Wednesday, June 30, 2021

This is Without Question the Cutest Thing I've Ever Seen

Jennifer Grey does Mickey Katz on the Conan show.

Regular rock -- by which I mean Byrdsian -- postings resume on the morrow.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

God Damn, In Another Life I Would Have Made a Pretty Good Publicist!

The official press release I wrote for our just released Byrds tribute album.


80s cult faves The Floor Models are pleased to call to your attention their fifth album, a salute to the Byrds. The band that made them want to make music in the first place.

Produced by band bassist (and veteran rock journalist) Steve Simels, In-Flyte Entertainment features cover versions of songs from four of the first five albums by the seminal folk-rockers. High points include re-imaginings of the obviously relevant "Chimes of Freedom" and the classic "You Ain't Going Nowhere," with special guest legendary rocker Willie Nile on lead vocals.

"The Byrds are one of the most important bands of the last 60 years," Simels said. "Who else influenced both the Beatles and the Velvet Underground? The answer is nobody. This new tribute album is, obviously, a labor of love and a dream project. We think we've done justice to the Byrds music; hopefully, when you hear it, you'll agree."

"In-Flyte Entertainment" is available for download and streaming at Spotify, iTunes, Pandora and most other digital platforms; actual CDs will be available at CD Baby and Amazon.


Sunday, June 27, 2021

Wassup? Psychedelically Speaking, of Course

And talking about the great Rob Laufer as we were the other day, with his astounding performance of The Lovin' Spoonful's "Darling Be Home Soon"...

...have I mentioned that Rob sings the vocals on track two from my old band The Floor Models new tribute album to The Byrds?

Pretty freaking great, I think. Those harmonies aren't on the original version, BTW, and I think the song's composer David Crosby would dig the hell out of them.

I should add that the album is rolling out on all the usual suspect digital platforms in the next few days, and a CD version will be available by the end of the week.

Friday, June 25, 2021

It's Lovin' Spoonful Tribute Concert Week: Part IV -- Special "Written Before Climate Change Became a Thing" Edition

From that 2020 Lovin' Spoonful charity show I've been bugging you about all week...

...please enjoy the Wild Honey Orchestra, with special guest Marshall Crenshaw, and the most goddamned gorgeous performance of "Rain on the Roof" ever heard by sentient mammalian ears.

As I suggested yesterday, if that doesn't reduce you to tears, seek immediate medical attention. It's a cliche, I know, but in this case it's utterly apt.

Meanwhile, have a great weekend, everybody. Coming on Monday: Something wholly other.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

It's Lovin' Spoonful Tribute Concert Week: Part III -- When the Night Falls

From that 2020 Lovin' Spoonful charity show I've been bugging you about all week...

...please enjoy the Wild Honey Orchestra, with special guests 80s New Wave faves Wednesday Week and an astounding version of (for my money) the Spoonful's masterpiece "Six O'Clock."

I actually think, on balance, that this song is the Spoonful's greatest accomplishment in the studio, and yeah, yeah, I know, "Summer in the City". I just think this one is more evocative of New York at the time, and the air of desperation that hangs over it is really powerful.

In any case, these Wednesday Week kids sing and play the hell out of it.

I should also add that I am totally in love with the gal bass player in the men's suit stage right. Assuming she is a gal, and hell, even if she isn't.

Tomorrow -- another Spoonful classic in a performance that should reduce you to a puddle of goo. And I mean that in a good way.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

It's Lovin' Spoonful Tribute Concert Week: Part II -- Blown to Smithereens

From that pre-pandemic 2020 Lovin' Spoonful charity tribute concert...

...we were discussing yesterday, please enjoy the Wild Honey Orchestra, fronted by Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken, and a transplendent version of the proto-country rock "Butchie's Tune."

Dennis, besides being a great musician and one of nature's noblemen, is an old friend. I should add that back in our Greenwich Village days, before the 'Reens got signed to a major label and became rock stars (the bastards), Dennis used to fill in on drums for the Floor Models when our beloved pal Glen Robert Allen was otherwise engaged.

