Thursday, December 31, 2020

If It Isn't Scottish, It's Crap: Special Beach Boys New Year's Eve Edition

From November 1964, and their epochal Christmas LP, please enjoy the incomparable Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, Al Jardine, and the humongous dickitude that is Mike Love and their incomparable a cappella rendition of that Scottish New Year's eve song whose title escapes me.

With an extra special holiday message from Denny at the end.

And if you're out tonight, please drink responsibly. Or not. After all, you guys can do anything you want -- you're college students!

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The Hiccup Song

I did not previously know this existed.

And while it has an undeniable relevance to the medical conditions that have been kicking my ass since Saturday, if I ever encounter the people who wrote and recorded it, I guarantee I will put a bullet through their brain(s).

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

U2 Sings Their Ode to the Medical Condition That Has Been Kicing My Ass Since Saturday Morning.

Which, I might add, was the last time I was able to leave the house. God, it's annoying and deeply uncomfortable.

Seriously-- apart from barely being able to sleep or eat, the worst indegestion in the world(!), non-stop hiccups, and having everything spinning mst of the time, I've thrown up in a really explosive painful way twice in the last two days. For the first time in thirty years.

In short -- none of my post Christmas experiences have been any fun whatsoever.

Regular, non-kvetchh musical posts return on the morow, the Lord wiling.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Hey, In a Pandemic, a Boy's Gotta Have a Hobby!

From his just released solo album McCartney III, please enjoy the cutest surviving ex-Beatle and his delightful "Find My Way."

As you probably know, as he did with his previous two solo records, Paul did did everything on it at home by himself.

In any event, it's nice to know in these trying times that Macca's still got it. The rest of the album, which you can find for free on YouTube, is darned good as well.

Friday, December 25, 2020

A Lump of Coal Week (Best Rock/Soul/Pop Xmas Songs of All Time) Part III : Special "It's a Three Way Tie!" Edition

From the David Letterman Show in 2014, Darlene Love!

And from Shindig in 1964, The Beach Boys!!

And finally, from South Park in 2010 --- it's Kyle!!!

Have a great holiday weekend, everybody!!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

A Lump of Coal Week (Best and Worst Rock/Soul/Pop Xmas Songs of All Time) Part III : Special "It's a Tie!" Edition

And now today's Holiday Hit Parade of Horror!

George Michael/Wham's "Last Christmas"...

...and Mariah Carey's possibly even worse...

...which is so appalling I can't even type its name.

Swear to god, everybody involved in those two songs on any level deserves to burn in the sulfurous fires of Hell.

Tomorrow -- something, er, nicer.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Lump of Coal Week (Best and Worst Rock Xmas Songs): Part II -- Special "The Shop Around the Corner" Edition

From his 1993 album The Greatest Living Englishman, please enjoy actual greatest living Englishman Martin Newell and his fiendishly ingratiating ode to "Christmas in Suburbia."

I should add that the first time I heard that song was -- presumably in 1993 -- when friend of PowerPop and moi Sal Nunziato was blasting it over the sound system at my then neighborhood record store NYCD.

And since if memory serves I've never said it -- hey, thanks Sal!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

We Interrupt "A Lump of Coal Week" to Bring You The Only Good News of 2020

Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson tells you about his forthcoming re-edit/re-model of The Beatles Let It Be movie.

Wow. Seriously, wow.

[h/t Eric Boardman]

Monday, December 21, 2020

A Lump of Coal Week (Best and Worst Rock Xmas Songs): Part I -- "Tried to Smoke A Rubber Cigar" Edition

From the absolutely fantastic 1991 alt-rock Christmas compilation A Lump of Coal -- thematic unity, people --

--- please enjoy the incomparable Odds and their gloriously Crazy Horse-ish version of "Kings of Orient."

Those guys are gods in Canada, BTW.

But hey -- Canada, right?

Friday, December 18, 2020

Let Me Be Perfectly Frank About Frank

There's a very interesting piece in the current New Yorker about a forthcoming documentary on Frank Zappa.

Which you can read over HERE.

I should add that Zappa was obviously a very amusing guy, so I have no doubt the film will be worth seeing.

I should also add that Zappa and his music otherwise sucked hippo root, IMHO. He was the world's most tedious guitarist, and as far as I'm concerned, he wrote and recorded exactly one really good song.

And I say this as somebody who, as you can see above, spent an hour in a hotel room interviewing him. Which because I love you all more than food, you can also read about over here.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

And On the Last of the Eight Crazy Nights....

...please enjoy, from 2018, nice Jewish guys Six13 and their incomparable "Bohemian Chanukkah."

I think it not implausible to say that somewhere in heaven, Freddie Mercury is laughing his non-Jewish ass off over that.

Regular actual non-parodic rock-and-roll posting resumes on Friday, i.e. the Sabbath the morrow.

[h/t Bekka]

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

And in Honor of the 7th Day of Red Sea Pedestrian Week...

...please enjoy, from 1990, the incomparable 2 Live Jews and their classic (parody of a once controversial rap record) "Oy! It's So Humid."

"Octogenarian Mutant Ninja Myrtle." It doesn't get any better than that.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

On the Sixth Day of Hanukkah, My Sheyne Medele Gave to Me...

From 1981, please enjoy nice Jewish boys Gefilte Joe and the Fish and their seasonal holiday classic "Hanukkah Rocks!"

Transferred at great personal expense by somebody (not me) from the original blue vinyl Jewish star shaped EP, which as far as I know has never been officially released on CD. Alas.

Monday, December 14, 2020

To Err is Truman. Er, Human. Er, Whatever.

On SNL last Saturday, Bruce Springsteen hit a massive clam on guitar. At the 4:33 moment of the clip.

And there's lots of other raggedy things about the performance. Like occasionally pitchy vocals, not quite right sax, blah blah blah.

