Friday, May 18, 2018

How Old Am I? (An Occasional Series)

It has come to my attention that some of today's kids will be attending this shebang.


My point is that the only one of the performers advertised here I've ever heard of is Courtney Barnett. Who's actually pretty good, but still — it pains me that I’m so out of it.



I rather like the band name Cigarettes After Sex, however.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

[h/t wgg]

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Today We Are a CD

It's been 45 years in the making, but my 70s band, The Hounds, finally has a commercially available recording.



Okay, it's been 45 years since we first went into the studio to do demos. But the CD itself has only sort of been in the works for 10 years. These projects always take longer than you expect.

In any case, here's a representative track. As you can hear, we kinda liked The Byrds and Jefferson Airplane.



The physical CDs just went out to our distributor yesterday, so you won't be able to order copies -- including over at Amazon -- for another week or two; I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, the album is already available for streaming or download at iTunes, Pandora, Spotify and the rest of the usual suspects who pay shit royalties. Heh.

Seriously, I'm insufferably pleased with how well the project turned out. Hell, I'm sufferably pleased with the fact the original master tapes were still in playable condition.



Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Closed for Monkey Business


Had a long, and extremely productive, studio session last night. Adding an amazing guitar track to the latest Floor Models masterpiece.

Regular posting resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Girl Crazy! (Part Deux)

As promised, courtesy of Captain Al, here's that live version of "More LIke Them" by the irrepressible Lydia Loveless we discussed last week.




As I mentioned the other day, that derives from the vinyl-only soundtrack album for the Who Is Lydia Loveless? documentary film, which behooves beholding, obviously.

And may I just say, and for the record, that I suspect it might be fun to share an adult beverage or two with that young lady.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 2018, and his new album First Thing Tomorrow (produced by the great Andy Bopp, frontman/auteur of the transplendent Myracle Brah)...


...please enjoy power pop phenom Dave Sheinin and the fiendishly catchy lead-off track "Lies."



And who is Dave Sheinin, you may ask?

Well, I did too, and the answer blew my tiny mind. As he explains:

I have kind of a crazy backstory, as I'm a 48-year-old sports writer for The Washington Post, and this is my debut record. People are understandably skeptical, but for what it's worth, Absolute Power Pop last week called it "one of the year's best."

I agree with that review, BTW, and you can (and should) download Dave's entire album (which is delightful from stem to stern) OVER HERE as soon as possible.

BTW, Myracle Brah was one of the first bands NYMary turned me on to in preparation to giving me the metaphorical keys to the car at this here blog, and I've always been grateful. And if you're wondering why, check out this song, which slayed me then and still slays me now.



In any case -- Dave, you're our kind of guy, and if you're ever in the vicinity of Hackensack, NJ or Forest Hills, NY I would consider it an honor to shake your hand and buy you a glass of the adult beverage of your choice.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Girl Crazy!

From 2011, please enjoy the incomparable Lydia Loveless and her attractively Stones-ish "More Like Them."



I actually hadn't heard this until last Tuesday, when Friend of PowerPop Capt. Al played it on his intertube radio show in an absolutely astounding live version. Alas, that derives from the hard to get vinyl-only soundtrack to the must-see documentary Who Is Lydia Loveless?...



...but I have an in with the good Capt., and I'll see if I can con him into sharing an mp3 with me and post it here later.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Your Thursday Moment of Not Paul Weller

From 1968, please enjoy The Jam -- no, not them -- and their absolutely astounding power pop/garage rock should have been a classic "Something's Gone."



Who these guys were seems to have been lost in the mists of history, except that they were apparently from the Pacific Northwest somewhere. And, interestingly enough, this was the very first release on Sire Records (which is pretty cool).

In any case, had this been a hit I suspect the future of what we refer to as the popular music field might have been changed in totally unfathomable ways.

[h/t Herb S.]

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Closed for Monkey Business


Had a long, but very productive, evening in the studio yesterday, toiling on the instrumental track for the next Floor Models masterpiece.

Regular postings resume on the morrow.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Rudy and the Beast

Okay, I'm aware that the name of this blog is PowerPop, and not Pissed-Off-Lefty, but this version of the title song from a beloved Disney musical is a work of genius. (There's a few minutes of very funny interview footage before the song starts, BTW. Watch it all -- you'll thank me.)



I should add that apparently Francisco de Goya...


...anticipated Rudy by several hundred years.


Ewww....

At Last -- Somebody is Singing My Theme Song!




The irony is that this is actually terrific.

Now I can die happy if somebody else finally writes something called "Swear to God, I'm Gonna Take a Hostage."

[h/t dmark]

Friday, May 04, 2018

I Can See For Miles

Friend of PowerPop (and me) Jonnie Miles has a riveting new music video.



If Jonnie's name is familiar, it may be because I've posted about him before -- specifically, from his days as the drummer of The Prostitutes, an absolutely classic New York City rock band whose I've described (accurately, as you'll hear) as a cross between The Doors and The Smithereens.



I'd forgotten Jonnie's other cool credit, though; he actually was in a band -- Albania -- with an album on Chiswick Records, the first British 70s indie label of note (they also had The Count Bishops, and cooler than that it does not get).


Here's their single -- a smash in Italy, I'm informed.



In any case, apart from being a wonderful musician, Jonnie's also a great photographer; you can (and should) check out his work over HERE.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Darkness on the Edge of Your Whatever

You know, in retrospect, I think that my contemporaneous review of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, which I posted yesterday, was a little harsh.

That said, this song -- which Bruce wrote and gave to Gary U.S. Bonds at the same time he was toiling on said album -- is just...uh, what's the word I'm looking for?


Oh yeah. Better.



Hey, in the immortal words of Chuck Barris -- what do I know, I like cold toilet seats.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Songs for the New Depression Revisited

And speaking as we were on Monday of Bruce Springsteen -- from the December 1982 issue of the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review, please enjoy -- if that's the word -- my review of Nebraska.

Slightly edited for style (don't ask) but otherwise exactly as it appeared at the time.


