Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Kids Are Alright. Okay, Maybe Not.

From 2016, please enjoy Micah Tyler and his wickedly funny ode to the young generation.

I'm actually friends with exactly one Millennial, so I don't know if that's a fair or accurate parody. But speaking as a Boomer who gets culturally stereotyped all the time, I gotta say -- frankly, I don't give a shit.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Drugs Have Done Great Things (An Occasional Series)

So why do I love a certain Shady Dame's neighborhood in Forest Hills?

Well, among many other reasons, because yesterday we walked a few blocks from her apartment and got to participate in a ceremony renaming a street in honor of the late great Walter Becker, of Steely Dan fame.

He grew up on that block, BTW. I was totally unaware of that until a few weeks ago.

I should also add that, as estimable as Becker's Steely Dan work is, I think his finest accomplishment is his first solo album, 11 Tracks of Whack, from 1994. And this song from it in particular.

""You take their money just like you take mine." Ah, what a sentimental old fluff Becker was.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Atoms for Piece

From their new album Contra Mundum, which dropped -- as the youngs say -- last month, please enjoy Nashville pop-rock band Tall Dark Stranger and perhaps the smartest retro-70s song I've heard in eons.

"Love in Chernobyl."

I'm not sure exactly what this reminds me of -- Steely Dan, maybe, or Jackson Browne, or somebody else I'm forgetting -- but it's really just great; melodically addicting and with a central lyrical metaphor I would have killed to come up with.

In any case, you can find out more about these guys, and buy their album, over at their official website HERE.

I should also add, as I did when last I wrote about these guys, that this is the kind of terrific locally based band -- and I know from my experience at this here blog that they're all over the place -- that the people who book the music on Saturday Night Live should be showcasing, rather than the Migos/Cardi B/Nicki Minaj utter commercial crap they mostly foist on us.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Great Lost Singles of the Sixties (An Occasional Series)

So the other day, I was reading a piece by Charlie Pierce about Governor Scott Walker -- or, as Pierce refers to him, "the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin" -- when for some reason this song by the Nashville Teens, which I hadn't thought about for years, popped into my head.

Jeebus, that's adorable. Incidentally, it was written by the great John D. Loudermilk, who also provided the Teens with their international smash hit "Tobacco Road." As for the Teens themselves, their real claim to fame is backing up Jerry Lee Lewis on his Live at the Star Club, Hamburg album, which is arguably the greatest live rock record ever made.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Closed for Ka-Boom!

This week's news has exhausted me.

Regular posting resumes on the morrow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Your Wednesday Moment of Where Has This Song Been All My Life?

From 1984, please enjoy The Textones, featuring Carla Olson and Phil Seymour (of Dwight Twilley Band fame) and "No Love in You."

I hadn't heard that until yesterday, when friend of PowerPop Captain Al played it on his intertube radio show. I've enjoyed Olson's work over the years, without ever becoming a fan per se, but Jeebus H. Christ on a piece of challah toast, that's fantastic. And yeah, I know its about as Stones-derivative as can be (albeit the Stones if they were fronted by a woman with a vaguely country-ish voice).

But between that fabulous riff and Olson's vocals, that simply kills me.

Thanks, Captain!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Encounters With Greatness (An Occasional Series)

And speaking as we were last week of The Velvet Underground Experience show I was fortunate enough to attend the opening of...

...I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that my old college pal and friend of PowerPop Tony Janelli, who co-directed an absolutely brilliant animated short about the time the Velvets played at his high school in suburban New Jersey...

...that features prominently in the exhibition, will be a guest speaker at the VUE this very evening.

The exhibition is at 718 Broadway in Greenwich Village. You can get a ticket online at the show's website HERE.

And tell 'em PowerPop sent you.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Literary Notes From All Over

So as you may or may not have heard, certain obviously mentally ill people have decided to issue a book version of my greatest hits, i.e. an athology of pieces about music, film and pop culture in general I have written over the years for various dead tree publications and, more recently, web sites including this here blog and Box This is gonna happen sometime next year, the good lord willing and the creek don't rise.

I am currently in the process of culling all this stuff (fortunately, there is now a pretty complete online archive of back issues of The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review). Also, a young, technologically savvy friend of mine has volunteered to digitally scan my 1985 masterpiece quickie rock book Gender Chameleons: Androgyny in Rock n Roll, which has been out of print practically since the day it was first released to a largely uncaring public.

