Thursday, November 30, 2023

Your Thursday Moment of Why Didn't I Think of That Gag First?


Also hah.

Seriously, THOSE guys I'd go see.

And yes, it's been a busy week, real life wise, here at Casa Simels, but I promise -- actual non-filler posting will resume on the morrow. I thank you.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Closed for Monkey Business

Or we could just call it Slacker Wednesday.

Actual stuff resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

No Drugs Were Involved in the Making of This Recording. Honest!!!

Okay, I promised some of the people responsible for the below that I wouldn't post it on the blog, but on reflection I believe that it belongs to posterity, so here it is.

The short version: That's me and two of my long time garage band chums (who shall remain nameless, but their initials are Allan Weissman and David Hawxwell) in Dave's Teaneck living room sometime in the mid-70s, fooling around with an old-fashioned two track tape recorder. What specifically motivated us to do that has been lost in the sands of time, but I do recall we had a lot of fun doing it, particularly all those disgusting coughing noises toward the end,

I should also add that Al, who is responsible for the lead vocal, did a surprisingly soulful job under the circumstances. Way to go, Al.

Coming tomorrow: That interesting Vanda and Young story I teased yesterday.

Monday, November 27, 2023

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

From 2015, please enjoy power pop deity Marshall Crenshaw and his spectacular (and heretofore unknown to me) remake of The Easybeats' 1966 "Made My Bed, Gonna Lie In It" (aka the B-side to the epochal "Friday on My Mind.")

Long-time readers are aware of my enthusiasm for the Easys (and Harry Vanda and George Young, the auteurs of the band and much else); when people talk about them as being simultaneously both the Beatles AND the Stones of Australia, it isn't hypberole,

In any case, I was unaware of Marshall's cover until Friend of PowerPop© Sal Nunziato mentioned it in the Weekend Listomania just passed, and herewith a hearty "Thanks, buddy!"

Hmmm...I think tomorrow an interesting Vanda & Young related story might be appropriate.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Weekend Listomania: Special "A Boy Can Dream, Can't He?" Video Edition

[I originally posted a version of this back in 2007, which freaking astounds me. In any case, as is my wont, I've done some re-writing and substituted a couple of new entries, just so we have some music recorded in the current century for a change. In any event, enjoy. --S.S.]

Well, it's Friday, and you know what that means.

Yes, my hands on Asian manual catharsis technician Fah Lo Suee and I are heading off to Washington D.C. and the U.S Patent Office to register our revolutionary new Scrotum Deodorant Spray -- Elon Musk™!!!

But in the meantime, here's a hopefully fun project to help us wile away the idle hours until our return:


You know -- some really fabulous song you'd really like to hear some favorite artiste (solo or group) perform or record, but they never got (or haven't gotten) around to it (the bastards!!!).

Okay, my totally off the top of my head Top Ten is:

10. Vampire Weekend -- Here Comes My Baby [The Tremeloes]

My favorite three chord pop rock hit of all time performed by the guys who did "This Life"? I could die and go to heaven.

9. The Hold Steady -- The Boys Are Back in Town [Thin Lizzy]

They probably jammed on it at sound checks a thousand times -- if they're still an ongoing concern, it's about time they go public with it for gosh sakes.

8. The Pretenders -- Every Little Bit Hurts [Brenda Holloway]

My fave 60s soul ballad/torch song would be a natural for Chrissie Hynde, I suspect. Trivia note: The song was written by the same guy who wrote "Dirty Water." Pretty versatile dude, obviously.

7. Neko Case -- The First Cut Is The Deepest [Cat Stevens]

Because she'd do it better than Sheryl Crow, duh.

6. Steve Earle -- Street Fighting Man [The Rolling Stones]

C'mon -- this is the job he was born for.

5. Bob Mould -- Calvary Cross [Richard and Linda Thompson]

On the 1994 Thompson tribute album Beat the Retreat, Mould turned the rockabilly tinged "Turning of the Tide" into a killer piece of buzz-saw punk. I swoon to imagine what he could do with Thompson's most intensely doom-haunted song....

4. The Floor Models -- Second Choice [Any Trouble]

Hey -- as you can hear, we already ripped it off -- we should have just copped to it and covered it.

3. Elvis Costello and the Attractions -- One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later) [Bob Dylan]

If anybody is going to do the most majestic "Blonde On Blonde" song of them all, it should be these guys.

2. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers -- 19th Nervous Breakdown [The Rolling Stones]

Jagger's snarl would have morphed into Petty's sly drawl pretty good, doncha think? It's a shame that, to my knowledge, Tom never got around to covering it.

And the number one cover I'd love to hear is....

1. Led Zeppelin -- Bits and Pieces [Dave Clark Five]

For obvious reasons.....

