Friday, November 30, 2007

Weekend Listomania (Special Higher Than a Barking Dog Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manservant Hop-Sing and I are off to a legal seminar at Joe Klein's Hamptons estate (or at least we think we are; Joe hasn't yet confirmed that he has the time for it). In any case, posting by moi will be necessarily sporadic for a while.

But in my absence, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:

Best Drug Song, Pro or Anti!!!!!!!!!!

[An editorial note: Obviously, the Sixties and Early Seventies were the Golden Age of Pharmacological Songcraft, so the selections here are mostly rather moss laden; I tried my best to find contemporary examples, but all the good ones seem to be moldy oldies. In fact, the most recent example of the genre I can recall is that awful Red Hot Chili Peppers "Under the Bridge" crapola, and that's from 1992 fer crissakes. So please -- if some of you younger degenerates can point out a 21st century exemplar, I'll be happy to tag it onto the list as an honorable mention. Have your dealer call me.]

In any case, my carefully considered Top Ten would be....

10. (tie) Bob Dylan -- Rainy Day Women #12 and 35

and The First Edition -- Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)

9. Brewer and Shipley
-- One Toke Over the Line

8. Neil Young -- The Needle and the Damage Done

7. Jefferson Airplane -- White Rabbit

6. Grandmaster Flash -- White Lines (Don't Do It)

[sorry -- could only find the inferior Duran Duran version]

5. Velvet Underground -- I'm Waiting For the Man

4. Marianne Faithfull (with the Rolling Stones) -- Sister Morphine

3. Paul Revere and the Raiders -- Kicks

2. John Lennon -- Cold Turkey

and the number one drug song is....

1. Flaming Groovies -- Slow Death

C'mon, apart from the fact it rocks as hard as any number of Stones classics, it's also the only anti-drug tune I can think of that combines clear headed realism about the perils of addiction with genuine humor. Really -- who else but the Groovies could have written a cautionary drug song that was actually, intentionally, funny?

Okay -- what are your faves?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

An Early Clue to the New Direction

From Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, here's perhaps the funniest opening sequence in movie history.

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

Hint: Skip to approximately 1:13 minutes in, when Cleavon Little starts singing.

Young and Innocent

Talk about a Proustian moment -- from 1965, here's an actual official music video for the Lovin Spoonful's sublime "Do You Believe in Magic."

I had no idea such a thing existed, but now that I've looked at it, I'm almost positive that I saw this on the old Clay Cole Show a week or two before I headed off to my first ever semester of college. Wow.

In any case, aren't they the cutest things you've ever seen? And did you know that our good friend the divine watertiger is friends with the drummer?

Update: Via e-mail, I just heard from the man himself.

Steve: I'd like to take credit for the Lovin' Spoonful video clip, but I am not sure. The 'boys' were on my show so many times - I really liked these guys, they were smart, funny and hip. The clip looks like our show - black and white and bleak - but, as legend persists, there is no known video remaining from the five years at WPIX, Ch 11 - they ereased all the tapes.
It is so good to see them so young, fresh and raw - John almost seems camera shy and Zal is jittery as a Jumping Jack on Black Beauties. These guys - and these memories - remain my favorites. Thank you Steve. Clay Cole

I'm speechless.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday Wayne


The Present Day Fratboy Asshole Refuses to Die

Let's have a contest for Most Annoying One Hit Wonder Band of the 90s.

These guys have my vote. Incredibly annoying, starting with the stupid name. Deadeye Dick? Feh.

Seriously -- every time that "she don't eat meat, but she sure likes to bone" line comes up, I want to smash that smug idiot upside the head with a two-by-four.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

If Teddy Kennedy Had Been Driving a Volkswagen, He'd Be President Today

From 1983, Jackson Browne goes Nuevo Wavo...

I must confess, I loved this song at the time and I still do. For one thing, unlike a lot of Browne's stuff, it doesn't suffer from (in Robert Christgau's immortal phrase) "Jackson Browne Syndrome, i.e. it's kinda boring." For another, the jump to wordless falsetto after the line "the mating cries of lawyers in love" completely cracks me up (as does the sight of the guy paddling the car). Plus, the "sha-la-las" in the middle add a nice Brill Building/doo-wop period touch, and the Procol Harum-ish piano/organ buildup just before the last verse is wonderful.

And of course, the whole thing about Russia being turned into vacationland for the titular LILs is frankly more than a tad prescient.

Oh hell, let's just cop to the fact that it's a very cool song and the vid stands up nicely.

Why I love steve

From the crack den, this afternoon:

Some twenty years from now, Joe Klein arrives in Hell.

Joe: "But this is a mistake. I'm not supposed to be here."

Satan: "I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who's right. Next!!!"
steve simels |


Breakfast in America

I found Hal's self-titled debut CD in the budget bin last weekend. Pitchfork Media gave it a funny, snarky review when it came out in 2005, but I sorta get a kick out of the Supertramp-inspired Play the Hits.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tom Waits For No One

For a variety of reasons I won't be posting again till tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, enjoy this brilliant clip from the funniest TV show of all time.

Martin Mull, Fred Willard, Tom Waits, and "The Piano Has Been Drinking."

This is the bit where Waits famously says "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy."

Churchy La Femme

Ladies and gentlemen, the Greatest Rock n Roll Band in the World.

They are, of course, The Detroit Cobras, and I've been a raving fan for a little over a year. This particular song has loomed large in my legend for some time now, but until the other day there wasn't anything on YouTube worth posting.

Why do I love them? Well, obviously, their raison d'etre -- garage punk covers of incredibly-to-moderately-obscure r&b and early rock songs -- is designed with my mind in mind. More to the point, though, are the paralytically sexy noises emanating from the throat of lead singer Rachel Nagy. If truth be told, the last time I fell so hard for a pop girl was January of 1979, when someone slipped me an import single of "Stop Your Sobbing," featuring vocals by some chick named Chrissie Hynde.

Seriously -- is there another woman on the planet who can make the three syllable phrase "cha-cha-cha" absolutely drip with lust? The bottom line is if we were gonna have a contest to determine The World's Most Fuckable Voice right now, I think Ms. Nagy would win hands down.

