Thursday, March 22, 2018

Your Thursday Moment of a Winter Wonderland

The view outside a certain Shady Dame's apartment this morning.

And a non-seasonal musical tribute to it.

Oh, and by the way -- tomorrow brings us the triumphant return of Weekend Listomania. Now with more relevance to current events!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

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

From 2004, please enjoy the great Roger McGuinn and his lovely cover of The Beatles/George Harrison classic "If I Needed Someone."

I honestly had never heard this until yesterday, when friend of PowerPop Capt. Al played it on his intertube radio show.

I should add that George was obviously a huge Byrds fan (the riff on this is pretty much a lift from "Bells of Rhymney") and there's a wonderful, if perhaps apocryphal, story about George and Roger that seems relevant.

The short version is that after The Byrds' "Turn Turn Turn" came out, and was not as big a hit in the UK as it was elsewhere, George apparently sent Roger a note that said "I feel sorry for anybody who didn't buy it."

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Your Tuesday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 1965, please enjoy The Lovin' Spoonful, featuring extremely stylish drummer Joe Butler, doing a cover of The Beatles' "Help" backed by somebody's orchestra.

For you younger readers, this was originally aired on a weekly network TV rock-themed show called Hullabaloo.

And this is how, in the immortal words of David Letterman, your parents and grandparents enjoyed the rock-and-roll music back in the day.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Your Friday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 2002, and the Conan O'Brien show, please enjoy the astoundingly brilliant Mike Viola -- doing business with his band The Candy Butchers -- and a live version of his transplendently gorgeous "You Belong to Me Now."

I've been a fan of this guy since forever, by which I mean when he sang the title song for Tom Hanks' That Thing You Do, but this song is a total work of genius. And the fact that the sound of this thing is a live power trio blows my tiny mind.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

[h/t Frank Burrows]

Thursday, March 15, 2018

That's Mighty Fine Sitar Playing, Mahatma!

From 2000, please enjoy Belle and Sebastian and their amusingly retro "Legal Man."

I gotta tell you, B&S are a band that I have generally found to be insufferably twee. But I heard this one on Pandora or whatever at my watering hole in the Q-Boro yesterday, and I was shocked to discover that I really liked it.

And BTW -- a coveted PowerPop NoPrize© will be afforded to the first reader who identifies from whence the title of today's post derives.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What -- Nobody Wants Me to Tell That Sarah Silverman Joke?

From 1966, please enjoy The Robbs (of Where the Action Is Fame)...

...and their sprightly regional (mid-west) hit "Bittersweet."

That was written by the same P.F. Sloan-Steve Barri songwriting team that came up with the early great Grassroots hits, and while I'll concede it's not as good as the Hoodoo Gurus song of the same name we discussed yesterday, it's still pretty darn cute.

And a tip of the Hatlo Hat to reader anonymous, without whom I would have been unaware of its existence and my life thus poorer for it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Somebody Stop Me Before I Tell That Sarah Silverman Joke Again!

And speaking as we were on Friday about great songs with one word titles, I'd forgotten how much I liked this 1985 classic by The Hoodoo Gurus.

I bring this up partly because, thanks to one of our regular commenters, I just heard this 1986 (outtake) cover of the song by The Flamin' Groovies.

I should add that I find it characteristically weak-kneed, like most of the Groovies' well-intentioned studio covers. And I say that as somebody who saw them live on the 1979 Jumpin' in the Night tour when they were doing a relatively convincing version of The Byrds' "Lady Friend."

[h/t/ Mark (from Brooklyn)]

Monday, March 12, 2018

Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye Bay, Putz

Dunno if you watched Saturday Night Live last weekend, but if you did you couldn't help but notice that the show is working on an uninterrupted two year streak of musical guests (with the noticeable exception of Foo Fighters) who have no redeeming virtues whatsoever.

The most recent miscreant: James Bay.

In the immortal words of Leonard Pinth-Garnell -- "thoroughly bad."

Seriously, it's like watching Laurence Harvey fronting the world's lamest rock band.

I should add that I had never heard (or heard of) Bay before Saturday, so I looked him up and learned that he had recently done a cover of Tom Petty's great "Kings Highway" on the soundtrack to Cars 3. And I figured, well, you couldn't possibly do a bad version of that song, so maybe I should listen to it and cut him some slack.

Well, it turns out that yeah -- you CAN do a bad version of that song.

Jeebus, but that kid sucks. And he isn't even the worst one SNL's had on in memory.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Weekend Listomania: Special Brevity is the Soul of Wit Edition

This one originally ran in 2009 (and then got updated in 2015) which for some reason now lost in the mists of time were the high points of my I Hate Smashing Pumpkins period.

