Tuesday, June 30, 2020

These Guys Speak For Me

From several moments ago, please enjoy Rick Estrin & the Nightcats and a sentiment I think we can all agree with -- "Dump That Trump."

Say what you will about our current historical moment, but it's turned out to be a vintage time for musical satire of fascist political shitheads.

I mean, don't even get me started on the brilliant RANDY RAINBOW. Who should probably get a Pulitzer before this is over.

Monday, June 29, 2020

It's a Helluva Town. Of Course, I Don't Get Out Much In It Lately.

From friend of PowerPop Willie Nile's new album New York at Night --

-- here's the official video for "New York is Rockin'."

A celebration of the town we live in as it was and -- hopefully -- will be again soon. Thanks, Willie.

You can -- and should -- order the album over at Amazon HERE.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Letters, We Get Letters, We Get Sacks and Sacks of Letters....

So some days I really love my phony baloney job.

Case in point: When I got the following e-mail recently.

Hi Steve, Hope you are safe & sound.

I'm writing about a June 1st release from my 15 year old daughter, Juniper.

It’s quite an unusual album, both in its sound and creation.

Most of the songs are by me (or her & me), but we asked some friends to write for us and got songs from:

Tommy Dunbar (Rubinoos) & Kyle Vincent
Kim Shattuck (the Muffs) & Lisa Marr
Francis Macdonald (Teenage Fanclub).

And we got a lot of our friends to play on the recordings, including:

Marshall Crenshaw
Dennis Diken (Smithereens)
Chris Geddes (Belle & Sebastian)
Jay Gonzalez (Drive By Truckers)
Steve Goulding (Mekons, Nick Lowe, etc)
Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo)
Chris Collingwood (Fountains of Wayne)
Mark Spencer (Son Volt)
Greg Townson (Los Straitjackets)

So, the record has a story.

And it really sounds unusual, because of her voice and the unique mix of punky/poppy songs, and the basement/kitchen sink production style – which is reverent of ‘60s & ‘70s pop, but not anachronistically so.

Okay, as you may imagine, that got my attention.

And then I listened to a single from the album, which had been released previously...

...and decided that heck yeah -- it was absolutely delightful.

And then I listened to another one -- "Everybody's Got a Crush on Chad"...

...and realized, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this kid is a freaking star who's just made one of the albums of the year. Seriously, there isn't a less than fabulous track on the whole thing.

So go to Bandcamp HERE or Spotify and be a patron of the arts, you bastids. This kind of creativity deserves your support.

POSTSCRIPT: If the title to this post doesn't ring a bell, it's from a request segment on the old Perry Como show that was one of my favorite things when I was a pre-teenager.

Yes, I'm incredibly old.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Literary Notes From All Over

Been devouring Sympathy for the Drummer: Why Charlie Watts Matters by Mike Edison...

...which is very funny and a smashing read; author Edison, a drummer himself, really knows the music and the Stones history inside out and it's nice that Charlie is finally getting this level of recognition.

I will say this, however; it's a cliche that members of my generation had an existential choice to make -- Beatles or Stones. And boy, did Edison choose the Stones. I mean, he really fucking hates The Beatles, with the exception of Ringo, and the animus is occasionally a little disconcerting.

In any case, you can and should order the book over at Amazon HERE.

And now, because I love you all more than food, here's one of Charlie's earliest masterpieces (Edison rates it very highly, as well he should).

Jeebus, that's great. I mean, the whole band is, but Charlie makes it sound so damned easy.

[h/t Robert Albiston]

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

So over lunch yesterday it dawned on me that I didn't know who wrote "Their Hearts Were Full of Spring" -- the gorgeous song from The Beach Boys' clip I posted Tuesday.

And when I looked it up -- in the immortal words of Cristina Applegate on Married With Children -- you could have knocked me over with the weather to learn it was none other than...Bobby Troup.

Whose other credits include having been married to Julie London, AKA the hottest woman of the 20th Century (he co-starred with her on the 70s TV show Emergency).

And who was responsible for London's stunning hit recording of "Cry Me a River."

He also wrote this Little Richard classic...

...and finally, and most importantly, wrote the song that The Rolling Stones turned into the greatest live performance in the history of both rock AND roll.

Jeebus H. Christ on a piece of burnt challah toast -- what a freaking resume.

Clearly, this guy would be a fruitful subject for future research.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Behind Schedule

Actual music posting -- of a fabulous song that will blow your mind -- resumes in the afternoon.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Cue Barenaked Ladies and "Brian Wilson"

Friend of PowerPop Bill Lloyd -- a fabulous pop/rock/country artist who I've been a fan of since forever (including the Stereo Review days -- has shared an amazing reminiscence in honor of Brian Wilson's 78th birthday (which was this past Saturday).

