Friday, May 17, 2019

Born to Pedant

As attentive readers are aware, I've been in the studio lately working on a re-make of this classic by The Byrds (for a Steve solo single. I kid you not.)

Since I haven't put my lead vocal on yet, it sounds great, but imagine my surprise when I realized that I had misheard one of the lyrics for all these years. The line in the first verse is "but no one hears my silent tread," not "silent prayer," which neither makes sense nor rhymes.

Glad I learned that in time.

Have a great weekend, everybody. And apologies for not having time to have gotten a Listomania ready for today. Next week for sure!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

Traces of mercury have been found in Nutella.

Seriously -- regular postings, starting with a Weekend Listomania, will resume on the morrow.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Your Wednesday Moment of Words Utterly Fail Me

An obituary from Monday's Times completely gobsmacked me.

I didn't really know Springfield/Beschta, but I was in a band with her for a very short period of time; I'm not sure if it was just for a rehearsal or two or whether we actually gigged. Still, I thought she was an interesting character, but I completely lost track of her after our musical brief encounter, and I had no idea how truly remarkable the arc of the second half of her life was.

Here she is earlier this year. If I had bumped into her then, I wouldn't have had a clue.

You can read the entire Times obit over HERE.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Things I Never Thought I'd Say (An Occasional Series)

I am genuinely looking forward to seeing Rick Wakeman in concert.

Yeah, yeah, I know; I have never been a fan of either Yes or prog in general. However, I interviewed the guy once back in the mid-70s, when he was touring one of those stupid spectacle-rock things that were all the rage then; I think it was something like King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table On Ice. And to my surprise he turned out to be utterly charming, unpretentious and basically the most hilariously funny celeb I ever killed an hour and a half with over drinks and lunch.

That being the case, I will be attending his new show when it comes to my old stomping grounds in Jersey in October; if you'd like more info on the tour, you can get it HERE.

POSTSCRIPT: When I interviewed Wakeman, he let it drop that during his early days as a session guy, he had played on the 1970 album by The Pipkins (although not on their hit single "Gimme Dat Ding").

That's right -- Wakeman is tickling the ivories on THIS immortal classic.

Obviously, it was a long strange trip between that and Tales From Topographic Oceans.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Who Listens to the Radio (An Occasional Series)

From 2019, and their just released EP...

..., please enjoy indie power-pop killers Thrift Store Halo and their quite remarkable "Once."

I was unaware of these guys until last week, when I heard the song above (on yet another internet radio show that was also featuring music by one of my old bands) and it dropped me in my tracks. To these ears it sounds like Graham Parker fronting The Easybeats, which is quite a remarkable achievement.

In any case, it turns out that TSH formed in Chicago in 1994, went on a nearly two-decade hiatus in 1998, and then came roaring back with new music in 2017 (a career arc that I can relate to, for obvious reasons). You can find out more about them, as well as links to download more of their music, at their official website HERE.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Who Listens to the Radio? (An Occasional Series)

From 2018, please enjoy Tad Overbaugh and the fiendishly catchy twang-fest that is "Open Road and Blue Sky."

I was not aware of Overbaugh or that song until yesterday, when I heard it on an internet radio show (that coincidentally featured a song by a band whose bass player's name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels). But it absolutely blew me away, and I can offer no higher praise then to say I would have killed to play on it.

In any case, turns out Overbaugh and his band are long-time faves in Boston, and he's got three records out; you can learn more about him (and download more of his music) over HERE.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, May 09, 2019

An Ill Wind That Blows Nobody Good

Okay, I'm going to hell for that joke.

But in the meantime please enjoy singer/songwriter Ruthann Friedman and her version of a song she gave to The Association who had a huge hit with it (and hopefully it fattened her bank account commensurately).

I must confess I had never heard that till yesterday; I don't think it's quite as transplendent as the Assocation version, but you can clearly understand why the band pounced on it.

[h/t Frank De Stefano]

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

When We Paint Our Masterpiece

Finished the new, and forthcoming in a month or so, Floor Models album last night.

Here's the last track we worked on. I think it's gorgeous.