When times get tough, someone once observed, entertainment gets sloppy, but in the case of Bruce Springsteen, the once and future Bard of Asbury Park, New Jersey, we may have to amend that; when times get tough, entertainment gets grim. At least that's one implication to be derived from Nebraska, Springsteen's new all-acoustic -- dare I say it? -- folk music album. Another is that the record business is in even worse shape than I thought. Since the production costs of what sounds like the bleakest record of the year must have been next to nothing (Springsteen recorded it at home on a four-track Teac cassette deck), you might think Columbia would give us a break and sell it at a really reduced price -- like about two bucks. No such luck.

That's a pretty cynical thing to say about a Bruce Springsteen album, Springsteen being the one mainstream rock star who maintains a genuine give-and-take relationship with his audience, but I'm afraid Nebraska inspires cynicism. It sounds like it was written for critics rather than people. I'm not suggesting a sellout; in a lot of ways a release like this is a very gutsy career move, and I don't doubt that the ten songs on it are as sincerely, deeply felt as anything Springsteen has ever done. In some ways, actually, it's weirdly appropriate that he should mutate, however briefly, into a latter-day Woody Guthrie. CBS originally signed him as a folk singer, things are pretty depressing out there, and somebody's got to do it, I suppose. It's just that most of Nebraska is, well, boring.

I can't fault the stories Springsteen tells here. He seems to have aimed for a sort of contemporary working-class, factory-town equivalent of The Grapes of Wrath, and mostly he's succeeded. As vignettes they're wonderful; one in particular -- "Highway Patrolman" -- is going to make a heck of a movie someday. But musically...my God. The tunes are less than minimalist, the tempos are uniformly dirgelike, and hardly a ray of sunlight breaks through the overpowering miasma of fatalism and gloom. The effect is to trivialize the stories. It's impossible to care about the lives of the people being chronicled when the music is so resolutely leaden.

I suspect that this is not due so much to a lack of inspiration as it is to deliberate calculation. Springsteen has been headed in this direction for some time now. A lot of Darkness on the Edge of Town was all but unlistenable for the same reasons, and in places The River was even worse, the stark dramas inflated to operatic pretentious and unintentional self-parody. Nebraska, with its self-conscious underproduction, achieves the same sad result from the opposite direction. Springsteen must know better -- just listen to the material he gives away to other artists. Heck, his "Out of Work," on the recent Gary U.S. Bonds album, says far more about blue-collar aspirations than anything on Nebraska, and it's also tuneful, danceable and fun.

But Springsteen seems to think that fun is beneath him now. As much as it pains me to say it, I think what we have here is a classic case of a "primitive" artist corrupted by "intellectuals" (well, ex-rock writers, like his producer Jon Landau and official biographer Dave Marsh). How else to explain Springsteen's apparent compulsion to make the Big Statement every time out, the references to film directors -- here it's Terence Malick (Badlands) in the title song -- and the hectoring preachiness of so much of his recent output? Nebraska, its offhand simplicity notwithstanding, is an ambitious work, and, given the thoroughly decadent state of contemporary pop music, it merits respect if only because it aims high. But the fact is, it misses -- by a big margin -- and the reasons suggest that its author has worked himself into what may be an artistic cul-de-sac. Let's hope I'm wrong. -- Steve Simels

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Nebraska. Bruce Springsteen (vocals, guitar, harmonica).
COLUMBIA TC 38358

A review that holds up pretty well, I think.

Although I've mellowed a bit on Darkness since then. I'm still not crazy about it, but the obviously anthemic songs (plus "Candy's Room," which I've always thought of as Bruce channeling The Yardbirds) are great enough that I can sort of ignore the (IMHO) lame West Coast-style production.

I'm also tickled by my prediction about "Highway Patrolman," which of course Sean Penn filmed as The Indian Runner in 1991

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Praying for Wal-Mart

From 2015, please enjoy the incomparably droll Matt the Electrician and his ode to finding love in all the wrong customer service departments, "For Angela."



Let's just say that apart from being, obviously, a very funny guy, he's also an extremely lucky one. Also, god bless him for rhyming the word "virus" with Miley Cyrus.

[h/t Matt M.]

Monday, April 30, 2018

Your Monday Moment of Hell Has Frozen Over

So thanks to a longtime reader who has far too kind a heart, I have just discovered an online archive of years and years worth of scanned issues of The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review.

I am not gonna post the link, lest you access all sorts of my poor scribblings that now kind of make me a little queasy.

But starting today, I will, from time to time, be posting some pieces that I think hold up.

Exhibit A in that regard: From the January 1981 issue, please enjoy my thoughts on Bruce Springsteen's The River. I worked pretty hard on this one at the time, and I think it's both perceptive and fair.

Double click on the image and you'll be able to see it and read it in the same size as it appeared in the mag originally.


Damn, I'm guess gonna have to start thinking about doing that threatened book version of my greatest hits.

[h/t M. Hardy]

Friday, April 27, 2018

Closed for Scientific Monkey Business


Doing some research. Back on Monday, with some really amazing news. Trust me, it will be worth the wait.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Remember Folks -- The Word Duck is 3/4 Obscene

From sometime in the mid-70s, please enjoy The Weasels -- featuring a guitarist whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels -- and their insinuating cover version of Jelly Roll Morton's "Whinin' Boy."



And then, from 1939 and the celebrated Alan Lomax Library of Congress sessions, please enjoy the composer's spectacularly smutty version of the same tune.



God, that's filthy. And paid for with taxpayer's money, thus proving that you libtards have been trying to destroy America's moral fiber since forever.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Closed for James Bondian Monkey Business


Had a long, exhausting evening doing secret agent kind of stuff.

Regular -- civilian -- posting resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Your Tuesday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 1965, please enjoy The Seekers and their gorgeous folk-rock hit "Another You."



Always liked this song, but I don't think I've ever heard it in stereo before. And I'm totally sure I've never seen this wonderful pretending-to-be-live-in-the-studio video version.

I should add that the charmingly geeky/bespectacled bass player in the clip, who wrote the song, is Tom Springfield.

As in brother of Dusty Springfield. Obviously a very talented family.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Cover Versions I Haven't Made Up My Mind About: An Occasional Series

From 2008, please enjoy the great Lindsey Buckingham and his version of The Rolling Stones' anthemic "The Singer Not the Song."



This was originally recorded for Buckingham's Gift of Screws solo album, but didn't surface untill a bootleg version of the album appeared years later. In any case, I hadn't heard it until last week, and I still haven't decided if the song works at such a glacial tempo.