But who freaking cares?

And why, you ask?

Because (A) It's a gorgeous song, passionately rendered...


I should add -- play this one loud.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Good Yontiff, Pontiff (An Occasional Series): Special Where Have You Gone, Judah Maccabee? Edition

From his 2000 Rhino box set retrospective...

please enjoy nice Jewish boy Tom Lehrer and his classic seasonal ode to "Hanukkah in Santa Monica."

Have a great weekend, everybody!!! Or...

...hobn a groys opruteg, alemen!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2020

The Next Time Somebody Tells You We Need to Do Something About the Police...

...remind them that when we do we get stuff like THIS piece of shit.

Okay, I'm going to hell for that joke.

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Is This a Great Country or What?

From the Talk of the Town in the current issue of The New Yorker.


Back at the Harvard Crimson, Biden’s Secretary of State nominee, Antony Blinken, dreamed of being Lester Bangs.

By Nick Paumgarten

When Joe Biden tapped Antony Blinken, a veteran of the Obama and Clinton Administrations, to be his Secretary of State, a quick batch of thumbnail bios noted that he was a “guitar aficionado.” Did this mean that he was a connoisseur of the object itself—a collector of fine guitars? Or that he knew a lot about guitar players? Or that he was an ace player himself? The clickbait-industrial complex quickly discovered that Blinken had a Spotify page, with two singles he’d recorded two years ago, under the handle (and pun) Ablinken. So here was another dad-rocker Pro-Tooling his sideline musings and chord changes into presentable foist-it-on-your-friends form. As someone with connections, money, and letterhead, he’d had help along the way. He’d played with Alex Chilton, from Big Star, and Grant Hart, from Hüsker Du, and Jeff (Skunk) Baxter, the session whiz known for his work with Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, as well as for his expertise in the field of missile defense. Blinken was also in a band with a couple of journalists and the former Obama spokesman Jay Carney. They had a bad-pun name (Coalition of the Willing) and a nice-ring-to-it genre (wonk rock). The Spotify tracks were called “Lip Service” and “Patience.” Jokes wrote themselves, as they will. One sensed, in the spasm of media excitement at this bit of late-boomer geek normalcy, the giddiness, in microcosm, over a restoration at Foggy Bottom.

Blinken’s friends have been calling the task he faces there “the Great Undoing.” Taking on the doings and non-doings of the past four years will be a knotty task, not least because the current Administration has recently kept doing new things, or allowing things to be done, that could be hard to undo. Like most people his age, Blinken, as a pre-Internet kid, presumably has his fair share of non-undoable but hard-to-dig-up juvenilia. But some of it has made the digital leap. In the early eighties, at Harvard, Blinken wrote dozens of columns in the Crimson about politics and foreign affairs. His collegiate opining should not imperil a Senate confirmation; he was no radical firebrand or real-life Alex P. Keaton. His hottest take, not unprescient, was that the Olympics, owing to cost and politics, should be permanently relocated to Switzerland.

One also finds, interspersed with Council on Foreign Relations boilerplate, a few instances of rock criticism: juvenilia’s juvenilia. Here was the future diplomat as aspiring Lester Bangs. He didn’t gut anyone; he didn’t pull a Jon Landau, who at Blinken’s age boldly swatted down Jimi Hendrix in Rolling Stone. This was 1981-82, an odd in-between era for rock music. As Blinken, a Beatles and blues man, wrote, also not unpresciently, “Record sales are way down, new and true talent rare, and it takes prehistoric monsters like Fleetwood Mac and Crosby, Stills and Nash to deliver the goods.” Nor was this period a career peak for the artists he took up: Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, the Who. (It may have been one for his lone comer, Marshall Crenshaw.) Still, Blinken would contribute more to the genre than any of his future predecessors at State. There is no record of Mike Pompeo or Warren Christopher going to the mat for Tiny Tim or Deep Purple. Perhaps they didn’t know that if you wrote reviews the labels sent you freebies...

You can read the rest of it over the New Yorker HERE. It's pretty freaking hilarious, but I guess something like it was bound to happen sooner or later.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Loud Songs of Innocence and Experience Say So Much

From just a few weeks ago (sort of), please enjoy "Trespassing" by The Blakes.

Which is one of the most killer huge-guitars/and harmonies slices of power pop I've heard in this otherwise awful year.

Of course the story is more complicated, as you can imagine. And I was unaware of it until last week, when the following e-mail arrived at Casa Simels.

Hey Steve:

I was doing a little surfing and found some of your posts and your blog "Floor Your Love".

I recently wrapped and released a new project I thought you might be interested in.

I'm not sure if you remember a band called The Blakes, but if you don't, it was an over the top power pop ode to our love of Jellyfish that I was in right before we started Readymade Breakup in 2003.

Well earlier this year I dug up four half-finished Blakes recordings from back in the day. They were supposed to be the follow-up to The Blakes' debut EP, but we never got a chance to complete them. Then just before the pandemic, we finally finished them up with both the original members of The Blakes as well as members of Readymade Breakup. Leave it to 2020!

We've been calling it Readymade Blakeup. It's four more songs in the vein of The Blakes: big guitars, thundering drums, stacks of vocals, with a twist of that Readymade crunch, jangle and strum.

You can follow the link HERE to check it out (free downloads are available directly at the site). The EP will remain free for all, and if you're feeling it, please consider helping us spread the word. Thanks!

Okay, short critical bottom line -- this stuff is absolutely fantastically great, and I can't believe nobody hipped me to these guys previously. I mean -- wow, this is to die for.

Have I mentioned that I love my phony baloney job sometimes?

Monday, December 07, 2020

David L. Lander 1947- 2020

With Harry Shearer, his colleague in The Credibility Gap, here's their screamingly funny rock version of Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?".