A correction: As fellow Atriot Roadmaster reminded me, the above statement about Chrissie Hynde being my last big girl singer crush is not, in point of fact, accurate. My last big girl singer crush moment came courtesy of NYMary, who turned me on to the divine Neko Case last year. I think Nagy and Case are kind of two different animals, however; I mean, obviously, Neko's great on a million levels, but she doesn't really exude the sort of bad girl spankee spankee vibe Nagy does so effortlessly.

But as always, I've probably said too much.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Beatles Heaven...

The things you find on YouTube, part 1,823,000:

The Modern Day Musical Refuses to Die, Part II

NYMary has a crush on the kid in Across the Universe. I get it, totally. He's adorable. ("You do like them dishevelled." Heh heh.)

But let's hear it for This Boy.

In case you haven't heard, Cate Blanchett IS Bob Dylan in I'm Not There. And I mean IS. You've never seen anything like it.

Seriously, watching this transluscent Australian woman staggering around impersonating a skinny Jewish guy on speed impersonating a strungout Puerto Rican hooker is the sexiest thing I've seen in years.

Oh, and incidentally -- the soundtrack album, which mixes oldtimers (Roger McGuinn) with somewhat younger hepsters (Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, Eddie Vedder) covering the master's stuff is misleading. Most of the music in the movie is actually familiar Dylan singing Dylan. The one big exception is the Albert Hall concert scene, where Blanchett lipsynchs the soundtrack album version of "Ballad of a Thin Man" by the kid from Pavement.

Oh hell, just go see it already. It's amazing....

The Modern Day Musical Refuses to Die

Usually, it's steve who gets to do the movie reviews around here. He's a pro, and has far more cred and scope than I.

But he's right about this one.

I went to see Across the Universe at our second-run theater last night. We don't get to the movies often, and even less often do I get to choose (I still can't believe he talked me into getting drunk and seeing The DaVinci Code)--so this was a treat for me. But I'm still not wholly convinced it was a good idea.

There were times when I thought I was was watching Cop Rock or Grease 2. Then there were times when it was The Wall and La Boheme. And some Moulin Rouge and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts CLub Band moments as well.

When it works, it works splendidly: superhuge American soldiers in underpants and Army boots dragging a massive Statue of Liberty across a lilliputian Southeast Asia ("She's So Heavy"--fucking brilliant), "Let It Be" as a biracial funeral dirge. And when it doesn't, it doesn't. Bono sucks a lot, and who could have predicted that the fabulous Eddie Izzard would turn out to be this generation's Rex Harrison, relentlessly refusing to sing in a movie where everyone sings? And how is it they kept Jim Broadbent out of this production?

And then there is The Boy.

I have to tell you: I'm old and matronly and have four beautiful kids. It's not like I'm a twelve year old girl getting all misty over Wayne Gretzky and Shoes. But wow. This guy (Jim Sturgess, imdb tells me) is an unholy sex-soaked combo of a young Paul McCartney, Liam Gallagher at his sloppy best, and Joachim Phoenix as Johnny Cash, with just a dash of a Velvet Goldmine-y Jonathan Rhys Meyers to make him especially dangerous. He's a glorious mess. (As Thers noted on the way out, "you do like them disshevelled.") I don't think I've been this wowed since I first laid eyes on Ewan McGregor.

Is there anything more unseemly than an elderly lady with a crush on a pop star? No, so I'll let it rest. I have records older than this guy.

In many ways, the movie is too much of everything, like consuming an entire chocolate cake and washing it down with full-fat egg nog. But in smaller bites it might be less overwhelming. I thought a lot about the central conceit: the use of Beatles' songs as a freewheeling soundtrack to the sixties, and I'm still not sure it entirely works. But it's bold and interesting and not like any movie I've seen in a long time.

To get a sense....

UPDATE: Thers didn't like it as well as I, but then he didn't have The Boy to distract him.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Shake Some Action

Generally, I like vacations because I like to nap. I lay down with a book and after five minutes fall asleep and wake an hour or two later, rejuvenated.


Today, I laid down with my new book: John M. Borack's Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Power Pop Guide. (Available from Not Lame Records, here.)* I missed my nap, because I read it, cover to cover. And I have some small complaints, but on the whole, it's a terrific achievement of a lot of different writers. It's rather "list"-y--lots of 100 best this and ten best that, but the analyses defending the choices are fascinating and there are some very solid essays. Perspectives vary widely, as there are a lot of contributors here. But they all live pretty much in our neighborhood.

The centerpiece of the book is Borack's top 200 Power Pop albums. I was ready to rip this one apart, I was... but I can't. Oh, I might place some things higher or lower, but the top ten (Raspberries, Big Star, Shoes, Cheap Trick, 20/20, Chris von Sneidern, Tommy Keene, The Orange Humble Band, Adam Schmitt, and The Beat (that's Paul Collins' Beat, not the British ska band)) seems about right to me. Matthew Sweet, Nick Lowe, Game Theory, Material Issue and FOW clock in in the top 20, The Spongetones, the Knack, Velvet Crush, and The Records well above 50, and even Red Kross makes the top 100.

As with any best of list, there's bound to be some debate (and Borack explains, though not wholly to my satisfaction, the exclusion of The Lemonheads and the New Pornographers), and my eyebrows did go up at the omission of steve's fave Rob Laufer, for example.

Other weird things in other sections: I'm not convinced that if you give yourself a strict one record per artist rule, you can count both XTC and the Dukes of the Stratosphear, and calling Elvis Costello's "Veronica" McCartney-influenced seems a little weird, since Sir Paul cowrote the tune.

Mostly, I was awed by my own ignorance: what I know, I know pretty well, but clearly I'm an amateur here. For example: I admit that I didn't know that ubiquitous LA Power Popper Robbie Rist was this guy. Weird, eh? So I invite my cobloggers and our commenters to help me review this book over the next couple of weeks. What do we think of it?

(And yes, we're mentioned in it, as are many of the folks on our blogroll, including the delightful Spike Priggen at Bedazzled and my darling Mike at Powerpopulist.)

Ans so, no nap, but still rejuvenated. Thanks!

Oh, let's shake some action for the hell of it.

*(steve, don't you dare. I know Hanukkah is 2 weeks away, but I bought you one and it's in the mail, so no sense bitching now.)