That said, I relistened to the Stones original recently, which I dearly loved (actually sang it in a band back in the '70s), and it suddenly struck me as an unholy mess.

Funny, that.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Weekend Listomania: Special Song Crushes Edition

[The original version of this went up back in 2008, which totally floors me for any number of reasons. However, I have mostly rewritten it, and added two new entries, to keep you guys from thinking I'm the slacker I obviously am. Please enjoy. -- S.S.]
Okay, kids -- it's Weekend Listomania Time. Today's theme:

Post-Elvis Album/Album Track/Song/Single You Discovered Long After the Fact and Immediately Wondered How You had Lived Without It!!!

No arbitrary rules of any kind, you're welcome very much.

And my totally top of my head Top Seven is...

7. The Grateful Dead -- Box of Rain



It's no secret that I'm not remotely a Deadhead; they were my least favorite San Francisco band back in the day, and I have never much liked any of their albums with the exception of Working Man's Dead and American Beauty, neither of which I ever owned. (Caveat: I love Garcia's bluegrass stuff; if you haven't seen Grateful Dawg you're really missing something.) That said, about six months ago, for whatever reason, I sat down under the headphones with this song and pretty much lost it. How fricking gorgeous.

6. Sonic's Rendezvous Band -- City Slang



SRB, of course, being a sort of Detroit supergroup featuring ex MC5 guitarist Fred Smith and several other worthies. I'd heard of the single, which came out in 1978, for years, but didn't get around to listening to it until when I first wrote this post. Needless to say, the damn thing is pretty much hard rock at its most intense, and god only knows what I was waiting for.

5. Los Shakers -- Always You



The Beatles of Uruguay, and every bit as good as anything by their role models, IMHO. I got hipped to this one courtesy of a long time reader, and I have to say -- of all the great songs I've discovered since NYMary gave me the spare set of keys to this place, this is the one that means the most to me.

4. You Am I -- Mr. Milk



First heard this one (which dates from 1996) sometime around 2003, over the sound system at NYCD, the late lamented (and still the coolest in history) indie record store on Manhattan's upper West Side run by our pal Sal Nunziato. How the best Australian band since The Easybeats had previously gotten by me remains a mystery that may never be solved.

3. Sam Cooke -- Night Beat



It sounds, deliberately, like a late night blues/soul/gospel jam session at a small smoke-filled club, and it's probably the greatest pop music album of the last sixty years that most people still don't know about. Cooke cut it for his own label in 1963 and it went out of print pretty much immediately; the American CD reissue from 2001 (which is when I first heard it) got pulled due to legal wrangling (love that Allen Klein) almost as quickly. But you can still find copies on Amazon; thank you Jeff Bezos.

2. The Cat's Meow -- La La Lu.



Found this 1966 garage rock gem (which definitely should have been a radio hit) courtesy of a reader back in the day; apparently, it was fairly well known in Nuggets circles, but I'd never run across it previously. In any case, a simply wonderful piece of Revolver-ish bubblegum punk.

And the Number One great song I can't live without that I hadn't heard before I wrote this piece -- it's not even remotely a contest -- absolutely has to be...

1. The Weepies -- Gotta Have You



So approximately eleven years ago, I found myself falling in love with a certain Shady Dame, and it was happening to the soundtrack of a Weepies song, which was running in a TV commercial at the time, called "All That I Want." I was later hipped to another Weepies song that I dearly love, called "Nobody Knows Me at All." But for some reason, I was never moved to research more of their stuff. And then yesterday somebody sent me a link to "Gotta Have You," which is about the most gorgeous and ineffably touching thing I've ever heard in my life. Seriously -- these guys are now The Beatles, as far as I'm concerned. And Deb Talan is the single greatest girl singer in the history of pop music.

Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Local Boy Makes Good

Scotch Plains, N.J has just named a street in honor of the late great Pat DiNzio, homeboy and leader of The Smithereens.


I have been smiling from ear to ear since I heard the news.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Beauty May Be Skin Deep, But Ugly is to the Bone

Okay, I know this portrait of Jared the K has absolutely nothing to do with the mission statement of this here blog, but if you haven't seen it, you need to.


And yes, this was painted by Jim Carrey, who turns out to be one of the greatest caricaturists alive. Google his rendering of a certain Fox News shithead as a manatee; it'll make your day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Bright Lights....

The story so far: Marc Platt used to front one of my favorite lost bands of the 80s, L.A.'s The Real Impossibles (seen here...ohmigod...with Martha freaking Quinn)...



...whose music was a canny mix of power pop, garage and New Wave energy; I usually compare them to the Plimsouls and Peter Case, which I do not think is overblown at all. Bottom line: They were a killer band and they should have been household words.

Cut to 2018, and Marc is still making great music. To wit: His just released solo album...


...which is in more or less the same style as his previous work, although a little rawer and more garage...


...and in this case including three really fabulous covers -- a dark, menacing take on The Stones' "The Last Time," a spooky stomp through Elvis Costello's "You Belong to Me," and a straight-ahead version of The Flamin' Groovies' "I Can't Hide" that may rock harder the original.

Have I mentioned that Marc has thoughtfully included a bunch of his new songs that are instantly addictive?

To wit, the sort of folk-rockish "High Road"...



...and the moody jangle-fest "Feelin' the Heat."



Plus lots more, and the whole thing adds up to one of the best albums of the year so far. You can (and very definitely should) order it Amazon over HERE.

I thank you.

Friday, April 13, 2018

My Friday Moment of Words Fail Me

Fabulous singer/songwriter Jenn Bostic, out of the great goodness of her heart, does a killer cover of The Floor Models' "Excuses Excuses."



I had no idea this was in the works, and when I first heard it last week I will confess I was reduced to a puddle of tears. I only wish my late great bandmate Andy Pasternack (who wrote it) had lived to hear Jenn's version, but I think he's smiling about it in heaven. And thank you for doing it, Jenn, from the bottom of my rapidly aging rock-and-roll heart.

BTW, there's a backstory to all this, involving longtime reader/friend of PowerPop Phil Cheese and my abject failure to write about Jenn's CD Faithful...


...after he kindly sent an autographed copy of it to me a while back. But let's not get into my myriad moral failings.

In any case, here's a track from said CD, and if it doesn't make you grin from ear to ear, consult your physician.