Another performance from the Spoonful show tomorrow. And it'll blow your mind.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

It's Lovin' Spoonful Tribute Concert Week: Part I -- And Speaking of Gorgeous

From early 2020, please enjoy The Wild Honey Orchestra -- featuring friend of PowerPop Rob Laufer on lead vocals -- and an utterly exquisite cover of the Spoonful's "Darling Be Home Soon."

Good thing Cars guitarist Elliot Easton got back from the mens room in time to do his Zal Yanovsky impression.

For the record, the WHO is a loose collective of superb musicians, mostly from Los Angeles, that gets together from time to time to do concerts, for charities, as tributes to the music of artists that influenced both them and the culture at large. This Spoonful tribute -- which took place just before the pandemic shut everything down, and which I would have absolutely killed to attend -- is particularly notable in that all three of said band's surviving members participated. More about that tomorrow.

I should add that Rob Laufer sings lead on a track from the forthcoming Floor Models tribute album to The Byrds, but we'll talk about that later.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Two Magazines I Need Subscriptions to Immediately!!!

Hint: I have a birthday coming up.

I should add that I want to be interviewed by both of those.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Weekend Listomania: Special "There's No Accounting For Taste!" Video Edition

[I originally posted this in 2009, back when this blog and the world were young. I've done a bit of re-writing, and I've swapped out several of the songs, all to make me seem less like the slacker I self-evidently am. In any case, enjoy! -- S.S.]

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Asian fille de nuit manual catharsis manager Fah Lo Suee and I will be travelling to Washington, D.C., where we'll be staying at the spartanly-appointed digs of Sen. Lindsey Graham for some kind of stimulus package thing. Apparently, it involves my pants, but I'm not really sure what might be on the agenda above and beyond that.

In any case, posting by moi will necessarily be sporadic for a few days.

But in my absence, here's a fun project for us all to contemplate:

Most Inexplicably Fricking Hugely Successful Post-British Invasion Hit Singles of All Time!!!!

No arbitrary rules, but obviously we're talking about records whose massive chart success merely flummoxes you or (worst case scenario) actually strike you as some kind of crime against nature. Something so butt ugly or knuckle-draggingly stupid that after hearing it you despair of being human.

Or, you know -- just some piece of shlock pop fluff that got lucky.

And my totally Top of My Head Top Ten in the Hit Parade of Hell is --

10. Neil Diamond -- I Am I Said

"But no one heard at all/Not even the chair."

In the immortal words of Dave Barry: "Mr. Diamond, your Barcalounger on line three."

9. The Royal Guardsman -- Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron

If memory serves, I'd never seen what these guys looked like before finding this clip. But after viewing their moronically grinning mugs here I find myself even more annoyed by the song than ever. Frightening Fact: The original group reformed in 2006 to record "Snoopy Versus Osama," which was a big fave on the Dr. Demento Show, or so I hear.

8. Rihanna -- Umbrella

Gorgeous woman, lousy singer, skull-crushingly annoying song.

7. James Blunt -- Goodbye My Lover

I don't think I've ever heard a note from this guy that didn't make me want to go "What the fuck is that shit?". But this one is REALLY beyond the pale....

6. Celine Dion -- My Heart Will Go On

Apparently, the deal with this song is that she's recommending low-fat snacks and a heart-healthy diet rich in beta carotene. Other than that, I think it's inexcusable on a purely aural level.

5. Meat Loaf -- I'd Do Anything For Love

Seven plus goddamn minutes long, and when it's over you still have no idea exactly what he's talking about when he says "I won't do that." Take out the garbage? Vote Democratic? Divulge the secret formula that makes Orange Julius so devilishly delicious? C'mon, help us out here, Meat.

4. Megan Thee Stallion -- Savage

Never trust a woman -- or anybody -- who goes on Saturday Night Live and lip-synchs. Especially if the song is a piece of crap to begin with.

3. Billie Eilish -- Bad Guy

See: Stallion, Megan Thee.