I am also pleased to note that my new friend, Pulitzer Prize winning high-brow critic Tim Page (hi, Tim!) has graciously offered to give me a complimentary blurb upon the book's publication, which is really a mitzvah.

In the meantime, I found this 1975 piece from SR recently, and I thought I would share it with you as a little advertisement for myself, if I may paraphrase Norman Mailer. It's self-explanatory, obviously, and I still love the list, but obviously it's a snapshot in time and if I was writing it today it would be a lot different. Enjoy, if possible.


My younger brother's passion -- or perhaps it's a mania -- for film exceeds even mine for music. I mean, he'll sit through four hours of a Republic serial without even going to the john! But his mania has its uses; not long ago I was browsing through an esoteric film journal in his collection whose basic premise I have decided to crib. Titled simply "Things We Like," it was a completely and openly subjective (what else?) catalog by two film nuts of moments they found memorable in various motion pictures. One moment that stopped me -- and it's the only entry I can remember, by the way -- was the opening: "Mariette Hartley's wedding in Peckinpah's Ride the High Country." Lovely.

Anyway, after worrying away at my own list culled from twenty-odd years of rock-and-roll, I've decided at last to air the dirty linen in public. What follows is simply a random rundown of things that have given me pleasure, rock-wise, over the years -- specific songs, events, brief musical bits. I won't pretend, as much as I'd like to (ought to?), that any of them have any significance other than showing where my own head is at, but never mind. This is strictly for browsing; I'm willing to bet any rock fan could come up with a totally different list that would be equally valid and just as much fun.

So, without further ado, "Things I Like."

