Friday, September 20, 2019

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Live From Some Weekend in 1982

More proof, if any was needed, that the best rock-and-roll is made at two in the morning by people playing at a dive bar -- in this case, the old Other End on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village -- in front of a bunch of drunken louts.

More specifically -- The Floor Models covering "19th Nervous Breakdown." Shall we say enthusiastically.

Recorded with a boom box in front of the stage; the singer's girlfriend can be heard arguing about the check.

As you can see (and hear, at the end, if you click the link) I was doing my Bill Wyman impression at the time.

We had a more or less two year weekend residency at the aforementioned Other End, and if memory serves I believe I have mentioned on previous occasions that I look back now on the experience as the most fun I've ever had with my clothes on.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Eddie Money 1949 - 2019

On the Letterman show in 1986, with Ronnie Spector. He knows he's being upstaged big time, and he's totally cool with it, which says a lot for him.

He looked almost as good in a suit as Robert Palmer, too.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

YouTube isn't sharing the embed code of something I wanted to post today. Regular stuff resumes after I get the problem resolved.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Ric Ocasek 1945 - 2019

I had forgotten how funny Ocasek was in this. Strange what pops into your head when you least expect it.

I heard the news of his passing last night and was genuinely saddened. Obviously, like any right-thinking rock fan, I thought The Cars were totally awesome, but as a New Yorker -- well, let's just say that when I lived in the Village, Ocasek was about as approachable a star as you could imagine; you were constantly bumping into him (sometimes with his charming wife) while grocery shopping or at the video store. He was just a neighborhood guy, albeit one who kind of looked like some kind of weird stick insect.

I should add that I have long insisted that someday some very hep country band is gonna cover "My Best Friend's Girl" and have a huge hit with it.

I should also add that "You Might Think" is one of my Top Ten favorite records of all time.

And that this bluegrass cover of "Just What I Needed" is one of the greatest things in the history of things.

Have I mentioned that this death shit is really starting to piss me off?

Friday, September 13, 2019

Insert Dental Joke Here!

From 2019, please enjoy The New Pornographers and their utterly delightful "Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile."

Yeah, it starts -- both musically and visually -- too close to "Billie Jean" for comfort, but it almost immediately develops into its own thing, and I gotta say -- this is now my favorite song of the year that I wasn't personally involved in.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

[h/t Peter Scott]

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Your Thursday Moment of Words Fail Me

Okay, this has nothing to do with music, but it is my new favorite thing ever and I just had to share.

Regular music postings resume on the morrow, assuming I've stopped laughing.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Annals of the Meaning of Life

This is without a doubt the cutest and/or coolest thing I have ever seen.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Monday, September 09, 2019

Esprit De Floor: Andrew Pasternack 1955-2013

Well, the new Floor Models album has finally arrived, and I am beyond stoked that this project, two years in the making, has finally resulted in a disc.

It's especially gratifying because the project originally began as a sort of tribute to our late great 12-string ace Andy Pasternack, who founded the band, came up with the album title, and wrote more great songs than you can shake a stick at.

Here's the one we recorded two years ago to get the album rolling; it was a live favorite of ours back in the day, but for some reason we never even demoed it at the time.

In any event, the physical CDs are wending their way off to our distributor on the morrow, but the album itself can be listened to (for free) over at YouTube.

Or if you wanna be a patron of the arts, you can download/stream it at CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and the rest of the usual suspects.

And I should add that Andy himself gets the last word on the album, via a live solo recording he did on WBAI-FM on a night in the early 80s. It's utterly charming; I like to think of it as our equivalent of "Her Majesty" on Abbey Road.

[cross-posted at FLOOR YOUR LOVE.]

Friday, September 06, 2019

My Back Pages

So me and the Floor Models have been casting about for another project now that our album is done (out on CD tomorrow, if you can believe it -- more details after the weekend).

And we decided that an EP of covers of songs by The Byrds -- particularly ones we never got around to playing live but always wanted to -- might be a lot of fun. Especially since Gerry already had a version of "5D" in the works.

And then coincidentally, I stumbled across this online, which I had never heard before, and it blew my tiny mind.

The instrumental track for Chris Hillman's first great song, which originally appeared on the Younger Than Yesterday album. (Okay, David Crosby's harmony vocal is there on the choruses, but this is 90 percent just instrumental.)

That is, of course, the great Clarence White on lead guitar (uncredited); unless I am very much mistaken, this was his first recording with the band.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Great Lost Singles of the 70s: An Occasional Series

From 1973, please enjoy the unjustly tarred as one-hit wonder Stealers Wheel and two pop-rock masterpieces that should be even more well known than "Stuck in the Middle With You"; the gorgeously McCartney-esque "Star"...

...and the haunting psychedelically revisionist "Everyone Agrees That Everything Will Turn Out Fine."

Those two actually were hits, of course, although primarily in England, but I wore out my 45rpm copies of both of them back in the day; in any case, I think each is a better record than "Stuck." I should add that the single version of "Everyone" differs significantly from the album version, which is a grossly inferior remake, and as far as I know the hit heard above is not available on any Stealers Wheel compilation. Why? No man can say.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

It's a Smalls World After All

Well, this is the best press release to have crossed my desk in many a moon.