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, November 23, 2023

If It's Thanksgiving, It Must Be Procol Harum

From 1969, here's the original classic lineup of the aforementioned Procol Harum...

......and their seraphically beautiful "Pilgrim's Progress."

Pilgrim -- get it? It's not rocket science, kids.

As long-time readers may recall, this song is something of a Thanksgiving tradition around here. Which is, of course, a pretentious way of saying I'm too lazy to come up with a new gag. Quel surprise.

In any case, enjoy the cranberry sauce and stuffing, everybody!!!

And be of good cheer; Weekend Listomania -- and a particularly cool one -- returns tomorrow!!!

PS: I have a really wonderful story about the instrumental fade-out of that song -- it involves a brilliant short film (a proto-music video, actually) shot by and starring some old college friends of mine circa 1970 -- and I'm going to tell it here one of these days. Promise.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Closed for Erev Thanksgiving Mishegass/Monkey Business

That's "the night before Thanksgiving" for our goyische readers, BTW.

Regular postings resume on the holiday tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Well I'll Be Jiggered -- Sad Songs Really DO Say So Much!

Attentive readers nay recall that last week I waxed enthusiastic about former Blake Babies and Lemonheads chanteuse/alt-rock cover girl Juliana Hatfield.

Specifically, about her new album of ELO covers. I also mentioned that this was the third tribute album Hatfield had done in the last couple of years, and that I had enjoyed the one from 2018 devoted to Olivia Neutron Bomb Newton-John.

Anyway, the short story (yeah, I know) is I was moved the other night to revisit said album, and damn if this track didn't blow my tiny mind.

Seriously, I had never considered the original of that as much more than well-crafted commercial kitsch, but Hatfield's version really got under my skin, albeit in a sort of minimalist-ironic way. And I never would have believed this possible, so kudos to Bruce Welch and John Rostill, the two guys from Cliff Richards' legendary backup band The Shadows, who wrote the thing,

Coming tomorrow: I flip out over Metallica's version of "Hopelessly Devoted to You."

I keed, I keed!!!

Monday, November 20, 2023

You Know, Some Days I Really Miss Anita Morris

So my original plan for today was to revisit some of the under-appreciated Rolling Stones albums from the '80s.

And then this video from their 1984 Undercover, which had long since slipped my mind, (er) popped up.

You should pardon the expression.

So perhaps we'll revisit those albums another time.

Now excuse me, I need to go lie down.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Weekend Listomania: Special "How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?" Edition

Well, it's Friday, and you know what that means.

Yes, my irrepressibe and highly-paid Asian belle du boink Fah Lo Suee and I will be heading to beautiful downtown Bedminster, New Jersey for a few, er, holes of golf (heh heh -- he said holes) and then a shower. (And then, tomorrow, an after-dinner dramatic reading of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion by Republican theological consultant and Speaker of the House Michael Johnson).

So regular postings here will necessarily be sporadic until next week.

That being the case, and in the meantime, here's a fun little project to help us wile away the hours until either we or our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ™ return. To wit:

Best or Worst Post-Elvis Pop, Rock or Soul Song/Record Inspired or Influenced in Some Way by Western Classical Music!!!

No arbitrary rules here, and obviously by classical music we mean everything from the Baroque period up through the 20th century and all that minimalist Philip Glass shit. So don't give me any of that Gregorian Chant mishegass, 'cause I don't want to hear it.

And that said -- my totally Top of My Head Top Five is:

5. B. Bumble and the Stingers -- Nut Rocker

Like dig, man, Tchaikovsky! Actually, considering that Emerson Lake and Palmer later covered this, you can make a convincing case for the proposition that these guys invented prog rock, in which case, of course, may they roast in hell. I should add that up until yesterday I had no idea that this was credited to the notorious Kim Fowley.

4. The Toys -- A Lover's Concerto

The Brill Building meets Bach's "Minuet in G Major" and then they all go out to Lindy's for a piece of cheesecake.

3. The Byrds -- She Don't Care About Time

The B-side of "Turn! Turn! Turn!", better known as the one where McGuinn plays Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" for the middle guitar break. Sublime on every level.

2. The Floor Models -- Enough's Enough

Written by the late great Andrew Pasternack, who also plays Rickenbacker 12-string on the Bach-ian second guitar solo.

And the Number One classical gas, there's no arguing this and if you even try to suggest something else I'm gonna come to your house and ring the doorbell and run, absolutely has to be...

1. Annie Lenox -- Walkiing on Broken Glass

I seriously think, no kidding, that this is among the greatest pop records ever made.

Oh! that tinkling piano! Oh! those pizzicato strings! And Oh! Lennox's (non-auto-tuned) vocal!