•George Harrison's last harmonic on the solo from "Nowhere Man."
•Charlie Watts hitting the bell of his cymbal on the final line of "Dead Flowers."
•The opening a capella harmonies on Fairport Convention's version of "Percy's Song."
•The Beach Boys' background ah-ohm-wop-diddits on "This Whole World.
•Smokey Robinson's heartrending wordless vocalizing at the end of "Ooh Baby Baby."
•Keith Richards' guitar solos on "Down the Road Apiece."
•Dave Davies' finger-picking on the fade-out of the Kinks' "See My Friends."
•Roy Wood introducing his solo on "Turkish Tram Conductor Blues" with a coy "Oh, yes."
•All of Bruce Springsteen's "Rosalita."
•Bob Dylan's spoken introduction for "Like a Rolling Stone" on the Albert Hall bootleg.
•The back-up vocals on the last verse of the MC5's "Shakin' Street."
•Steve Marriott's screaming at the end of the Small Faces' "Tin Soldier."
•David Crosby's harmonies on the last verse of the Byrds' "Fifth Dimension" and "I Come and Stand at Every Door."
•The drunken Dixieland band on the Stones' "Something Happened to Me Yesterday."
•Arlene Smith's singing on the Chanels' "Maybe."
•The production (especially the percussion) on Martha and the Vandella's "Dancing in the Street."
•Paul McCartney's bass line on "A Little Help From My Friends."
•Keith Moon's drumming on the final break of "Happy Jack."
•Eric Clapton's lead guitar on the studio version of "Badge."
•Stevie Winwood's organ work on the ending of "I'm a Man."
•Jeff Beck's guitar solo on the Yardbirds' "Train Kept A-Rollin'."
•Keith Richards forgetting to turn on his fuzz-tone during "Satisfaction" on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1966.
•Todd Rundgren's guitar work on the Nazz's "Under the Ice."
•Leon Russell's piano on Dylan's "Watching the River Flow."
•Johnny Johnson's boogie-woogie piano break on Chuck Berry's "School Days."
•Jimi Hendrix's solo on "Little Wing."
•Roger Daltrey's "Yeahhhhh!!!!!" after the instrumental section of the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again."
•The censored original cover for Beggars Banquet.
•Steve Stills' and Neil Young's guitar duet on the original "Bluebird."
•Skip Spence's mumbled vocal on Moby Grape's "Seeing."
•The rave-up during the Kinks' "Milkcow Blues" (studio and live versions).
•Buddy Holly's version of "Slippin' and Slidin'" with posthumously overdubbed backing by the Fireballs.
•The Stones doing "Under My Thumb" at Altamont, as seen in Gimme Shelter.
•Van Morrison's harp break on "Mystic Eyes."
•Joni Mitchell's long-held notes and guitar work on "Marcie."
•Ian Hunter's primal (what else?) screaming on Mott the Hoople's "The Journey."
•The fact that Bob Dylan is removing Pete Hammil's liner notes from Blood on the Tracks.
•The back-cover in-concert photo on the English EP version of Got Live If You Want It.
•Paul Buckmaster's orchestral evocation of Vaughan Williams at the conclusion of "Moonlight Mile."
•Paul McCartney's vocal on "Long Tall Sally". (Not to mention Ringo's drumming or George's second solo.)
•The out-of-tune twelve-string and falsetto vocal on the Stones' "Singer Not the Song"
•Gary Brooker's scream of "Here I go!" from Procol Harum's "Rambling On."
•Nicky Hopkins' electric piano solo on the Beatles "Revolution."
•Zal Yanovsky's solo album.
•Lou Reed's singing on the last verse of the original "Sweet Jane" on Loaded.
•John Fogerty's blues-wailing harmonica on "Run Through the Jungle."
John Mendelssohn's review of Led Zeppelin II.
•The Move's "Tonight."
•Beatles VI.
•Joan Baez's unintentionally hilarious attempt at soul singing on the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" (in the 1966 film The T.N.T. Show.
•Almost anything by Dave Edmunds.
•Carly Simon's legs (if not her records).
•The echoed handclap before the ending of the Zombies' "Tell Her No."
•John Lennon forgetting the words to "Help" on the Ed Sullivan Show.
•John Entwistle's bass figures on the "teenage wasteland" portion of "Baba O'Reilly."
•Rod Stewart's "Whooo!!!" on the Faces' "Had Me a Real Good Time."
•Iggy Pop's Ray Davies imitation on "Gimme Danger."
•The Beatles' Shea Stadium Concert film.
•Elvis' weight problem.
•Alan Price's two-fingered organ solo on the Animals' "Boom Boom."
•Jack Cassady's eyebrows. (Also, his bass on the Airplanes' "Other Side of This Life.")
•Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild," as featured in the credit sequence of Easy Rider.
•Keith Richards' teeth.
•Carl Wilson's twelve-string break on the Beach Boys' "Dance Dance Dance."
•B.J. Wilson's one-measure drum solo on Procol Harum's "The Devil Came From Kansas."
•Neil Innes' "worst guitar solo in history" from the Bonzo Dog Band's "Canyons of Your Mind."
•West, Bruce and Laing titling a banal slow blues "Slow Blues."
•And, of course, just everything from Exile on Main Street.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Personne Ne Sait

And speaking as we have been for the last couple of days of the fabulous Yellow Pills volume 3...

...please enjoy my third favorite cut from it -- ex-Raspberry Scott McCarl and his infernally catch "Nobody Knows."

And speaking of nobody knows, I have no idea whatever happened to that guy (the track dates from the early '90s). I know he wasn't in the band when they did a fabulous reunion show at the Highline in New York City in 2007.

I should add that a certain Shady Dame and I had our first date at that show. Gee, I wonder why I fell in love with her.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

What Do You Call a Drummer Without a Girlfriend?


Thank you, I'm here all week -- try the veal. And please tip your waitresses -- they all have massive drug habits to support.

Oh, and here's Fred Armisen telling some other musician jokes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

And speaking as we have been for the last couple of days of the fabulous Yellow Pills volume 3...

...please enjoy my favorite track. "Time Will Tell on You" by The Rock Club.

If truth be told, I have sort of personal reasons for loving that song. For starters, the drummer is my colleague in The Floor Models (and my musical director for the last fifty years) Glen Robert Allen. And the song's composer and singer is none other than honorary Floor Model Ronnie D'Addario.

Log-rolling aside, I think you'll admit that's a pretty gorgeous tune. I should also add that Ronnie is currently enjoying being the father to pop phenoms The Lemon Twigs (who, incidentally, now own my 1961 Fender Bassman amp, which is considerably older than they are). And that you can find out more about Ronnie and his own music -- which is a really high quality body of work, if I do say so -- over at his official website HERE.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Stars Look Down

And speaking as we were last week about the late great John Wicks and his contribution to Yellow Pills Vol. 3...