I'll keep you posted on the availability of the thing as it develops, but in the meantime, kudos to my bandmates who did stellar work over the two years this project has been in the making.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Songs I'd Forgotten How Much I Liked by Bands I'd Also Forgotten How Much I Liked: An Occasional Series

The Goo Dolls, ladies and germs! The freaking Goo Goo Dolls!!!

I hadn't thought about either of those in some years, if truth be told, but seriously -- these guys were great. I don't care that they got rich ripping off The Replacements -- they freaking rocked!!!

Play both of these really loud, BTW.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

Had a long weekend -- regular posting, including a Weekend Listomania, resumes on the morrow.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Shine a Light and Get No Answer

From 1994, please enjoy Kevin Salem and "Lighthouse Keeper," the opening track from his debut album Soma City.

I hadn't thought about either song or album for years, but for some reason they popped into my head unbidden yesterday. In any case, let's just say the song is pretty much the greatest Television track that Tom Verlaine and company never did, and that the guitar work is so spectacularly perfect that I'm really glad I had switched to bass before I first heard them. I dig Salem's singing too.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Closed For Monkey Business

A very productive night in the studio, but I'm all tuckered out.

Regular posting of a musical nature resumes tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Sonic Old Age

Off to New York City and a recording studio, to begin work -- with our chum Joe Benoit -- on the A-side of my forthcoming solo single. And no, this is not a joke.

The A-side, of course is The Byrds' classic from 5D; the B-side, written by Friend of PowerPop Peter Spencer is already done. I'll keep you posted as the sessions progress.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Radio Killed the Video Star

Gonna be a guest on friend of PowerPop Capt. Al's intertube radio show Lost at Sea this morning,

The show begins at 11am and you can listen to it over HERE.

I'll be gassing about some Keith Richards related stuff starting at 11:30.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me

Long time Rolling Stones back-up vocalist Bernard Fowler has just made what is, for me, the best album of the year so far. And the concept is so brilliant I can't believe nobody's thought to do it before.

Here's my favorite track.

Friend of PowerPop Sal Nunziato, over at his invaluable Burning Wood blog, has the details about it over HERE.

Have I mentioned that words fail me?

Friday, April 26, 2019

Weekend Listomania: Special Four Legs Good. Also Feathers, Fins and Claws!!! Edition

Just for the record, today's Listomania is dedicated to a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance, who conceptualized it, if I may use that expression.

And also to The Incomparable Eddie©....

...without whom obviously.


No arbitrary rules whatsoever, except if anybody nominates that "Mr. Bojangles" crap I'm gonna take a hostage.

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

7. Patti Page -- How Much is That Doggie in the Window?

It is perhaps not an exaggeration to say that this song is so odious that it single-handedly made rock-and-roll a historical imperative.

6. The Kinks -- Phenomenal Cat

Is there any subject Ray Davies hasn't written a terrific song about?

5.The Byrds -- Old Blue

He was a good dog, too.

4. The Byrds -- Bugler

I think this is actually my favorite thing Clarence White ever did. Seriously.

3. The Youngbloods-- Grizzly Bear

Okay, I'm cheating with this one, but those bears are pretty cute. And terrific dancers.

2. Saigon Kick -- My Dog

He's dead, he's dead

My dog was walking down the street
Minding his own business
And this fuckin' car came
And ran him over

Have you seen my dog
Playing 'round and 'round
And he was looking at me
With those big brown eyes

And he started shaking and shaking
In other words I didn't know what to do
And the blood was just pouring
Out of his mouth into a puddle

Oh, God, he's dead, no
Have you seen my dog
Playing 'round and 'round

Words fail me.

And the Number One song about a furry companion is obviously, it's not even cloise --

1. Henry Gross -- Shannon

Have I mentioned that dead dog songs are actually a genre? In any case, this one is pretty much the best of all of them. That may be Carl Wilson singing backup on this, BTW, but I'm too lazy to look it up.

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be?

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

An Early Clue to the New Direction

From 1966, and the album of the same name, please enjoy The Beach Boys and their fabulous instrumental "Pet Sounds."

As always, a coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded to the first reader who figures out the clip's relationship to the theme of tomorrow's Weekend Listomania.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

Regular posting -- including a sneaky clue to the theme of Friday's Weekend Listomania -- resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Honk If You Love Rock 'n' Roll

So I just got a copy of the new Rolling Stones 3-disc sort-of best-of album Honk (don't ask).

