Friday, July 31, 2015

And You Thought Donald Trump was Creepy

The great Bernard Herrmann's main title for It's Alive.

Not a great movie, but I was thinking about Sharon Farrell earlier this week -- she plays the unfortunate mother of the Davis baby -- and I flashed on it. In any case, I had forgotten that Herrmann had written one of his eeriest scores for it.

I should also add that Alfred Hitchcock, who knew from this stuff, once described Herrmann as "pound for pound the most eccentric person I ever met."

Thursday, July 30, 2015

They're Gonna Put Me in the Movies

Barring some catastrophe, NYMary and I are going to be interviewed on camera next week for what is clearly going to be the greatest film in the history of world cinema.

You can find out more about it at the official website HERE.

Obviously, this is exciting news on a gazillion levels; we'll keep you posted as things shake out.

But in the meantime -- Michael fricking Chabon? I'm not worthy!!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Closed for Monkey Business

It's too damn hot to blog.

Regular posting resumes tomorrow, weather permitting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Your Tuesday Moment of Words Fail Me

From her 1964 album Introducing Mandy -- and the Golden Age of British Hookers 'n' Blow -- please enjoy the irrepressible B-girl who helped bring down a government, Mandy Rice-Davies...

...and her definitive cover of the Allen Toussaint classic "You Got What It Takes."

I have to confess that back in the day, I was sort of obsessed with the fabulous British sex scandal Davies and Christine Keeler participated in, to the extent that I seriously wanted to name the family cat Profumo (fortunately, my parents nixed that one).

In any case, Rice-Davies went on to have interesting second and third acts; she married a rich Israeli, converted to Judaism, moved to Israel and opened a string of restaurants and clubs in Tel Aviv. Later, she wrote a memoir and a novel, and appeared in several movies (including David Bowie's Absolute Beginners) and TV shows (a cameo as herself on Absolutely Fabulous.)

Shortly before her death (in 2014), she described her post-scandal career as "one slow descent into respectability."

UPDATE: "You Got What It Takes" was NOT written by Allen Toussaint. The song's provenance is unclear, but it was probably penned by Marv Johnson, who had the hit record version.

I regret the error.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Cheap Thrills on the Backlot at Universal

From 1969, and an episode of The Name of the Game, please enjoy Robert Stack and Sharon Farrell (as a doomed rock star) in "A Hard Case of the Blues."

You know, for some reason, Farrell's character seems to be based on a famous real person...

...but I've never been able to put my finger on who, exactly.

Seriously, I hadn't seen this episode since it originally aired, but I remember thinking at the time that while the Hollywood hippies on the show were laughably unbelievable -- as they usually were on the tube in those days -- that on the whole the damn thing was extremely well written and genuinely poignant. And that Farrell -- whose chemistry with the usually wooden Stack is palpable -- pretty much captured Joplin's essential sweetness. Certainly, far better than Bette Midler did years later in that The Rose piece of shit.

In any case, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the show mostly held up. And I've said it in semi-jest on countless occasions before, but YouTube really IS the greatest thing since the Library at Alexandria.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Attention, Patrons of the Arts!

If you're in the vicinity of Jersey City -- which is a helluva town, BTW -- this weekend you might want to check out a very interesting group art show featuring splendid new paintings by friend of PowerPop buzzbabyjesus.

The show is at a gallery and exhibition space called The Drawing Rooms (180 Grand Street in the aforementioned Jersey burg) and on Saturday and Sunday it can be viewed from 2-6pm. A certain Shady Dame and I checked it out last week and had a splendid time, including finally getting the chance to meet the auteur himself.

Here's an earlier piece by BBJ -- a self portrait, in fact -- that isn't in the show (his recent work is more abstract and architectural).

You can find out more about the exhibition -- including directions on how to get there -- at the official Drawing Rooms website over HERE. The show can also be witnessed on Thursdays and Fridays from 4-7pm, and it runs till August 16.

Meanwhile, you can find out more about BBJ (including his band The Smoove Sailors) over at his official place HERE.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Life is Short, But Cool is Forever

The great Dion, live circa 1963.

Pretty amazing quality footage, no? In any case, there are times I'm convinced he's the greatest rock singer who ever wore shoe leather.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

À la recherche des Modeles D'etages perdu

Went into the studio last night and 95 percent finished the title track from the forthcoming five-song Floor Models EP.

