Friday, December 15, 2017

Don't Try This at Home!

From 2017, and their just released eponymous album, please enjoy the pride of New Jersey, AKA Mike Daly and the Planets, and their haunting ode to exactly what it sounds like -- "Kill a Clown (No, Not Really)."



Okay, actually this song has been around for a couple of years, but the album is new, so forgive me.

In any case, you can find out more about these guys -- including where to purchase their CD -- over HERE. Trust me -- this is guitar-driven power pop and general rock-and-roll of a very high order indeed.

Oh, and BTW, Mike --


-- thanks for the t-shirt. I shall wear it proudly.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Pat DiNizio 1955-2017

I heard the news of his passing only a few hours after Wendy and I had decided to get tickets for an upcoming Smithereens show at B. B.B. Kings.

A great musician and one of the nicest guys I ever knew. He and the 'Reens changed my life, literally.




True story: Before his band got signed, Pat was working in some capacity at Folk City in the Village; one of his co-workers was friend of PowerPop Ronnie D'Addario (aka the father of the Lemon Twigs). One day Pat asked Ronnie if he wanted to write a song together, which Ronnie thought was a good idea, and so the two of them repaired to Pat's apartment and they sat around with acoustic guitars throwing out ideas. The following conversation, which I reproduce verbatim, ensued.

PAT: (playing a riff): Holy shit. Did you hear that?

RONNIE: What?

PAT (plays riff again): This.

RONNIE: Uh...what?

PAT (plays riff again): Isn't that great? Wow -- it's almost like "Ticket to Ride."

RONNIE: Uh, Pat...it IS "Ticket to Ride.

Rest in peace, my friend.

UPDATE: Friend of PowerPop Phil Cheese just forwarded me this.

Pat's signature on my guitar from 50 Winters Later Festival, Clear Lake, Iowa 2009. How appropriate that Pat is surrounded by Tommy Allsup, Joe Ely, Graham Nash, and Peter Asher.


Words fail me.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

God Fucking Damn It

Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens has passed away at the age of 62.

I am devastated.

More tomorrow, if I can get it together.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Closed for Monkey Legal Business

Been accused of sexual assault of The Incomparable Eddie© for some reason.

Obviously, it's absurd. And fortunately, my high-priced attorney is on it.


Regular totally innocent posting resumes tomorrow.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Programming Notes From All Over

Courtesy of our pal, ace DJ Wayne Lundqvist Ford, our new Floor Models masterpiece will be airing on a fabulous syndicated radio show.


Next weeks show all ready to blow your ears and mind! First airing out of Toronto, Canada on www.bombshellradio.com. Monday at 3pm GMT, 4pm CET. — with Mikah Wilson, The Lemonaids, The Reigning Monarchs, Vanilla, The Wellingtons, The Stems, * Wide Hips 69 *, Dany Laj and The Looks, The Smart Folk, Teenage Fanclub, The Floor Models, The Britemores, The Reaction, The Why oh why's, The Hum Hums, Doojip, Tommy Keene, Gift Horse, Lyres and Stupidity.

That's 3pm East Coast time, by the way. At www.bombshellradio.com.

If you miss it, the show will be archived; we'll keep you posted when it's up.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Annals of Chutzpah (An Occasional Series)

And speaking as we were yesterday of my old garage band chums The Weasels, I don't know if I've told you guys that I'm actually in the process of putting together a Weasels best-of album that will be available for purchase both in physical CD and online form.

It's going to be called Crimes Against Humanity: Greatest Hits 1973-2016.


And it will include this Firesign Theatre-esque promo -- titled "This Album Sells Itself" -- just to show we don't take ourselves too seriously.



I should add that the special effects on that were all pre-digital. I'm particularly fond of the toilet flushes and the toy machine gun noises.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Somewhere in Hell, Lee Atwater is Laughing His Ass Off

Attentive readers may recall that last March I purchased a Danelectro 12-string guitar...


...that cost a third of what a Rickenbacker goes for and turns out to be a lot easier to play. I've been in the studio of late with the Floor Models and our ace guitarist J.D. Goldberg used it to put down a McGuinn-esque track on the new song we're working on that has blown my tiny mind; as soon as we're finished, I will of course share it with you guys.

But in the meantime, I am so depressed and angry over the stupidity of the Democratic Party in allowing the Acorning of Al Franken that I am almost beside myself.

