Friday, May 31, 2013

How I Know Brian Wilson is God (Part the Infinity)

Well, for starters, he wrote a fricking great song with my girlfriend's name as the title.

Also -- the new version, from the Beach Boys' 50th anniversary tour live album.... pretty damn great too.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Compare and Contrast: Special You Can't Copyright a Title Edition

From 1965, please enjoy (once again) Southern California garage punks The Lyrics and "So What!," their most blues-wailing ode to who gives a fuck.

And from 1981, who cares if you enjoy The Anti-Nowhere League and "So What!,: their completely different and defiantly foul-mouthed ode to who REALLY gives a fuck.

I really love both of these, if truth be told, and it is perhaps worth noting that the ANL "So What" was originally the B-side to the loudest, fastest cover of folkie Ralph McTell's "Streets of London" ever heard by sentient mammalian ears.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Friend Writes...

..."Can J. Richman and Elvis Costello be spliced? I think this guy has done it."

I think so too, so please enjoy -- from 2012 -- irrepressible New York City-based power pop guy Eytan Mirsky and the poignantly optimistic "This Year's Gonna Be Our Year."

Not as good as the Zombies tune with a similar title and sentiment, but still -- absolutely adorable, I think.

[h/t Andy "Folk Rock" Pasternack]

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Present Day Sixties Relic Refuses to Die (An Occasional Series)

From (approximately) 2006, please enjoy Waddy Wachtel and Friends -- with special guest frontman Keith Allison -- stomping their way, authoritatively, through Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up."

Yes, Keith Allison. The Texas-born Paul McCartney look-alike who was briefly a teen idol on TV's Where the Action Is, and who later did a stint in Paul Revere and the Raiders.

And who made this absolutely killer single in early 1967.

"Louise" has an interesting provenance, by the way. It was written by Jesse Kincaid, who -- along with Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder -- was a member of The Rising Sons, perhaps the great lost American rock band of the mid-60s. And the backing track to Allison's version is identical to the one that appears (with vocal by Mark Lindsay) on the Raider's classic The Spirit of '67 album.

In any case, I had long assumed that Allison ended his career toiling in country music, like so many of his contemporaries, so what a delightful surprise to see that he remained a rocker at heart.

Seriously -- we should all kick such major ass thirty or forty years down the line.

Monday, May 27, 2013


And proving yet again that YouTube is the greatest thing since the Library at Alexandria, from 1966 please enjoy a television interview -- whose existence was heretofore not even suspected by yours truly -- with the late great Zal Yanovsky, then of the Lovin Spoonful.

This dates from the heyday of the band's pop stardom, some months before the drug bust unpleasantness that essentially ended their career (at least as far as the hippies were concerned). In any case, I had never heard Zally speak before, so it's nice to know that apart from looking every inch the rock star as he does here, he was also as endearing and funny as he's been advertized.

And because I love all of you more than food, from 1968, here's Zally's wonderful cover of Floyd Cramer's piano instrumental "Last Date," which is as nice an example of Zally's country-inflected guitar style as you're ever gonna hear.

From his sole (alas) solo album, of course, which remains one of the great one-off masterpieces of 60s rock.

You're welcome.

Oh, and speaking of memorable 60s supporting players, you're not gonna believe who I'm gonna post -- in a live clip, stomping his way through an Elvis Costello song -- on the morrow.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Picture, 1000 Words, Etc.

Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, backstage at a Dylan concert (at Rutgers University, if memory serves) in 1965.

I hadn't seen that one till the other day, and it's still inducing a serious "oh wow" in me.

In any case, if both those guys aren't speeding their fricking brains out, than I'm Marie of Rumania.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Okay, This is Getting Ridiculous Already

Terry Reid and friends from 2006, with the Four Seasons' "Rag Doll.

Okay, we won't bring up the whole "Are the Four Seasons power pop?" question again -- long time readers are aware where I come down on that one, and in any case this performance should settle it for as long as the corridors of time continue to echo.

But sweet Jeebus, is there any song that Reid can't make sound even better than it already is?

Also: Waddy Wachtel is God. Just thought I'd say it again.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

If It's Thursday, It Must Be One of Steve's Crackpot Theories!!!