Saturday Glam Blogging

Here's Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel with their lovely Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me), which was a #1 UK hit for the band in 1975. If you remember, the song was used to great effect in the movie The Full Monty. Great lyrics, and listen for the pretty flamenco-styled guitar solo.

Shiksas Are For Practice

It's somebody's Bas Mitzvah somewhere!

Seriously -- words fail me on this one.

[h/t Glen "Bob" Allen]

Dear President Bush

Your BFF, former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, dedicates these lovely Posies to you.

Thanks for the quagmire, dickhead.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Weekend Listomania (Special Ring-a-Ding-Ding Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manservant Hop-Sing and I are off to join outgoing Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend at a tribute to the President hosted by the You Are Such a Man Foundation. Not exactly sure what the occasion is, but I think it has something to do with Washington's Birthday.

So posting by moi will be necessarily sporadic for a while.

But in my absence, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:

Best Rock Era Version of a Pre-Rock Pop Standard!!!
You know -- the most surprising, the most original, the most faithful, the most ironic...however you define it.

Okay -- here's my reasonably well considered Top Ten.

10. Elvis Costello - My Funny Valentine

9. Billy Stewart -- Summertime

8. Big Brother and the Holding Company -- Summertime

7. The Fifth Estate -- Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead

6. The Platters -- Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

5. The Flamingos -- I Only Have Eyes For You

4. The Four Seasons -- I've Got You Under My Skin

3. The Beatles -- Till There Was You

2. Eva Cassidy -- Over the Rainbow

[I should note that I agonized over making this one Number One -- partly because Cassidy died so tragically young, but mostly because there are times I think she may well have been the single greatest pop singer in any of our lifetimes. Nevertheless -- largely because of the harmonies and the barely discernible but delicious irony of it .....]

...the number one all time best cover is --

1. The Byrds -- We'll Meet Again.

Honorable mention (no video available): Joe Piscopo's heavy metal version of Sinatra's "Witchcraft" with Great White.

Okay -- what are your faves?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

An Early Clue to the New Direction

Not that there's any introduction necessary, but here's Judy Garland singing you know what from you know where.

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

BandsThat I Am Thankful For...

Here's Seattle's Young Fresh Fellows from their 2001 CD Because We Hate You.

Clog Those Arteries!!!

Here's a Thanksgiving artifact from what I once promised never to refer to as The Long Sleep of the Eisenhower Years.

Gentlemen, start your coronaries....

Happee Turkee!

....and because there is no Thanksgiving-themed PowerPop, I give you this.

Had totally forgotten this song when I heard it the other night. Share my pain!

But there's pie and trifle for after.

It's Turkey Day!!!!

In honor of the holiday, a clip from the Greatest Thanksgiving TV Show Ever.

You know, I'd forgotten that Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank were so tojours gai...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Deja Vu All Over Again...

Stiv had it pegged 25 years ago...

I'm Not There

Not at all irksome New York Times film cricitic A.O. Scott thinks highly of the new Todd Haynes movie about Bob Dylan.

“Live in your own time.” That’s the advice young “Woody Guthrie” hears from a motherly woman who offers him a hot meal and a place to sleep. It’s sensible advice — he’s daydreaming of the Depression in the middle of the space age — but also useless. It’s not as if anyone has a choice. To slog through the present requires no particular wit, vision or art. But a certain kind of artist will comb through the old stuff that’s lying around — the tall tales and questionable memories, the yellowing photographs and scratched records — looking for glimpses of a possible future. Though there’s a lot of Bob Dylan’s music in “I’m Not There,” Mr. Haynes is not simply compiling golden oldies. You hear familiar songs, but what you see is the imagination unleashed — the chimes of freedom flashing.

Damn, Scott's good.

And speaking of the chimes of freedom -- I swear to god I actually chanced on this 1964 live clip of the "real" Dylan (which I had never seen, let alone suspected) mere minutes before I read the review.

It's not the best version of the song imaginable -- apparently Dylan hadn't quite made the acquaintance of the melody at this point -- but it's riveting in a way that seems relevant to the Haynes film in spades.

Bee Movie

How come I didn't get the memo on these guys?

Seriously -- I always liked the name, but for some reason I never actually listened to an obviously terrific band. Better late than never, I guess.

[h/t thers]

Wednesday Wayne

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Diesel PowerPop

Here's some obscure 80s jangle from Brit powerpoppers Diesel Park West from their first LP Shakespeare Alabama, released in 1989. All the Myths on Sunday features some tasty psych guitar work and an anthemic chorus. This disc was a perrenial budget bin item here in the States, but it's actually quite excellent, so keep an eye out for it.

How Sweet to Be An Idiot Part II

The institutional nervous breakdown of the New York Times continues apace, and this time it's not just Kelefa Sanneh making a fool of himself.

Case in point: today they let David Brooks write about rock

I will cut him slack about the subhead -- Little Stevie and the fragmentation of rock 'n roll -- which only appears in the print edition, and may, in fact, have been written by someone other than Bobo. (Still -- Little Stevie? How embarassing is that?)

I will also grant Brooks that his larger point -- "toward the end of the 1970s or the early 1980s, the era of integration gave way to the era of fragmentation" in pop music -- has at least a grain of truth to it.

However, anybody who could write this sentence -- "It’s considered inappropriate or even immoral for white musicians to appropriate African-American styles" -- to describe the present historical moment really needs to listen to an Amy Winehouse album, to name just one of a billion possible current examples of white musicians doing precisely that.

Seriously, I'm beginning to think everyone at the Times is on drugs or something.

Monday, November 19, 2007



cash advance

Cash Advance Loans

h/t Roy at alicublog

(My other blog is only junior high school, I expect because of all the cursing.)

How Sweet to Be An Idiot

The institutional nervous breakdown at the New York Times continues apace.

After the triumph that was yesterday's Worst Op-Ed Page Ever -- Maureen Dowd peddling bizarrely revealing Mandingo fantasies, another essayist asserting that Ronald Reagan was no racist even though he supported white supremacist policies, and Tom Friedman advising Obama to keep Cheney as vice president because he's crazy(!!!!) -- now comes perpetually irksome pop music writer Kelefa Sanneh's review of Taking Chances, the new Celine Dion album.

