Friday, February 26, 2021

Her Boots Were Made For Walking

From 1965, please enjoy the remarkable -- who I somehow was unaware of untill last week -- chanteuse/songwriter/babe Barbara Ruskin...

...and her should have been a huge hit B-side "No More to Fall."

You know, I like to fancy myself something of a historian of the popular music of the last half of the 20th century, but this woman somehow totally eluded me. Despite the fact that, as you can hear, she's certainly in the same class as Carole King, Jackie DeShannon and others of as we say that ilk.

Ah well. In the meantime, you can download a brilliant Ruskin compilation...

...for free over OVER HERE

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Greatest Ramones Song the Ramones Never Recorded

From a few days ago, please enjoy the incredible Jaake Margo and the quite astounding "Rudy's Got the Roni."

As I'm wont to say -- words fail me.

I mean, yeah -- that's fucking hilarious and brilliant. And obviously as relevant to our current reality as it gets.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Your Wednesday Moment of How Did I Miss the Memo on This One?

From 1979, please enjoy The Rubinoos (not the nice Jewish boys I always assumed they were) and their frighteningly infectious "Lightning Love Affair."

I'm absolutely positive I had that album on vinyl back in the day, but for some reason that song -- which I heard at my local watering hole over a very nice lunch of lox and bagels recently -- made no impression on me when it was new.

Go figure.

In any event, a delightful should-have-been-a-hit-single.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Marc of the Beast

From his fabulous just released EP, please enjoy friend of PowerPop (and moi) Marc Platt and its quite wonderfully cosmic title song "Colors of the Universe."

A great performance and tune, obviously, and I should add that rhyming "perverse" and "universe" is a feat most of us mere mortals will never surpass.

In any case, if you don't know Marc's work, here's the short version: Although he's been a prolific solo artist for a bunch of years now, he first came to my attention when I discovered that he was a labelmate; a collection of his 80s work with his power pop band The Real Impossibles -- who as they say, were world famous in Los Angeles -- was reissued on Australia's Zero Hour records a few months after the Floor Models' Floor Your Love.

I heard this track from the compilation...

...and I was an instant fan. Why these guys weren't as critically fawned over as The Plimsouls was and is utterly beyond my ken.

In any case, the new EP has seven terrific songs -- I posted "Everything Dies" the other day -- all more or less in the same vein of catchy punkish folk-psychedelia as "Colors," and it's one of the most entertaining things I've been privileged to hear in ages.

You can -- and very definitely should -- order it (either to stream or buy the physical CD) over at Amazon HERE. Act now.

And BTW, you can snag a copy of the Real Impossibles album over at the official website of Zero Hour Records. You'll thank me.

PS: Marc also is a terrific deejay, and he has a new internet radio show, which airs Monday, Wednesday and Friday (at 3pm PDT) over HERE.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Tales from the Republican Death Cult

Via e-mail, an hour ago.

"Just learned that the best boogie piano player of our generation died in Austin - likely of hypothermia-induced cardiac arrest. His house had no heat or water for five days. He was a friend and I can't even grasp he's not going to be there to liven things up. May you have great records to listen to and great musicians to jam with wherever you are, Gene Taylor."

I should add that I'm still spitting angry at Trump for the COVID death of Adam Schlesinger. May everybody in the leadership of the so-called Party of Life -- hell, everybody who voted for that orange-haired shithead -- rot in hell in perpetuity.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Daughter of Irksome

Long time readers are aware that back in the day I had a lot of fun dissing New York Times writers Jon Caramanica and Kalefah Senneh, on separate occasions, as The World's Most Irksome Rock Critic.

Both of those worthies have long since moved on to other non-rock gigs, so I had more or less retired the title. But, alas, I now have to revive it.

Ladies and germs, I give you the New Yorker's quite preposterously irksome Amanda Petrusich.

I first became aware of Ms. Petrusich last October, when she penned a rapturous and cloyingly written ode to world's most useless Gen Z singer/songwriter Adrianne Lenker; at the time, I described Petrusich as the kind of deeply sensitive soul who underlines passages in slim volumes of poetry and then writes "How true!" in the margins, and I stand by that characterization.

