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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

We Interrupt Paul Revere and the Raiders Week for This Moment of Rebel Rebel

And in case you haven't heard it yet, here's Cheap Trick's brand new cover of the David Bowie classic.

Like the guy says at the end -- yeah. Something like that.

I should add that it's no secret that, historically (by which I mean going back to my tenure at The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review) I have never been a David Bowie fan. That said, "Rebel Rebel" has always been one of my favorite songs. And I defy you to watch this clip...

...without getting all choked up.

Monday, September 28, 2020

It's Paul Revere and the Spirit of '67 Week: Special "My Little Town" Edition

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

...please enjoy Paul Revere and the Raiders -- featuring Fang (and I absolutely love writing the phrase "featuring Fang) -- and their quite brilliant "In My Community."

I hadn't listened to this album since forever, and I frankly have no idea why I was suddenly motivated to do so -- although the fact that the new CD version I glommed has both mono and stereo mixes as well as bonus tracks may have something to do with it. That said, I have long been of the opinion that it's one of the absolutely best albums of its year, and by that I mean as good as anything -- Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Moby Grape -- that was being done in San Francisco at the time; I have no doubt that if the Raiders had dressed like the rest of their contemporaries, i.e. hippies, this would be received opinion.

And because I love you all more than food, here's a YouTube version for those unfortunates amongst us who have problems with the audio links I post using the Box.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Let's Pub Rock Again Like We Did Last Summer: (Special Filthy Lucre Edition)

And speaking as we have been (all this week) of that fabulous new 3-CD set Surrender to the Rhythm: The London Pub Rock Scene of the Seventies...

...please enjoy the great Starry Eyed and Laughing and their sublimely Byrdsian "Money is No Friend of Mine."

That's from their eponymous 1974 debut album, which is one of the great forgotten masterpieces of its decade. If you're even remotely into jingle-jangle 12-string guitar -- and if you're not, why are you reading this here blog? -- you really need to hear more of their stuff. I recommend this 20-track best-of, which you can -- and should -- order over at Amazon HERE. Or if you ask me nicely, I'll be happy to burn you a copy.

I should add that I was lucky enough to see those guys live on two separate occasions in small clubs in '74, and I also got to interview lead singer and 12-string guy Tony Poole, who was a real sweetheart. Have I mentioned that I had a really great job?

In any case, because I love you all more than food, here's a live video version of "Money..."... case you're one of those unfortunates who has problems with the audio links I post using the Box.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Let's Pub Rock Again Like We Did Last Summer: Part III (Special "What the Hell Kind of Name is Brinsley Anyway?" Edition)

And speaking as we have been (all this week) of that fabulous new 3-CD set Surrender to the Rhythm: The London Pub Rock Scene of the Seventies...

...please enjoy the great Brinsley Schwarz (featuring some guy named Nick Lowe on lead vocals) with the title song from said anthology.

That song originally appeared on the Brinsley's 1972 LP Nervous on the Road, which definitely behooves behearing in its entirety. I should also add that the organ playing on that -- by the American member of the band, the should be a household word Bob Andrews -- is among the most gloriously lyrical Hammond B-3 work ever committed to magnetic tape.

And because I love you all more than food, here's an absolutely glorious live performance (from long running Brit TV show The Old Grey Whistle Test)... case you're one of those unfortunates who has problems with the audio links I post using the Box.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Let's Pub Rock Again Like We Did Last Summer: Part II (Special Down by the Banks of the River Thames Edition)

And speaking as we were yesterday of that fabulous new 3-CD set Surrender to the Rhythm: The London Pub Rock Scene of the Seventies...

...I should stipulate that there are a couple of bands included on the anthology that have me scratching my head; I'll get into that more as the week goes on, but let's just say that what a glam-era track by Mott the Hoople is doing on the album is beyond me.

That said, here's the cut that closes disc three, and obviously it simply HAD to be there. From 1979, it's The Inmates and their absolutely killer reworking of The Standells "Dirty Water."