Yeah, I know most people remember him as Squiggy, but he was so much more than that.

I should add that the album he did with the CG for Reprise in 1973... without question the greatest comedy record of all time. Order it HERE and be changed.

Friday, December 04, 2020

A Day Late, But Not A Dollar Short!

The great singer/songwriter/guitarist Kimberly Rew turned 69 yesterday.

In honor of that milestone, please enjoy (belatedly) -- from the fabulous 2000 album Tunnel Into Summer -- Rew's gorgeous ode to the "Simple Pleasures."

I should add that a) no more melodically insinuating, emotionally touching, guitar-driven slice of power pop has been delivered to the public in this century.

And b) it is one of the great regrets of my adult life that I never got a chance to cover that song on stage with The Floor Models. Man -- playing that bass part would have been more fun than anybody should be allowed to have with their clothes on.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Book 'Em, Danno, Murder One!

From 2000, please enjoy the greatest titled album of all time...

...and from it, Australian surf purists The Alohas and their killer instrumetal...


Have I mentioned that this is the greatest titled album of all time?

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

And May All Your Birthday's Be Paisley!

From 1968, please enjoy The Idle Race -- featuring pre-Move/ELO auteur Jeff Lynne -- and their quite delightfully psychedelic "Happy Birthday."

And in a remarkable coincidence, today is actually the birthday of a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance.

Happy Birthday, babe! And BTW, I'm assured the dozen roses I ordered will be delivered sometime around noon!

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Your Tuesday Moment of Words Fail Me

From their just released debut album, please enjoy fabulous Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell's new band band The Dirty Knobs, and "Fuck That Guy."

A fabulous song, I'll think you'll admit, that's even better named than the band itself. Which is really saying something.

Monday, November 30, 2020

He's Not Paid to Think. Just Play.

And speaking as we were last week of greatest-pianist-in-rock-history Nicky Hopkins -- from 1967 and their masterpiece album Face to Face, please enjoy The Kinks and "Session Man."

I should add that not only does Hopkins play, brilliantly, on that track but it's also about him.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Its Turkey Day (Special "Matthew Fisher is God" Edition)

From 1969, here's the original classic lineup of Procol Harum...

......and their utterly gorgeous "Pilgrim's Progress."

Pilgrim -- get it? It's not rocket science, kids.

As long-time readers may recall, this song is something of a Thanksgiving tradition around here by now. Although I'll grant you that given we're, thankfully, in the twilight of the President Mediocre Columbo Villain era, it's not quite the same anymore.

In any case, enjoy the cranberry sauce and stuffing, everybody!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Tickle Those Ivories, Nicky!!!

From his 1966 album The Revolutionary Piano of Nicky Hopkins, please enjoy the man himself and a drop dead gorgeous instrumental version of the The Beatles' "Yesterday."

Hopkins -- who died at the age of 50 in 1994, tragically -- was hands down the greatest piano player in the history of rock, but I must confess that I was unaware of the above album untill last week; Wikipedia doesn't even include it in his solo discography. I should add that it was produced by Shel Talmy, with whom Hopkins worked on innumerable records by The Who and The Kinks , but I have been unable to discover who wrote the fabulous string arrangement.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Your Tuesday Moment of Now I've Heard and Seen Everything

Gunhild Carling. Playing jazz bagpipes.

Normally, that would be a sort of dancing bear thing, i.e. you'd be impressed that it was being done at all, rather than being done well. But that gal really cooks!!!

Meanwhile, you can learn more about her over HERE. And maybe tomorrow I'll post a clip of her playing three trumpets at the same time.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 2015, please enjoy Dawes and "All Your Favorite Bands."

I've been a sort of fan of those guys for a while, but that song -- which I hadn't ever heard until this morning, on the recommendation of a teenage friend of mine who has amazing good taste -- just destroys me.

I mean -- I'm not used to crying before breakfast.

[h/t Bekka Sakhno]

Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Basnight Has a Thousand Eyes

From his just released album of pop/rock covers...

...please enjoy indie rock legend and friend of PowerPop Jim Basnight and his absolutely fabulous version of "So Much in Love."

That is, of course, a Jagger/Richards song that the Stones never recorded; you probably know it from the early '80s cover by The Inmates, which was a minor radio hit in these parts. In any event, it's a long time favorite at Casa Simels.

The bottom line is that Jokers, Idols & Misfits has similarly splendid renditions of classics by all sorts of worthies including The Beatles, The Who, The Sonics, Stories and David JoHansen, and every one of them is worth hearing; you can -- and obviously should -- download or stream the album over HERE. Believe me, you'll be glad you did.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Friday, November 20, 2020

Coming (You Should Pardon the Expression) Attractions

An absolutely fab song by a friend of PowerPop goes up much later today, and stays up all weekend.

Trust me, it will be worth the wait.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Great Lost Guitar Solos of the 70s (An Occasional Series): Potliquor -- The Final Chapter

[I originally posted this in 2010. Cut to yesterday -- when I got an e-mail from the estimable Alvin Wallace that pretty much cleared up a question the piece raised. Have I mentioned that some days I really love my phony baloney job? In any case -- enjoy. -- S.S.]

From 1973 and the largely overlooked album Louisiana Rock & Roll, please enjoy Potliquor and "H." Their (I think tremendously haunting) ode to...I'm not exactly sure what.

I mean, given the title I have my suspicions, but I've never quite figured it out, despite repeated, even obsessive, listenings.

Anyway, the absolutely perfect not-a-superfluous-note guitar solo at the finale is by the song's author (and singer), Les Wallace. And it's as close to vintage Mick Taylor with The Rolling Stones as anything I've ever heard, I'll tell you that for free.

Amazing production on that, as well; I particularly like the way it's all but impossible to discern where the guitar ends and the clavinet begins. Seriously -- I can't think of another American hard rock band of the same vintage whose records sound as good as that.

