Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Blog By Numbers: Special "There'll Always Be an England" Edition

[In which we catch up with a bunch of brief and/or dumb stuff that I've been meaning to post for a while, but hadn't gotten around to for whatever reason.]

1. Les Cahiers du Wolfman Jack

Live from London in 1973 -- it's your hosts, Procol Harum, plus fellow Brits Humble Pie, Alvin Lee, and the simply astounding Steeleye Span. BTW, if you don't watch all the way through to the end of the video to see the Span (and kvell) I really don't want to know you anymore. I should add that Procol fans will recognize the line-up performing here as the one which made Grand Hotel, and boy do they sound magnificent.

Also -- have I mentioned that Steeleye's divine Maddy Prior could have had me if she'd played her cards right?

2. It Came From Queens

Queens -- get it? Okay, I'm really stretching to make this fit today's theme. So sue me.

3. Who Knew Benny Hill Was Funny?

Actually, now that I think of it, Stinky Feet would have made a great Stones album title.

4. Noted Without Comment

5. Fat Bottomed Girls

I gotta say, when I was looking on YouTube for a clip of Queen at Live-Aid, I was expecting to find something else.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Song of the Year. Okay, Song of the Year So Far, But Still...

...and also Video of the Year, and I'm pretty sure I can state that with no fear of later qualification.

In any event, from his his recently released album Armageddon, please enjoy (the previously unknown to me) Marc Ribler's Story Road, and their (co-written with Steve Van Zandt) drop dead hilarious and wonderful ode to everybody's favorite talk show host "Dick Cavett."

In all seriousness, that is so great on every level I lack the words.

On a personal level, however, I should add that I actually attended a Cavett taping back in the period most of those clips derive from. The special guest was...

...Raquel Welch, who was as, er, fetching as you might have heard. I think it was 1972, and I have no idea why I was there, but I seem to remember thinking that Bobby Rosengarden and the house band were really good, especially in their version of Leonard Bernstein's Candide overture, which was Cavett's theme song.

I should also add that I discovered the Ribler song a few weeks ago over at our pal Sal Nunziato's invaluable Burning Wood blog. So if you've already seen/heard it, mea culpa, but I just had to share. Thanks, Sal!

Oh, and I should also also add that you can snag a physical copy or stream Armageddon over at Amazon HERE.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Songs I'd Forgotten Existed, Let Alone Loved: Special "Millions of Blood-Poisoning Migrants Illegally Entering Our Country From Insane Asylums" Edition

From their way underrated eponymous 1985 debut album, please enjoy héroes anónimos of power pop Katrina and the Waves and their traitorous ode to the menacing hordes scurrying like insects across our Southern border -- "Mexico."

I hadn't heard that song, or thought about the band, in ages, but "Walking on Sunshine" (which may be overexposed, but I still love) popped up the other day on the sound system at my local watering hole, and I suddenly flashed on "Mexico." What a great track, and doesn't Katrina sing the hell out of it? (Answer: Yes. Yes, she does.)

I should add that the song was a radio hit in Canada in 1984, which I had not previously known until yesterday.

I should also add that a) the whole thing is about as infectiously catchy as can be, and (more important) b) that former colleague of Robyn Hitchcock (in the Soft Boys) Kimberly Rew is one hell of a lead guitarist,

Friday, February 23, 2024

La Fin de la Semaine Essay Question: Special "Skinny Ties Rule, Okay!" Edition

From 1986, and liver (heh) than you'll ever be, please enjoy utterly fab gear quartet The Real Impossibles and their totally kick-ass meditation on what happens "Since You've Been Gone."

Long time readers will doubtless recall my enthusiasm for these guys, but if you're new here, this is the backstory as it first appeared in 2020.

...The Real Impossibles, fronted by Marc Platt [stage left in the video] were a mid-80s Los Angeles punkish power pop band, and a compilation of their stuff (entitled It's About Time) came out on Zero Hour Records a few months after the 2013 Zero Hour release of Floor Your Love. Which made us labelmates, of course. I had never heard of the band until the CD, but it knocked me out, and Marc and I struck up a long-distance friendship, with me mostly telling him "I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy"!, that persists to this day.

Here's a representative track, which also happens to be the coolest Neil Diamond cover since the heyday of The Monkees.

That absolutely kills me; I think comparisons to The Plimsouls are not implausible (which is about the highest praise I can give anything), and for my money the whole CD is just freaking great guitar driven rock-and-roll.

I should add that the good folks at Rum/Bar Records have recently reissued It's About Time, completely remastered and with bonus tracks, and the damn thing is better than before. If ever there was a Great Lost Album of the 80s, this is it. (Grab it at Amazon over HERE.)

Which inevitably leads us to today's business. To wit:

...and the '80s New Wave pop/punk artist/band(s) that you think should have been much better known/more commercially successful than they were is/are...???

No arbitrary rules, but if the act you posit actually started recording in the late 70s -- like, for example, The Records -- we'll let it slide.

And I mention The Records because they'd be my nominee, to the surprise of no one who's ever hung out here.

Discuss/have fun.

And have a great weekend, everyody!!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Closed for Monkey Business

Taking a Slacker Thursday. Hey -- I'm a senior citizen, cut me some slack,

That said, I can assure you that tomorrow's Weekend Essay Question is gonna be worth the wait and a lotta fun. Hint: It involves, for a change, a particular genre and historical period that has some serious relevance to the theme of this here blog.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The Blog By Numbers: Special "This Pudding Has No Theme" Edition

[In which we catch up with a bunch of brief and/or dumb stuff that I've been meaning to post for a while, but hadn't gotten around to for whatever reason.]

1. Big Time Professional Rock-and-Roll

Ronnie Wood and friends, live at some London dive two weeks ago, celebrating Ben Waters' birthday. I'd never heard of Waters, but he's apparently highly regarded in Brit music circles as a boogie woogie pianist non pareil. In any case, these folks aren't exactly over-rehearsed, but they're having fun and it's infectious.

