Monday, December 31, 2018

The Present Day Pop-Rocker Refuses to Die

Attentive readers may recall that last year I waxed enthusiastic about the debut album by the charmingly monikered indie band The John Sally Ride, featuring friend of PowerPop (and proprietor of the invaluable Burning Wood blog Sal Nunziato on drums.

Here's what I said about the CD at the time.

The short version:
The whole album is pretty much the most delightful surprise I've had so far this year.

And now comes their sophomore effort Nothing Doing...

...and in many ways it's an even better pop-rock confection -- more assured, sonically sleeker, and just terrific on every level.

And if you doubt me, dig this video for one of the best tracks on the record.

There's a digital version of the album up at Amazon, and if it isn't at Bandcamp, Spotify, et al, right now, it will be momentarily. In any case, get over to Amazon and stream it or download it toot sweet.

Sal also informs me that there will be a vinyl release sooner rather than later, and possibly a CD, but in the meantime -- what are you waiting for?

Oh, and have I mentioned -- Happy New Year everybody! This blog is a labor of love, and obviously I love you all more than food!!!

Friday, December 28, 2018

We're All Spartacus, But Some of Us Are More Spartacus Than Others

From 1960, please enjoy the greatest movie title sequence of all time. Spartacus.

Music by the brilliant Alex North, visuals by the equally great Saul Bass.

Incidentally, North's score for the entire movie is equally brilliant, particularly in the fight scene between Kirk Douglas and Woody Strode, which is practically a concerto for gladiators and orchestra. In any case, I'm posting that sequence for a variety of reasons, starting with the fact that my 13 year old self was totally blown away by this when I saw it on a big screen in six-track stereo in New York City back in the day; I still consider it the greatest mating of kinetic art and music in history (I had the soundtrack album and probably played it more than any LP I had until the arrival of The Beatles). The other reasons I'm posting it mostly involve a certain moron and anti-Semite I occasionally make fun of on-line, but I won't bore you with the details of that.

In any event, some absolutely fabulous music that is far more relevant to the mission statement of this here blog will be up on Monday.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Conservatives Make Lousy Rock Critics (An Occasional Series)

Case in point: smarmy and inexplicably employed New York Times Op-Ed weasel Bret Stephens...

...has come out in favor of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti as the greatest album ever.

Okay, I'm exaggerating Stephens' enthusiasm for PG, but my point remains. I mean, jeez, will we next have to endure Ross Douthat's thoughts on Madonna?

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Surf's Up!

From 1973, please enjoy The Beach Boys and the instrumental track -- with some acapella group vocals at the end -- of their fabulous "Sail On, Sailor."

Just spine-tinglingly beautiful; I should also note that I had never heard this particular version until friend of PowerPop Capt. Al played it on his (400th) intertube radio show yesterday.

I should also add that I'd forgotten that Tandyn Almer had a co-write on this. Almer is perhaps best known for having penned "Along Comes Mary" for The Association, which would be credit enough for a lifetime for most mere mortals, but he also had a hand in "Marcella," the other truly transplendent Beach Boys song of the early 70s.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Old Capt. Al is For Real

Okay, it's Christmas.

But more important, friend of PowerPop Capt. Al is doing his 400th edition of Lost at Sea -- his award-winning intertube radio show -- today.

That's the 4000th in dog years, by the way.

In any event, it airs at Area 24 Radio...

...starting at 11am East Coast time and going till whenever.

You can hear it by clicking on the Listen Live! link OVER HERE.

I should add that the Captain informs me that he'll be playing lots of wild and wacky rare stuff on this special anniversary show, including music that yours truly has been involved in over the years.

Speaking of which, my old high school garage band chums The Weasels did the Lost at Sea theme song. It's a sea shanty, obviously, and no, I'm not playing on it, alas, but you'll hear it at the end of the show.

In any case -- congratulations, Captain, and here's to 400 more!!!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Oh Crap -- Simels is Starting to Post Christmas Songs: Special Smashing the Sound Barrier Edition

From some time in the '80s, please enjoy the incomparable Rudolf's Nightmare and their hilarious and increasingly speed-punk version of "Silent Night."

