Monday, August 31, 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 I)

From their 2001 greatest hits album 3000 Nights in Babylon, please enjoy the incomparable White Animals -- featuring the song's auteur Steve Boyd on lead vocals -- with their power pop masterpiece "This Girl of Mine."

I should add that the song itself derives from the Animals 1984 indie album Ecstasy, and that both it and Babylon are still available over at Amazon.

I've written about the White Animals before, but herewith a little refresher for newbies.

The White Animals are the great lost American rock band of the 80s -- a ferocious live act (any band that shared a stage with them did so at their peril) and true musical visionaries whose ahead of its time mix of 60s garage-punk energy, British Invasion song structures, and dub reggae soundscapes by way of Lee Perry still sounds utterly fresh and contemporary.

I wrote that back in 2000, but I first met these guys -- who basically ruled the college alt-rock/frat party scene down South in their heyday -- in the late 70s while interviewing the redoubtable Marshall Chapman. Years later, the Floor Models had the great pleasure of opening for them on one of their infrequent trips to NYC. I should add -- as I suggested in the blurb -- that they blew us off the stage. In the nicest and most supportive way possible.

And here's a video that just slays me.

Also yes: Unless I miss my guess, the title of today's post is the longest one in the history of this here blog.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Friday, August 28, 2020

It's Time for...SPACE FORCE!!!

And speaking as we were earlier this week of the great Buchanan and Goodman and their Flying Saucer records, here's the great Albert Brooks, from 1975, and his brilliant homage/parody of same -- "Party From Outer Space." Featuring phony hits as the cut-ins.

BTW, the album the above is from -- A Star is Bought -- is one of the genuine post-modern masterpieces of its genre, and I highly recommend it; order it over at Amazon HERE. I guarantee you'll thank me -- it's worth it for the dead-on parody of a 1940s radio show a la Jack Benny alone.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Programming Notes From All Over: Special "This Time It's For Real" Edition

Swear to God, I'm going to be on friend of PowerPop Capt. Al's intertube radio show Lost at Sea today over at the soon-to-be-shuttered Area 24 Radio.

The show will begin at 7pm EST and you can access it at the link HERE; when you get there, just click on the LISTEN HERE link.

My guest slot will begin circa 7:20, and while I won't give away the theme of my segment, let's just say that it has a lot to do with a certain Zombies song from Odessey and Oracle.

Look, I know I said the same thing last Saturday, and then the whole freaking thing crashed, technically, but I have been assured not this time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Keep Watching the Skies!

From 1957, please enjoy Buchanan and Goodman -- the great comic geniuses of the original rock era -- and their second official Flying Saucer record, i.e. the sequel to the ones I posted yesterday.

I've said it before but it behooves repeating -- Buchanan and Goodman's stuff literally changed my life. Unfortunately, B&G's stuff obviously changed Elon Musk's life too, except he didn't get the joke.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Buchanan and Goodman Rule! (An Occasional Series): Special "It Came From Outer Space" Edition

From 1956, please enjoy the original Flying Saucer records -- the aptly named "The Flying Saucer Pts. 1 and 2," by the comic geniuses of the original rock era Buchanan and Goodman.

For those of you too young to remember, the Flying Saucer records -- also known by the more generic term cut-in records -- were all done pre-digital, i.e. actual human beings had to sit around in the studio and manually edit magnetic tape by physically cutting it and then re-attaching the pieces via plasic adhesive.

I should also add that those records were one of the three great influences on my early comic sensibility, along with Groucho Marx on TV and Mad Magazine. And in any event, given the reports in the news of late -- about the Pentagon releasing new and somewhat convincing UFO footage it seems like a good time to revisit them.

BTW, and I didn't know this until this very morning, but Bill Buchanan plays the disc jockey and Dickie Goodman plays reporter John Cameron Cameron.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Your Monday Moment of Steve Fulfills a Life-Long Dream

So thanks to the miracle of modern technology, I just got to sing and play with the freaking Byrds.