You can (and should) buy Faithful over at Amazon HERE. Jenn's new album, which comes out in May, can (and should) be pre-ordered, also from Amazon, OVER HERE.

And may I say once more -- thank you, Jenn.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Annals of Post-Hippie Revisionism

From 2009, please enjoy Top Loader's totally infectious modernization of the venerable "Dancing in the Moonlight."



I gotta say, I've always liked this song, but neither of the more familiar versions -- the 1972 Top 40 hit by King Harvest...



...or the 1969 original FM staple by Boffalongo...



...completely did it for me.

The Top Loader remake, however (which I hadn't heard till yesterday, courtesy of a Pandora channel at my local watering hole), kinda knocks my socks off. Despite the fact that they're pasty-faced Brits who used to open for Coldplay.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Headlines For Stories in Today's New York Times That Did Not Motivate Me to Read Further: An Occasional Series

From World's Most Irksome Rock Critic© Jon Caramanica:

Cardi B Is a New Rap Celebrity Loyal to Rap’s Old Rules on ‘Invasion of Privacy’

Cardi B? Seriously? Hey, I saw her the other week on SNL...



...and she's got, as Peter Blegvad famously said of Madonna, at best a teaspoon of talent. And her music is about as interesting as watching paint dry.

If you want to read the piece, here's the link. If you do, however, and if we meet in the future, I will be loathe to shake your hand.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Wails From the Crypt: An Occasional Series

Okay, here's the greatest archaeological excavation since Heinrich Schlieman unearthed the city of Troy.

From approximately 1988, at Kenny's Castaways in fabled Greenwich Village, please enjoy The Souvenirs -- aka Gerry Devine and the Hi-Beams aka The Floor Models 2.0 -- covering The Left Banke's great "She May Call You Up Tonight."



That's from a previously presumed lost VHS tape featuring our entire opening set, and at some point I'm gonna post some more from it, including a blistering cover of Paul Revere and the Raiders' "Him or Me (What's It Gonna Be?)."

And yes, that's some asshole whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels on keyboards.

[h/t Brian Smith]

Monday, April 09, 2018

A Different Miami Sound Machine. No, Seriously -- a REALLY Different Miami Sound Machine.

Okay, ladies and germs, please enjoy a terrific song -- "Two in Love" -- by fabulous Miami power pop band The Tomboys.



And why do I bring this up?

Well, if you're not remembering who these guys are, here's what I wrote about them last year:

The story so far: Last week I got an e-mail from a band -- called, as you may have now guessed, The Tomboys -- that I was unfamiliar with (which is far from an unusual occurrence around here, obviously).

And the message of which was -- hey, we're pretty cool, we think we're up your alley, and if you agree, will you write about us?

So having (as usual) far too much time on hands, I gave 'em a listen, and what do you know -- they really WERE terrific. Great early 80s retro guitar driven power pop sound, and very very accomplished; comparisons to Elvis Costello or Any Trouble would not have been inappropriate.

I got back to them immediately and asked who they were and how long had they been doing this?

Drummer Joe Alonso promptly filled me in:

We’re from South Florida – Miami, specifically. The band formed in 1979 and had a nice run thru 1986. We were literally freshmen in high school - very young teens - when we started performing and songwriting. We finally hit the studio in 1982. We had our “moments”, locally and regionally. Several showcases and “label-auditions” later, we were right back in Miami. Power-pop, from Miami, by teenagers… it was a mix they just couldn’t wrap their heads around. Perhaps if we were from the mid-west, already in our mid-twenties, and lived out of a van – then maybe. LOL.

Well, that explained the retro sound, and given that (despite being older than those guys) I had a similar sort of story in my own musical past, I decided to sing their praises.

Anyway, while getting the piece together I noticed they'd included a considerably longer bio and while reading it I was almost knocked out of my Barcalounger to learn that their bass player was none other than the incredibly great Raul Malo, who'd gone on to be the singer for the also incredibly great (and considerably more commercially successful) The Mavericks. A band, coincidentally, which I'd written about a few weeks earlier after chancing upon this fabulous video.



(I should add that Tomboys guitarist/vocalist Tommy Anthony also has a resume that's not too shabby; in fact, he's been a member of Santana since 2005. But enough about me.)

You can find out more about these guys, and download their new EP...


...for free, at their website HERE. As well you should, since the whole thing is every bit as good as the single

Have I mentioned that it's things like this that really make me dig my phony baloney job?

Seriously -- these guys are obviously great, so go over to their fan page and give them some love. And tell 'em PowerPop sent you.



Friday, April 06, 2018

Annals of Steve's Bucket List: An Occasional Series

So a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance just scored fantastic tickets for the latest incarnation of Ringo's All-Star Band at Radio City.

And guess who's one of the guys in the band.



If he does "Bus Stop" I can die happy.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

The Machine Stops


Actually, computer trouble.

Back tomorrow with a new song by an old band you might not have heard of featuring one of the greatest living singers in the popular music field.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Annals of Critical Confusion: An Occasional Series

From 2003, please enjoy latter day folk-rock/power-pop icons The Shins and their fabulous cover of a song -- "We Will Become Silhouettes" -- by a band -- The Postal Service -- I had never heard of until the other day.



The Shins are one of those acts that, on paper at least, are designed with my mind in mind, and that I should theoretically like a lot. But in reality have always left me cold.

That track is great, however, and I'll have more to say about both bands tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Closed for Monkey Business


Slightly harried, so I'm slacking today.

Regular posting -- including a hopefully amusing rant about a certain classic song -- resumes on the morrow.

Monday, April 02, 2018

A View From the Bridge Revisited

So long time readers may recall that back in 2007(!) -- shortly after NYMary gave me the metaphorical keys to the car around here -- I chanced across a highly primitive live clip on YouTube of Brit cult figure Terry Reid doing The Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset" (which I have been known to refer to as the most beautiful song written in the English language in the second half of the 20th Century).

And that as a result I was moved to write a long and passionate essay about why I found the clip so astoundingly and deeply moving. (It was a piece I was as proud of as anything I had ever written and, to my vast relief, the comments on it at the time were nothing but favorable. But I digress.)

I've reposted it on a couple of instances subsequently, but you can find it in its initial appearance over here, including a still working link to the video in question. I think both the video and my essay hold up, but obviously I'm prejudiced.

