Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Bigfoot Porn Rules

Apparently, this is now a thing.

Of course, Chevy Chase, Christopher Guest and National Lampoon's "Lemmings" saw all this coming years ago.

"And the morning of the avalanche
The Yeti kidnapped Blanche..."

Monday, July 30, 2018

Compilations of the Gods: An Occasional Series

Long time readers may recall our pal ex-pat Brit DJ WAYNE LUNDQVIST FORD, who has a very cool radio show (Ice Cream Man Power Pop and More), that is heard on a terrestrial station in Sweden (also streamed world wide, obviously) and who plays the sort of music that informs the mission statement of this here blog.

Said readers may also recall that, a few times a year, Wayne puts together compilations of that sort of music that he then offers on-line.

Which brings us to the most recent one -- released this past Friday -- which is charmingly monikered SONGS WE LEARNT AT SUNDAE SCHOOL.

Which features 163 -- count 'em, 163 -- tracks by that many bands and solo artists from around the world. All available, for free (cheap), for download and streaming at the link above.

Among them -- holy kazoosis!!! -- songs by The Hounds...

...and The Floor Models...

...both of which include work by some asshole whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels.

You should also check out tracks by Friends of PowerPop Mike Daly and the Planets....

...Nick Piunti...

...and Dave Sheinin.

But everything on the comp I've listened to so far has been well worth hearing, and god bless Wayne for getting this (and his earlier albums) together. Patrons of the arts get points in heaven, as far as I'm concerned.

Meanwhile, you can hear more of these songs...

...on Tuesday over at another radio show -- "Angel's Indie Lounge" -- at BELTER-RADIO, (out of the UK) at 5pm (EST).

Friday, July 27, 2018

Great Lost Singles of the '70s -- An Occasional Series

From 1976, please enjoy Piper -- featuring a then largely unheralded Billy Squier -- and their insanely insinuating ode to watching the clock, romantically speaking, "Can't Wait."

I had completely forgotten about that song until the other day when I was cleaning out my iTunes library. It's pretty terrific, although if memory serves the rest of the album it derives from is undistinguished. I should add, strictly as a historical note, that Piper were not the only commercially unsuccessful band featuring the pre-stardom Squier; he was also a member of THE SIDEWINDERS who made an interesting sort of glam-rock album produced by Lenny Kaye a few years earlier.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Playing Over Our Heads

The latest Floor Models meisterwork is 95 percent complete.

The song's composer -- power pop legend Marc Jonson (who claims he wrote it for us) will be adding background vocals soon, but even in this form it sounds amazing, IMHO. Kudos for the stellar work by my long time bandmates -- Gerry Devine (long-distance vocals), J.D. Goldberg on guitars, and Glen "Bob" Allen on drums. (That's me on the bass and fake strings, BTW).

I should also add that seeing the aforementioned Marc Jonson live at Kenny's Castaways in the late 70s was a literally life-changing event; the aforementioned Floor Models would never have gotten together if we hadn't seen Marc tearing it up on that cramped Kenny's stage back in the day. But that's another story (also involving The Smithereens) and I'll save that for next week.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Eyesight to the Blind

Went to my oculist yesterday, and had my pupils dilated in preparation for a new prescription.

Which brought this fabulous song to mind.

How did people see
In the 14th century
When no one had invented glasses?

Walking all around
Were they more tuned into sound?
Did everything they set their eyes on
Seem to merge with the horizon?

In a wild orgasmic frenzy
Blending into All is Oneness

Or did they just squint
To read the finer print?
Scores on scores of squinting people
Kneeling at the groping steeple

Please, oh God -- give me glasses.


I should add that said song derives from the fabulous 1972 The Night is Still Young, which is pretty much the only Sha Na Na album worth owning. Most of the songs are very sharp originals, plus there's a drop dead gorgeous cover of "In the Still of the Night" that beats the original, and the whole thing is produced to a fare-thee-well by the great Jeff Barry. You can -- and very definitely should -- order the reissue CD over at Amazon HERE.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Closed for Monkey Business

It's Tuesday. I don't like Tuesdays.

Regular, less dyspeptic, posting resumes mañana.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Time Flies Like an Arrow. Fruit Flies Like Bananas.


Depeche Mode: You have drawn Tintin or the Little Prince in the margin of a math test.