2. Compare and Contrast

Veterinary office heartworm display or legendary King Crimson album cover? YOU make the call!!!

3. I Had No Idea George Gershwin Ever Made a Video

Live at the Manhattan Theater in 1931, and absolutely amazing and ahead of its time. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- the greatest tragedy to befall American music in the 20th century was Gershwin's way too early death at the age of 37.

4. Are Those Two Famous Rock Stars or Just Friends of My Dad?

Graham Nash plays chess with some old Jewish guy from Queens who used to sing with Paul Simon, What I wouldn't give to have the knish concession.

5. Noted Without Comment

Heh.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Let Us Now Praise Famous Women

From 1988, please enjoy the irrepressible Cyndi Lauper and her fabulously New Wavey shoulda-been-a-huge hit "Hole in My Heart."

Which would make a fabulous segue into "Turning Japanese," doncha think?

In any case, that's from Vibes, the largely forgotten sci-fi/adventure/rom-com Lauper did with Peter Falk and Jeff Goldblum; I loved it when I first saw it, even if very few other people did, but I'm planning to stream it tonight to see if my younger self had taste as good as I gave myself credit for.

Reason I bring both song and film up, however, is that a certain Shady Dame and I just watched the Netflix documentary on the making of We Are the World, in which Lauper features quite prominently, and I fell in love with her all over again. I don't know if I've ever mentioned it, but why Lauper didn't have Madonna's career is a question that has plagued me all these years.

As for the WATW flick, which Lauper more or less steals, I highly recommend it; it's far more interesting and entertaining than I'd anticipated, and seeing all those 80s pop celebs in one room together being all nervous, insecure and star struck (unlike the older veterans amongst them) is kind of a hoot. It's also fascinating about the logistics and technical challenges involved in the production of the titular song, and I must confess that with the passage of time I've become far less critical of said song on an esthetic level; back in the day, it struck me as insufferably self-congratulatory, but today -- not so much. It kinda works.

I should add that Paul Simon is credited with a joke during the session that had me rolling off my couch in hysterics, I'm not gonna give it away, so there's one more reason to stream the movie yourself.

Monday, February 19, 2024

I For One Welcome Our New A.I. Overlords

Billy Joel's excellent new song, as performed by various computer-generated younger iterations of himself?

Sure -- why not?

Look, strictly as a technical achievement, that video is freaking flawlessly brilliant, and as a fan, I'm glad to be reminded of those halcyon innocent days when Joel did not look so eerily reminiscent of the late evil Roy Cohn.

That said -- does anybody else also find this thing kind of terrifyingly creepy? I mean, if they can do that, can a convincing adnroid replicant of the young Donald Trump be far behind?

Asking for a friend.

Friday, February 16, 2024

La Fin de la Semaine Essay Question: Special "It Was Sixty Years Ago Last Week" Edition

Ah yes. On Friday last in 1964, those four adorable mop tops from Liverpool first arrived on these shores and changed everything on earth forever blah blah blah/won't you boomers fucking give it a rest already/blah blah blah.

In any case, in honor of that whatever the hell it was, let's get immediately to business. To wit:

...and your favorite (or least favorite) cover of a Beatles song is...?

No arbitrary rules here, obviously, However, if you wanna broaden the question slightly to include covers of stuff by the individual Fabs in their solo careers, go for it.

In case, here are my top two, and one of each. I'll leave it for you to guess which is my most or least fave. Sneaky hint: I'm NOT fond of the one with B.J. Wilson on drums.

Heh.

And heh again.

Discuss/have fun.

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Your Thursday Moment of Anti-Climax

I can't believe somebody guessed it.

Specifically, reader John K, the now proud recipient of a coveted PowerPop No-Prize©.

In any event, here's the answer in question, i.e. to "what is my favorite Paul Revere and the Raiders song?" -- the delightful Phil "Fang" Volk written and sung slice of proto-hippie idealism that is "In My Community."

I should add that said song is, obviously, from the Raiders Spirit of '67 album, which is for my money as good as any 12-incher done that year by any American band, and I include Moby Grape in that assessment, so you know I'm not kidding around.

I should also add that reader J.K.'s award was dispatched to him via Owl Express™, the mail service supervised by the great Flaco (seen below checking out somebody's apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side recently).

Oh, and coming tomorrow -- a Weekend Essay question with an at best tangential relationship to any of the above, so I'm not gonna make you guess. You'll enjoy it, though -- trust me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The Blog By Numbers: Special Post Over-Hyped Non-Blizzard Edition

[In which we catch up with a bunch of brief and/or dumb stuff that I've been meaning to post for a while, but hadn't gotten around to for whatever reason.]

1. It's the Only Way to Travel!!!

In case you're wondering, that's my old friend David Achelis and his band 8Ace doing a home-recorded version of my second all-time favorite Paul Revere and the Raiders song. Pretty darn fabulous, if I'm any judge of horseflesh. Also: A coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded the first reader who guesses my number 1 fave Raiders song. Hint: It's not one of the hits.

2. Jann Wenner May Be Gone, But His Assholery Lives On!

You'll note that celebrated rocker Sade (or Sadie, as we call her around Casa Simels) gets a nod this year, but Warren Zevon, Procol Harum and The Monkees are still decidely Non-U -- as Nancy Mitford used to say down at the pub -- in RHOF circles.

3. I'll Take "the British Invasion" for One Hundred, Alex!

An actual screen cap from last Monday's Jeopardy. Damn, I'm gonna have to start watching that show again.