In any case, as I said, the video itself -- which was shot on an obsolete format called MiniDVD, in live-from-the-audience mono sound -- was technically primitive, but as I argued in the essay, it was emotionally devastating despite all that, or perhaps partly because of all that. Nonetheless, I was later able to get in touch with various people who had been there when it was shot, including the band's drummer, and I have subsequently lived in hope that a better quality version of the performance might surface someday.

Long story short, that's not gonna happen, for a variety of reasons.

But now there's this -- a fabulous (albeit not quite as unexpected and surprising) performance of the song by the same folks at the same LA club in vastly superior quality. Although still shot by somebody in the audience, this time with (I presume) a cell phone camera (it's actually stereo, though).



Bottom line: It's fucking great and I can now die happy. Enjoy.

Have I mentioned that when Reid goes into doo-wop falsetto as the song rides out that I swoon?

[h/t MJConroy]

Friday, March 30, 2018

FLAW RULES!!!

Stephen Colbert has really been on a roll lately, satire of the current misadministration-wise; last night he hosted Michael Bolton singing John Bolton, which is about as hilariously meta as you can get. But the night before he did a riff about the absurdity of the latest crap emanating from supporters of President Malevolent Chauncy Gardiner that made me practically fall off my couch.

The short version (and this is completely true): Said supporters have actually suggested that Trump start a GoFundMe deal to pay for his proposed wall on the Mexican border.

I kid you not. In any case, for the benefit of his viewers who might not know what that meant, he did an extended riff on the GoFundMe page of Flaw, a modestly successful and long running indie metal band from the Mid-West who were trying to raise money to buy a van in order to get to a series of upcoming gigs.

Please behold Colbert's extended riff now and be changed. It starts at about the 6:00 minute point.



As somebody at YouTube commented -- what next, a bake sale?

In any case, the band, of course and with good reason, couldn't believe the free publicity they had just been handed, but were still tickled pink about it beneath their copious tattoos


And the cream of the jest is -- they're actually pretty good. Not my cup of tea, but not as ridiculous as I had assumed while watching Colbert riff on them either.



Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Cinema News From All Over: An Occasional Series

The short version: In 1965, Tony Janelli -- an old college friend of mine -- saw one of the first ever Velvet Underground gigs, which happened to be at his high school in suburban New Jersey. An experience which blew the minds of the youthful attendees and, in Tony's case, changed his life.

So he and some of his filmmaker friends have now made an animated short celebrating the VU's performance. And as you'll see from the brief trailer below, it's pretty fricking amazing.




I should add that the show's headliners -- The Myddle Class -- featured the future husband of Carole King and the singer of Steely Dan; they also had a minor regional hit that the Blues Project appropriated to better effect as "Wake Me, Shake Me." The other act on the historic bill -- The Forty Fingers -- has, alas, disappeared into the mists of history.

In any case, the film is about to hit the festival circuit; I'll keep you posted on further news about the project as it develops.




Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Closed For Monkey Business


Regular posting -- including the most amazing rock movie trailer you've ever seen -- resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Your Tuesday Moment of Transplendence

So it was Nick Lowe's birthday over the weekend, and I was looking for something appropriate to post from YouTube when I stumbled across this 2004 clip.

I think the appropriate words are Hole. E. Shit.



Seriously, the first time I watched this I had to turn it off half way through because it was so gut-punchingly powerful I couldn't handle it.

I should add that I find it beyond ironic that a guy like Lowe, who made his pop star bones as a sort of cynical wiseguy, wound up writing the most universally beloved and well-known hippie anthem of all time.

I should also add that one of my favorite pop music stories ever involves that song, and this is absolutely true.

As you may recall, a more or less not fabulous cover of said hippie anthem -- by the non-unjustifiably more or less forgotten Curtis Stigers -- was featured on the soundtrack album to the 1992 mega-smash film The Bodyguard. Which sold several gazillion, er, units.

In any case, apparently Lowe was only vaguely aware that said cover was on the album. Until one day in 1993, he went to his mailbox, opened an envelope, and found a royalty check -- made out in his name -- in a seven figure amount.

Which has to be one of the greatest potential heart attack moments of all time.

Meanwhile -- happy birthday, Mr. Lowe. You did good.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 2014, please enjoy Shakey Graves and Heather Maloney and the most radical re-imagining of a song originally warbled by John Travolta and Olivia Neutron-Bomb (or whatever her name is) you'll ever hear.



Question: Why the hell hasn't that band been a musical guest on SNL? I mean, James Bay or The Migos get the gig, and these kids don't?

On a less contentious note, I should add that I saw the original Broadway version of Grease in preview (Barry Bostwick had the Travolta part, and he was hilarious and brilliant) and you may find this hard to believe, but the show then bore very little resemblance to the film. In fact, it was barely a nostalgia piece; instead, it was a very sharp satire on the difference between American culture as it actually was in the 50s and the representations of it in the television and movies of the period. Of course, once the satanic Robert Stigwood got his hands on the stage play, it was a foregone conclusion that he was gonna stick some crappy and obviously anachronistic disco song over the credits and rewrite the ingenue part to be an Australian exchange student.

[h/t Matt Mitchell]

Friday, March 23, 2018

Weekend Listomania: Special It's Nice Out -- Might as Well Leave It Out! Edition

[I originally posted this one back in -- gasp! -- 2009, when both the world and this blog were young. But for obvious reasons, or perhaps reasons that shall become obvious, I thought it was newly relevant to our national discourse. I have, of course, rewritten some of it, and swapped out some of the songs, just to prove that I'm not the total slacker that so many of you, with justification, suspect I am. In any case, enjoy. -- S.S.]

Okay, gang -- here's a fun project for us all to contemplate in the wake of this week's nor'easter on the Right Coast:

Most Memorable Post Elvis Song or Record Referencing Atmospheric Phenomena, i.e. Weather, In the Title or Lyrics!!!

Self-explanatory, I think, so no arbitrary rules this time.