Erasure: You have been caught kissing a copy of The Little Prince.

Thompson Twins: You have been spanked with a copy of The Little Prince.

Human League: You have been spanked with a VHS copy of The Neverending Story.

The Clash: Your safety word is “Nicaragua.”

Grace Jones: Your safety word is forty-seven syllables long.

Brian Eno: Your safety word is “10011101.”

Duran Duran: Your safety word is “Kim Wilde.”

Kim Wilde: You have forgotten your safety word.

You can read the rest of it -- some of which is so hilarious that it made me expel an adult beverage onto my computer monitor -- over at the McSweeney's website HERE. Incidentally, it's a two-parter, so don't miss the link to the second half.

Friday, July 20, 2018

(A Tale of) Four Cities Confidential: A Photo Essay

So as you may have heard, a certain Shady Dame and I recently spent some time across the pond. Herewith, selected highlights of our whirlwind sojourn in the British Isles and France.

To paraphrase Paul Simon, it's all a blur to me now, so it's a good thing I had the foresight to take a bunch of pictures. Incidentally, the following photos are best viewed by clicking on them to increase their size. Thank you.

Anyway, after a long, unconscionably delayed flight, we arrived, somewhat exhausted, in the ancestral home of the Fab Four and had this as our introduction to Liverpool -- as seen in the lobby of our hotel. He seemed like a nice young man, but the high heels struck us as a tad odd.

Turns out there was a good reason for the shoes, and kudos to receptionist Chris!

On the Liverpool docks, and yes -- that cat sculpture is made from discarded styrofoam coffee cups.

Incidentally, as you can see from these two street signs....

...although Liverpudlians nominally speak English, it's obviously not the same version that we Yanks do.

In any case, we found Liverpool utterly charming, but after two days of soaking up the atmosphere it was off to Oxford and the Pitt-Rivers Museum (of art and archaeology), where we encountered a stuffed stork that seems to have been art-directed by Chuck Jones and Friz Freling.

This sign, which made me laugh out loud, was glimpsed outside a seafood store at Oxford's famed Covered Market.

Later, we went in search of the Inspector Morse tv series, and found a charming pub that had been used as a location in the show. Imagine our surprise, then...

...when the bartender turned out to be Manuel, from Fawlty Towers.

Meanwhile, over at another museum -- the charmingly monikered Ashmolean -- we discovered this outfit. Which is NOT a costume from a movie...

...but is, in fact, something once worn by the actual Lawrence of Arabia.


While walking down the street nearby our hotel, we chanced across this darling little hat store...

...where BG tried on this remarkable hat.

Which, although tempted, we did not buy.

Then we took in a James Bond exhibit at the London Film Museum.

Jet packs! We were promised jet packs!

Hmm...this car looks strangely familiar.

And we found this in the museum gift shop.

Obviously, we had to buy one, and it now graces the entrance to BG's apartment in the Q-Boro.

Q-Boro. Seems appropriate, now that I think of it.

Later, after a splendid meal in the West End, we attended a performance of the hilarious farce The Play That Goes Wrong.

It was screamingly funny, but this really pissed us off.

I mean -- do you know how much those tickets cost???!!!!

The next day, still annoyed but at least well-rested, we spent several hours at the National Portrait Gallery, which has many treasures well worth the trip. For example, The Dream of Saint Helena, by Paolo Veronese (1570).

Or as it's better known -- Stop Sufferin, Take Bufferin.

Another stop you in your tracks moment was provided by this masterpiece from 1620. Say what you will about the unknown Flemish artist who painted it, but he was really showing off.

I was also much taken with Philosophy, by Salvator Rosa, circa 1645.

The Latin inscription held by the figure in the painting (widely assumed to be the artist himself) translates as "If you don't have anything interesting to say, then keep your freaking mouth shut." Seriously.

And what can I say about this amazing self-portrait by Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, from 1742...

...except -- wotta dish.

But my favorite, hands down, is this fabulous family portrait by William Hogarth.

I must admit, I did not know that Hogarth had done anything but black-and-white caricatures. But I was even more surprised when I looked carefully at the top right portion of the painting...

...and discovered that somehow it featured The Incomparable Eddie©!

The next day, it was off to Paris -- where we've been so many times now that it seems like a second home -- by the Chunnel Train...

