From 1999(!), please enjoy Blondie, featuring the incomparable you know who up front, and their power pop/New Wave comeback hit "Maria."
I must confess, I'd pretty much forgotten this one, and on rehearing it, I can't get over how great everything about it is, starting with those percussive guitars and the propulsive drumming of the reliably inspirational Clem Burke. As for La Harry, her vocal here is utterly fab -- tonally beautiful, sexy without breaking a sweat, and with an impressive dynamic range (I actually think her voice is stronger and richer on this than on any of Blondie's better known early hits). I should also add that I love the video itself, particularly the very funny ending, in which Debbie catches a speeding bullet between her fingers like some impossible Bowery rock diva version of Superman.
Have I mentioned that I think the whole thing is just fucking great?
But now to business. To wit:
...and your favorite post-Beatles(!) song featuring a girl's name in the title is...?
Oh, and let me reitirate -- when I say post-Beatles, I mean post-Beatles. None of those 50s song dames need apply, thank you very much.
No, this isn't Blondie doing the cover of Parallel Lines in 1978.
Actually, it's Britpop youngsters Blur doing Blondie doing the cover of Parallel Lines in 1991. How I missed it at the time I'll never know.
Anyway, good for 'em -- I would never have guessed that lead singer Damon Albarn could pull off such a convincing Debbie Harry impression.
If truth be told, however, I never particularly cared for Blur -- hey, if you name a new album Modern Life is Rubbish, I can be forgiven for dismissing said album as an example of the very thing you're ostensibly criticizing. But that photo cracks me up nonetheless.
Still, if Governor Woke DeWokeWoke gets a look at it, there could be hell to pay at the Sunshine State's remaining record stores. A word to the wise, if you know what I mean.
That's the splendidly droll title track from my old friend (and occasional bandmate) Ronnie D'Addario's forthcoming new album. And apparently I didn't get the memo about Ronnie mutating into a latter day disciple of Gilbert and Sullivan.
Meanwhile, attentive readers will recall that Ronnie is also the proud father of the hippest young band on the planet, (who also have an album due out momentarily), the Lemon Twigs. Seen below in an appearance on the Jools Holland show, using my vintage Fender Bassman amp...
...on stage right.
In any case, you can and should order or stream Ronnie's new album (which, from what I've heard so far is more traditionally rock oriented) over HERE. (His earlier albums, which are all rapturously melodic power pop, are available there as well.)
A message from Ronnie:
"Release date is May 11th. Perfect Mother's Day present! The Lemon Twigs album is out May 5th. I hope I don't take away from their sales."
From 2023, please enjoy once and future Sex Kitten of the Western World Ann-Margret and (from her new album of rock covers) the damndest version of the biker-rock classic "Born to Be Wild" ever.
You will note that la chanteuse is backed in this endeavor by long-time downtown NYC faves The Fuzztones. I should add that I have a sentimental fondness for those guys, due largely to the fact that their lead singer, Rudi Protrudi, has the coolest nom de rock in the history of 60s revivalist posers. In any case, I think you'll agree they kick more than the requisite amount of ass on this track.
I don't know how this project (also titled Born to be Wild) slipped under my radar, despite the single having been released last year; in, fact, I was unaware of it until a lengthy appreciation of AM and the album by my friend, rock critic Jim Farber, appeared in the New York Times two weeks ago (you can read it HERE).
In any case, as borderline campy as all of this may be, I may have to bite the bullet and just buy the damned CD.
Why? you ask?
Because I just looked up the credits and not ony does Pete Townshend play lead guitar on a cover of the Everly Brothers' "Bye-Bye Love," a conceptual masterstroke if I've ever heard one, but the drummer on AM's take on "Rock Around the Clock" is none other than a gentleman named James McCarty, who you may recall was and is the drummer for (gasp!) The Yardbirds.
From 2023 (right about now, in other words) please enjoy legendary local hero Minnesota punkette rocker Cindy Lawson and her kick-posterior new single "Don't Come Crying to Me."
YMMV, but I hear a lot of Patti Smith in there, and more than a hint of the early (i.e. when she was still in Detroit) Suzi Quatro, but whatever influences you wanna cite, the above is as infectious and makes-you-want-to-jump-around as it gets. Let me be blunt: If I had stumbled into a show at some dive club years ago (or last week, actually) that resembled the above, I would have been hopelessly, embarrassingly smitten on the spot.
