Friday, April 02, 2010

Weekend Listomania (Special It Might Have Been Audio/Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental lesbian bondgage sex-themed club consultant Fah Lo Suee and I are off to scenic Long Branch, New Jersey, where we'll attend a memorial service for my beloved grandmother Bernice "Woo Woo!" Simels, a wonderful woman who on Monday nonetheless became the the first senior to be killed by one of the new Obama-Care mandated Death Panels.

Ironically, just last week when I visited Nana Bernice I told her (in jest, or so it seemed to me at the time), "Nana -- you're 143 years old. You've had a rich full life. I want my money."

In any case, further posting by moi will have to be sporadic for a day or two as a result.

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

Post-Beatles Pop/Rock Band or Solo Artist That, From Where You're Sitting, Should Have Been Huge(ly Successful) But For Some Reason Never Was!!!

No arbitrary rules here, except by huge we mean commercially ubiquitous in these here United States, so your Big in Japan (or wherever) faves definitely count. And yes, I'm pretty sure I've done something like this before, but I'm also reasonably sure that most of my nominees this time are newbies.

And my totally top of my head Top Six is -

6. Marah

I love 'em, Nick Hornby absolutely adores them, and their first two albums -- Let's Cut the Crap & Hook Up Later On Tonight and Kids in Philly -- are an absolutely astounding mashup of Springsteen, the Exile-era Stones and The Replacements. They're still at it, of course, but barring an act of God they seem likely to remain a cult band.

5. The Real Kids

Punkish Boston roots-rockers, and as you can see from the above, the real deal on every level. World class frontman John Felice apparently partied a little too hearty to play the kind of career games necessary for stardom on the level they deserved, but when they were on these guys were great sweaty fun.

4. The Kit Kats

A hugely popular live act in the Philly/Jersey Shore area from the mid-60s to the early 70s, these guys made amazing pop-symphonic singles and at their best -- as in the regional hit single above -- they had an unearthly quality that was utterly unique.

3. Starry Eyed and Laughing

A lovely British pub band that essentially chanelled The Byrds -- both their original 60s folk-rock hit-making incarnation and their 70s country-rock model -- with gorgeous aplomb. Really nice guys, too, especially Rickenbacker honcho Tony Poole (the dude with the unfortunate hair singing "Chimes of Freedom" above.)

2. The Red Devils

Hands down, the toughest and most idiomatic young white boy blues band since the Rolling Stones (in fact they backed Mick Jagger on a couple of tracks, although Rick Rubin produced their one and only studio album). In any case, had the usual demons not intervened, these guys could have been the biggest blues-rock breakthough this side of J. Geils.

And the Numero Uno shoulda-been-gynormous rock persons absolutely have to be, I will brook no controversy on this so watch it, buster...

1. The Broadcasters

A punkish/bluesy/roots-rock/rockabilly/garage combo who could absolutely kill live, these guys (their sole, brilliant, album was produced by the MC5's Wayne Kramer in 1987) had boatloads of great songs (like the one in the clip) to go along with the chops and attitude. Why they're not household words is beyond me, frankly.

Alrighty, then -- who would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- Theme: Best and Worst Films Referencing Some Kind of Apparel in the Title -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, you would be too kind if you could get over there and leave some kind of snarkily perceptive comment to impress my bosses. Thanks!]


cthulhu said...

Well, Marshall Crenshaw, of course. Also Tonio K (after Life in the Foodchain got a rave review in, of all places, People magazine, I expected something to happen). And Aimee Mann, who is kinda the American Richard Thompson in some ways - hugely respected by us cool people, even gets a little radio airplay now and then, but has never broken through to full-bore commercial recognition.

John Fowler said...

Well, after spending the last week completely consumed with listening to their albums, I have to list Big Star first. That's easy (and obvious in these parts).

Second choice would be the Hoodoo Gurus - see "Bittersweet". And how about "Like Wow - Wipeout!", which just happens to connect to our Early Clue.

Seems like Jason and the Scorchers should have been bigger too...

And, although they are clearly well-known, aren't the Kinks underappreciated??? At least on this side of the Atlantic.