4. Rock en Español is Here to Stay!!!

Heard that one for the first time at my fabulous Forest Hills watering hole the Keuka Kafe yesterday (thanks, Itzel!). Juanes was previously unknown to me, and when that video popped up on my Shazam, I immediately figured there must have been a large Spanish speaking contingent of the Seattle Grunge community of the early 90s. But nooooo -- turns out the kid was born and raised in Colombia, is a big Metallica fan, and the song itself dates from 2004. Cool stuff, in any case. BTW, the song's title translates as "See You Again."

5. Songs I Only Wish Had Been Played on MTV

Heh.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Closed for Winter Wonderland Monkey Business

The Weather Guy is threatening eight inches of snow. I'm taking it easy, just in case.

Regular droll posting resumes on Wednesday, assuming Casa Simels is still above the precip line.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Give the Drummer Some!!!

Longtime readers will recall my late great friend and Floor Models bandmate Glen Robert Allen...

...who passed away four years ago last Friday.

Glen Bob was one of the most talented, funny, and all around mensch-y people it has ever been my privilege to know and work with. And as I've said on previous occasions, he enriched my life in so many ways I couldn't begin to enumerate them.

I will say, however, 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.

So you'll understand how delighted and moved I was when I awoke the other day to discover that our brilliant mutual friend Steve Notis had just written, performed and posted this tribute in his honor.

Wow.

Je repete -- wow.

That's just so heart-tugging and beautiful I lack the words.

Except "thank you, Steve!" of course.

But seriously, even if you didn't know and love Glen personally, I guarantee you can't hear that song without getting, intuitively, that it sums him up perfectly.

So -- thanks again, Steve. You did what us Red Sea Pedestrians call a mitzvah.

And I guarantee that, somewhere in rock-and-roll heaven, Glen is taking a break between sets and going "Thanks, guys. And yes, I deserved that."

Friday, February 09, 2024

La Fin de la Semaine Essay Question: Special "How Do You Say 'Comme C’est Prétentieux !' in Yiddish?" Edition

From 1993, please, er, enjoy (if that is the apt word) Anglo-French poseurs Stereolab and their nonetheless somewhat infectious ode to a "Lo Boob Oscillator."

Did I say enjoy? Jeez -- that track starts well in a sort of punk-Monkees way, but the instrumental second half is painfully unlistenable and seems to go on for about six hours.

In any event, I bring it up because I heard it for the very first time the other day -- in a TV commercial for Hotels.com, of all things...

...and it grabbed me immediately. Not knowing its authorship, however, I then did the research, and you can easily imagine my disappointment when I heard the song in its entirety.

Anyway, then it struck me -- I used to joke that I slept, musically speaking, through the '90s. And there was more than a grain of truth there, which is to say I was not hugely fond of most of the stuff on the radio back then (hell, I didn't decide I liked Nirvana till about ten years ago). And Stereolab was one of those bands I just couldn't be bothered with at the time.

Hey, I'm old and cranky. So sue me.

Anyway, that leads us to this weekend's business. To wit:

...and the critically well-regarded and/or commercially successful post New Wave-pre 21st century artist or band you most completely don't get on any level is...?

No arbitraary rules here, but obviously by post-New Wave we're talking about the mid-to-late '80s. So our time frame here is roughly from The Thompson Twins to Y2k.

Discuss/have fun.

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, February 08, 2024

Closed for Monkey Business: "My Mean Readers" (Taylor’s Version)

Some of the comments on Tuesday's Joni Mitchell post hurt my delicate fee-fees, so I'm taking a day off to sulk.

Hey -- I'm a sensitive guy...cut me some slack, you stony-hearted shits.

Regular posting -- including a pretty funny/cool Weekend Essay Question -- resumes on the morrow.

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

The Blog by Numbers: Special "Crass Post-Grammys Commercialism" Edition

[In which we catch up with a bunch of brief and/or dumb stuff that I've been meaning to post for a while, but hadn't gotten around to for whatever reason.]

1. Verrrrrrrry Interesting!!!

Okay, I had never seen those clips before (h/t to faithful reader Jai Guru Dave) but they're pretty funny. I should add that a) I don't remember the black gal, who is so adorable I can't stand it, and b) I particularly like the gag featuring Jeremy Lloyd, the tall skinny blonde actor from A Hard Day's Night.

2. The Golden Age of New Jersey Television

Ah, Uncle Floyd. I actually owned the 45rpm disc reproduced above; it came in very handy for clearing the room when a party at one's apartment had gone on too long.

3. I've Said It Before and I'll Say It Again -- Joni Mitchell Has Never Known Bupkis About Makeup

That wasn't quite the reaction to Sunday's Grammys at Casa Simels. but we'll let that pass for obvious reasons.

4. In the Immortal Words of Christina Applegate -- "The Mind Wobbles!"

Heh.

5. Lust for Housekeeping

Hey Osterberg -- I know the feeling.

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Joni Mitchell: Blues For Ms. Havisham

[I wrote the piece below late last year, with the New Yorker's "Shouts and Murmurs" section in mind; alas, the New Yorker folks found its satire less droll than I do. It did, however, strike me as newly pertinent today, in light of the artiste's unfortunate appearance at the past weekend's Grammys. At which, inexplicably, somebody who did the booking apparently felt it would be a good idea to let Joni croak like a Marleine Dietrich-esque frog for a couple of minutes in front of an international audience. But read on, please.]

Okay -- that's pretty funny, if I do say so myself. I particularly like the rationale behind the album title.

But look, if the piece strikes you as somehow in bad taste, just chill. I'm a big Joni fan, and have been since her brilliant David Crosby-produced debut album in 1968. When she's on, there's few people better.

I mean, I get all warm and runny just THINKING about "River," let alone hearing it.

But c'mon -- it's also not exactly a secret that she's always had a huge pretentious streak/bullshit quotient, which often leads to embarrassing and unintentionally hilarious moments. Like the entirety of "Coyote," for example. Or, more recently, that cringe stuff at Sunday's awards ceremony.

