Sunday, November 30, 2008

SUnday Songcrush: The Middle

My songcrushes are usually kind of obscure, but this was a big hit in its day. Still, I heard it accidentally recently, and realized that it's pretty much a perfect power pop song.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday Night Glam Blogging...

We're Off to See the Wizzard!! Nobody does the Phil Spector Wall of Sound better than Woody!


Friday, November 28, 2008

Weekend Listomania (Special Zounds, What Sounds! Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my new Oriental temptress housegirl Fah Lo Suee and I are off to fabulous Dayton, Ohio (France) for the annual Running of the Brie festival. As a result, posting by moi will necessarily be somewhat fitful for a few days, or at least until we find the perfect cheese to go with post-Thanksgiving Alaskan non-pardoned turkey leftovers.

But until then, as always, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:

Best/Most Inventive Use of a Non-Traditional Rock Instrument on a Post-Elvis Record!!!

Arbitrary rule: By "non-traditional," we mostly mean any instrument outside the original 50s rock instrumental template -- guitars, bass, drums, piano, organ, and sax. Other non-trad keyboards (mellotron, anybody?) will be vetted at my discretion, but don't try to pull any of that 70s/80s synth shit. Other than that, I think this is wide open.

Okay, that said, my totally top of my head Top Six would be:

6. The Beatles -- Norwegian Wood

George on sitar, natch, and the first and still probably best use of the instrument on a pop song.

5. The Wackers -- Oh My Love

A Japanese koto, appropriately enough, on a gorgeous version of the John Lennon ode to Yoko that first appeared on Imagine. In fact, this sounded so much like a Beatles track that it was widely bootlegged as a John demo; in reality, of course, it's by the excellent Canadian power pop band the Wackers and can be found on their unjustly overlooked Hot Wacks, one of the very best pop albums of 1972. Buy it on CD here; it's actually quite breathtaking in un-scratchy high-fidelity stereo. Or you could just go to iTunes; to my surprise, the entire Wackers catalogue is available there.

4. The Association -- Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies

More koto (Gary Alexander, the guy who wrote and sang this, was of mixed Japanese-American heritage, I belive) on an absolutely fabulous and unjustly forgotten slice of LA psychedelia. Holy crap -- this is on iTunes too!

3. Smashing Pumpkins -- Pomp and Circumstances

Gong and xylophone, proving once again that there is no Listomania topic that can't be used to shoehorn in Billy Corgan's pretentious cueball noggin.

2. The Blues Project -- Flute Thing

The late great Andy Kulberg, first electric flautist of note. A lot of awful hippie shit (not to mention Jethro Tull) followed in the wake of this, but if you ever saw them do it live, the effect was quite mesmerizing, believe you me. According to Kooper, it's based on a riff on an old Kenny Burrell jazz record, BTW.

Okay, and the coolest use of a non-trad instrument (at least on a rock record), there's no question about it so just cut me some slack already about this, obviously is --

1. The Rolling Stones -- You Can't Always Get What You Want

Al Kooper's French horn intro really has no precedent on anything by the Stones. Flawlessly played, too, and it's hardly even his main instrument. The Beatles had the world's greatest living classical horn player -- Alan Civil -- on "For No One," but this is every bit as good.

Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Weekend Cinema Listomania (theme: Great Doggie Films!) is now up over at Box Office. If you could go over there and leave a comment, it would definitely get me in good with management. Thanks!]

Thursday, November 27, 2008

An Unusually Early Holiday Weekend Clue to the New Direction

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Of course, despite the fact that it's a holiday, Weekend Listomania will proceed as always. So from 1968, and one of the very greatest albums (Face to Face) of its decade, here's The Kinks and their splendidly harpsichord-laden "Two Sisters."

I've always liked to think that Ray based this, at least in part, on DeSade's Justine and Juliette, but of course I have no idea whether that's true or not.

In any case, a coveted PowerPop No-Prize will be awarded the first reader who glean's it's (admittedly oblique) relation to the theme of Friday's Weekend Listomania.

And if you get this one, my hat's really off to you!

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Weekend Cinema Listomania (theme: Great Doggie Films!) is now up over at Box Office. If you could go over there and leave a comment, it would definitely get me in good with management. Thanks!]