Okay, here's my totally top of my head Top Seven:

7. Terry Anderson -- Weather or Not




If truth be told, the entire original version of this Listomania proceeded from the fact that I had wanted to post this song -- to my mind, the absolute best Rolling Stones/Keith Richards-style guitar rocker that the Stones or Keith never did -- for what seemed like ages. (Catchiest goddamn chorus in the world, n'est-ce pas?). In case you're wondering, Anderson comes out of the Georgia Satellites axis (he co-wrote that group's semi-hit "Battleship Chains") and this derives from the early 90s solo album seen above. I should add that said album is still available over at Amazon, and you should hie there toot sweet and snag a copy.

6. The Beatles -- Rain



Depending on my mood, either this or "And Your Bird Can Sing" is my favorite of the bunch of guitar-driven, vaguely metallic pop gems that the Beatles recorded around this time in late 65-early 66. This one has Ringo's most inventive drum performance, of course.

5. The Weasels -- Beautiful Day



A recent track by my old high school garage band. I'm doing most of the guitar stuff, including the solo, but it's written and sung by our multi-instrumentalist secret weapon Glenn Leeds. In any case, I love it. "It may be freezin' but I don't feel cold...it's a beautiful day."

4. Lou Christie -- Rhapsody in the Rain



"In this car, our love went much too far..."

The followup to the equally apt "Lightning Strikes," this one got banned by most 1966 radio stations; I wonder why.

3. Yoko Ono -- Listen the Snow is Falling



"The only reason no one likes her music is because she's a woman and an Oriental" -- John Lennon to Jann Wenner, 1971

2. Steeleye Span -- One Misty Moisty Morning



Probably the oldest song ever featured on a Weekend Listomania, i.e., this probably dates back to Shakespeare's day. BTW; the word goddess is overused in some circles, but I think Maddy Prior's vocal on this qualifies her for consideration as one.

And the number one ill wind that blows nobody good song, it's so ridiculously apt given what's going to be broadcast on 60 Minutes this Sunday that I can't believe we're even having a discussion, obviously is ---

1. Classics IV -- Stormy



Who knew somebody had written a hit tune about her decades ago? Amazing.

Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Your Thursday Moment of a Winter Wonderland

The view outside a certain Shady Dame's apartment this morning.


And a non-seasonal musical tribute to it.



Oh, and by the way -- tomorrow brings us the triumphant return of Weekend Listomania. Now with more relevance to current events!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Your Wednesday Moment of Why Didn't I Get the Memo?

From 2004, please enjoy the great Roger McGuinn and his lovely cover of The Beatles/George Harrison classic "If I Needed Someone."



I honestly had never heard this until yesterday, when friend of PowerPop Capt. Al played it on his intertube radio show.

I should add that George was obviously a huge Byrds fan (the riff on this is pretty much a lift from "Bells of Rhymney") and there's a wonderful, if perhaps apocryphal, story about George and Roger that seems relevant.

The short version is that after The Byrds' "Turn Turn Turn" came out, and was not as big a hit in the UK as it was elsewhere, George apparently sent Roger a note that said "I feel sorry for anybody who didn't buy it."

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Your Tuesday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 1965, please enjoy The Lovin' Spoonful, featuring extremely stylish drummer Joe Butler, doing a cover of The Beatles' "Help" backed by somebody's orchestra.



For you younger readers, this was originally aired on a weekly network TV rock-themed show called Hullabaloo.

And this is how, in the immortal words of David Letterman, your parents and grandparents enjoyed the rock-and-roll music back in the day.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Your Friday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 2002, and the Conan O'Brien show, please enjoy the astoundingly brilliant Mike Viola -- doing business with his band The Candy Butchers -- and a live version of his transplendently gorgeous "You Belong to Me Now."



I've been a fan of this guy since forever, by which I mean when he sang the title song for Tom Hanks' That Thing You Do, but this song is a total work of genius. And the fact that the sound of this thing is a live power trio blows my tiny mind.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

[h/t Frank Burrows]

Thursday, March 15, 2018

That's Mighty Fine Sitar Playing, Mahatma!

From 2000, please enjoy Belle and Sebastian and their amusingly retro "Legal Man."




I gotta tell you, B&S are a band that I have generally found to be insufferably twee. But I heard this one on Pandora or whatever at my watering hole in the Q-Boro yesterday, and I was shocked to discover that I really liked it.

And BTW -- a coveted PowerPop NoPrize© will be afforded to the first reader who identifies from whence the title of today's post derives.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What -- Nobody Wants Me to Tell That Sarah Silverman Joke?

From 1966, please enjoy The Robbs (of Where the Action Is Fame)...


...and their sprightly regional (mid-west) hit "Bittersweet."



That was written by the same P.F. Sloan-Steve Barri songwriting team that came up with the early great Grassroots hits, and while I'll concede it's not as good as the Hoodoo Gurus song of the same name we discussed yesterday, it's still pretty darn cute.

And a tip of the Hatlo Hat to reader anonymous, without whom I would have been unaware of its existence and my life thus poorer for it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Somebody Stop Me Before I Tell That Sarah Silverman Joke Again!

And speaking as we were on Friday about great songs with one word titles, I'd forgotten how much I liked this 1985 classic by The Hoodoo Gurus.



I bring this up partly because, thanks to one of our regular commenters, I just heard this 1986 (outtake) cover of the song by The Flamin' Groovies.



I should add that I find it characteristically weak-kneed, like most of the Groovies' well-intentioned studio covers. And I say that as somebody who saw them live on the 1979 Jumpin' in the Night tour when they were doing a relatively convincing version of The Byrds' "Lady Friend."

[h/t/ Mark (from Brooklyn)]

Monday, March 12, 2018

Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye Bay, Putz

Dunno if you watched Saturday Night Live last weekend, but if you did you couldn't help but notice that the show is working on an uninterrupted two year streak of musical guests (with the noticeable exception of Foo Fighters) who have no redeeming virtues whatsoever.

The most recent miscreant: James Bay.



In the immortal words of Leonard Pinth-Garnell -- "thoroughly bad."

Seriously, it's like watching Laurence Harvey fronting the world's lamest rock band.

I should add that I had never heard (or heard of) Bay before Saturday, so I looked him up and learned that he had recently done a cover of Tom Petty's great "Kings Highway" on the soundtrack to Cars 3. And I figured, well, you couldn't possibly do a bad version of that song, so maybe I should listen to it and cut him some slack.



Well, it turns out that yeah -- you CAN do a bad version of that song.

