Friday, February 28, 2020

Weekend Listomania: Special "What? What Did They Say?" Edition

Well, it's the weekend, and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manual catharsis specialist Fah Lo Suee and I will be heading to India, as trade representatives for the Trump administration. Our job: Convince the wogs to import more American beef.

But in the meantime, while we're gone, here's a fun little project for us all:

BEST OR WORST POST-ELVIS ROCK/POP/SOUL/BAND/ARTIST(S) FOR WHOM ENGLISH IS NOT THEIR FIRST LANGUAGE!

No arbitrary rules whatsoever, but if you try to sneak Yngwie Malmsteen in there I will come to your house and slap you silly.

And my totally top of my head Top 9 is:

9. STEALER'S WHEEL (The United Kingdom)

Okay, they're from Scotland, which means that technically they speak English.



But come on -- really? Have you ever been to Scotland and tried to order a drink at your hotel?

8. TOMMY LORENTE (France)



Love this guy, whether he's performing either rock or roll.

7. ABBA (Sweden)



In their case, they sing in what's usually referred to as "charmingly accented" English.

6. SHOCKING BLUE (The Netherlands)



Everybody knows "Venus," but "Railroad Man" is even better and they had scads of songs as good.

5. THE OUTSIDERS (The Netherlands)



The Stones -- or more accurately the Pretty Things -- of Holland.

4. LOS SHAKERS (Uruguay)



The Beatles del Río de la Plata. Seriously.

3. LOS BRAVOS (Spain)



I know very little about these guys, but the lead singer was clearly the Iberian Gene Pitney.

2. BORIS GREBENSHIKOV (The former Soviet Union)



The Bob Dylan of the USSR. His American album -- produced by Dave Stewart of Eurthymics -- is one of the great lost records of the 80s.

And the number one totally crappy band for whom English is not their first language simply has to be, it couldn't be anybody else, is ...

1. MAROON 5 (California. Supposedly.)



I'm sorry -- the only excuse for the fact that these assholes have sold millions of records world wide is that they are foreigners. Seriously -- you can't suck that badly and have that level of success for any other reason. God knows their lyrics are so lame that could only be badly translated from some other language.

Alrighty then -- who would YOUR choices be?

And have a great weekend everybody!!!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

An Early Clue to the New Direction

From 1984, please enjoy Nena and their charming New Wave hit "99 Red Balloons."

Which is actually an English language remake of their 1993 European hit "99 Luftballons," which they sang in their native German.



A coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded to the first reader who divines the song's relevance to the theme of tomorrow's Weekend Listomania.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Closed for Monkey Business


Under the weather. No, not THE Heineken virus, or whatever it's called.

Regular posting resumes on the morrow, beginning with a clue to the theme of Friday's brand new Weekend Listomania!!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

And Speaking of Perverse of Ears...

...I actually listen to this for pleasure.



Okay, I'm kidding, but it is pretty funny.

From the official description:

This was created by artists Komar and Melamid and composer Dave Soldier in 1997. The song was designed to incorporate lyrical and musical elements that were annoying to most people, as determined by a public opinion survey. These elements included bagpipes, cowboy music, an opera singer rapping, and a children's choir that urged listeners to go shopping at Wal-Mart.

I should add that this also proves the truth of the old definition of a gentleman -- someone who knows how to play the bagpipes, but doesn't play them.

[h/t Tim Page]

Monday, February 24, 2020

I Come From (One of) The Land(s) of Ice and Snow

From 2020, please enjoy the pride of Bergen, Norway -- irrepressible monsters of metal Electric High -- and their fabulous new single "Harder to Justify."

In a video filmed at a recent live show by -- dig this -- their fans in the audience with their cell cameras.



Attentive readers may recall that a certain Shady Dame and I actually visited Bergen last year, and had a fabulous time. Including discovering Apollon Music, the oldest record store in the country.

A lot of Norwegian bands hang out there, including De Musikalske Dvergene and Frode Alnaes (who do killer Kinks covers in Norwegian), as we discovered during a conversation with our new friend Einar Englestad.