2. Colbie Caillat -- Bubbly

Perhaps the lamest song of perhaps the lamest pop music decade (The Aughts) since the halcyon days of Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods. Seriously, if the world was to come to an end tomorrow and I was forced to reflect on the 21st century, I would probably echo Isaac Bashevis Singer on the 20th: "On balance, a complete flop."

And the number one biggest piece of crap to become a gigantic hit apres the British Invasion, there's really no argument about this even remotely possible, obviously is...

1. Mike Douglas -- The Men in My Little Girl's Life

Creepy back when it came out in 1966; unspeakably creepy now.

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Family That Plays Together

From 2020, please enjoy Green Day's front guy Billie Joe Armstrong et fils and a totally rockin' live cover of "I Think We're Alone Now."

As I'm wont to say, words fail me. I mean, a) Billie Joe looks barely older than the kids, and b) they were apparently genetically bred to be his rhythm section.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Closed Because Vertigo -- the Condition, Not the Hitchcock Flick -- Is Kicking My Ass

Seriously, kids, I wouldn't wish this shit on my worst enemy. Well, maybe Trump and the rest of the Republican fascists, but other than that...

Regular music posting resumes on the morrow, the good lord willing and the crick don't rise.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Those Fabulous Seventies (An Occasional Series): Part II -- There Must Be a Vaccine For That

From their new (sorta) album, please enjoy The Mumps -- featuring An American Family star Lance Loud and power pop legend Kristian Hoffman -- and the thoroughly self-explanatory title song.

I never saw those guys live, but as you can tell from the above they were obviously a lot of fun. The new album, on Omnivore Records (where it belongs) collects pretty much everything they did in the studio between 1974-79 (plus a pre-Mumps track featuring future Willie Nile/Patti Smith Group drummer Jay Dee Daugherty) and has lots of cool photos plus reminiscences by Hoffman and ace drummer Paul Rutner. You can and should order a copy of it at Amazon HERE (including a vinyl version); you can also get it directly from the Omnivore site HERE, along with the track listing.

PS: As I said, I never saw those guys live, but I did see The Swinging Madisons, a band fronted by Hoffman some years later, that was one of the greatest things ever. I've written about them previously; it's a very interesting -- and also poignant -- story, and if you missed it when first posted, here's the link; I think you'll find it well worth your time.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Those Fabulous Seventies (An Occasional Series)

From November 3, 1976 -- a day (as the liner notes to this new collection of previously unreleased material by San Francisco sensations The Rubinoos thoughtfully informs us) after the election of Jimmy Carter -- please enjoy the aforementioned Rubinoos and their irrepressible original tune "I Want Her So Bad."

That's considerably punkier than I recall the band having been; to me, they'll always be the guys who did this power pop classic in 1979.

In any event, this new album-length vault-dive is tons of fun, especially if you were alive at the time it was recorded; you can -- and should -- order it over at Amazon HERE, or directly from the Yep Roc Records website AT THIS LINK. The Yep Rock site has the track listing, BTW, and I should add that the CD includes a spiffy remake of "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

You're welcome.

Friday, June 11, 2021

It's Willie Nile Week (Approximately): Part III -- With No Direction Home

And speaking as we have been of late of the great singer/songwriter Willie Nile...

...atttentive readers may or may not be aware that my old band The Floor Models is about to unleash a tribute to The Byrds....

...and that Willie sings lead on one of the tracks thereupon.

And now, because I love you all more than food, here it is for your listening pleasure, and absolutely free.

The rest of the record you'll have to buy -- it'll be available in July -- but in the meantime, enjoy.

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2021

It's Willie Nile Week (Approximately): Part II -- Stuck Inside of Mobile With the [Insert City Name Here] Blues Again

From his 1991 album masterpiece Places I Have Never Been, please enjoy Willie and company [see below] with a song that was a live staple for as long as I can remember -- "Cafe Memphis."

Two things as an addendum.

(A) That's the incomparable Richard Thompson on lead guitar on that track.

(B) The Floor Models covered that song, memorably, and often, at various gigs. Hopefully I can find a recording one of these days. Let's just say we nailed it.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

It's Willie Nile Week (Approximately): Part I -- You Can Do the Boogie Woogie, and the Hippy Hippy Shake!

