Friday, February 26, 2010

Weekend Listomania (Special Patience Wearing Thin audio/video edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means -- after a brief slacker interlude, Weekend Listomania is back, baby!!! Yeah!!!!

More to the point, my Oriental fruit smoothie taster (heh!) Fah Lo Suee and I will be off to beautiful downtown Kiron, Iowa where, in the interests of fair play, we will be crashing a small plane into the top floor of the house of Rep. Steve King (R-Amoral Asshat). You know -- just to see how he likes it when it happens to him.

That being the case, further posting by moi will have to be sporadic for a day or two.

In the meantime, then, here's a hopefully fun little project for us all:

Pet Peeves -- The Trend, Person, Thing, Group, Song or Whatever in Post-Elvis Pop/Rock That You Find or Have Found Thoroughly Irksome!!!

No arbitrary rules this time out; go nuts, frankly. And yes, we've probably done something fairly similar in the past, but it's so much damn fun, I really don't care. In any case, I'm pretty sure most of my candidates are new.

And totally top of my head Top Six is:

6. Brian Eno



Okay, I'll concede that the pretentious Brit baldie has done some estimable work as a producer over the years, and I've always really liked "Here Come the Warm Jets" and some of his other early stuff. But the real reason he completely gets up my nose is the goddamn New York Times crossword puzzle. In which he's appeared as the answer to a clue more times than "Asta" and "Toto" combined.

5. Post-Vanilla Fudge Heavy Rock Bands From Long Island




Trust me, there were thousands of such bands, each featuring a classically trained Hammond organ bore and a sub-Jeff Beck guitarist, in the Fudge's elephantine wake, and most of them played dances and frat parties at my old school between 1967-69, including the most famous of them -- The Hassles, featuring fricking Billy Joel. The Illusion -- whose "How Does It Feel?" can be heard above -- was probably the only one of them worth a damn, mostly because they had a bit more of a pop sensibility than the rest.

4. Songs Inspired, If That is the Word, By Michael McDonald's "What a Fool Believes"



Examples too numerous too mention, I think. In fact, a comedian/musical satirist I knew used to do a very funny medley of some of the worst of them back in the day; if memory serves, in his club act, DuPree's "Steal Away" was the principal offender.

3. Unaccountably Popular Yet Thoroughly Lame Twenty-Something Folk/Country Rock Bands



Fleet Foxes? Is this some kind of ironic Generation Gap joke that I'm missing? Because these guys are just freaking awful. Seriously, they sound like America without the cojones.

2. Bands With People Who Perform Shirtless



I don't know who exactly started this trend or when -- perhaps Jeff Beck, who famously used to wear denim jackets over a bare chest, thus earning Rolling Stone's prescient "Erect Left Nipple Award" back in 1968. But since then, it's just gotten completely out of control, and in the case of contemporary fashion plates like the singer of Fucked Up above, I think it's fricking gotta stop.

And the numero uno pop/rock pet peeve (and lord knows, they're hard to housetrain) absolutely has gotta be --

1. Bands Without Bass Players



You know, I like the White Stripes. I liked Sleater/Kinney (see above). Back in the day I even sort of liked the Cramps. But I'm sorry -- rock and roll is supposed to have a bottom end. And as far as I'm concerned, any more recent bass-deficient band at this point is either being pretentiously reductive or just goddamn lazy.

Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- Theme: French Film Actress Who Best Exemplifies the Whole "Vive Le Difference" Thing -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could find it in your heart to go over there and post something snarky, it would help solidify my tenuous position with management. Thanks!]

46 comments:

NYMary said...

There is a Robbie Dupree episode in Boys Don't Lie. 'Nuff said.

Mine is the bands who combine rap and funk and metal to create some kind of wall of noise that isn't music, at least not to these elderly ears. The Red Hot Chili Peppers did it first, and if any band can make a claim to have done it well, it's them. But the literally thousands of garage band children of Anthony Kiedis are really better off playing some permutation of Grand Theft Auto, IMO. (The teen--who will only be a teen for another couple of months--loves this stuff, and I assure you my distaste for it has nothing to do with the fact that she lost the car keys at a Three Days Grace concert last month.)

Also waifs with acoustic guitars. Have some balls, ladies.