However, her most recent think (heh) piece on the great Dusty Springfield is even more ludicrous, if such a thing is possible.

If only for this line/pearl of wisdom --

"Virtuosity and ease are frequently thought of as antithetical"

-- which could only be typed by somebody who a) knows nothing about music and b) has never actually listened to any.

And that's hardly the dumbest thing in the, ahem, essay, by the way.

That said, I would be remiss if I didn't thank Petrusich for reminding me of a mostly forgotten album -- It Begins Again -- that Springfield made in 1978 with (of all people) Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker. And specificially this track.

A Motown cover that Springfield was, obviously, born to sing.

In any event, kudos to Ms. Petrusich, the new title holder!!!

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Apparently It's True -- I Slept Through the '90s

Please enjoy Kurt Cobain and a fabulously sepulchural solo home version of The Beatles more romantic classic "And I Love Her."

How did I not hear about this one until yesterday?

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Closed for Computer Trouble...

...including losing a piece I had worked on at some length. Back as soon as we get the problem resolved.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Closed for Monkey Business: Now With Coming Attractions!!!

Way behind schedule for reasons I won't bore you with.

That said, music posting returns tomorrow, beginning with a review of the great new EP by friend of PowerPop and moi Marc Platt.

Here's a teaser song until then.

By the way, despite the title of that song, I am still very much not dead despite everything, if you know what I mean.

Monday, February 15, 2021

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

From the 2011 album Retro Soul, please enjoy Andy Powell and Emily Taylor and "The Best You've Had"

I chanced upon this on Saturday, when a certain Shady Dame and I were watching an otherwise very grim French cop show called Balthazar, and that song was on the soundtrack.

Basically, I fell off the couch. I mean, that's just absolutely great. Like almost Amy Winehouse great. And I'm really pissed nobody hipped me to it previously.

Oh well, better late than never.

Friday, February 12, 2021

You Still Can't Buy a Better Rock Album

Apparently some people are copping all sorts of attitude because Bruce Springsteen did a Jeep commercial that aired at some sports event last weekend.

To those people, let me simply say -- Jeebus H. Christ on a piece of burnt challah toast.

Seriously, as the invaluable Roy Edroso makes the point -- far more amusingly than I could -- any putative liberal who's professing to be upset about this nonsense is playing into rightwing assholes hands BIG TIME.

And they should cut it the fuck out.

In any case, I'm venting about all this because I recently learned that there is an official -- with vastly improved sound -- CD release of the legendary Springsteen Live at the Roxy in 1975 bootleg (which I had on vinyl back in the day)...

...and it's even better than I remembered, i.e. absolutely transcendent and life affirming. You know -- the way art is supposed to be.

And if you don't believe me, check out this version of "Thunder Road"...

...and this cover of a Searchers classic.

You can order the whole thing over HERE, or you can just nicely ask me to burn a copy for you.

End of rant -- except why didn't I get the memo about the album previously? Sheesh.

Oh -- and have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

The Turtles: Happy Together

Okay, I realize this has nothing to do with the theme of this here blog, but it's utterly amazing and you have to see it.

Say what you will about Youtube, but it has demonstrated that animals are capable of far, far more than most of us ever understood or believed.

And I should add -- as cheap a shot as this is -- that the turtle helping his buddy above is a better human being than any of the murderous schmucks whose video footage was part of yesterday's impeachment hearing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Closed for Monkey Business

A bit under the weather -- that damned vertigo again -- but regular posting will return on the morrow.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

For an Absent Friend

Okay, this is a hard one to write.

The short version: Today marks a year since the passing of my pal (and The Floor Models drummer for over four decades) Glen Robert Allen.

Glen enriched my life in so many ways I couldn't begin to enumerate them, but I will say that I still really haven't come to terms with the fact that he's gone. Truth is, these days when I go into the recording studio, I inevitably look to the back of the room and expect to see him sitting on the couch yelling at me about tempos.

In any event, here's a story about Glen that I haven't previously shared, for reasons that escape me, but the time is obviously right, so here goes.