So here is a new song by my garage band chums The Weasels, featuring the aforementioned Danelectro...



...that has given me a little comfort.

I'm playing the first half of the solo (up to when the harmonica comes in); the other credits include the song's composer Glenn Leeds on vocals, drum programming and the rest of the 12-string stuff, and Alan Weissman on bass.

Enjoy.

Oh, and in the meantime fuck you Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillbrand. By which I mean with a rusty chainsaw.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

It Came From Music City!!!

And speaking as we were last week of all-around Renaissance dude and friend of PowerPop Gwil Owen...


...formerly of Nashville alt-rockers The Thieves...


...please enjoy his quite splendidly Revolver-ish "She Doesn't Love You."



What a cool song; I really need to cover that with my garage band chums The Weasels one of these days.

BTW, when I described Gwil as a Renaissance dude, I wasn't kidding; apart from his marvelous music, he also has turned into a quite splendid and critically acclaimed collage artist.


You can see more of his work HERE.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Closed for Medical Monkey Business

Hey, I'm old. All I do these days is see doctors.


Nothing serious, but between being poked and prodded and continuing work on my mom's apartment, I just couldn't get it together today.

Regular and extremely healthy postings resume on the morrow.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Coelacanth Discovered in Toronto!

Actually, something even rarer, that I frankly didn't even know still existed.

An indie record store. In Canadia -- home of Rush, Gino Vanelli and Ed the Sock -- no less.



Long time readers may recall that back in 2011, I posted something about a similar emporium in Hackensack, N.J., my then home town.

Which, BTW, I am happy to report is still there. By which I mean the store AND the town.

In any event, KOPS RECORDS stalwart Chris Edwards, who has been following my poor scribblings since the STEREO REVIEW days, has been hipping me of late to some interesting music that I have, in turn, passed along to everbody else who hangs here. And to express my gratitude, I recently sent him some CDs by the fabulous Floor Models.

Which occasioned the literary effort by Chris below. Please enjoy.

THE BEATLES MEET THE FLOOR MODELS -- A THEATER PIECE IN ONE SCENE

The setting: A radio studio at Abbey Road.

JOHN LENNON: ... yes, and the really special thing about these Floor Models CDs is that they're actually SEALED.

PAUL McCARTNEY: Yeah, I mean normally when I think of a floor model, I think of something sort of open & accessible, you know, something that people can test out and kind of... get a feel for. It IS very unusual to find a floor model that's SHRINK-WRAPPED.

LENNON (aside): Well, I've rapped a lot to my shrink over the last few years, as you know.

McCARTNEY (deadpanning): Excuse me, John. This segment IS actually about the Floor Models, not Primal Scream.

(Laughter from studio audience)

LENNON: Yes, you're quite right.

McCARTNEY: Well, one thing I'd like to say. I haven't heard this band's music yet, but I already feel a bit of empathy for them. I mean, they titled one of their songs "Letter From Liverpool", after our home town.

LENNON: I noticed that, too. (Deadpanning) Yes, we've got a "Letter From Liverpool", a package from New Jersey and an e-mail from Canada. I'm not sure how all this happened but I think somebody should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque.

(Laughter from studio audience)

LENNON (continuing): Well, our producer's just told me that they've taken the shrink-wrap OFF one of the Floor Models and now we can actually hear the song Paul just mentioned. So let's all give a listen to the Floor Models, "Letter From Liverpool", through the miracle of radio waves.



THE END


I should add that after the Senate passed that America-killing tax bill on Friday, a certain Shady Dame and I decided to move to Canada on the condition that Chris adopt us. So far, he's still thinking about it.

Friday, December 01, 2017

It's Moving Day!

In the process of leaving/selling my mom's co-op...



...an experience I can only compare to spinal meningitis.

Regular posting resumes on Monday.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

And Speaking of Gorgeous...

From his 2007 solo album Gravy...


...please enjoy friend of PowerPop Gwil Owen and his absolutely fricking beautiful "Mississippi Moonrise."



Gwil was nice enough to send me a copy of Gravy and its 2009 follow-up Ahab's Birthday -- both of which you can obtain over at CD Baby HERE -- and I've been listening to them obsessively for the last week. As I told their auteur, theoretically they're a little too Not Rock for my taste (Ahab's Birthday is actually kind of a blues and bluegrass record) but the songwriting and the performances are just so strong that I don't remotely mind.

