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Friday, June 13, 2008

MY PLAYLIST

We Are Scientists


Three years after their catchy debut "With Love and Squalor" burrowed its way into the homes of 150,000 people worldwide, Brooklyn-based indie-rockers We Are Scientists are back.

News photo
Sounds of science: Chris Cain (left) and Keith Murray ALAN CLARKE PHOTO

Comprising Keith Murray (guitars/vocals) and Chris Cain (bass/vocals), this time around the duo's plan for world domination includes cowriting and starring in their own comedy series, "Brain Thrust Mastery," a pilot of which has already been completed and is sparking interest among television networks. This is also the title of their second album, which came out in March, and the show sees Cain (speaking below) and Murray play — in a deadpan fashion that would make funnyman actor Steve Coogan proud — self-help gurus running a series of seminars that help the crushingly clueless to attain self-empowerment.

Track that inspired "Brain Thrust Mastery"
"If This is it" by Huey Lewis & the News (1984)

Not because I like the song, although I guess it's fine, but because we were at a loft party in Williamsburg (a painfully hip district in Brooklyn) one night last year and Huey was going on and on about that song, about how great it was, about how nobody had topped it since its release, and he simply wouldn't shut up about it. The worst part was that the kids at the party were buying it — all kinds of people were buying him beers.

I just hate Huey Lewis now, and the entire point of the album was to deliver at least one song that would beat "If This Is It."

Track that made me want to play guitar
"That's Just the Way it is" Bruce Hornsby (1986)

That lead line really captured my imagination, and so you can imagine my disappointment, after having purchased a guitar, a full Marshall amplifier stack and a dozen plectrums, to find out that Hornsby actually plays the piano.

Track that makes me horny
"Me So Horny" 2 Live Crew (1989)

It will sound like I'm easily manipulated, but by the time I hear the lady say "Me so horny" for the 30th or 40th time, I'm pretty gosh-darn wound up. The combination of the repeated assertion of horniness and the nasty, nasty rhymes is enough to get any mammal poised.

First track that comes on when I set my MP3 player on shuffle
The "It's Punky Brewster" theme song (1985)

Well, this is going to sound implausible, but it's actually the theme song to "It's Punky Brewster" (the cartoon version, not the live-action show with Soleil Moon Frye). I've been trying to work this into DJ sets recently, with more success than you'd probably think. It works great on either side of a TV on the Radio song.

Last track I downloaded "What I Like About You"
The Romantics (1980)

We DJ sometimes after shows for the money and because it's fun, but we're not terribly talented. We have no idea how to beat-match or tempo-match or any of that stuff. Given these handicaps, the only way we can avoid being lynched by clubgoers is to play awesome hits. One technique for finding them is to scan through "Radio Hits of the 19XXs" collections on iTunes, which is what I was doing when I ran into this awesome hit. That is not how I came to acquire the theme to "It's Punky Brewster," though — you just have to know about that kind of thing.

Track I wish I'd written
"Love Bites" Def Leppard (1988)

Imagine the possibilities for seduction. You introduce yourself to a woman at a bar. You chat with her for a while. Then you say, "Hey, wanna hear a song I wrote?" and you walk over to the jukebox and put on "Love Bites." Checkmate.



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