As you might expect, the Greatest Hits section -- which derives, partly, from every official Stones studio album since they started their own label -- is a fairly depressing document of their devolution as a creative force since, oh, maybe around the time of Some Girls, although I was surprised to find that their recent blues record wasn't as bad as I remembered.

The third disc -- which is all recent live stuff, often with guests -- has its moments, however. And, because I love you all more than food, here they are.

A pretty cool version of "Bitch," with Dave Grohl.

And a really fabulous "Dead Flowers," with Brad Paisley (who sounds, in the immortal words of Ian Hunter, like he's wanted to do this for years and years).

You're welcome.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Friday, April 19, 2019

Your Friday Moment of Church Rock

From 2006, please enjoy the good looking guy and his brother the Hitler look-alike, AKA SPARKS...

...and a song obviously relevant to the events of last Monday.

Incidentally, whoever posted the video got the title wrong -- it's "As I Sit Down", not "When."

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Things I Learned Reading the April Issue of MOJO...

...guest edited by Keith Richards...

...and this kinda blows my mind. Guess who's playing the sax stuff on "The Wanderer".

None other than a teenaged Bobby Keys.

From Buddy Holly to the Rolling Stones, through Dion. Man, that cat had one of the the greatest resumes ever.

BTW, if that issue of MOJO is at your newstand, grab it. For the bonus CD alone...

...which may be one of the neatest party records ever. If only for this one, which was also news to me.

So much great music, so little time!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

How Do You Say "I Read the News Today, Oh Boy" in French?

There is no more gorgeous piece of early 20th century classical orchestral music (under 7 minutes) than Franz Schmidt's Intermezzo from his opera Notre Dame (yeah, based on the story everybody knows).

I bring this up because when a certain Shady Dame and I visited Notre Dame in 2009...

...that's what I kept hearing in my head.

Thank the FSM the damage turns out to have been not as awful as we feared yesterday.

Monday, April 15, 2019

If It Isn't Scottish, It's Crap!

It's official -- Korean boy "band" BTS, who were the "musical" guest on Saturday Night Live last weekend, are the single worst act that's been on the show in the last two or three years, which is really saying something

Seriously, this was just plain insulting, unless we're supposed to believe that SNL's target demographic is now undiscriminating fifteen-year-old girls.

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Punk Meets the Godfather

From 2011, please enjoy two generations of All Mod Cons, i.e. Paul Weller and Pete Townshend with a gorgeous performance of one of my favorite early Who songs.

I must confess I've always thought it really cool that these guys get on so well. I should also add that I have a tendency to forget just how good an acoustic player Pete is, and this clip is a nice reminder of that.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Hu's Next

From 2018, please enjoy Mongolian Monsters of Metal The Hu and "Wolf Totem."

You know, I didn't really believe it heretofore, but music really IS a universal language.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Closed Due to Monkey Business

Worked late in the studio last night, and when I got home I discovered that a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance was seriously under the weather.

Scout's honor -- regular music-themed postings resume on the morrow.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Tales That Witness Senility

So the other day -- Saturday, to be precise -- for some reason I became obsessed with trying to remember a record I had written about at this here blog approximately a decade ago. All I could recall was that it was by a solo artist (possibly from Texas) and that it had been an interestingly weird cover of -- I thought -- a Buddy Holly song, and that it had originally been released in the late 60s or early 70s..

Research using those parameters turned up nothing at this here blog; neither did impassioned entreaties to various rock critics/historians of my acquaintance. It was driving me fucking crazy.

And then yesterday, while walking down the street to my local watering hole for lunch, it popped into my head unbidden in a classic Eureka! moment: Terry Manning.

And I mean a classic Eureka moment -- I shouted the name so loud that several pedestrians were unnerved enough to give me a wide berth on the sidewalk.

Anyway, here it is. And as it turns out it wasn't a Buddy Holly cover, but rather a revisionist take on an old Johnny Cash song.

Fortunately, it turned out to have been worth the effort, as you can hear. I was also gratified to learn that, yes, it had been originally released in 1970, and that Manning himself was in fact from Texas; he had actually worked with Bobby Fuller in his formative years, and cooler than that it does not get.

