the song came to me, words and music, on the bus and I had to scribble it down and work out the chords later – I still can’t actually play it on the guitar, having written it without an instrument. (The last couple of lines were added later, as the bus stopped before I could finish writing, and I still don’t think they fit particularly well). Tilt and our engineer Steve managed to take my tinkly MIDI file (which Gavin R said sounded like the music from Super Mario Brothers when he heard it on its own) and Joe Meek it up enough to be usable (basically they played the MIDI file backwards through a good sampled harpsichord with reverb on it, then reversed the recording, plus a ton of other stuff), and Tilt and Laura Denison provided vocals.
C-H-I-C-K-E-N spells Chicken by The McGee Brothers is another song that some may find offensive – with good reason, as in its very first line it includes two racist epithets. Unfortunately, pre-war rural music like this (a song originally written, I believe, by the phenomenal banjo player Uncle Dave Macon) often has these elements – and I’m very grateful for Van Dyke Parks’ cover of this (unfortunately not on Spotify) for changing those lyrics while preserving the wonderful song itself.
Speaking of cover versions by Van Dyke Parks, Donovan’s Colours is a ragtime-ish instrumental version of Donovan’s 60s hit, with some lovely percussion and cello bits to it. Just gorgeous. Remind me to do several more blog posts about Parks at some point – he’s one of the unsung greats.
And Will You Remember Me by Janet Klein is a lovely little solo performance, just voice and ukulele.
For those of you who are uninterested in my increasingly recondite ramblings on comics, continuity, canon, quantum physics and Doctor Who, here’s some music…
Incidentally, I lose track of what I have and haven’t included in these, but I hope there’s always enough new stuff to keep people interested…
Come To The Sunshine by Harper’s Bizarre is one of Van Dyke Parks’ early songwriting/production works, and a little soft-pop classic.
Soulful Dress by Sugar Pie Desanto is a Chess R&B track from the early 60s, about dressing up before going out.
Vox Wah Wah Ad by The Electric Prunes is just what it says it is – the Electric Prunes demonstrating the proper use of the wah-wah pedal.
It’s A Hard Business by Wild Man Fischer and Rosemary Clooney is… wait a second… let me say that again… by Wild Man Fischer and Rosemary Clooney. Yes, that Wild Man Fischer and that Rosemary Clooney. The homeless schizophrenic outsider musician and the jazz singer who starred in White Christmas and was George Clooney’s aunt. What will I find on Spotify next – Perry Como Sings Jandek?
Mrs Toad’s Cookies by Klaatu is from the last album by the Canadian band, who were most famous for writing Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft and for many people thinking they were the Beatles in disguise. I can *sort of* see the Beatles similarity here – especially McCartney – but to be honest it sounds like a collaboration between Jeff Lynne and Mike Batt. Which is no bad thing…
Wild Man Fischer and Rosemary Clooney?!
Ahem… Lighten Up, Morrissey by Sparks is a message I think we can all agree with…
Wagons West by The National Pep is another one by my own band, but again I do actually think it’s a good song. I wrote the music, my friend Tilt wrote the words. Tilt sings and plays drums, I play all the other instruments and Laura Denison also sings.
The Father, The Son And The Friendly Ghost by The Native Shrubs Of The Santa Monica Mountains is a soft-pop/bluegrass song about Casper The Friendly Ghost, Abraham Lincoln and Trotsky, a Beach Boys-esque waltz-time middle eight (with a tiny hint of Zappa in the changes in the end) contrasting with a common-time banjo-plucking verse.
Living In Sin by Janet Klein is another of her naughty covers of songs from the early part of the last century.
Wild Man Fischer and Rosemary Clooney?
Eleanor by Bob Lind is a great little track from someone who’s mostly only known for the one song Elusive Butterfly. This one’s very, very Lee Hazelwood.
Havana Moon by Chuck Berry is one of the earliest knock-offs of Louie Louie, performed solo by Berry on guitar and vocals.
Misty Roses by Colin Blunstone is one I’m sure I’ve included in a playlist before, but it’s also absolutely gorgeous. A Tim Hardin cover, with a fantastic string arrangement, this is one of those tracks that everyone should own.
Don’t Fear The Reaper by The Beautiful South is a cover version of the Blue Oyster Cult song. I used to live round the corner from Paul Heaton, and he used to go to our local pub on quiz nights, but after my sisters started coming and blatantly gawping at him he stopped going (unsure if it was coincidence…)
On Again! On Again! by Jake Thackray has the greatest opening line of any song – “I love a good bum on a woman, it makes my day/To me it is palpable proof of God’s existence a posteriori“. Anyone who can make bilingual puns in Latin while doing Carry On style humour is all right with me. This song got Thackray pegged as a misogynist by many, who couldn’t see that it was just possibly tongue in cheek (lines like “Please understand that I love and admire the frailer sex/and I honour them every bit as much as the next/misogynist” were probably not meant to be taken entirely seriously…)
And Go Back by Crabby Appleton is a great glammed-up powerpop track, produced I think by Curt Boettcher (it certainly sounds like his work – it sounds like his songwriting as well, actually)
WILD MAN FISCHER AND ROSEMARY CLOONEY?!
