Sitting around on a holiday weekend, ignoring Burning Man as always, I thought I'd take the YouTube challenge. Can I think of an obscure band NOT on YouTube? My first try was a complete failure for me (or triumph for YouTube, depending on how you look at it): The Honeymoon Killers. Not the disturbingly entertaining cult film of 1969, but the 80s new-wave Brussels band that I stumbled on years ago in a used record shop. I wonder if I can find that song, Histoire à suivre, I thought. That was the best song on the record.
Here it is, live in 1983, on my first search try. YouTube: 1; me: 0.
Ironically, the movie is barely represented at all.
Next try: Inflatable Boy Clams. This obscure but beloved group, which I believe gestated in early-80s San Francisco, consisted of four young women who made some really primitive, sardonic and memorable avant-pop, demented but almost nursery-rhyme-like in its simplicity. Their song Skeletons is barely featured on two YouTube videos. One is a bunch of random edits set in Cleveland, only notable for all the commentators who wrote: It's good to hear Skeletons again. The other is a student-made 2D animation experiment. The song is only on each video for a few seconds. So I say it's a tie between me and YouTube.
If you want to hear the entire 5-song Inflatable Boy Clamb output, they're here on their fan site. I'm partial to I'm Sorry. Bassist Carol used to sometimes play in our pick-up baseball games with her husband Wally of The Wally Sound Studio. We played with rubber practice balls, hence our league name, "doggy ball." Many musicians and writers attended these games and you'd be surprised how good some of these starving artists were. Playing second base, I learned a lot of baseball skills over the years (I have yet to turn one double play--my secret shame).
Update: IBC do have some songs up on Youtube now but I went ahead and made a video to I'm Sorry because it was a dream of mine to do so. Shortly after making this, the Dangerous Minds site featured it in an Inflatable Boy Clams post — perhaps the ultimate Internet triumph of obscurity reaching the masses.
Lubricated Goat, the Australian band from the 80s. No problem. Here they are doing In The Raw:
Long ago I met an Australian lass who was traveling with my pen pal, David Nichols from Sydney (who has since written a book about The Go-Betweens), and she earnestly told me that Lubricated Goat was her favorite band. I stayed late at the club to see them on her recommendation and was I sorry! Anyway, YouTube is beating my ass.
Keith suggested The Shop Assistants. (Horn-of-failure bellowing sound: ERRRGGHHHHHHHHH!) Several videos are available. Here is Safety Net.
All right then: New Zealand folk-rockers, Look Blue Go Purple. Doh! Here's a great live video of the Buffy Sainte-Marie song, Codeine.
British feminist gender-integrated band, The Au Pairs. No problem--Live, doing Come Again in the documentary, "Urgh! A Music War."
Someone even thoughtfully posted their best song, It's Obvious. No video, but it just shows how all-encompassing YouTube has become in documenting musical culture of the past 30 years. Well played, YouTube contributors. Well played.