Two flights of fancy in particular stand out.

It has now been a decade since Celine Dion first shared the musical electrocardiogram [emphasis mine] that has come to define her career.

He is, of course, referring here to the hit recording "My Heart Will Go On."

Heart. Electrocardiogram. Get it?

But wait, there's more sledgehammer irony!

“Taking Chances”... starts simply enough, with the title track, with a strummed guitar and an absurd plea: “Don’t want to be alone tonight, on this planet they call Earth.” (By the way that last prepositional phrase, portentous and meaningless, can be tacked onto just about any lyric in need of extra oomph: “Sweet home, Alabama, on this planet they call Earth”; “You lived your life like a candle in the wind, on this planet they call Earth”; “We be big pimpin’, on this planet they call Earth.”)

Laugh, I thought I'd die.

Seriously, I lack the words to describe just how embarassingly awful the piece is. But in case you want to experience the rest of it in the full bloom of its Sanneh-ishness, you can read it here.

Kelefa Sanneh -- still the undisputed grand master of the Everything Is Great, Even The Obvious Shit school of music journalism. His editors at the Times must be so proud....

Meet on the Ledge

Noted without comment, here's The Legendary Star Dust Cowboy and "My Underwear Froze to the Clothesline."

I particularly like the opening from his Wiki entry: "The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, born Norman Carl Odam on October 10, 1947 in Lubbock,Texas, is an incoherent rock and roll performer..."

And the ending isn't bad, either: "He is currently continuing his eastern US tour with his band, the Altamont Boys."

Pete Best, please pick up the white courtesy phone please!

Here's another inductee into the rock and roll hard luck Hall of Fame, Glen Matlock. Legend has it (wrongly) that Glen was tossed from the Sex Pistols for liking the Beatles. He went on to form the Rich Kids with Midge Ure, Rusty Egan, and Steve New in 1977. Here's a clip of the band performing their 1978 single Rich Kids on TOTPs. They released their one and only longplayer, the uneven Ghosts of Princes in Towers later that year. The band split up shortly thereafter, and Midge Ure went on to find greater success with Ultravox. Glenn kicked around in a number of other projects over the years until the release of his first solo LP Who Does He Think He Is When He's at Home? in 1996.

In my opinion, this tune, along with their second 1978 single Ghosts of Princes in Towers are some of the finest moments of the late 70s punk pop era.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Barney Kessel Lives!

This is kind of off topic, but I'm feeling crappy today -- a pesky cold -- and this has made me feel better.

Jammin' the Blues is a 1944 short film in which several prominent jazz musicians got together for a rare filmed jam session. It features Lester Young, Red Callender, Harry Edison, Marlowe Morris, Sid Catlett, Barney Kessel, Joe Jones, John Simmons, Illinois Jacquet, Marie Bryant, Archie Savage and Garland Finney. For some, this is their only known appearance in a theatrical film. Barney Kessel is the only white performer in the film. He was seated in the shadows to shade his skin, and for closeups, his hands were stained with berry juice. Lindy Hop legends Archie Savage and Marie Bryant do the Lindy Hop (Jitterbug) on this footage. Directed by Gjon Mili and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry

Pretty amazing, no? Incidentally, Kessel also did the spooky guitar part on that Julie London clip a few posts down...

[h/t sittenpretty]

Friday, November 16, 2007

Lick My Decals Off, Baby...

Well folks, if this is not "powerpop" then I don't know what is. Please enjoy my entry drug into the world of the Captain.

Weekend Listomania (Special Hot Licks Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manservant Hop-Sing and I are off to Hollywood, where we've wangled a cameo as an actual waterboard in a forthcoming episode of 24. Apparently, we're going to have to cross some sort of picket line to do it, but as far as I'm concerned those rich writers are just greedheads. I mean, really -- does Joe Esterhaz really need a better royalty deal for the Criterion Edition of "Showgirls?" Feh.

So posting by moi will be necessarily sporadic for a while.

But in my absence, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:

Best Guitar Break Under Two Minutes Long

You know -- the most succinct, the most melodic, the most inventive, the most menacing, the most technically accomplished -- how ever you define a great guitar break.

Yeah, yeah, I can already here the grousing -- because of the time constraint, this list is necessarily going to be skewed towards (mostly) out and out pop records. Which means that a lot of stuff by a lot of my faves (Richard Thompson, for example, who I think is pound for pound the greatest rock guitarist ever) and a lot of yours (Duane Allman or Stevie Ray Vaughan, perhaps?) can't qualify.

That being the case, may I simply say to both you and I --- tough titties.

Okay -- here's my reasonably well considered Top Fifteen

15. James Burton (Ricky Nelson) -- Hello Mary Lou

14. Mike Mitchell (The Kingsmen) -- Louie Louie

13. Dave Davies (The Kinks) -- You Really Got Me

12. Pete Townshend (The Who) -- The Kids Are Alright
[This one's my favorite, partly because it's gorgeous in its minimalism, but mostly because it was edited out of both the American versions -- single and album -- back in the day. Why? Somebody at the American record company thought the feedback was a mistake. Hahahahahahahaha...]

11. Paul McCartney (The Beatles) - Taxman

10. Jeff Beck (The Yardbirds) -- Heart Full of Soul

9. Roger McGuinn (The Byrds) -- Feel a Whole Lot Better
[honorable mention: "Eight Miles High," which may clock in over two minutes]

8. Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones) -- The Last Time
[Honorable mention -- the faster-than-the-speed-of- sound solo on "She Said Yeah"]

7. John Fogerty (Creedence) -- Proud Mary

6. Neil Young (Crazy Horse) -- Cinammon Girl
[honorable mention -- Warren Zevon's "Sentimental Hygiene']

5. Paul Kossoff (Free) -- All Right Now

4. Bruce Springsteen (E Street Band) -- Incident on 57th Street

3. Jerry Hahn (Paul Simon) -- Peace Like a River

2. Elliot Randall (Steely Dan) -- Reeling in the Years

1. Tom Verlaine (Television) -- See No Evil

Okay -- what are your faves?

