Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Where the Poultry Hits the Road

Without question, the greatest use of a found Roy Orbison song since David Lynch had Dean Stockwell lip-synch "In Dreams" in Blue Velvet.

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- the copywriters at the ad agency that do the Geico ads have the best job in the world.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Give the Drummer Some!

The good news: Percussionist extraordinaire Glen "Bob" Allen -- my friend, collaborator (in the Floor Models and much more) and musical director for over three decades ---

--- and who currently does backbeat duties for The French Cookin' Blues Band, was recently inducted, along with the rest of said group, into the New York City Blues Hall of Fame.

Here's a song TFCBB did at the induction ceremony.

The bad news: While attempting to cross the street on the way to his day job last week, two shitheads in a van ran into Glen, knocking him down and fracturing his right wrist in three separate places. Glen won't be able to play for a while, probably not until after some major corrective surgery, and at the moment he's in serious pain and more than a little irked.

Please send some good thoughts his way, and let's hope that he can return to pounding those pagan skins ASAP.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Eye Am the Cosmos

So I just got back from my cataract surgeon yesterday.

Immediately post-the procedure last Saturday my right peeper was 20/40.

As of Thursday, it was 20/30.

In another couple of weeks perhaps...

That song is one of the great rockers of the 90s, BTW; why that band isn't a household word (beyond the ocular reference, of course) is beyond me.

In any case, normal non-medical posting resumes next week. To your relief, no doubt.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Eyes Have It. And They Can Keep It (Just Kidding)

You know, these guys may have been the most blatant early Who rip-off of all time, but the above is a really good single, and they had several more equally as good.

In any case, off to my eye surgeon this afternoon for a follow-up progress report on my right peeper. Hopefully, I'll be posting something other than ironic medical items after the weekend.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Through a (Pair of Reading) Glass(es) Darkly

Well, maybe the night has a thousand eyes, but I only have two, and one of them isn't working so hot at the moment.

That said, the above video may be the damndest thing I've ever seen anyway.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I Can See For Miles. Not.

Still recovering from last week's cataract surgery, so any postings more complicated than this are pretty much out of the question until next week (knock wood).

In any case, bad vision-related stuff will contine through Friday.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Oh Blinding Light...Oh Light That Blinds...I Cannot See...Look Out For Me!

Just got back from cataract surgery and I'm feeling a bit like this guy.

Which is to say that things like closeup reading and writing are proving problematic at the moment.

Regular posting resumes as soon as the swelling goes down.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits: Special Brevity is the Soul of Wit Edition)

[This one originally ran in 2009, which for some reason now lost in the mists of time was the high point of my I Hate Smashing Pumpkins period. In any case, I've done a little rewriting, added a new entry, and most important changed some of the permissible parameters, if you will pardon the alliteration. Please enjoy, if at all possible.

Oh, and I'll have something to say about the sad news regarding the Left Banke's Michael Brown on Monday. --S.S.]

Best or Worst Post-Elvis Song or Record With a One Word 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 Ten:

10. 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."

9. 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 60s hit of the same name by The Association.

8. 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.

7. 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.

6. 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.

5. Smashing Pumpkins -- Disarm

Still not a fan of this band, and Billy Corgan remains one of the most pompous putzes in the popular music field, but this is really good nonetheless. The Pumpkins waxing anthemically White Album-ish, and quite convincingly too, I think.

4. 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 is the best one evah.

3. 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.

2. 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.

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?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Closed for Monkey Business

Going to be dealing with doctors for the next several days (nothing life threatening, just annoying) so I probably won't be able to post till Monday. (Although I'm gonna try to get a Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits up for Friday. No promises, however.)

And may I just say, and for the record, that this getting old shit really sucks.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Great American Work of Art Has Just Turned 50

Specifically, The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson's first album masterpiece; The Beach Boys Today.

Originally released on March 8, 1965.

I've nattered on about this album -- the band's Rubber Soul, IMHO -- on numerous prior occasions in the several centuries I've been posting at this here blog, so I won't bore you with any lengthy exegesis at this juncture.

That said, however, those that know me best are aware that finding true stereo versions of the songs from Today -- the official release of which has always been in mono, for well known reasons -- has been something of a Holy Grail for me. And that a few years ago, after haunting various illegal download sites, I was able to actually construct a complete true stereo edition. (Some of the tracks were from official Beach Boys compilations; others were from early or not quite finished mix versions leaked online for hardcore fans. And no, I didn't bother to find a stereo version of "Bull Session With the Big Daddy." I may be obsessive, but I'm not nuts).

In any case, because I love you all more than food, here are genuine stereo versions of two of the most exquisite (if not the most celebrated) songs on the album, both of which provide ample proof of Brian's early songwriting prowess and studio mastery.

