Monday, April 15, 2024

The Greatest Song Ever. I'm Not Kidding About This!!!

Okay, I realize this has nothing to do with the mission statement of this here blog, but it's so fabulous I couldn't resist.

Gay Frogs!!!!

And don't worry, despite the news and stuff happening in the real world, I'm not gonna go all political on you.

For example, that interesting new Kinks cover I mentioned last week is up tomorrow -- promise!!!

Have I mentioned GAY FROGS!!!!!????????

Friday, April 12, 2024

La Fin de La Semaine Essay Question: Special "Post-Eclipse" Edition

From 1967, from the period when they weren't too proud to make blatantly entertaining pop singles aimed at the top of the charts, just like all the other great bands before the dirty hippies ruined rock-and-roll for a couple of years, please enjoy Traffic (featuring Stevie(!) Winwood, Dave Mason and those other guys) and the official video for their delightfully psychedelic ode to a "Paper Sun."

I had never seen that clip -- or even known it existed -- before yesterday, so I think you'll agree we're already ahead of the game.

But in any case, that brings us to the business at hand, inspired -- obviously -- by last Monday's celestial light show. To wit:

...and your favorite (or least favorite) post-Elvis pop/rock/soul/country song referencing the moon or the lucky old sun in its title or lyrics is...??????

Discuss.

In case you're wondering what my picks are, here's one you may get a perverse kick out of. Dr. Feelgood and the Interns and their "Mr. Moonlight."

The Beatles' more famous cover of that -- which appeared on Beatles '65 in this country -- is, of course, by most people's reckoning the least popular track the Fabs ever did. I go back and forth on it, myself, but say what you will, at least it's faithful to the original. (Which, BTW, was a minor hit on the American charts, but not in the UK).

And if you're among the folks who dislike the song to the point of wondering why the Beatles bothered to record it in the first place, this amusing story about its performance history (from the lads' faithful road manager Neil Aspinall) provides a clue:

"'Mr. Moonlight' was great because there would be this moment of tension in the audience. The song would be announced and everybody knew John would have to start on that note -- MISTER! Moonlight!!! There was no chord to precede it, he had to get it right from nothing."

Showmanship!!!

Okay -- what would YOUR choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Closed For Monkey Business

Having technical problems with YouTube.

Assuming they're resolved without incident, a pretty cool Fin de la Semaine Essay Question -- inspired by the major current event of the last few days -- will appeqr on the morrow.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Original Songs by Unoriginal Means? YOU Make the Call!!!

From right freaking now, please enjoy three chord wiseguy Dfactor Pop and his new but ironically retro ode to a "21st Century AI Man."

That speaks for itself, obviously, so for a change I'm not gonna wax overly descriptive. Except to say that it's a killer power pop record in the classic tradition and yet, obviously, relevant to life as we're currently living it. Very cool, in other words.

I should add that this lyrical snippet...

We used to dance wild and free

Back in the 20th century

...really speaks to me, if you know what I mean.

In case you're wondering who this guy is when he's at home (as they say), here's his becomingly brief official bio...

Dfactor Pop is a U.S. singer-songwriter (based in Phoenix, AZ) who writes, sings and records his cool, catchy guitar rock songs. His music is a mixture of melodic pop, power crunch chords, witty observant lyrics, and amped-up '60s garage rock, topped off with brash vocals and an enthusiastic DIY approach.

...which I assume is authoritative.

I should add that "21st Century AI Man" is the first single from Dfactor's upcoming full-length album, scheduled for this summer, and tentatively titled Cowboy Dfactor (take that, Beyonce!).

And to hear more from DFP, who seems to have been plying his trade for quite some time unbeknownst to me, hie thee to his Bandcamp page over HERE.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

How Such a Great Record Got to Be the Theme for Such a Cheesy Biker Flick is Beyond Me

From 1968, and the soundtrack to the otherwise justly forgotten exploitation epic The Savage Seven, please enjoy the maligned-by-me-yesterday Cream and their drop dead fabulous "Anyone for Tennis."