And last but not least, Christian rock. Sorry, but if you want to dictate to other people how to live their lives, you don't get to pretend to be cool while you do it.

res ipsa loquitur said...

1. "Supergroups" (Some decent individual songs (e.g., Wilbury's doing "Runaway", which I heard about from steve), but the overall concept is annoying.

2. Charity sing-a-longs, e.g., "We Are the World", etc.

3. Music videos (Can think of only a single one that is worth a damn and that's Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice".

Sal Nunziato said...

People who use the word "eclectic" when describing their music taste, then cite (insert some obscure classical piece, usually the ONLY classical record in his collection) and (insert some ridiculously obvious commercial artist) as examples of what they listen to.

Also, IRONIC music lovers. You know, the ones that laugh because they have the Backstreet Boys and Madonna in their iPods, as opposed to just saying they like the Backstreet Boys and Madonna. Grow a dick, ya know.

David said...

Songs that feature the word “lady.” Despite Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and a few others, most songs of this ilk are dependably, surpassingly cheesy, e.g., “Three Times a Lady,” “Sentimental Lady,” “My Lady of the Island,” “She’s a Lady,” or simply “Lady” (the Styx variety). Especially egregious when pronounced “lay-day,” as in Stephen Stills’ “49 Bye Byes”: “Driftin with my lay-day…”

Feral said...

Vocal acrobats. Sometimes a note really should stay on the same pitch.

Songs where the dancing is more important than the music (unless I'm dancing...)

Songs that are far more earnest than you.

reddyrooster said...

The Black Keys, Akron's finest (well, there's this baller named LeBron), rock it sans bass player just fine thank you very much...

geor3ge said...

Related to NYMary's comment, have you ever seen Patton Oswalt's great takedown of Christian rock?

http://www.avclub.com/articles/a-patton-oswalt-christmas,35764/

x said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
x said...

maybe when you're that big and working that hard it's just too hot to wear a shirt? but, hey...i guess as long as you're careful about defining your rules narrowly enough, you won't have to worry much about straying outside of your comfort zone.

Sal Nunziato said...

geor3ge---that Oswalt bit just made my day!

Edward said...

too many to give examples of in the morning, but my biggest pet peeve is pop songs where each line is a cliche piled, un-ironically, on top of another cliche. It is particularly greivous on the country channels. I sometimes will just sit and count the number of lines in a row that seem to have been pulled for a box full of overused phrases.

Oh yeah, and christian rock. Forget about the evengelical aspects, lots of pop has had something to sell for along time. Christian Pop bands always sound like an imitation of some other singer/band from 4 years ago. And the subject is always the same. Boring.

geor3ge said...

. . . my biggest pet peeve is pop songs where each line is a cliche piled, un-ironically, on top of another cliche.

. . . which leads us to our next clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=281ax7Ovlsg

Nigel Tufnel said...

Bands who purport to be professionals and have a record deal, who are no better on their instruments than I (a total amateur).

NYMary's comment above about Three Days Grace led me to their Wikipedia entry, which mentions that they sound like Chevelle. Oh Lord. I listened to a Chevelle CD once (ONCE) and was floored by the repetitive power chord-power chord-banal riff-power chord structure of the songs. I got out the ol' axe, and sure enough, I could play along immediately and I think I sounded better.

Brooklyn Girl said...

Michael Bolton.

I mean, seriously. Could someone make everything he has ever done just disappear, please?

steve simels said...

Im kind of amazed that no one has yet evoked the two dreaded words of horror.

John. Mayer.

Cleveland Bob said...

The Grateful Dead and all of their minions and copy cats. Listen, I liked acid as much as the next guy, but the Dead is the worst possible tunage to drop to.

And If Ann Coulter is a big fan, it just can't be any good at all, right?

If you really want to have a blast tripping, flip on Devo's Duty Now for the Future instead of Phish and The Dead. You'll thanks me.

NYMary said...

I never did acid, Cleveland Bob, but I used to get baked and listen to the Talking Heads. I think we must be exploring a similar terrain.

ms. rosa said...

Unaccountably Popular Yet Thoroughly Lame Twenty-Something 80s STYLE SYNTH-POP BANDS

And a special three finger salute to their graphics. Feast your eyes upon the horror!
http://blogs.houstonpress.com/rocks/2010/02/thanks_but_no_thanks_see_what.php

Noam Sane said...