Potliquor (I've been a fan since back in the day, thanks to being on a lot of record company mailing lists in college) were an interesting bunch, actually, and definitely worth reappraisal. Their three albums (released between 1969-73) were wildy uneven, but the good stuff was out of this world and there were times they got really close to the sort of mutant blues/metal soundscapes normally associated with Brits like The Move.

I've tried to track these guys down over the years. Don't know where the aforementioned Les Wallace is, but drummer Jerry Amoroso is on Facebook and has threatened to get in touch with me (hi, Jerry!). Auxiliary bassist and friend of the band Leon Medica (that's him on "H") believes they're all alive and well, and has been in touch with keyboardist (turned Christian singer/songwriter) George Ratzlaff from time to time.

In any case, you can legally download all three original Potliquor LPs over at Amazon HERE.

And if Les Wallace is out there -- dude, give me a holler. I really want to know what the song is about.

POSTSCRIPT: So as I suggested upstairs, the following appeared in my e-mail yesterday, and -- in the immortal words of Cristina Applegate on Married With Children -- you could have knocked me over with the weather.

Hi, sorry its been ten years since you inquired of my older brother, Les. Ran across your post while checking out Van Broussard's obit. Les is alive, doing well at a remote cabin in SW Missouri NE of Springfield. Doesn't get out much these days because of the Covid, and doesn't live in a phone service area. Was still playing in local area around Branson and traveled to annual farm fest in Iowa for two weeks until earlier this year. Has done some great work over the last 40+ yrs, but has never recorded any except what family and friends have been fortunate enough to capture. Shame the greed of the music mafia has negated the work of so many great musicians. Some OD'd, some committed suicide, some spaced out to never return, but most, like Les, quit making people rich but never quit playing. Thanks for asking. -- Alvin Wallace

To which I can only respond a) wow and b) thank you, Alvin.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Byrds of Fall Are On Winter's Traces

You know, every now and then I really love my phony baloney job.

Case in point: Last week, when I had the opportunity to phone chat with one of my long time musical heroes, original Byrds bassist Chris Hillman, whose wonderful autobiography Time Between: My Life as a Byrd, Burrito Brother, and Beyond...

...dropped (as the kids say) today.

For starters, this is one of the best rock memoirs ever; as I told Chris, it reminded me of Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run, in the sense that a) Hillman turns out to be a really good writer, and b) that even before he gets around to the music stuff, the chapters on his childhood (in Hillman's case, in Rancho Santa Fe California) are absolutely engrossing and evocative. Note to Byrds fans: Chris gives the true fact lowdown on the real life character who inspired Hillman's great song "Old John Robertson"...

...originally recorded by the Byrds in 1967. Which in itself is worth the price of admission.

I should add that Chris turned out to be as charming and gracious as anybody I've ever interviewed, and that he shared a couple of wonderful stories with me, including a pretty hilarious bit about how he and his wife are dealing with our current trying times; suffice it to say it involves his fellow Byrd Roger McGuinn (and wife), daily Zoom trivial pursuit contests, and cocktails.

In any case, Time Between is an absolutely smashing read; you can -- and obviously should -- order the book (either via Kindle or an actual physical copy) over at Amazon HERE.

Men at Work

Running behind schedule, but that post I promised yesterday will definitely go up later today. Thank you.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Your Monday Moment of I've Gone All Wobbly. And Not in a Good Way.

From 1979, please enjoy the great Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and their ode to "Vertigo." A condition that has been kicking my ass since Thursday.

Seriously -- I have barely been able to get out of bed for the last couple of days because of that shit. Trust me -- it's the worst.

Going to get this checked by a doctor on Monday, assuming I'm steady on my feet enough to leave the house. In any case, Tuesday's post, which is already written, is going to be a beaut that I have been looking forward to for over a week.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Your Friday Moment of Why Didn't I Get the Memo on this Song?

From 2013, please enjoy the Arctic Monkeys -- a band I've frankly never given much thought to -- and their surprisingly (to me) appealing cover of the 60s classic "Baby I'm Yours."

Yet another song I discovered courtesy of a playlist compiled by the good folks at my local watering hole, BTW.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Closed For Monkey Business

Annoyingly under the weather -- vertigo, if you can believe it.

Regular postings -- beginning with an Encounter with Greatness that will blow your minds -- resume on the morrow.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

A Theremin Named Lothar

From their just released live album (recorded at Amherst College in 1969) please enjoy New York City underground faves Lothar and the Hand People and a take on their almost hit "Machines" that has a little more energy than the more familiar (to me, at least) studio version.

I saw Lothar open for The Byrds at the Village Gate in 1966 (which is a story in itself, and one that I'll be referencing later in the week for reasons that will become obvious) and was immediately taken with them. Apart from being amazing musicians (and synth-pop pioneers) with terrific songs ("Machines" was originally recorded by Manfred Mann and written by Doc Pomus' partner Mort Shuman) they were also the snazziest dressers imaginable.

The curious and the kooky can order the live album over at Amazon HERE. I should add that if you don't have their wonderful debut studio album, which is also up at Amazon, your life is significantly the poorer for it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Hey -- It Was Manhattan in the 70s and 80s. We Were All a Little Over the Top.

Long time/attentive readers of this here blog are doubtless aware that an ex of mine who's still a good friend is an art director/graphic designer of significant repute who did a lot of rock albums that you may have seen, including the one for Remain in Light by Talking Heads.

I bring this up because last Friday -- which seems a million years ago, before Biden had been declared the winner of our recent exercise in the democratic process -- I was having lunch with my young musician friend Joe Benoit and we got on the subject of the great French composer Maurice Ravel. And I suddenly remembered that the great English steel guitarist B.J. Cole had recorded a version of Ravel's second most famous composition...