That indie 45 rpm slab of vinyl was the brainchild of a sometime bandmate of mine from the old days named Lars Hanson, who both produced it and played the way cool guitar stuff. Glen Robert Allen, drummer for The Floor Models and my musical director for the last 50 years, is the dude pounding the pagan skins.

If memory serves, Dr. Demento actually aired that a couple of times on his show. And if he didn't, he should have.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Oh Crap -- Simels is Starting to Post Christmas Songs: The Golden Age of Television Edition

From CBS TV -- originally broadcast live in 1956, but here recorded in the studio -- please enjoy Basil Rathbone (what a singer!) and "Mankind Should Be My Business," one of the big numbers from The Stingiest Man in Town.

Which I believe is the first ever musical adaption of Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

I should add that the show was remade as a Rankin/Bass animated special in 1978, which is interesting if you're an insane Walter Matthau completist (he sings the part of Scrooge at least as well as Rathbone, for what it's worth).

I was nine years old when the live version first aired, and I remember it made a humongous impression on me. The ghosts were particularly scary, albeit not as much as Rathbone's atonal groaning in the songs. I also had the soundtrack LP, because an uncle of mine worked for Columbia Records at the time, and for some reason I played it obsessively for years.

I believe Amazon has a CD version of the soundtrack LP of the original; the complete live version and the cartoon are similarly available on YouTube last time I looked.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Oh Crap -- Simels is Starting to Post Christmas Songs: Part Deux

From 2016, please enjoy power pop wiseacres The Dollyrots and their fabulously punked out update of "All I Want for Christmas is You."

I am chastened to admit that I had never heard the Mariah Carey original of this -- which dates from 1994, and which has a delightfully Phil Spector Christmas Album vibe to it -- until two weeks ago. Hey, I slept through the 90s, what can I tell you.

In any case, this cover version impinged on my consciousness a few days ago when I heard it on a certain intertube radio station which also plays The Floor Models.

In the meantime, you can find out more about these delightful kids and their music over HERE.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Oh Crap -- Simels is Starting to Post Christmas Songs

Okay, but I have a good reason for posting this one, apart from the fact that it's fabulous.

The pertinent info:

The song was released as promo only 7″ and 12″ double-A sided single in December 1981 to promote the charity album, “In Harmony 2” which was released at the same time. This recording was of a live performance from December 12, 1975 at C.W. Post College in Greenvale, NY.

It should be noted here that C.W. Post is my old school, and that I was in attendance at this performance along with fellow Postie and friend of PowerPop Kerrin L. Griffith.

Less up-lifting Christmas fare continues for the next several days.

Thursday, December 20, 2018


So as I mentioned yesterday, a certain Shady Dame and I were lucky enough to secure tickets to see Bryan Cranston in the Broadway version of Network...

...and the short version is that Cranston was absolutely brilliant and the adaptation works like gangbusters as a stage play.

But for me, the really big news is that they played this track by The Sonics as exit music.

I'm not hundred percent sure if it was the above version or a remake by somebody else -- I actually found a web page that has like about 30 covers of the thing by all sorts of other bands, but I'm still confused. In any case, it was a blast to hear the thing really loud over the Belasco Theater sound system, and kudos to whoever was involved with the production who came up with the idea to do it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Closed on Account of Being Mad as Hell

No, it's got nothing to do with the criminal in the White House.

But I've got tickets for today's matinee of Network, starring the great Bryan Cranston...

...and thus I've been too distracted to get a music-themed post together.

Business as usual resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Break on Through to the End of Some Book

Jimmy Fallon channels Jim Morrison, and much much more.

Unfortunately, the clip where he actually fronts The Doors on the Ed Sullivan Show seems to have been removed from YouTube.

[h/t Joe Benoit]

Monday, December 17, 2018

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me

Jack Black and Jimmy Fallon and...oh, just see for yourself.

To quote from the old Mighty Thor theme song -- you behold in breathless wonder.

[h/t Joe Benoit]

Friday, December 14, 2018

Your Friday Moment of Why Didn't Somebody Think of This Before?

From 2010, in a dank Australian basement, please enjoy JONESEZ and one of the funniest videos ever made.