Which should be on anybody's short list of cover versions that improve on the originals.

Tomorrow I wax all historical and at more than usual length on the pub rock movement, but don't worry -- there will also be a great song to go with my wanking.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Let's Pub Rock Again Like We Did Last Summer: Part I (Special Breakfast Edition)

From the fabulous just released 3-CD compilation Surrender to the Rhythm: The London Pub Rock Scene of the Seventies...

...please enjoy American ex-pats Eggs Over Easy and their infectious attempted single (recorded in 1971 but not released until 2016) "Funky But Clean."

Throughout this week, I'll have much more to say about a) the details of said compilation; b) the historical importance of the pub rock movement; and c) several of the bands on this new anthology. But for now let's just say that Eggs Over Easy -- and I briefly played in a college garage outfit with one of the guys in EOE -- are generally acknowledged to be responsible for getting the ball rolling, pub rock wise.

I should add that EOE didn't have a full-time drummer when they recorded the above, so they enlisted the great John Steel of The Animals to pound the pagan skins on the song above.

Tomorrow: also from Surrender to the Rhythm, one of of the greatest remakes of a 60s rock classic ever made.

Oh -- and you can (and should) order the album over at Amazon HERE.

[h/t Chris E.]

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Your Weekend Moment of Clive Gregson is God

From their 2007 reunion album, please enjoy the incredibly fabulous Any Trouble, featuring the great Clive Gregson, and their glorious ode to the music that inspired us all -- "That Sound."

I originally wrote about this song when the album came out, but I had more or less forgotten it until this week. What a pleasure to find out it was still as to die for as it was back in the day.

And why am I putting this up right this minute?

Well, therein lies a tale, but you'll have to wait untill Monday to hear it. Let's just stipulate it's going to be a theme week.

And what the hell -- a coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded to the first reader who guesses what that theme is.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Your Friday Moment of Speaking of Gorgeous

The title song/video from Bruce Springsteen's forthcoming album.

I lack the words to describe how amazing that is.

However, I will say this -- to paraphrase one of the guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000 -- it's pretty obvious that the Boss has felt a breeze from the powerful hind claws of Death itself behind him.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Guess Who?

Here's a clue -- that photo was taken in October of 1964.
Let's just say I wouldn't mess with that dude.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Your Tuesday Moment of "Eight Miles High Dere!"

[Yes, it's a Marty Allen reference. So sue me.]

So anyway, as attentive readers may recall, I am in the process of producing a final Floor Models album (or EP -- not quite sure) which is going to be The Byrds tribute we always wanted to make.

I mean hey -- McGuinn and company changed our lives, so it's about time. And it's coming along very nicely.

So over last weekend, when some publicist sent me a new song by a British band, previously unknown to me, called The Metal Byrds, I instantly got a little irked.

The Metal Byrds? Are you kidding me? Who the hell are those upstarts and why are they giving me grief while I can't get Blogger to work?

Well, here's the short version.

The song and band are absolutely fabulous.

As you can hear, these kids and "Dreamin'" sound like the cross between Blondie and Hüsker Dü of your dreams -- it's an absolutely fantastic pop/rock song, the guitars are to die for, and vocalist Suzanne Birdie (apparently that's her real name) would have ruled CBGBs back in the day.

Bottom line: This is the most exciting rock single I've heard this year.

You can find out more about these guys -- including a link to stream their stuff -- over HERE.

Monday, September 14, 2020

It's the End of the World Blah Blah Blah

Okay, I'm sort of figuring this shit out.

A genuine post -- just like the good old days -- may go up Tuesday. Assuming I haven't blown my brains out. But if I can''t work this crap as easily as I've worked it for the last 13 years, I'm done.