Feel free to disagree. This is a matter of personal taste, obviously, and as Chuck Barris famously posited, some people like cold toilet seats.

But if you think Mitchell is such a holy bovine in her old age that making fun of her is beyond the pale, then -- well, in the immortal words of that great moral philosopher Mick Jagger -- you should relax is my impression.

Thank you.

Monday, February 05, 2024

Your Monday Moment of Award Show Hangover

Hey -- that Grammy TV special last night was really a bag of gas, wasn't it?

Oh, hell -- the Grammy's have ALWAYS been jive. As witness this piece I did in the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review back in May of 1979.

1. What can you say about a twenty-one-year-old music awards presentation that refuses to die? Here are some phrases that spring immediately to mind: Incurably lame. Unblushingly crass. Leisure-suited. Spectacularly corrupt. Totally irrelevant.

2. Q: Why are the Grammys named after the archaic gramophone? A: Because it would be too embarrassingly appropriate to name them after the contemporary phonograph.

3. 1978 was the year album sales of more than ten million units became commonplace, and yet fewer records cracked the weekly Top Ten than ever before. It was the year in which it dawned on people that 80 percent of all the recording artists in the world were signed to either Warner Bros (and its affiliates) and CBS, the year that any rock musician with even a modicum of sensitivity realized that having a hit record on the charts was suddenly, for the first time in pop music history, a less than honorable ambition (what doth it profit a man, after all, to go multi-platinum and yet lose his soul?). It was also the year that disco, Bee Gees style, swept the Grammy awards.

4. For years, the thing that has confused me most about the Grammys is that although sales, by and large, seemed to be the only criterion that counted, rock-and-roll was invariably snubbed. Strange, since whatever you think of rock as music, it does sell; in fact, the first albums to shatter the multi-platinum barrier (Frampton Comes Alive and Fleetwood Mac) were rock records, if relatively safe ones. This year, however, the reason has become clear to me; after sales, the next factor that means anything to the Recording Academy is “recognizability.” (Translation: Any music that is on TV a lot or gets played at said members’ sons’ bar mitzvahs.) This explains the triumph of the Brothers Gibb (five awards) and why the only non-disco smasheroo to win in 1978 was Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are,” a mushy ballad that has replaced (woe, woe) “Feelings” in the repertoire of the Merv Griffins of this world. It also explains why a classical record that did not receive a single favorable review from a serious critic – Horowitz’s Rachmaninoff Third Concerto – cleaned up; Vladimir, thanks to the Jimmy Carter Live from the White House show, was a Public Broadcasting celebrity.

But where the truth of this theory really becomes apparent is in the Best New Artist competition. In 1976, the nod went to the Starland Vocal Band (remember them?), because they’d had one big single and their own TV show, rather than to Boston, whose album sales at last count were in the neighborhood of twelve million copies. In 1977, Debby Boone, who has yet to duplicate the fluke success of “You Light Up My Life,” beat out Foreigner (who have now had two multi-platinum albums and five consecutive hit singles) simply because she sang the damned song on every prime-time TV variety special over a six-month period. This year, similarly, “Boogie Oogie Oogie,” guaranteed to be the only non-Australian disco song recognizable to middle-aged matrons from Scarsdale, enabled its creators, A Taste of Honey (gimme their real names, quick!) to triumph over both the Cars and Elvis Costello. This is ludicrous on the face of it – except when you consider that there isn’t a bar-mitzvah band in the land who has yet learned “Moving in Stereo,” and that, despite Linda Ronstadt, Mike Douglass has yet to essay “Allison.”

5. Rona Barrett, who is, granted, hardly a critic to be mentioned in the same breath as, say, James Agee, took notice of this year’s Academy Award nominations, marveled that the three top money-making pictures (Grease, Animal House and Superman) were up for relatively few awards, and announced with some satisfaction that “Oscar has finally come of age.” Assuming that’s true, which is doubtful, given the nine nominations for Heaven Can Wait, one must remember that Oscar is, after all, fifty-nine. What are the odds against anyone’s making a similar claim for the Grammys thirty years hence?

6. Woody Allen to Diane Keaton in award winning Annie Hall: “All they do in this town is give awards. Best Fascist Dictator: Adolph Hitler.”

Hey -- if you were watching on Sunday, I think you'll agree with me when I use the Yiddish expression "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

Friday, February 02, 2024

La Fin de la Semaine Essay Question: Special "Tales of Reflected Glory" Edition

From Wednesday's Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, please dig power pop keepers of the flame The Lemon Twigs and a killer live version of their glorious current single "My Golden Years."

Attentive readers are aware that the two frontmen of the Twigs are the scions of my old friend and occasional bandmate Ronnie D'Addario, and in the case of Michael and Brian, the apples (if I may mix my metaphors) didn't fall far from the proverbial tree. But what really tickles me about that clip -- apart from the utter fabness of both the song and the band's performance -- is that if you look to the far left, you'll notice that they're using the restored vintage (1962) Fender Bassman that I gifted the kids after I, er, retired from the concert stage.

In other words -- MY AMP MADE IT TO THE TONIGHT SHOW, BITCHES!!!

Thank you.

And that, of course, leads us inevitably to today's business. To wit:

...and the piece of vintage musical equipment -- guitar, effects pedal, amp, keyboard, whatever -- you'd most like to have in your personal collection and/or home studio is...?

No arbitrary rules here, but we're talking rock-and-roll obviously, so don't be a wiseguy and nominate a Stradivarius.

In the meantime -- Discuss!!!

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, February 01, 2024

Ah to Be In EPCOT When the Heather Is In Bloom

So as alert readers are aware, a certain Shady Dame and I spent a delightful couple of days at Disney World last week. Memorable moments are too numerous to mention, although purchasing this hat...