September 3, 2019 - Derek Smalls, the bottom force of the fabled heavy metal band formerly known as Spinal Tap, is premiering the video for his song "Gimme Some (More) Money" ahead of his eagerly anticipated solo tour of West Coast cities this fall. The track, which features in Smalls recent debut solo album Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing), has Paul Shaffer on piano and organ, Waddy Wachtel on guitar and David Crosby on backing vocals. Using a cunning mix of animation and live action, the new video illustrates the noble quest for fair remuneration (cash) pursued by every musician alive. It receives its premiere exclusively through People Magazine.

"I wanted this video to show all the different things musos have to do to get some (more) money, but we couldn't afford to shoot that, so they drew them instead. And it's black and white, except for me, because colors cost more, too," says Smalls

I should add that the "Smalls Change" project was made possible by a major grant from the recently-launched British Fund for Ageing Rockers...

...and that the album... available on CD, vinyl and streaming.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

The Dog Days of Summer

Their political system is falling apart, their economy is about to crash, and they're being ruled by an ignorant fascist clown who makes our ignorant fascist clown look like Marcus Aurelius [note position of hand on the guitar neck vis a vis the capo]...

...but the biggest news story at the moment in the (soon to be called) Country Formerly Known as the United Kingdom is that...Boris Johnson has a dog!

And Bingo is NOT his name-o.

From Buzzfeed:

With the country lurching from one political and constitutional crisis to another, you'll be happy to know that the start of Downing Street's daily media briefing on Monday, was dominated by one thing: Boris Johnson's new dog!

The Jack Russell rescue pup has been the centre of attention since he entered Downing Street this morning, even as the country is bracing for another general election. The BBC Politics Twitter account has also been taking a huge amount of heat for tweeting about the dog and asking for name suggestions.
Words fail me.

That said, this does present me with the opportunity to post my all time favorite song about a pooch.

Say goodbye, Sugar. Say goodbye.

Monday, September 02, 2019

It's Labor Day!!!

From 1982, please enjoy the irrepressible Gary U.S. Bonds and his ironically upbeat ode to unemployment "Out of Work."

Always loved that record, and it remains, to this day, pretty much my favorite of all the songs Bruce Springsteen gave away to other artists.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Eleanor Rigby Picks Up the Mice

From sometime in (I assume) the late 60s, please enjoy the hilarious Spike Jones alumnus Doodles Weaver and his -- shall we say -- idiosyncratic take on The Beatles' classic.

Pretty funny, I think. And I was gobsmacked to learn yesterday that Doodles was Sigourney Weaver's uncle.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

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

From 2010, please enjoy power pop deity Paul Collins and his beyond fab gear "C'Mon Let's Go."

I've always liked Collins, and a few years ago I saw him, live, almost steal the show from Shoes, which was quite an accomplishment. But for some reason I had never encountered this particular song until yesterday.

And my life was clearly the poorer for it.

[h/t FD13NYC]

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Sibling Rivalry Never Goes Out of Style

Courtesy of friend of PowerPop Peter Spencer, here's an interesting documentary about the making of the Everly Brothers' 1984 reunion album that I, for one, had never previously seen.

Or as Pete says --

Attn singers. I mean it. ALL singers should watch this. Music starts at 5:45, the occasional cheesy '80s video interspersed with breathtaking (in more ways than one) footage of them singing together in the studio.

I loved that album at the time, but after watching this, I'm less enthused; the production seems dated to me, which kinda caught me by surprise. The Paul McCartney-penned "On the Wings of a Nightingale," however, remains transplendent.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

I Just Read a Book About Anti-Gravity -- I Couldn't Put It Down!!!

From his just released album The Floating World...

...please enjoy (should be a power pop legend) Rob Laufer and his transplendent ode to (stuff I'm way too young to know about first hand, haha) "Hippie Love."

The back story: in 1993, while toiling at the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review, the indie DIY album pictured below crossed my desk...

...and it unexpectedly blew me away. In particular this utterly gorgeous piece of guitar driven power pop...

...which I later learned, after talking to its auteur, had been recorded (like the rest of the album) in a home eight-track studio (which, as far as I was concerned, made its sonic sheen even more remarkable).

Anyway, I gave Swimming Lesson a rave review, and then in 1996 Laufer got signed to a major label and released Wonderwood, another absolutely astounding (essentially) one-man band CD that made a lot of people's Top Ten lists for the year (mine included, as I recall) and which featured these two amazing songs.

Historical note: "Reactionary Girl" was soon after covered, brilliantly, by Robin Zander of Cheap Trick.

Since then, Laufer's become a fixture on the L.A. music scene, most notably with The Wild Honey Orchestra, and The Floating World, which is his first album in nine years, is every bit as good -- in terms of stylistic assurance and overall pop smarts -- as his earlier work. And I must say that being reminded just how great Laufer is turns out to be one of the most invigorating musical experiences of 2019 so far.

Bottom line: You can (and should) order either a physical CD or a digital download of The Floating World over at bandcamp HERE.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

Family semi-emergency; regular posting -- beginning with a paean to the new album by a power pop figure who should be a household word -- resumes tomorrow.

Friday, August 23, 2019

There's Music in the Air. Well, Maybe.

From an absolutely wonderful meditation on creativity in the current New Statesman:

Why Paul McCartney couldn’t believe that he’d actually written “Yesterday”

One morning in 1964, Paul McCartney awoke with a perfectly formed melody in his head and went straight to the piano. The Beatles were tied to an insane recording schedule and there was enormous pressure to produce new songs, but McCartney kept this one back for over a year.