The back story: As you may or may not know, I am in the process of putting together a final Floor Models record -- specifically, either an album or an EP that will be a tribute to The Byrds (titled In-Flyte Entertainment, courtesy of friend of PowerPop and moi Tommy Perkins. Thanks. Tommy!). This is going to feature a lot of my musician friends -- some of whom you will be familiar with -- but the core group of players is going to be the surviving Flo Mos before we shuffle off this mortal coil, which could be any minute now. Heh.

In any case, I've been kicking this idea around since last year, and at the time I was conceptualizing it, I was hobnobbing with our late great drummer and dear friend (or, as I used to refer to him, my musical director for the last 50 years) Glen Robert Allen. My idea was that we'd restrict the Byrds songs being covered to those they had done between their debut LP in 1965 and their final album involving David Crosby in 1967, i.e. just their folk-rock and psychedelic stuff, before they went country-rock. The music that had principally influenced the Flo Mos.

Glen, however, being the brilliant guy he was, said to me "Uh, Steve -- that's great, but if you don't include "Tulsa County," the gorgeous country song from the Ballad of Easy Rider LP, then you're a mongrel idiot." I was not immediately convinced, but I do in fact love that song and on reflection -- not even considering Glen's health issues at the time -- I ultimately agreed with him.

Bottom line: A few weeks ago -- the intertubes being the wondrous things they are -- I found an instrumental track of the Byrds recording of said song, sans lead vocal and with a barely audible bass. And then last Thursday I went into the studio and put a new vocal and bass part on it.

Which is to say I finally got to collaborate with my favorite band of all time.

The track isn't done -- ultimately we're gonna replace all the original instrumentation, including adding an electric 12-string to it, which should make it sound less country-rock and more 1966. But in any case, this rough version is now the favorite thing I've ever done artistically in my entire life. I think it really sounds like an authentic Byrds outtake I just happened to sneak onto when they weren't paying attention.

I should add that I barely recognize my voice, which is a good thing. I'm well aware that I've never been a particularly good singer; basically, I can negotiate a sort of snotty sounding nasal Jewish suburban punk Lou Reed kind of thing at best. But here, I think, I've done better; to my ears, the vocalist on this genuinely sounds like his heart has been broken.

I'll keep you up to date on the progress of the track and the album itself as things develop. And god bless you, Glen.

[cross-posted at Floor Your Love]

Friday, August 21, 2020

Programming Notes From All Over: Special "The Long Goodbye" Edition

Going to be on friend of PowerPop Capt. Al's intertube radio show Lost at Sea tomorrow over at the soon-to-be-shuttered Area 24 Radio.

The show will begin at 2pm EST and you can access it at the link HERE; when you get there, just click on the LISTEN HERE link.

My guest slot will begin circa 2:20, and while I won't give away the theme of my segment, let's just say that it has a lot to do with a certain Zombies song from Odessey and Oracle.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Songs I Wish One of My Old Bands Had Covered (An Occasional Series)

From their 1986 album In the Heart of the Heart Country please enjoy future Garbage members Butch Vig and Duke Erikson (here doing business as Fire Town) and their fabulous jangly neo-folk rock anthem "Carry the Torch."

Vig and company released that on their own label, and when it crossed my desk at the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review, I flipped over it and wrote it up as a Best of the Month (I'd find a link to the review, which is online somewhere, but I'm too lazy; maybe next week if I have more energy). They got signed to Atlantic soon after, and made one album that went nowhere; eventually, Vig got the gig (ooh, I made a couplet) producing Nirvana and the rest is history.

In any case, Heart Country is a great album; you can order it over at Amazon HERE.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

How Come You Dance So Good?

Somebody's nana gets down with her bad self to The Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar."

In the immortal words of Jan and Dean -- go granny, go granny, go granny go!

