Saturday, October 13, 2012

T.V. Smith & Die Toten Hosen: Only One Flavour (2001)

TV Smith (more here), formerly of The Adverts (more HERE) re-recorded some of his best work with German super-punk-stars Die Toten Hosen (his fourth biggest fans). The album, Useless: The Very Best of T.V. Smith proves his peculiar genius. Specifically, TV proves what a deft re-interpreter of his own material he really is because he never gets caught in that old stuff vs. new stuff war that artists and their fans can get dragged into. To TV, it's all the present:

Musically, Die Toten Hosen's (more here) backing him up on material spanning much of his career (but, sadly, not 1979-1983) proves how devastatingly consistent and relentlessly inventive the man is. Lyrically, TV and co. chose songs like "Gather Your Things and Go" and "My String Will Snap" that portray a world out-of-sorts, a world unjustly turned upside down. While Smith's never had truck with religion, he decries the wickedness of the world like a biblical prophet, just listen to his voice-of-one-screaming-in-the-wilderness anthem, "Get Ready for the Axe to Drop" for proof. To hear TV and the Dead Pants (as they might be known in English) work this theme to its most brutal effect, witness "Expensive Being Poor" one of the most excoriating broadsides ever written, a sharp paradox wrapped in a tune you could hum yourself to death with:

Smith's worldview is never clearer than on the album's sole new track, "Only One Flavour". Here, TV hoists himself up onto the rickety platform of the post-Communist left and, in a pique and at a peak, decries the monotony of political discourse in a capitalist society (see how even that sentence sounds awfully pre-1989). Useless, which shows off Smith's catalog of stirring songs that mix punk brio with folk tropes and that joyously hammer away at the the necessity at looking at our problems through different eyes (though maybe not Gary Gilmore's), is anything but.

So while the physical version (LP, CD) of Useless is seemingly out-of-print, the MP3 is back at iTunes, but to hear the single go to the COMMENTS section

                         (Images courtesy of Record Collectors of the World Unite)

MRML Readers give us your take on the TV/DTH alliance and tell us if you want to hear more!

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  1. Give us your take on TV's alliance with Die Toten Hosen!



  2. Great single, great album. Normally if I hear that someone's gone into a studio and re-recorded some of their back catalogue I recoil in horror (and usually with good grounds for doing so), but in the case of our TV the results are so astoundingly good that this is one of my most played albums of the last ten years. Truly great stuff.

    1. Yeah and the great thing is that the re-recorded versions (in most cases) are totally different sounding than the originals (esp. with the solo stuff).

  3. Glad I got my disc copy of "Useless" (thanks entirely to MRML's first TV go-round a few years back) before it disappeared from the shelves. So, so full of excellence!


  4. i love the adverts, i love die toten hosen, this album made me happy

  5. More TV ... certainly.And I do see the physical CD of 'Useless' is scarce.

    1. I have more but I might take a little break...
      Thanks, Doug.


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