Album Review: Midge Ure, “Orchestrated”

Under normal circumstances, an artist re-recording songs from their past with an orchestra is a ‘last refuge of the scoundrel’ sort of move, a cynical attempt at giving the fans something “new” while barely lifting a finger. In the case of Midge Ure, Ultravox frontman and co-writer of Saint Bob Geldof’s Band Aid benefit single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” the idea of an orchestral album isn’t a question of when, but rather why it took this long for it to happen. Ultravox’s music drips with melancholy – hell, they had a violinist in the band – making his entire catalog fair game for an orchestral album. The question then comes down to, “Well, shit, which songs do we choose?”

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Dizzy Heights #40: I Know That Dude — Songs About Famous People

Once I started soliciting song suggestions for shows, suggestions for show ideas soon followed. When two friends of mine who had never met sent the same idea within a matter of hours (maybe days), that felt like a sign. Songs that name-check famous people. There are tons of those!

Here’s the funny thing, though: there are indeed tons of those and their suggestions were so good and so varied that I only had a handful of them. Leave it to your friends to remind you just how much you have left to learn about whatever it is that you think you know a lot about. This was an exercise in humility, to be sure.

Bands making their Dizzy Heights debuts this week: Van Morrison, The Replacements, MIKA, Gorillaz, Mojo Nixon, Eurythmics (!!!), Donna Summer, Bananarama, and Barenaked Ladies. And I’m pretty sure you know exactly which songs I played from each artist.

Thank you, as always, for listening.

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Dizzy Heights #39: The Devil Take Your Stereo — “(This) and (That)” Songs, Vol. I

Those who played along when I ran Popdose’s “Name That Tune” roughly a decade ago (*pauses, kneels over, takes a breath when he contemplates that those days were nearly a decade ago*) may see similarities with some of these theme shows that I’ve been doing lately. Yep, I’m recycling, but hey, it’s been ten years or so. I’d like to think that the statute of limitations has long since expired.

Much like the previous shows, I now have at least two more shows’ worth of ____ and ____ material already at my disposal, thanks to my awesome (read: much more knowledgeable) Facebook friends. I am not afraid to admit that the themed shows are better because my friends’ song suggestions are better than mine.

Many of the artists making their Dizzy Heights debuts this week, well, embarrass me, because they should have been played weeks/months ago. See if you can guess which ones I’m talking about: Adam & the Ants, Capital Cities, Death Cab for Cutie, Elle King, Joan Jett, John Mellencamp, The Ramones, Voice of the Beehive, Walter Egan, and XTC. That’s right – nearly all of them.

Thank you, as always, for listening.

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Dizzy Heights #38: Pico to Colorado to Las Palmas — The Garrett & Amy Show, Vol. II

Time for another edition of Take Your Child to Work Day, though curiously, my employer is not celebrating it this year.

The kids have been itching to do another show, and they’re bringing all of the big hitmakers with them. Demi Lovato, The Weeknd, Muse, Grace VanderWaal and Panic! At the Disco all return to rub elbows with Selena Gomez, P!nk, Portugal. The Man, Charlie Puth, The Chainsmokers, Fergie (God help me), Julia Michaels, and a certain mega female pop star whose name I’m afraid to mention. Listen as the kids re-enact their favorite internet memes, with varying degrees of success. Though it turns out Garrett can do an awfully good Schwarzenegger impression, and his Tommy Wiseau isn’t bad, either.

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Dizzy Heights #37: Uh-uh, Not Katherine: The Numbers Show, Vol. I

I am not kidding when I say that I have over 150 suggestions for this theme that I can use in future shows. And that’s now; when the time comes to do a sequel show, I will have even more.

The show’s title speaks for itself: these are songs with numbers in their titles, run through my strange Midwestern Angiophile filter. Lots of early MTV material here, but at the same time, lots of stuff from other eras as well.

Bands making their Dizzy Heights debut this week include Wire, Stereophonics, Robert Plant, Bob Marley, Brewer & Shipley (had to do it), The Clash (!!!!!), George Thorogood, Jack White, The Plimsouls, Prince (!!!!@%^&*@%^&$), and one band that I would like to keep secret until the very end. But that’s enough clues about what lies ahead.

Thank you, as always, for listening.

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Dizzy Heights #36: Unpack Your Adjectives, Vol. I

Opening this show up to the “world” (my Facebook friends) is easily the smartest move I’ve made so far. It’s gotten me out of my lane and opened up the format a hundredfold, and taking requests has given my friends a vested interest in the show’s turnout. It doesn’t hurt that my friends have delivered some phenomenal suggestions as well.

This week’s show: adjectives, one word only. There are lots of those, as it turns out, and I now have TONS of leftover songs, so if I didn’t play your song this time, I will most likely get to it next time.

Lots and lots of acts making their Dizzy Heights debuts, including a couple of shockers: 10,000 Maniacs, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Blondie (!) The BoDeans, The Cure (!!!!), Fairground Attraction, The Housemartins, Kerli, Patsy Cline, Skunk Anansie, Sloan, and a female pop superstar whose name I’m afraid to mention for fear the Web Sheriff will come for me.

Programming Note: Dizzy Heights will be on vacation the week of March 29, returning on April 12.

Thank you, as always, for listening.

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CD Review: Editors, “Violence”

It must have hurt Editors to watch the chart success end so abruptly. The band racked up 10 UK Top 40 singles, including two Top 10 hits and two Number One albums, in a span of four years. That last hit: “Papillon,” the lead single from their third album, 2009’s In This Light and on This Evening. That album, a dark wave-drenched affair, was a radical departure from the walls-of-guitars approach of their debut and sophomore albums (2005’s The Back Room and 2007’s An End Has a Start), and while the songwriting continued their trademark twisted bombast, the sonic shift hurt them deeply from a commercial standpoint, even though it liberated the band from a creative standpoint.

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High Street Vol. IV: Who Needs to Think When Your Feet Just Go?

This is the fourth in a series of love letters my DJ partner Ed Walker and I have created to celebrate the legendary alt-dance clubs of the late ’80s and early ’90s that peppered Ohio State’s campus, and this one might be my favorite of the bunch. Beastie Boys, New Order, Tom Tom Club (hence the show’s title), and Yello are here, along with many others. Happy dancing, everyone.

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New Podcast! Dizzy Heights #35: Going Back to Athens – Songs About Places, Vol. I

This show – and the previous show, the ‘She’ song-filled ‘Film the World Before It Happens’ – are a big turning point in my podcast. I’m going to ride this theme thing for a while. It’s fun, and if the response from my Facebook friends is any indication, people are more engaged with shows that have a theme tying the songs together. This time, I went around the world and listed songs with the names of cities, states, countries, continents…heck, one of them is the name of a New Zealand beach.

I still have over two pages of songs that I didn’t use for this show, hence the Vol. I in the title. Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy it.

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Dizzy Heights #34: Film the World Before It Happens

I’m not sure why I’m so lackadaisical about posting my Mixcloud shows here. Really, I don’t.

But this show is a big one, my longest one yet (102 minutes) but one that I think people will like. And there is most definitely a theme. One that you will figure out somewhere between the second and third song.

New shows every two weeks. If you’re interested in following me on Mixcloud, you can find me here. Thank you for listening.

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