Why? Because he couldn’t quite believe it was his. He played it to George Martin, to John Lennon, to anyone who would listen, asking them, have you heard this before? Only after everyone shook their head did McCartney finally accept that “Yesterday” had arrived from the place that the good songs come from.

You can read the rest of the piece over HERE.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Go To Hell(stone)

Attentive readers are aware that a certain Shady Dame and I recently returned from a Scandinavian vacation. Herewith a little documentation of one of the most fun parts of the trip -- the discovery, as we explored Stockholm, of what we have since been informed is the most famous guitar and music store in all of Sweden: Hellstone Music.

I'll be posting more about this incredible emporium -- including some Beatles/Klaus Voormann related stuff that will blow your mind -- next week, as part of a longer photo essay on our travels. But in the meantime -- feast your eyes on this vintage 1952 Les Paul gold top, which as you can see is in utterly pristine condition. And outside MY price range, obviously.

And here I am with the shop's proprietor, Sven Hellsten, who couldn't have been more kind to the loudmouth American poseur who wandered around his place like a kid in a candy store.

Bottom line: If you make it to Stockholm, be sure to stop by the shop. And tell 'em PowerPop sent you.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A Desperate Cry for Help?

From 1950, please enjoy -- if that is at all possible -- the barber shop stylings of The Sportsmen Quartet and their once-heard-never-to-be-forgotten rendition of "Down in Jungle Town."

The back story: As some of you may know, I've been listening to a lot of old Jack Benny shows as a sleep aid lately, which has been great, but my growing fondness for some of Jack's musical guests is beginning to worry me. I actually broke down recently and bought a double CD of the greatest hits of Dennis Day, a singer I had never previously considered to be anything but a world class cornball, and now I've developed a taste for the Sportsmen, who exemplify a genre that I have heretofore pondered for maybe five minutes out of my life to date.

Really kids -- this way madness lies.

Monday, August 19, 2019

The Best Traditional (Non-Hyphenated) Rock Band in the World?

Currently, yeah, possibly; could be, could be. Although you could, if pressed, describe them as power-pop.

I refer of course to The Tearaways, fueled by the incredible drumming of Blondie's Clem Burke, aka the second coming of Keith Moon. And who will be, you should pardon the expression, tearing it up on a tour of England starting this Wednesday, despite the sudden death of their bass player and manager John Ferriter. (Friend of PowerPop Marc Platt, formerly of The Real Impossibles, has stepped into the tragic breach.)

On a happier note, here's the band's latest video, to give you an idea of what they're about.

Incidentally, that was produced by Ron (Archies/Pat Benatar/Barry Manilow) Dante, who you may recall as the voice of "Sugar, Sugar," so these guys pop/rock credentials are obviously pretty impressive.

More news on the English shows as they develop.

Friday, August 16, 2019

You Haven't Experienced the Kinks Until You've Experienced Them in the Original Norwegian (Part III)

Well, my autographed copy of Veldig Respektable Menn, by Die Musikalske Dvergene and Frode Alnaes arrived yesterday...

...and it's as wonderful an album as I had hoped; there isn't a bum track on it, and it remains astonishing how well the songs of Ray Davies, which pretty much define Britishness, translate into Fjordistan-ese.

Case in point: Perhap's Ray's most definitively English song, and my personal favorite Kinks track of all time, "Autumn Almanac"...

...rendered here as "Når Høsten Setter Inn" and it still works like gangbusters.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

You Haven't Experienced the Kinks Until You've Experienced Them in the Original Norwegian (Part II)

Live, a couple of years ago, from a club in Bergen, Norway (aka Fjordistan), please enjoy, once again, the incomparable De Musikalske Dvergene and Frode Alnaes and their charming take on The Kinks' classic "Daumannsvik" (aka "Dead End Street.")

As I mentioned the other day, I have the CD of their Kinks covers album on order from Amazon -- and it's personally autographed by the band. Frankly, I can't wait.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

Still a little jet-lagged from our Scandinavian sojourn; regular postings resume on the morrow.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Who Listens to the Radio? (An Occasional Series)

Well, you should. Especially today, when friend of PowerPop Captain Al be holding forth on his Peabody Award-winning show Lost at Sea over at Area 24 Radio.

The show is always transplendent, but it's going to be particularly so because another friend of PowerPop -- brilliant singer/songwriter PETER SPENCER...

...will be performing live, as well as guest d.j-ing.

Pete's an old chum of mine (and The Floor Models) from our days back in the Village; here's an acoustic version -- from his fabulous 1896 album -- of one of my favorite of his songs, "Casanova's Waltz." Which should give you an idea of what kind of a treat awaits you if you tune in.

The show starts 11am East Coast Time; simply click on the Area 24 link HERE and then click on the Tune In button top right to hear it.

And tell 'em PowerPop sent you:

P.S.: I was kidding about the Peabody. Sorry Al.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

You Haven't Experienced the Kinks Until You've Experienced Them in the Original Norwegian

From 2004, please enjoy the imcomparable De Musikalske Dvergene and Frode Alnaes and their charming rendition of "Solen Over By'n" (aka "Sunny Afternoon").

Heard this on the radio during our recent sojourn in Bergen, and was absolutely knocked out when the locals assured us that the language it's being sung in is, in fact, the mother tongue of Fjordistan.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Norway Vacation Update: Coincidentally, While We Were There, We Scored a Vinyl Copy of an Album by Les Paul and Mary Fjord

The view yesterday at the oldest record store in Norway (in Bergen, coincidentally three blocks from our hotel. We heard about it from a travel piece in the NY Times a few weeks ago).