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Bit (of) Dodgy

On the way to work today I was thinking about all of the great Brit-pop bands forgotten in the wake of the tabloid-worthy antics of the battling Gallagher Brothers of Oasis. One that immediately came to mind was Dodgy, a group that had considerable success in England in the mid-90s but remains relatively unknown here in the States. The band scored three top 20 hits in the U.K. with their biggest chart success coming with Good Enough, which reached #4 in 1996. All three of the LPs with the original members (Nigel Clark (bass), Andy Miller (guitar) and Mathew Priest (drums) are recommended: The Dodgy Album (1993), Homegrown (1995) and Free Peace Sweet (1996). If you'd like a sampling of the band's singles output, check out Ace A's & Killer B's.

Here's one of my fave tracks from the band, from their 1994 Homegrown LP, Staying Out for the Summer.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I've Got Dreams To Remember You By (1934 - 2008)

Sad news -- the great Belgian pop artist Guy Peellaert has died.

Peellaert, of course, did memorable album covers for the Rolling Stones and David Bowie, but he made his biggest splash in 1974 with the brilliant Rock Dreams. Here's my review from The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review in December of that year. In retrospect, that Dylan portrait below is my fave, by the way.


By now you're probably seen Rock Dreams, Guy Peellaert and Nik Cohn's brilliant pictorial fantasy-history of rock-and-roll (Popular Library, $7.95) and you know just how great it is; you know how uncannily true the fantasy situations in which Peelaert has painted the various rock figures ring, and I'm sure you've got you're favorites. I certainly do -- Diana Ross in the back seat of her limousine as she returns to the ghetto she denies ever having lived in; a short-haired Mick Jagger (the final seqment of the Stones sequence) dressed in a smoking jacket, alone in his room and looking for all the world like a pop Dorian Gray; Creedence Clearwater Revival's John Fogerty (and where is he now that we need him?) in a rowboat on his way through the Louisiana bayou he conjured up so wonderfully without ever having seen; and a bedraggled and broken Jerry Lee Lewis standing alone in the rain, crying in his beer.

Obviously, a long-winded analysis of the book is unnecessary, even presumptuous; like rock itself, it is in many ways above analysis. But I do have two thoughts that I think are worth mentioning. First of all, some critics have noted that the only place the book's vision falters is in its portrayal of the latter-day heroes -- Bowie, Bolan, and Lou Reed -- who are treated simply as traditional portrait subjects, and have chalked this up to the fact that Peelaert, because of his age, is perhaps a little distanced from these contemporary myth figures. I suspect it's not quite that simple; it's especially instructive to compare his gorgeous representation of the Velvet Underground (with Lou Reed) to his rendering of Reed today, at the same time bearing in mind the music each represents. The former has the capacity to haunt the imagination, while the latter is simply there. Peeleart, it seems, is a much more perceptive rock critic than many of those who do it for a living.

Secondly, the book, great as it is, is in a way quite depressing. Like it or not, it's a retrospective, a summing up; I don't think it could have been done even five years ago, simply because the music and the musicians were much too vital. But in 1974, I find myself much more excited about the book Rock Dreams than about almost any recent rock album, and if that suggests to you what it does to me -- that rock-and-roll as we knew and loved it is indeed as decadent and played out as many have observed -- then it becomes an almost painful experience to finish it. To paraphrase Dave Marsh, I don't want to hang up my rock-and-roll shoes myself, but I'll be damned if I can give you a good reason why I shouldn't. Rock Dreams, for all its power, doesn't give me that reason, and I don't like that at all. But get it anyway.

In fact, get it here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Now *That's* Investigative Journalism!

Village Voice writer Robert Sietsema clearly has the coolest job ever. Taking as a starting point the general tone of Fountains of Wayne's "Mexican Wine," he explores why Mexican wine.
Why Mexican wine specifically? I set out to see if I could discover the reason, but first I had to find some actual Mexican wine. I’d been hearing for years that the wines of Baja, California were getting better and better, but when I scoured local liquor stores to find examples, I came up empty. Chalk it up to New York’s liquor stores being so small, or maybe Baja wines are still too obscure.

Eventually, I stumbled on a bottle at LaNell’s in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a place that specializes in organic wines, female-made wines, and New York State bourbons. The wine was a Jubileo 2005, made in Guadalupe, Baja, Mexico, a desiccated valley with 20 wineries, 40 miles southeast of Tijuana. The wine is a Meritage, which means that it’s a Bordeaux-style red made with a combination of grapes (usually including cabernet sauvignon and merlot, among others) permitted by California, U.S.A.’s Meritage Association. The winemaker is Laura Zamora, who qualifies as something of a Mexican winemaking superstar, and some of her vines – which require no irrigation, a big plus in Baja’s arid climate – are 60 years old, making them Mexico’s oldest.