I mean, yeah, it's a cute song, but the visual gimmick is such sheer genius that I want to kill myself for not having come up with it on my own.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

[h/t Peter Scott]

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa (A Slacker's Prayer)

Lost the song I was gonna post today.

Fortunately, the one I am gonna post tomorrow by a certain Friend of PowerPop is ready to go.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Your Wednesday Moment of Clarke-Hicks-Nash

From the just released Teensville Records compilation WISHYOUAWISH: The Hollies' Compositions by Others 1965-1968...

...please enjoy The Searchers and their quite fetching cover of "Have You Ever Loved Somebody."

The original of that one is from the Hollies wonderful 1967 album Evolution, which is sort of their Revolver, but the Searchers cover dates from late 1966. I don't think it's as good as the version its composers did, but it was sprightly enough to go Top 50 in England. It got some airplay in America too, if memory serves, at least in the New York City area. In any case, a terrific song.

BTW, that new comp has some real doozies that I had never heard before; Amazon has it, but you can also order a copy from the fine folks at Teensville over HERE.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Your Tuesday Moment of Why Didn't I Get the Memo?

So yesterday I was listening to an intertube radio station out of the U.K. called KOR, which is always pretty cool, but more specifically because I got word that they were gonna be playing a song by one of my gazillion old bands (in this case, Gerry Devine and the Hi-Beams).

Anyway, right before our song was scheduled, they played this track by a band previously unknown to me called The Speedways...

...and it blew my tiny mind. Let's just say that it's the kind of thing that's so damned good it makes me even angrier than usual about the crappy musical guests on Saturday Night Live.

In any event, those guys are on Facebook, and you can also find out more about them -- and more important, buy their music -- over HERE. And tell 'em PowerPop sent you.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Closed for Really Old People Monkey Business

My back is freaking killing me. To the point I just couldn't sit in front of the computer for any length of time.

Regular posting -- including a rave for some new music by a friend of PowerPop -- resumes on the morrow.

Have I mentioned my back is freaking killing me?

Friday, December 07, 2018

Daryll Zanuck, Eat Your Heart Out!

From the Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack, Brian May and Roger Taylor do the 20th Century Fox fanfare.

Seriously, the minute this came over the speakers at our local Hell Octaplex, I just knew I was gonna enjoy the movie.

I'll have more to say about the film on Tuesday, but in the meantime -- have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Your Thursday Moment of Simels’ Folly

Yes, I'm actually releasing a solo single next year.

And kudos to a certain beautiful and brilliant Shady Dame, who did the picture sleeve art direction and who, frankly, is working way too cheap.

This is not a joke, BTW. The A-side of this thing is gonna be a cover of the absolutely gorgeous anti-war classic by The Byrds (from 5D)...

...which we haven't recorded yet. But will be doing in early January.

The B-side, however, is a cover of a wonderful song by my pal from my 80s days in Greenwich Village Peter Spencer, which is done....

...and which I think sounds great.

Hey, what can I tell you guys -- a boy needs a hobby.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Kosher Queen

Finally saw Bohemian Rhapsody; short version, to my surprise, I liked it a lot.

I'll have more to say about it on Friday, but in the meantime, to help you all celebrate the Festival of Lights, here's the Jewish version.

In the immortal words of CeeLo Green -- ain't that some shit?

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Swingin’ Tuesday

From who knows when -- and frankly, who cares about time? -- please enjoy Metallica's smooth jazz version of "Enter Sandman."

Okay, obviously that isn't real -- and frankly, who cares about reality? -- but kudos to whatever wiseguys faked it. Good job!

I should also add that I don't quite understand the concept of smooth jazz. Does that mean there's something called bumpy jazz?

Monday, December 03, 2018

Your Monday Essay Question: Is This Complete Crap or What?

First -- read this thumbsucker from Sunday's NY Times about the guy from Migos....

... over HERE.

And then watch this song by him...

...and then tell me that he has anything more than, at best, a teaspoon of talent.

I've said this before, but the big problem with taking pop culture seriously is that if you do, you've got to take ALL of it seriously. Including this transparent horse hockey.