Update: In comments, the estimable Culture of Truth takes me to task for my remarks about the WGA strike. For the record, I was kidding, which I (perhaps naively) thought should have been obvious. My bad. Apparently, Pete Hamill was right when he said you should never employ irony in a Third World country.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


That C. Thomas Howell's character in Soul Man....

was based, at least in part, on the young Ulysses from Hercules Unchained.


An Early Clue to the New Direction

From 1963, here's Ricky Nelson (with the great James Burton on guitar) and "Fools Rush In."

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

Things That Go Kaboom! In the Night

Uh...why didn't I get the memo on this? And why the hell wasn't this reviewed in the Times? Did Kelefa Sanneh have a Britney retrospective on deadline, or what?

Cult 1960s garage band THE SONICS have reformed for the upcoming Cavestomp Festival in New York. The Witch hitmakers, who listed Jimi Hendrix among their fans, had a run of hits from 1964 to 1966 before they split. The Washington-area group will headline two nights of the upcoming Cavestomp 2007 festival in Brooklyn. Original frontman Jerry Roslie, guitarist Larry Parypa and saxophonist Rob Lind will reteam for the shows, for which they'll be joined by Don Wilhelm and Ricky Lynn Johnson, who will replace Parypa's brother Andy and drummer Bob Bennett.

There are a couple of cell-phone videos of the gig (it was last weekend, goddamnit) on YouTube, and Roslie -- who may well have been the greatest screamer in rock history -- sounds exactly like he did 40 years ago.

Needless, to say, I am highly irked that I missed this...

Update: Our old friend Tony Sachs, formerly of NYCD (greatest indie record store in history) reviews the show over at The Huffington Post. Apparently, it was a hot one. My disappointment at not being there, however, is somewhat mitigated by the fact that it was being recorded for a forthcoming live album and DVD.

The Girl Can't Help It

From the 1956 Frank Tashlin-directed comedy, here's paralytically sexy Julie London driving Tom Ewell to drink with the fiercely erotic ballad "Cry Me a River".

"Told me love was too plebeian...told me you were through with me and..."

We can debate all we want about what, historically, constitutes the first music video in the contemporary sense. But I think it's pretty hard to avoid the conclusion that this little fantasy sequence is the first indisputably great one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Exclamation Points of the Gods

Chanced across this knockout (and heretofore unseen by me) promo clip of The Beatles doing "Help" on the same day I came across a wonderful interview with director Richard Lester on the making of the film (in the current issue of MoJo).

Lots of interesting tidbits in the piece. Perhaps my favorite is this one:

All of them [the Beatles] had this love-hate relationship with the American DJ, Murray the K, who was always pestering them. He came to the Bahamas when they were filming the fight on the beach, which appears at the end of the film, and he begged to be in it. So we dressed him up and put him in it, and the boys just made a beeline for him and practically kicked him to death."

There's also a fascinating insight into John Lennon's creative process vis a vis the title song.

We wanted to call the film Help early on. The problem was someone else had already registered the name. Shit! So we considered some other titles [High-Heeled Knickers, Who's Been Sleeping in My Porridge, and the all-too-apt The Day the Clowns Collapsed were all suggestions]. Ringo came up with Eight Arms to Hold You, which no one was particularly enamored with, but no one had anything better. As it got closer to the wire, the Beatles were looking at each other, saying "Who's going to write this awful-sounding song?"

Finally, we went back to the lawyers....and they said "Well, does your 'Help' have an exclamation point?" We said, "no, but do you want one?" They said, "If it has one, it's a different title."

This is literally three days before we had to shoot the opening scene to playback. John started writing straight away -- in the studio in the afternoon, in the car, overnight in Weybridge. Then the next morning they played it to me on the piano. They recorded it that day, and the next day we started filming the sequence... It's ironic that John ended up saying [in a Playboy interview] that it was the first genuinely personal song that he had written. Odd for a song written to order in 24 hours, but maybe it isn't so strange. He had no time to "craft" it. It just came staight through, channeling his innermost feelings."

Pretty cool, huh?

Meanwhile -- I love the clip, especially when the snow starts falling on the boys. Anybody ever seen it before? I know it's not in Anthology....

Sounds Like a Hot One

From Saturday's S.F. Chronicle, a review of a show I think we all wish we could have attended.

Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic

Every so often, once every 10 or 15 years maybe, there's a nightclub show as special as the Elvis Costello performance Thursday at the Great American Music Hall. Maybe not even that often.

Costello has such a history with San Francisco, it's not surprising that he came here to give this one-time-only performance of his entire first album, with most of the same musicians playing the songs in the same order as on the record 30 years ago.

"We're turning the record over," he said when he reached "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes," the song that led off side 2 of his 1977 classic, "My Aim Is True."

Costello, whose ambitious artistic agenda in recent years has cut across rock, pop, jazz and classical boundaries, doesn't usually engage in such self-celebration, but he did this for a friend. Austin de Lone is a highly regarded Mill Valley keyboard player whom Costello has known since he first came to the States. De Lone's son, Richard, suffers from Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare, incurable disease that leaves victims perpetually starving. Revenue from the two sold-out shows commenced fundraising for the Richard de Lone Special Housing Project.

Not only did Costello, 53, perform "My Aim Is True" song by song, making a strong case for the album as one of the great premieres in rock history, but he followed the 50-minute performance of the album with another 50 minutes of songs he wrote around the same time, one unknown gem after another. It was a daring, intimate look deep into Costello's songwriting notebooks that will undoubtedly never be repeated.

Backing him onstage were three members of Clover, a long-defunct Marin County rock group that accompanied Costello on the original recording sessions and never played with him again. Guitarist John McFee judiciously decorated the buoyant, chugging sound of the band. The tightly focused songs allowed for only a couple of brief guitar breaks, but McFee, who has played with the Doobie Brothers since 1981, tucked shimmering little accents around the end of verses throughout the show. Keyboardist Sean Hopper, who became a founding member of Huey Lewis and the News after Clover broke up in 1978, joined Clover bassist John Ciambotti, who worked for a time with Lucinda Williams and currently is a chiropractor in Southern California.

Pete Thomas of Costello's longtime band the Attractions replaced Clover drummer Mickey Shine, although Costello acknowledged Shine during the show. Clover's two vocalists were not involved in the "My Aim Is True" sessions, so the reunion also was absent Nashville songwriter Alex Call and Huey Lewis, who called himself Huey Louis when he belonged to Clover.