Wifty female folkies. Give 'em a couple of years of community college, and they're bloviating all over the place about the agony of their intellect.

Semi-ironic acoustic covers of classic rocks songs. I heard, not too long ago, on Philly's WXPN (they love this stuff,) a wifty female folkie cover of "Don't Fear the Reaper". Please die.

Any band (but specifically the Black Crowes) that insists on writing songs referencings angels and then prounouncing it "AHEEEEEN-JAILS" over and over until you want to drive to Atlanta and rip their fucking trachea out.

Under-talented musicians who will not rest until they take each and every great 60s and 70s R&B/soul tune and de-nut it with a drum machine and drippy soprano sax.

I could go on. But i feel better now.

Cleveland Bob said...

NYM...Talking Heads is an excellent choice! Television and Oingo Boingo were on the turntable as options as well.

Noam Sane said...

But I don't get the Petula Clark thing.

Rudolph said...

Re bands w/o bass players: I haven't heard much Sleater-Kinney, but the White Stripes have bass on their records. The Doors didn't have a bass player, but at least Manzarek played that silly Fender bass keyboard in concert, and their records featured real live bass guitar, Doug Lubahn for the first four albums, Lonnie Mack on two songs of Morrison Hotel.

Oh, and @David in regard to the word "lady" in songs: See Dana Carvey's superstar musician sketch from 20 years ago on SNL. "There's a lady I know/ And if I didn't know her/ She'd be the lady I didn't know." Check here: http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/clips/derek-stevens-chopping-broccoli/2729/

Brooklyn Girl said...

Okay, I know these things serve a purpose, but I hate those stupid little headset mics that make a singer look like a telephone operator.

Dave said...

I hate it when acts don't take their own catalog seriously. I totally respect an artist's choice not to perform a past hit. But if you do, don't abuse fans by mocking it, or relegating it to a tossed-off medley.

My other pet peeve is that there aren't more songs like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NUtJoDG3sE

steve simels said...

Dave:

Great minds think alike. Want the mp3 of that? A friend of mine sent it to me last week....

Kevin said...

My top 2: The 80's synth invasion, where one person didn't sing and the other didn't play an instrument (think Tainted Love), and something that (hopefully) was unique to Hawaii: rap n' reggae.
Imagine a rap n' reggae Muskrat Love.
Don't. It happened. And it went downhill from there.

Dave said...

Thanks for the offer, Steve, but
I've got the vinyl single :-)

To follow-up on Noam's point, you happen to have a Tony Hatch fan here, who loves "Don't Sleep in the Subway," and just about all of Pet's hits right after "Downtown," especially "You'd Better Come Home," "Who Am I?", "Subway," and especially, "The Cat in the Window," which is about as depressing and tough a 2-minute pop song as I've ever heard.

Aren't "Subway's" lyrics clear? The whole song is about pride. He's sleeping in the subway because he'd rather suffer physical indignities than admit he's wrong. You just don't understand because you have an elevated character, incapable of such hubris.

curling rules said...

i was going to say john mayer earlier, steve, but i was going to include that, in addition to every other annoying thing about him, over-tattoing was a recent "music" problem. i know it marks me as an old fogy, but my god, that stupid ink doesn't give your music more heart or credibility and you're going to look utterly ridiculous in a few years.

Kid Charlemagne said...

"I hate it when acts don't take their own catalog seriously. I totally respect an artist's choice not to perform a past hit. But if you do, don't abuse fans by mocking it, or relegating it to a tossed-off medley."

Todd Rundgren is a repeat offender of this. I have a friend who is a super crazy Rundgren fan, so I have seen him at least three times in the past few years doing solo acoustic shows. He almost mocks his audience with his phoned in performances.

danny1959 said...

Steve, Is number 1 because you are a bass player?

steve simels said...

danny:

I'd like to think not.
:-)

cthulhu said...

I love the Stripes, but as their music has gotten more sophisticated, the lack of bass has gotten more apparent (although I think that Jack plays six-string bass on some of their studio recordings). Saw the Stripes in concert in 2005 at the Greek Theater in LA; Beck joined them for one encore, playing bass for "The Denial Twist" - had a completely different feel from the rest of the concert.

A close second behind "no bass" is "really bad bass". The excreble Coldplay and their hit "Clocks", for example - most of the time the bassist is just hitting one string for four bars, then hitting another string for another four bars, etc. Total suckitude.