But it turns out that this week is the NEW high point of my Smashing Pumpkins hate jones.

So I've rewritten it -- added some songs and changed the blurbs for some others, to avoid seeming like the slacker I obviously am.

And why, you ask?

From The Guardian (click on the graphic to be able to read it):

Alex Jones? Really, Bill?

Yeah, well, fuck you, you fat baldheaded crypto-fascist libertarian piece of shit for brains.

But in the meantime, please enjoy, if at all possible, and without further ado, the Listomania topic for this weekend:

Best or Worst Post-Beatles Song or Record With a One Word or One Number Title!!!

Self-explanatory, I think, but I should add that any one word title comprised of the names of men and women or those of geographical places is disqualified. So, fuck you, CSNY and "Ohio." Blow me, Sue Thompson and "Norman."

Okay, with that out of the way here's my totally top of my head Top Thirteen:

13. Steppenwolf -- 28

From their second album, which by the way is one of the great overlooked masterpieces of its era.

12. Collective Soul -- Gel

A great kick-ass rock song featuring a lead singer who I always found charmingly unhinged. Plus, let's face it, "Let's gel" is possibly the most imaginative sexual euphemism since the young John and Paul wrote "Thinking of Linking."

11. Madonna -- Cherish

Not the crappiest or most reprehensible Madonna single -- that would be most of the others -- but I for one have never forgiven it for sullying the good reputation of the 60s hit of the same name by The Association.

10. Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs -- Stay

I actually prefer the completely over the top cover by the Four Seasons, but everybody is probably sick to death of my carrying on about those guys. In any case, the original is one of the sublime glories of early rock, and at a terse 1:39 an obvious candidate for All Time Best Single Under Two Minutes Long.

9. The Beatles -- Help!

C'mon -- according to George Martin, they learned the title of the movie was going to be Help! on Monday, they wrote the song on Tuesday, and they had figured out the entire arrangement and recorded it by the end of Wednesday. It doesn't get any more brilliant.

8. The Rolling Stones -- Think

The Aftermath song The Stones had previously given to Chris Farlowe, who had the hit. One of the best of the early Jagger-Richards collaborations, I think, and the riffage between the acoustic guitar and the fuzz electric is inspired and haunting.

7. Smashing Pumpkins -- Disarm

A very good song, but for obvious reasons limned above -- fuck them and lead singer Billy Corgan where they breathe.

6. Fleetwood Mac -- Tusk

The original of this is Lindsay Buckingham at his most wacky and wonderful, but I still think this MST3K sort-of version... the best one evah.

5. The Loud Family -- Aerodeliria

My favorite song from perhaps my favorite album of the 90s, and only one of the reasons PABARAT was the only genuinely psychedelic experience legally available in that decade. And if you've ever heard the EP they did right after, you know these bastards could nail the damn thing live.

4. The Moody Blues -- Stop

The follow-up to "Go Now," and in some ways even more sad and beautiful; Denny Laine really is one of the most underrated figures of the British Invasion.

3. Jefferson Airplane -- Today

Great song, great album. Too bad the stereo version sounds like it was recorded in an echoey airplane hangar.

2. Foo Fighters -- Everlong

From an article in MOJO:

November 2007: The Foo Fighters are in Canada, supporting Bob Dylan on the latter's Modern Times tour. [Head Foo and former Nirvana drummer] Dave Grohl is in his dressing room when he gets a message that Mr. Dylan wants to see him.

"So I walk out," says Grohl, "and he's standing like a silhouette in a dark corner -- black leather boots, black leather pants, black leather jacket. He said 'What's that song you got, the one that says "The only thing I ever ask of you is you gotta promise not to stop when I say when"?' I said, oh yeah, 'Everlong.' He said, 'Man, that's a great song, I should learn that song."

Grohl laughs loudly. "So I don't give a fuck what anybody else thinks. Bob Dylan likes one of my songs. That right there is enough for me."

And the all-time coolest one word song, it's so obvious why are we even discussing this, is --

1. Soupy Sales -- Pachalafaka

Pachalafaka, pachalafaka
They whisper it all over Turkey
Pachalafaka, pachalafaka
It sounds so romantic and perky
Oh, I know that phrase
Will make me thrill always
For it reminds me of you, my sweet
Just the mention of
That tender word of love
Gives my heart a jerkish, Turkish beat

I won't say c'est si bon
Or l'amour toujours
For they can't express what I'm feeling
Even mairzydoats or
Other foreign quotes
Don't seem to be quite so appealing
But pachalafaka! pachalafaka!
Takes me back with you to passionate desert scenes
And it's there we'll stay
Till the very day
We find out what pachalafaka means!

That, my friends, is true poetry.

Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!