From Willie's forthcoming -- August 13th -- new album The Day the Earth Stood Still, please enjoy the debut video (with the great Steve Earle), "Blood on Your Hands."

"Blood on your hands/Blood on your hands/There's cracks in the walls of your best laid plans."

Gee -- I wonder what's being referenced there?

I should add that Earle's assertion -- “Willie Nile is the embodiment of Rock-and-Roll walking down McDougal Street" -- couldn't be more dead on.

Tomorrow and Friday -- more proof of Earle's thesis.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Lisa Loeb: Best Good Sport on Earth

I've said this on several previous occasions, but the people who work at the little ad agency down South who do the Geico ads have the greatest jobs in the world.

Words fail me.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Advertisements for Himself

Attentive readers are aware that Glen Robert Allen -- my great good friend and the drummer of my band The Floor Models (who I generally refer to as My Musical Director for the Last 50 Years) -- passed away two Februarys ago, literally days before the start of the pandemic that ruined 2020 for the rest of you guys.

Just wanted to mention that Glen's beloved wife/life partner Eddy Coston has put up a YouTube Channel dedicated to Glen and all his works.

Here's the first couple of things she's posted.

Including some blues stuff he did with our friend Doc French

I should add that I am particularly fond of this one.

Enjoy, and check in over there on a semi-regular basis. There's lots more great stuff to come.

Saturday, June 05, 2021

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

[From a recent edition of McSweeneys -- this is so brilliant it makes me want to give up the whole idea of writing stuff myself. Enjoy! -- S.S.]

Coming in 2040: No Future, the First Punk Rock Nursing Home

by Lisa Borders

Your Gen X loved ones have survived so much: the Cold War, latchkey childhoods, mosh pits, COVIDs-19-through-27. They were born into a world without the internet, but now skillfully use their Facebook Hippocampal Implants™ to share old Bauhaus videos, plot the revolution in their local Antifa groups, or photos of Joey Ramone with his cat.

Do the seniors in your life sneer at the idea of decorum? Spit at the mention of Rupert Murdoch, and go into an anti-Reagan rant like it’s 1984 and they’re canvassing for Mondale? Do they insist that none of the good music in the ’80s was played on the radio, except for college radio? Have you found old photos of Grandma when she was 20 wearing Doc Martens, ripped fishnet stockings, and a miniskirt? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, then No Future might be just the place for your elders to rock out their sunset years.

Staffed almost entirely by the love children of Henry Rollins, we’re opening our doors in 2040 at this first-of-its-kind facility. From the moment you walk in, you’ll see the difference. Gone are the floral wallpaper borders, the fake oak wainscoting, the lingering scent of Febreze and death you’ll notice in other elder care facilities. We’ve designed No Future to resemble a warehouse squat, the kind in which your loved one likely attended many a gig. Our thin Berber carpeting was custom-ripped, cigarette-burned, and beer-soaked for maximum authenticity. And we’ve worked with Glade to develop a scent we call “Illegal Hüsker Dü After Party” — an intoxicating aroma of skunky marijuana, Rolling Rock, and urine. It might smell terrible to you, but the light you’ll see go on in Pop Pop’s eyes will tell you you’ve brought him to the right place.

At No Future, we welcome residents of all ethnicities, faiths, and sexual orientations. We do, however, discriminate based on musical taste — our residents wouldn’t have it any other way. Our application process includes a lengthy musical quiz with questions like, “Which album marks the point when the Clash sold out: London Calling or Combat Rock?" and “Green Day: revivalists or second-rate poseurs? Discuss.” We’ll also ask your elder to list all the gigs they attended from 1980-1995. Trust us: they may not remember their grandkids’ names, but they’ll remember those shows. You might be surprised to learn how many nights Mom spent at CBGBs, and end up wondering if Richard Hell is your real father. But what’s a little paternity confusion compared to seeing that twinkle return to her rheumy blue eyes?

