Friday, March 24, 2023

La Fin de la Semaine Essay Question: Special "The Thing With Feathers" Edition

From 1967, please enjoy The Byrds performing (IMHO) David Crosby's masterpiece "Lady Friend."

That was a single in its day, and I wore out my 45 copy of it in the expectation that it would appear on the next Byrds album in stereo. Alas, that was when they kicked Crosby out of the band, and when the album -- The Notorious Byrds Brothers -- did finally come out, they omitted the single (and replaced Crosby in the album cover photo with a horse). I should add that the version heard in the video was first releaed on a 1987 comp of Byrds rarirties and remixes (Never Before), and Crosby insisted on replacing Mike Clarke's original drum part with the work of the guy in his then touring band.

But now to business. To wit...

The 1965 photo of The Byrds above represents the definitive exemplar of what a rock band should look like -- yes or no. And the absolute worst look for a rock band ever is...?


Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Les Cœurs Perdus

From right here right now, please enjoy "Hate Yourself," the kick-posterior new single by Nashville rockers Lost Hearts.

I haven't quite figured out exactly how to categorize these guys -- rock? punk? glam? retro '80s? some organic mix of all of the preceding? -- and whatever they're doing is not usually my cup of pekoe. But for some reason, I found the above highly entertaining, probably because I just like their attitude. Which I guess makes it rock 'n' roll, right?

I should add that I am reliably informed that the band formed when four lead guitar players got together and they flipped a coin (heh) to see who would sing and play the drums and bass. Makes sense to me!

In any case, it's a very cool single (and video -- I want the front guy's black Les Paul gold top, BTW); they don't have an album yet, but as they get closer to one I'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, a coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded the first reader who gleans the clip's relevance to the theme of tomorrow's weekend essay question.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Closed for Computer-Related Monkey Business

We should be up and running before too long, but in the meantime our apologies.

Have no fear, however -- I'll be posting new music by a new band (on Thursday) in anticipation of the following day's weekend essay quewtion.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Your Tuesday Moment of Words Fail Me

Simels Rules -- anything with a gorilla suit is funny.

Actual new music posting resumes on the morrow.

Monday, March 20, 2023

The Torch Has Been Passed to a New Generation of Power Poppers

From earlier this year at SXSW in Austin, pleae enjoy The Zombies' classic "Care of Cell 44" in a once in a lifetime performance by legendary Zombies lead singer Colin Blunstone and youngsters Brian and Michael D'Addario of The Lemon Twigs.

Attentive readers are aware that I'm not completely objective about those kids, due to the fact that their parents are both musicians I've known (and occasionally worked with) since forever; their dad Ronnie, whose own music is terrific (you can hear more of it over HERE) is actually a sort of auxilliary Floor Model, fer cryin' out loud.

That said, here's the third single from their forthcoming (in May) self-produced album Harmony Forever...

...and I think you'll admit that's pretty darned impressive stuff, a certain amount of what SPY magazine referred to as "logrolling in our time" notwithstanding. (I love that 12-string solo, BTW.) Meanwhile, you can pre-order the new album (what are you waiting for?) at Amazon HERE. And yes, there's a vinyl version.

Friday, March 17, 2023

La Fin de la Semaine Essay Question: Special "Ferry Cross the East River” Edition

From his splendid (just released) album A Big Life, please enjoy veteran pop/rock/guitar whiz Ed Ryan and his utterly addictive kick-ass confection "Settle Down."

Ed is an alumnus of the NYC music scene/explosion of the original CBGBs era; he was in at least two bands -- Day Old Bread and The Rudies -- that I'm pretty sure I saw back in my Bowery days. That new song above, to my ears, has a fabulous early Beatles vibe to it -- the verses sound like "Misery," n'est-ce pas? -- but then it veers off into a whole other more modern thing, and those chiming guitar figures at the end just kill me; if any of you guys can identify a specific record, by anybody, Ed's paying homage to there I'd be forever in your debt.

In the meantime, you can -- and very definitely should -- order A Big Life over at Kool Kat Muzik. You'll thank me.

But now on to business. To wit:

...and the rock band who made the most subtle or inventive use of their Beatles influences is/was...?