Yelling baritone lead singers - way too many "rock" bands over the last 10 years sound like the lead singer is just bellowing at the microphone in a pathetic attempt to pretend to have Something to Say. Give it up and go back to singing.

Edward said...

Thanks Georg3e for the DaVinci's Notebook link, hadn't heard that in years.

Another peeve--falsetto heavy metal singers. This includes Led Zepplin and all of their screechy spawn.

Like fingernails on a chalkboard, to use an annoying cliche;>

David said...

Rudolph, thanks for reminding of that brilliant Dana Carvey bit--I must have at least subconsciously been thinking of it (or possibly chopping broccoli) when I wrote my little hate note to "lady" songs. And I also have to totally concur about songs with lines about "AHEEEEEN-JAILS" -- please, nobody ever do this again.

Brooklyn Girl said...

Guitarists who cram the most notes they can into a solo. And drum solos longer than two minutes.

The Kenosha Kid said...

I (heart)ed that whole waifs with guitars thing. Mazzy Star, The Sundays, Innocence Mission - all wonderful goddamnit. I also think Brian Eno did enough brilliant work early that he gets a free lifetime pass for any pretentious crap he feels like grinding out in his golden years.

Stuff that irks? As someone noted above, the trend where vocalists have to show off their entire range at every opportunity. Respect the melody damnit. Also both rap and Madonna should have gone out of fashion around 1990. And those kids with the damn saggy pants! Buy a belt! Get off my lawn!

Billy said...

What is Boys Don't Lie? I'm sorta new here. A Shoes documentary? Book about the band?

NYMary said...

Billy, yes.

I'm kind of scarce around here these days, because I am coming to the end of a longish writing project: Boys Don't Lie: A History of Shoes. It's a book which places the classic pop band in historical context, looking at their career in the context of larger changes in the music industry. Full band participation--I've even spoken to all the old drummers! Intro by some simels character.

Should be out this summer.

steve simels said...

The definitive book -- and much more than just a rock bio -- on Shoes. Mary talked to everybody involved with the story, even peripherally. And I mean everybody.

dSmith said...

Steve,
How did you feel about the Vagrants?

John Fowler said...

Late here, but I'll go with...

1. A repeat, but I just have to go with Cleveland Bob's naming of the Grateful Dead. I tried, but they are just boring (IMHO) - 'course I've never been to a concert. The one song of theirs that I =do= like is what probably clearly sets me apart from other fans - it's their big 80's hit 'Touch of Grey'.

2. The most irksome annoyance, and I realize that it is probably hopeless, but I still keep hoping that commercial radio will get better. Be more adventurous. Give new artists (that sound different from old ones) a chance. Pull interesting songs out of previous eras and play them. For example, I just got Rhino's 'Left of the Dial' 80's collection as a birthday gift. It's great - why can't some of those make to radios today??

I know there are good internet sites for streaming 'radio', but, well, I suppose I'm just a stick in the mud, and want to see the old media get better...

3. Bad Company, Jethro Tull, Eddie Money. Any one requires instant radio station flippage.

John Fowler said...

PS thanks to geor3ge for both the Oswalt 'Christmas Shoes' and Da Vinci's Notebook links...

TMink said...

NYMary, I have hesitated to ask this because I was afraid it would be taken the wrong way, but what is the Christian music you are referring to? The bossy stuff.

I listen to some and am familiar with more, and I don't know the music you refer to. Please understand that this is an honest, friendly question, not some sort of challenge. But if you could name drop some songs or bands I would really be interested in hearing the bossy stuff.

Trey

Dave said...

Kid Charlemagne,

I'm with your friend. I think Todd Rundgren is about the worst offender in violating his own songs (and fans). Imagine how many songwriters would be proud to have composed something as timeless as "Hello It's Me." If T.R. doesn't feel that way, he should drop it from the setlist.

The opposite: James Taylor, who treats all of his songs as if he is singing them for the first time.

Billy said...

The Vagrants!! There's a great clip on youtube of them playing "Oh Those Eyes" poolside and Leslie West looks likes he's wearing pajamas. Fantastic song.

TMink said...

Todd's ADHD kills him when doing the chestnuts. I agree, he should drop them from the set list.

Trey