...on the Hannibal Records label, which said ex of mine of mine had done a lot of work for.

Alas, she hadn't done the B.J. Cole LP, but I remembered that she and I had collaborated on an earlier Hannibal release, which I don't think I've ever shared here.

That's said ex in the photos on the front cover; I wrote the stupid bad taste jokes.

By the way, musically it's quite a fun album, if you can find a copy.

Monday, November 09, 2020

Oh, to Be 40 Years Younger

And no, I still wouldn't have a shot.

Those are, of course, the fabulous Mona Lisa Twins live at the Cavern Club in Liverpool (yes, THAT Cavern Club) with a medley from their just released double CD...

...titled, appropriately enough, Live at the Cavern Club.

You can -- and obviously should -- order a copy of it from their website over HERE, and yes, for a couple of extra shekels the kids will sign it for you.

Have I mentioned that if I was 40 years younger, I still wouldn't have a shot with either of them?

Friday, November 06, 2020

Your Friday Moment of Words Fail Me

From their forthcoming Byrds tribute album (In-Flyte Entertainment)...

...please enjoy The Floor Models (featuring some asshole whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels on bass and synth strings) and their gorgeous cover of the Gene Clark classic "Here Without You."

There'll be a little tweaking of this (which we otherwise finished in the studio last night) when we finalize the album mix -- and it's now looking like the record is gonna come out early next year -- but I think this is just terrific, and god bless our special guests Peter and Caleb Spencer, who did absolutely stellar work on it.

I should add that if you think the front cover is cool (which it is), wait until you see what we're gonna do with the back cover. Heh.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Post-Election New Music (By People I Know Personally) Part II: Special "I Gotta Get Me One of Those Top Hats" Edition

From his wonderful 2020 album New York at Night,..

...please enjoy the incomparable Willie Nile (and band) and his (holy cow -- post pandemic) new video "Lost and Lonely World."

Willie has been releasing records since 1980, and I have to say -- with the exception of Richard Thompson, I can't think of another rocker of his generation who has been making such high quality music as consistently and for as long a time.

In any event, you can -- and (hey, you know) should -- grab a copy of NYAN over at Amazon HERE.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Post-Election New Music (By People I Know Personally): Part I -- And Speaking of Gorgeous

My good friend Joe Benoit has just released the second track from his upcoming recorded-at-home-during-the pandemic album.

So please enjoy the seraphically lovely "There Must Be a Reason." (An apt title for our trying times, now that I think of it.)

I have been on record, so to speak, for quite a while as suggesting that the first thing Joe did during our trying times (back in May, if you can believe it)...

...would be reckoned by history as the most moving artistic artifact created during our long national nightmare. I see no reason to amend that judgement, but "There Must Be a Reason" isn't too shabby either, and I for one can't wait to hear the rest of the album both of those songs are gonna be on. In the meantime, you can -- and should -- buy and stream the new one (along with the rest of Joe's astounding catalogue) over at his website HERE.

What are you waiting for, you knuckleheads? If ever there was a time to be a patron of the arts, it's freaking now.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Alice Cooper for President

Hey -- it's no stupider than electing a pscyhopathic racist ignoramus who starred in a crappy reality tv show.

Assuming we still have a country, new music postings resume on the morrow.

And if you haven't already -- go vote.

Monday, November 02, 2020

I Wanna Be Elected

Yeah, yeah, I know -- I was going to start posting really cool new music today.

But given what's going on in our noble democracy at the moment, I decided that it's incumbent on me to at least deal with that for another day or two.

So I promise -- if we still have a country on Wednesday, the really cool new music will begin going up then.

In the meantime, from -- swear to god, their 1972 album masterpiece The Night is Still Young (produced by the great Jeff Barry) -- please enjoy Sha Na Na and "The Vote Song."

I should add that -- again, assuming we still have a country later this week -- you need to go over to Amazon and get that unlikely album masterpiece.

And make sure you vote.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid! (Special "Thoroughly Modern Tilly" Edition)

Courtesy of friend of PowerPop (and moi) Tim Page, and in honor of Halloween, please enjoy the greatest version of Paul Dukas' The Sorceror's Apprentice -- well, at least the greatest one featuring a classical clarinetist and a puppy -- ever committed to video.

New music postings -- with greater relevance to the theme of this here blog -- resume on Monday.

In the meantime, have a great (spooky) weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

The Best Definition of Rock-and-Roll Ever Is...

...IMHO, "happy songs about sad stuff."

I have no idea exactly who came up with that (or when) and, sure, obviously, there are probably lots of others I'm forgetting that are arguably as good.

That said, it sprang to mind this week after I discovered Vampire Weekend's sublimely upbeat and simultaneously melancholy 2019 song "This Life." (Here's a great in-concert version of it, if you missed the official video I posted on Tuesday).

Anyway, I was somewhat non-plussed to disover that I couldn't immediately come up with another example that embodied the definition as aptly, at least by my lights.

In which case, I will award a coveted PowerPop No-Prize© to the first reader who nominates one I agree with.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Why Didn't I Get the Memo on This Song? (This Week's Edition Le Deuxieme)

From 2011, please enjoy the late great Amy Winehouse and her jaw-droppingly stunning cover version of the Goffin/King classic of early '60s sexual guilt "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"

I really don't understand how I missed that until today (when I heard it over the sound system at a Manhattan restaurant where a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance took me for one last birthday lunch.) But as I found out later, when I reseearched it, it originally appeared on an album of outtakes released shortly after La Winehouse's tragic death.

In any case, on reflection I now think that it's the best performance of that song ever waxed, and that includes the original by The Shirelles and Carole King's re-make on Tapestry.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Why Didn't I Get The Memo on This Song?