Hell, let us not mince words -- it's one of the best songs written and recorded in the English language in the last several decades, and if Lennox had done nothing else, she would still deserve respect from mere mortals like us as a result. Also: can we please give it up for John Malkovich and Hugh Laurie in the video? Thank you.

Alrighty, then -- what would YOUR choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

[h/t Tim Page -- this one's for you, pal, and feel better ASAP!]

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Micky Sings Mikey. No, Not THAT Mikey!!

Okay, this is so fabulous I can't stand it. From his just released Dolenz Sings R.E.M. EP, please enjoy once and future Monkee Micky Dolenz and his absolutely glorious cover of those kids from Athens' "Radio Free Europe."

That's just freaking great by any objective standard, and I say that as somebody for whom R.E.M.'s Murmur is one of his top twenty favorite albums. I should add that the brilliant production is by Mike Nesmith's son Christian, who also did spectacular work on Dolenz' 2021 album of Nesmith covers.

Meanwhile, as a little postscript, please enjoy this video of Dolenz and the R.E.M. guys celebrating the release of the new album in their old stomping ground last week.

I gotta say, if you had told me back in the 80s, when R.E.M. were the hippest alt-rock band in the universe, that something like the above would actually happen, I would have accused you of huffing drugs more potent than any I had ever imagined.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

"And In The End, the Love You Take...." Heh Heh. He Said "In the End"....

Apparently, some weirdo having sexual fantasies involving John Lennon and Paul McCartney wangled a fat book deal cashing in on his issues.

Should I say "Good for him!"? YOU be the judge.

From the New York Times (who should have known better):

"...Although it has been variously framed as a friendship, a rivalry and a partnership of convenience, the best way to think about the relationship between these two geniuses is as a love affair. As far as we know [emphasis mine] it wasn’t a sexual relationship, but it was a passionate one: intense, tender and tempestuous,,,"

"As far as we know..."

Jesus, what a putz. Seriously, somebody is really overdoing it in the wishful thinking department.

I should add that I am now pitching a book which re-interprets the entire post break-up ouevre of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in similar fashion. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Closed for Beatles-Curious Monkey Business

Had a delightful, but exhausting weekend, so nothing new today.

Coming tomorrow: I make merciless fun of the author of a new book about the Fab Four that's so stupid the New York Times decided to hype it anyway.

Monday, November 13, 2023

The Last Cover of "Now and Then" I'll Ever Post...

...I promise. Honest.

But Jeebus, this is just so beautiful it hurts.

Faithful readers are aware of my fondness for these kids, and doubtless share my enthusiasm for their ouevre, but the above is just totally swoon-worthy.

I mean,'s like they were genetically bred to cover the song.

Coming tomorrow: Franz Ferdinand & Imelda, the leading Rolling Stones tribute band from the Phillipines, performs the entirety of Hackney Diamonds in Tagalog.


PS: I'm at the point now where the below doesn't even strike me as farfetched any more.

What -- you mean it's NOT real?

Friday, November 10, 2023

La Fin de la Semaine Essay Question: Special "Thoughts on the Stones" Edition

And no, not thoughts on the new album. Which I have avoided going on about here previously because I don't have all that much to say about it.

Other than, that while it doesn't dishonor their legacy, it mostly strikes me as sounding like a collection of middling Stones B-sides (which is not a bad thing) and that the only song that really, really rouses me from my pastoral torpor (unsurprisingly) is Keith's big slow number.

And I can live with that.

Anyway, reason I bring up the Stones is twofold. To begin with, I'd never seen this clip -- a remake of "Love in Vain" -- before a few days ago, and I don't know exactly when it was done and why, but it just knocks me out, and I thought I'd share.

Seriously, when people talk about those guys being the greatest rock-and-roll band in the world, that's the kind of thing they're talking about.

Secondly, I mention the Stones because, coincidentally (heh) they're the subject of this week's Weekend Essay Question.

And so to business. To wit:

...and your favorite obscure Stones track -- i.e.,not one of their hits, or even an often-referenced album cut -- is...?

In case you were wondering, mine is this one -- the ridiculously out of tune guitars and backing vocals notwithstanding. The song just kills me, and I always wanted to cover it.

And your choices would be...?


And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

[h/t Steve Schwartz]

Thursday, November 09, 2023

Your Thursday Moment of Beatles-Themed Words Fail Me

Another era-specific take on "Now and Then."

I don't know who that kid is, but my hat's off to him.

I mean, wow. Seriously.

[h/t Gummo]

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Now If Only Randy Newman Will Write a Song About Her, Then Maybe We've Got Something!

