Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Plan 9 From Covers Week: Special "Harry Vanda and George Young Are Deities" Edition

From 1986, please enjoy The Hindu Love Gods -- i.e., Warren Zevon and R.E.M. -- essaying one of the greatest rock-and-roll songs ever written, The Easybeats' "Gonna Have a Good Time."

A version that somehow I had forgotten the existence of until yesterday, despite it being one of my all-time fave tunes.

And may I just ask why none of my Australian friends had bothered to remind me of this?

I'm talking to YOU, Peter Scott.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Annals of High Concept (An Occasional Series)

Okay, this has very little to do with music -- although the song at the end of the trailer is pretty cool -- but I just had to share.

The plot:

After a devastating family tragedy, a priest travels to China to find deeper spirituality, but instead is endowed with an ancient ability that allows him to turn into a dinosaur. At first, he is horrified by his newfound superpower, but a local prostitute convinces him to use his newfound gift to fight evil – and ninjas.

I think we can all safely agree the F/X in that clip make Sharknado look like Mansquito, whatever that means.

In any case, this soon to be classic film will be available on DVD and for streaming (on iTunes, where it will share bandwith with the new Floor Models album), but if you're nice to me I'll send you a Vimeo link for a screener.

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Decline of the West (An Occasional Series)

From 1958, please enjoy (if that is the word) Ronnie Burns -- yes, George and Gracie's son -- and his attempted hit single "She's Kinda Cute."

I discovered that song because of late I have been listening to old Jack Benny radio and TV shows in attempt to soothe myself to sleep on nights when today's current events are making me upset. Mostly it works, but when I heard this one I jumped out of bed in a cold sweat as if I was being pursued by the Hounds of Hell.

Seriously, that may be the worst 50s teen idol piece of crap of all time; it makes Frankie Avalon sound like Will and Ariel Durant.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Covers Week Has Risen From the Grave! (Part Four): Something Sinister This Way Comes

From 1976, please enjoy The Fabulous Sheepskins...

...and the most deliberately creepy cover of a Herman's Hermits song ever heard by sentient mammalian ears.

The Sheepskins were a sort of Los Angeles glam-rock collective which featured a couple of rock critics and also friend of PowerPop Kirk Henry, whom attentive readers will recall as a member of cult band Christopher Milk. In any case, I'm not sure I prefer their version of "I'm Into Something Good" to the original, but I think it has a certain je ne sais quoi that truly says "I don't know what" and I definitely dig it.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

We Interrupt Covers Week For a Commercial Message

Attentive readers are doubtless aware of friend of PowerPop Joe Benoit (pictured below with some grizzled old timer)...

...who happens to be, coincidentally, a ridiculously talented singer/songwriter/guitarist whose praises I have sung here on numerous occasions.

Joe recently released a four-song EP...

...featuring this quite glorious tune...

...and now he's getting ready to release a full-length album -- ON HIGH QUALITY VINYL! With a real album cover (the kind you used to clean your weed on) and everything!!!

It'll have 9 songs (including the 4 from the EP); I've heard them all and they're killer, instant power pop classics every one of them.

Unfortunately, a project like this costs money, so Joe has started a Kickstarter campaign. At the moment, he's close to reaching half of his goal; I've contributed, and so should you.

So come on, kids -- be a patron of the arts! It's fun, and plus you'll actually be doing something socially valuable, which is rare in these troubled times.

Help make Joe's album a reality -- just click HERE and pledge whatever you can! You won't be sorry!

And tell 'em PowerPop sent you!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Covers Week Has Risen From the Grave! (Part Four): Special "In the Autumn of My Madness" Edition

From 2002, please enjoy that old lemon squeezer Robert Plant and his splendid cover of Moby Grape's magnificent "Skip's Song" (a/k/a "Seeing").

The definitive version of this is on Moby Grape 69; Plant is actually covering an earlier Grape demo that first appeared on Columbia/Legacy's now criminally out of print Grape box set, and you can read what I had to say about it back in the day at the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review on page 92 HERE.