That's me huddling with Einar Engelstad, one of the store clerks, who is also a big shot music journalist who writes concert reviews for the local newspaper.

I should add that the store also is a bar, which makes it doubly cool.

BTW, we picked up a fabulous birthday present for my vinyl junkie friend Joe Benoit. But of course I'm not gonna give away what it is.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Song of Freaking Norway

Still in computer Hell, which means typing with one finger on my iPad mini. But in the meantime, here’s the cover of my forthcoming album of Norwegian folk songs...

...Pining for the Fjords.

Thank you, I’m here all week.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Norway Vacation Update

Still in computer Hell, so I can’t post pictures or anything longer than a few sentences; hopefully this will be resolved by tomorrow.

That said, we had a great time yesterday at a museum devoted to that great Norwegian/American country star — Tennessee Ernie Fjord.

Thank you, and try the veal.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Closed for Computer Problems

Vacation postings from Scandinavia resume on the morrow, the Gods permitting..

Monday, August 05, 2019

Vacation (Part I): We're Off to the Land of Ice and Snow!

So a certain Shady Dame and I are flying to Scandinavia tonight, for some well deserved R&R. Norway and Sweden, baby!

But I got to wondering. Obviously, Sweden has ABBA and Yngvie Malmsteen. But are there any Norwegian rock bands I should know about?

And then I remembered -- a-ha.

Yeah, right. Way to go, Norway.

I should add that, apparently, Norway also has a flourishing death-metal scene, but of course who gives a shit. That said, a-hah was their biggest international rock export, and to be fair -- "Take On Me" is not a totally terrible song.

In any case, first stop: Bergen.

Which happens to be the hometown and final resting place of one of my favorite classical composers, Edvard Grieg. Whose music, back in my younger days, I actually essayed.

Seriously, I used to be able to knock 'em dead with my rendition of this.

For what it's worth, the fabulous Glenn Gould played it more or less the same way I did, which is to say, much slower than Grieg indicated. Which is also to say that both of us pissed off classical pedant/purists (I"m not gonna name names). In my case, of course, it was mostly from lack of technique.

Dispatches from the fjords continue on the morrow.

Friday, August 02, 2019

Annals of Infestation (An Occasional Series)

From Baltimore, Maryland -- a city in which, according to President Mediocre Columbo Villain, "No human being would want to live" -- please enjoy the quite amazing Soft Peaks...

...and their (as far as I'm concerned classic) "Good Luck."

That's from their eponymous debut EP, and I first wrote about it HERE when it crossed my desk unbidden in 2014.

At the time I said, and I stand by these words completely:

God this is great -- corrosively sane cynicism (lyrically) and the groove from "Sweet Jane." It's like the song was designed with my mind in mind. And the rest of the tracks are just as good, BTW.

You can listen to (and download -- which you definitely should) the EP in its entirety over HERE.

Seriously -- if I was forty years younger, I'd be on a bus to Baltimore right now, and trying to figure out a way to weasel myself into this band. Higher praise than that, I can not give.

Have I mentioned that President Mediocre Columbo Villain can bite both me and everybody who lives in Baltimore? Thank you.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Closed Due to Monkey Business

Having a weird combo of heat stroke and computer problems.

Assuming the power grid is still up, regular musical posting will resume on the morrow.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Plan 9 From Covers Week: Special "Harry Vanda and George Young Are Deities" Edition

From 1986, please enjoy The Hindu Love Gods -- i.e., Warren Zevon and R.E.M. -- essaying one of the greatest rock-and-roll songs ever written, The Easybeats' "Gonna Have a Good Time."

A version that somehow I had forgotten the existence of until yesterday, despite it being one of my all-time fave tunes.

And may I just ask why none of my Australian friends had bothered to remind me of this?

I'm talking to YOU, Peter Scott.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Annals of High Concept (An Occasional Series)

Okay, this has very little to do with music -- although the song at the end of the trailer is pretty cool -- but I just had to share.

The plot:

After a devastating family tragedy, a priest travels to China to find deeper spirituality, but instead is endowed with an ancient ability that allows him to turn into a dinosaur. At first, he is horrified by his newfound superpower, but a local prostitute convinces him to use his newfound gift to fight evil – and ninjas.

I think we can all safely agree the F/X in that clip make Sharknado look like Mansquito, whatever that means.

In any case, this soon to be classic film will be available on DVD and for streaming (on iTunes, where it will share bandwith with the new Floor Models album), but if you're nice to me I'll send you a Vimeo link for a screener.

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Decline of the West (An Occasional Series)

From 1958, please enjoy (if that is the word) Ronnie Burns -- yes, George and Gracie's son -- and his attempted hit single "She's Kinda Cute."

I discovered that song because of late I have been listening to old Jack Benny radio and TV shows in attempt to soothe myself to sleep on nights when today's current events are making me upset. Mostly it works, but when I heard this one I jumped out of bed in a cold sweat as if I was being pursued by the Hounds of Hell.

Seriously, that may be the worst 50s teen idol piece of crap of all time; it makes Frankie Avalon sound like Will and Ariel Durant.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Covers Week Has Risen From the Grave! (Part Four): Something Sinister This Way Comes

From 1976, please enjoy The Fabulous Sheepskins...

...and the most deliberately creepy cover of a Herman's Hermits song ever heard by sentient mammalian ears.