Finally, condolences and sympathy to Steve for his Nana - hoping the memories at the memorial bring out some smiles and laughter, along with the sadness.

dave™© said...

I'd have to pick a woman named Barbara Manning, who was rather popular in the indie scene in the Bay Area (and beyond) in the late 80s/early 90s and whom I've always thought Liz Phair stole everything she knew from.

faze said...

Oh, the Leopards.

NYMary said...

I don't actually have to vote on this, do I? Can't we just take my vote as read?

agnes varda said...

doug and the slugs

Edward said...

Depending on your definition of Hugely Successful, I guess. But since well known and/or influential is not the same as hugely successful:

The Velvet Underground

Nick Lowe, who did have one monster single, but his two Cowboy Outfit LP's are Pure Pop Classics.

John Wesley Harding

T-Bone Burnett

Graham Parker

Carlene Carter

Feral said...

The late, great Chris Whitley. Had a substantial cult following but talent like that deserved more.

The Subdudes, although they've had a pretty good resurgence since they rebanded.

(Heh, my verification word is "pugger", not a bad band name)

NYMary said...

I'm kind of surprised steve didn't peg his favorite unknown, Rob Laufer.

steve simels said...

BTW --

In the interests of full-disclosure, there is an extant high quality video of me performing "Route 66" and "Gloria" live with three of the four Broadcasters.

I should add that this will appear on YouTube on the same day that frozen yogurt goes on sale in hell.

Michael said...

Holly Beth Vincent.
Not huge, but boy was she better than the other American new wave girl groups.
Her 2nd album (Holly and the Italians) is a near masterpiece.

Gummo said...

It might seem obvious, but The Ramones, dammit.

And I always thought if you listened past the industrial noise, Pere Ubu wrote incredible pop hooks. But I guess David Thomas's voice is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of thing.

Sugar, Bob Mould's band after Husker Du, had some great catchy songs but went nowhere.

Young Marble Giants. By the time Hole covered their Credit in the Straight World, it was way too late.

X never broke out of their post-punk cult status, but should have.

And XTC was one of the greatest pop rock bands EVER, but despite numerous hits in England, never really clicked here.

cthulhu said...

Thanks to Feral for bringing up the truly great Chris Whitley. And in the vein of X, there's the Blasters too - Dave Alvin is one of the great American songwriters of the last 25 years.

Blue Ash Fan said...

Steve beat me to Marah. Their association with Bruce hasn't even helped them. Edward beat me to Graham Parker, somebody whose relative obscurity has baffled me since '77.

But I can't believe that nobody has picked the obvious choice. Unless I somehow managed to sleep through that glorious time when the Replacements were a household word.

steve simels said...

Chris Whitley.

No doubt about it..absolutely mesmerizing performer.

steves said...

And a hell of a nice guy, too.

Peter said...

Loved the Broadcasters. That kind of two-chord vamp tune is really hard to pull off.

Verification word: panter

Jeff said...

NRBQ, obs.

I saw The Paladins open for Los Lobos many years ago and expected them to make a stir...not so much.

And of course, Harvey Sid Fisher shoulda been huge.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for picking the Broadcasters. I'd really love to see the video of us doing Gloria and Route 66. Love the Blog.
BTW Roky Eriksen comes to mind. I'm sure I'll think of others later. Just got back from roadtrip to Nashville.

Ken J Xenozar said...

David Poe is a name that comes to mind. Seemed to have good pop tunes and T-Bone Burnett producing.

MBowen said...

Why second-raters like My Morning Jacket and Kings of Leon are headlining Madison Square Garden and the real-deal Drive-By Truckers aren't, I'll never be able to fathom.

Marti Jones and Kirsty MacColl both should have been rich and famous, too. I'm still convinced that all it would take is one big rom-com to put Marti's "Follow You All Over The World" over the end credits for her to still get a hit.

spot check billy said...

Kinda wish the big push for the Iron City Houserockers had worked out.

Seconds on Holly & the Italians, particularly the second album, Graham Parker and Chris Whitley.