In between performing the "My Aim Is True" songs, Costello talked about making the album. "It was never conceived as a record," he said. "It was a bunch of demos of songs for (British guitarist) Dave Edmunds to cover."

He remembered spending the night in the crummy London studio where the record was made and being told to sleep with the lights turned on to keep the rats away. He said he woke up sometime in the night with the lights off and "the sound of rustling."

After charging through the "My Aim Is True" tunes, Costello brought out an acoustic guitar and, explaining he decided to do only songs he wrote in 1977, played a half dozen that few in the crowd had ever heard. He admitted to salvaging spare parts from some of these unpublished early efforts, like "Imagination" or "Blue Minute," for later songs. Each of the tunes would have fit comfortably on the album. "I Don't Want to Go Home" had the bluff and bite. "Cheap Reward" snarled properly.

With the band back behind him, McFee on pedal steel, Costello brought out the secret country and western flavor of the sessions. "My manager used to say, 'Journalist coming on the tour bus - hide the George Jones tapes,' " said Costello, who eventually recorded his song "Stranger in My House" with Jones.

Costello even sang a Clover song, "Mr. Moon," from the band's 1971 second album, "Forty-Niner." Costello remembered the store in London where he bought the record.

"The mystique of this area and all the music coming out of it was very great to me," he said. "One of the groups we mythologized most was Clover."

It's a tribute to Costello's restless creativity that in only the past couple of years he has passed through town with four bands. He played Oakland's Paramount Theatre with the Attractions, giving a textbook lesson in rock quartet dynamics. He returned to the Paramount with New Orleans songwriter Allen Toussaint and Toussaint's large band. He did last year's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival with a thrown-together ensemble that included dieselbilly guitarist Bill Kirchen and de Lone, who also gave a brief opening duo performance Thursday.

It was a rare and open night - as open as the songbooks on the music stands - another brilliant performance from the redoubtable Mr. Costello.

[h/t Eric C. Boardman]

Blogger: No Longer Bloggered

The World's Greatest Beatles Post will be up after dinner.

Thank you for your support.

Wednesday Wayne

Because damn, I love this song.

Bowie's In Space--No Wait, He's Under the Sea

One of the peculiarities of Life on Liberal Mountain is our taut awareness of the activities of SpongeBob and Patrick, despite our efforts to avoid such knowledge. And so, sitting here grading papers the other day, I got whiplash when I heard, I thought, the voice of David Bowie on SpongeBob. The hell?

But apparently, I was right.

Bowie plays the King of Atlantis, who looks, I think we can all agree, like a demented Blue Meanie. The character, I mean, not Bowie himself.

I could tell you if he's a good guy or a bad guy and how he fares, but in order to do so I'd have to be actively watching SpongeBob--and there are certain sacrifices a blogger ought not make for her blog. However, they're showing it 40 of 50 times a day on Nickelodeon, so you can check it out yourself.

And some crappy video, but you can clearly hear it's Bowie.

Sorry, TKK!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Beyond the Valley of the Wimps

So as I may have mentioned, I have suddenly found myself on the promo list for Sony/Columbia Records. The good news is that last week I was surprised to find the killer soundtrack to Todd Haynes' Dylan movie in my mailbox. The bad news is that this morning there was the latest Celine Dion crime against nature.

I know, I know. The indignities I have to endure.

Anyway, today's package also included a new live album by Five for Fighting. Those who know me best, by which I mean a couple of ex-wives and several posters at Eschaton who I've never actually met, are aware that I'm of the opinion that said band's "The Riddle" is rather ineffably touching.

Here's the YouTube link for the official video -- sorry there's no embed.

There was a man back in '95
Whose heart ran out of summers
But before he died, I asked him

Wait, what's the sense in life
Come over me, Come over me

He said,

"Son why you got to sing that tune
Catch a Dylan song or some eclipse of the moon
Let an angel swing and make you swoon
Then you will see... You will see."

Then he said,

"Here's a riddle for you
Find the Answer
There's a reason for the world
You and I..."

Picked up my kid from school today
Did you learn anything cause in the world today
You can't live in a castle far away
Now talk to me, come talk to me

He said,

"Dad I'm big but we're smaller than small
In the scheme of things, well we're nothing at all
Still every mother's child sings a lonely song
So play with me, come play with me"

And Hey Dad
Here's a riddle for you
Find the Answer
There's a reason for the world
You and I...

I said,

"Son for all I've told you
When you get right down to the
Reason for the world...
Who am I?"

There are secrets that we still have left to find
There have been mysteries from the beginning of time
There are answers we're not wise enough to see

He said... You looking for a clue I Love You free...

The batter swings and the summer flies
As I look into my angel's eyes
A song plays on while the moon is hiding over me
Something comes over me

I guess we're big and I guess we're small
If you think about it man you know we got it all
Cause we're all we got on this bouncing ball
And I love you free
I love you freely

Here's a riddle for you
Find the Answer
There's a reason for the world
You and I...

I don't care if the singer's a wingnut...I think it's fricking beautiful.

Magic Honeybus

I was really excited to find out about a recent comp from Castle Music, Tea & Symphony The English Baroque Sound 1967-1974 which pulls together 24 tracks of rare Brit baroque-pop, including tracks from the Tremeloes, pre-10cc Graham Gouldman, and the wonderful Honeybus, who are shown here in a promo spot for their 1968 single I Can't Let Maggie Go, which reached #8 on the UK charts.

Men Are From Mars, God Knows Where These Guys Are From

From 1973 to 1981 Zolar X became legendary on the west coast USA for dressing and acting like space-aliens 24 hours a day. They spoke ceaselessly in an "alien language" of their own invention...

I vaguely remember reading about these guys in Creem back in the day, but I had no idea they were such a big deal, at least in a cult figure sort of way.

And I certainly had no idea there was a video...

Keep watching the skies!!!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Who's In?

Redd Kross. Southpaw. December 8.

Don't miss it!

Sanneh To Britney Spears: Drop Dead

Extremely irksome New York Times pop music writer Kelefa Sanneh has a new band crush.

From his review of their most recent show in the Times today:

“This next song is about the people who want to control our bodies,” said the singer known as Pink Eyes, adding, “This next song is about the police.”