The Sheepskins were a sort of Los Angeles glam-rock collective which featured a couple of rock critics and also friend of PowerPop Kirk Henry, whom attentive readers will recall as a member of cult band Christopher Milk. In any case, I'm not sure I prefer their version of "I'm Into Something Good" to the original, but I think it has a certain je ne sais quoi that truly says "I don't know what" and I definitely dig it.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

We Interrupt Covers Week For a Commercial Message

Attentive readers are doubtless aware of friend of PowerPop Joe Benoit (pictured below with some grizzled old timer)...

...who happens to be, coincidentally, a ridiculously talented singer/songwriter/guitarist whose praises I have sung here on numerous occasions.

Joe recently released a four-song EP...

...featuring this quite glorious tune...

...and now he's getting ready to release a full-length album -- ON HIGH QUALITY VINYL! With a real album cover (the kind you used to clean your weed on) and everything!!!

It'll have 9 songs (including the 4 from the EP); I've heard them all and they're killer, instant power pop classics every one of them.

Unfortunately, a project like this costs money, so Joe has started a Kickstarter campaign. At the moment, he's close to reaching half of his goal; I've contributed, and so should you.

So come on, kids -- be a patron of the arts! It's fun, and plus you'll actually be doing something socially valuable, which is rare in these troubled times.

Help make Joe's album a reality -- just click HERE and pledge whatever you can! You won't be sorry!

And tell 'em PowerPop sent you!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Covers Week Has Risen From the Grave! (Part Four): Special "In the Autumn of My Madness" Edition

From 2002, please enjoy that old lemon squeezer Robert Plant and his splendid cover of Moby Grape's magnificent "Skip's Song" (a/k/a "Seeing").

The definitive version of this is on Moby Grape 69; Plant is actually covering an earlier Grape demo that first appeared on Columbia/Legacy's now criminally out of print Grape box set, and you can read what I had to say about it back in the day at the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review on page 92 HERE.

In any case, Plant (to his credit) is a huge Grape fan; this is actually the second cover he did of their stuff (the earlier is the wonderful "Naked If I Want To"). I don't think either of them live up to the originals, but hopefully the royalties helped their composer Skip Spence at the end of his troubled life.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Covers Week Has Risen From the Grave! (Part Deux): Special "Hey, It's Better Than Being Stood Up" Edition

From 1968, and his absolutely wonderful post-Lovin' Spoonful solo album, please enjoy the great Zal Yanovsky and his fabulous guitar take on Floyd Cramer's piano instrumental hit "Last Date."

That whole album is a riot, BTW, particularly the title song and an utterly demented cover of "Little Bitty Pretty One," which I may post later in the week.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Covers Week Has Risen From the Grave! (Part One): Special "Clare De Lune Rose" Edition

From 2019, please enjoy the incredible Joshua Lee Turner and an absolutely magisterial cover of Nick Drake's sublime "Pink Moon."

You can find out more about this kid (and hear more of his stuff, which is largely beyond belief good) over at his webiste HERE.

[h/t Matt Mitchell]

Friday, July 19, 2019

Bride of Covers Week (Part 4): Special "Heavy Metal Meets Folk-Rock and Then They All Go Out to the Pub For Dinner" Edition

From 1970, please enjoy The Move and their staggering cover of Tom Paxton's "Last Thing on My Mind."

Quite a reimagining of the song, I think; let's just say that it's usually performed in a gentler, more bucolic style. I'd give my right arm to know if the song's composer ever heard it.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Bride of Covers Week (Part III): Special "These Guys Sing Like Birds" Edition

From 1966, please enjoy The Everly Brothers and their lovely take on The Hollies' "Signs That Will Never Change."

Okay, technically this may not be a cover, given that Don and Phil's version came out first. (The Hollies didn't release theirs till 1967, as the B-side of "Carrie Anne.")

Nevertheless, it's gorgeous and I love it and this is my blog so don't give me a hard time.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Bride of Covers Week (Part II): Special "Quick Henry, the Visine!" Edition

From 2008, please enjoy The Bangles absolutely killing it on a version of the Todd Rundgren/Nazz classic "Open My Eyes."

I gotta say that's about as transplendent as it gets, for Debbi Peterson's drumming alone. And don't even get me started on the harmonies.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Who Listens to the Radio?

Well, hopefully you guys. Because I'm going to be a guest on friend of PowerPop Capt. Al's Lost at Sea show this morning. On fabulous Area 24 radio.

You can access the station HERE; after you click on the link, just hit the Tune In button on the top right and crank the volume. The show starts at approximately 11am EST; I'll make my appearance around 11:15, at which point both you and Capt. Al will try to guess the theme uniting all the music I'll be introducing.


Monday, July 15, 2019

Bride of Covers Week (Part I): Special "You Talk Too Much" Edition

From 2019 and their just released Running for Covers album...

...please enjoy the pride of New Jersey The Doughboys (featuring the great Richard X. Heyman on drums) and a hilarious Yardbirds-esque version of Mose Allison's classic insult song "Your Mind is On Vacation..."

As in "...And Your Mouth is Working Overtime."

Long time readers are aware of my affection for both this band and Richard X. Heyman on numerous preious occasions, to which I will only add -- order this new record over at Amazon immediately.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Howard Beale Should Have Lived to See This

From 2017 and the Aussie TV news satire show Mad as Hell, please enjoy Shaun Micallef and friends doing to solemn Sgt. Pepper nostalgia what should have been done to it years ago.