Seriously, immediately after I posted Monday's anti-Cream screed, I remembered how much I loved everything about the above and was consumed with guilt.

So mea culpa, Cream -- and may I just add that one of the many reasons that song knocks me out is this concluding lyrical snippet.

And Fate is setting up the chess board/while Death rolls out the dice

Anyone for tennis?

Wouldn't that be nice?

Which definitely falls into the category of "wish I'd written that."

Two additional little relevant bits of tid:

For years, I used to send people a mixtape CD I made called Great Lost Singles of the Sixties, and "Tennis" was usually the number one song in the playlist.

Also, the single version of it, on ATCO, was one of the very first 45 rpm records available in stereo. Which was kind of cool in that immediately post-Sgt. Pepper era, as you can well imagine.

I wore out my promo copy (which I swiped from my college radio station) pretty quickly, as you can also well imagine.

Monday, April 08, 2024

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special "The Brewski That Made St. Louis Not Particularly Well Known" Edition

From approximately 1967/68, please enjoy psychedelic blues-wankers Cream -- yes, them -- and their actual radio spot that actually got aired on American stations in support of (what I remember as quite undrinkable) Falstaff Beer!

I should add at this point that, as you may have guessed, I am not now and have never been a Cream fan. Basically, I can listen to the live Wheels of Fire version of "Crossroads" and the exquisitely Beatle-esque "Badge" (from their final album) and that's just about it.

Yeah, yeah, I know they're great and historically important blah blah blah but the insurmountable problem for me, which I can/could never get past, is Jack Bruce's melodramatically florid over-singing.

Which, as you can hear so well in the above, sounds exactly like the Cantor at my Bar Mitzvah. And in a rock context, that just makes me laugh, which obviously is not the reaction the band was going for.

Hey -- it's a Jewish thing. You wouldn't understand.

I should add as a footnote that the jingle tune in question is credited to Clapton/Bruce/Baker, which means they wrote the immortal line "the beer you reach for first/when you want to quench your thirst" all by themselves.

I.e. without the assistnce of their usual collaborator/lyricist "Sunshine of Your Love" auteur Pete Brown. And good for them.

[h/t Jai Guru Dave]

Friday, April 05, 2024

Weekend Listomania: Special "The Sound of Mucous" Audio/Visual Edition

[I initially wrote/posted the following in 2012(!), back when I was not yet eligible for Medicare. Obviously, nobody currently reading this reissue will have any memory of the original version, but because of the stuff we did earlier this week about that obscure punk song in that forthcoming teen comedy, it seemed newly relevant. Consequently, and because I love you all more than food, I have done some re-writing and added two new entries. Please enjoy if possible. -- S.S.]

Okay, kids, it's Friday, and you know what that means. But before we get to business, indulge me one more cheap joke at the expense of a certain contemporary pop icon's new media event doubling as an album.

Hey, I gotta give it to Beyoncé!

It took 15(!) people to compose her new country hit.

That makes it the first masterpiece written by committee since the King James Bible!!!

Thank you, I'm here all week. Please tip your binary wait-staff and try the vegan.

Okay, with that out of the way, let's move on to today's thematic puzzler. Specifically --

Best or Worst Use of a Pop/Rock/Soul/Country Song in Either a Credit Sequence or otherwise Non-Musical Scene in a Film/TV Drama or Comedy!!!

No arbitrary rules, except -- of course -- no concert films, documentaries, or features starring The Beatles need apply.

And my totally top of my head Top Seven is...

7. The Lovin' Spoonful -- "Pow" (as heard in What's Up, Tiger Lily)

The song itself was a b-side, if memory serves, and it's deliberately silly, but it catches the '60s-absurdist feel of Woody Allen's debut cinematic jape pretty much perfectly.