Jeebus, but that kid sucks. And he isn't even the worst one SNL's had on in memory.



Friday, March 09, 2018

Weekend Listomania: Special Brevity is the Soul of Wit Edition

This one originally ran in 2009 (and then got updated in 2015) which for some reason now lost in the mists of time were the high points of my I Hate Smashing Pumpkins period.

But it turns out that this week is the NEW high point of my Smashing Pumpkins hate jones.

So I've rewritten it -- added some songs and changed the blurbs for some others, to avoid seeming like the slacker I obviously am.

And why, you ask?

From The Guardian (click on the graphic to be able to read it):


Alex Jones? Really, Bill?

Yeah, well, fuck you, you fat baldheaded crypto-fascist libertarian piece of shit for brains.

But in the meantime, please enjoy, if at all possible, and without further ado, the Listomania topic for this weekend:

Best or Worst Post-Beatles Song or Record With a One Word or One Number Title!!!

Self-explanatory, I think, but I should add that any one word title comprised of the names of men and women or those of geographical places is disqualified. So, fuck you, CSNY and "Ohio." Blow me, Sue Thompson and "Norman."


Okay, with that out of the way here's my totally top of my head Top Thirteen:

13. Steppenwolf -- 28



From their second album, which by the way is one of the great overlooked masterpieces of its era.

12. Collective Soul -- Gel



A great kick-ass rock song featuring a lead singer who I always found charmingly unhinged. Plus, let's face it, "Let's gel" is possibly the most imaginative sexual euphemism since the young John and Paul wrote "Thinking of Linking."

11. Madonna -- Cherish



Not the crappiest or most reprehensible Madonna single -- that would be most of the others -- but I for one have never forgiven it for sullying the good reputation of the 60s hit of the same name by The Association.

10. Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs -- Stay



I actually prefer the completely over the top cover by the Four Seasons, but everybody is probably sick to death of my carrying on about those guys. In any case, the original is one of the sublime glories of early rock, and at a terse 1:39 an obvious candidate for All Time Best Single Under Two Minutes Long.

9. The Beatles -- Help!



C'mon -- according to George Martin, they learned the title of the movie was going to be Help! on Monday, they wrote the song on Tuesday, and they had figured out the entire arrangement and recorded it by the end of Wednesday. It doesn't get any more brilliant.

8. The Rolling Stones -- Think



The Aftermath song The Stones had previously given to Chris Farlowe, who had the hit. One of the best of the early Jagger-Richards collaborations, I think, and the riffage between the acoustic guitar and the fuzz electric is inspired and haunting.

7. Smashing Pumpkins -- Disarm



A very good song, but for obvious reasons limned above -- fuck them and lead singer Billy Corgan where they breathe.

6. Fleetwood Mac -- Tusk



The original of this is Lindsay Buckingham at his most wacky and wonderful, but I still think this MST3K sort-of version...



...is the best one evah.

5. The Loud Family -- Aerodeliria



My favorite song from perhaps my favorite album of the 90s, and only one of the reasons PABARAT was the only genuinely psychedelic experience legally available in that decade. And if you've ever heard the EP they did right after, you know these bastards could nail the damn thing live.

4. The Moody Blues -- Stop



The follow-up to "Go Now," and in some ways even more sad and beautiful; Denny Laine really is one of the most underrated figures of the British Invasion.

3. Jefferson Airplane -- Today



Great song, great album. Too bad the stereo version sounds like it was recorded in an echoey airplane hangar.

2. Foo Fighters -- Everlong



From an article in MOJO:

November 2007: The Foo Fighters are in Canada, supporting Bob Dylan on the latter's Modern Times tour. [Head Foo and former Nirvana drummer] Dave Grohl is in his dressing room when he gets a message that Mr. Dylan wants to see him.

"So I walk out," says Grohl, "and he's standing like a silhouette in a dark corner -- black leather boots, black leather pants, black leather jacket. He said 'What's that song you got, the one that says "The only thing I ever ask of you is you gotta promise not to stop when I say when"?' I said, oh yeah, 'Everlong.' He said, 'Man, that's a great song, I should learn that song."

Grohl laughs loudly. "So I don't give a fuck what anybody else thinks. Bob Dylan likes one of my songs. That right there is enough for me."

And the all-time coolest one word song, it's so obvious why are we even discussing this, is --

1. Soupy Sales -- Pachalafaka



Pachalafaka, pachalafaka
They whisper it all over Turkey
Pachalafaka, pachalafaka
It sounds so romantic and perky
Oh, I know that phrase
Will make me thrill always
For it reminds me of you, my sweet
Just the mention of
That tender word of love
Gives my heart a jerkish, Turkish beat

I won't say c'est si bon
Or l'amour toujours
For they can't express what I'm feeling
Even mairzydoats or
Other foreign quotes
Don't seem to be quite so appealing
But pachalafaka! pachalafaka!
Takes me back with you to passionate desert scenes
And it's there we'll stay
Till the very day
We find out what pachalafaka means!


That, my friends, is true poetry.

Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Thursday Essay Question

If you don't like these two songs by John Mellencamp you don't like rock-and-roll as a form.





Discuss.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

My Girlfriend the Surrealist

Sorry kids, but this just blows me away.



Regular power pop stuff resumes tomorrow after I've stopped laughing.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Closed for Surrealism

I got so excited yesterday that a certain Shady Dame had made a knock-off of Man Ray's celebrated metronome that I completely forgot to write something for PowerPop aujourd'hui.


Regular (and that's a word and a half in this context) posting resumes on the morrow.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Log Rolling in Our Time (An Occasional Series): Special Professional Jealousy Edition

So Friday last, when I posted that Marc Jonson song he wrote and performed in tribute to the late Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens, I had one of my increasingly rare moments of self-aware insight.

To wit: That every time I start to get a little big-headed about music by one of my various bands over the years that...well, that frankly I really need to listen (or re-listen) to stuff made by many far more talented friends and acquaintances of mine and -- frankly -- get over myself.

Which leads me, for reasons that will soon become clear, to my chum Marc Platt.


Marc fronted a punkish mid-80s Los Angeles power pop band called The Real Impossibles, and a compilation of their stuff came out on Zero Hour Records a few months after the Zero Hour release of Floor Your Love. Which made us label mates, of course. I had never heard of the band until the CD, but it knocked me out, and we struck up an intertube friendship, with me mostly telling him "I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!"