I'm around the moon over how great this sounds; we've scheduled another session to possibly add some discrete background vocals and tweak the mix, but essentially this is it, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank my once and future bandmates for making work on the track such a pleasant experience. As I've said before, going in I wasn't convinced we could pull this off, but boy....

And I think Andy would have liked it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

You Know, Some Days Life Really IS Worth Living

To wit, the Undead will walk the earth once more.

And perform one of the most magnificent rock albums of all time live, in its entirety.

The official announcement by The Zombies:

USA, this has been a long time coming.

It has been 5 decades since the original Zombies' line-up last toured the States. Our final album together was released in 1968, but we never got a chance to perform it live for our American fans.

Starting on September 30th in Dallas, that is all going to change!!!!

That's right! The Zombies are returning to the USA, and bringing some special friends - the incredible Chris White and Hugh Grundy - to perform "Odessey & Oracle" in it's entirety! The original line-up (minus the sorely-missed Paul Atkinson) will join the current line-up for a very special evening of Zombies music, past and present. Whether you missed us in the 1960's, or just discovered us yesterday, we hope you can join us on this journey today!

Here's a sneak peek at the tour schedule (and we hope to add a couple shows more if we can!). Stay tuned for ticket information - most shows will go on sale this week.

According to their Facebook page, these are the current tour dates.

Sept 30 - Majestic Theatre, Dallas TX
Oct 1 - Paramount Theatre, Austin TX
Oct 3 - Provincetown Town Hall, Provincetown MA
Oct 6 - The Wilbur Theatre, Boston MA
Oct 8 - Lincoln Theatre, Washington DC
Oct 9 - New York Society For Ethical Culture - Concert Hall, New York NY
Oct 10 - Rhode Island Center for Performing Arts - Park Theatre, Cranston RI
Oct 11 - Keswick Theatre, Glenside (Philadelphia) PA
Oct 13 - The Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield CT
Oct 14 - Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall, Munhall (Pittsburgh) PA
Oct 15 - The Kent Stage, Kent (Cleveland) OH
Oct 16 - Star Plaza Theatre, Merrillville (Chicago) IL
Oct 17 - South Milwaukee PAC, South Milwaukee WI
Oct 19 - Paramount Theatre, Denver CO
Oct 21 - Benaroya Hall - S.Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, Seattle WA
Oct 22 - Revolution Hall, Portland OR
Oct 24 - The Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills (Los Angeles) CA
Oct 27 - The Fillmore, San Francisco CA

This is such breaking news that apparently it's not on their official website yet. I'll keep you posted as things develop.

UPDATE: You can order tickets over HERE.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 1966, and the inexplicably obscure Wildest Organ in Town elpee (produced by a pre-fame Sly Stone), please enjoy Billy Preston and "Advice."

And yes, this is a warm-up for Sly's "I Wanna Take You Higher." Most of the rest of the album is cover versions of recent hits, but a few of the tunes are early Sly originals.

In any case, pretty cool stuff.

[h/t Dave™]

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Genius of Brian Wilson (An Occasional Series)

From 1965, and the wonderful Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!!) elpee, please enjoy the Beach Boys and their delightfully Beatles-esque "Girl, Don't Tell Me."

In true stereo.

I somehow missed the 2012 stereo reissues of the first two of the classic Beach Boys' Today/Summer Days/Pet Sounds trilogy, and when I finally snagged them last week, "Girl" was the first song I listened to. It's not particularly different from the familiar mono version, but I'm just insanely fond of the song itself, so this was a treat.

I should add that the Immense Dickitude of Mike Love is nowhere to be found on the track, and neither do any session musicians (unless you count Bruce Johnson on celesta). The rest is an all Wilson brothers collaboration -- bass is by Brian, "Ticket to Ride" guitar and vocals by Carl, and drums by Dennis.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Dave Grohl: Living Saint (An Occasional Series)

Off to see the Foo Fighters in the Q-boro tonight.

Apparently, the frontman is still in a foot cast, so perhaps he'll have a guest of some sort to help him out.

Maybe this guy, if I'm lucky.

That's a terrific song, BTW. And it still kind of boggles my tiny mind that Grohl turned out to be the Bruce Springsteen of his generation, i.e. the keeper of the rock-and-roll flame.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ian Hunter is God

From his 2012 album When I'm President, here's the great Ian Hunter and the title track.

I've been playing this one obsessively now for over a week. Apart from the fact that it's great on every level, I am beginning to think that he's singing even better now then he did back in the day.

Have I mentioned that Ian Hunter is God?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Thoughts on Amy

Okay, pardon me for getting uncharacteristically serious for a moment.