"Kiss Me Baby."

"Please Let Me Wonder."

Words, as I am often wont to say, fail me about the sheer gorgeousness of those two. Suffice it to add that anybody who listens to them and doesn't grok that Brian is my generation's Gershwin really needs to have it looked at.

Monday, March 16, 2015

How Come They Never Have Problems Like This on STAR TREK?

DivShare has been undergoing server repairs for the last several days, so the post I'd planned for today -- which [hint hint] involves the 50th anniversary of a great work of American art -- proved impossible to get together for technological reasons.

However, as of just now, apparently they've fixed whatever was wrong, so regular posting will resume on Tuesday. Thank you in advance for your patience.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits: Special Tolstoy, You Ignorant Slut! Edition

[I first posted this one back in 2008, which is so long ago it might as well have been the Pleistocene Era. But alas, its theme remains disturbingly relevant in an age when supposedly sane members of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body are creaming their jeans in anticipation of our launching yet another full scale conflict in the Middle East. In any case, I've done some re-writing, as well as adding a new entry. Semper fi, bitches!-- S.S.]


Totally arbitrary rule: The word "battle" is allowed, but songs that merely refer to fighting are not.

Okay, that said, here's my totally top of my head Top Six:

6. Bomb Iran -- Vince Vance and the Valiants

This reprehensible piece of shit actually sort of violates my arbitrary rule above, but it's such an artifact of evil I'd be remiss if I didn't include it. I should add that it was given a new lease on life by Sen. John McCain [R-embarrassing old man], just one of many reasons to hate that asshole, and that in a hideous historical irony, the guy who composed the song on which this parody is based was actually himself of Iranian lineage.

5. (What's So Funny) 'Bout Peace Love and Understanding? -- Stephen Colbert and Friends

Sorry I couldn't find the actual video for this, which I believe is now the definitive version (the friends are Elvis Costello, Toby Keith(!), Feist, Jon Legend and Willie Nelson). I must say, though, the idea that a wiseguy cynic like Nick Lowe actually wrote what has become the most beloved anti-war song of our time is a bit of a mind-blower.

4. Let's Have a War -- Fear

"It could start in New Jersey!" The great Lee Ving on vocals, obviously. If memory serves, this is the song Fear were singing on SNL when some punks in the audience rioted. John Belushi loved it.

3. Banks of the Nile -- Fotheringay

The British Army in Egypt, and absolutely heartbreaking, via the great Sandy Denny.

"Oh cursed be these cruel wars, that ever they began
For they have robbed our country of many's the handsome man
They've robbed of us of our sweethearts while their bodies they feed the lions
On the dry and sandy deserts which are the banks of the Nile."

2. Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace -- Christopher Milk

The often covered Terry Reid classic. The original is still the greatest, but this version by unjustly under-appreciated early 70s LA glam band Christopher Milk -- two of whose members, I am proud to say, are Facebook buds of mine -- is very nearly as good. Unfortunately, I can't post the audio at the moment, because Divshare has been down since yesterday -- as soon as they get their act together, I'll be back here to insert the link.

And the number one song about the yin and yang of man's fate, it's self-evidently obvious and if you give me any grief about it I will come to your house with a regiment of mounted cavalry and obliterate you, is...

1. Peace Like a River -- Paul Simon

From his first solo album (still his masterpiece, I think) and one of his most ineffably lovely songs ever. Some smart alt-pop band with a Rickenbacker twelve-string and a winsome-voiced lead singer would be well advised to cover this some time.

Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Closed for Monkey Business

Real life mishegass proved to be too much for me today.

Regular, serenely untrammeled, posting resumes tomorrow. And yes, that means the return of Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Present Day Power Popster Refuses to Die

From 1994, and his genuine classic CD Set to Pop, please enjoy genuine power pop genius Bill Lloyd and the aptly titled "I Went Electric."

Have I mentioned that Marshall Crenshaw is playing acoustic 12-string on that?

Lloyd is one of the great unsung heroes of contemporary rock. I was lucky enough to meet him briefly in the late 80s, when he was enjoying considerable commercial success as part of the mainstream country duo Foster and Lloyd (a band I was in opened for them at the Bottom Line), and it was quite apparent at the time that there was a power pop guy fighting to get out.

Here he is discussing his career on a recent webcast; it's quite illuminating and a lot of fun.

I should add that if you don't already have Set to Pop you need to snag a copy immediately (you can still find copies over at Amazon). I should also add that Lloyd has apparently remade the album from stem to stern; I haven't yet heard it, but as soon as I do I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Gonna be on my old chum/friend of PowerPop Capt. Al's intertube radio show Lost at Sea today over at fabulous AREA 24 RADIO.

Swear to Jeebus. No fooling around. Honestly for real.