And have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Jingle Jangle Morning Melodies

From 1990, please enjoy veteran alt-rockers The Connells and their haunting exhortation to "Get a Gun."

Those guys hailed from Raleigh, N.C. and if they're still down there, my sympathies; in any case, with the usual personnel changes over the years, they're still at it, and good for 'em. I should add that I was lucky enough to see them in a small club when they were touring that album (it was their foourth) and they killed, albeit in a sort of magisterial way. The album itself, which is still available, can be acquired over at Amazon HERE and is highly recommended.

Meanwhile, a coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded to the first reader who gleans the track's relevance to the theme of tomorrows Weekend Essay Question.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

That's Ms. Wiliams If You're Nasty

And speaking as we were Monday of the incomparable Lucinda Williams, it struck me in retrospect that it was an error (and a downright cruel one at that) not to have included some music in the post.

So, from 1989 and the Rough Trade album in question, here's Lucinda and her simultaneously tear-duct stimulating and droll paean to "Passionate Kisses."

I bring this up because an old high school chum of mine recently informed me that an ex of his -- a Williams fan, 'natch -- used to refer to the song as...wait for it...

"Passionate Fishes."


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

It's Weasels Time

From their 2014 album Blame the Victim, please enjoy my old garage band chums The Weasels and their darkly insinuating ode to a "Fine Time."

That was written and sung by our keyboard guy Glenn Leeds (who also did the drum programming); acoustic guitar is by (Jai Guru Dave) Hawxwell; Allan Weissman is on the bass; and some asshole whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels is on all the vaguely Keith Richards-ish electrics.

And in case you're wondering why I'm posting it -- hey, it was a slow day yesterday.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Video Killed the Magazine Star?

From the March 1989 issue of Stereo Review, here are my thoughts on Lucinda Williams' debut on Rough Trade. As you'll discover at the bottom of the post, I have a good reason for bringing it to your attention.
The first time I played the new Lucinda Williams album, I started to think about my late colleague Noel Coppage. Noel used to keep a list in these pages of what he called "Real People," an appellation that had nothing whatsoever to do with the early-Eighties TV show; instead, he was talking about performers, specifically musicians. To my knowledge, Noel never heard Lucinda Williams, although she's knocked around for over a decade, but if he had, or if he'd lived to hear her remarkable eponymous debut album, I'm sure he would have added Williams to his small, select list. This woman is as real as it gets.

The idiom here is basic rock, country, and blues. The songs, all written by Williams, except for one by Howlin' Wolf, are anecdotal, sharply observed, and by turns wry and poignant. But what makes them really special (not to discount the fine performances by her obviously simpatico band) is Williams herself: She has the kind of voice that suggests the rise and fall of empires as witnessed through the bottom of a shot glass. It's an instrument worthy of the Bonnie Raitt comparisons it most often draws, but there's an edge to Williams's singing, a raw, wounded, and utterly soulful quality, that also suggests a male honkytonker like Gram Parsons. As a result, Williams really doesn't sound like any other woman rocker currently working, and listening to her album was an experience that hit me about as hard as falling in love.

There are moments in Lucinda Williams that verge on the merely ordinary. "Crescent City," for example, rocks along quite nicely and is obviously felt, but it's a fairly prosaic reminiscence nonetheless. Mostly, though, the music will make you laugh ("Changed the Locks") or break your heart ("Abandoned"), sometimes both in the same song ("Passionate Kisses"). Even in an era when it's suddenly, suspiciously, fashionable to be a smart solo woman in rock, Lucinda Williams is clearly something special, and I suggest you hear it immediately. Meanwhile, Noel, I think we've got another Real Person here.

As I said up top, I have a good reason for foisting the above on you.

To wit: Late last week, out of the blue, I got an e-mail from an associate producer at CBS Sunday Morning who wanted to know if I in fact had written the line "She has the kind of voice that suggests the rise and fall of empires as witnessed through the bottom of a shot glass."

Because they were working on an upcoming profile of Williams, and they were thinking of quoting me on air. Ain't that a kick in the pants?

Anyway, he assured me he'd let me know if, in fact, my little bon mot made the cut (the segment is due to run in a couple of weeks). And of course, I'll let you guys know as well.

Can you tell I'm insufferably pleased about this?