Song Of The Day 10/2/2016: ART, The Only Band in the World – “Ugly People With Fancy Hairdos”

Here's another nugget of agitprop, conditioned annoyance and slapdash allegory I found while researching the next mixtape. Yes, it's '80s-based, but it ain't The Hidden '80s. There's no point in doing a Hidden '80s feature because the vitality of the "Top Forty" format began to disintegrate in the '80s. You didn't need to have a song hit the Top Forty for it to be treasured by the majority of the music consumer market. You just needed to climb on the scaffold at the US Festival with a white flag, or put a crucifix in a beaker full of urine, or meet Aaron Spelling. We were all Hidden '80s.

We were also all boat people as this piece points out. ART, The Only Band in the World (I'm respecting their grass-roots marketing campaign by reprinting their full moniker) was the invention of Mykel Board, best known for his column "You're Wrong" in the still-technically-in-existence zine Maximumrockandroll. A,TOBITW put out one 7-inch EP called The Only Record in the World. Today's entry was its A-side. The B-side was more complicated. There were two tracks on it, each one playing in one channel of your stereo: "Give Me Nuclear Power/I Don't Want to Hold Your Hand" on the left, and "ART Gets Thrown Off the Stage While Playing for the Yippies" on the right. The instructions read thusly:
SIDE A (Stereo, 33⅓): Play this like you would any other record.

SIDE B (2-track mono, 33⅓): Unplug (or turn down) your right speaker and play the songs on the left channel. Then unplug (or turn down) your left speaker to hear the stuff on the right channel. Hard? One must make sacrifices for ART.
It's not that hard. Oh, I get it, that was the joke. "Ugly People with Fancy Hairdos" contains a spoken-word, NSFW introductory benediction by Kimberly Davis, which sets up Board's rollicking jab at the very complex style-as-safeguard mechanism of your typical countercultural milieu. My favorite part:
BOARD: Yes I see you leaning against the wall at St. Mark's Place! You got on your dark sunglasses, you even wear them inside! You got your fingers tucked over the top of your belt! You practiced looking bored in front of the mirror at home! You got one foot propped up against the wall tryin' to look like Lou Reed! Real cool! Some bum comes up to you an asks for a cigarette! He puts his arm on your shoulder! You jump! You shout at him --

CHORUS: "Don't touch me! I'm new wave! Don't touch me! I'm new wave! Don't touch me! I'm new wave! Don't touch me! I'm new wave!"
The chorus, according to, includes Ann Magnuson of Bongwater and, allegedly, the Boy's Choir Of PS 162 Elementary School. In case you were young or non-existent at the time, the "boat people" referred to the waves of Vietnamese refugees who had fled their homeland during and after the Vietnamese Conflict. Yes, we had just as much of a compassion gap for them as we do now for the Syrians. Enjoy your Pabst, hipster.

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