Honesty compels me to note that I was previously unfamiliar with Lawson, but she's apparently been in a succession of cool bands in the Minneapolis area for quite a while; the current batch she's playing with got together last year, when her album New Tricks, her first in a quarter century(!) was released on Rum Bar Records. That new song is from her forthcoming waxing, also titled Don't Come Crying to Me, which will be out any minute, also on Rum Bar. You can learn more about Cindy, not to mention hear (and order, 'natch) more of her music, over at her official sort-of-website HERE.
I should add that the gentleman playing guitar on the right in the video is named Jerry Lefkowitz. Jerry's a friend I've never met in person who used to be in a brilliant Minneapolis-area band called Something Fierce; I've written about them in these precincts a number of times, but if you missed those posts, here's a link where you can get the back story. And quite a story it is, trust me.
But now to business. To wit:
...and your favorite punk/New Wave gal singer (preferrably in a band, but solo artists are okay) is...???
From 2023 (i.e., right now) please enjoy Toronto singer/songwriter La Faute (aka Peggy Messing) and her haunting and atmospheric new single "The Crown."
Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking -- hey Steve, the above doesn't really have anything to do with the mission statement of this here blog. Well, that's certainly true, but there are two mitigating factors. First of all, the song is genuinely spooky, and it's a perfect fit with the visuals in the video. And second, as you film buffs may have noticed, said visuals are appropriated from Carnival of Souls, a once-seen-never-forgotten indie sort-of-horror low budget cult flick from 1962 that's one of my favorite things of its kind ever.
Anyway, let's just say the auteur of that song has, as they say, got it, IMHO. And in the meantime, you can (and should) find out more about her and hear more of her very cool music over at her official website HERE.
Also, you can order the fantastic Criterion Collection version of Carnival of Souls over at Amazon. Trust me -- you won't regret it.
From 1965, please enjoy the great Jackie deShannon -- backed by none other than the original Byrds(!) -- and her quite ineffably touching "Splendor in the Grass."
In stereo, as nature intended, I might add.
I can sort of get why this wasn't a hit at the time -- the band's playing is a little raggedy if truth be told -- but there's no question the record deserves to be much better known (Byrds fanatic that I am, I actually had never heard it myself until 2010, when my late bandmate Andy "Folk Rock" Pasternack brought it to my attention). I mean, yeah, it isn't slick, but the song is, IMHO, to die for, and the minute David Crosby comes in with that unmistakable low harmony I just lose it. DeShannon eventually released another more MOR version of the song, and there were a couple of covers by other artists -- there's one on YouTube by an L.A. band called The Boys that gives it the full Mamas and Papas treatment -- but the understatement of this one is moving and sweet in a way that the others just don't get near.
In any case, I bring it up in part because of a curious accident of fate. DeShannon is married to Randy Edelman, a singer/songwriter and film composer of some repute I actually went to high school with, and I was already planning to have a little fun with something of his. Stay tuned -- we'll get into THAT on the morrow.
...on Pirates Press Records, where it belongs, please enjoy irrepressible Wyoming(!) pop/punk wiseguys Teenage Bottlerocket, and their infectious and funny meditation on the culture(?) that surrounds us all, "So Dumb."
As you can perhaps guess, the song was inspired in part as a reaction to our recent COVID-related malaise. “I wrote ‘So Dumb’ because I was pretty frustrated with people's inability to seek common ground and try to make things actually better,” says bassist Miguel Chen. And a splendid job he did, too; in fact, I haven't stopped giggling snce I first heard the song's line "“No one really gives a shit / About the suffering of another / There's no need to even bother / I quit” when the link to it crossed my desk last week.
In any case, you can -- and should -- order the EP (on pink vinyl, no less) over at Pirates Press HERE. And tell 'em PowerPop sent you.
From 1967, and German teevee, please enjoy Birmingham, England's favorite sons The Move and a totally live version of their delightful psych-pop hit "I Can Hear the Grass Grow."
I bring up Birmingham because the Move were a sort of Brum supergroup; all the members had migrated over from other succesful outfits in the city (hence the band name -- get it?). I should add that Ace Kefford, the peroxide blonde bass player on the left, was better known to fans as "The Singing Skull." Heh.
But now to business. To wit:
...and your favorite band or performer from a post-Elvis local or regional music scene is...???????
From his about to be released (June 16th) new album Imagination, please enjoy Peter Lewis, legendary founding member of Moby Grape, and his transplendent new single "Path of Least Resistance."