Food for thought: The greatest short -- under five minutes -- piece of orchestral music written in the second half of the 20th Century is either Albert Glasser's theme for The Cisco Kid...

...or Fred Steiner's theme for Perry Mason (originally titled "Park Avenue Beat").


And yes, I've probably done this before, but it behooves repeating at regular intervals.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday Moment of Words Fail Me

Okay, I've done whole weeks here about the astounding Terry Reid, but here he is wailing my favorite of his songs -- "Without Expression" -- in 1973.

Don't know how I missed this clip, but better late than never, obviously.

Have I mentioned that Reid turned down Robert Plant's gig in Led Zeppelin, thus altering history in unfathomable ways?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday Consolation Track

Okay, nobody guessed that it was Warren Zevon and Bones Howe performing yesterday's mystery song, so no coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded.

However, since I'm a nice guy and because I love all of you, here's a very nice outtake version -- from the sessions for his eponymous debut album on Elektra -- of "Poor Poor Pitiful Me."

Perhaps my favorite Zevon song of them all, if truth be told.

You know, I really wish Waddy Wachtel would wear a buttoned shirt on-stage, but in the studio I guess it doesn't matter. In any case -- is he great on this or what?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Mystery Song

Okay, if you get this one, you're good.

From 1966, please enjoy the quite remarkable "You Used to Ride So High" by Abilene Motorcycle.

This is an unreleased demo, but as you can hear, it's a pretty amazing mashup of Mamas and Papas harmonies, a Buffalo Springfield-ish band track and the "dit-dit-dit-dits" from "Friday on My Mind."

The performers -- and there are two of them -- both went on to become quite famous a few years later, one as a producer and the other as a celebrated singer-songwriter.

I think it's great, and could have been a hit, although I will admit that the guitar solos -- which seem to have been played by Jerry Lewis --

--are kind of heinous.

In any case, if you already know who did it, please don't give it away in the comments.

Because I'm a nice guy, you can find a photographic clue to their identity here; if you think it makes it blindingly obvious (and I don't think it does) please don't give it away in comments either.

I should add that I had no idea myself of the existence of this until last week, when it rather blew my miniscule mind.

And of course, a coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded the first reader who correctly guesses the artistes.

[h/t Seth Gordon]

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Heavy Metal Came Down From the Mississippi Delta (An Occasional Series)

Attentive readers with long memories may recall my paean to local rap-metal guys King Hell, who I first encountered and wrote about in these precincts back in September of 2010. A sort of unholy schtup between Judas Priest and Parliament/Funkadelic, they were so theatrical, funny and musical when I chanced upon them at a Battle of the Bands back then that I became an instant fan, despite the fact that the genre they were mining was not by and large my cuppa tea.

Anyway, to my chagrin they broke up soon after, but in the interim since I have become chums with their charming co-lead singer Sam Walters, who is now fronting a slightly more straight ahead outfit called Driven Mad, and it gives me great pleasure to post some new music by them.

So -- please enjoy the aforementioned Driven Mad and the appropriately monikered salute to their raison d'etre that is "Mania."

A song, I would venture to say, that makes the most effective use of the word "motherfucker" I've heard in a long long time.

An amusing postscript: Sam is, as you can hear, pretty much of a 100 percent metalhead, but we were discussing music a few weeks ago (I took him to see John Cale doing Paris 1919 live at BAM, which was great fun, and only partly because I'm old enough to be his granddad, which I find hilarious) and he let it drop that he was hugely a fan of -- and hoped someday to be able to perform the music of -- this guy.

You could have knocked me over with a feather frankly, but I have no doubt he could do Mr. Brown justice. And one of these days I hope to hear him do that very thing.

In the meantime, you can still get King Hell's Rhythm and Bruise album over here at Amazon, and definitely should, if only to hear them doing to Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" what should always have been done to it.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

And This Just In -- World's Oldest Mid-Life Crisis Detected!!!!

Okay, I've decided what my creative project for 2014 is.

I'm gonna make a music video -- featuring me, Steve Simels, as Groucho Marx -- doing this song.

Seriously -- this may be the greatest thing ever written.