I should add that he sent me a link to another song of his that recalls nothing so much as guitar-driven Revolver-era Beatles, and which I'm gonna put up next week. Just because.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Closed for Monkey Business

Had a long, highly productive but completely exhausting evening in the studio last night adding a 12-string guitar part to a new (old) Floor Models song.

Kudos to the great J.D. Goldberg [below] for his stellar work on the session.


Regular and totally relaxed postings resume on the morrow.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Paul Buckmaster 1946 - 2017

The greatest orchestral arranger in rock history -- hands down -- has passed.


Buckmaster is best known for his collaborations with Elton John, and with David Bowie on "Space Oddity," but he also worked with just about anybody who was anybody in pop music, from Taylor Swift to country (Dwight Yoakam) and jazz greats (Miles Davis).

Here's what I think is his masterpiece, however. The transcendently beautiful string arrangement at the end of The Rolling Stones' "Moonlight Mile."



I get chills just thinking about that, to this day. For me, anyway, it's always suggested what Ralph Vaughan Williams might have come up with if he'd ever collaborated with a British rock band.


Monday, November 27, 2017

And Speaking of Gorgeous...

From 1979, and the just released collection -- on Omnivore, where it belongs -- of the complete Sire recordings by The Searchers...


...please enjoy this exquisite cover of Tom Petty's "Lost in Her Eyes."



The two original LPs anthologized on this new set are among the very best pop-rock artifacts of their era; they've been collected before, on an Australian label if memory serves, but this new one has superior remastered sound and some interesting bonus tracks.

Highly recommended, and if you haven't heard the cover (on disc two) of "September Gurls" your life is the poorer for it.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Tommy Keene 1958-2017

From 1984, please enjoy genuine power pop deity Tommy Keene and his astounding "Places That Are Gone"



And he had scads of songs as good as this.

Seriously, Keene should have been a household name and a gazillionaire.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

It's Turkey Day (An Annual Series)

From 1969, here's the original classic lineup of Procol Harum...


...and their utterly gorgeous "Pilgrim's Progress."



Pilgrim -- get it? It's not rocket science, kids.

As long-time readers may recall, this song is something of a Thanksgiving tradition around here by now. Although I'll grant you that given we're now in the era of President Engelbert Trumperdinck it's not quite the same anymore.

In any case, enjoy the cranberry sauce and stuffing, everybody.

Also -- Matthew Fisher is God©.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Closed for Monkey Business

Had a long, productive but ultimately exhausting night in the studio yesterday putting drums on a new Floor Models track.


Kudos to the great Glen Bob Allen (seen above) for his yeoman work.

Here's an even better look at the session.


Regular and refreshed posting resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Annals of Manhattan Nightlife (An Occasional Series)

Attentive and/or long term readers of this here blog may recognize the name Ronnie D'Addario for two reasons.

First, because out of the great goodness of his heart, he sang the angelic McCartney-esque background vocals on Letter From Liverpool, a song featuring a band with a bass player whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels.

And, secondly, because he's the proud dad of the hippest young band on the planet The Lemon Twigs.



But even coooler than that, Ronnie's also been producing exquisite Beatles-influenced pop/rock -- both as a one-man band (a la Emitt Rhodes, who is probably the figure he most closely brings to mind) or in various group contexts going back for decades.

And this evening, Ronnie -- backed by the aforementioned Lemon Twigs -- will be performing some of that stuff at my favorite NYC club.


Specifically, I assume, material from his fabulous new CD career retrospective.


Here are two songs from the collection (the second is one of my favorite indie singles of the New Wave era) that should give you an idea of just how terrific he is.






You can -- and definitely should -- order First Songs over at Amazon HERE or at You Are the Cosmos HERE.

And, of course, if you're in the Big Apple tonight, hie thee over to Bowery Electric to hear Ronnie and family. It's just down the street from where CBGBs used to be.

And tell 'em PowerPop sent you.

PROGRAMMING NOTE POSTSCRIPT:

I'm gonna be on friend of PowerPop Captain Al's intertube radio show Lost at Sea today, starting at 11:00 am EST. Or maybe 11:15 or 11:30. Depending on traffic.

You can listen to the show over at Area 24 Radio HERE>. We'll be taking requests and death threats -- I'll announce the e-mail address on the air.