He even kinda/sorta comes up with a plausible read of the tune!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Weekend Listomania (Special It is to Laugh! Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday, and you know what that means. Since my Oriental rentboy amanuensis Hop-Sing has been banished from my service after that disturbing incident with the missing Mitzi Gaynor LP, I will be spending the weekend training his replacement, the lovely and ageless Fah Lo Suee, to attend to my every need. Since there will most certainly be multiple applications of the lash involved, I will, no doubt, be out of radio contact for some time.

But in any case, posting by moi will be completely not happening until Monday.

Thus, in my absence, here's a little project for us all:

Funniest Post-Elvis Song or Record, Intentional or Otherwise!!!

Totally arbitrary rule: No obvious novelty songs or song parodies need apply. If I wanted to do a list of best or worse novelty songs, I'd do it. So if you try to nominate, say, "Grandpa Got Run Over By a Reindeer," or any of that Weird Al crap, I'm coming to your house and slapping you silly.

Okay, now that we've got that sorted out, my totally top of my head Top Six is:

6. You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) -- The Beatles

John, goofing particularly John-ily. Plus: That sax solo by Brian Jones is a bit of a hoot in and of itself.

5. Fuck You (An Ode to No One) -- Smashing Pumpkins

Performed here at a Tibetan Freedom concert, which is perhaps the cream of the jest. In any case, it proves once again that there's no Listomania theme so specific that we still can't find some flimsy excuse to invoke Billy Corgan's pretentious cueball noggin.

4. The Spider and the Fly -- The Rolling Stones

Still the funniest seduction song of them all. The original 1965 lyrics went "She was common, flirty, looked about 30." Here, years later, Mick (ever the gentleman) reworks it as "She was shifty, nifty, looked about 50."

3. Eve of Destruction -- Barry McGuire

Red Rockers did a really excellent 80s update of this which made it seem not all like low level kitsch, but the original remains an absolute unintentional hoot. Where's my harmonica, Albert?

2. Inside the Fire -- Disturbed

I'm sorry, but that bit on the intro where the singer laughs satanically in rhythm with the drum fills is just the funniest thing ever. What a pretentious twit...

And the number one absolutely hilarious song, don't give me a hard time about this or I'll harm you, quite obviously is ---

1. The Funky Western Civilization -- Tonio K.

The cameo spoken appearance by Joan of Arc makes me giggle gleefully every time. This is perhaps not quite the laugh riot that is Tonio's "H.A.T.R.E.D" (from the same debut album) but it's certainly close and there's no video for the latter so it's a moot point.

Awrighty, then -- what would your choices be?

Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania (theme: cool wartime action/adventures) is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could see your way to leaving a comment over there, an angel gets its wings.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Way Earlier Than Usual Clue to the New Direction

Having horrible wi-fi AND dial-up problems, so we have to post guerilla-style today.

So -- from 1965, here's the incomparably necrophile Dickey Lee and his hilarious yet morbid tale of Teenagers From Beyond the Grave, "Laurie (Strange Things Happen in This World)."

As always, a coveted PowerPop No-Prize will be awarded to the first reader who gleans the clip's relevance to tomorrow's Weekend Listomania.

And believe me, if you get this one -- you're REALLY good.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Songs of Innocence and Experience

From today's New York Times:

A lawyer for Michael Jackson said that the pop star might be too sick to travel to London to testify in a suit filed against him by a Bahrainian prince. Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa, second son of the king of Bahrain, filed suit against Mr. Jackson seeking repayment for money he gave to Mr. Jackson beginning in 2005, including $2.5 million dollars to cover Mr. Jackson's legal bills during a child-molestation trial in Los Angeles that year; Mr. Jackson contends those payments were gifts.

A lawyer for the sheik plans to play in court a song written by the sheik and recorded by Mr. Jackson as proof of their close collaboration.

You know, that song Dennis Wilson wrote with Charles Manson was actually pretty good...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Abracadabra! (I Have Seen Them)

Morning All,

Last weekend I happened to be in my hometown of Youngstown, OH visiting family when by some miraculous stroke of luck I learned that the venerable powerpop festival International Pop Overthrow was taking its act on the road and was making a three night stand at the Cedars Lounge downtown. I opted for Saturday night when local heroes and powerpop legends Blue Ash hit the Cedars stage.

