Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sandi and Sally

"Walkin' in the Sunshine"... Yeah right, whatever.

Sometimes the face of pure evil is a fakely smiling, ambiguously virginal young woman wearing an ankle-length skirt and a pastel colored sweater. If I were going to design a Soylent Green-style human processing center, Sandi and Sally would be hostesses. Wasn't this tune the theme song for the evacuation of Saigon in 1975? If it wasn't, it should've been. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Sandi and Sally!

Put a smile on your face... as if there's nothing wrong!.... Pretending can make it real... A snowy pasture, a green and grassy field."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bobby and Cissy

Thanks to YouTube, we can revisit so many low points in American pop cultural history, points so low that they flip around on us becoming great for how horrible they are.

I know, I know, The Lawrence Welk Show is an easy target when it comes to singling out such debacles in Americana, but I can't resist. However, rather than just picking out a random Welk clip and pointing at it for a cheap laugh, I thought maybe we'd try to learn something about the show. After all, aside from those poor wretches amongst us who were forced to watch a lot of Lawrence Welk with their grandparents, most of us don't know much about the show's finer details.

So for this post we introduce "Bobby and Cissy," Bobby Burgess and Cissy King, two regular dancers on the show. To this Lawrence Welk layman, the duo's routines in the mid to late 70s epitomize the hyper-weird cultural cul-de-sacs that the Welk Show so thoroughly explored each week.

The best example of this that I could find on YouTube was of Bobby and Cissy's take on "Love Will Keep Us Together."

First off, let me say that I approve of the nod towards Pan-Africanism that the color choices of their costumes suggest. Brave choice, and about time!

Next, as goofy and laden with variety show dance cliches and gimmicks as this bit of choreography is, what impresses me is that Bobby and Cissy were physically able to hang in there with this number. Several times it looks like they're about to lose it entirely, especially at the end when poor Bobby does his best to hoist Cissy up on his shoulder. It looked touch and go there for a second, so way to go Bobby, you did it! Rather than "Love Will Keep Us Together," I prefer to call this one "The Perils of an All Red Meat Diet."

Too bad the quality on "Disco Square Dance" isn't so great. What we have here is a cultural abomination that appalls, and yet, the more I watch it, also charms. It's a full-speed, head on collision on the interstate between a full load of country western and a thick brick wall made of disco. The number of casualties are unknown, but estimated to be high.

Bobby and Cissy do sort of a Riverdance-ish, must-keep-upper- body-rigid-at-all-costs routine. Maybe it doesn't have the transfixing, hypnotic affect that their version of "Love Will Keep Us Together" has, but it still feels like a good, solid Bobby and Cissy performance. In other words, it scares the shit out of me.

The surprising thing about this number is that it's not as country western as the costumes suggest. With its reverb-laden accordion and dips into the minor key, the ditty owes something to the european polka culture of the northern midwest.

Next week's Welkian topic: "Sandi and Sally" - don't miss it!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Some Velvet Morning

No one knows what this song is about. Not even wikipedia knows what the hell this song is about. Oh sure, the name Phaedra is a reference to a figure from Greek mythology, but that's about it - your guess is as good as mine.

One thing we do know is that this is sort of a corny stab at psychedelia coming from the ultra square, country club and cocktail world of Nancy Sinatra. In the song, Sinatra plays the nature queen "Phaedra" who wanders the bluffs wearing all white polyester, gathering flowers.

Meanwhile, Lee Hazlewood rides around on a black horse with a black leather vest, looking like either a moody psychoanalyst or an S/M dude. Maybe it's just me, but I keep thinking that at any moment Hazlewood is going to round the point and come face to face with a half-buried Statue of Liberty emerging out of the sand. "God damn you! Damn you all to hell!" Like the Planet of the Apes, this song has the same heavy handed symbolism and pseudo-profundity that we love about the pop culture of the late 60s and early 70s.

Anyway... it's a super cool tune, we think. And lots of people have covered it. Primal Scream does a version which I can't say I'm too crazy about. I'm partial to Slowdive's take while Jen prefers Lydia Lunch and Rowland S. Howard's version. We recommend them both.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Loteria and Guadalupe Mexican Calendar Art Cards

Check out our new Loteria and Guadalupe Mexican Calendar Art cards! Each set has two designs: you get three cards of each design. Great for birthdays, graduations, thank yous, and more!

Rare Bird Finds Rocks

Rare Bird Finds included our Vietnamese Juice Glasses in their list of 100 Cool Goodies for $10 or less feature. Thank you!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Strawberry Switchblade

We're traveling back to the eighties again, this time with Strawberry Switchblade's biggest hit, "Since Yesterday."

At first listen, the song seems like pure, unadulterated 80s kitsch. The primitive and jaunty drum machine, the lighthearted pulse of the synthesizer, the big, big, BIG hair - it's like stepping into the mind of a 12 year old girl circa 1984.

And it's all completely forgettable until you notice the woe-is-me lyrics: "And as we sit here alone... Looking for a reason to go on..." And so on. It's as if for two and a half minutes, the depressing lyrics are locked in battle with the bouncy synthpop instrumentation and the wacky stop motion video. Is this a happy fun song about two girls who love polka dots, or is it a melancholy ode to a universe devoid of meaning?

The song's understated edgy side gets another boost at the end when Rose McDowall (the black haired one) starts dancing like a doll. Cute, but also kind of creepy. Ah Rose McDowall... what a voice, what a beauty... Check out more of her music at her site, and her myspace page. Still cute, still creepy (in a good way!).

Last musing: maybe it's a stretch, maybe it isn't - but I look at Strawberry Switchblade's over-the-top, quasi-proto-gothish DIY getups and I see the beginnings of Japanese harajuku-style, gothic lolita fashion.

And as we know, Strawberry Switchblade was huge in Japan... For reals.

From Glasgow to Tokyo... what a journey. We here at All-Pop love it when subcultures blend and merge, becoming something new. Especially when it happens "organically," that is, not contrived by marketing types and focus groups. While pretty much forgotten, these two Scottish girls were something more than one hit wonders.

Check out this site for more on Strawberry Switchblade.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


Looking for something a little different for your favorite toddler's upcoming birthday? How about a Rody? Kids love to bounce on it. Or just sit on it and watch their favorite TV show. Adults love its cool design and hip colors. Everyone's a winner when you give the gift of Rody.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Decor8 is Gr8

A big thank you to Holly over at Decor8 for mentioning our little blog and shop in her New Blogs on the Block post today!

New Product Roundup

These lovely resin keychains feature an image of Guadalupe on one side and a miscellaneous saint on the other.

The last time I was in Mexico, it didn't really look like this, but my coffee table looks a lot better now that I have these Mexico Tipico coasters.

All three of our small Mexican vintage graphics notebooks are now up on the site. Which one to choose? Mexicana Airlines, Petroleos Mexicano or Cancionero Picot? Why these small notebooks are so handy and reasonably priced, you can buy one of each!

Thursday, March 1, 2007


This week we're posting an X video. Why? Because All-Pop is an L.A. store and X is an L.A. band. As a matter of fact, it's hard for us to think of a more quintessentially Los Angeles band than X. Okay, so we're biased - this is music from our collective, disaffected youth.

We're still desperate, but I think everyone's used to it by now.

For more of your X needs: The Official X Website