Again, the short version: The hospital in NYC where Glenn was being treated toward the end had (unbeknownst to me) a musical therapy program, which I think you'll have to admit is pretty cool. And in the late summer of 2019, he wrote a song (with the woman who ran the program), and then went into the studio to record it; Glen played drums, and the rest of the track featured our friends (and frequent collaborators) Susan Hall and Ronnie D'Addario. In case you're keeping score, they're the parents of The Lemon Twigs.

I should add that I had no idea Glen had been working on the song until he played it on a boom box in his hospital room on February 7 of last year.

Here's that performance, and if you can listen to it without getting a little choked up I really don't want to know from you.

Cut to late last summer, when our friend Phil Cheesbrough (who met Glen at the Flo Mos 2019 reunion show) told me that indie rock/country singer Jenn Bostic was going to do a cover of the song with an accompanying video. This thrilled me, as you can imagine (I've written about Jenn under happier circumstances) and it also was a mitzvah for Glen's beloved wife Eddy Coston, who knew from Jenn and her work as a Christian music celebrity.

Here's Jenn's cover, which I think you'll agree is pretty darned transcendent.

To which I can only add -- thank you thank you thank you, Jenn, from the bottom of my rapidly aging rock-and-roll heart. God bless you for doing it.

I should also add that Eddy is in the process of establishing a charitable foundation in Glen's name, and when that happens I'll be posting about it.

In the meantime, rest in peace, Glen. You made a difference to more people than you guessed.

Monday, February 08, 2021

Well, I Gotta Say, That Bob Zimmerman Guy...

...totally deserved the Nobel Prize he got.

And I'll tell you why I think so, from an admittedly personal perspective.

To begin with, attentive readers should be aware that I have been working on (and am close to completing) a Byrds tribute album by my band The Floor Models (along with special guests.)

And here's the most recent track -- my old colleague/lead singer Gerry Devine and his gorgeous solo version of "Chimes of Freedom."

I had not, originally, planned to include the song -- written by Bob Dylan, obviously, and covered by The Byrds on their life-changing (to me) debut album -- but a couple of weeks ago it occurred to me that it was even more relevant to the world in 2021 than it had been back in the day. In that regard, I give you the lyrics, which should make the point.

Far between sundown's finish and midnight's broken toll We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight And for each and every underdog soldier in the night And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Even though a clouds's white curtain in a far-off corner flashed And the hypnotic splattered mist was slowly lifting Electric light still struck like arrows, fired but for the ones Condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting Tolling for the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail For the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale And for each unharmfull, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Starry-eyed and laughing as I recall when we were caught Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended As we listened one last time and we watched with one last look Spellbound and swallowed 'til the tolling ended Tolling for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones and worse And for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashin

And in case you didn't get it, those lines about unarmed refugees/innocent people in jails are even MORE applicable to contemporary culture than they were when Dylan wrote them.

The larger meaning being -- if Dylan had never published anything but the above, which is the very definition of "gorgeously poetic", he would have been entitled to that award from the Swedes.

Damn, I can't wait till this record is finished.

Friday, February 05, 2021

Drinking Songs Say So Much

From that late 90s Del Amitri album -- Some Other Sucker's Parade -- I've been bugging you about recently, please enjoy the pride of Glasgow's gorgeous title song.

And what a lyric.

I must've had a million damn unlucky days But there ain't no cloud that a bottle can't chase away And I've done my deal of living, ran from place to place But when the roof comes in I don't wanna take it straight

They say with faith any soul can make it But hell, why should I wait Till the clouds go rain on some other sucker's parade

I've had my share of heartaches, let-downs and tricks But the everyday blues is the one thing I can't fix And I've heard those holy brethren muttering my name But it ain't no sin to drink when you're suffering

Patience, they say, is a saintly virtue But hell, why should I wait Till the clouds go rain on some other sucker's parade

When every heavy skyline just empties on your fate Sometimes keeping dry's something to celebrate

So if the road of sin is the one I'm taking I ain't gonna stray Till the clouds go rain on some other sucker's parade

Have I mentioned wow?