...clearly rates amongst the top ten.

That said, one of the truly unexpected pleasures of the trip took place at the park's UK simulacrum, where we were treated to a fabulous 20 minute set by Brit-rock tribute band Command Performance. Seen below rockin' out at the picturesque little EPCOT gazebo that is apparently their home base.

I can't find any information online about these guys -- what, no website or homepage? How weird! -- but whoever they are, as you can plainly hear, they're tons of fun. Seriously, I've never encountered anybody doing a credible "Baba O'Reilly" before. I mean, where the hell did they get those samples of Townshend's synthesizer parts?

Coming tomorrow -- a Weekend Essay question that's particularly close to my heart for reasons that may amuse you. See you then!!!

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The Blog by Numbers: Special "Taylor's Version" Edition

[In which we catch up with a bunch of brief and/or dumb stuff that I've been meaning to post for a while, but hadn't gotten around to for whatever reason.]

1. Hello, I Must Be Going!!

So I just did something I haven't done in approximately 50 years -- I bought an album on vinyl!

I did this for two reasons. 1) As I may have mentioned, I got a turntable for a birthday present late last year. And 2) at this stage of my life, I look a lot more like Groucho than any rock star I ever attempted to emulate.

2. I Coulda Sworn I Sat Next to that Guy at a Priest Show...

2. Okay, I Didn't Get This One For the First Two Minutes

Heh.

4. You Know, Somedays I Really Miss the Wilburys

Heh again.

5. Isn't That You Behind Those Foster Grants?

My good friend Robert Albiston, i.e. the drummer (2nd from right) of my post-college 70s band, just found this flyer while going through some historical detritus. Interestingly, all five of us seem to have been wearing the same pair of sunglases. I should add that, for the life of me, I can't remember The Mushroom, the club where the gig we were advertising was to occur, at all. Any Manhattan denizens remember the joint -- on 13th between Fifth and University?

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

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

Okay, I did not know this video existed until yesterday. And when I discovered it, you could have knocked me over with the proverbial flat appendage growing from a bird's skin and forming its plumage.

From 2012, please enjoy the late great Gregory Fleeman and his utterly brilliant ode to Elvis Presley and Liberace, a/k/a two guys with "Dead Twin Brothers."

Words fail me.

Longtime readers will recall my blathering about Greg (who passed away too young in 2022) on previous occasions; suffice it to say that back in the day (late 70s/early 80s) he fronted without question the most hilarious rock act I ever witnessed, the genius-monikered Gregory Fleeman and the Fleewomen. I encountered them, initially, while researching a piece on the neo-folk scene that was then briefly resurgent in Greenwich Village; here's what I wrote at the time (in The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review).

...Fleeman is a young ex-actor with one of the most warped sensibilities likely to be sprung on an unsuspecting public. His band is a motley collection of aging hippies, refugees from underground S-&-M clubs and punk/jazz fusion players, and his songs are about the funniest I've heard since...oh, since Tonio K. Take "Touching Myself But Thinking of You," which asks the musical slash cosmic question "If we're all one, who needs you?" Or his children's lullabye about the little men who come out when you're asleep ("They massage your heart/and your private parts/and throw parties in your mouth"); his impassioned love song about the Tappan Zee Bridge; a 40s swing tune called "Wisconsin Moon" ("There's too much beer...here!"); not to mention his soon-to-be-immortal production number, "the song, nay metaphor" he calls simply "Showbiz" (although it's better known to his fans as "Sucking My Way to the Top").

I should add that "Showbiz," as well as "Dead Twin Brothers" and much, much more can be found on Greg's 2005 album The Right Tool for the Job, which is a masterpiece and can be purchased and/or streamed over at Amazon HERE; just about all of it is also up at YouTube if you want to browse without buying. I should also add that you should go over to Amazon Prime and treat yourself to a viewing of F/X, the hilarious sort of spy thriller (starring Bryan Brown) that Greg penned in his other life as a Hollywood screenwriter.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Closed for Post-Florida Monkey Business

Returned from DeSantis Land with a bitch of a cold. Regular posting -- beginning with a video that will blow your mind -- resumes on the morrow, if i can stop coughing.

Friday, January 26, 2024

La Fin De La Semaine Essay Question: Special "Escape From America's Wang!" Edition

[That's a little sort of private (dumb) joke, folks; during the Bush years a friend of mine used to call Florida "America's wang" based on how the state looked on the national map. You know -- kinda phallic.

Hey -- I didn't say it was ever gonna be mistaken for after-dinner conversation by Noel Coward. -- S.S.]

Okay -- we're back from our brief vacation in DeSantis Land (we'll have some amusing stuff to share with you about that experience next week) and we need a rest. So let's move right to this weekend's business, inspired by yesterday's fabulous new track by veteran Canadian New Wavers Martha and the Muffins.

To wit:

...and your favorite (or least favorite) post-Elvis band/group moniker which includes either somebody's first name or their complete name is...???

Self-explanatory, obviously, and no arbitrary rules, although I'm tempted to exclude nicknames. Which would eliminate Cannibal and the Headhunters, so what the hell -- if that's what floats your boat in this regard, go for it.

In any case...discuss.

I should add that my nominee -- the best one ever, I'm sorry it's not even close -- is...Johnny and the Moondogs!!!

I mean, come on. I don't care if they were only an entity for three months or so -- Lennon should have kept them together, thus changing history in unfathomable ways

That said -- Have a great weekend, everybody!!! Me, I'm hitting the sack.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Janie (and Too Fucking Many Other People)’s Got a Gun

From just now in 2024, please enjoy veteran Canadian rockers Martha and the Muffins and their forensically powerful and desperately timely anti-firearm reworking of The Buffalo Springfield's protest classic "For What It's Worth."