Einar works behind the counter at the store (which besides selling lots of vinyl and other collectibles is a very cool bar) and is a big shot music journalist in Bergen, doing concert reviews etc. at one of the local newspapers. He was also incredibly gracious to the loudmouth American poseur who wandered into his place of business that afternoon last August.

In any event, you can find out more about Electric High, including where to hear more of their music, over at their official website HERE.

And tell 'em PowerPop sent you.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Your Friday Moment of "Hey, This is Bad!"

From 1969 and their album Live In Cabaret, please enjoy -- assuming you are extremely perverse of ears -- The Tremeloes and a live version of their classic "Here Comes My Baby."




I'm a huge fan of the original Trems single of that song -- attentive readers will recall that The Floor Models performed a version of it at our reunion gig last October -- but Jeebus H. Christ on a piece of burnt challah toast, the above is just appallingly awful and embarrassing.

To be fair, however, the whole "rock bands doing cabaret" thing is a peculiarly British phenomenon, and expectations for said bands in a cabaret setting are something Americans don't really get. In fact, you'd be amazed at the Brit groups who've done cabaret without dying of shame. Hell, the freaking Move -- with Roy Wood and original singer Carl Wayne -- did a cabaret tour before they made Shazam; one can only guess how bizarre that must have been.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Your Thursday Moment of And Speaking of Gorgeous

From 2000 and their album Evolver (heh), please enjoy The Kennedys and their absolutely seraphically lovely cover of The Byrds' classic "Here Without You."



Written by Gene Clark, natch; apparently one of his earliest.

In any event, I had forgotten that on side one of the Byrds debut album, it's followed by "The Bells of Rhymney." If there's a more spine-tingling segue in the history of both rock and roll, I'm unaware of it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Given Yesterday's News, It's Obvious That They Were, In Fact, Unprepared

Words fail me.




Having listened to that song just now for the first time in decades, I have one question -- how the hell did Lehrer get away with that in 1953?

PS:
I know I promised that actual power pop related stuff would go up here today, but I couldn't help myself.

Tomorrow for sure!!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The (Petrified) Dog Days of February

Okay, here's a little break from our usual PowerPop stuff.

THE DOG OF POMPEII
By Louis Untermeyer

Tito and his dog Bimbo lived (if you could call it living) under the wall where it joined the inner gate. They really didn’t live there; they just slept there. They lived anywhere. Pompeii was one of the most joyful of the old Latin towns, but although Tito was never an unhappy boy, he was not exactly a merry one. The streets were always lively with shining chariots and bright red trappings; the open-air theaters rocked with laughing crowds; sham battles and athletic sports were free for the asking in the great stadium. Once a year the Caesar visited the pleasure city andthe fireworks lasted for days; the sacrifices in the Forum were better than a show...

Read the rest of it HERE.

If it doesn't bring a tear to your eye, have yourself looked at.

I should add that Untermeyer was a good liberal Jewish guy who got blacklisted in the early 50s by the same fascist shitheads who now currently run our government. You can read all about him -- including the new to me story of how he got replaced by Bennett Cerf on What's My Line -- over HERE.

I should also add that when we were in Italy a few weeks ago, we saw an actual dog of Pompeii.


Which is what made me remember the story after all those years since I first read it.

Regular music posting resumes on the morrow.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Your Monday Moment of What a Sentimental Old Fluff I Have Become

From 2009, please enjoy -- if possible -- Train and their hit recording of "Hey, Soul Sister."



Okay, I have never cared for those guys -- and, as I implied last week, I sort of deliberately slept through much of the last couple of decades precisely to avoid bands like them and the rest of their commercial contemporaries.

But I'm sorry, that song is actually kind of irresistible.

Hey, soul sister
Ain't that Mr. Mister on the radio, stereo
The way you move ain't fair, you know

For starters, just in terms of wordplay, that's a pretty smart lyric. Not Cole Porter smart, but by contemporary standards, much better than you would expect. (A Mr. Mister reference? There's something you don't hear everyday).

Plus the whole sentiment is really kinda sweet and funny.

Hey -- so sue me.

POSTSCRIPT:

BTW, for those of you who have forgotten who Mr. Mister were, here's a reminder you won't thank me for.