Wednesday, March 04, 2015

The Offending Instrument

I've gotten some very nice compliments on my playing on that "new" Floor Models song I posted on Monday -- for which many thanks -- and a couple of people have asked what kind of bass I was using on the session.

Well, here it is.

It's a Fender Modern Player Jaguar bass; the company markets them as a low-end first instrument for beginners, but for my money -- approximately 350 bucks -- it's as solid and terrific sounding as any bass I've ever used; the intonation, straight out of the box, was perfect. Plus it also just looks so cool (the design is based on a six-string model Fender made in the '60s that was much beloved of surf guitarists). It was recommended to me by a Facebook pal who works at Sam Ash Music on Long Island, and I'm eternally grateful to him (thanks Bob!)

I should add that although it does not have an abnormally long neck, I find it somewhat difficult to reach the tuning peg at the very top; this puzzled me, until last month, when I went for a checkup with my doctor for the first time in twenty years. Turns out that I have literally shrunk two and a half inches in the interim.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Who Listens to the Radio?

Today's guest deejay appearance cancelled due to bad weather.

Next week for sure!

Programming Notes From All Over

Gonna be on my old chum/friend of PowerPop Capt. Al's intertube radio show Lost at Sea today over at fabulous AREA 24 RADIO.

Just click on the link HERE between 5-7pm east coast time to listen.

Apart from the usual amusing banter, I'll be guest-deejaying selections from my legendary mixtape anthology Great Lost Singles of the Eighties, Nineties and 'Aughts.

Join us, please -- in the immortal woreds of Edith Prickley, it could be a hot one!

Incidentally, we'll be taking threats and requests via e-mail during the show; I'll be giving out the address throughout, so please feel free to contact us; Al and I get lonely at the studio.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Monday's Moment of Shameless Self-Promotion

Well, ahem.

As you may have heard, I have decided that since the masses are clamoring for The Floor Models, I am going to compile an EP of previously unreleased vault material (stuff which didn't make the cut for Floor Your Love, our fabulous CD on ZERO HOUR RECORDS) for release on our own P.O.J. label.

The disc will be titled Letter From Liverpool, after the gorgeous tune principal Flo Mos songwriters Gerry Devine and Andy Pasternack started working on back in the day, and which Gerry finished shortly before Andy passed away in 2013; it's about us, obviously, and it never fails to get me all misty.

The original plan was to include Gerry's demo version -- just acoustic guitar and vocal -- which he recorded at home (with surprisingly pro results). But then we thought -- hey, if The Beatles could take an old phone message John Lennon left on Jeff Lynne's answering machine and overdub it as a way to hype Beatles Anthology, then we owed OUR fans at least as much.

So, at great personal expense to me, some bass player whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels and ace Flo Mos drummer Glen "Bob" Allen, went into an actual studio last week to add bass and drums to Gerry's demo.

Here's the newly dubbed backing track, 99 percent finished (we may tweak a second or two of the rhythm section in the first verse).

I think it sounds fantastic; our pal Doug Goldberg, who took over on guitar after Andy's departure from the band (late 80s), is scheduled to add Andy-style Rickenbacker 12-string stuff to the track some time in the next couple of weeks, and then voila! -- the first "new" Flo Mos recording in three decades.

And yes, this will be our equivalent of "Free as a Bird." Only less low-fi and without production by the aforementioned Jeff Lynne.

I'll keep you posted on the progress of both the song and EP, which I hope to have out before summer.

P.S.: You can hear the original solo demo over HERE; just scroll down once you get to the link.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy 1931 - 2015

From the Star Trek episode "Requiem for Methuselah" (1969)

Dr. McCoy: He's dying....He'll live the remainder of a normal life span, then die.

Mr. Spock: On that day, I shall grieve.

Today, I am grieving.

Rest easy, old Spock.

Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits: Special Ain't It a Fwicking Shame Edition

[I first posted this one back in 2010, apparently at a time I was extremely depressed about something or other. The irony, of course, is that I now look back at that period in my life as a sort of Golden Age that will never come again. Heh. In any case, as is my wont, I have done a little re-writing and added a new entry. I should also add that yes, I am aware that there is a well-known George Harrison song that most normal people would probably have included. So sue me. -- S.S.]

Best or Worst Post-Elvis Pop/Rock/Soul Record or Song With the Word(s) Sorrow or Pity (or Variants Thereof) in the Title or Lyrics!!!

Self-explanatory, I think, and no arbitrary rules whatsoever, you're welcome very much.

And my totally top of my head Top Eight are:

8. Richard and Linda Thompson -- Calvary Cross

"A black cat crossed your path
And why don't you follow?
My claw's in you and my light's in you
This is your first day of sorrow"

Absolutely spine-chilling on every level; frankly, there are some days when I think that's the most magnificent song/record ever made. And the whole fricking album is that great.

I should add that an intertube asshole I have had words with over the years is fond of saying that rock is what you get when white boys take out everything interesting from the blues. That is, of course, a spectacularly ignorant claim in and of itself, but obviously he never heard the above. As I said -- he's an asshole.

7. Otis Redding -- Mr. Pitiful

One of my favorite Otis records, and whenever I hear it I want to say to him -- I know the feeling.

5. Gene Pitney -- Town Without Pity

Here rendered as "Bleib Bei Mir," because frankly this one could only sound more over the top melodramatic in the original German.

4. Faith No More -- Last Cup of Sorrow

To be honest, I thought these guys were kind of overrated back in the day, and I don't much care for the song. But the homage to Hitchcock's Vertigo in this video has always kind of tickled me.

3. The Lovin' Spoonful -- Only Pretty What a Pity

An uncharacteristically nasty song from the group that practically invented the concept of Good Time Music. Written and sung by Spoonful drummer Joe Butler, who when I interviewed him about the tune allowed it was inspired by a real woman of the band's acquaintance. "Everyone except a baby/answers for the face they wear" has always struck me as one of the most chillingly poetic lines in rock history.

2. The Merseys -- Sorrow

The sadly better known David Bowie cover of this is one of the only things on Pin-Ups I can tolerate, but the original is still the greatest.

2. Weezer -- This is Such a Pity

Because, as you know, we like to have something recorded in this century. A pretty cool song in any case.

And the Numero Uno miserabilist song of them all, please let's not quibble about this, is --

1. Warren Zevon -- Poor Poor Pitiful Me

The live version from the fabulous Stand in the Fire, which, although spirited, omits the great line about the girl at the Rainbow Bar who asks Zevon to beat her -- "I don't want to talk about it." On the other hand, it compensates with the bit where he yells at his road manager to get up and dance.

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR favorites be?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Darkness at Noon

And just to show that I actually like music recorded in the current century, from this very year in fact, please enjoy L.A.'s The Rebel Light and their interestingly ominous yet infectious "Strangers."

Recorded and produced in their "humble little shack of a studio" and sounding, as somebody at the NME observed like "the Beach Boys colliding with the Doors." I'm not sure that's exactly apt; there's definitely a revisionist sunshine pop thing going on here, but if I pressed I'd say it's closer to the Mamas and the Papas going out to dinner with Echo and the Bunnymen.

In any case, a very cool song -- you can find out much more about the band over at their website HERE.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Return of the Son of Closed For Monkey Business

Trying to avoid matricide today. Assuming I'm successful, regular posting -- scout's honor -- resumes tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Closed For Old Age

Specifically, my 95 year old mom who has decided to drive me into an early grave today.

Regular, less geriatric, posting resumes tomorrow. J'espere.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Our Talented Readers: An Occasional Series

Constant commenter/friend of PowerPop Buzz Baby Jesus, along with his band The Smoove Sailors, just contributed a new soundtrack (including music and effects) to one of the great cinematic masterpieces of our time.

A tribute to What's Up Tiger Lily? If so, nobody's saying. I will add, however, and for the record, that the Python-esque horses hoofs sounds are a particularly droll touch.