Now -- if only I could remember where I left my headphones....

Monday, April 08, 2019

Hu's On First

Words fail me, but this is absolutely real. From 2018, Mongolian heavy metal.

Complete with that throat singing stuff that was so fashionable in the early 90s.

Friday, April 05, 2019

Let Us Now Praise (Should Be) Famous Men

From a 2003 tribute to The Who, please enjoy the incomparable Jim Basnight and an absolutely wonderful cover of "I Can See For Miles."

I bring all this up because Jim... a genuine power pop legend who, if there was some sort of viable Supreme Being, would be a household word.

Seriously -- this guy's been making ridiculously terrific music since...well, forever.

If you've never heard of him, here's the short version: Among other things, he's been the front man of two absolutely fabulous and influential New Wave/power pop bands called, respectively, The Moberlys and then The Rockinghams.

In any event, Jim has a new album out called, appropriately enough, Not Changing.

And here's "You Never Cease to Amaze." At the moment, my favorite track.

And which, I think we can agree, puts a modified version of the "Sweet Jane" chord changes through an interesting blender involving grown up romantic concerns. And also rocks like a mofo.

In any case, you can download the whole thing over at Amazon HERE.

Do it now, you dumb slackers. What are you waiting for?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Closed Due to House Arrest

Officer Eddie is guarding the door.

Seriously, spent the last two days in the studio, but I promise -- regular posting resumes tomorrow, when I get time off for good behavior.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

Rough week, kids.

Regular fabulous postings resume on the morrow. Scout's honor.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

The Present Day Rocker Refuses to Die

From 2018, please enjoy Aaron Lee Tasjan and the appealingly roots-ish "The Truth is So Hard to Believe."

Pretty cool band, too.

I hadn't heard of this guy until this Sunday, when he was recommended to me by friend of PowerPop Joe Benoit, who saw him open for Cheap Trick two weeks ago.

Thanks for the tip, pal.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Your Monday Moment of Tom Lehrer

I believe that's from the old That Was the Week That Was, the 60s equivalent of the John Oliver or Samantha Bee shows. In any case, the song strikes me as shall we say relevant to our current world situation.

Inspirational verse: "We'll all stay serene and calm/When Alabama gets the bomb."

Friday, March 29, 2019

Weekend Listomania: Special Where's My Walker? Edition

[Okay, I originally posted a version of this back in 2010 which kind of amazes me. In any case, I have re-written it and swapped in several different songs, just to keep you from dismissing me as the slacker I obviously am. --SS.]

Hello, fun seekers.

Here's a hopefully enjoyable little project for us all:

Best or Worst Post-Elvis Pop/Rock Song/Record About Growing Up And Its Attendant Issues!!!

No arbitrary rules at all for this one, and if I've done something similar in the past I crave your forgiveness.

In any case, my totally top of my head Top Eight is:

8. The Pussycat Dolls -- When I Grow Up

Say what you will about this piece of crap, but it's actually so bad it makes me kind of appreciate the total garbage I've been seeing on Saturday Night Live for the last year or two.

7. Big Star -- 13

It doesn't get any more sad and beautiful than this, I'll tell you that for free.

6. John Hiatt -- Your Dad Did

Screamingly funny and oh so true. It also doesn't hurt that the backing band is the greatest ever.

5. 7. Gary Puckett and the Union Gap -- Young Girl

I don't know what's creepier -- the nudge-wink sleaze the song is selling or Puckett's sub-Michael McDonald baritone.

4. Mad "Twists" Rock 'n' Roll -- When My Pimples Turned to Dimples

From 1962, the ultimate Clearasil classic, and I don't care that it's a genre parody -- it works taken straight as well. By the way, there are a lot of surprisingly great songs on that album; I've always been particularly fond of "Nose Job."

3. The Byrds -- Going Back

Perhaps the loveliest Goffin-King song of them all.

2. The Beach Boys -- When I Grow Up

THE masterpiece from what may just be my favorite album of all time. And no more profound pop tune has ever snuck into the Top 10.

And the number one song about what we all have in store, it's not even a contest, obviously is...