It was a full evening of pop with strong sets by support acts The Plast​ic Heart​s, The Dread​ful Yawns, Pale Hollo​w, The Jellybricks, Trigg​ers, Sky Dragster, and The Infid​els, but the crowd was clearly there for Blue Ash. The reformed group featured the original front line of Jim Kendzor on lead vocals, Frank Secich on guitar and bass, and Bill "Cupid" Bartolin on lead guitar. The band ran through an energetic set peppered with rock and roll chestnuts as well as a sampling of cuts from their classic LP No More, No Less. I should have made a set list, but frankly, I was having too good of a time!

Following are a few snaps from the show. I understand that there are also some video clips here at YouTube too. Cheers!

Frank on bass.

Bill Bartolin rips off a solo...

Jim was in fine voice after all these years!

No Country For Old Men

And speaking of the Fab Four, I've been searching the web for this picture of the Fabs at 64 for some months now. My befuddled brain remembered it as having appeared perhaps in LIFE magazine back in the day, but my old pal Steve Schwartz, who's forgotten more about the Beatles than I've had hot meals and who forwarded it, reminds me it's from the 1969 book The Beatles: The Illustrated Lyrics.

In any case, with hindsight, the artist got a few of the actual details wrong -- there are few things that fill me with more sadness than the fact there are only two living Beatles at the moment -- but as a fantasy it's simply lovely. Paul looks like the cheerful successful bourgeois burgher he probably really is, while John and Ringo are glorious old duffers who could have served with C. Aubrey Smith in some The British in India movie from the 30s. George, of course, looks like the dapper, slightly mysterious old hippy he was before the cancer took him.

For what it's worth, of course, George Orwell famously said that every man over 50 gets the face he deserves. By that standard, the actual living Paul and Ringo are doing pretty good, I think.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Beatles Track?

Sir Paul has a Christmas present for us:
LONDON (Reuters) - An unreleased, experimental track by The Beatles could be made public 41 years after it was recorded at Abbey Road studios, ex-member Paul McCartney has said.

McCartney, one of two surviving members of arguably the most successful pop band in history, told BBC Radio that "Carnival of Light" was The Beatles at their most free, "going off piste."

"I said it would be great to put this on because it would show we were working with really avant-garde stuff," McCartney told Radio 4's Front Row culture show in an interview to be broadcast on Thursday.

He confirmed that he had a master tape of the track, which many Beatles fans assumed until now was a piece of musical myth, and added: "The time has come for it to get its moment."

What do you reckon? It could be appalling, you know. Or wonderful. But it sounds like "Revolution Number 9," only not so lucid.

Paul must have lost a lot in the divorce to be considering this.

via Lambert.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Weekend Listomania (Special Bonjour, Tristesse! Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday, and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental amanuensis Hop-Sing and I are off to...well, actually I can't tell you where we're off to because I'm in the midst of firing the disloyal little toad (hint: That Mitzi Gaynor album is missing again) and I don't want to involve lawyers.

But in any case, posting by moi will be completely not happening until Monday.

Thus, in my absence, here's a little project for us all:

Coolest Post-Elvis Song or Record Referencing The Emotion of Sadness or the Word Sadness Itself (Title or Lyric!!!)

No arbitrary rules this time -- just take your meds and promise you won't slash your wrists when all this is over.

And my totally top of my head Top Eight is:

8. Little Miss Sad -- The Five Emprees

A big hit in the Chicago area, summer of '65. My across the hall college neighbor that fall turned me on to it just this year. Thanks, Eric!

7. Sad Songs (Say So Much) -- Elton John

I've never owned an Elton album or particularly even wanted to, but for some reason this song gets under my skin.

6. Still I'm Sad -- The Yardbirds

You know, for a blues band, these guys sure did a lot of modal Middle-Eastern sounding stuff.

5. Sad Peter Pan -- Smashing Pumpkins

You thought it was going to be that Melon Collie shit, didn't you?

Inspirational verse:

It's the plan of most
To discover that magnificent ghost
When did I get perverted
And my innocent eyes diverted from the view so grand
Imbued with distractions
I'm greedy like Senior Babbitt
I'm just chasing that electric rabbit
I'm a reluctant rebel
I just want to be Aaron Neville

I'm really glad Billy Corgan takes himself seriously because after reading that it's a wonder anybody else does.