From 2019, please enjoy Vampire Weekend and their fiendishly joyous and infectious "This Life," an obviously prescient tribute to -- IMHO -- everything that made the world bearable before our current troubled times.

Seriously, I was having lunch at my local watering hole yesterday when that came on the restaurant's Pandora channel, and I just about fell off of my bar stool at how glorious it is. I don't know how to describe it, really; obviously, it's a little bit 60s Top 40 influenced, although not in a blatantly retro way, and if I had to compare it to anything specifically, the closest I could come is to Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" (mostly for the guitar riff, 'natch). But damn, the whole thing is instantly addictive, and the bass player is doing stuff so beautiful in the second half of the song that I want to shoot him for being so much better than me.

In any case, let's just say that having discovered that song I'm in a lot better mood than I've been in for at least a couple of weeks.

I should add that...

Baby, I know pain is as natural as the rain/ I just thought it didn't rain in California... now my favorite opening line to any pop/rock song ever.

Monday, October 26, 2020

You Bastard Kids Get Off My Lawn (An Occasional Series): Special "If You Don't Think This Crap is, as the Brits Say, Twee, You Really Need To Have a Word With Yourself"

From the October 19, 2020 issue of The New Yorker, please enjoy(?) the insufferable prose efflusions of Amanda Petrusich as she attempts -- and fails -- to justify the unlistenble musical stylings of a deeply mediocre Gen Z alt-rock singer-songwriter named Adrianne Lenker.

Here's the opening, which should give you an idea of just how awful the piece (and artist) is.

In late August, the singer, songwriter, and guitarist Adrianne Lenker stood beside a creek in upstate New York, watching the water move. The day before, Lenker, who is twenty-nine, had packed up the Brooklyn apartment she’d been sharing with two roommates. She was preparing to haul a vintage camping trailer across the country to Topanga Canyon, on the west side of Los Angeles, where her band, Big Thief, was planning to meet up. For the next couple of months, at least, the trailer would be home.

Moving can be disorienting—all that sorting and boxing and tossing out forces a kind of self-reckoning—and for Lenker the experience was only intensified by the ongoing anxiety of the coronavirus pandemic, which made imagining any sort of future feel optimistic, if not naïve. The exhaustion and sorrow of the spring had left everyone feeling precarious. The sun refracted against the surface of the creek until the water turned black. Our conversation drifted toward the Zen idea of impermanence. “Is it too early for this?” Lenker joked. “Nice to meet you—let’s talk about death.”

Lenker had spent the past few weeks recording with Big Thief at a home studio in the Catskill Mountains, run by the musicians Sam Owens and Hannah Cohen. The rest of the band—the guitarist Buck Meek, the bassist Max Oleartchik, and the drummer James Krivchenia—had since left, but Lenker stuck around to renovate the trailer. She had just ordered a twin mattress, a portable woodstove, and new linens.

This month, Lenker will release two solo albums: “Songs,” a collection of tender, harmonically complex folk tunes, and “Instrumentals,” which is composed of a pair of slowly unfolding guitar pieces. She made the records simultaneously, at a remote cabin in New England, in the early, panicked days of both the pandemic and a breakup. Lenker is a quick and instinctive writer, and even under normal circumstances her songs are raw and unfussy—it can feel as if they were dug up whole, like a carrot from the garden. She sometimes speaks about writing as a kind of conjuring. “She gives a lot of significance to that moment where she’s holding the guitar,” Oleartchik told me. “I never really think of her, like, fucking around and playing riffs or something. It’s always this instrument of witchcraft. It’s always holy. She writes music from this place that’s very intuitive and fearless, and she has confidence that there’s some kind of spirit or force that she can listen to.”

Before Lenker vacated her apartment in New York, she had to paint over an illustration that her ex-girlfriend had drawn on the bedroom wall. Lenker took some solace from the idea that the image wouldn’t be erased, exactly—it remained, even if she couldn’t see it anymore. Lenker has been in romantic relationships with men and with women, and doesn’t feel any particular obligation to outline her sexuality in precise terms, though she is comfortable being called queer. “The fact that there’s still people against that kind of stuff makes the words necessary,” she told me. “But hopefully we move into a place where it’s, like, You’re what? Why are you saying what you are?”

And on and on and on ad infinitum. Basically the essay is longer, windier and more boring than Miss MacIntosh, My Darling .

And here's one of the musician in question's new songs, which should serve to demonstrate just how undeserving she is even of one of history's most tedious New Yorker profiles.

Give me a fucking break. I could barely stand that kind of pretentious twaddle when it was being done by Joni Mitchell, who had the saving grace of being, in fact, a musical genius. But the above? Damn, it's like finding your ankle padlocked for a weekend to a sandwich machine in the basement of your old college dormitory.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Weekend Listomania: Special "Let's Face It -- Everything Below the Waist is Kaput!" Edition

Well, it's Friday, and you know what that means.

Yes, my Asian manual catharsis consultant Fah Lo Suee and I will be heading to beautiful downtown Forest Hills, NY, to take advantage of the newly re-opened indoor dining just approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

That being the case, here's a fun little project having absolutely no relevance to contemporary events but which still should be diverting for us anyway. To wit:

Best or Worst Pop/Rock/Soul/Folk Songs Marlene Dietrich Either Actually Sang or SHOULD Have!!!!

I should add, at this point, that my critical colleague at The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review, the late great Noel Coppage, provided the definitive assessment of Ms. Dietrich's vocal stylings.

"Atonal groaning."

Okay, with that joke now rescued from obscurity, my totally Top of My Head Top Five is/are:

5. Bert Bachrach/Hal David -- "Moon River"

4. Pete Seeger -- "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"

3. Marianne Faithfull -- "Sister Morphine"

What I wouldn't have given to hear Marlene croak (heh) "Here I lie in my hospital bed."

