British duo Public Service Broadcasting return to Austin, TX for another sure-to-be-exhausting series of performances for the hordes of music fans descending on the SXSW festival.
They are back promoting their nifty new album, “The Race for Space“, which is themed around the history of the American & Soviet space programs, using archival audio footage in lieu of lyrics over their crafty instrumental electro-rock tunes.
Their 2013 debut album operated similarly, using mid-20th century documentary materials from the British Film Institute & British Archives.
Not to jump too far ahead, but it got me thinking, what could be subjects for future Public Service Broadcasting records. Here are my top 5 suggestions:
The archeological discoveries of the past two centuries, from Napoleon’s surveys in the early 1800s to Howard Carter’s uncovering of King Tut’s tomb in the 1920s, have always fascinated the modern public. From newsreels to cheesy mummy movies, there could be something to work with.
2) The History of Hammer Films
Using samples from one of the most legendary British studios, especially known for their horror films, could make for a new seasonal Halloween classic. Baron Frankenstein Peter Cushing’s dulcet tones would suit PSB well, with Christopher Lee’s deep, sinister Dracula purr a perfect counterpoint.
3) The Many Voices of Paul Frees
One of my favorite voice-over actors, Frees appears prominently at Disneyland (the “ghost host” at the Haunted Mansion, assorted Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.), in numerous cartoons (the voice of Boris Badenov on “Rocky & Bullwinkle”) and in various films from the 50s & 60s (The War of the Worlds, The Manchurian Candidate, etc.) His voice calls out for the PSB treatment!
4) British Television Chefs
Like with all UK television shows, there is something distinctive about English TV cooking shows that seems particularly musical. Using sound bites (pun intented) from the likes of Graham Kerr, the Galloping Goumet, to controversial chefs like Jamie Oliver & Gordon Ramsay, to newcomers like Bryn Williams, might be good food for thought.
5) Sherlock Holmes
There is nothing more British than the world’s greatest consulting detective, and because he is one of the most recognizable fictional characters in history, there are innumerable versions to pick juicy audio clips from, ranging from Basil Rathbone’s long-running movie series, to Jeremy Brett’s definitive television version, to Benedict Cumberbatch’s revisionist Holmes. Such an assemblage seems elementary for the talents of PSB!
While PSB feverishly begin work on my suggestions, here’s an appropriately spacey remix of their new song “Go!” by Scottish post-electro-rockers Errors, which KCRW is happy to premiere to tide us over.
Aside from their stint at SX, the duo will also play a show at the Roxy in LA on April 2.