In any case, Plant (to his credit) is a huge Grape fan; this is actually the second cover he did of their stuff (the earlier is the wonderful "Naked If I Want To"). I don't think either of them live up to the originals, but hopefully the royalties helped their composer Skip Spence at the end of his troubled life.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Covers Week Has Risen From the Grave! (Part Deux): Special "Hey, It's Better Than Being Stood Up" Edition

From 1968, and his absolutely wonderful post-Lovin' Spoonful solo album, please enjoy the great Zal Yanovsky and his fabulous guitar take on Floyd Cramer's piano instrumental hit "Last Date."

That whole album is a riot, BTW, particularly the title song and an utterly demented cover of "Little Bitty Pretty One," which I may post later in the week.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Covers Week Has Risen From the Grave! (Part One): Special "Clare De Lune Rose" Edition

From 2019, please enjoy the incredible Joshua Lee Turner and an absolutely magisterial cover of Nick Drake's sublime "Pink Moon."

You can find out more about this kid (and hear more of his stuff, which is largely beyond belief good) over at his webiste HERE.

[h/t Matt Mitchell]

Friday, July 19, 2019

Bride of Covers Week (Part 4): Special "Heavy Metal Meets Folk-Rock and Then They All Go Out to the Pub For Dinner" Edition

From 1970, please enjoy The Move and their staggering cover of Tom Paxton's "Last Thing on My Mind."

Quite a reimagining of the song, I think; let's just say that it's usually performed in a gentler, more bucolic style. I'd give my right arm to know if the song's composer ever heard it.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Bride of Covers Week (Part III): Special "These Guys Sing Like Birds" Edition

From 1966, please enjoy The Everly Brothers and their lovely take on The Hollies' "Signs That Will Never Change."

Okay, technically this may not be a cover, given that Don and Phil's version came out first. (The Hollies didn't release theirs till 1967, as the B-side of "Carrie Anne.")

Nevertheless, it's gorgeous and I love it and this is my blog so don't give me a hard time.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Bride of Covers Week (Part II): Special "Quick Henry, the Visine!" Edition

From 2008, please enjoy The Bangles absolutely killing it on a version of the Todd Rundgren/Nazz classic "Open My Eyes."

I gotta say that's about as transplendent as it gets, for Debbi Peterson's drumming alone. And don't even get me started on the harmonies.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Who Listens to the Radio?

Well, hopefully you guys. Because I'm going to be a guest on friend of PowerPop Capt. Al's Lost at Sea show this morning. On fabulous Area 24 radio.

You can access the station HERE; after you click on the link, just hit the Tune In button on the top right and crank the volume. The show starts at approximately 11am EST; I'll make my appearance around 11:15, at which point both you and Capt. Al will try to guess the theme uniting all the music I'll be introducing.


Monday, July 15, 2019

Bride of Covers Week (Part I): Special "You Talk Too Much" Edition

From 2019 and their just released Running for Covers album...

...please enjoy the pride of New Jersey The Doughboys (featuring the great Richard X. Heyman on drums) and a hilarious Yardbirds-esque version of Mose Allison's classic insult song "Your Mind is On Vacation..."

As in "...And Your Mouth is Working Overtime."

Long time readers are aware of my affection for both this band and Richard X. Heyman on numerous preious occasions, to which I will only add -- order this new record over at Amazon immediately.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Howard Beale Should Have Lived to See This

From 2017 and the Aussie TV news satire show Mad as Hell, please enjoy Shaun Micallef and friends doing to solemn Sgt. Pepper nostalgia what should have been done to it years ago.

Seriously -- that is one of the funniest things I've seen in my frickin' life.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

[h/t Peter Scott]

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Image of the Day

Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers discuss a forthcoming recording session in a room in the Hotel Wolcott in New York City on September 30, 1958.

The rock stars were preparing to take an aspiring crooner named Lou Giordano into the Beltone Studios inside the hotel (at 4 West 31st Street).

Holly and Phil Everly co-produced the session. The two songs recorded were "Stay Close To Me" and "Don't Cha Know."

And because I love you all more than food, here are they are.

In any case, as friend of PowerPop Peter Spencer observed yesterday, that picture -- the photographer is unknown -- is worth it for the period decor alone.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

Late, and very productive, night in the studio.

Regular posting, all tanned and rested, resume on the morrow.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Your Tuesday Moment of Words Utterly Fail Me

From 1963, please enjoy the incredible Bunker Hill and his total destruction to your mind single "The Girl Can't Dance."