I got that in the mail yeterday (not having previously been aware of its existence) and when I first listened to it I nearly fell out of my proverbial chair; right about now, I think its the best piece of guitar driven rock I've heard so far this year. Grape Redux, anyone?
Long time readers are, of course, aware of my fondness for the Grape. In fact, one of the great experiences of my adult life was having been in the studio with my friend Bob Irwin (of Sundazed Records fame) as he remastered and in some cases remixed familiar and previously unheard Grape stuff for what became Sony/Legacy's 1993 Grape box set (now sadly out of print thanks to the management problems that have bedeviled the band since their rise to San Francisco stardom).
In any case, I can't wait to hear the rest of the album -- hey, how can you go wrong with a record including a song called "Frank Zappa's Ghost"? -- and I'll keep you guys posted on future developments, Lewis-wise, as they unfold.
From 1967, please enjoy Los Angeles garage/punk/psych should-have-beens The Poor and their almost hit "She's Got the Time."
The Poor are remembered, if at all, as the first band featuring future Poco/Eagles bassist Randy Meisner. The song itself, as you will note from the 45 sleeve above, was written by Tom Shipley, of Brewer and Shipley "One Toke Over the Line" fame, and the band was managed by the same guys who handled Buffalo Springfield (York was their custom label, if memory serves).
I actually owned a copy of that back in the day, which means it was probably getting respectable airplay in the the NYC/Tri-State area, but to this day I have yet to meet anybody who professes to have heard it in the fullness of their youth. Me, I think its a great record; at the very least it deserved to be included as part of the original Nuggets compilation.
Oh, and BTW -- for the life of me I can't figure out why I am so hung-up on titling everything in French of late. I suspect an intervention might be in order.
Had a very busy (and productive,I'm happy to say) weekend, so I'm slacking off today. Rgular posting -- including a song clip from an absolutey to die for gal singer whose music actually has something to do with the mission statement of this here blog for a change -- resumes on the morrow.
What I mean is that while I am totally outraged about the clearly racist expulsion of those pro-gun control state representatives over the weekend, and while I TOTALLY support them and hope the Neo-Confederate Republican shitheads who ousted them are going to rue the fucking day...
...I nonetheless completely object to the news media referring to them as The Tennessee Three.
THESE guys are the Tennessee Three. Now and forever.
Well, it's Friday and you know what that means (well, if you're a long time reader you do).
Yes, my Oriental fille de nuit manual catharsis manager Fah Lo Suee and I will be travelling to...well, at this point, I was going to insert the traditional lame topical political gag, but given what's been going on over the last couple of days, I really don't have the energy. Sorry.
In any case, posting by moi will be on hiatus till Monday.
So on a hopefully much lighter note, in my absence, here's a fun project for us all to contemplate:
Most Memorable Post-Elvis Rock/Pop Song or Record Referencing Atmospheric Phenomena -- i.e. Weather -- In the Title or Lyrics!!!
Self-explanatory, I think, so no arbitrary rules this time. I should add that a similar WL appeared here in 2009, back when the world and this blog were young, but I have rewritten a lot of it and added a couple of nominees (and removed some of the originals). So no jokes about what an obvious slacker I am, thank you very much.
Okay, here's my totally not top of my head Top Eight:
8. The Beatles -- Rain
Depending on my mood, either this or "And Your Bird Can Sing" is my favorite of the bunch of guitar-driven, vaguely metallic pop gems that the Beatles recorded around this time in late 65-early 66. This one has Ringo's most inventive drum performance, of course.
7. Lou Christie -- Rhapsody in the Rain
"In this car, our love went much too far..."
The followup to the equally apt "Lightning Strikes," this one got banned by most 1966 radio stations, for obvious reasons. Good thing that at the time nobody knew Lou was gay.
6. Drive By Truckers -- Tornadoes
An obviously relevant choice, given the near Biblical fury that was rained down on Arkansas a few days ago. Of course, climate change remains a hoax brought to us by woke communist Soros-backed meterologists.
5. The Walkmen -- While I Shovel the Snow
Okay, it's a little on the nosey, but still. Hey, I lived near that neighborhood, so I know the feeling.
4. Steeleye Span -- One Misty Moisty Morning
Easily the oldest song ever featured on a Weekend Listomania, i.e., this apparently dates back to Shakespeare's day. The 1973 Span studio version of this is one of the most adorable things you'll ever hear; the word goddess is overused in some circles, but I think Maddy Prior's vocal on this qualifies her for consideration as one.
