YouTube Playlist: Dec 2019

When it comes to finding the perfect stocking stuffers that surprise and delight, we at the Big One blog will always opt for the gift of new (old) tunes.

But not just any tunes. The 15 track YouTube playlist below has been lovingly curated by WE FOUGHT THE BIG ONE DJ Rick Taylor and this month’s guest djs dv8godd (aka Radd Berkheiser) and WronG (aka Ron Getts) to get you through the doldrums of another holiday season rife with seasonal sounds that grate. We’ve even provided commentary for each track.

As you will discover, this month’s playlist has got everything from yuletide-themed oddities (did you know Suicide and Can recorded Christmas songs?), undisputed classics (Talking Heads, Eno, Gary Numan and Prince) and deep cuts from John Peel’s favorite post-punk crates (UV Pop, Crash Course in Science, Clock DVA and more).

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, there’s no coal for you. Only sparkling sonic gems that will cure even the harshest of Christmas music blues…

Let’s get started then…

5 tracks from WE FOUGHT THE BIG ONE DJ Rick Taylor:


Brian Eno — “Third Uncle” (1974, Island Records)

Rick: Two years before punk was born — never mind what came after — and Eno delivered what still stands nearly 50 years later as arguably post-punk’s most enduring track. It would be impossible to calculate the enormity of Eno’s influence on Joy Division, Bauhaus, Wire and countless others, and I’m not going to attempt to do so here. Instead, I’m just going to smile from ear to ear as I listen to this for the hundredth time and celebrate bassist Brian Turrington’s “accident” of playing in the wrong key (“honor thy mistake as a hidden intention.”)

Miharu Koshi — “Scandal Night” (1983, Yen Records)

Rick: Some of the most interesting oddball pop music came out of Japan in the 80s when singer and keyboardist Miharu Koshi collaborated with producer and Yellow Magic Orchestra founder Haruomi Hosono. The delightfully quirky “Scandal Night” is from 1983’s “Tutu,” their first album collaboration. I love the wide-eyed creativity and imagination on display here, especially the use of a telephone ring as a percussive instrument. The albums these two made together are tops on my list of most wanted reissues.

Crash Course in Science — “Cardboard Lamb” (1981, Press Records)

Rick: The official music video for “Cardboard Lamb” by Philadelphia’s Crash Course in Science. Filmed in New York in 1981, the video was distributed in rock and dance clubs, like Danceteria in the 80’s through ‘Rock America’ video. The song became a club favorite during the early 80s, and it pointed the way forward to much of the harder-edged techno and industrial sounds that were to come. The band is still active, and wildly popular in certain parts of Europe.

Suicide — “Hey Lord” (1981, Ze Records)

Rick: Suicide vocalist Alan Vegan (RIP) and electronic sound wizard Martin Rev were always full of surprises, but arguably their biggest surprise came with this yuletide tune. Suicide’s “Hey Lord” was recorded in 1981 for the ZE Records Christmas album, “A Christmas Record,” which also included holiday themed tunes from the likes of Was (Not Was), Material, Cristina and The Waitresses. Never mind “Silent Night Deadly Night.” Christmas doesn’t get any scarier than Alan Vegas crooning, “Hey Lord, I want to thank you.”

Can — “Silent Night” (1976, Harvest)

Rick: When it comes to Christmas novelty tunes, it’s hard to beat Can’s take on “Silent Night,” which was released as a single (!) in 1976. John Peel didn’t play many Christmas tunes, but this one got some love. And for good reason. Merry Krautrockmas.



5 tracks from Guest DJ dv8godd, aka Radd Berkheiser:


UV Pøp – “No Songs Tomorrow” (1983, Flowmotion)

Radd: This is the first single by John White’s early 80s one-man post-punk band from Sheffield, which was actually produced by fellow Sheffield natives, Cabaret Voltaire. White has recently reformed the band and is currently active after a 25 year hiatus, recording new material, re-recording a few older ones, and occasionally performing live.

Clock DVA – “Sound Mirror” (1989, Wax Trax!)

Radd: Another Sheffield act, Clock DVA is Adi Newton, who formed then left The Future (who then went on to become The Human League). While earlier recordings ran from experimental and avant garde to post-punk influenced, Clock DVA eventually found their niche in 1989’s “Buried Dreams,” fully infusing synthesizers and digital production in the creation of science fiction soundscapes like this one.