In which case, if you're interested in taking over this here blog, e-mail me or message me at Facebook and we can discuss it.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Don't Get Me Started

I am beyond pissed at blogger. I will be attempting to resolve my (and their) issues before Monday. If It doesn't work -- nice knowing all you folks.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Closed for Technical Monkey Business

The short version -- Blogger, which I've been using to produce this here blog for close to 13 years, has now fucked up their basic template even worse than Facebook just did.

It's an open question whether I'll be able to figure out how to negotiate this new version, and I'm not kidding -- if I can't work it out in the next day or two I'm seriously tempted to either shut this here blog down or offer to turn it over to somebody else.

I don't need this freaking grief.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Sir Tom? Meet Jools. Jools? Meet Sir Tom!

From the 2004 album Tom Jones & Jools Holland...

...that I posted about yesterday, please enjoy another absolutely blistering track, a fab(heh!) cover of Larry Williams classic "Slow Down."

And once again, because I love you all more than food, I'm including a YouTube link to it... case you're one of those readers who have problems with the audio links from The Box I usually post.

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

From the 2004 album Tom Jones & Jools Holland...

...please enjoy an absolutely blistering version of Frankie ("Sea Cruise") Ford's 1959 B-side classic "Roberta."

A song, I should add, that I mostly know from the version on The Animals 1965 album Animal Tracks.

I should also add that I don't know how I missed this album when it originally came out, but it's absolutely freaking brilliant. And both Holland -- the original keyboard genius of Squeeze and the long time host of perhaps the best pop music TV show out of England ever -- and SIR Tom Jones (I didn't know he'd been knighted) absolutely cover themselves in glory on it.

BTW, because I love you all more than food, I'm including a YouTube link to "Roberta"... case you're one of those readers who have problems with the audio links from The Box I usually post.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Give the Drummer Some (Part Deux)

From 2020, please enjoy the just released official video for "Charlie, Keith and Ringo," the fabulous tribute song by the equally fabulous Tearaways we posted the audio for back in early August.

Incidentally, the gent bashing those pagan skins is, of course, the incomparable Clem Burke of Blondie fame.

In any event, a terrific clip that fully lives up to the drum greats who inspired it. Hats off to all involved.

I should also add that you can -- and should -- download the audio of "Charlie, Keith and Ringo" over at bandcamp HERE.

[h/t Marc Platt]

Monday, September 07, 2020

Add Some Music to Your (Labor) Day

From a just about to be released album by the wonderfully monikered (courtesy of Jack White) young Florida band The Supplements, please enjoy their spectacular new single "On Your Own."

A little back story, courtesy of the band.
If Queens of the Stone Age and Interpol got into a bar fight, the cacophony they'd create might resemble the music of The Supplements. The South Florida based independent rock band are releasing their new song, "On Your Own," on Friday, September 4th, 2020. This is their debut as a full band and their first studio single.

The Supplements are an alt-rock outfit springing up from the South Florida DIY scene. Shortly after playing their first show in February of 2020, the band met their first major disappointment when the world was shut down. Their plans for organic growth in the local scene were dashed as venues closed, but unwilling to waste any more time they hopped into the studio.

"On Your Own," a riff-based rock track with a slightly dark edge, builds on its main theme before a whiplash-inducing solo transitions the song to a bass-lead section with sunny, interlocking chords for the outro. Fans of local indie music or the post-punk revival of the early'Aughts will love this track.

Okay, this isn't going to shock anybody who's read this here blog before, but I'm not particularly a fan of either Queens of the Stone Age OR Interpol. That said, this song is the real deal. Also, the video is fabulously filmed, and its implied social distancing theme strikes me as a particularly appropriate visual metaphor for our current trying times.

I should add that I also have enormous respect for any young artists who are finding the courage and the pluck to continue to ply their trade despite the enormous obstacles the aforementioned trying times are throwing up in front of them.

Bottom line, however, is that "On Your Own" is just a kick-ass piece of rock-and-roll, and the video is killer.

You can find links to stream or download the Supplements over HERE; I'll keep you posted when the album itself is available.