I had no idea that the Scots were even more clinically depressed than the Irish.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, February 04, 2021

Ars Longa, Lovely Rita Brevis

As seen over at Roy Edroso's blog the other day -- a poem by Phillip Larkin (1922-1985)...

...that's the most brilliant thing ever written about what used to be called the Generation Gap.

"Annus Mirabilis"

Sexual intercourse began In nineteen sixty-three

(which was rather late for me) -

Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban/And the Beatles' first LP.

Up to then there'd only been/A sort of bargaining,

A wrangle for the ring,

A shame that started at sixteen/And spread to everything.

Then all at once the quarrel sank/Everyone felt the same,

And every life became

A brilliant breaking of the bank/A quite unlosable game.

So life was never better than/In nineteen sixty-three

(Though just too late for me) -

Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban/And the Beatles' first LP.

The cream of the jest, of course, is that Edroso is quoting this to make fun of the odious Rich Lowry (a white power prick over at that other white power prick William F. Buckley's National Review) and his, shall we say, moronically specious argument that Joe Biden is the most left-wing Democratic president in the history of the good old USA. But hey -- we already know Conservatives don't know shit about shit, and especially pop culture.

BTW, I'm embarrassed to admit it, but not only was I unfamiliar with the poem in question, I knew next to nothing about its author. Although I learned earlier today that, apparently, he had a fondness for soft-core porn and misogyny, and was no fan of modernism.

In any case, let's just say that I intend to make Larkin a subject for future research.

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Dating Tips From Glasgow

Here's another live one I somehow missed at the time (1997). From their incredibly great Some Other Sucker's Parade album, please enjoy Scottish band Del Amitri and their utterly goosebump inducing "Not Where It's At" on the old Conan O'Brien show.

True story: at the time the song first appeared, the conventional wisdom was that the girl in question doesn't go for the singer because of her, er, sexual orientation, if I may use that phrase.

I, on the other hand, was convinced that it wasn't anything so specific, and that the salient line in the lyric is actually...

"I don't have my finger on the pulse of my generation/ I just got my hand on my heart, I know no better location."

...rather than the more frequently cited...

"But the one girl that I want/ she wants that one bit of geography I lack."

That said, I hadn't heard the song in ages, and when I chanced upon that video the other day, all I could do is smack my forehead and scream "What was I thinking?"

I mean, OF COURSE, it's about her sexuality.

In any case, what a great freaking song and performance.

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

If Helen Reddy Married Tom Petty, and Then Divorced Him for Johnny Cash...

...she'd be Helen Reddy Petty Cash now.

Thank you -- I'm here all week. Try the veal.

But seriously, I chanced across this on YouTube the other day, and it absolutely blows my mind.

A surprisingly old -- but still annoyingly handsome -- Jackson Browne covering Petty's most overly Byrds-ish song, "The Waiting." And quite gorgeously.

I've probably told this story before, but it behooves repeating.

Obviously, there have been a lot of rock star deaths that have saddened me over the years, but I remain surprised by my reaction to this one.

Short version: I was home in Hackensack (taking care of my late mother) in the end of October 2017 when the word of Tom's passing suddenly showed up on my computer.

I was actually listening to his debut album at the time.

In any case,I wept out loud.

For ten minutes. Non-stop.

I mean, I didn't do that when John freaking Lennon was assassinated.

Monday, February 01, 2021

Your Monday Moment of "I Know I Often Don't Get the Memo, But How the Hell Did I Miss This One?"

From 1986, please enjoy singer/drummer Luis Cardenas and his beyond transplendent video for a remake of Del Shannon's classic (and obviously timeless) "Runaway."

With stop-motion dinosaurs.

Apparently, I'm the only person on the planet who hadn't seen this before, but I swear to god I was unaware of it until last night.

In any case, apart from the whole thing being hysterically funny -- AND a very nice version of the song -- it was really nice to see Del as the cop at the very end.

Hmm...I think I'll repost about Del's posthumous farewell album tomorrow. Which in case you haven't heard it, is a genuine pop masterpiece.