Seriously -- that is one of the funniest things I've seen in my frickin' life.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

[h/t Peter Scott]

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Image of the Day

Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers discuss a forthcoming recording session in a room in the Hotel Wolcott in New York City on September 30, 1958.

The rock stars were preparing to take an aspiring crooner named Lou Giordano into the Beltone Studios inside the hotel (at 4 West 31st Street).

Holly and Phil Everly co-produced the session. The two songs recorded were "Stay Close To Me" and "Don't Cha Know."

And because I love you all more than food, here are they are.

In any case, as friend of PowerPop Peter Spencer observed yesterday, that picture -- the photographer is unknown -- is worth it for the period decor alone.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

Late, and very productive, night in the studio.

Regular posting, all tanned and rested, resume on the morrow.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Your Tuesday Moment of Words Utterly Fail Me

From 1963, please enjoy the incredible Bunker Hill and his total destruction to your mind single "The Girl Can't Dance."

There's not a lot of biographical info available on Hill, except that his real name was David Walker and that he was an on again/off again member of the great gospel group The Mighty Clouds of Joy when he wasn't singing the Devil's music under a pseudonym. He apparently died, way too young, in Houston in the early 80s, and hadn't been involved in the music business for quite some time.

In any case, the record features Link Wray on guitar (it was recorded at Link's home studio) and as somebody said in the YouTube comments, it makes Little Richard sound like Pat Boone. Had it been a hit, history might well have been changed in unfathomable ways.

[h/t Tommy Perkins]

Monday, July 08, 2019

Have Instruments, Will Demolish

From 2019, please enjoy The Tearaways...

...and their epic tribute to the legendary musicians known to history as The Wrecking Crew. You know, the guys who played on just about every hit record out of Los Angeles from the early 60s to the early 70s and beyond.

BTW, you may have noticed that heir-to-Keith Moon aka once and forever Blondie drummer Clem Burke is just one of the interesting veteran rockers in this band; for more information on them just go over HERE and tell 'em PowerPop sent you.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Return of the Son of Covers Week (Part V): Special "The Band That Wouldn't Die" Edition

Well, they said it would never happen, but The Floor Models -- featuring some bass player whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels -- have a new album out.

And from it, please enjoy their live take on The Byrds version of Goffin-King's classic "Wasn't Born to Follow."

That was recorded during the the soundcheck for a radio broadcast we did for WDST-FM in Woodstock, which is why you don't hear an audience (they hadn't arrived yet). The year, I'm pretty sure, was 1995, but we had been doing the song since our earliest days in the Village, i.e. the early '80s. In any case, it was always one of my favorite things to play live, so I'm especially glad the recording survived.

As for the album itself, it's got four newly recorded tracks (including a song by our late great 12-string ace Andy Pasternack that's so beautiful it hurts) plus six more previously unreleased tunes from the vault that aren't too shabby either. The whole thing is now available for streaming and purchase at CD Baby, Amazon and iTunes; other digital platforms -- Pandora, etc -- will be up in a day or two. Physical CDs will be available in a couple of weeks, but why deprive yourself until then?

Also, we just got added to Spotify, where the album sounds especially glorious. Apparently, they have some kind of technological fix over there that makes our music sound better than it is.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Return of the Son of Covers Week (Part IV): Special "The Tanks Are Rolling Down the Boardwalk" Edition

From 1997, and a tribute album (One Step Up/Two Steps Back)I somehow managed to miss, please enjoy the legendary Ben. E. King and a quite lovely cover of Bruce Springsteen's holiday classic "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)."

The arrangement takes a little while to get going, but King sings it quite idiomatically, I think.

Anyway, Happy 4th, everybody.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Return of the Son of Covers Week (Part III): Special "The Gospel Truth" Edition

From 1994, and the stunning Richard Thompson tribute album Beat the Retreat, please enjoy The Five Blind Boys of Alabama and their spine-tingling cover of Thompson's "Dimming of the Day."

This song has been covered a lot, and I'm convinced it's all but impossible to do a bad version of it; this, however, is probably the most stylistically left field one I've ever heard. In any case, its composer did a gorgeous solo rendition of it when I saw him Tuesday night, and its been on my mind a lot since.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Return of the Son of Covers Week (Part Deux): Special "Battle of the Bands" Edition

Britney Spears versus Richard Thompson in a cage match to the death.

Incidentally, I saw Thompson last night (at the, alas, soon to be defunct City Winery in Manhatan) and he was brilliant as ever; he did an apparently as yet unrecorded song called "Crocodile Tears" that reduced me to helpless giggles. I'll try to find a vid of it for posting when I've worked all this covers shit out of my system.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Return of the Son of Covers Week (Part I): Special "Badass Beatles!" Week Edition

From New York City in 2008, please enjoy -- well, I don't know exactly who these guys are, but they're doing an absolutely astonishing cover of The Beatles' "Old Brown Shoe"...

...which is perhaps the best obscure Fabs tune of all time.

In any case, if that performance doesn't stop you in your tracks, seek immediate medical assistance.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Son of Covers Week (Part IV): Special "Angel of Mersey" Edition

From some time in the mid=90s, please enjoy The Spongetones and their sheer genius remake of Paul McCartney's "On the Wings of a Nightingale."