Quick story; when Foster & Lloyd opened for The Beach Boys in San Carlos CA in 1990, there were four shows, an afternoon and evening show on a Saturday and Sunday. Rad Foster and I just played acoustic sets but it went over just fine. This was during the time Brian was somewhat estranged from the band and still under Landy's rule to my knowledge. He showed up on the Sunday show as a surprise and in a last-minute rehearsal, they commandeered our dressing room to warm up. It was THIS song they did together. So please just imagine us outside with our ears pressed to the door hearing them run this down like it was effortless.

Here's the song in question, live from The Andy Williams show in 1966.

I can't even imagine what it must have been like for Bill to hear that under the circumstances he describes. Hell, I wept openly today while watching the video.

BTW, I should add that my old band The Hi-Beams -- AKA The Floor Models Mark II -- were lucky enough to open for Foster and Lloyd sometime in the late 80s, which was one of the great thrills of my adult life.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Your Friday Moment of Teenage Glossolalia

From 1972, and their fabulous live reunion album...

...please enjoy Dion and the Belmonts and the opening track "I Wonder Why."

This is one of the greatest rock songs of all time, not just one of the greatest doo-wop songs, and that whole album is just stellar. I hadn't thought about it in years, but attentive readers are aware that I've been listening to Dion's new one of late, and thus was moved to grab a CD copy of the live album a few days ago; I was pleased to discover that it's as good as I remembered. I should add that it didn't get as much critical acclaim as it deserved back in '72, when it was unfairly dismissed as a sort of rock revival piece of nostalgia, which it most assuredly isn't.

Incidentally, and in the interest of full disclosure, the term "teenage glossolalia" was first applied to "I Wonder Why" by the great Greil Marcus in in his indispensable rock history tome Mystery Train.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

The One That Got Away

This photo popped up on my Facebook Memories thingie this morning.

For the record, that's me and my 1959 Les Paul goldtop rocking out live for a performance by a band called God (hey, we were young) being shot for a student film at CW Post in 1969.

I bought the guitar for 125 bucks two years earlier -- if I were to think how much it would fetch today, I would have a stroke and die.

Oh, and you can see the film -- which is pretty good, and a great time capsule of what it felt like to be a 20-something at a liberal arts college just prior to Woodstock -- over here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Closed for Slacker Monkey Business

Regular posting -- I swear to the Flying Spaghetti Monster -- resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Holy Crap -- in 2020, Bob Dylan is the New Bob Dylan

In case you missed it, there was an absolutely fascinating interview by historian Douglas Brinkley with the Hibbing Minstrel in the New York Times over the weekend.


A few years ago, sitting beneath shade trees in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., I had a two-hour discussion with Bob Dylan that touched on Malcolm X, the French Revolution, Franklin Roosevelt and World War II. At one juncture, he asked me what I knew about the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864. When I answered, “Not enough,” he got up from his folding chair, climbed into his tour bus, and came back five minutes later with photocopies describing how U.S. troops had butchered hundreds of peaceful Cheyenne and Arapahoe in southeastern Colorado.

Given the nature of our relationship, I felt comfortable reaching out to him in April after, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, he unexpectedly released his epic, 17-minute song “Murder Most Foul,” about the Kennedy assassination. Even though he hadn’t done a major interview outside of his own website since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016, he agreed to a phone chat from his Malibu home, which turned out to be his only interview before next Friday’s release of “Rough and Rowdy Ways,” his first album of original songs since “Tempest” in 2012...

You can, and should, read the rest of it over at the Times HERE.

I should add that, based on the two songs from the album that have already been released, this is going to be a major event. I highly recommend pre-ordering it over at Amazon HERE.

To paraphrase the old MAD Magazine -- $13.98 cheap.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Frankie Goes to Hollywood

From 1945, please enjoy the Academy Award winning short film The House I Live In.

I hadn't seen that since elementary school, and I had forgotten just how cool it is on a number of levels.

I should add, in a proof of the contention that no good deed goes unpunished, that Albert Maltz, the screenwriter of that eloquent plea for tolerance, was sent to prison and later blacklisted for the crime of refusing to testify in front of the odious House Un-American Activities Committee.

Oh well, at least Sinatra's great in it.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Hollies Days Are Here Again

From 1965, and the amazing live compilation Radio Fun...

...please enjoy The Hollies -- possibly my second favorite Brit Invasion band of all time -- and a live at the BBC version of one of the most stunning power pop songs ever.

Written, I should add, by the immortal Graham Gouldman.

And you can download the compilation that's from over at this link HERE.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Closed for Monkey Business

Yes, I'm slacking today. Sorry -- real world concerns have impinged on my work ethic.

I swear on my parents grave that there will be great posts on a daily basis beginning tomorrow and continuing all next week.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Your Wednesday Moment of Words Fail Me

From his just released new album Downtime, please enjoy the incredibly great Nick Piunti -- doing business with his fabulous band The Complicated Men -- and the power pop work of genius that is "Upper Hand."

Seriously, I've written glowingly about Piunti on previous occasions, beginning in 2016, and as I said back then the guy is so good I hate him.