1. The Godfathers -- Birth School Work Death

Thoroughly depressing and yet it totally rocks. Quite an accomplishment, now that I think of it; one of these days, I really should check out the rest of these guys oeuvre.

Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Your Thursday Moment of Guess Who?

No, not Guess Who the band. New music from another artiste that readers of this here blog are familiar with, but I'm not gonna give their name.

So please enjoy the infectious rockabilly rocker "Flat Cat" by...?????

I'll give you a hint: an 80s guitar hero, and no, it's not Brian Setzer.

I should add that the good folks at KOR RADIO-- an internet station out of Bath in the U.K. -- played this on a show yesterday in the company of two(!) tracks from an album featuring a bass player whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels...

...for which I thank them from the bottom of my rapidly aging rock-and-roll heart.

Obviously, a coveted PowerPop No-Prize will be awarded to the first reader who correctly identifies the auteur of the track.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

Regular postings -- including, if you can believe it, a fabulous Weekend Listomania on Friday -- resume on the morrow.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Scott Walker 1943 - 2019

As people have been saying, loneliness was the cloak he wore.

I'd be less than honest if I didn't admit that the more experimental music, upon which his reputation now rests, was not really my cup of tea, although it's undoubtedly impressive stuff.

That said, if you haven't seen this utterly amazing documentary on his life and career... need to run over to Amazon and grab the thing HERE immediately.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Nobody Likes a Wiseguy. Oh Wait -- Yes, They Do

Attentive readers may recall that, back in 2017, I raved about the eponymous debut album by Jersey boys Mike Daly and the Planets, which featured this haunting love ballad.

Great stuff, obviously, and as you can hear, to paraphrase Jack Nicholson's famous description of Bob Dylan, these guys are a riot.

Now the band has a new album...

....which, like the debut, is guitar-driven power pop and general rock-and-roll of a very high order indeed. Only this time, improbably enough, even more assured, melodic and hilarious.

Exhibit A: The kick-ass opening track, "Slack."

I mean "Comfy in my jammies, polishing my Grammys" -- that's freaking genius.

Oh, and Mike -- thanks again for the t-shirt. I shall continue to wear it proudly.

Meanwhile, you can find out more about the band, and -- more importantly, acquire the new record -- over HERE.

You're welcome.

Friday, March 22, 2019

He's an Adult Now

Moe Berg...

...the brilliant auteur behind the greatest Canadian band of all time The Pursuit of Happiness...

...turns 60 today.

Happy birthday, you Canuck genius.

On the off chance you don't know who Moe is, here's the review I wrote for his band's debut album (from whence that song derives) at the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review back in February of 1989.

Given America's preoccupation with sex, it's ironic that our pop culture -- specifically the movies and rock-and-roll -- deals with the subject so superficially and dishonestly. Actually, rock-and-roll is particularly deficient in that regard, not very surprising when you consider how much of it is pitched at fourteen-year-old boys. Nonetheless, it's disappointing in a music that, at least theoretically, is supposed to have something to do with honesty and freedom.

That's one reason Love Junk, the debut album by a group called The Pursuit of Happiness, is such a pleasant discovery: At last, here's a band that actually has the guts to confront sex with realism, maturity, and, occasionally, wicked humor. Of course, sex isn't the only thing on their minds (growing up, another subject all too rarely dealt with in rock, is the album's second major theme), but it's refreshing to hear it sung about by someone other than the usual heavy-metal morons - which these five musicians most emphatically are not, despite a crunch-guitar attack as hard as any you've ever heard.

The band's principal weapon in their attack is singer/songwriter Moe Berg, probably the first important Moe in rock history and a guy who seems to have a remarkable grip on the muddled state of relations between the sexes as the Eighties wind down. "I'm looking for someone with a voice that's true," he declares in "Looking For Girls," "and I'm going to be nice to her - maybe she'll be nice too." A lovely sentiment, to be sure, and one I'm sure we can all relate to, but it's followed, significantly, by, "Then I'm going to do it to her four hundred and eighty-seven thousand times." Take that, Prince!