[h/t Frank]

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

You Know, One of These Days I Really Need to Get Out to Dayton, Ohio...

...if only to see the auteur behind the song in the video below do a gig.

In the meantime, please enjoy Mike Bankhead and his recently released single "Promise".

Which is as snazzy a piece of Guided by Voices influenced power pop as has crossed my desk in ages

And that video is an absolute hoot, which is a real bonus. How many of the movies excerpted therein can YOU identify?

In any event, Mike has a full length album due any moment; you can find out more about it and him at the link above.

You also can -- and should -- throw him a little coin by downloading his latest single over at Bandcamp HERE.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Your Monday Moment of Excuses Excuses

From their 1986 album Still Standing, please enjoy the incomparable Jason and the Scorchers and their sublimely beautiful "Good Things Come to Those Who Wait."

And Mike Bankhead -- the song is particularly apt today. That one's for you, big guy -- your post goes up tomorrow come hell or high water.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Julian Bream 1933 -- 2020

From 1963, please enjoy the incomparable Julian Bream on lute and a meltingly beautiful performance of John Dowland's "Lachrimae Pavin."

The album that's from...

...which is essentially a Top of the Pops collection of hits from the early 1600s, remains one of my all-time favorite classical records. It does not seem to be on CD; I had it digitized from a vinyl copy a few years ago, and if you ask me nicely I'll burn you one. In any case, as you can hear from the above, the music therein is the kind of stuff The Beatles would have been doing had they been born 400 years earlier.

I should add that Bream himself turns out to have had a much more interesting biography than I'd ever imagined; I particularly like the fact that as a kid he had a dog he named after Django Reinhardt.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Your Friday Moment of Words Fail Me in Perpetuity

Mark Knopfler and the isolated rhythm and lead guitar tracks for "Sultans of Swing."

Jeebus H. Christ on a piece of burnt challah toast -- this is like a master class on how to be a great electric guitarist. If I was a lot younger and had some time on my hands, I would be sitting under the headphones with my new Squier Stratocaster and figuring out how to play every fucking note of this.

PS: Mea culpa Mike Bankhead -- real life craziness has prevented me from posting my encomium to your new song; I swear on my mother's grave it will be up on Monday.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

[h/t Allan Weissman]

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Your Thursday Moment of This Song Totally Made My Week

From July of this year and their just released album Love Songs for All Occasions, please enjoy the previously unknown to me Harrisonics and their utterly glorious jangle-punk cover of Richard Thompson's "Small Town Romance."

If that doesn't put a smile on your face there's no hope for you.

BTW, as I said I was heretofore unaware of those guys, but apparently they're from Lawrence, Kansas, they have a Facebook page, and you can and should buy their album over at Amazon HERE.

[h/t Adam S]

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

You Know, You Really Have to Wonder Why Some Version of This Song Hasn't Been Used in an Infiniti Ad

From 2005, and the Rubber Soul tribute album This Bird Has Flown...

...please enjoy my all-time favorite punky girl group The Donnas and their spirited cover of "Drive My Car."

BTW, there's a free download link for the whole album, which as you can see has some interesting participants...

...over HERE.

Alas, I haven't been able to open the Mega file and extract the songs; if anybody can figure out how to do that and would be kind enough to share the album with me, please let me know.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Greatest Album Title of All Time

I don't even care if the music sucks. Psychedelic schlemiels?

Sorry, it just doesn't get any better than that.

BTW, that is an actual album, and it's from a series that apparently is up to volume 4.

And yes, as you can hear from this representative clip...

...the music sucks.

But with an album title like that -- what difference does it make?

Mazel tov!!!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Closed for Medical Monkey Business

Nothing serious, just a little under the weather (don't ask), and I just couldn't get a new post for today together. So sue me.