...where we decamped at our beloved Duquesne Eiffel hotel.

With this view out of our room window. (It's less impressive than it looks -- as they say in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it's only a model.)

BTW, for some reason, the Frenchies seem to like this sparkling lemon beverage...

...but I thought it tasted like Pschitt.

Okay, posting all these photos has been exhausting.

Have a great weekend, everybody! See you on Monday with more traditional power pop related stuff!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Closed for Monkey Business

The weather is kicking my ass.

Regular, hopefully cooler, posting resumes on the morrow.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What Year is This Anyway?

Went to see the Foo Fighters at Madison Square Garden last night. I found it...a confusing experience.

For starters, opening act The Struts...

...seemed to be channeling the first Queen tour from 1974. (Later in the evening, BTW, the Struts' singer joined the Foos onstage for a spirited rendition of "Under Pressure.")

All well and good, but I drew the line at the usually estimable Taylor Hawkins' lengthy drum solo, which reminded of nothing so much as this.

Dave Grohl's truncated version of Billy Joel's "You May Be Right" also left me scratching my head.

I dunno -- I've been referring to Grohl and company as the Keepers of the Flame for a while now, but last night's show was a little too retro even for me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Whatever: An Occasional Series (Special Ladies Day Edition)

And from that same week (on the Jimmy Fallon show) in 2012 that those Keith Urban and Green Day clips were from, please enjoy the lovely and talented Sheryl Crow and an interestingly sung version of The Rolling Stones' classic "All Down the Line."

Further research has uncovered the fact that Phish also performed on the show that week, but don't worry -- I'm not gonna inflict THAT on you,

Monday, July 16, 2018

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Whatever: An Occasional Series

When I posted that Keith Urban clip -- him covering "Tumblin' Dice" -- the other day, I didn't know that it was part of a week-long Jimmy Fallon tribute to The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street.

So from 2012, please behold in breathless wonder Green Day as they blowtorch their way through one of the greatest rock 'n' roll songs ever written.

Okay, it doesn't swing like the Stones' version -- absent Charlie Watts on drums, how could it? -- but it's fricking amazing anyway.

[h/t Jonathan F. King]

Friday, July 13, 2018

It's Slacker Friday

Courtesy of the great Albert Brooks, please enjoy the usually censored version of Ravel's Bolero.

That's from the greatest comedy album of all time, BTW.

And one of these weeks, I'm gonna post five other things from it, just to prove my point.

Meanwhile, regular postings, beginning with a hilarious photo essay on my recent sojourn across the pond, resume on Monday.

Have a terrific weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Work is the Curse of the Drinking Class

A very nice piece on the making of The Replacements Don't Tell a Soul -- and, more specifically, the recording of "I'll Be You," which may be one of my top five favorite rock songs ever -- in the current issue of Mix.

We talk a lot about “paying your dues” in the music business. Producer/engineer Matt Wallace paid his back in 1988 when he produced The Replacements’ raw, charming and clever album Don’t Tell a Soul. “I was basically hazed for most of that record,” he says.

Wallace had relocated to Los Angeles from San Francisco in January of that year. “I was hitting a wall in the Bay Area,” he says. “I kept making demos for bands that would get signed, but ultimately I couldn’t get hired because I wasn’t a big enough fish in the pond.”

Wallace signed on as a staff A&R rep/producer for the Slash indie label, where one of his early claims to fame was producing a song by the so-called New Monkees.

“Warner Brothers was working on a Monkees reboot,” Wallace explains. “They had four guys who were ready for TV and a bunch of writers. Obviously, it never really broke through, but I got to know the people at Warners. Then I heard The Replacements were making a record, and I started calling and saying, ‘Hey, I’m a fan and am interested in working with this band.’ But they were like, ‘Well, Tony Berg’s doing the record, sorry.’”

You can read the rest of it HERE.

Consumer alert: I'm a huge fan of the Replacements, and if you're reading this here blog presumably you are too, but be warned: after reading that piece, I sort of concluded that they're not particularly nice guys. Let's just say that if I had been Matt Wallace, I would have come away from his experience with the band thinking they were very large, unpleasant assholes.