Elsewhere, Berg deals with unrequited love ("Man's Best Friend"), jealousy ("Hard to Laugh"), the joy of seeing the object of your desire in the altogether ("Beautiful White"), the destructive uses of sex as a substitute for communication ("Down on Him"), and even the difficulty of writing about relationships when you're past a certain age. "I don't write songs about girls anymore," Berg confesses on the hilariously self-revealing third track, "I'm An Adult Now." "I have to write songs about women."

The gratifying thing about Love Junk is the way the music sounds like what it means. The tunes and the band's execution of them are every bit as smart, heartfelt, and funny as Berg's corrosively sane versifying. The idiom, for want of a better term, is pop metal, all ringing guitars, aggressive drums, and angelic harmonies. Here, in the hands of people who obviously have artistic aspirations beyond growing their hair just right, the genre finds something of an apotheosis. And the cream of the jest is that a number of these songs - the wistful "She's So Young," for example - could easily be radio hits.

Add to all this a first-rate production job by Todd Rundgren (easily the equal of his recent work with XTC), and you have a record that will doubtless outlive the dismal musical and political season of its release. Don't miss it.

BTW, not only do I stand by that review, but in retrospect, I think I sort of sold the album short. Honest, it's a masterpiece.

I should add that an expanded and remastered version of it -- with bonus tracks -- came out last year. Order it over at Amazon HERE. And I mean right now.

And happy birthday Moe, you magnificent bastard.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Hey -- These Guys are Good!

Did I mention that a certain Shady Dame and I saw The Yardbirds Monday night?

I went in expecting a pretty good tribute band, but as you can see -- these guys actually are the fucking Yardbirds, even if drummer Jim McCarty is the only original member left.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the aforementioned Shady Dame and I were sitting just off camera stage right.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Walk on the Respectable Side

It's been a fairly hectic couple of days, and I just realized I forgot to post about the most fun I've had in ages.

To wit, attending -- last Friday -- the opening celebration for the Lou Reed Archive at the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center.

The ostensible focus of the event -- which was the swellest press party I've been to since my Stereo Review days -- was the 30th anniversary of Lou's New York album; as you can see in the above photo, among the artifacts that Lou donated (with the help of his wife Laurie Anderson, who spoke at the party, and was as charming and funny as one could have hoped) was the script for an (alas) never made film version of that album's "Dirty Boulevard."

Which would have been directed by Martin Scorsese(!) and starring Johnny Depp(!!). Words fail me.

I should add that part of the evening's festivities was being able to get a limited edition NYPL library card with the iconic Mick Rock photo of Lou.

A certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance stood on line and snagged one, I might add.

For information on exactly what is in the collection -- which I guarantee will blow your mind -- check out NYPL.ORG/LOUREED. I should also add that stuff like this is why you pay the big bucks to live in New York City.

[h/t Rebecca Littman]

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Closed Due to Exhaustion

Out late last night seeing What's Left of the Yardbirds©.

Regular posting, including some thoughts on the show, resumes tomorrow.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Your Monday Moment of the Coolest Songs in the World

From 2019, please enjoy...

...The Weeklings (featuring Peter Noone) and a very sharp cover of The Easybeats classic "Friday on My Mind."

And also from 2019, it's The Tearaways (featuring the great Clem Burke on drums) and their tribute to "The Wrecking Crew."

The above was recorded before the passing of the great Hal Blaine last week, BTW (Hal actually got to hear it before he went to the great recording studio in the sky).

I should add that in the last two weeks, both of these tracks got the nod as Coolest Song of the Week over at Little Steven's Underground Garage Sirius XM radio show. Which is itself the coolest thing of the week in perpetuity.

For more on The Weeklings, head over to their website HERE.

For more on The Tearaways, their website is HERE. And you should immediately check out their fantastic CD Anthems and Lullabies, which can -- and very definitely should -- be previewed and ordered at iTunes Music HERE.

[h/t Marc Platt]

Friday, March 15, 2019

Your Friday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 2011, please enjoy power pop gods The Left Banke (and the NYU Choral Society) and the damndest version of their masterpiece "Desiree" you'll ever hear.

Seriously, folk, I'm speechless.

Have a great weekend everybody.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Got Live If You Want It

Attention Gothamites: If you're in the East Village vicinity of this charmingly monikered club tonight..

...stop in at 7:30 to see friend of PowerPop (and me)...

...Joe Benoit and his combo.