One night in Bixby, Mississippi,
We watched the clouds roll by.
I said "My dear, how are you?"
And she whispered "So am I"

And obviously I've got some Groucho drag in my past.

Hey -- this is precisely the kind of thing you're supposed to do in retirement. Or senility.

Okay, I'm just kidding; obviously I'm not going to do this. It's fun to fantasize about, though.

And I should add that the Groucho bootleg pictured above is available for download on the web (somewhere -- I forget where I got it) and you should try to find it. Seriously, it's one of the most entertaining compilations (by anybody) you'll ever hear.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday Moment of Self-Indulgence (An Occasional Series): Special Beyond the Valley of the Canyons of Your Mind Edition

Here's a Floor Models outtake I almost played on last night's radio show [Theme: "Does Humor Belong in Music? And Fuck You Frank Zappa Regardless] which turned out to be a lot of fun, BTW.

The song is "Fade Into Grey," a different version of which appears on our album. This version was recorded semi-live at WBAI-FM circa 1983; ace 12-string player Andy Pasternack edited out a dramatic, sort of Police-like middle section that worked better on stage and replaced it with sitar samples from The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows," thus giving the tune a delightfully cheesy faux psychedelic feel.

I think it's hilarious, but on balance it was probably a wise decision on my part to play a track by Spike Jones on the show in its place.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday Programming Note

For those of you with nothing to fill the gnawing void at the center of your hollow lives, I will be guesting on my old chum Allan Rosenberg's intertube radio show Lost at Sea today.

Between 5-7pm.

The streaming audio can be accessed at the link above, 'natch.

Incidentally, the theme of today's program is "Does Humor Belong in Music?", which is ironic in that I mostly detest Frank Zappa, do not think he's funny, and will not be playing any of his recordings.

Two hours of hilarity will ensue, however. Trust me.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Great Faces for Radio!!!

A Floor Models fan in Spain -- and I can't believe I just used, without irony, the phrase "a Floor Models fan in Spain" -- made this video for one of the songs from Floor Your Love and passed it along to me last Friday. I had not previously suspected this was in the works, BTW, so you can imagine how astounded I was when it arrived.

Words more or less fail me, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the fan in question has something to do with the estimable Spanish language website Power Pop Action!, which seems to be a spiritual brethren of ours.

In any case, I am utterly blown away over this. Wow.

Oh, and muchos gracias, mi amigo.

[h/t Iron]

Friday, May 10, 2013

Girls! Girls! Girls! (An Occasional Series): Why Didn't I Get the Memo?

And speaking as we were earlier this week of the fetching Ellen Foley, from her 1979 debut elpee -- produced, quite wonderfully, by Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson -- please enjoy her absolutely fab cover of Timi Yuro's "What's a Matter Baby."

I don't know how I missed this album back in the day, but I gotta tell you, having now finally listened to the thing, I fully concur with the commenters here on Tuesday -- it's a keeper for sure.

That said, I can't imagine Foley was any less nonplussed by the video below...

...than, frankly, I was.

Seriously, whoever those people are, I'd be interested in a detailed accounting of what controlled substances they were on.

[h/t LG]

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Quick, Henry -- the Flit!!!

From their latest EP, Hipster Apocalypse, please enjoy Louisville, KY-based indie power popsters The Uncommon Houseflies and their suspiciously familiar sounding ode to the great ennui, "Nothing New."

Obviously, this is a little more cynical than the similarly themed "It's All Been Done," by the Barenaked Ladies, but I for one not only appreciate the sentiment but also the fact that they were able to flog the conceit for over three minutes without boring me.

I should also add that they had me with the line "Repetition is the death of art."

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Girls! Girls! Girls! (An Occasional Series)

From the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1979, please enjoy Ellen Foley and her authoritative cover of The Rolling Stones' puckish satire of contemporary mores "Stupid Girl."

The studio version of this was produced by Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson, BTW.

I gotta say that, having never been a fan of anything remotely connected with the gentleman the New York Times refers to as "Mr. Loaf," I never paid particular attention to Foley except for when she was on TV's Night Court. But I also gotta say that this is freaking great.