6. Karen O with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross -- "The Immigrant Song" (as heard in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo)

I didn't care for the opening credits visual montage that it accompanies, but Mr. Nine Inch Nails' remake of the Led Zep song, which sets up the tone of the subsequent film perfectly, is just one of many reasons that David Fincher's Hollywood adaptation of TGWTDT is light years better than the Swedish, hippo-root sucking, original.

5. Van Morrison -- "Into the Mystic" (as heard in Panic in Needle Park)

I dunno if Van was thinking heroin when he wrote it, but the scene with Al Pacino and Kitty Winn (whatever the hell happened to her, BTW?) shooting up to to its slightly melancholy strains is one of the most indelible images in American films of the 70s. IMHO.

4. Herman's Hermits -- "I'm Into Something Good" (as heard in The Naked Gun)

Okay, it's a remake, but it is Peter Noone singing. I should add that the scene from the montage where Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley come out of a theater showing Platoon while laughing hysterically never fails to make me feel better about life.

3. Gary Glitter -- "Rock and Roll" (as heard in Moolight Mile)

I was gonna nominate the film's Rolling Stones title tune, which is beautifully used, but it dawned on me that the Glitter track, from earlier in the same scene, is actually surprisingly effective despite being about as massively over-familiar as anything can be. Fun fact: After Robert Plant saw the film, he called up Mick Jagger to tell him how much he had liked "Moonlight Mile" (the song) and asked him what album it was on and when it had originally been released. I am not making this up.

2. Alica Keys and Jack White -- "Another Way to Die" (as heard in Quantum of Solace)

I have no problem with either Keys or White, but I think we can all agree that this one is pretty unmemorable. Or maybe it just seems that way knowing that it was supposed to be sung by Amy Winehouse, who -- we can also all agree -- was genetically bred to sing a Bond movie theme song.

And the numero uno shtup between music and the visual arts on a medium currently available for streaming unquestionably is...

1. Marcus Mumford and Ted Howe -- "Believe" (as heard in Ted Lasso)

Okay, okay, it's not the most memorable musical credit sequence I've ever seen, but it works beautifully if you've watched the show, and I just love the song. (PS: It reminds me of some rock standard, but I can't put my finger on it. Anybody have an idea?)

Here's the complete version, to help you out.

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, April 04, 2024

The Greatest Emo Band Ever!

The Recess Monkeys, ladies and germs. Let's really hear it for them!!!

Slightly off topic, but you know, now that I think of it, John Candy could have done a really hilarious Trump impression. Using the same wig, actually.

In any case, I know there was supposed to be an interesting Kinks cover here today, but I screwed up. Sorry -- it will appear on Monday.

And a droll Weekend Listomania will brighten your day on the morrow. Cross my heart etc.

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

And This Just In...

Beyoncé, irked at having been disrespected at the 2023 United Jewish Appeal Man of the Year dinner, has announced that her next project will be a conceptual Klezmer album, to be called Oy Bey. Special guests will include Matisyahu, Jennifer Grey, and Jerry Seinfeld.

Rumors that she will follow that with an easy listening project -- Bed, Bath and Beyoncé -- remain unconfirmed at press time.

Closed for Monkey Business

Okay, as I hinted yesterday, I won the Lottery.

Just kidding -- real world stuff impinged on my work ethic.

Cool regular posting -- including the darndest Kinks cover you've ever heard -- resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Hang On to Your Dreams (An Occasional Series): Part Deux -- World Famous in Greenwich Village

So I think we can all agree that, as I mentioned yesterday, the story about those lost-to-history Brit punk wannabes The Limps having their obscure 1979 DIY single resurrected for a big forthcoming Hollywood teen movie is simultaneously the coolest and most heartwarming thing ever.

In any case, as I also mentioned yesterday, there's a part two to the story which is, admittedly, a tad self-indulgent (although highly relevant to the mission statement of the blog you're currently visiting) and here it comes.