Art direction on the above, BTW, by my beautiful and brilliant girlfriend.

Joe's a ridiculously talented singer, songwriter and guitarist, and if you doubt me, here's a glorious song from that forthcoming EP.

You can hear the rest of the new tunes on Spotify HERE.

Seriously -- get over there now!!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Granny Takes a Trip

From 2018, please enjoy pioneering first generation San Francisco band The Ace of Cups and the utterly amazing "Feel Good."

Those ladies were very well known in their hometown back in the day, but they never made a proper album until last year, when they reformed, thus proving that Scott Fitzgerald was wrong -- there ARE second acts in American lives.

In any event, that is pretty much the most fabulous thing I've ever seen, even if I hate the bass player for being way better than me. I can't wait to hear the rest of the album, which is on its way from Amazon as we speak.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Hal Blaine 1929 -- 2018

From January of 1965, please enjoy the instrumental sessions for "Mr. Tambourine Man." With the late great Mr. Blaine on drums.

And after about the 8 minute point, when Larry Knechtel nails the classic bass riff, you have to wonder if these guys knew they had just changed music forever.

I"ll have more to say about the Wrecking Crew tomorrow.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Your Monday Moment of "We've Got Trouble!!!"

Attentive readers with long memories may recall me yammering about pioneering L.A. glam pop band Christopher Milk on earlier occasions, most often in the context of their swansong, a fabulous failed single cover of Terry Reid's "Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace,” which as they say should have been a goddamn hit.

In any case, Milk bass player Kirk Henry... a Facebook chum of mine, and a few weeks ago -- during a discussion of original cast albums of Broadway shows (occasioned by my remarks about seeing Hamilton) -- he let it drop that back in 1987-88, he had recorded a shall we say highly rhythmic version of "Trouble," the classic patter song from The Music Man. As he told me: "I learned that song when I was 8, launched into an angry rapid-fire version of it at the Whiskey in 1972 when Ralph [Oswald, Christopher Milk's guitar player]'s amp blew up, and was reminded of it again the first time I heard rap."

I found this intriguing, obviously, and Kirk was kind enough to share the track with me. Give it a listen, won't you?

Okay, I won't go quite far enough as to say that it too should have been a goddamn hit, but it's, er, memorable nonetheless.

I should add that Christopher Milk's sole album, the charmingly monikered Some People Will Drink Anything, which is splendidly produced by Chris Thomas (of Procol Harum and Pretenders fame)...

...has finally been reissued, and can be streamed (or purchased on vinyl) over at Amazon HERE. Act now.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Because the Night V

Okay, so this has turned -- completely inadvertently, I should add -- into Patti Smith week.

So here's a sort of nostalgic closer, which I first posted about in these precincts back in 2011(!).

Consider, then, if you will, this extremely rare 1976 pamphlet edition of a poem by (then an item) Ms. Smith and Television guitarist Tom Verlaine.

Patti was kind enough to give me an autographed copy of that during the course of the 1978 interview I did with her for the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review. And years later -- some time in the early 90s -- a friend of mine, who was working with Verlaine's management, passed it along to Tom, who was equally kind enough to add his John Hancock along with handwritten notes as to which verses were his and which were Patti's.

What can I tell you -- it's one of my most treasured possessions, even if it IS pretentious enough to alternate pages in English and (presumably well-translated) French.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Because the Night IV

Patti Smith IS the Witch...

...coming soon to a theater near you.

Okay, I'm going to hell for that joke.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Because the Night III

Gilda Radner apparently found Patti Smith's performance on SNL a tad over the top.

With, as you can see from this 1976 clip, hilarious -- if slightly unfair, in my view -- results.

Rock Against Yeast, indeed.

Because the Night II

And speaking of Patti Smith as I sort of was yesterday, I'd forgotten how kind of adorable she was.

And what a riveting performer.

Monday, March 04, 2019

Because the Night

Comedian John Mulaney -- who hosted a surprisingly funny episode of SNL last weekend -- poses for an update of one of the most iconic album covers of all time.

I had no idea who this guy was until I saw the show, but he's now aces in my book.

Plus, that photo just slays me.

Friday, March 01, 2019

Your Friday Moment of In Vino Veritas

From 2008, please enjoy Norwegian pop tart Ida Maria and her charmingly honest "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked."