4. I Was Young When I Left Home -- Bob Dylan

It's like a distillation of all the melancholy in the world. And people said he couldn't sing...

3. Sad Little Girl -- The Beau Brummels

There is a school of thought, to which I occasionally subscribe, that BB's frontman Sal Valentino is one of the greatest rock voices ever.

2. The River -- Bruce Springsteen

As Thelma Ritter says in All About Eve -- what a story; everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end.

And the number one it's-all-so-sad song, don't give me a hard time about this or I'll harm you, quite obviously is ---

1. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry -- Hank Williams

Still the most profoundly blue piece of music ever recorded.

Awrighty, then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania (theme: Genre parodies) is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could see your way over there to leave a comment, an angel gets its wings, blah blah blah.]

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Perhaps Earlier Than Necessary Clue to the New Direction

From an indeterminate date, here's somebody named Toby Goodshank and a photomontage based on "My Uncle Used to Love Me But She Died" by the late great Roger Miller (NOT the one from Mission of Burma).

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

But to paraphrase Groucho Marx in A Night at the Opera, if you get this one you're good.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This Shouldn't Make Me Happy, But It Does

A headline today over at the great comforting warm bath that is the Arts and Leisure section of The New York Times:

Sales slump even for the hit "Now That's What I Call Music!" albums.

You can read the rest here.

But as a public service, here are the two satanic bastards behind the NTWICM! series.

Seriously -- if you look up "record company weasels" in the dictionary, that's the picture you see.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More Shameless Rockism and Rose-Tinted Nostalgia Bollocks

Over at The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review, the editors have come up with yet another list of the Top 50 Albums of All Time.

4: The Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed (London; ABKCO)
This isn’t just a farewell to a decade; a counterpart to Goodbye Baby & Amen (Stones cover photographer David Bailey’s book of portraits, published earlier the same year), it’s the sound of an era shutting down. The album opens with the aural equivalent of a pistol shot in the apocalyptic “Gimme Shelter.” And it ends with an ode to resignation, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” — which is also, in Greil Marcus’s apt phrase, the most outrageous production ever staged by a rock & roll band. In between, there’s a lot of stuff that sounds like cowboys playing the blues, a lot more stuff about sex and death and power (the Stones’ great subjects), and best of all, Keith Richards’s first solo vocal, on the utterly gorgeous “You Got the Silver.” The band’s next two studio LPs were variations on the theme; if Let It Bleed was the last gasp of the ’60s party, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main St. were the staggering home at sunrise and the subsequent hangover. — STEVE SIMELS

For the rest of the list, including several other equally pretentious capsule reviews by moi, feel free to go here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Best Band in America?

All signs point to yes.

That's The Hold Steady, on Conan O'Brien back in August, with the title song from their brilliant Stay Positive (which I can reveal will be, barring an act of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, my number one album pic in the upcoming Village Voice critic's poll).

Incidentally, they live in Brooklyn, in a certain shady dame's neighborhood, but of course that hasn't influenced my judgement about them or the record in any way.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday Night Glam Blogging...

Hello Kids,

The Hollywood Brats where England's New York Dolls, althought they didn't realize they were both working in the same medium at the time. The LP that they recorded in 1973 was never released at the height of their powers and we can only imagine a battle of the bands between the two groups. Band member Casino Steel (probably one of the greatest sobriquets of the era) finally ended up in punk/poppers The Boys, who released a cover of Sick on You on their eponymous first LP in 1977. Proto-punk at its finest.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Weekend Listomania (Special The Heat Was Hot Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental flunky Hop-Sing and I are off to one of the many homes of Sen. John McCain (R-pathetic loser) for a weekend long pity party. Supposedly some talk radio personality will be stopping by with goodie bags full of Oxycontin, so it's quite possible that posting by moi will be somewhat fitful for a few days.

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

Most Memorable Post-Elvis Song or Record Whose Title or Lyrics References High Temperatures or Combustion!!!!

No arbitrary rules this time. Unless you don't have AC, in which case just have a drink.

In any case, my totally top of my head Top Six would be....

6. A tie:

Jimi Hendrix -- Fire


The Crazy World of Arthur Brown -- Fire

I personally prefer the Arthur Brown "Fire," but that's mostly because he wore a bunsen burner on his head when he sang it.

