Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bookmarks: Public Service Broadcasting

The New Yorker has done a lovely profile of Public Service Broadcasting. Although it doesn't start brilliantly, to be fair:

In 1985, Paul Hardcastle scored a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic with “19,” a song that combined dance beats with spoken-word samples from an ABC documentary about the Vietnam War. The song’s title came from the film’s voice-over narration: “In World War II, the average age of the combat soldier was twenty-six. In Vietnam, he was nineteen.” Hardcastle stuttered the latter number to make a memorable chorus, “N-n-n-nineteen. N-n-n-nineteen.” An uncanny combination of protest song and dance music, “19” was Hardcastle’s biggest hit by far, and also a departure from much of the rest of his work, which hewed more closely to traditional club music. (Hardcastle has since reimagined the song for the war in Afghanistan.)

Three decades after “19,” Hardcastle’s formula is being taken up by the British band Public Service Broadcasting. P.S.B. is the brainchild of the pseudonymous J. Willgoose, Esq., a multi-instrumentalist from South London, who started performing in 2009.