I heard this for the first time earlier this week while hanging out at my local watering hole and dug it the most. A day later, listening to it at home while quaffing a non-adult beverage, I found myself less impressed. I've been going back and forth on it ever since, although mostly I figure that any song that cribs from the theme from The Banana Splits is sort of excellent by definition.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Closed Due to Lawyers

Signing the papers on my mom's apartment today.

Assuming I don't take a hostage, and our long national nightmare is finally over, musical postings -- perhaps even a Listomania -- will resume tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

And So You See...Ennui!

Saw the curent incarnation of Procol Harum last night.

Brooker was in terrific voice, the band was pro, and the occasional A-list material performed -- "Homburg," for example -- sounded fine, in a sort of Procol Harum Mania kind of way. But I mostly spent the show fidgeting, and in the end, I prefer my memories of the real thing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Destination Unknown

From 1968 and their sole (eponymous) album, please enjoy The Travel Agency and "Old Man."

I first wrote about those guys here back in 2010(!), immediately after discovering the album at the long-departed download site Redtelephone66, but I hadn't thought about them since until last weekend, when a another one of their songs got posted on Facebook by a friend of mine.

In any case, the group was from Houston and member Frank Davis was later involved with the Texas pop-psych band Fever Tree, whose minor 1969 hit "San Francisco Girls" was much beloved of the late WNEW-FM deejay Alison Steele (a/k/a "The Nightbird"). The album was produced by Jimmy Griffin, of Bread fame -- and as you can hear, he did a pretty spiffy job. To my ears, it anticipates pretty much everything Dave Edmunds did a few years later in his "I Hear You Knockin'" period (pleasantly nasal, lots of compression, guitars that sound like they were recorded directly into the board, etc). As for the song itself, "Old Man" adapts the Buddy Holly/"Peggy Sue" guitar riff to some interesting ends; this, I think, is power pop before its time, plowing the same field as Bobby Fuller, at least to my ears.

Bottom line: While I remain convinced that most obscure 60s pop and rock albums deserve their obscurity, The Travel Agency is an exception. You can order or stream a copy of the remastered album over at Amazon HERE; if you're a cheap bastard you can also find the entire shebang on YouTube.

Monday, February 25, 2019

There Goes the Neighborhood

In the process of cleaning out my late mom's house. On a deadline.

This kind of thing is nightmarish under the best of circumstances, but without boring you with the details, the entire process -- including selling the apartment -- has taken several years off my life and raised my blood pressure precipitously.

Normal music-hath-charms posting resumes tomorrow, if at all possible.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Peter Tork 1942 - 2019

Goffin and King's folk-rock classic "Wasn't Born to Follow." A Sixties studio outtake reworked for The Monkees fabulous 2016 album Good Times. Tork on lead vocal.

Mann and Weill's gorgeous "Shades of Grey," from The Monkees even more fabulous 1967 album Headquarters. All instruments played by Davy, Mike, Mickey and Peter, except for French horn and cello. Lead vocals by Tork and Davy.

And this is one of the most endearing things I've ever seen -- Tork's audition for The Monkees tv show. What a charmer.

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- the fact that Jann Wenner won't allow these guys into the Hall of Fame, and has not been struck by lightning, is all the proof one needs of the non-existence of God.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Walk on the MIld Side

So I've heard some really interesting Lou Reed news, which I will pass along as we get closer to the date of it being made public, but in the meantime I was moved to re-visit Lou's first solo album, which I haven't listened to in ages, but adored back in 1972. (To the point that I conned the powers that be at the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review to favor it with a Record of the Year award.)

Quel disappointment.

Seriously, that's pretty much the best thing on it, and it's a complete mess.

In retrospect, the coolest thing about the album is the cover, which is the work of the great Tom Adams, who also did the covers for the early 70s paperback re-issues of the novels of Raymond Chandler.

I'll bet you can guess which one that's for.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Sick as a Dog

There's some bug going around and it's really kicking my pasty white ass.

Actual musical posting resumes tomorrow, come what may. And if you believe that, I have some bridgefront property in the boro where Welcome Back Kotter was set I'd like to interest you in.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019