On the other hand, they made the above record, which is such a magnificent work of art that I guess pretty much anything can be forgiven. Hell, given "Be My Baby," I've forgiven Phil Spector, and he actually killed somebody.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Whatever

From 2013 -- and speaking of cover versions of songs by Mick and Keith, as we were talking about last Friday -- please enjoy Nicole Kidman's beard fabulous Australian country-rocker Keith Urban and a live take on the Stones' "Tumblin' Dice" that essentially, totally, kicks ass.

Jeebus, the motherfucker actually takes the guitar solo and nails it.

I mean, wow.

[h/t mainuh]

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Closed for Monkey Business: Special Don't Fear the Reaper Edition

Courtesy of my new Facebook pal, Tim Page (former music critic extraordinaire of the New York Times, and the author of TIM PAGE ON MUSIC, which I plan to devour over the weekend), here's a parody from the old National Lampoon that I have been looking for since forever.

The subtext, of course, is that I had a rough day yesterday.

Fear not, however -- regular, well groomed and peppy, postings resume on the morrow.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Going Down to Liverpool...

So as you may have heard, a certain Shady Dame and I were in Liverpool recently. And we were fortunate enough to take this particular Beatles tour...

...hosted by our guide, the incomparable Ian Doyle.

Incidentally, we took the three hour Rickenbacker tour, which I lurved, for obvious reasons.

In any case, Ian really knows his stuff, and if you take the tour -- which I highly, HIGHLY recommend -- there's at least one mind-boggling moment which I will not give away, but which I guarantee that not even the most fanatical and well-informed Beatlemaniac will be prepared for.

I should also add that Ian's psychedelically decorated cab can be glimpsed...

...in the James Corden "Carpool Karaoke" segment of The Late Late Show, which is the most fabulous 23 minutes of television IN HISTORY.

I should also add that Sir Paul autographed the Penny Lane sign that can be glimpsed here...

...approximately a week before the aforementioned Shady Dame and I, taking Ian's Beatles tour, got to see it in person.

In the meantime, if you're planning on vacationing in the British Isles any time soon, I will once again recommend Ian's Beatles tour, which can, and should, be booked over at www.mad-dayouttaxitours.co.uk. And tell 'em PowerPop sent you.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Weekend Listomania: Special You Can't Always Get What You...Whatever Edition

[I originally posted this back in 2010, back when the world and this blog were young. I've decided to revive it for no particular reason except I chanced across it the other day and thought -- hey, if I was doing this now, I'd probably include some other songs. So I've re-written parts of it and changed a bunch of the song selections, just to prove I'm not the slacker everybody mostly assumes I am. Enjoy, if at all possible. -- S.S.]

Okay, kids -- here a fun project for us all!

All-Time Best or Worst Covers of Songs by the Rolling Stones!!!

No arbitrary rules here, but just so we're clear -- we're talking about covers of songs by the Stones, not songs that the Stones covered. Jagger/Richards tunes, in other words, as interpreted by other artistes or miscreants.

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

14. Alvin Youngblood Hart -- Moonlight Mile

On balance, if I had to pick my favorite Stones song of all time, this would be it, and this great blues guy just nails it to the wall. Genius at work.

13. The Loud Family -- Rocks Off

In a million years, it never would have occurred to me that this bunch would do such a great version of this masterpiece from Exile on Main Street. But then again, the late Scott Miller was a freaking genius, so I shouldn't have been surprised.

12. The Floor Models -- 19th Nervous Breakdown

Recorded with a boom box in front of the band at one of our legendary gigs at the Other End, with the late great Andy Pasternack doing the famous opening Brian Jones riff on an electric 12-string, and our singer's then girlfriend discussing the tab.

As you can see (and hear, especially at the end) I got to do my best Bill Wyman imitation on bass, which was a hell of a lot of fun.

11. The Mona Lisa Twins -- The Last Time

Love these young gals from Liverpool. Their version of this one doesn't have the air of menace of the original, but it more than makes up for that by sheer sprightliness.

10. The Flying Burrito Brothers -- Wild Horses

This actually came out before the Stones version on Sticky Fingers, and after all these years I still kinda prefer it. Gram Parsons never sang more affectingly.

9. Linda Ronstadt -- Tumbling Dice

Jeebus H. Christ on a piece of challah toast -- despite the presence of the great Waddy Wachtel on guitar, this sounds like Ronstadt recorded it with a metronome rammed up her ass.