2. The Ramones -- "I Wanna Be Sedated"

And the number one song Ms. Dietrich was obviously born to sing but alas never did (to our knowledge) self-evidently is...

1. The Beatles -- "I'm So Tired"

For obvious reasons.

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

It's Byrds Tribute Week Part III: Special "We've Been Here Before" Edition

From that 1989 album Time Between I've been gassing about for the last couple of days...

...please enjoy Static and their utterly gorgeous cover of David Crosby's exquisite "It Happens Each Day."

A song that, if memory serves, wasn't released as an official Byrds track till the late 80s. Go figure.

In any event, a spine-tinglingly good piece of work, but NOT one that we're going to emulate on the forthcoming Floor Models/Byrds tribute album I've been hyping.

Tomorrow -- the triumphant return of Weekend Listomania, and this one is going to blow your minds, I guarantee it!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

It's Byrds Tribute Week Part II: Special "Stop Sufferin' -- Take Bufferin" Edition

From the 1989 album Time Between...

...please enjoy the very cool Dinosaur Jr. and their quite wonderfully punkish cover of The Byrds/Gene Clark classic "Feel a Whoie Lot Better."

As I more or less implied yesterday, that song is NOT one of the tunes we'll be covering on the forthcoming Floor Models Byrds tribute album.

Although I wish it was, now that I think of it.

In any case, more Byrds-y stuff tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

It's Byrds Tribute Week Part I: Special "Solipsism is Great -- Everybody Should Try It" Edition

So as attentive readers -- and others, possibly -- are aware, I have spent the last several weeks in pre-production for a forthcoming Floor Models/Byrds tribute album.

But what neither group may recall (I certainly didn't) is that back in 1989, somebody else put together a terrific Byrds tribute album entitled Time Between...

...that has since been reissued on CD.

As it turns out, a bit to my surprise actually, the song selection on the two albums is mostly dissimilar. But there is at least one (cover version of a) song on the older album that is going to show up on the Flo Mos record as well.

So now please enjoy the great Richard Thompson (along with the almost as great Clive Gregson and Christine Collister) and their fabulous re-imagining of the The Byrds (via Gene Clark)'s gorgeous "Here Without You.".

And here, by virtue of comparison, is the Flo Mos version (only 95% finished, i.e. with an untweaked intro and no harmonies).

At this point I love both of them, but we'll have more to say about that sort of stuff as the week goes on.

Tomorrow -- another song from the 1989 album without the distraction of one of our crappy covers.

Monday, October 19, 2020

What -- And Give Up Show Biz?

In case you don't recognize today's title, it's the punch line to an old joke about a circus worker whose job it is to follow the elephants around and sweep up their pachyderm fecal matter.

BTW, and may I just say, and for the record, that -- in all seriousness -- I would have killed to see Pet Rock: The Musical.

And I gotta post this photo too.

For obvious reasons.

Actual music postings resume tomorrow and for the rest of the week. In the meantime, you can click on the graphics to enlarge them; the Vegas one is particularly droll.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Your Friday Moment of You've Got Angst in Your Pants

Friend of powerpop Dave Sheinin has just released the funniest great song -- or the greatest funny song -- of the year.

Ladies and germs, please enjoy his spectacular ode to the lives of all of us right now -- the aptly titled "Existential Dread."

Your eyes are pretty when you’re crying Your hair smells good when You’ve been out smoking in the car When you say love me like there’s no tomorrow I wonder how clairvoyant you are

I fight the good fight I shine the spotlight I whisper goodnight Then stare at shadows on the wall In the morning I feel like I’m in mourning For someone who’s name I can’t recall

I seek out bits of bliss Lose myself in your kiss But I just can’t deal with this Existential dread

I keep a stiff lip on every guilt trip Each day a coin flip Heads they win, tails we lose The dark circles around my eyes Are getting mistaken for tattoos

My heart is racing like something's chasing Each day I’m bracing For what new madness lies in store All our friends walk around with blank expressions Like they can’t take it anymore

It’s dark and ruinous It’s almost ruined us Look what it’s doin’ to us This existential dread

I’ve had this nightmare I’m standing somewhere Reading a list and there’s A big black X across my name Is this real life or are we characters In some madman’s simulation game?

Your eyes are distant when you’re smiling Your hair looks wild Like you’ve just been through some kind of hell When you say love me like there’s no tomorrow I say I guess I might as well

Our love is unsurpassed Resilient and steadfast Someday we’ll make it past

BTW, I've written about Dave BEFORE -- click on that link and hear another transplendent song of his.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

My Heroes Have Always Been Aussies

From just the other day, please enjoy Antipodean power pop gods the Hoodoo Gurus...

...and their killer new video/single "Get Out of Dodge." And yes, that's the great Vicki Peterson of The Bangles and John Cowsill (of you you know who) singing back-up.

I should add that I've been a fan of the Gurus since forever. And by forever, I mean since they released this song...

...which is the coolest "Sweet Jane"-derived thing ever -- back in 1985.

In any case, a) if "Dodge" isn't making you jump up and down with pleasure you need medical attention and b) what a delight it was to have it show up in my mailbox last week.

I mean - wow. Sometimes I really love my job.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Wednesday Encounter With Greatness

So I was over at Facebook yesterday gassing about my Tuesday post about the album ouevre of Brinsley Schwarz.

With my old chum rock critic Parke Puterbaugh. If you're not familiar with Parke, he wrote for The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review for years; he also writes for Rolling Stone and he's a curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is to say he's a lot cooler guy than I ever dreamed of being.

But in any case, the following discussion ensued, which was joined by -- and I still can't believe this -- Brinsley Schwarz himself.

I don't know which I'm more flummoxed by -- the fact that I didn't know about that last album or the fact that the actual Brinsley Schwarz commented on something I wrote. And now excuse me -- I gotta go order that seventh Brinsley CD.

