De-Evolution is Real!

Auto Modown & Spacegirl Blues

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Chris Yo yo yo. SO. Auto Modown into Space Girl Blues. We’re discussing both songs in one post, since they’re both short and feed into one another. Well, they don’t feed into each other bidirectionally. Auto Modown goes into Space Girl Blues. Unless you play it backwards.

Jon Yeah it’s like those two INXS songs they bundled together with one music video.

Chris I am un-hip to INXS.

Jon Same tempo, one flows into the other on the album, so they released it as one video.

Chris Fair enough.

Jon Plus I think they were listed as one song on that Mechanical Man ‘fake bootleg’.

Chris Cool cool.

Jon BUT ANYWAY.

Chris Yes! First impressions?. You listen to this shit a lot?

Jon Auto Modown is funky as hell.

Chris Yeah it is.

Jon Yeah, I come back to these songs often.

Chris I really like Auto Modown. It’s got a nasty hook. Feels garage-y.

Jon I feel like Auto Modown has something to do with the Kent State shooting that their friend was killed in? They never mention Kent but they do namedrop Youngstown.

Chris Yeah I know they were heavily influenced by the Kent State shootings, but I didn’t pick that up from the song. Then again, I didn’t really know what they were talking about. The groove is great though. It’s almost like a techno build. Where they add instruments slowly.

Jon Oh yeah the song itself bangs thoroughly. I might be wrong, or colored a bit by knowing they were adjacent to that event, but yeah.

Chris Yeah. Each instrument is a small-ish loop, that build on each other. I wish they did more with it, though. It’s so short. It kinda feels like an intro.

Jon Yeah that’s part of why I feel like it’s part one of the fuller song including Space Girl Blues. Not that they seem related thematically.

Chris Yeah, agreed.

Jon And Space Girl Blues is kinda goofy / overly horny. In a desperate young nerd way.

Chris I thought the guitar tone in space girl was similar to Auto Modown, but otherwise I agree, unrelated. And yeah, lyrically going from the cryptic (to me, at least) Auto Modown to the very obvious, sophomoric sex joke mis a bit jarring. The Space Girl Blues hook doesn’t stay with me, either.

Jon Yeah, and we haven’t even scratched the surface really, as far as these hardcore demo compilations go.

Chris Yeah, exactly.

Jon Fun fact: Toni Basil covered it on the same album Mickey was on. (I think she and Jerry were dating at some point?)

Chris Holy shit, that’s nuts. She covered the two songs together?

Jon Nah, just “Space Girls” as it was called on her version. BUT she also covers Be Stiff. It lookays like most of Devo played on that album, too.

Chris Oh wow. I really don’t know anything about Toni Basil. So, my feeling about these two, is I really like Auto Modown, Space Girl Blues is fine but forgettable, and i wish they expanded Auto Modown into a fuller song.

Jon Yeah i’d agree with that. Even coulda kept the musical switch-up tha t happens, but Space Girl Blues gets a little cringe-y.

Chris Yes, agreed. I think that’s an overall Devo weakness. When they start getting sexual, it just seems like an unfunny/creepy joke. With the exception of Uncontrollable Urge, but we’ll get to that later.

Jon agreed. Can’t wait to get to the straight-up misogynist/racist songs 🙄.

Chris Ohhhhh yeahhhhh. Fun times. How do you handle that? With music in general?.

Jon Same way I listen to a lot of hip-hop, really. DMX et al.

Chris Right, right.

Jon You kinda have to approach it with your own self-imposed filter or disclaimer, like WB put before all the racist Looney Tunes when reissued.

Chris Mmmm, yeah.

Jon There’s a podcast I’ve been meaning to check out called Struggle Session and it’s all about this, trying to enjoy something problematic.

Chris That’s interesting. Good shit. When something gross comes on my heckles get up. But there’s so much music, especially from childhood/teenage-hood, that I absolutely love on a very primal level. Probably because of the formative age.

Jon Yeah.

Chris That has really not great messages. So for me It’s less finding ways to enjoy it but feeling guilty for liking it, I guess?

Jon At least some people grow, though. I’ve been listening to a lot of Beastie Boys lately, who all but disowned that first fratboy album of theirs for many years.

Chris Yeah, yeah.

Jon Fun fact: License to Ill’s original title was straight-up gonna be “Don’t Be a Faggot”.

Chris Jesus Christ.

Jon Much thanks to whoever stepped in there.

Chris Yeah the world owes someone a debt.

Jon Also their first VHS release had a buncha (staged? real?) backstage footage of them mistreating groupies.

Chris Fun times.

Jon MCA slips his hand down a girl’s pants on camera. It’s nuts. And awkward as shit to watch.

Chris Holy crap.

Chris Well, glad that they grew out of that bullcrap.

Jon Honestly. I’m all for irreverent bullshit but like, woof.

Chris Yeah, I hear that. I think what’s telling is less than it’s irreverent, but that in aggregate, the whole industry/culture is irreverent in one direction.

Jon I think I also saw backstage footage Korn (lol) once where they were like, throwing bologna slices onto a girl’s ass? Every generation has their Led Zep, seemingly. At least as far as being a shithead goes. Not necessarily riffs.

Chris Lol true. Korn was not a zep riff band.

Jon Absolutely. and this was considered okay! Like, CBS/Fox just put this out as a videotape for people to buy in the 80s. Major-ass label. Same logo before my Star Wars tapes.

Chris Ba-doom-pish.

Jon Haha pun not even intended.

Chris Lol.

Jon Anyway this was a long tangent with too many other bands in it, perhaps. But yeah.

Chris Haha yeah. Final thoughts about the songs in question?

Jon They’re a strong start, if you consider Mechanical Man just an intro track.

Chris Yep, I’d agree. Where were they in order of their original demo release? Or was it just a tape?

Jon I think it was all just demos they made back in the day, only a few of which saw actual release (this and Mechanical Man were both). No idea about song order, have to imagine they sequenced it for semi-smooth listening of the end product.

Chris Makes sense. Yeah, I like this duet, strong start.