3. Chi Coltrane -- Thunder and Lightning
A huge hit in its day (1972) and as convincing a piece of white girl r&b as could be heard at the time. Odd that she could never really follow it up.
2. Terry Anderson -- Weather or Not
If truth be told, this entire Listomania proceeded from the fact that I have wanted to re-post the clip of this song -- to my mind, the absolute best Rolling Stones/Keith Richards-style guitar rocker that the Stones or Keith never did -- for what seems like ages. In case you're wondering, Anderson comes out of the Georgia Satellites axis (he co-wrote that group's semi-hit "Battleship Chains") and this derives from the early 90s solo album seen at the link. Catchiest goddamn chorus in the world, n'est-ce pas?
And the number one song in honor of Tex Antoine (you non-New Yorkers will have to look him up) obviously is ---
1.The Beach Boys -- The Warmth of the Sun
Two minutes and fifty seconds of sheer gorgeousness. Legend has it that Brian and Mike wrote it the morning after JFK was assasinated, and it's so good that I'm willing to forgive even the humongous dickitude that was and remains Mike Love.
I should add that a 60th anniverary Grammy tribute to the Beach Boys is going to air on CBS this Sunday might, featuring all the surviving members of the band, and some rather amazing guest performers. You can find out more about the show over HERE.
And now, with no further ado, please enjoy difficult to classify Kansas City (MO) indie artist Ethan Eckert and the video for his quite nifty new "Disarray."
Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking -- hey Steve, that's not the kind of thing you normally post.
True enough. So here's the deal -- yes, I've been lucky enough, over the years, to have lots of highly interesting new music cross my desk unbidden, and as a result, I've discovered scads of stuff that means a lot to me. But, unsurprisingly, some of what I get sent is outside the genre boundaries of this here blog and my own often parochial tastes, i.e. stylistically not my normal cuppa of Pekoe. And so sure, I occasionally feel a little guilty about not giving that stuff a plug.
That said, Eckert's song and video legitimately got under my skin anyway. For starters, it's no secret that I'm a sucker for what the beatnik poets used to do (with jazzier musical accompaniments) back in the day, and so I can kinda imagine Eckert essaying something similar at the 21st century equivalent of an artsy bohemian coffee bar. For another thing, the kid has undeniable charisma and I got a genuine kick watching him swan around that minimalist backdrop like an unlikely cross between Gregory Corso and a punk rocker. And most important, the music works up an irrestible head of steam; I don't know who the drummer is, but by the end of the song he or she is really kicking ass (as is the whole band, actually.)
But enough of my yakking. You can (and should) find out more about Eckert, not to mention stream more of his music (or get the CD of the new album) over at the link HERE.
And tell 'em the old fart over at PowerPop sent you.
From the year 2259, please enjoy Lennier, diplomatic aide to the Minbari ambassador to Babylon 5...
,,,and his splendid tribute to my favorite band of all time, "When Roger was Jim."
Okay, I'm kidding; that's obviously Bill Mumy -- better known as Will Robinson on Lost in Space (and as the little monster who sends people into the cornfield on a classic episode of The Twilight Zone) -- but I still say the song (which actually dates from 2012) is to die for.
I should add that Mumy has had quite a career in muaic over the years. As part of Barnes and Barnes he was behind this Dr. Demento fave...
...and he was also responsible for producing an abolutely brilliantly crazed solo albun by Back to the Future dad Crispin Glover (entitled The Big Problem ≠ The Solution. The Solution = Let It Be) which among other delights featured this disturbing take on a Nancy Sinatra classic.
He was also in a terrific band called The Jenerators, with Twin Peaks star Miguel Ferrer on drums, who did this quite credible Dylan cover.
In any event, I bring all this up because a certain Shady Dame and I are currently binge-watching Babylon 5, and Mumy is my favorite charater.
Less self-indulgent posting, with some interesting new music, resumes on the tomorrow.
From their new album Altitude, please enjoy Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives and the sublimely Byrdsian "Sitting Alone."
In the interest of accuracy, we should probaby note that there's also more than a dollop of a Beatles influence in there as well, but let's not be picky. In any case, I'm sure long-time readers will agree that I was probably geneticallly engineered to dig it.
In the meantime, you can read a very interesting news story about the album over at the Saving Country Music website HERE. I should add that Altitude will be avilable for purchase -- including on vinyl, for the purists amongst us -- starting on May 19th.
Coming tomorrow: The best Byrds-inspired song ever written and sung by a member of a hostile alien race.