Soundtrack

Public Service Broadcasting’s Party(ish) Playlist

The London-based duo launch your next gathering into the stratosphere.

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Photo Credit: Dan Kendall

J. Willgoose, Esq. and Wrigglesworth are pseudonyms of the duo behind the instrumental band Public Service Broadcasting. The two are known for pairing dance music with archival sound clips in tracks like “ROYGBIV” and “London Can Take It.” Their latest album, “The Race for Space,” was, not surprisingly, inspired by the space race. The quirky musicians offer up a party playlist that’s two-thirds totally inappropriate.

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J. Willgoose, Esq.: Hello. I’m J. Willgoose, Esq.

Wrigglesworth: And, I’m Wrigglesworth. We are Public Service Broadcasting.

J. Willgoose, Esq.: And this is our dinner party soundtrack.

The Walkmen – “The Rat”

J. Willgoose, Esq.: The first track we would like to play is by The Walkmen, and it is called “The Rat.”

J. Willgoose, Esq.: I like to give incredibly awkward dinner parties, where the music is totally inappropriate. So, I thought something really fast, with a hint of desperation and depression about it. I think one of the lyrics is, “when I used go out / I knew everyone I saw / Now I go out alone / if I go out at all.” [Laughs]

Wrigglesworth: This is a great party.

J. Willgoose, Esq.: I first heard it 11 years ago on the radio, so I had to hurriedly write down the lyrics and then look it up on Google later when I got home, and I’ve loved this band ever since. What I really liked about The Walkmen was that they were no-nonsense. They didn’t have “band hair,” you know, they didn’t sort of…

Wrigglesworth: You’ve definitely got band hair.

J. Willgoose, Esq.: I have not got band hair.

Wrigglesworth: You have got band hair.

J. Willgoose, Esq.: You’ve got band hair, if anyone has band hair. You’ve got big curly…

Wrigglesworth: I don’t ever touch my hair!

J. Willgoose, Esq.: …uncontrollable…

Wrigglesworth: You’re the one with the — you’ve got rubbish hair.

David Bowie – “Warszawa”

J. Willgoose, Esq.: The next song that we’ve chosen is David Bowie, and it is called… [mispronouncing the title] “Vashavah?” “Warsawah?” I never know how to say it.  Which is a good reason for picking it, so I could embarrass myself in front of all these people at this dinner party.

J. Willgoose, Esq.: It’s, I think, the first track on side B of “Low” — one of the best albums ever made — and side B is just slightly out-there synth, mostly instrumental noodling.  Which is just an extraordinary thing for one of the biggest pop acts of his time to do — nobody does that kind of thing anymore. Who does that now? You don’t see Madonna doing that.

I just love the unexpectedness of that sound, just coming in from nowhere. It’s just like, “I know what this track needs! It needs a great, big HUMMM.”

Wrigglesworth: I’ve left by now.

J. Willgoose, Esq.: Yeah. The party is definitely not going quite to plan.

Wrigglesworth: You’ve probably burnt the chicken I prepared for you as well.

J. Willgoose, Esq.: Oh yeah — that did happen at a barbecue, actually.

Wrigglesworth: That’s a real story, and I’m still bitter about it.

J. Willgoose, Esq.: He’s still bitter about it. I mean, I went to his barbecue and he didn’t have any condiments.

Wrigglesworth: You could’ve not burned my chicken.

J. Willgoose, Esq.: Bring condiments.

Wrigglesworth: You could’ve not burned my chicken.

J. Willgoose, Esq.: Anyway.

Wrigglesworth: I think we should move on.

Marie “Queenie” Lyons – “Your Thing Ain’t Good Without My Thing”

J. Willgoose, Esq.: So, track three — let’s actually pick something that’s vaguely suitable for a dinner party for once, which is Marie “Queenie” Lyons’ “Your Thing Ain’t Good Without My Thing.”

Wrigglesworth: Which, I believe, was on the album “Soul Fever,” I think released in 1970.

J. Willgoose, Esq.: Classic funk track, I think. I don’t think it’s particularly well-known.

Wrigglesworth: I do enjoy a good funk song. Very fun to play as well.

J. Willgoose, Esq.: I think, hopefully, by this point, all has been forgiven, and yeah, they’re saying, “Finally! We’ve got something we can finally tap our feet to under the table.”

Public Service Broadcasting – “Gagarin”

J. Willgoose, Esq.: On to our final choice, and something I would never, ever do at a real dinner party, I have to say. This would be…

Wrigglesworth: He’s lying. He always puts his own music on.

J. Willgoose, Esq.: I definitely do not do that.

Wrigglesworth: On repeat, very loudly.

J. Willgoose, Esq.: But yeah, we have to. We’re contractually obliged to. So, let’s play “Gagarin,” by us.

This is a tribute to the first man in space. It’s joyful and triumphant, and a bit more exuberant.  Not unlike the reception Wriggles and I get at every airport we fly into.