Paul originally wrote that in 1984 for The Everly Brothers comeback album (produced by Dave Edmunds); the EBs version was glorious, and deservedly a hit, but the Spongetones take on it --which is pure early Beatles with a dollop of lead guitar in emulation of George Harrison's solo stuff is, as I said, sheer genius. I could listen to this till the cows come home.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

Hey, I need a day off -- so sue me.

Son of Covers Week resumes on the morrow, however. Fer sher.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Son of Covers Week (Part Le Troisième): Special "Mary -- You've Got Spunk. I Hate Spunk." Edition

From Late Night With David Letterman in (approximately) 1996, please enjoy the irrepressible Joan Jett and her beyond endearing cover of "Love is All Around" (a/k/a the theme song from The Mary Tyler Moore Show).

I should add that the author of said song, Sonny Curtis, is not only still with us but should definitely be a household word; his other credits include being a member of Buddy Holly's Crickets as well as writing The Everly Brothers' classic "Walk Right Back" and Bobby Fuller's "I Fought the Law." Cooler than that it does not get.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Son of Covers Week (Part 2): Special "Who's That Annoying Kid Upstairs?" Edition

From 1989, please enjoy The Lemonheads (featuring Evan Dando) and an utterly fabulous guitar-driven punk remake of Suzanne Vega's breakthrough hit "Luka."

I want to make it clear here that I think the Suzanne Vega original of this is as perfect a pop record as has ever been made. An absolute classic that's moving on every level.

That said, from the minute I first heard it, I always wanted somebody to do a loud snot-nosed version that sounded like the above.

And I can't believe I didn't know about this one till last week.

[h/t Tom Perkins]

Monday, June 24, 2019

Son of Covers Week (Part 1): Special "If Only I Could Remember My Name" Edition

From 2019, and the soundtrack to the just-released documentary film Echo in the Canyon, please enjoy Jakob Dylan and a stunning rendition of one of my favorite songs from The Byrds' Fifth Dimension album -- David Crosby's "What's Happening."

Saw the film last night, and with one or two cavils thought it was surprisingly terrific. I should add, however, that it struck me as amusing that although Jakob Dylan is the guy interviewing the various 60s figures reminiscing in the film the subject of his father comes up exactly once.

I should also add that when the above song first appeared on the aforementioned Byrds album its title was rendered far more interestingly as "What's Happening?!?!"

Friday, June 21, 2019

Weekend Listomania: Special "And In Conclusion, National Rifle Association -- Bite Me!" Edition

[I originally posted a version of this about ten years ago, but obviously it's even more relevant now, alas. In any case, I've rewritten it and swapped out a couple of the original entries to avoid accusations of being a total slacker. Please enjoy. -- S.S]

Okay kids, here we go. What are...


Self-explanatory, so no arbitrary rules, but by firearms I mean the obvious, i.e. handguns, rifles, etc. In other words, if you try to sneak in something like Bruce Cockburns' otherwise quite splendid "If I Had a Rocket Launcher" I'll make merciless fun of you.

And my totally top of my head Top Nine are:

9. Terry Reid -- Bang Bang

Written by Sonny fricking Bono, and covered here to within an inch of its "my baby shot me down" life. Reid, of course, is the man who passed on Robert Plant's gig in Led Zeppelin, thus altering history in unfathomable ways. A certain Shady Dame and I were privileged to see Reid in a tiny club a few years ago, BTW, and it was in a word transplendent.

8. The Connells -- Get a Gun

From 1990 and a long-time fave of mine. Utterly gorgeous on every level, I think, but to this day I haven't the slightest idea what it's about. These guys are apparently still a going concern, however, and if I ever run into them maybe I'll ask.

7. Warren Zevon -- Jeannie Needs a Shooter

I know, I know -- you thought I was gonna say "Lawyers Guns and Money."

6. Mission of Burmaa -- That's When I Reach for My Revolver

Yeah, it's a great song. Still, and I forgot who said it, but there comes a time in everybody's life when they look at their CD collection and realize that those three Mission of Burma albums are basically just taking up space.

5. Hackamore Brick -- Zip Gun Woman

From the 1971 cult album. These guys are supposed to be some kind of proto-something -- punk, powerpop, I don't know what -- and people I know whose opinions I respect actually like the record. All I know is, I pull it out once every year or two to see if it makes sense to me yet, and it never does.

4. Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul -- Under the Gun

That's Dino Danelli, of Young Rascals fame, on drums, BTW. In any case, the best nasal homage to the ouevre of Keith Richards ever waxed.

3. The Clash -- Tommy Gun

I know, I know -- you thought I was gonna say "The Guns of Brixton."

2. The Sevens -- Seven

Apocalyptic garage rock from the Rolling Stones of Switzerland. Actual gun shots -- a starter pistol, actually -- fired in real time in the studio, courtesy of producer Giorgio Moroder (in his pre-disco days, obviously).

And the Numero Uno ode to the joys of blowing stuff up real good simply has to be...

1. The Guess Who -- Guns, Guns, Guns

This is one of the Guess Who tracks I usually pull out when people make fun of my obsession with the band. I'd actually forgotten it was a single; I mostly think of it as one of the best cuts from Rockin', the 1972 LP that's not only their masterpiece but one of the most unjustly overlooked albums of its decade. The song itself is sui generis; slash-and-burn guitars, a chorus for the ages, and a lyric -- at a historical moment when corporate greedheads are trying to convince us that fracking is good for you and the NRA and their Supreme Court enablers won't rest until every American can walk into a bar carrying a Stinger missile -- that's obviously depressingly prescient.

Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

It's Covers Week Part IV: An Early Clue to the New Direction

From 1986, please enjoy the great Webb Wilder and his blistering live version of Steve Earle's more relevant than ever "The Devil's Right Hand."

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

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

It's Covers Week III: Special Something Fierce Meets Spinal Tap and Then They All Go to Bobby Flay's House For Dinner Edition

From (approximately) 1989 please enjoy the pride of Wayzata, Minnesota -- Something Fierce...

...and their appropriately droll live cover of the faux Merseybeat classic "Gimme Some Money."

The echo on the guitar solo is a particularly nice touch, I think.

BTW, I know I promised a definitively revisionist take on a Carole King song for today, but I'm holding that off for next week and a differently themed series of posts. I thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

It's Covers Week (Part Deux): Al Green Explains It All to You

From 1969, please enjoy the Reverend Al Green and his thoroughly kick-ass cover of The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

The first time I heard that was in 1998, upon the release of a great Green box set, while I was toiling at the critically acclaimed but alas hit-deficient music site over at It was one of the best jobs I ever had nonetheless, of course; not only was I taking Rupert Murdoch's money, but my colleagues were among the most talented and fun-to-work-with folks ever, plus I was getting exposed to all sorts of pop/rock/country stuff that was at the time unknown to me. Ah, those were the days.

Tomorrow: Perhaps the, shall we say, most revisionist version of a Goffin-King song ever heard by sentient mammalian ears.

Monday, June 17, 2019

It's Covers Week (Part I): Special Will the Wolf Survive? Edition

From 2010, please enjoy the pride of Brooklyn, King Hell...

...doing to Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" what always should have been done to Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf."

BTW, those guys were an absolute panic; you can read more about them (from my first encounter) over HERE, and you can -- and should -- order the album that it's from...

...over at Amazon HERE.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Mister We Could Use a Man Like Thurgood Marshall Again

From (if memory serves) 1990, please enjoy this week's heroes Something Fierce and their more relevant than ever ode (to one of the greatest members of the Supreme Court ever) "Poetic Justice Thurgood."

Incidentally, that was a bonus track on a hilarious Christmas EP the guys did; I'll will post that as soon as it's seasonably appropriate,

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Something Fierce This Way Comes

From 1989, please enjoy proud Carleton College alumni Something Fierce...

...and their hilarious and Beatles-esque ode to the profundity of strangers "Deep and Meaningful."

I wrote about those guys earlier this week, and I was delighted to learn that one reader actually went over to Amazon and bought a copy of one their albums. Alas, all the rest of them -- there were six all told, if memory serves, plus a retrospective box set that came out about ten years ago -- seem to be long out of print. I'm in touch with Fierce guitarist Jerry Lefkowitz, however, and if there's somewhere from whence they can still be ordered, I'll let you. Trust me -- they're all absolutely great.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

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

From 1985, please enjoy The Replacements and their fantastic cover of The Grass Roots classic "Temptation Eyes."

That's an outtake, which I didn't know existed until last week, from Let It Be; apparently it was in contention for a slot on the album, but ultimately they went with another cover, "Black Diamond" by Kiss.

In any case, there are some other Grass Roots songs I wouldn't have minded hearing the Mats tackle -- this one, for example.

Oh well, a boy can dream, can't he.

[h/t Tommy Perkins]

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Webslingers Rule!!!

From his forthcoming album, please enjoy Shaun Johnson & the Big Band Experience...

...and perhaps the coolest ever version of the "Spiderman Theme."

Yeah, I know it's a little on the wink-wink side, as is much of the rest of the album, which includes similarly ironic covers of tunes by The Mavericks and Elvis Presley. But as you can hear, Johnson -- who first came to public attention with the multi-million selling a cappella group, Tonic Sol-fa -- has enough serious vocal chops that the album successfully skirts the edge of camp and works on its own swinging terms.

Capitol will drop, as the kids say, on June 21. In the meantime, you can -- and should -- pre-order it over at Amazon HERE.

Monday, June 10, 2019

What Did President Mediocre Columbo Villain Know and When Did He Know It?

So apparently John Dean(!) is testifying before congress today. Talk about deja vu.

Meanwhile, in his honor, here's a fantastic song that, audaciously, rhymes "You'll spill the beans" with "Haldeman, Mitchell and Dean."

In any case, Something Fierce -- who should be household words -- and I go back a long way; you can read the whole story over HERE.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Places Bruce Springsteen Fooled Around With Your Daughter

This is by Amanda Hale, and it originally appeared at McSweeney's on May 20th of this year.

On the boardwalk way past dark

Behind the walls where heat lightning falls

Beneath the waves at twenty-thousand leagues

Where the distant oceans sing, and rise to the plain

From the coastline to the city

A pretty little place in Southern California, down San Diego way

A place where the dancing’s free

Way down beneath the neon lights

Laying in a field on a summer’s day

Out where the river runs

High in the green hills on the outskirts of town

Over mountains draped in stars

Hiding on the backstreets

In the darkness on the edge of town

Where the caravan camels roam

On a rattlesnake speedway in the Utah desert

Out by the gas fires of the refinery

Past the salvage yard ‘cross the train tracks

On a deserted stretch of a county two-lane

That dusty road from Monroe to Angeline

In her pink Cadillac

Words fail me.

Also: hide that girl away, if you know what I mean. For her own good. Seriously, I wouldn't trust that Springsteen guy as far as you could throw him.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!