Pause. No music.

“And it would start, if we were a professional band.”

Pink Eyes is the lead roarer in a ferocious band from Toronto. What band? Well, the name won’t be printed in these pages, not unless an American president, or someone similar, says it by mistake. Suffice it to say that this is an unruly hardcore punk band with a name to match.

Amazing how Sanneh can make a profane, over the top, politically angry band with a shirtless, morbidly obese lead singer sound every bit as cutesy as a manufactured pop idol who grew up on the mean streets of the Mickey Mouse Club. In some perverse way, I guess it's a gift.

In any case, I await Fucked Up's cover version of "Oops, I Did It Again" with breathless anticipation.

The Skeleton In Jack Sparrow's Closet

Think these guys are just another bunch of Guns N Roses wannabees?

Actually, the Rock City Angels are a little more interesting. None other than Johnny Depp played rhythm guitar with them during the period between the filming of Platoon and Edward Scissorhands; he even co-wrote a song on their album (not this one, alas).

Depp once described the band as "a cross between Howlin' Wolf and the Sex Pistols," which isn't that far off the mark, at least on the basis of this clip. Obviously legendary producer Jim Dickinson agreed; that's him at the beginning of the video, urging the band to get a little more of "that Memphis sound."

Deja Vu All Over Again

Say what you will about the Barenaked Ladies -- they're goofy, they're earnest, they're Canadian -- but they're a hell of a pop band.

And yes, I've never really forgiven them for that gag-inducing nerdy white-boy rap song. But this is sublime.

Seriously -- have you ever heard a better opening line than "I met you before the fall of Rome"?

Update: I totally forgot I reviewed their concert movie for Entertainment Weekly. You can read it here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Politics & PowerPop.

That's it: I'm sold.

John Edwards is using The Romantics "What I Like About You" as a campaign song.

Fucking beautiful. I'm in.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Silly Saturday Song

I've been off these guys for a while, but I see their DVD came out on my b-day, and I'm going to head out and acquire it today.

You can't measure up to the expectation.
When you're unemployed, there's no vacation.
No one cares, no one sympathizes
So you just stay home and play synthesizers.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Weekend Listomania (Useless Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manservant Hop-Sing and I are off to Las Vegas for the fabulous Blog Expo and trade show, which is apparently going to be the world's biggest pajama party. Ann Althouse in a teddy.....!!! Woo hoo -- got to be a hot one!!!

So posting by moi will be necessarily sporadic for a while.

But in my absence, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:

Most Useless Band of the 80s!!!!!
You know -- the band that in its blithe cluelessness epitomized the worst aspects of the decade. Or the band that just had the most bad songs, ill-considered concepts, and cringe-inducing video. Or the band that you could barely remember even at the time. However you want to define useless.

Okay -- the votes are in at my house, and it's a dead heat!

And the winners are ----

1. Spandau Ballet

From the stupid name (Nazi prison chic? What the hell were they thinking?) to the insipid balladeering to the fact they thought it was cool to dress like a frat band circa 1962...these guys just screamed No Hope.

1. The Thompson Twins

Those hats, those affected vocals, the unconscious homage to the Four Seasons, the total sexlessness...if ever a band epitomized the je ne sais quoi that truly said "I don't know what" it was this Unholy Three.

1. The Housemartins

Marxist Jesus freaks. Yuck. Look up the word "twee" in the dictionary, and there's a picture of these guys. Seriously -- compared to these guys, Gerry and the Pacemakers were Black Sabbath.

Honorable Mention: Missing Persons

It would have been a four way tie, but at least MP could play.

Okay -- and your choice would be??????

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Get Your Ass Out of the Damn House!

You New York types--IPO's in town this week!

By all accounts, IPO crowds are the nicest people on the planet: we powerpop types are just big cuddlebunnies. I have read, for example, of people losing their wallets at IPO shows in major cities and getting them back intact.

Someday, when I have all the money in the world, I'm going to follow IPO the way some people followed The Dead.

And just for fun, a song from the tragically short career of Jim Ellison and Material Issue, whose seminal tune gave its name to this fabuous event (but does not seem to have a YouTube, criminally).

An Early Clue to the New Direction

From 1986, it's The Housemartins and their reedily annoying tender love operetta "Sheep."

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

Birthday Greetings Woody!

Super PowerPop birthday greetings go out today to ex-Move/ELO/Wizzard/Wizzo member/instrumentalist/guitarist Roy Wood, born this day in 1946 in Kitts Green, Birmingham.

Here's a video from Roy's terribly underrated 1973 solo LP Boulders for the beautiful Dear Elaine which reached number 15 on the UK charts in that same year.

Cheers Mate! I'll have a pint in your honor tonight!

Girls! Girls! Girls! 80s Nostalgia Edition

I figured since I posted something by Kirsty MacColl yesterday, it might be time to dust the moth balls off this one.

Ms. Ullman's take on the song isn't as genuinely touching as Kirsty's original, but it's not at all hard on the ears and it certainly enlivened the airwaves back in 1983. Of course, the real reason to sit through the video is the cameo at the end by a certain newly minted member of British royalty....

More Tales From the Mohammedan Menace

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Seriously, that's "Just You Wait," from The Trolleyvox Present the Karaoke Meltdowns, by The Trolleyvox, yet another fab new band that I somehow have managed to miss for the last ten years. In any case, it's as spiffy a piece of neo-New Wave power pop as I've heard lately; the fact that it's also a large erect middle finger to the current administration is, for me anyway, merely the icing on the cake.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Girls! Girls! Girls! Part Three

I've been meaning to post this since forever, but today seems like the perfect time.

From 2005, it's Petra Haden and the Sell-Outs, AKA The Greatest Girl Group Ever, with their astounding acapella version of The Who's "I Can See For Miles".

Sorry there's no embed, but click on the link above -- I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Incidentally, there's more where that came from. Haden -- who's the daughter of jazz bassist Charlie Haden, and who's something of a fixture in rock hepster circles (she's worked with the Decemberists -- hi, Atrios!)-- actually recorded the entirety of The Who Sell Out a capella. It's one of those rare High Concept albums that actually works...