No Future has been designed with two wings: Pretty Vacant, the early punk unit where our staff sport mohawks and leather jackets (white for our medical staff); and Just Like Heaven, the post-punk area where everyone is dressed up like The Cure. If Goth demand increases, we may well open a Sisters of Mercy wing at a later date.

Instead of a sterile dining hall, we offer a snack bar that resembles a New York City bodega circa 1986. Dad once told you he existed on cigarettes and coffee when he was young; now it’s time to put him to the test! We do have a cook on staff 24/7 to whip up some cheap ramen noodles or boxed macaroni and cheese for your elder after they pound back too many Budweisers listening to our Circle Jerks cover band. Residents who slam dance to our Sid Vicious impersonator will be fitted with hip and knee pads, but if the stage diving gets out of hand, our medical team is on-site 24/7 as well. “This is the kind of magazine you keep on your bookshelves with your favorite books.” — Cece Bell, author of El Deafo

As you tour other facilities, think not about the credit to the straight world your parents became after they were saddled with jobs, mortgages, and, frankly, you. Think about who they were when they were young, that hint of a Billy Idol sneer they sometimes can’t suppress, that story you’ve heard over and over about the band they were in for a hot ’80s minute that opened for R.E.M. once and “could have been huge.” Think about the kind of place where your elders can live out their punk rock dreams, that road to nowhere not taken.

No Future. Because if it horrifies you, your Gen X parents are certain to love it.

(Breaking ground in 2045: Nevermind, our new Grunge wing.)

I should add that this was anticipated by the great NYC punk band Iron Prostate, whose debut album featured a song called "Rock 'n' Roll Nursing Home," with the immortal lyric "Baby take a ride on my Craftmatic Bed." Which can be heard below...

...beginning at the 3:12 mark.

Friday, June 04, 2021

Turn It Up to Eleven: An Occasional Series

From very recently, and their just released Live at the Cavern Club collection, please enjoy the transplendent Mona Lisa Twins and their cover of a Kinks klassic you might be familiar with.

I'm getting tired of saying this, but those two kids are so talented it's ridiculous. In any case, you can and should buy the whole album over at Amazon.

Next week -- "new" music (by which we mean you've never heard before) by old people you have probably heard of, and until then HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND, EVERYBODY!!!

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Great Lost Albums of the Sixties (An Occasional Series): A Mere Bagatelle, Baby!

Okay -- the short version.

These guys...

...were from Boston, and the above was their sole album, released in 1968. Paul Williams from Crawdaddy, who wrote a blurb on the back of the LP, was an early booster, which is how I originally heard about them. I also saw them live in NYC -- I couldn't remember who they opened for, but a little research turned up the fact it was Procol Harum(!) and Moby Grape(!!) at a memorable Anderson Theater show that year. In any case, they blew me away, despite the tough competition, due to a canny combination of great musicianship, genuine charisma, and snazzy dressing.

The album itself -- which I didn't listen to until sometime in the aughts -- was an admixture of R&B covers of songs that are now standards but were at the time pretty much new, and the band's own flavorful originals. There were a lot of string arrangements and the songs were all sort of segued together, so it was a concept record; essentially it was an attempt, largely successful, to do a soul version of Sgt. Pepper.

In any case, because I love you all more than food, I'm enclosing a couple of representative tracks for your perusal.

Oh, incidentally -- the skinny white guy in the weird white and purple suit front center on the album cover is none other than Willie (Loco) Alexander, who later played in the next to last version of the Velvet Underground, and after that became a brief New Wave celebrity with his Boom Boom Band.

And if you ask me nicely, I'll burn you a CD of the album.

You're welcome very much.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

You've Heard of Power Pop? Well, Here's Some Parrot Pop!

"Don't Fear the Tweeter."

Words fail me.

BTW, if you go to YouTube OVER HERE, this same duo does a version of "Stairway to Heaven" for the ages.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

I Did It My Way (მე ისე მოვიქეცი)

From a decade or so ago on Georgian late night TV, please enjoy the Singing Pediatricians and their heartfelt rendition of "My Way."

I swear to god, that is the greatest thing in the history of things.

[h/t Ollie Sakhno]