5. Another tie:

Dwight Twilley -- I'm on Fire


Bruce Springsteen -- I'm on Fire

Funny that both of these are rockabilly-inflected. I have no idea if that has any larger meaning, I just think it's interesting.

4. Smashing Pumpkins -- Tales of a Scorched Earth

Proving once again that there's no Listomania subject too specific for us to find some tortured connection to Billy Corgan and his pretentious cueball noggin.

3. Bubble Puppy -- Hot Smoke and Sassafrass

The first heavy rock band in Texas, and a surprisingly good song if you can get past the really dopey lyrics and the awful group name.

2. Sly and the Family Stone -- Hot Fun in the Summertime

The political irony of this song is less apparent in 2008 than it was back in the day, but on its other, less fraught, level it remains as joyous and uplifting as ever.

And the number one "Is it warm in here or is it just me?" song, don't contradict me because frankly I'm dying here and I don't have the energy to smack you, is....

1. The Beach Boys -- The Warmth of the Sun.

Brian Wilson has said this was inspired by the Kennedy assassination, although I've never really gotten the connection if truth be told. In any case, there are days I think it's the most beautiful song he ever wrote, regardless of what prompted it.

Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania (theme: overlooked thrillers!) is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could see your way to go over there and post a comment, an angel has its testicles descend.]

Thursday, November 06, 2008

An Early Clue to the New Direction (First Obama Era Edition)

From 1971, here's extremely poor man's Crosby Stills and Nash the insufferable America with their evergreen annoyance "A Horse With No Name."

I believe the late great comedian Richard Jeni said it best: "You're in the desert. You got nothing else to do. Name the freakin' horse!"

In any case, as always, a coveted PowerPop No-Prize will be awarded the first reader who gleans the clip's relevance to tomorrow's Weekend Listomania.

No More, No Less...

Top o' the Morning,

The good folks at Collector's Choice just released Blue Ash's classic 70s powerpop LP No More, No Less at the end of last month. From the promo material:

When England's esteemed 'Guardian' newspaper assembled their list of 1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die, the 1973 debut album from Blue Ash made the grade amongst all the established classics—pretty remarkable for an obscure record that was out-of-print for over 30 years! Well, we at 'Collectors’ Choice' have rectified that injustice, so this critically acclaimed LP can take its rightful place in the power pop pantheon. Signed to Mercury by legendary rock critic/publicist Paul Nelson, this four-piece from Youngstown, OH was among the first power pop bands alongside Badfinger, Big Star and Raspberries to revive the virtues of mid-’Sixties rock against the then prevailing tides of prog excess and singer-songwriter self-absorption. 'No More, No Less' showcases the band’s knack for melodic three-minute pop tunes delivered via a breathless attack that melded the Byrds’ jangle with the Who’s rhythm section and the Fab Four’s harmonies, as heard on the first cut and best-known track 'Abracadabra (Have You Seen Her?)'. Also includes their rave-up of the Dylan rarity 'Dusty Old Fairgrounds' and such proto-power pop gems as 'I Remember a Time' and 'All I Want'.This first-ever CD release features brand-new liner notes, courtesy of the band’s bassist and co-songwriter Frank Secich, along with rare photos from the band’s archives.

Records fans are probably familiar with the killer opening cut Abracadabra (Have You Seen Her?) that appeared on the bonus EP included with their debut U.S. release. I can vouch for the fact that this disc is a stone cold powerpop classic not only because the band hails from my hometown Youngstown, OH, but also because it is simply an exuberant blast of unpretentious Beatlesque rock and roll that cannot help to bring a smile to your face. It's a shame that it took over 30 years for this to get back in print, but here's your chance to pick up a giant of the genre.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What I Wouldn't Give For a Large Sock Full of Horse Manure

At this point, I have nothing to say about today's historic events, except, obviously, go vote already.

In the meantime, however, reader MBowen has graciously clued us to what is quite possibly the Worst Single of the Year.

For those keeping score at home, that's The Airborne Toxic Event(!) and the insufferable "Something Around Midnight."

"Boy meets girl, girl blows him off for another guy, and then the end of the world ensues while the band plays outtakes from The Joshua Tree. I didn't think it was possible for a person to take himself so seriously without collapsing in on himself like a neutron star -- Eddie Vedder and that bloated idiot from Smashing Pumpkins are Laurel and Hardy compared to this guy."

Uh, don't mince words, M -- tell us what you really think.