Saturday, April 23, 2011

How Is the Air Up There?

The La De Das
I've made reference a number of times on this blog to my taste for what some have referred to as "mid-60s garage punk."  In recent months I've come to like a song called "How Is the Air Up There?" which really exemplifies the genre.  It was first released in early 1966 by an American group called The Changin' Times, and then covered by a New Zealand band named The La De Das, which "cover" I regard as the definitive version.  I became aware of the tune after I acquired a collection called Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts from the British Empire and Beyond; it immediately struck me as the very sort of dance tune I would have loved in my punk/New Wave days in the early 1980s.  Not surprisingly, I've since discovered that The Bangles, who started out as a sort of proto-punk band, included a version of "How Is the Air Up There?" on the five-song EP they released in 1982; they mined quite a bit of 1960s material in their early releases, in the process revealing fine-edged pop sensibilities.  (The La De Das moved their act to Australia and stayed together until the mid-1970s, although their later material -- some of which can also be heard on Youtube -- seems to have been rather unremarkable.)