I haven't thought much about these guys since their 80s New Wave "Echo Beach" heyday, but this new track is smart on a number of levels, and as you'll see, the video reinforces its point with some fabulously mordant surrealism. And I'm not just saying that because I currently find myself in Florida, i.e. an Open Carry state governed by a fascist moron.

I should add that a coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded the first reader who gleans the song's relevance to the theme of tomorrow's Weekend Essay Question.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Seen in DeSantis Land Today

Okay, actually at Disney World, where BG and I are currently vacationing, as you know. Still, pretty cool, Ill grant you. But I must confess to a certain relief that Ron's National Guard doesn't have access to one.

Coming tomorrow -- a fabulous new song by a veteran band hailing from Canuckistan.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Closed for Post-DeSantis Monkey Business

Exhausted from walking around EPCOT (Every Person Comes Out Tired) all day.

More weird Florida-related stuff on the morrow.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Greetings From Florida a/k/a America's Dystopian Hellscape!!!

So as you may know, a certain Shady Dame and I are vacationing in the Magic Kingdom (Orlando, Florida) until Friday.

So far we haven't run into either of these fictional characters, let alone together...

...but we'll keep you posted.

Of course, as you may have guessed, this week's postings will be. necessarily, both fitful and/or weird until our return to civilization -- this is an open-carry state, after all. But if our luck holds out, there should be some interesting stuff tomorrow.

Excelsior!!!

Friday, January 19, 2024

La Fin de la Semaine Essay Question: Special "Great Performances" Edition

That's Fountains of Wayne, of course, on some teevee show in 2003, and a jaw dropping live version of "Stacy's Mom."

It will come as no surprise to long-time readers of this here blog that I consider FOW to have been one of the all-time great -- maybe even one of the top ten great -- American rock bands ever. I will go further and say that the performance above -- which I was unaware of until two days ago -- was taped at a moment in time when they were, quite literally, the greatest rock-and-roll band in the freaking world.

Okay, and with that established, we move on to our weekend bizness. To wit:

...and your favorite (or least favorite) post-Elvis live performance of a single song by a pop/rock/c&w/soul/blues band or solo performer is...?

No arbitrary rules, but obviously we're talking about a performance that has been immortalized as an audio or video recording, not something you personally saw and we have to take how fabulous it was on your word only.

Okay, discuss.

And have a great weekend, everybody!

We'll see you next week when posting resumes from our forthcoming vacation in Ron DeSantis' dystopian hellscape of Florida (specifically, the part run by Disney.)

Pray for us!!!

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Let's Tryst Again Like We Did Last Summer

From 2014, please enjoy should-be-a-houseold-word singer/songwriter/guitarist Peter Spencer (with the All-Stars, featuring Matisyahu's ex-drummer, and how cool is that?) and a spine-tingling sort-of unplugged rendition of Pete's "Everybody Danced."

That performance just kills me, although I'm admittedly prejudiced. Which is to say I have a long history with the song, beginning with a rock-band demo of it produced back in the early '90s by my late musical director/Floor Models drummer Glen "Bob" Allen.

More to the point, it gets to me on a deeply personal level for a number of reasons, the most suitable for publication being that it reminds me (minus the heartbreak over the girl) of one of the loveliest evenings of my life -- an outdoor jam session I participated in at a party in a field in rural Delaware on a glorious July night in front of a couple of hundred revellers. Obviously, you had to be there, but you get the idea -- it was just magical, and Pete's song conjures it up for me every time I hear it.

I should add that I always thought the song could work well if done as a sort of cross between the 1965 Byrds and the 1968 Rolling Stones. So here's a version I recorded along those lines in 2019.

I should also add that when I played that for Pete soon after its release, over drinks at my local watering hole, he graciously declined to punch me in the nose. For which I've always been grateful -- thanks, Pete!!!

Have I mentioned that's a great freaking song?

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Closed for Monkey Business: Special “Snopocalypse Now” Edition

Hey -- we had our first measureable snowfall in NYC in three years yesterday, and I'm beat.

Regular posting -- including a fabulous video of a gorgeous song by a Friend of PowerPop© -- resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

The Blog by Numbers: Special "No Cheap Shots. Well, Maybe One." Edition

[In which we catch up with a bunch of brief and/or dumb stuff that I've been meaning to post for a while, but hadn't gotten around to for whatever reason.]

1. Today's Shameless Moment of Nepotism

My younger brother (second from left)...

,,,has asked me to mention that if you enjoyed his review of Brit flick Some People (in last week's post over HERE), please check out his other musings on movies and popular culture at his blog Magic in a Frame-Part 2. He and I thank you.

2. This is the Greatest Thing in the History of Things

Seriously -- the song is a riot, the band has charisma up the wazoo, and whoever directed the video is a fucking genius.

3. Department of Misheard Lyrics

Heh.

4. Once Again, I Missed the Memo

Apparently, Ronnie Spector made an album of Brit Invasion covers in 2016, and none of you bastards bothered to tell me.

I mean, I yield to no man in my enthusiasm for the Sandi Shaw original of that, but I gotta say -- Ronnie was born to sing it.

5. Okay, I Realize Everybody Had This Album, But Groucho? Really?

On the other hand, they actually were labelmates at A&M at the time, so....

6. Today's Obligatory Accordion Joke

Heh again.

Monday, January 15, 2024

If Tchaikovsky Had Called It "The Apathétique": A Cautionary Tale

From late last year (November), and his (then) just released new album What A Difference Indifference Makes, please enjoy pop craftsman extraordinaire John Dunbar and his neo-classically melodic confection "I Wonder If She Colors Her Hair Now."

Or, as a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance said to me as I was listening to this yesterday -- "Wow. It sounds like George singing a Paul song." Which sums it up pretty accurately, I think (and saves me the trouble of trying to characterize it -- thanks, babe!)