So I saw the Amy Winehouse documentary over the weekend. Short version: It's great, go see it, the music is incredible, blah blah blah.

And yes, it raises all sorts of issues that I frankly don't have the energy to write about at length.

That said -- here's the thing that truly flummoxes me.

On every level, the story Amy is telling is beyond cliche. I mean, from the first frames on screen, it's practically a parody of any Road to Ruin book or film or Behind the Music episode you've ever encountered. Doesn't miss a pathetic trick, from the whole "if only she had been loved" to the "this was a person trying to disappear" voice-over. And the fact that it's all true just makes your jaw drop at the utter predictability of the thing.

That said -- and please don't think I'm being insensitive here -- what makes Amy a little different from most other exemplars of its genre is that Winehouse came of age in a period when everybody's life was being obsessively documented on film or on video. In the case of Winehouse, the filmmakers had access to live footage of her starting practically before she was even Bat Mitzvahed. This is kind of unprecedented when you think of it.

And THAT is why I'm scratching my head. I mean, one of the things -- besides her prodigious talent -- the film makes clear is that yes, Winehouse was genuinely fucked up, but also that she was absolutely whip smart as well.

So how, in Jeebus' name, could she have watched the footage of her life unfolding in front of her video monitor in real time for close to a decade and not thought to herself -- Jeebus fuck, I've seen this stupid, made-for-TV admittedly tragic but ultimately pointless, movie before?

Words, as they often do, fail me.

Meanwhile, here's a performance clip of Winehouse at her peak that didn't make the movie.

God, she was amazing.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me

Mac Sabbath... you know who's "Iron Man" as "Frying Pan."

I suppose it was inevitable. Maybe I should get my lounge/muzak band to cover Lou Reed songs and hit the road as The Velveeta Underground.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Actually, a Pretty Good Country For Old Men

Guitarist and keyboard whiz of the original Youngbloods -- (that's him on the right in the photo) -- Lowell Levinger (aka The Artist Formerly Known as Banana) -- with a gorgeous take on his old band's signature tune.

I have loved this guy since forever, and I would like to go on record as saying that it is a major cultural tragedy that -- to my knowledge -- there is no quality audio of the original four-piece Youngloods live; trust me, I saw 'em in a small club in 1967 and they were as good as it gets.

In any case, I think that video is quite wonderful on a number of levels.

[h/t Peter Spencer]

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Your Thursday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special It's the Charlie Watts Show Edition

The Rolling Stones at the Marquee Club in 1971. "Live With Me."

You know, some days I'm as bored with these guys as everybody else is, but for Jeebus' sake -- this is astounding.

Were they the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world at this point?

Fuck that -- they were the greatest rock 'n' roll band that ever wore shoe leather. Period.

Charlie's drumming alone...I don't even know where to begin. The whole thing sounds like Chuck Berry at his peak jamming with some out of control great punk band you never heard.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Alas, No Rickenbacker Was Available

Honorary Floor Model and ace guitarist J. D. Goldberg in the studio last night, working on the 12-string part for our first "new" song in 30 years.

Doug nailed the part a few takes later (no cameras were running, however) and later in the session we started adding some very cool Pretender-ish electric six-string stuff. When this is finally done, which should be by August, then in the immortal words of Edith Prickley -- could be a hot one!

I should add that the title of this piece is my sad idea of a joke; the Gretch that Doug is playing sounds just fine.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Tales From the Creative Process

Off to the studio to work on the first "new" Floor Models track in 30 years. Regular blogging resumes on the morrow.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 2012, and somewhere in the mystic East, the Pen Friend Club cover The Beach Boys' "Please Let Me Wonder" live in their basement.

I can't find much biographical info on these kids, but apparently they're big in Japan major 60s pop fans...

...and you can buy some of their studio stuff over here.

[h/t Tony Jannelli]

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Closed Just to Be Difficult

Regular, non-pissed off, posting resumes tomorrow, starting with a BRAND SPANKING NEW!!!!! Weekend Listomania (topic suggested by friend of PowerPop Peter Spencer -- thanks, Pete!)

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The Kids Are Alright

The Strypes, live at the BBC in 2012, and their cover of "Route 66."

Best shit I've heard since Eddie and the Hot Rods. If these guys ever turn into songwriters, they're going to rule the fricking world.

Capt. Al played that one -- which I hadn't heard previously -- on last night's intertube radio show. Here's a link to listen to the whole program.

Lotsa laughs and some very cool music, if I do say so myself.