It's a theme show -- I won't give it away till later -- and a splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Weekend Listomania (Postscript): Special Rock is Here to Stay, But Nobody Tells Me Where -- I Don't Have the Room Edition

So as you may recall, we ended last week with a Listomania whose theme was THE GREATEST COVERS THAT NEVER WERE!!!

I.e., some really fabulous song(s) you'd really like to hear some favorite artiste -- solo or group -- perform or record, but so far they haven't gotten around to it (the bastards!!!).

And commenter J. Lewellen came up with this brilliant idea (amongst some others -- check the Friday post for the rest of them).

To wit:

Jerry Lee Lewis's "High School Confidential"...



...should be assaulted by The New York Dolls.

You know, the guys who did this affront to musical dignity.



I should add that I actually saw Jerry Lee -- before his big country comeback, after being disgraced as the Roy Moore of his generation -- live in 1965, at Waukegan (Illinois) High School.


There were maybe fifty or sixty of my fellow college hippies in the audience, as well as maybe another 100 angry greasers. It was the most exciting rock show I had ever seen up till that point in my young life, and very few I've seen since then have even came close.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Weekend Listomania: Special Hey, a Boy Can Dream, Can't He?

[I first posted a version of this in 2007, back when this blog and the world were young. I've rewritten parts of it, and made some substitutions, just to prove I'm not a complete slacker; please enjoy. -- S.S.]

Okay, fellow kids -- here's a fun project to contemplate:

THE GREATEST COVERS THAT NEVER WERE!!!!!!

You know -- some really fabulous song you'd really like to hear some favorite artiste -- solo or group -- perform or record, but so far they haven't gotten around to it (the bastards!!!).

And my totally off the top of my head Top Nine is/are:

9. The Hold Steady -- The Boys Are Back in Town[Thin Lizzy]



They've probably jammed on it a thousand times -- it's about time they go public for gosh sakes.

8. The Posies -- Carrie Anne [The Hollies]



They already proved they were genetically bred to do Hollies songs with their version of "King Midas in Reverse" -- just think what they would bring to the sunniest of the Clarke-Hicks-Nash classics.

7. The Pretenders -- Every Little Bit Hurts [Brenda Holloway]



My fave 60s soul ballad/torch song would be a natural for Chrissie Hynde, I suspect. Fun fact: This was written by the same guy who wrote "Dirty Water."

6. Neko Case == The First Cut is the Deepest[Cat Stevens]



Because she'd do it better than Sheryl Crow, duh.

5. Steve Earle -- Street Fighting Man [The Rolling Stones]



C'mon -- this is the job he was born for.

4. Bob Mould -- Calvary Cross [Richard and Linda Thompson]

On the 1994 Thompson tribute album Beat the Retreat, Mould turned the rockabilly tinged "Turning of the Tide" into a killer piece of buzz-saw punk. I swoon to imagine what he could do with Thompson's most intensely doom-haunted song.



3. Emmylou Harris -- Withered and Died [Richard and Linda Thompson]



Actually, now that I think of it, this song is so intensely heartbreaking, if Emmy sang it we might not survive the hearing.

2. The MonaLisa Twins -- Excuses, Excuses [The Floor Models/Gerry Devine and the Hi-Beams]



Because I've always wanted to hear gals covering this one. And my new favorite group seems like just the ones to do it.

And the number one cover I'd love to hear is....

1. Wilco -- Get Out of My Way [Paul McCartney]



This is one of my favorite sort of obscure McCartney tracks. And if you've ever heard Wilco blowtorching its way through "Monday" you'll understand why I think they're the right band band for the job.

Alrighty, then -- what would YOUR choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Your Thursday Moment of I Can Now Die Happy

And why you ask? Because the Australian Broadcasting Company is going to air a two-part bio-pic about my heroes The Easybeats, and it looks like they've done it right.


A joint production between the ABC, Playmaker, Screen Australia and Screen NSW, Friday On My Mind stars Christian Byers as Stevie Wright, Will Rush as George Young, Mackenzie Fearnley as Harry Vanda, Du Toit Bredenkamp as Dick Diamonde and Arthur McBain as Snowy Fleet.

Directed by Matthew Saville (Seven Types Of Ambiguity, Please Like Me, The Slap) and written by Howzat and Paper Giants scribe Christopher Lee, the series is set in the 1960s and follows the story of the five musicians and young immigrants, who meet in a Sydney migrant hostel before taking up instrumental arms together and ultimately changing the face of Australian rock on an international level.