Minimal Compact – “Next One Is Read” (1984, Crammed Discs)

Radd: Just before Wax Trax! Records fully focused their attention on the Chicago scene and cherry picking like-minded EBM and Industrial that Europe had to offer, the label released a few early standouts from the pack like this track from the Israeli Post-Punk band, Minimal Compact.

Rheingold – “Dreiklangsdimensionen” (1980, Welt-Rekord, EMI Elektrola)

Radd: An early 80s New Wave group from Düsseldorf, following on the heels of an earlier electronic export from the same city, Kraftwerk (though a bit more post-punk and a bit less synthetic than their inspiration) After disbanding due to a lack of success outside Germany, vocalist Bodo Staiger would go on to join up with ex-Kraftwerk drummer Karl Bartos to form “Electric Music.”

Gary Numan – “Metal” (1979, Beggars Banquet)

Radd: Within one year from November 1978 to September 1979, Gary Numan produced a sold-out run of his limited pressing debut album “Tubeway Army”, a number 1 UK charting sophomore release with “Replicas”, and yet another number 1 UK charting third release “Pleasure Principle”, each evolving further from his original punk roots to his newfound love of the MiniMoog.

5 tracks from Guest DJ WronG, aka Ron Getts:

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Talking Heads — “Once in a Lifetime” (1980, Sire)

Ron: They’d already had a few minor hits by the time this started to get play on MTV but this video was the beginning of something else. We kinda knew that David Byrne was weird but it wasn’t until we saw him in this video, dressed like an accountant, dancing like he was having a cocaine-induced seizure, that we really began to appreciate how weird.

Prince — “1999” (1982, Warner Bros.)

Ron: I remember 1983 when MTV used to play music videos and they played this one quite a bit. I also remember New Years Day 1999 when MTV2 played this, literally (literally literally), non-stop, all day. We must’ve watched it 50 times. The video got funnier every time but the song never stopped being awesome.

Killing Joke — “Eighties” (1985, EG)

Ron: This video was my first exposure to Killing Joke. I hadn’t yet heard much “punk” music at that time and the sound and attitude of this lead me down a hundred other paths. It is also worth noting that they’ve continued to make some fantastic music into the twenty-teens.

The Replacements — “Bastards of Young” (1985, Sire)

Ron: This is the greatest music video of all time. From the little band that wouldn’t. The ultimate underachievers. A band that was bound and determined, against all odds, to fail.

Curve — “Missing Link” (1993, Anxious)

Ron: The Eurythmics by way of Ministry. Beauty and noise, perfectly combined. This blend was eventually reduced to a formula that made some other band a lot of money but Curve never really got their due. Or their royalties. In another 10 years, this will be played in grocery stores, just like Love Will Tear Us Apart.

Like what you’re listening to? Check out WE FOUGHT THE BIG ONE on the first Friday of every month at the Marx Cafe (3203 Mt. Pleasant St. NW, Washington DC 20009)


5 Questions: Replicant Eyes


DC musicians Dan Gonzalez and Alejandro Castano are under no illusions about the world we live in. It’s a frightening, harrowing place. And things are only getting worse.

Replicant Eyes, the duo’s post-industrial dark wave project, seems almost tailor-made to reflect today’s increasingly bleak times.

As the band’s self-titled debut album on Exte Records demonstrates, Replicant Eyes weave horrifying soundscapes from Alejandro’s spidery guitar lines and brooding synth pulses, capped by Dan’s vampiric croon. It’s a devastating collage of sounds that reminds me what I love so much about bands like Fields of the Nephilim, Sisters of Mercy and obscure 12 inches from Wax Trax Records — this is music that drips with atmosphere and nervy energy. It gives you a feeling of dread and yet, seems strangely cathartic.

Goth is often dismissed as faux fashion — a contrived subculture of despair and decay to make angst-ridden teens feel better about themselves. But given that the leader of the free world tears immigrant children from parents and locks them in cages and abuses power on a daily basis, the question becomes who is really contrived? The “goths” or the so-called “normals” who continue to pretend all is well?

It’s reassuring to know that Replicant Eyes are not ignoring real world horrors, but reflecting them in its music. With the band set to play a special live show at Friday’s WE FOUGHT THE BIG ONE at the Marx Cafe (3203 Mt. Pleasant St. NW), I took the opportunity to get in touch with Dan and Alejandro to find out more about this shadowy band…

1) How did Replicant Eyes form?