But this new song -- and the whole album, as well -- is sheer perfection; everything about it -- including the guitar solos -- is genre defining.

You can order the thing over at Amazon HERE or over at Nick's website HERE

And a coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded to the first reader who posits who Piunti's vocals remind me of, because for the life of me I can't put my finger on it.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Closed For Monkey Business Out of "Marathon Man"

Okay, my dentist isn't actually a Nazi and looks nothing like Sir Larry Olivier, but I'm having a tooth pulled today and I can't bring myself to actually write something.

Assuming I live, regular posting -- beginning with an absolutely incredible new song by NICK PIUNTI -- resumes tomorrow.

Monday, June 08, 2020

On an American Street

Genius singer/songwriter Marc Jonson -- a friend since my Floor Models days in Greenwich Village, and probably the most talented of all the people I knew back then -- reacts with righteous fury to the recent events in Minneapolis.

Words fail me.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Posted for Obviously Relevant Reasons

From his just released Blues With Friends album, please enjoy Dion (and Paul Simon) and "Song for Sam Cooke (Here In America)."

The album in question, BTW, is a stone masterpiece and belongs in everybody's music library. Order it over at Amazon HERE or earn my eternal emnity.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Gimme Shelter

A very droll piece from the current New Yorker about what musician David Mansfield found in his front yard in suburban New Jersey.

You can read the whole thing over at the link HERE.

Friday, June 05, 2020

It's New Music By Veteran Artists Week (The Sequel to the Epilogue): Special "Losing My Balance" Edition

From just the other day, please enjoy the quite terrific Tommy Roe and his obviously relevant remake of his 1969 classic "Dizzy."

Pretty funny obviously, and if I do say so, the modulations in that are one of the coolest gimmicks in the history of both rock AND roll. Roe is actually a way underrated figure; he was one of those guys who really wanted to be Buddy Holly and didn't do a bad job at becoming him.

In any case -- next week, nothing but new music.

And have a great weekend, everybody!!

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Your Thursday Moment of I Can't Come Up With an Adequate Title

From their 1991 reunion album The Prodigal Stranger, please enjoy Procol Harum and the incredibly great lead-off track "The Truth Won't Fade Away."

I hadn't thought about that song since forever, but it popped into my head unbidden this morning, probably for two reasons. Number one, it came out in roughly the same time period as that Del Shannon album I referenced yesterday -- apparently, 1991 was a really good year for rock-and-roll, and I need to research that.

And also because the lyrics...

We were young, we were brave, we were true, we were strong
Far away the bombs and the buildings exploding
There was no way out
It was black, it was white, we had so much to say
Right or wrong... The truth won't fade away

We had our hopes, we had our dreams, we were young, we were old
We saw our future self-destructing: there were roles that we played
Some were good, some were bad: there was so much to say
Right or wrong... The truth won't fade away

...seem eerily prescient given the completely disgusting lies coming from (what a friend referred to as) the Trump Batshit House.

Okay, I know the title of this blog isn't PISSED OFF LEFTY; regular music posting -- a thoroughly cool new song, BTW -- goes up tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

So for a variety of reasons, I have been listening -- obsessively of late -- to one of the great unheralded albums of our lifetime.

Del Shannon's posthumous -- produced by Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, and Jeff Lynne -- 1991 masterpiece Rock On.

Here's my critique of it from the Magazine Formerly Known as STEREO REVIEW.

In any event, I posted that on Facebook the other day and a friend sent me the link to this clip of Shannon on the Letterman show in 1987.

I think any objective person would have to concede that's one of the greatest rock-and-roll performances in the history of the music.

I mean seriously -- when Shannon did that, he had already performed "Runaway" more times than Judy Garland had done "Over the Rainbow," and yet he's absolutely not phoning it in.

Words fail me.

[h/t Trademark Dave]

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Closed for Dental Monkey Business

Okay, it's not bad enough that we're in the middle of a plague, the worst economy since the Great Depression, and cities on fire like it's 1968 -- but I'm probably gonna have to have a tooth removed and I'm in horrible pain until then.

Assuming I get some relief, regular musical posting will resume on the morrow.

Monday, June 01, 2020

It's New Music By Veteran Artists Week (The Epilogue): Special "Dress Warmly" Edition

From their about to be released reunion double-disc live album Last Call (Live at the Music Box), please enjoy pride of Cleveland The Choir and their quite lovely and sort of Procol Harum-ish reworking of their 1966 power pop/garage rock regional hit "It's Cold Outside."

Three of the Choir boys (okay, I'm sorry) achieved greater fame as original members of The Raspberries (with Eric Carmen), although only drummer Jim Bonfanti is in the incarnation documented on Last Call. I should add that the Procol Harum reference is not gratuitous; there are a lot of covers on the record, and five -- count 'em, five -- are by Procol (along with songs by The Easybeats(!), Bob Seger, and The Kinks, among others).

In any case, a very nice coda to an interesting career; you can -- and should -- order it over at Amazon HERE.