Verification word - wandin. Would be a lousy band name

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the wonderful write up for the Broadcasters! They were so deserving of more recognition.

Three of the four Broadcasters have remained very close friends of mine. They played my fortieth birthday party (where you preformed the legendary 'Route 66' and 'Gloria' with them) and my wife's one year anniversary kidney transplant party. They are world class musicians.

They are currently still perform as 'The Roues Brothers', 'Finn & the Sharks' & 'The UpSouth Twisters'.

If anyone is interested in hearing more of their music, go to 'My Space Music" and look/listen under:
'Billy Roues',
'The Roues Brothers',
'Finn & the Sharks',
'UpSouth Recordings",
'The UpSouth Twisters' &
'The Orwells'
It's as good as rock & roll gets!

They still frequently play the New York City area in all three acts ('Sharks', 'Roues' & 'Twisters') with other wonderful musicians joining them in the various bands.

Finally, other great acts deserving further recognition:

Dave Alvin
The Blood Oranges/Cheri Knight/Jimmy Ryan
Los Lobos
Peter Himmelman
Lucinda Williams
Peter Himmelman
The Weasels
Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles
Italy's 'Belladonna'.


When's the next bus to Oswego? said...

Big Star


Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Shadows of Knight

Alex said...

In addition to the ones mentioned:

Don Dixon
The Fleshtones
The Katydids
The Sinceros

Noam Sane said...

Crack the Sky
..."Safety in Numbers" and "White Music" are straight-up classics that sound as fresh to me now as the day they was borned.

cuddlefish said...

The Only Ones, The Records, Galaxie 500. Game Theory, Rheostatics, The Beat (Paul Collins)

steve simels said...

Crack the Sky?

Never listened to 'em back in the day...not particularly even sure why.

Anonymous said...

Mike Viola, with or without Candy Butchers.

One of the most inventive power pop music writers I've ever heard.

How he escaped the radio remains a mystery to me.

And I second the Rob Laufer nomination.

Anonymous said...

First off, I'd never heard of Marah but I really liked that song you posted

Allow me to jump on the Dave Alvin bandwagon - I'll agree with the earlier comment about him being one of the finest songwriters in many a year. I've always liked his solo stuff more than his work with the Blasters simply because I'm not much of a fan of Phil's singing.

I haven't seen Richard Thompson's name mentioned but I believe he belongs in the same songwriting group as Dave Alvin - not as consistent but he's certainly produced some incredible songs.

I also have to mention the Fabulous Poodles. The funnest band I ever saw and several of their songs were just plain great.

cthulhu said...

Some love for the Fabulous Poodles!! If I ever get around to recording some of my classic vinyl to digital, "Think Pink" will be one of the first five discs to make the transfer. Just another great band I discovered through TMFKASR...

And how could we all have forgotten the Plimsouls and Peter Case?

Marsupial said...

No surprises for anyone who has ever written anything I have written here: Sparks, Game Theory, Squeeze, and Get Smart. Game Theory & Get Smart I kind of understand, since they were quirky (but awesome). Sparks, IMHO, is the most underrated band in history, and Squeeze is probably #2, at least on this side of the pond (god, I hate that term).

nazanne said...

cthulhu, I did get around to recording my vinyl to digital a few years ago so I've got digital copies of the Fabulous Poodles two American discs. Drop me an email if you want a copy. It isn't quite as rare a thing as it used to be. Those two albums were released as a twofer CD just last year.

Anonymous said...

I keep the flag flying for Captain Beefheart, whose Howlin' Wolf imitation was almost as good as Howlin' Wolf, and who, sorry everybody, was the greatest white blues singer of his or any other time, in addition to having underrated gifts for hooks and arrangement. Listen to the first album, and then you're set for the harder stuff.

And, in a similar vein, Phil Alvin and his Blasters put on one the best shows I've ever seen just a couple years ago. Dave writes better songs, but nobody performs harder than Phil. Two weeks later, I saw Dave Alvin and walked out after 6 songs. Phil played for two and half hours and it wasn't enough.

--Nosmo King