Meanwhile, as John (incognito) puts it in his press kit over at Bandcamp:

Dunbar has been known to give himself specialized guidelines when embarking on new albums to keep things fresh and challenging. This new album is no exception. During a radio interview he did while promoting The Other Women, the host pointed out that each song John chose to play by his favorite artists were their “piano songs". An astute observation. Dunbar recognized that he certainly had a soft spot for songs where the piano carried the instrumentation. With that in mind he decided to try and make an album of songs that could all fall under the category of “piano songs.". There are no guitars on the record, other than the bass. Although he ruined any chance of the album being reviewed in Guitar Player magazine, the results sound positively inspired.

I should add here that if John's name seems familiar, it's because I previously (2020) and justifiably raved about his work as part of his equally fab band The John Sally Ride (featuring friend of PowerPop and proprietor of the invaluable Burning Wood blog Sal Nunziato on drums). I should also add that among his other obvious gifts, John has a real flair for song titles, as witness the new record's hilariously yclept "You Really Got Meh."

Heh.

In any case, Indifference is now my favorite new album; I suggest you hie thee over to John's Bandcamp site and stream and then buy a digital copy pronto.

You're welcome very much.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Le Fin De La Semaine Essay Question: Special "The Genius of George Morton" Edition

From 1966. please enjoy the (hubba hubba) Shangri-Las and their eminently danceable ode to "Sophisticated Boom Boom."

Produced and (more to the point) written by the aforementioned George "Shadow" Morton. Who if for no other reason than this intro -- declaimed with perfect New Yawk insouciance by lead singer Mary Weiss -- deserves to be immortal.

I was walkin' down the street

And it was gettin' mighty late

Well, the truth of the matter is

This poor girl had been abandoned by her date

When, from out of nowhere came this music loud and clear

Let me see, from over there?

(No, over there.)

Over there?

(Yeah.)

Well, I open up the door

And much to my surprise

The girls were wearin' formals

And the boys were wearin' ties

And I feel that I should mention

That the band was at attention

They just stood there, oh, so neat

While they played their swingin' beat

So I grabbed this little boy

Who came struttin' 'cross the room

And I say, "What's that?"

And he say

"Sophisticated boom, boom"

And that, my friends, is poetry.

Which leads us, inexorably, to business. To wit:

...and your favorite post-Elvis pop/rock/country/soul record featuring a spoken word section (of whatever length) is...???

No arbitrary rules, but c'mon -- no Dylan or rap allowed, for obvious reasons.

Discuss.

Oh, and here's my nominee -- note the big "Bonjour!" from guest speaker Joan of Arc at approximately the 2:20 minute mark.

Okay -- have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Last Night an Abominable Snowman Saved My Life

From their new (late November of last year) album Music Humans Can Play, please enjoy the hitherto unknown to me Autogramm and their spectacularly fab new single "Born Losers."

Autogramm's bio describes them as "synth-driven power-poppers," and as you will have noted, that seems right on the money. More to the point, when I watched that video (which is hilarious BTW -- I'm a sucker for a guy in a Yeti suit) I totally lost it when that first big instrumental section comes in and they crank the synths and "Sweet Jane"-y guitar power chords. Seriously, I haven't been so jazzed by a song in that vein since The Cars "You Might Think," and I don't think it's a stretch to say this new one stands up to that classic quite nicely. (BTW, in the interest of total accuracy, I should note that the band's bio also lists Autogramm's influences as The Fixx, David Bowie, Cheap Trick, The Boys, The Dickies and Prince. Hey -- makes sense to me!!!)

In any event, I can't wait to hear more from these guys, and while I'm listening, you can order the digital album (or a vinyl version) over at their Bandcamp site HERE.

You're welcome very much.

Coming tomorrow -- a fabulous new Weekend Essay question. Hint: It's the talk of the town.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Closed for Monkey Business: Special "Blog Presidential Immunity" Edition

Hey -- nothing I post here can be used to prosecute me for anything.

Regular stuff -- starting with the second best new song I've heard this year -- resumes tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

The Blog by Numbers: Special "Nepotism a Go Go" Edition

[In which we catch up with a bunch of brief and/or dumb stuff that I've been meaning to post for a while, but hadn't gotten around to for whatever reasons.]

1. You Know, Some Days I Really Love PhotoShop

Granted, they spelled Keith's name wrong, but hey -- the dinosaur is just soooooo cute...

2. Your Tuesday Moment of Cahiers du Cinema

As I mentioned last week, my younger brother now weighs in with a review of what looks like an absolutely cool early 60s youth culture flick.

Take it away, Drew!!!

In 1962, some three months before "Love Me Do," the first single by the Beatles, began to be played on U.K.radio and sold in Brit record stores, a movie debuted in British theaters called Some People. I cite the Beatles single because if you watch this movie, I'm certain that you'll figure out that people in the British movie industry were paying attention to what teenagers were doing in their spare time. That has everything to do with the details of the plot.

Some People focuses on a group of teenagers -- 18 or 19 years old, in my estimation -- in Bristol, England, a city on a river near the country's west coast. Bill (David Andrews), Johnnie (Ray Brooks), and Bert (David Hemmings) are friends who, when not at their jobs, get together for fun and adventure. Bill and Johnie work at a local lumber retail company and it's never clear what Bert does.

One late afternoon after work, the three characters, riding their motorcycles, are joined by a friend of Bill's named Terry (Angela Douglas), and meet up at a local motorcyclist hangout. Bert suggests that they go to a local pub where Johnnie can sit down and play a piano. The trip to the pub turns into a race, with all three motorcyclists testing each other.

A truck attempts to pull into the street on which the group is traveling. They have to make a quick decision, a quick change; they have to swerve. Bill and Bert lose control of their bikes and skid off to the side of the road, while Johnnie, with Terry holding onto him as a passenger, comes to a complete stop (Johnnie was behind his two friends when the truck moved into the street.) All of them are brought to Court; lhe three-judge panel hands down a hefty fine and rules that they cannot drive for six months or ride as motorcycle passengers during that time.