I should add that it's also kind of cool and heartwarming, albeit not as epically as what happened to The Limps.

Anyway, the improbable real deal is that no more than fifteen minutes -- literally, I'm not kidding -- after stumbling aross the Cumbrian lads story online, I got an e-mail from an Australian music publicist named Dave Laing, who I've encountered in the past and who is a thoroughly splendid guy (and, as they used to say, a credit to his profession).

The short version: Dave informed me the good folks at too-hip-for-words British reissue label CHERRY RED RECORDS were in the process of putting together a three CD box set of American power pop from the Eighties. And that they and he wanted to include a song by -- be still my beating heart -- the pride-of-Bleecker Street band I toiled in back then and which I have have bent your ear about at some tedious length over the years, AKA The Floor Models.

More specifically, this recorded-in-1982 track from our fab and gear album Floor Your Love.

Dave also reminded me that Cherry Red had done an American Seventies power pop package late in '23...

...and as you'll see if you click on the link here, the track listing is an absolutely brilliantly chosen combo of big name bands and familiar songs along with some interesting cult favorites and estimable obscurities. Apparently, on the new set -- the track listing of which has not been finalized -- the Flo Mos would be a representative of the latter.

In any case, you could have knocked me over with the proverbial avian appendage when I got the news about this, and I'll keep you posted on the project as it gets closer to completion.

Bottom line: I am button-bustingly proud to be associated with said project (thanks, Dave!). And I only wish my two departed bandmates Andy Pasternack and Glen Robert Allen had lived to see it. Sniffle.

I also have to say that in the wake of both the Limps and the Flo Mos recent good fortunes, I'm really starting to feel lucky.

Now please excuse me while I go buy a lottery ticket. If I don't post anything for the next few days, just assume I won.

Monday, April 01, 2024

Hang On to Your Dreams (An Occasional Series): Part I -- World Famous in Cumbria

[Okay, this is gonna be a two-parter, and the second half, which will go up tomorrow, is a tad self-indulgent. But hang on -- it will all make sense and be worth it. -- S.S.]

Hey -- this is the coolest true story ever.

From the BBC webpage and the Brit tabloid The Sun, last week:

LIMPING ON

Ageing punks stunned after one of their songs was picked for a hit movie – 45 years after it sold just 50 copies

A former punk band guitarist has spoken of his shock after one of their songs was picked to appear in a new film.

The Limps blazed a trail in Carlisle, Cumbria, for a few months in the late-1970s before disappearing without a trace. Nearly 50 years later, their song "Someone I Can Talk To" will feature on the soundtrack of coming-of-age comedy Snack Shack, by US director Adam Rehmeier.

Songwriter Andy Septic –- now better known as Cumberland Council's councillor Andrew Semple -- said: “When Adam contacted us and said he wanted to use our song we couldn’t believe it.” Mr Rehmeier said he listened to the song every day when he was writing the film and said it was the only track that evoked the emotion he was looking for. He then contacted Mr Semple, the former mayor of Cockermouth, to ask to use it.

"We formed on a housing estate in Annan but the punk scene back then was in Carlisle,” Mr Semple said. “We weren’t very good - I was the only one who could play anything - and I think the most we ever played to was four or five people," he laughed.

Mr Semple said that since the news broke, the song – written in a bedroom in 1979 – has enjoyed a new lease on life on YouTube. However, he said it was unlikely to make The Limps overnight millionaires. “We’ve received a bit of money, but there’s not much when it’s got to be divided between four of us,” he added. Snack Shack is due to be released later this year.

Cockermouth. Words fail me.

Meanwhile, here's the song in question, which was originally released to world-wide apathy in 1979, but in retrospect is actually rather charming.

And here's the trailer for Snack Shack, which despite its generic teen-comedy vibe actually seems promising.

Like I said, this is the coolest true story ever.

Until what follows on the morrow. Heh.

To be continued...