There's not a lot of biographical info available on Hill, except that his real name was David Walker and that he was an on again/off again member of the great gospel group The Mighty Clouds of Joy when he wasn't singing the Devil's music under a pseudonym. He apparently died, way too young, in Houston in the early 80s, and hadn't been involved in the music business for quite some time.

In any case, the record features Link Wray on guitar (it was recorded at Link's home studio) and as somebody said in the YouTube comments, it makes Little Richard sound like Pat Boone. Had it been a hit, history might well have been changed in unfathomable ways.

[h/t Tommy Perkins]

Monday, July 08, 2019

Have Instruments, Will Demolish

From 2019, please enjoy The Tearaways...

...and their epic tribute to the legendary musicians known to history as The Wrecking Crew. You know, the guys who played on just about every hit record out of Los Angeles from the early 60s to the early 70s and beyond.

BTW, you may have noticed that heir-to-Keith Moon aka once and forever Blondie drummer Clem Burke is just one of the interesting veteran rockers in this band; for more information on them just go over HERE and tell 'em PowerPop sent you.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Return of the Son of Covers Week (Part V): Special "The Band That Wouldn't Die" Edition

Well, they said it would never happen, but The Floor Models -- featuring some bass player whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels -- have a new album out.

And from it, please enjoy their live take on The Byrds version of Goffin-King's classic "Wasn't Born to Follow."

That was recorded during the the soundcheck for a radio broadcast we did for WDST-FM in Woodstock, which is why you don't hear an audience (they hadn't arrived yet). The year, I'm pretty sure, was 1995, but we had been doing the song since our earliest days in the Village, i.e. the early '80s. In any case, it was always one of my favorite things to play live, so I'm especially glad the recording survived.

As for the album itself, it's got four newly recorded tracks (including a song by our late great 12-string ace Andy Pasternack that's so beautiful it hurts) plus six more previously unreleased tunes from the vault that aren't too shabby either. The whole thing is now available for streaming and purchase at CD Baby, Amazon and iTunes; other digital platforms -- Pandora, etc -- will be up in a day or two. Physical CDs will be available in a couple of weeks, but why deprive yourself until then?

Also, we just got added to Spotify, where the album sounds especially glorious. Apparently, they have some kind of technological fix over there that makes our music sound better than it is.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Return of the Son of Covers Week (Part IV): Special "The Tanks Are Rolling Down the Boardwalk" Edition

From 1997, and a tribute album (One Step Up/Two Steps Back)I somehow managed to miss, please enjoy the legendary Ben. E. King and a quite lovely cover of Bruce Springsteen's holiday classic "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)."

The arrangement takes a little while to get going, but King sings it quite idiomatically, I think.

Anyway, Happy 4th, everybody.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Return of the Son of Covers Week (Part III): Special "The Gospel Truth" Edition

From 1994, and the stunning Richard Thompson tribute album Beat the Retreat, please enjoy The Five Blind Boys of Alabama and their spine-tingling cover of Thompson's "Dimming of the Day."

This song has been covered a lot, and I'm convinced it's all but impossible to do a bad version of it; this, however, is probably the most stylistically left field one I've ever heard. In any case, its composer did a gorgeous solo rendition of it when I saw him Tuesday night, and its been on my mind a lot since.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Return of the Son of Covers Week (Part Deux): Special "Battle of the Bands" Edition

Britney Spears versus Richard Thompson in a cage match to the death.

Incidentally, I saw Thompson last night (at the, alas, soon to be defunct City Winery in Manhatan) and he was brilliant as ever; he did an apparently as yet unrecorded song called "Crocodile Tears" that reduced me to helpless giggles. I'll try to find a vid of it for posting when I've worked all this covers shit out of my system.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Return of the Son of Covers Week (Part I): Special "Badass Beatles!" Week Edition

From New York City in 2008, please enjoy -- well, I don't know exactly who these guys are, but they're doing an absolutely astonishing cover of The Beatles' "Old Brown Shoe"...

...which is perhaps the best obscure Fabs tune of all time.

In any case, if that performance doesn't stop you in your tracks, seek immediate medical assistance.