A really lovely song, if not as great a performance as the stuff on the first Records album; when I saw him do it live, however, at the Yellow Pills record release party in 1995, it was considerably more glorious sounding, as was his entire set. Plus, as I mentioned last time, I got to meet John before he went onstage, which was one of the real thrills of my adult life.

Another song from the Yellow Pills comp -- one that's a little closer to home for me -- tomorrow.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Press Releases I'm Glad I Read

Got this from friend of PowerPop (and a guy who distributes Floor Models CDs, so he has excellent taste) Ray Gianchetti, proprietor of Kool Kat Musik:

Goodbye Kayfabe, the third (and latest) album from British multi-instrumentalist and producer Nick Frater sees a tougher sound, kicking off with sensational power-pop smash “Built To Last”! Featuring guest vocals from Nicolai Prowse (Do Me Bad Things) the song is a joyful blast of Raspberries meets Cheap Trick! "...impressive opener ‘Built To Last’ is one of the best retro-Raspberries singles I’ve heard this year. It’s almost impossible to top!" --

Goodbye Kayfabe continues with the punchy jangle-pop of "Paperchase," with other tracks painting in Frater’s broad sonic palette - tropilia, brass band, vintage synth arpeggiators -- and ending with another trademark Beatle-esque ballad. "An absolute joy of a listen that’s right up our street." – “Frater’s music reminds me of Jellyfish’s incredibly knowing but lovingly crafted meta pop" –

Met with rapturous reviews when digitally released in early 2018, Kool Kat Musik has included three bonus tracks, including “Sara," which brings a hint of yacht-rock to the song’s narrative about witnessing a misguided workplace romance! Final track “The Sombrero Fallout Suite” is a truly staggering musical achievement! It’s an eighteen minute power-pop song-cycle, in nine movements! Imagine if The Flaming Lips had produced side two of Abbey Road

As you can hear from the above, Ray isn't indulging in hyperbole about "Built to Last," and I am here to tell you that his description of the rest of the album is spot on; this is modern pop with power at it's most inspired (although I must confess I haven't quite figured out the reference to yacht-rock).

In any case, you can (and definitely should) order it from the Kool Kat link up top; you can also find out more about Nick's other albums, including Something/Nothing (yes, it's a tribute to Todd Rundgren) over HERE.

Friday, October 12, 2018

9 Lives, 88 Keys

Real life concerns have got me sidelined. While I'm gone please enjoy the most adorable thing I've ever seen.

Regular posting more to do with the mission statement of this here blog resumes on Monday -- I promise.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Closed For Monkey Business

Regular -- and very cool, because it's a great new song by an artist you may not know -- posting resumes on the morrow.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

I'll Be Your Mirror

So last night a certain Shady Dame and I went to the opening of the brilliant new Velvet Underground exhibition in Greenwich Village.

Boy, was it like old times for me (notwithstanding that the Village is all but unrecognizable from when I lived there in the early 80s). Lights, cameras, loads of press, plus free hors d'oeuvres, an open bar and celebrities.

You can't see them in that clip, but as I was shooting it I noticed John Cale and Laurie Anderson going nose to nose in a corner.

And I was particularly pleased that The Velvet Underground Played at My High School -- a brilliant animated short by my old college chum Tony Janelli -- was playing on a continuous loop.

It's a true story, BTW -- Summit (N.J.) High, in 1965.

In any event, the show runs through the end of the year and it's well worth your attention. I should add that we had dinner at a great Italian place nearby called Bar Primi, which is at 325 Bowery; if you go see the show, you could do a lot worse than try the pasta with pancetta and pecorino.

Monday, October 08, 2018

All Messed Up and Ready to Go

I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of John Wicks, lead singer of the enormously influential power pop band The Records.

And co-writer of one of the most perfect songs of all time -- "Starry Eyes."

The Records first album -- The Records in the US, Shades in Bed in the UK -- is an absolute stone classic; there isn't a less than memorable song on it.

Here's perhaps my faborite. And certainly the most gorgeous.

I should add that The Floor Models were huge fans. Here's our cover of "Hearts in Her Eyes," another classic from that debut album. We used to play it live so often everybody in Greenwich Village thought we wrote it.