Dan: Alejandro and I met and became friends through our current office job. It was then I was introduced to and became a fan of his project, The Red Fetish. I told him if I ever gathered the courage to be involved in a music project, he was the person I wanted to work with. A few years later, over drinks, my lowered inhibitions led me to finally say ‘fuck it, let’s do this.’ Thankfully, he agreed.

Alejandro: Dan took me out for drink about a year after Non Sequitur, when The Red Fetish quartet was winding down. He let me know that he really loved Temporal Joke, Vol. I and wanted to sing over stuff like it.

A couple of months later we started writing songs together and something immediately became clear to me: Dan is a force of nature. I decided that I need to do everything to get him in front of an audience.

2) How did you arrive at the Replicant Eyes sound?

Dan: Replicant Eyes is unabashedly influenced by a bevy of various artists. Alejandro will certainly have his own to discuss, but mine range from Nine Inch Nails, Suicide, Siouxsie and The Banshees, to Laurie Anderson and all things Mike Patton. Through our mutual love of goth and industrial things, we immediately decided we’d incorporate synths, drum machine, and guitar into our sound.

Alejandro: We decided pretty early on to embrace the synthetic nature of our project: that the computer is a fully fledged member that carries and constrains what we can / should do. The goal is to have the human elements be as human as possible to balance out the computer, which is as inhuman as possible, rather than try to make the human elements robotic or the computer elements humanized.

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3) What is your process like for writing music? Does it vary from track to track?

Dan: Alejandro can talk more about the creation of these musical compositions. He is the brilliant mind that birthed these fantastic electronic soundscapes. We collaborate once he has created original sketches. We then talk about different sounds we want to incorporate or tweaks to make. After which, Alejandro improvises guitar parts, while I vocalize stream of consciousness until something catches. From there the lyric writing process begins for me.

Alejandro: We’ve tried a couple of different approaches. The one that works best for us is the following: we talk about music we like and then improvise the bones of a song together, in a practice room. Songs evolve from this, sometimes arduously and significantly, but sometimes not. We wrote and recorded “The Truth” from the first album in a single sitting, for example.

4) You released a self-titled record last year. What was that experience like for you and are you pleased with how it turned out?

Dan: Album one had a very DIY approach. We got a great boost on the mastering side from Jake Reid (Screen Vinyl Image, Alcian Blue, Secret Wilderness) while the songs were all recorded by us in our practice space and mixed by Alejandro at home. We incorporated the found sounds of opening/closing tape decks, CD disc trays, and dropping a needle on a dusty vinyl record. We wanted those machine-like sounds to create cohesion to the overall mood conveyed from track to track. We were pleasantly surprised how quickly and easily the album fell into place.

Alejandro: It was a pretty effortless album to make. The songs came together quickly. Considering how carelessly we made it, Dan’s found sounds of outdated music machines (like turntables, tape decks, and CD players) make the album feel cohesive and whole.

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5) Let’s talk about your live show. Is there a certain feeling or atmosphere that you seek to capture live that’s different when recording?

Dan: The live show is more of a visceral experience. We can crank up the volume and turn out a barrage of sound. I’m a big fan of David Lynch, and the Black Lodge he created within the Twin Peaks universe. Performance art begins with setting a mood, so the use of accent lighting, strobe, and fog lends itself to that. I have trouble standing still when I perform and like to jump off stage when possible. I enjoy getting right in the crowd and disrupting the otherwise shoegaze sensibility displayed by most in attendance. I derive no pleasure from simply standing still and watching you watch me. I really want to connect with the audience in an emotional and frenetic way.

Alejandro: When I said, earlier, that Dan is a force of nature, I meant that he is a madman. Part of the reason that we decided to lean into the artificial nature of the drum machine is because Dan cannot be contained. When I said that we try to make the human elements of the music as human as possible, it is not to balance out the robotic elements of the computer – we need to make the computer robotic to balance out the madman on the microphone.

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Dan jumping through walls, and biting microphones in half. I’ve watched him leap over burning buildings, and glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate.

I have learned, over the years, how to fake these moments on recordings, but they can only be believed in the flesh.

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Check out Replicant Eyes on bandcamp.

And don’t miss the band’s show at WFTBO!