The Court's ruling heavily affects the three characters. On the first evening after the verdict, Bill, Bert, and Johnnie get together; they all need to let off steam, and the viewer soon learns that, without their motorcycles, their next choice for having fun is playing music.

In looking for a way to play music, the three friends almost get into more trouble -- first, at the North Bristol Youth Club, and, then, at a nearby Church where Johnnie sits down and plays the Church organ.

The Church's Vicar storms in, demanding an explanation, and is in the midst of roundly berating the three young adults, when a new character is introduced, Mr. Smith (Kenneth More), the Church's Organist and Choir master. On his own, Mr. Smith talks to Bill, Bert, and Johnnie and, on the spot, invites them to the Church Hall (a separate building) on Choir rehearsal nights, at which time they can bring their musical instruments and practice.

To go into detail about how this plays out would truly spoil one's enjoyment of Some People, a movie that should be better known. The reason I say this is because the movie was created to present the divide between the two generations as real and to show that the problems between the generations could be solved.

Three songs written for the movie are performed as part of the plot; the first is an instrumental (in the style of Cliff Richards' backing band The Shadows) and the other two have vocals. The scenes where the music is performed, all in the Church Hall, undoubtedly inspired many teens who watched the movie when it was first in theaters to find musical instruments and learn to play.

Some People, shot in color on location in Bristol, has a running time of 93 minutes. I recommend it to all movie lovers at Power Pop. -- Drew Simels

I haven't seen Some People yet, but I just ordered a disc version (from what Drew assures me is an absolutely terrific print/transfer) over at DVD Lady HERE. As they used to say at Mad Magazine -- $12.95 cheap!!!

3. I Know the Feeling

Heh.

4. Art Imitates Life, or Vice Versa

Me, my aforementioned younger brother (that makes two mentions of him today), a school chum, and a cousin -- at Boy Scout camp in New Jersey, circa late 1950s. Who knew we were the inspiration for the film Stand By Me?

5. Cruel and Unusual

Okay, I like banjos, but yeah -- I get the point.

Monday, January 08, 2024

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Well, okay...just the first genuinely great audio product of the new year.

Ladies and germs, please enjoy, in breathless wonder, The Lemon Twigs new single "My Golden Years."

Seriously -- I gotta say that's the power pop of yours or my dreams. And may I also state, and for the record (as it were), that if that big Beach Boys/Who/Byrds wordless finale doesn't make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end, then frankly I don't want to know you and what are you doing here?

I should also add that the video is hilarious, although I must confess to a little unease about the use of that small airplane. I would have thought that your basic rock band would know by now to avoid them.

Friday, January 05, 2024

Weekend Listomania: Special "A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever" Edition

[I first posted a version of the below in 2007(!), when the world and this blog were young. Obviously, much has changed in the interim -- like many pronouns, for example -- and thus I've done some editing of the original language to conform with contemporary mores (although neither the word "binary" or "cis" will appear -- I have my standards). I've also substituted a couple of new entries, mostly because we like to have something dating from the current century every once in a while. In any case, enjoy, and keep it clean, kids. -- S.S.]

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Congressional manual catharsis technician Rep. Lauren Boebert and I are off to fabulous New York City, where we'll be spending the next several days at a downtown Gentleman's (heh) Club for a Heritage Foundation-sponsored seminar/retreat whose theme is Sex With the Stupid: Fun or Not?

So regular QOPEC* postings will necessarily be somewhat, uh, premature for a couple of days, if you know what I mean.

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

All-Time Favorite Post-Elvis Pop/Rock Female (Traditional or Otherwise) Sex (er) Object!!!

You know -- the cutest, the hottest, the most historically significant, the one that you most wanted to boink. However you define it, that's cool, and it can either be a solo artist or someone/something in a band.

And my carefully considered Top Ten is:

10. The Duchess [Bo Diddley's gorgeous sister]

Note: She's the one on the right with the guitar.

9. Joan Jett

I would so switch teams for that woman (yeah, I know).

8. Phoebe Bridgers

As seen here with its band Boy Genius. All of whom could have me if they played their cards right, now that I think of it.

7. Patti Smith

Around the time that album came out, Patti famously told a rock journalist (I forget who) that she'd actually jerked off to the Mapplethorpe album photo, just to see what it would be like for her fans. I found that...intriguing.

6. Marianne Faithfull

Wotta babe.

5. Evie Sands

The sexiest suburban white girl(!) Brill Building chick(!!) of them all. I should add that Evie is still doing this kind of stuff live in clubs around L.A., and sounds and looks cooler than ever.

4. Courtney Love

Hey, what can I tell you -- as NYMary put it, I like 'em disheveled.

3. Chrissie Hynde

Let's just say I never had a waitress who was THAT interesting.

2. Pink

Look in the dictionary under "fiercely erotic" and there's a picture of her. Seriously -- she's about as stimulating as it gets, but the problem is I don't think I'd survive the foreplay.

And my all time number one rock femme de whoopie without a Y chromosome, there's no freaking contest so don't give me any shit about this, indisputably is....

1. Ronnie Spector!!!

Ah, Ronnie. Has there ever been a more arousing video for a crappy song by a doughy white guy who gets upstaged by his lady(!)guest star? Seriously -- that silhouetted wiggle, that cigarette being crushed by the high heel, that first moment when she sings "Be my little baby...." God, I love that whatever-that-is.

HONORABLE MENTION:

11a. Cousin Itt

For obvious reasons.

Alrighty then -- who else puts a lump (or something) in your shorts and/or brings you to the edge of wetness?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

____________________________________

* QOPEC: a gender indefinite oil s/he/ik.