A couple of things about today’s Spotify playlist. Firstly, I’m starting to lose track of what I’ve posted before, so if some tracks come up more than once, forgive me. I’m assuming no-one’s listening to *all* of these, anyway, just the ones that sound interesting to them.
The other thing is the notable lack of female artists. This is partly because my record collection is male-dominated, but also a lot of my favourite female performers (Carolyn Edwards and Joanna Newsom to name two) aren’t on Spotify yet. Anyone know of any really good female singers/songwriters I’d like?
Anyway, today’s playlist
Cossacks Are by Scott Walker is the opening song from his most recent (and to my mind best) album, The Drift. I have absolutely no idea what it’s about, but it sounds astonishing. Remember, this is someone who started his career in a boy band doing Four Seasons covers…
The Knife by Genesis is included after reading Gavin B’s post about it – it’s almost good enough to forgive them for Phil Collins.
Pale And Precious by The Dukes Of Stratosphear is XTC in their guise as a fake 60s psych band doing a perfect Beach Boys pastiche, while still managing to be a truly great song in its own right. Gorgeous stuff. Just listen to the “Don’t care what the others might say” section – it’s got *exactly* the same unexpected chord progression – and indeed the same distrust of other people in general and wish they’d disappear attached to an absolute adoration of one person in particular – that would happen in a Brian Wilson song at that point.
At this point, the playlist is a little proggy, so there’s a couple of simpler songs.
I’m Leaving It All Up To You by Don & Dewey is a song I found on a wonderful compilation called Frank Zappa’s Jukebox, which consists of stuff that Zappa listened to as a teenager, and so is a mixture of ‘difficult’ modern classical, skronking jazz and greasy blues and doo-wop. It’s an absolute treasure of a compilation.
Shakin’ All Over by Johnny Kidd & The Pirates is one of those records that was an absolutely massive hit in Britain in the early ’60s but almost no-one outside the UK knows. It’s a shame as it’s one of the great records of that period between Elvis getting drafted and the first Beatles record, which is generally regarded as a dead period in music but in fact produced people like Roy Orbison, Del Shannon and others who were far more influential than people now realise.
Movie Magg by Carl Perkins is a great record in its own right, but also a window into a time that seems a million years ago – this is a song about taking a girl to the cinema, but on the back of a horse. And recorded in the 1950s. The weird juxtaposition of the modern (the electrical kinematograph still seems modern to me, I am afraid) and what feels like the ancient, a song about a lost way of life that is still in the memory of many living, in a song that was a modern pop song at the time my Dad was born, seems very strange to me…
You Don’t Have To Walk In The Rain by The Turtles is from one of the very great overlooked albums of the 60s, Turtle Soup. This was the Turtles’ attempt to make their own Village Green Preservation Society and was produced by Ray Davies, and is a halfway house between the Kinks’ English pastoral and the Turtles’ California pop whose closest comparison is probably Odessey & Oracle. This was the single from the album, and the most conventional track on it, but I love the line “I look at your face/I love you anyway”.
Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball? by Buddy Johnson is for my wife, who’s spent most of the last few weeks watching rounders over the internet rather than talking to her long-suffering husband ;)
Opening Titles by Don Preston is another of Preston’s orchestral pieces. I’m becoming more and more convinced, the more I hear of Preston’s work, that he had the potential to be a true great had he not spent the last forty years in the shadow of his old boss. Shame.
The Prelude to the first Lute Suite in E Minor by Bach is just here because I like Bach’s lute pieces. So should you.
Lady Came From Baltimore by Scott Walker is as different from the opening track as you could get – a cover of a folk-pop song by Tim Hardin – but is still a lovely little track, overlooked in comparison to the darker stuff on Walker’s first few solo albums.
Arnaldo Said by the Wondermints is the only Wondermints track on Spotify at the moment, unfortunately. Weirdly, this is on an Os Mutantes tribute album, even though it’s a Wondermints original. But speaking of Mutantes…
Bat Macumba by Os Mutantes is my favourite track by Brazil’s greatest psychedelic band – not much of a song, but just listen to it as a *sound*, the way the totally different sonic environments are laid on each other…
Everyone Says I Love You by Janet Klein is a lovely little acoustic performance of the Marx Brothers song from Horse Feathers (and if I lent any of you my box set of Animal Crackers, Duck Soup, Horse Feathers and Monkey Business, could I have it back, please? I’ve completely forgotten who I lent it to…)
Wonderful/Song For Children by Rufus Wainwright is a stunning performance of the first half of the second movement of Smile, and shows that Smile wasn’t just a great record, but the songs were great songs. Wonderful, especially, deserves to be regarded as part of ‘the great American songbook’.