[h/t LG]

Monday, May 06, 2013

À la Recherche du Phil Seymour Perdu

And speaking, as we were last week, of the (sadly) late Phil Seymour, a faithful reader reminded me of two other gems from his solo career.

So, from Phil's 1980 eponymous debut elpee, please enjoy the wonderfully kinetic "I Found a Love"...

...and the ineffably poignant "Precious to Me"

Both of those have guitars and riffs to die for, of course.

I should also add that the Deco film noir-ish office complex in the video is the fabulously spooky Bradbury Building in downtown Los Angeles, which has been featured in countless movies and TV shows over the years.

And which is now number one on my list of places I have to visit before I die.

[h/t FD13NYC]

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Doctor, You've Gotta Be Kidding!

Well, this whole strange two year journey of Floor Your Love: The Album has just gotten a little stranger.

Which is to say that -- unlikely as it may seem -- a guy at an Australian power pop label somehow heard about the album and has...

...wait for it...

...decided to release the thing for real.

The label is called Zero Hour and they do good work. Like this just released tribute album for The Records...

This tribute gathers a host of bands/artists from around the world to pay tribute to one of the finest power pop bands. Featuring: Bill Lloyd, Off Broadway, Dan Sarka & The Sometimes Why, Donovans Brain (Bobby Sutliff/Dennis Tek), Steven Deal, The Accent, The Split Squad, Lannie Flowers, Zombie Western Baby, Mike Dees, The Injured Parties, The Mold Monkies, The Bottle Kids, Vex and The Vextones, Words, The World Record, The Popdogs, Undecided By Default, The Cheeks and The Broken Rekkids. Original members John Wicks and Will Birch have given it their blessings. it seems like a good fit for us. I mean Bill Lloyd? Wow.

In any case, we're currently hashing out the details -- the packaging is going to change a little, obviously -- and I'll keep you posted on further news as it develops.

Meanwhile -- somebody pinch me, because I still can't believe this.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Friday Moment of I Have Nothing Together Till Monday (An Occasional Series)

That said, it's a great cartoon.

By the guy who did the classic Nat Lamp frogs legs one, BTW.

[h/t Watertiger]

Thursday, May 02, 2013

A Thursday Moment of Shameless Self-Indulgence (An Occasional Series): Part Deux

Okay, as I mentioned earlier last month, my old garage band geezer rock chums The Weasels have been home recording again, despite countless entreaties to cease and desist by friends and loved ones who feel they've suffered enough for our art.

In any case, here's "None of Your Business," the concluding track on our most recent so-called "album."

Lead vocals, guitar solo and organ are by the song's composer Glenn Leeds; the bass is by the redoubtable Allan Weissman, and the harmony vocals are by Al and friend of PowerPop (Jai Guru) Dave Hawxwell, who also contributes the chiming guitar and harmonics on the coda. I'm not doing much except for the echoey "If Not For You" licks on the choruses, but on the other hand, my guitar is the last thing you hear at the song's conclusion.

In all seriousness, I think this is gorgeous. At the very least, it's so good I can hardly believe it's us.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

She Could Have Had Me If She'd Played Her Cards Right (An Occasional Series)

Yeah, yeah, I know this has absolutely nothing to do with the mission statement of this here blog, but cut me some slack, jack.

And so, from 1961, and an episode of the television series The Roaring 20s, please enjoy the incomparable Dorothy Provine and her definitive version of the charmingly risque Jazz Era standard "Don't Bring Lulu."

The Roaring 20s has never been on video to my knowledge, but of all the Warner Bros. shows of its time, it was by far my favorite, and the reason was pretty much down to Provine, who used to do two or three musical numbers each episode. And to describe her and them as adorable and sexy is to do a serious disservice to the words adorable and sexy. She was a proto-rock star as far as I was concerned, and I was thus gratified to discover, yesterday, that Warner Bros. Records released Provine's version of "Lulu" in England back in the day and that it was a Top 10 hit.

Be nice to me and sometime I'll post her version of "Someone to Watch Over Me," from the same episode, which is heartbreakingly poignant.

Why this woman has more or less been forgotten by history is beyond me, I'll tell you that for free.