From 2023, and her soon-to-be released Juliana Hatfield Sings ELO album, please enjoy the aforementioned former Blake Babies and Lemonheads chanteuse/alt-rock cover girl and her delightful version of Jeff Lynne's classic "Can't Get It Out of My Head."

That's from the third album of covers Hatfield has done in recent years. I wasn't nuts about the one devoted to The Police (2019), which has the single least attractive version of "Every Breath You Take" ever heard by sentient mammalian ears (don't worry. I won't inflict it on you, but if you insist, you can find it at YOUTUBE). Still, the Olvia Neutron Bomb Newton-John installment (2018) was a lot of fun, and on the basis of the above, which puts a nice contemporary minimalist spin on the arrangement excesses of the original while still retaining its melodic charm, I suspect the new one is going to be equally entertaining.

The album drops, as the kids say, on November 17; in the meantime, you can pre-order it and hear more over at Hatfield's official website HERE.

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Closed for Post-Beatles Monkey Business

Whew -- trying not to say something stupid about "Now and Then" really took it out of me.

Regular postings -- including a very interesting new cover of a classic rock standard by an artist you wouldn't necessarily associate with it -- resumes on the morrow.

Monday, November 06, 2023

How Dare Two of the Beatles Be Dead!!!

My two cents about the "new" Beatles song?

I prefer this cover version by an artist heretofore unknown to me -- Timmy Sean.

The short version: Mr. Sean decided the best way to recreate the thing was to do it a la early-middle (1965) Beatles stuff, in the vein of "I'll Be Back," or "Things We Said Today." And I think he was absoutely right.

As for the official version? It's a nice footnote to Beatles history, which is all anybody could have hoped for or expected. Frankly, of the three unfinished John demos Yoko gave to Paul, "Now and Then" was clearly the weakest, and compared to "Free as a Bird" or "Real Love" (and I think the Jeff Lynne version of the latter is an A-list Beatles record) it was always gonna be a disappointment, no matter how the surviving Fabs embellished it.

In any event, as I said, the 2023 Paul and Ringo version is very nice, and frankly, if you profess to dislike it, you're just being difficult and deliberately hepper-than-thou.

In other words, get over yourself.

I should add that I'm now very curious about other stuff by Mr. Sean; you can find out more about him over at his official website HERE.

I should also add that if Jeff Lynne had produced the new one with the same panache as he did the earlier two, we probably wouldn't even be having these arguments.

Friday, November 03, 2023

If It’s Friday, It Must Be a New Beatles Song

I dunno -- I think these four youngsters from Liverpool may have a future in the entertainment industry. And you?

Seriously, I have a couple of opinions about this I'd rather keep close to the vest for a spell -- but I'm very curious to get your initial impressions of this historic occasion.

So play nice kids.

And have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, November 02, 2023

Songs I'd Forgotten Existed, Let Alone Loved: Special "Goyim of the Canyon" Edition

From 1971, and their eponymous third album, please enjoy The Flying Burrito Brothers and their utterly lovely cover version of Gene Clark's radiantly Byrds-y "Tried So Hard."

This album kinda fell thhrough the cracks, critically speaking, back in the day, presumably because it didn't feature founding member/tragic genius Gram Parsons, but I think on balance it's their best effort. Reason I bring it up -- and I hadn't listened to the thing in ages -- is because reader J. Loslo suggested in comments yesterday that "Tried So Hard," in particular, could almost pass for proto-power pop balladry -- certainly more so than most of the nascent LA country rock of its day.

On sober reflection, I'm still kind of on the fence about that, but I think we can all agree that whatever it is, genre-wise, it's pretty damn exquisite.

I should add that this one, from the same album, is also pretty cool in a non-genre specific way.

Have I mentioned that TFBB may be the best record they did, the absence of Gram notwithstanding?

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Songs I'd Forgotten Existed, Let Alone Loved: Special "Thank You, I'm Here All Week" Edition

From 1970, please enjoy The Flying Burrito Brothers -- with special guest comedian(!) John Byner(!!) -- and their quite remarkable video for the shoulda-been-a-hit-single "Older Guys."

The song itself is non-pareil, of course, and probably the only thing to come out of the whole LA country-rock scene of the period that could qualify as proto-power pop (those eighth notes! those harmonies!). You can particularly hear that in the splendid 1988 cover by the tragically underrated The Skeletons, a/ka/a the pride of Springfield, Missouri, but they're a subject for another post.

As for the Burritos video, it's kind of startling and hilarious to see the song's composer, the late great Gram Parsons, doing a piss-take Mick Jagger impression; I had no idea the guy had it in him. And of course, any glimpse (however briefly) of Byner, who remains one of my favorite hipper-than-you-suspected comedians of the late Sixties/early Seventies, is a thrill. Hey -- try the veal!

[h/t Mike Bieber]