Regular postings -- including a cool new song by indie rocker/pride of Dayton, Ohio Mike Bankhead -- resumes on the morrow.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Hiroshima Mon Amour

Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of the first use of a nuclear weapon. I should have posted my 2019 cover of The Byrds' 1966 version of the deeply moving song about that horrific act, but given everything else that's going on at the moment, I think I can be excused for forgetting.

So here it is -- a day late, and I guess a dollar short.

In any event, I think I did a pretty good job with the song, despite the fact that I can't sing remotely as well as Roger McGuinn.

Have a great weekend everybody -- or at least as great as possible under the circumstances.

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Your Thursday Moment of the Coolest Thing Ever

In the immortal words of Cristina Applegate on Married With Children, you could have knocked me over with the weather when I recently learned that 60th Mayor of Atlanta and all around good person Keisha Lance Bottoms... the daughter of the incomparable Major Lance....

...who was the auteur of one of my favorite early 60s r&b/soul songs....

...which BTW happens to be a hugely unacknowledged influence on the music of Bruce Springsteen.

I mean c'mon -- compare "Monkey Time" to this...

...and tell me I'm making this up.

PS: Mayor Bottoms, alas, has the Trump Virus, but when last we heard, she's gonna be alright.

[h/t Mark R]

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Hepster Cinematic Notes From All Over

Sometimes, as I have taken to saying of late, despite the horrendous crisis we are currently all coping with, La Vie est Belle.

Case in point: the good folks at Kino Lorber are about to unleash a gorgeously restored version of pretty much the first great concert movie/music documentary -- photographer Bert Stern's groundbreaking cinematic study of the 1958 Newport Festival Jazz on a Summer's Day.

If you've never seen this, prepare to have your mind blown, if only for the Chuck Berry sequence which, as the story goes, the teenaged Keith Richards saw at his local cinema five days straight for obvious reasons. The film also features intimate performances by an all-star line-up of musical legends including Louis Armstrong, Thelonius Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Anita O'Day, Dinah Washington, and closes with a beautiful rendition of "The Lord's Prayer" by Mahalia Jackson.

This has previously been available on video elsewhere -- I saw it on my PBS station at some point if memory serves -- but this new Kino version is a 4K restoration by the preservationists at IndieCollect and looks and sounds fabulous.

Even better, it will be available in virtual cinemas through Kino Marquee starting August 12.

Seriously -- apart from the great music, the film is an absolutely jaw-dropping time capsule of American life in the years just prior to the tumult of the 60s. Don't miss it.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Give the Drummer Some!

The Tearaways...

...featuring the great Clem Burke (of Blondie, and much more) on those pagan skins, and their brand new single.

Which is an ode to "Charlie, Keith and Ringo."

I'm sensing a theme here, kids.

I've written about The Tearaways on previous occasions (I'm on the record as saying that they may be the best traditional -- i.e. non-hyphenated -- rock band currently working).

In any case that new song (produced just before the pandemic by Ed Stasium, of Ramones and Talking Heads fame) is pretty freaking great; the EP it''s from (Four From Four) will be released momentarily and I'll keep you posted as soon as it drops.

Monday, August 03, 2020

Yes, It's True -- Music is the Universal Language

Attentive readers with long memories may recall that way back in July -- hey, that's several years in Pandemic Time -- I posted an absolutely fabulous and adorable clip of two teenage (I think) aspiring hip-hop kids listening to Dolly Parton's "Jolene" for the first time. And digging the hell out of it.

Which kind of blew my tiny mind for a number of reasons, but I just encountered another similar clip -- featuring one of the two youths -- watching a great live 1981 performance by Queen of their ragingly beautiful "Somebody to Love." A song with which he was previously unfamiliar.

An by the time it's over, the kid is reduced to tears, as was I from watching his reaction.


Oh, and BTW -- I don't really believe today's title, i.e. that music IS a universal language. Let's just say that you would be disabused of that notion very quickly if you attempted to play a Chinese classical piece on a country radio station in Nashville.