8. Melanie -- Ruby Tuesday

You know, I get a little annoyed sometimes by uninformed anti-Baby Boomer snark from younger friends, but then sometimes I remember -- shit, my generation actually bought this dingbat's records.

7. Rage Against the Machine -- Street Fighting Man

This one totally misses the point, I think, but of course nothing says "Total victory is ours, comrades!" like an album marketed by the Sony Corporation.

6. Bette Midler -- Beast of Burden

Miss M's finest recorded moment, no question. Certainly it beats "Wind Beneath My Wings" all to hell.

5. Social Distortion -- Back Street Girl

I had mixed feelings about this one for the longest time -- the original is, IMHO, one of the Stones' genuine (if mostly overlooked) masterpieces, and SD's punkish take lacks a certain depth and ambiguity. On balance, though, I think it's effective on its own terms.

4. The Dirtbombs -- No Expectations

I'm a huge fan of these guys, but I have to admit, in theory I didn't figure this one was going to work. Frontman Mick Collins' trademark punk-with-soul turns out to suit the song to a T, however (as does the mashup with another Stones classic).

3. The Supersuckers with Steve Earle -- Before They Make Me Run

The band is a little clunky, but if anybody has a right to sing Keith's outlaw blues classic it's Earle.

2. Grand Funk Railroad -- Gimme Shelter

Seriously, this is worse than that kid on American Idol doing "Under My Thumb."

And the number one simultaneously best AND worst Rolling Stones cover of all time, it's not even a contest my friends, is....

1. Charo -- Let's Spend the Night Together

Alrighty then -- what would your choices be?

Oh, and have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, July 05, 2018

An Early Clue to the New Direction: Special Nanker Phelge Edition

From 2018, please enjoy the fabulous Doughboys (featuring genuine power pop legend Richard X. Heyman on drums) and their just-released and unexpectedly blues-wailing cover of The Rolling Stones 1965 "Play With Fire." (Or about 52 seconds of it -- I clipped the track so that you bastard kids don't download the song for free. See the final paragraph below for more information about that).

That's a really wonderfully clever re-imagining of the song. The original Stones track, on the American version of Out of Our Heads (the album with "Satisfaction"), is a sort of folkie/classical hybrid (the great Jack Nitzche plays harpsichord on it). But the Doughboys turn it into a sort of primal rave-up -- it's now closer to The Yardbirds than the Stones, and in this case that's a really good thing.

I should add that I've written about Heyman and the Doughboys...

...who had this quite miraculous sort of local (New Jersey) hit record back in the late 60s...

-- before on numerous occasions (here's one of them). They're great, is the bottom line.

BTW, the relevance of their new single to the theme of tomorrow's Weekend Listomania is so blindingly obvious I can't bring myself to award a coveted PowerPop No-Prize to the first reader who guesses it. Sorry.

In the meantime, you can -- and should -- buy the complete version of "Play With Fire," and the rest of the Doughboys catalog, over at their website HERE.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

It's Independence Day (In What's Left of the USA)

And in its honor please enjoy Bill Pullman, the greatest president of the United States who was never president of the United States...

...no, wait, in the era of President Biff Tannen that's not even a particularly good joke.


What I meant to say was please enjoy the late great Ben E. King and his gorgeous cover of Bruce Springsteen's "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)."

I should add that I had no idea King's version of that song existed until early yesterday. Mind boggling, I think.

I mean -- can you imagine how cool for Bruce it must have been to learn that one of the singers you idolized back in your youth had actually beautifully interpreted a song you had written?

I think the word is wow.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Alan Longmuir 1948 -- 2018

Say what you will about The Bay City Rollers, but a) they were a genuine band who had paid their dues big time before they became superstars and b) they did an absolutely brilliant, and courageously self-referential, cover of Vanda and Young's classic "Yesterday's Hero."

Plus Nick Lowe wrote a great song about them.

Cooler than that it does not get.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Closed to Catch Up on My Reading

Got back from Paris yesterday and I'm all tuckered out. So I'm going to bed with a couple of good books to decompress till Tuesday.

BTW: Click to enlarge the photo -- otherwise you'll miss two of the best titles.

Regular peppy postings resume tomorrow morning. Scout's honor.