Here's a representative track...



...that absolutely kills me. I think comparisons to The Plimsouls are not implausible, and for my money the whole CD is great; you can order it at our mutual label's website HERE.

I should also add that Marc is an extremely accomplished music scribe and the author of the fab (obviously) E-book How the Beatles Did It, which you can and should order at the link right here. (Have I mentioned I hate him?).

But enough of the history lesson.

The bottom line is that Marc has a new album about to come out. The concept of which is self-described by its auteur as "One man lo-fi garage band."


Hey -- works for me. As you can hear from this representative track -- a swell re-imagining of The Stones' classic "The Last Time."



And here's a fun video for another of the songs. (Obviously, any excuse to ogle Louise Brooks is alright with me, folks.)



In any case, the album drops, as the kids say, on April 9th on iTunes and everywhere. When it does I'll be back with a proper review of the whole shebang, but in the meantime, I thought you oughta know.

BTW, have I mentioned that there's a Facebook page devoted to the album?. And that the album also features a very cool cover of a Flamin' Groovies classic on it? Well there is, and it does. So there.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

My longtime hero and genuine power pop legend MARC JONSON pays tribute to the late Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens.



Seriously -- this is simply glorious. "They turned their amps up loud and smashed those songs to smithereens."

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Your Thursday Moment of WTF?

From 1973, and the b-side of "Think," please enjoy the Godfather of Soul and his, shall we say, highly personal cover of the Beatles' "Something."



Yes, this was actually released to a largely unbelieving world.


It's never been on an album or CD, however, so I think we can be excused for having overlooked this for all these years. In any case, it's a lot more idiosyncratic than, oh, Al Green's relatively faithful cover of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand."

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

That's Avant. Not Ava.

From 2013, please enjoy irrepressible Australian pop tart Courtney Barnett and her hilarious ode to respiratory trouble "Avant Gardener."



Seriously, I think this song is a freaking riot, and I'm really sorry I'm late to the party. By which I mean that friends of mine had told me this gal was cool several years ago but until I heard this song yesterday in a bar I hadn't really bothered to investigate her.

In any event, what I really want to know now is whether the scorekeeper in the video -- who looks like Cate Blanchett doing the 1966 Bob Dylan -- is actually Ms. Barnett herself.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Closed for Monkey Business

Plumbing problems here at the home of a certain Shady Dame, so no posting today.


Okay, that's the lamest excuse I've ever offered, but in any case regular stuff resumes on the morrow when I'm back at Casa Simels.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Waiting for iTunes

From (originally) 1976, and the just-released 2018 best-of compilation -- Crimes Against Humanity -- by my long-time garage band chums The Weasels, please enjoy our little Firesign Theater-esque promo for one of our earlier low-fi efforts -- the aptly named "This Album Sells Itself."



"Hermie -- he died for The Weasels new album. You will too."

BTW, you can get the album at Amazon, Pandora, Spotify and CD Baby, but those rat bastards at Apple Music haven't posted it yet. I'll get back to you when they do.



Friday, February 23, 2018

Your Friday Moment of Words Fail Me

Forget "Last Train to Clarksville" -- THIS is the greatest song Boyce and Hart ever wrote.



Have a great weekend, everybody!

[h/t Frank Burrows]

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Extended Metaphors For Our Time

From 2018, please enjoy Friend of PowerPop and all around very droll fellow Steve Notis as weighs in on a subject that has plagued us all at some point.



Obviously, this has taken on increased relevance in the dawning era of the driverless car.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

IT CAME FROM JERSEY!!!

Saw the incomparable Willie Nile last Saturday night...


...playing at a club in my hometown of Teaneck N.J....


...that is literally a block away from the apartment where I spent the first 23 years of my life.


Willie and his great band were characteristically transplendent on Saturday (they did an absolutely killer version of Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down a Dream") but the high point for me was a kick-ass version of "Vagabond Moon," the opening track of his very first album. I didn't have the presence of mind to record it, but here's what it sounded like back in 1980 with his original ensemble.



And in case you're wondering what I wore to the gig....


Incidentally, the club has been renamed The Debonair Music Hall since that photo was taken a year or two ago, but it's still a terrific place to hear music and if you're in the neighborhood some evening I highly recommend it.

Monday, February 19, 2018

This is Your Democracy, America. Cherish it.

Jay Semko -- "Mouse in a Hole" (1995).



There's a mouse in a hole
And he's digging his own grave
There's a child with her mother
Teaching her how to behave
There's her brother in the classroom
And he really doesn't give a damn

There's his buddy his name is Alfonse
Who's been worshipping the Son of Sam
There's the teacher with a ruler
And he's bored with all the people in his life
There's the principal in a daydream
He's in love with his best friends wife
There's the best friend - he's on a bender
And his business is going downhill
There's the waitress who thinks he's wealthy
She's moving in for the kill

Then a policeman looks in the window
And he's jealous becoming quite upset
There's the radio in the police car
Predicting crimes that haven't happened yet
There's his partner who's looking forward
To the rock he's gonna smoke tonight
There's his girlfriend who he lives with
And she knows that something ain't right

Something ain't right

There's a tourist with a camera
Eating French fries and a big shake
There's the mother with her children
Teaching them their newest mistake
Then there's Alfonse works at the counter
For this leading hamburger chain
There's the teacher with the principal
And his best friend running in out of the rain
In comes the waitress with the policeman
He's off duty feelin' pretty good
And there's his partner who tried to get straight
With his girlfriend who did all that she could

Then there's this other guy
With a machine gun
In a parking lot
Dreaming about hell
'Cause he knows that
He's gonna go there
When he uses his last shell
He slams the car door - then he walks up
To the front door of the restaurant with a smile

Then he drops dead
On the pavement
Never dreaming
All the while
That there's a mouse in a hole
And he's digging his own grave

And there's a father - with a son
Teaching him how to behave

Something ain't right

There's a mouse in a hole
And he's digging his own grave...

You know, I could be wrong, but this just might be a metaphor for some of the current events of the last week.

I should add that I was originally gonna post The Guess Who's "Guns Guns Guns" or Kinky Friedman's "The Ballad of Charles Whitman." But then I thought -- nah, too obvious.