Friday, September 04, 2020

Friends of Mine: Songs by People I Actually Know That I Played on Capt. Al's LOST AT SEA Last Week Which You May Have Missed (Part IV)

Friend of PowerPop -- and moi -- Joe Benoit recorded this brilliant song about the pandemic back in May, which as attentive readers will recall is when I first wrote about it.

Hey what’s your hurry?
You don’t have to worry
There’s nowhere to go anyway
I think the clock still ticks
As I’m watching Netflix
But I’m losing track of the days

There’s nothing left out there for me

Welcome to the longest weekend that you’ve ever known
It’s getting kind of strange to be alone
At least we’re still breathing
We’re living in the longest weekend
You’d think it would be fun
I never thought I’d say that I want Monday to come

I averred then that, as far as I was concerned, when the history of this dreadful era is written, future scholars are going to regard that song as the most important work of art to come out of the whole depressing experience. Okay, if not the most important work of art, at least the most important kick ass rock-and-roll song. And I stand by that opinion.

I should add that Joe has an album's worth of new material almost ready to be released -- most of it dealing in at least tangential ways with our seemingly endless national nightmare -- and when he's finished those songs to his satisfaction, which should be very soon, I'll be sharing them with you. I've heard roughs of a lot of them and they're fantastic. Just saying.

In the meantime, in sadder news, friend of PowerPop Capt. Al has informed me that his last Lost at Sea broadcast at Area 24 Radio will be tomorrow -- i.e. Saturday September 5th -- beginning at 1:30PM EST.

After which, the station will be shutting down for good on Labor Day.

You can and should tune in to the show over at the link HERE. It's been a great ride, Capt. -- 9 years of broadcasts and at least 20(?) guest appearances by your truly. Saturday I'll just be a listener, of course, and you should be listeners too.

I should also add that the Captain will be playing this amazing song by my late great good friend, drummer and musical director for the last 50 years Glen Robert Allen...

...and that when it's over, there won't be a dry eye in the house. Well, at least my house.

Have a great holiday weekend, everybody!

PROGRAMMING ALERT: The show’s opening has been pushed back to 2pm EST. Sorry for the delay.

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Friends of Mine: Songs by People I Actually Know That I Played on Capt. Al's LOST AT SEA Last Week Which You May Have Missed (Part III)

From 1994, please enjoy the great Bill Lloyd and my favorite song from his absolutely brilliant album Set to Pop -- "I Went Electric."

I raved about that record in the pages of the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review at the time it came out, and it's only because I'm a horribly lazy slacker that I haven't found a link to that critique, despite the fact I sort of vaguely know where it's archived.

In any case, Bill is a genuine hero of power pop -- in case you haven't noticed, the song title is a wonderfully clever Bob Dylan homage -- and I'm gonna be posting some more of his stuff next week, but in a totally different context. Check this space, as we say.

I should add that Set to Pop is still available over at Amazon HERE and you need to hear the rest of it. Act now.

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Friends of Mine: Songs by People I Actually Know That I Played on Capt. Al's LOST AT SEA Last Week Which You May Have Missed (Part II)

From his 2005 CD The Right Tool for the Job, please enjoy the incomparable Gregory Fleeman -- i.e., the funniest singer/songwriter in history (or at least Greenwich Village in the late 70s/early 80s) -- and two of the album's drollest and most subversive songs.

To begin with, his priceless recounting of the historic meeting between Liberace and Elvis Presley...

...and then his ode to -- well, you'll figure it out.

I should add that I did not play this one -- subtitled "Sucking My Way to the Top" -- on the show...

...although I have on previous episodes. In any case, it remains the greatest thing in the history of things.

I should also add that a) you can and should order the CD over at Amazon HERE and b) that Greg (who also wrote the movie F/X, by the way) is having some health issues of late, so please send lots of good thoughts his way for a speedy and full recovery.