Send Me To The ‘Lectric Chair by Bessie Smith is another track by one of the all-time great blues singers, but to be honest I’ve included it for the horn playing.
And Over The Reef by Duncan Browne is a song I’m not even sure I like, but there’s something to it… it’s a very twee, folky thing which could smack of James Taylor, but there’s a sort of Incredible String Bandness about it that makes it work… I think… what do you think?
Anyway, I’m off til a week on Tuesday. Don’t turn this place into a tip while I’m gone…
This week’s playlist (a day or two early) started out as a ‘what I’ve listened to this week’ one, then mutated slightly. Now it’s *mostly* soft-psychedelia, with a little raw bluesy stuff thrown in. I think it works…
All This Is That by The Beach Boys is from the criminally underrated Carl & The Passions: So Tough, an album I’d put in their top five. This one’s written by Mike Love, Al Jardine and Carl Wilson, and lyrically is gibberish about Transcendental Meditation, but works just for Love and Wilson’s wonderful vocals (especially Wilson’s soaring ‘jai guru dev’ falsetto at the end). The current touring ‘Beach Boys’ often perform this live, and it’s usually the best thing in the show.
Cross-Hatched World by Chewy Marble is a great piece of 60s-esque pop from Modulations, one of my favourite albums of last year. For those who don’t know, Chewy Marble are led by Brian Kassan, the former bass player for the Wondermints, and are very much the same kind of band.
When The World Is At Rest by Janet Klein And Her Parlor Boys is in here for the delightful tuned percussion. Janet Klein, for those who don’t know, does “Lovely, Naughty and Obscure Music of the 1910′s, 20s and 30′s”, and very well, with a wonderful sense of humour but a respect and love for the material.
Wavestrumental by Tripsitter is from California Son – a very strong album let down somewhat by attempts to sound too much like the Beach Boys (down to quoting Friends and When I Grow Up for no real reason). This track, on the other hand, sounds just like the High Llamas, albeit the High Llamas at their most Beach Boysy, and is all the better for it. A gorgeous little mostly-instrumental, with a lovely vibraphone part.
Where Have You Been All My Life by The Stool Pigeons is a cover of the Mann/Weill song best known as a Gerry And The Pacemakers track. The Stool Pigeons are a band led by Lisa Jenio (also of Candypants and The Negro Problem) who do covers of Merseybeat songs with a punk aesthetic. This one’s one of their few ballads, done as a torch song with loud guitars. Great stuff.
Come And Get It by The Knickerbockers is not, as one might expect from a band best known as Beatles soundalikes, a cover of the Paul McCartney song that was a hit for Badfinger. Rather, it’s a remarkably good bit of blue-eyed soul, sounding very like the Spencer Davis Group or the Small Faces at their most bluesy. This really deserved to be a hit.
The Bride Stripped Bare by Don Preston is not the similarly-named Bonzo Dog Band song, but a really gorgeous Stravinsky-esque piece by the former Mother Of Invention turned jazzman (and, latterly, nostaligia circuit performer). It’s a shame Preston’s so overshadowed by his ex-boss, as he’s very, very talented himself.
No More Hot Dogs by Hasil Adkins is the greatest track by the mad rockabilly one-man band, one of many revolving around his favourite themes of murder and meat. This one’s an invitation to (presumably) his girlfriend to have her head cut off and hung on his wall, so she ‘won’t eat no more hot dogs’.
Electricity by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band is from what I still consider one of Beefheart’s best albums, his first, when there seemed a slight possibility that by compromising just *slightly* he could have commercial success. My friend Tilt once said that another song on this album sounded just like the Monkees, and indeed the ‘sung’ vocals here sound very Mike Nesmith. That said, the spoken vocals and theremin part leave no doubt who this is – Beefheart was trying to put his ideas in commercial form, but still using *his* ideas, rather than the pandering of Unconditionally Guaranteed.
Bubblegum by Kim Fowley is one of several attempts that Fowley, whose metier was novelty records, made to be psychedelic. One imagines it might not be wholly serious.
Kyrie Eleison by The Electric Prunes was, until my friend Blake Jones used it as the theme for one of his albums, the best pop-music Kyrie ever. This is from a time when the Electric Prunes had actually split, and David Axelrod was putting out albums of religious-based psychedelic music under their name, involving one or two original members. The band disown the albums now, but I think they’re rather good.
Cherry Picker by Candypants is a typically funny, observant lyric from Lisa Jenio, but what really makes this for me is the bass part, and the chord progression in the bridge, which sounds very Roger Nichols to me.
And Checkin’ In, Checkin’ Out by The High Llamas is unfortunately one of only three of their songs on Spotify, and not at all typical of them. However, it is a great little pop song, in a sort of middle-of-the-road acousticy way.