Here's a teaser.



I'm not sure whether the band is lip-synching to the actual Easybeats song in that clip or not, but if the music is being provided by sound-alikes, they're dead on the money.

Also no word yet whether the thing will be broadcast on an American network, or if there will be a video release, but at the risk of gloating, I have a friend down under who's gonna record it for me. Nyah nyah nyah.

I'll keep you posted.

[h/t Peter Scott]

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Closed for Monkey Business


Had some dental problems yesterday, so no posting today.

Regular posting, with my chompers choogling at peak efficiency, resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A La Recherche du Floor Models Perdu

[Okay, herewith an update of a post from August. Trust me, there are two audio clips at the end that will make it all worthwhile. -- S.S.]

So as long time readers are aware, back in the early 80s I toiled in a 12-string pop band called The Floor Models. And also that Andy Pasternack, one of our principal songwriters (and our Rickenbacker ace), passed away unexpectedly in 2012.

I should add that apart from being immensely talented, Andy was also one of the sweetest guys who ever wore shoe leather; as Gerry Devine (our singer and other principal songwriter) put it to me recently -- Andy never got the memo that if you're a genius you're supposed to be a dick to other people.

In any case, there was a song of Andy's called "You Can't Tell Me Anything" that I particularly loved, and which we used to do live for ages, but for some reason never demoed, which has been a sort of sore point with me for all these years. So recently I decided that we should record it for a possible posthumous EP as a sort of tribute.

Only problem was nobody could remember the lyrics. Ack.

Then a month or so ago I discovered a crude live version, taped by someone with a boom box in front of the band at one of our legendary weekend gigs at The Other End (bless you, Pat Kenny!). We edited it -- removing a duplicate verse and a brief instrumental solo section that didn't really work -- and presto! We had a click track for a concise three minute song that seemed to encapsulate the entire esthetic of the band.

So then ace drummer Glen "Bob" Allen, myself, my old 70s bandmate Tony Forte (on Rickenbacker 12-string), and brilliant guitarist J.D. Goldberg (who came in for Andy in a later incarnation of the band) headed into the studio to recreate the song from the ground up. (Gerry did his vocal at home and then intertubed it to us.)

And here it is in completely finished form..



With all due respect, I think it's fricking gorgeous.

BTW, if you want to hear the 1982 live version...


...you can check it out HERE.

I should add that the EP -- which will be titled (per Andy's concept) 4 X Floor -- will also include a raga-surf instrumental written by Andy and Gerry, a new recording of a recently rediscovered Andy song that is about the most sad and beautiful thing I've ever heard, and a new recording (with strings, yet) of a song that power pop great Mark Johnson wrote for us -- and will hopefully be ready for release early next year.

Although if I've learned anything since I've started working on these projects, it's that it always takes longer than you think.


Monday, November 13, 2017

I'll Have What They're Having

From 2017, and their just released album Orange, please enjoy the fabulous Mona Lisa Twins and their new single "Waiting for the Waiter."



And yes, the mysterious Man in Black at the bar playing the familiar sounding blues harmonica is in fact former Lovin' Spoonful frontman (and personal hero of mine) John Sebastian.

Most of the Twins' stuff is considerably more Beatles influenced (their Fabs covers, like this one, are to die for...)



...and closer to the subject of this here blog, but "Waiter" does it for me anyway.

In the meantime, you can -- and should -- order Orange over at the Twins website HERE.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Video Roundup

[As some of our long-term readers may be aware, I am still on the mailing lists of various video companies, who -- inexplicably but generously -- continue to send me freebie copies of their new releases. Herewith, a brief consumer guide to the most recent discs that have crossed my desk; unless otherwise noted, I viewed all of them on DVD. Enjoy. -- S.S.]

1. Murder on the Orient Express (ACORN)



From the Poirot tv series, this remake from 2010 is considerably darker and less fun than the Sidney Lumet-directed '70s version, and it takes liberties with the source material in terms of back story that not everybody will dig. Still, the period detail is smashing, David Suchet remains the definitive Poirot, and Eileen Atkins as Princess Dragimiroff (the role played by Wendy Hiller in the original) is absolutely sensational. I await the new version with Kenneth Branagh (in theaters today) with breathless anticipation.