Which, as it turns out, is titled after their version of one of my favorite songs ever.

Today has turned out to be a very good day, oddly enough.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Your Tuesday Moment of You Gotta Be Nice to Yourself at Least Once a Week, Especially in Our Current Trying Times

From 1972, and their recorded-on-a-mobile-8-track-machine-in-their-garden album Silver Pistol, please enjoy the incomparable Brinsley Schwarz -- featuring power pop god Nick Lowe, who wrote and sings the song -- and the utterly transplendent "Unknown Number."

Or, as we call it at Casa Simels, the greatest rewrite of Buddy Holly's "Words of Love" ever heard by sentient mammalian ears.

I've always loved Silver Pistol -- hell, I've always loved ALL the Brinsleys' albums -- but I bring it up at this historical juncture because I was browsing the intertubes the other day (something to do with pub rock week, I think) and what to my wondering eyes should appear but this anthology of their first five LPs... one authoritative collection FOR UNDER TWENTY DOLLARS!!!

So of course I immediately purchased it.

Those records are all flat-out great, BTW; you can (and should) order that glorious volume over at Amazon HERE.

You're welcome very much.

Coming tomorrow: A new song by one of the great Australian bands ever.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Your Monday Moment of "What a Flaming Asshole!"

Q: Why are conservatives such horrible rock critics?


Case in point: The utterly loathsome Armond White -- formerly a film reviewer for the old and unmissed New York Press (and, inexplicably, for The Nation, which I hope will be similarly unmissed very soon) -- on the new Spike Lee/David Byrne movie American Utopia. Over at the website of white supremacist journal NATIONAL REVIEW.

I will not quote anything from it at length, but suffice it to say that White refers to Eric Garner, Freddie Gray and Trayvon Martin (!!!) as "dead black scofflaws."

Words fucking fail me.

Friday, October 09, 2020

To Thine Own Self Etc...With a Good Beat and You Can Dance to It!

From his about to be released (October 16, on Omnivore Records) new album Be True to Yourself....

...please enjoy power pop god/last surviving member of Badfinger (boy, do I hate typing that) guitarist Joey Molland and his thoroughly swell new song "All I Want to Do."

That's utterly charming, I think, and all the more so because if you listen very very closely you can hear a quote from Badfinger's "No Matter What" near the end. And if I have to tell you why that's cool I have no idea why you're reading this here blog.

In any case, you can (and should) order the album -- which is consistently strong -- over at Amazon HERE.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Slacker Thursday

From Alfred Hitchcock's Stage Fright in 1950, Marlene Dietrich IS "The Laziest Girl in Town."

I'm posting this for two -- make that three -- reasons.

1. It's just hilariously funny.

2. It's a clue to the theme of next weeks' Weekend Listomania. Seriously.

3. I, personally, actually AM the Laziest Girl in Town.

New music by a Power Pop favorite will appear tomorrow. Swear to god.

But I was just too tired to write the accompanying copy today.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

In Case You Haven't Seen This, Weird Al is a National Treasure

I should add that the debate was only a week ago. And this video, brilliant as it is, already feels like it's been outpaced by events since then.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Closed Due to the Fact That the News is Making Me Insane

Exsqueese me -- President Scuminasuit gets checked into Walter Reed with a potentially fatal and highly contagious disease and then gets a pass from his "doctors" allowing him to ride around the hospital waving at his hard-core unemployable fans?

And I'm supposed to go to sleep without drugs?

Apologies, everybody -- I promise music stuff will resume tomorrow. But at the moment I just can't cope with what is passing for real life.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me/Total Self-Indulgence

Attentive readers (and others) are aware that I'm in the process of producing a Floor Models EP or album in tribute to The Byrds.

And now behold in breathless wonder -- courtesy of my beautiful and brilliant art director girlfriend, who as usual is working cheap -- a rough version of the CD cover art.

God, I love that.

Okay, and with apologies -- music posting (new stuff by old favorites) resumes on the morrow.

Saturday, October 03, 2020

We Now Conclude Paul Revere and the Raiders Week With One of my Favorite Songs of Theirs That Verges on The Beatles Doing Rockabilly

From their Summer of Love masterpiece The Spirit of '67...

...please enjoy Paul Revere and the Raiders stopming through the quite brilliant roots rocker (with quasi-psychedelic harmonies) "Louise."

And because I love you all more than food, here's a YouTube version of it for the poor unfortunate folks who can't access the Box links I post here.

Incidentally, I can't find any information -- and that includes other songwriting credits -- for the J. L. Kincaid who wrote that tune; I'm asuming he was some Nashville hotshot of the period. If anybody knows for sure, however, I'd appreciate it if you shared.

BEGINNING ON MONDAY: New music by old favorites!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

We Interrrupt Paul Revere and the Raiders Week for This Astoundingly Great New Song by Bruce Springsteen

I could go on at length about how amazing this record is -- and what an absolute Springsteen classic it is -- but I'm just gonna say one thing, apart from how epic the guitars are etc. blah blah blah. At the 4:24 point when Bruce screams one of his patented "ONE TWO THREE FOUR!!!!" deals, he does something absolutely brilliant.

He pronounces it WAH TWA WAH TWAH THWAHHH FWAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And don't even get me started on this lyric --

I shoulder your Les Paul and finger that fretboard

I make my vows to those who've come before

-- which contains the meaning of the universe.

True story -- the Friday of August 25th, 1975, Columbia Records messengered me a test pressing of Born to Run...

...that I got to take home for the weekend before the rest of the world got a chance to listen to it.

It changed my life. On a million levels.

I have not had a comparable experience since then till tonight. That's all I'm gonna say.

POSTSCRIPT: On vacation today and Friday. Music stuff resumes on Saturday.