Just click on the link HERE between 5-7pm east coast time to listen.

Apart from the usual amusing banter, I'll be guest-deejaying selections from my legendary mixtape anthology Great Lost Singles of the Eighties, Nineties and 'Aughts.

Join us, please -- in the immortal woreds of Edith Prickley, it could be a hot one!

Incidentally, we'll be taking threats and requests via e-mail during the show; I'll be giving out the address throughout, so please feel free to contact us; Al and I get lonely at the studio.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Britney Spears is Writing Her Great Prison Novel of Eternal Suffering and Torment -- Profusely Illustrated -- Entitled "Leather Thighs"

I love the sound of squeaky latex in the morning.

Words, as they so often do these days, fail me.

Although a coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded the first reader who identifies the source of today's title.

Friday, March 06, 2015

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” -- Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

This is how mine is.

Assuming my 95 year old mother [right] doesn't blow up the house, regular and more jocular posting resumes on Monday.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Well, Waddya Knows -- NPR Actually is Good For Something

Like watching middle school kids in Louisville, Kentucky playing a killer Led Zeppelin medley -- on xylophones.

I don't know why I find this so irresistibly amusing, but I do.

[h/t Kerrin L. Griffih]

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

The Offending Instrument

I've gotten some very nice compliments on my playing on that "new" Floor Models song I posted on Monday -- for which many thanks -- and a couple of people have asked what kind of bass I was using on the session.

Well, here it is.

It's a Fender Modern Player Jaguar bass; the company markets them as a low-end first instrument for beginners, but for my money -- approximately 350 bucks -- it's as solid and terrific sounding as any bass I've ever used; the intonation, straight out of the box, was perfect. Plus it also just looks so cool (the design is based on a six-string model Fender made in the '60s that was much beloved of surf guitarists). It was recommended to me by a Facebook pal who works at Sam Ash Music on Long Island, and I'm eternally grateful to him (thanks Bob!)

I should add that although it does not have an abnormally long neck, I find it somewhat difficult to reach the tuning peg at the very top; this puzzled me, until last month, when I went for a checkup with my doctor for the first time in twenty years. Turns out that I have literally shrunk two and a half inches in the interim.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Who Listens to the Radio?

Today's guest deejay appearance cancelled due to bad weather.

Next week for sure!

Programming Notes From All Over

Gonna be on my old chum/friend of PowerPop Capt. Al's intertube radio show Lost at Sea today over at fabulous AREA 24 RADIO.

Just click on the link HERE between 5-7pm east coast time to listen.

Apart from the usual amusing banter, I'll be guest-deejaying selections from my legendary mixtape anthology Great Lost Singles of the Eighties, Nineties and 'Aughts.

Join us, please -- in the immortal woreds of Edith Prickley, it could be a hot one!

Incidentally, we'll be taking threats and requests via e-mail during the show; I'll be giving out the address throughout, so please feel free to contact us; Al and I get lonely at the studio.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Monday's Moment of Shameless Self-Promotion

Well, ahem.

As you may have heard, I have decided that since the masses are clamoring for The Floor Models, I am going to compile an EP of previously unreleased vault material (stuff which didn't make the cut for Floor Your Love, our fabulous CD on ZERO HOUR RECORDS) for release on our own P.O.J. label.

The disc will be titled Letter From Liverpool, after the gorgeous tune principal Flo Mos songwriters Gerry Devine and Andy Pasternack started working on back in the day, and which Gerry finished shortly before Andy passed away in 2013; it's about us, obviously, and it never fails to get me all misty.

The original plan was to include Gerry's demo version -- just acoustic guitar and vocal -- which he recorded at home (with surprisingly pro results). But then we thought -- hey, if The Beatles could take an old phone message John Lennon left on Jeff Lynne's answering machine and overdub it as a way to hype Beatles Anthology, then we owed OUR fans at least as much.

So, at great personal expense to me, some bass player whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels and ace Flo Mos drummer Glen "Bob" Allen, went into an actual studio last week to add bass and drums to Gerry's demo.

Here's the newly dubbed backing track, 99 percent finished (we may tweak a second or two of the rhythm section in the first verse).

I think it sounds fantastic; our pal Doug Goldberg, who took over on guitar after Andy's departure from the band (late 80s), is scheduled to add Andy-style Rickenbacker 12-string stuff to the track some time in the next couple of weeks, and then voila! -- the first "new" Flo Mos recording in three decades.

And yes, this will be our equivalent of "Free as a Bird." Only less low-fi and without production by the aforementioned Jeff Lynne.

I'll keep you posted on the progress of both the song and EP, which I hope to have out before summer.

P.S.: You can hear the original solo demo over HERE; just scroll down once you get to the link.