I got to meet John at the 1995 record release party for this great power pop compilation put together by Jordan Oakes; John, who was sort of making a comeback, contributed a stunning tune called "Her Stars Are My Stars."

Here's a very nice unplugged performance of it from a few years later.

Some bandmates of mine had a song on the same album as well, but alas, I can't find Mp3s of either of the studio versions of those on my iTunes library or on the intertubes generally. I'll see if I can track them down later in the week.

In any case, you'll have to trust me -- John's performance at the aforementioned show was glorious. And he was incredibly nice when I introduced myself afterwards; he remembered a review of a Records best-of CD I had written in the early 90s, which blew my tiny mind.

End of story -- I've said it before and I'll say it again: This death shit is really starting to piss me off.

RIP John Wicks.

There's Something Happening Here

From 2018, please enjoy friend of PowerPop (and moi) Joe Benoit...

...and the lead off track of his forthcoming solo album Too Old to Be a Rock Star.

Apart from being stone gorgeous, that song seems obviously relevant to our current national trauma, but I won't beat you over the head about that.

In any case, Joe used to front a killer NYC power pop band called The Regulars (you can read and hear more about them over HERE) and he's super talented. He also recently, out of the great goodness of his heart, contributed angelic harmony vocals to a new Floor Models song.

I'll keep you posted as to when his album is coming out. I should add that he's doing a solo gig on October 19th, starting at 8:30 pm, at the fabulous Gutter Bar in Williamsburg... if you're in Brooklyn that evening check him out. Here's the info:

200 N 14th street
Brooklyn, NY 11249

And tell 'em PowerPop sent you.

Friday, October 05, 2018

It's Classical Friday!!!

True thing: For the last couple of weeks, I've been going to sleep nights by listening to old radio broadcasts of Jack Benny over at the invaluable Internet Archive.

Which are hilariously funny, but Jack and company really were meant to be on television, where you could see them too.

I present this clip as evidence.

When you look up "comic timing" in the dictionary, it has a picture of Jack.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Sometimes Life is Good

Case in point -- I just got a CD reissue of one of my favorite classical LPs of all time. Serge Prokofiev playing his gorgeous 3rd piano concerto...

...which also includes his solo piano version of the gavotte from his Classical Symphony.

Apart from being stone beautiful, that comes in at way less than two minutes -- EMI should have released that as a pop single back in the day.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

I Knew I Liked These Guys!

Devo reworks their biggest hit as a force for good.

BTW, I saw them in a small club when their first album came out, and I have never seen a band so completely focused on getting every deal of their presentation right. To the point that when the bass player accidentally banged his knee and broke character for a few seconds to make a joke about it, it was almost shocking.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Your Tuesday Essay Question

Should The Beatles' A Hard Days Night be colorized for a new generation?

Over at the Steve Hoffman forums, they're having a spirited discussion on this very subject.

Personally, I think the mere fact the idea is being bruited is a clear sign of the end times, but I'm obviously a purist.

In any case, I'm of the opinion that Night should have brand new CGI effects inserted...

...and thus turned into a Japanese monster movie.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Marty Balin 1942-2018

From their debut appearance in NYC -- at the Cafe Au Go Go in legendary Greenwich Village on April 3, 1967-- please enjoy Jefferson Airplane (featuring the great Marty Balin, who co-wrote the song with lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen) and their fabulous "She Has Funny Cars."

The lead-off track from Surrealistic Pillow, which remains one of the great American rock albums of the 60s.

I was at that show, BTW. On a date. With...well, I'm not gonna drag that lovely woman into this.

If I may go off on a brief tangent here -- I had forgotten that Marty already had an attempted Top 40 teen idol career before he got the Airplane together; here's a record he did in 1962. Sounds a little like Gene Pitney, I think.

In any case, I was, and still am, a humongous Airplane fan; my first serious band might as well have been an Airplane tribute act, as you can see by our performance in this 1969 student film. (We enter approximately two minutes in).

I got to meet Balin once, in 1975. RCA Records flew me out to San Francisco when Jefferson Starship (not Starship -- this is when they were still good) were in the studio recording Red Octopus. He was kind of a moody, brooding presence, but when I asked him about an old Airplane song they had performed on TV but never released in a studio version, he totally opened up to me. I thought he was a very cool guy.

Still do.

RIP, Marty.