BTW: The brunette to Haden's immediate left could have me if she played her cards right. Although I'm sure you already guessed that...

[h/t Allan Rosenberg]

Girls! Girls! Girls! Part Two

More proof that YouTube is the greatest boon to human knowledge since the Library at Alexandria:

A newly discovered (i.e., it wasn't there a month ago) video by great 60s chanteuse Evie Sands.

This was Evie's debut single, and like all her hits and near hits it was co-written by Chip Taylor, author of "Wild Thing," brother of Jon Voight, and uncle to some megabitchin' movie babe whose name currently escapes me.

Girls! Girls! Girls! Part One

From 1989, it's the late great Kirsty MacColl and her exquisite cover of The Kinks' "Days."

We needn't go into the awful details, but let's just say there's a special circle of hell reserved for the bastard who ran MacColl over with a speedboat in front of her two helpless young sons.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Happy Birfday Mary!

Word is out on the street that today is NYMary's birthday! Best wishes for a wonderful day and many more! Cheers!

More Evidence

for steve's regular assertion that YouTube is the most amazing invention for geeks like us pretty much ever.

From 2007 SXSW, Paul Collins and Peter Case doing a song some blonde chick made famous.

"Let's show them how we did it in the old days."

This Has Been Another Edition

of What Thers said.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Rock 'n' Roll Nursing Home

Thirty-five years after Creedence, the great John Fogerty channels The Ramones.

I must confess I hadn't heard this song, which is from Fogerty's 2004 solo album Deja Vu All Over Again, but god, if you ever needed proof that a geezer can rock out convincingly, that would have to be it. Meanwhile, my old Sound & Vision colleague Brett Milano is raving about Fogerty's new one, which he says is in fact the guy's first solo album to live up to the legend. Guess I'll have to go check it out...

We Get Press Releases

The trailer for this didn't look exceptionally promising, but dig who wrote the songs.


Columbia Pictures' Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Starring John C. Reilly as Dewey Cox,
Opens Nationwide On Friday, December 21

This winter, everyone will want to rock like Cox! In Columbia Pictures’ new comedy Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, in theaters December 21, John C. Reilly stars as the larger-than-life legendary musician and songwriter Dewey Cox. But behind the music is the up-and-down-and-up-again story of a musician whose songs would change a nation. On his rock ‘n roll spiral, Cox sleeps with 411 women, marries three times, has 22 kids and 14 step-kids, stars in his own 70s TV variety show, collects friends ranging from Elvis to the Beatles to a chimp, and gets addicted to – and then kicks – every drug known to man… but despite it all, Cox grows into a national icon and eventually earns the love of a good woman – longtime backup singer Darlene (Jenna Fischer). The film also stars Tim Meadows and Kristen Wiig.

The soundtrack features a sampling of Dewey Cox’s greatest hits, spanning over five decades of his musical history. Album producer Michael Andrews tapped some of America’s top tunesmiths, including Van Dyke Parks, Dan Bern, Mike Viola, Charlie Wadhams, Antonio Ortiz, and Marshall Crenshaw, to write the new classics. All 15 songs are performed by the Academy Award®-nominated actor John C. Reilly as Dewey Cox. In addition to the Cox-penned classics, also included is the heart-wrenching lounge disco interpretation of David Bowie’s “Starman.”

Could be a hot one!!!

Sorry, Suzanne

From 1967, here's Zen ladies man Leonard Cohen on the BBC's Julie Felix Show, with "The Stranger Song."

BTW, Ms. Felix, who I was heretofore unaware of, seems to be a highly interesting character in her own right.

[h/t Jenny from the Blog, whose secret is safe with me.]

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Tales From the Post-Sexual Revolution

A sobering thought: Kids who were conceived while their parents were listening to Like A Virgin by Madonna are now college graduates.

Actually, I've never really understood this song. The implication seems to be that virginity is such a good thing that you would want to return to it. Doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense to me, especially considering who's singing it.

Of course I do have a Madonna theory: I think the reason teenage girls liked her so much back in the day was because she scared the shit out of teenage boys.

[h/t trifecta]

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Saturday Night Glam Blogging!!

Here is the lovely lady from the Motor City, Suzi Q. Not much else to say except that she ROCKS!

Silly Saturday Song

For Thers, who longed tragically for me to post this particular piece, the haunting "Vicki,: from the Richard Kiel classic, Eegah. There's some excellent textual exegesis in this clip as well.

"But I don't want to look like Arch Hall, Jr!"

Remember Babyblogging?

Me neither.

But the boy ended his soccer season today with a 3-3 tie. It was a hoot.

Action shot!

In noncompetitive leagues, everybody gets a trophy. The boy is quite keen on this one, as it has both a hologram and a spinning ball.

Meanwhile, a bored Rosie dragged me off to the woods to explore.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Weekend Listomania (Special Quel Est Le Nom Le Plus Mauvais? Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manservant Hop-Sing and I are off to our nation's capital, where I've been asked to brief Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey on water sports. Why he doesn't know about pool polo (and why that's controversial) is beyond me, but apparently it's a gap in his education that may sink his nomination and we can't have that. So posting by moi will be necessarily sporadic for a while.

But in my absence, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:

Worst Rock n Roll Band Name Ever!!!!

You know -- the gauchest, most idiotic, least original, most pretentious, or just plain uncoolest. However you define it.
[Totally arbitrary rule: It has to be a band that actually made records. So friends or acquaintances, like the guys from Paramus I knew who had a band called Rubella and the Dead Little Girl, are ineligible.]

Okay -- my totally Top of My Head Top Five:

5. Asia. Or any other band named after a city, region, state, country, or continent. Fuck you, Chicago. Eat it, Boston. Take a hike, New England. Cram it, Europe.

4. Whitesnake. Wow -- manages to be racist AND sexist at the same time. Brilliant!!!!

3. Pablo Cruise. The level of imagination that went into that moniker was easily as great as that which went into their music.

2. The Electric Prunes. I'm sorry, I know it was the 60s, but still. A psychedelic laxative? Just awful.

1. Anthrax. Why smart guys wanted to name themselves after a loathsome disease is beyond me. Although it's pretty hilarious that after the post 9/11 anthrax scare they were going to change it to A Basket of Puppies.

Okay -- and your choice would be??????