2. Wonder Woman (WARNER BROS., two discs, DVD and Blu-ray)



I haven't liked a superhero/comic book movie since the original X-MEN, and Zeus knows this adaptation of the (frankly, quite silly at times) DC superlady franchise was fraught with peril (by which I mean it could easily have been an unintentionally funny camp piece of crap).


Against all odds, however, the thing works like a charm. Backdating the story to World War I was a brilliant idea, and the chemistry between stars Gal Gadot (hubba hubba) and Chris Pine is sizzling. Yeah, it runs out of steam with a cliched climatic super battle (David Thewlis in a devil costume? Seriously?) but until then Wonder Woman is old school Hollywood storytelling at its most entertaining.

3. Rumble: The Indians That Rocked the World (KINO LORBER)



AKA the secret history of Native Americans and what we refer to as the rock-and-roll field. Fantastic stuff, and not just because of the Link Wray footage. Nobody interviewed in the thing says it, so I will: Play this film loud.

4. The Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille (RANDOM MEDIA)



The true story of a magnificent obsession: one man's quest to find the sets for DeMille's 1923 silent version of The Ten Commandments, which were buried in the California wilderness no one knew precisely where. The fact that this is an actually real thing boggles the imagination, and if the film's ending doesn't make the hair on the back of your neck stand up you probably need medical attention.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Your Thursday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 2014, please enjoy the remarkably monikered Kaki King and ETHEL ambling (I keed, I keed) through the most powerful instro piece I've heard in ages.



This absolutely blows me away. Seriously, it sounds like what might have happened if Bernard Herrmann had ever decided to rock out.

[h/t Capt. Al]

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Closed for Monkey Business


Had some dental problems yesterday.

Regular non-tooth related postings resume on the morrow.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

From 2001 and the soundtrack CD to TV's Crossing Jordan -- a show I must admit I never watched -- please enjoy the reliably astounding Richard Thompson and his cover of Donovan's venerable “Season of the Witch.”



A version that -- as the friend who hipped me to this last week observed -- makes all previously recorded performances of this song sound like "The Monster Mash."

Good lord, this is...wow.

[h/t Matt Mitchell]

Monday, November 06, 2017

The Return of Chet Catkins

From 2017, please enjoy power pop god Richard X. Heyman and a hilarious feline-themed video -- from his latest album Incognito -- of the utterly infectious "So What."



You can read more about Richard over HERE, specifically my review of his 2007 masterpiece Actual Sighs. Plus you can listen to an Mp3 of my favorite song from the record. Prepare to have your mind blown at the sheer gorgeousness of it.

And you can -- and definitely should -- order the new album over at AMAZON. You'll thank me.

[h/t Brooklyn Girl]





Friday, November 03, 2017

There's a "Boy, Did I Get A Wrong Number" Joke in Here Somewhere

Amd speaking, as we were yesterday of The Thieves (featuring Gwil Owen) and their fabulous 1988 Marshall Crenshaw-produced album Seduced by Money...


...please enjoy the haunting rocker "All the Lines are Down."



Damn, that's a great song and a great performance. I'm really gonna have to cover that one of these days. In the meantime, see if you can find a copy of the album -- just about everything on it is that good.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

In honor (late, alas) of Halloween, please enjoy the criminally underrated Gwil Owen...


...and his fabulous country rocker "Haunted House."



I first encountered Owen when he was the lead singer (circa 1988) of alt-rockers The Thieves, who made an absolutely sensational album -- Seduced by Money -- that was produced by none other than Marshall Crenshaw. If you can find a copy, grab it immediately; it's a classic. The song above, if I recall, was from the follow up album Phoenix, which I believe Gwil self-released.

In any case, I lost track of the guy over the years, but I just Wiki'd him, and he's done really well for himself since then, including an Oscar nomination for a song he wrote for the soundtrack of The Horse Whiseperer.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Closed for Monkey Business


The pipe under my kitchen sink has come apart, and I'm waiting for the guy above to come fix it. No joke, except the monkey part.

Regular and hopefully well flowing posts resume on the morrow.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Classics Never Get OId!

From sometime in the late 60s (or possibly early 70s), please enjoy the incredibly great Bonzo Dog Band with their cover of Terry Stafford's "Collusion."




Okay, actually the song is called "Suspicion."

But it's not like there's really a great deal of difference.

Monday, October 30, 2017

I Knew There Was a Reason I Liked This Guy

From 2011, please enjoy Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers -- with special guest front man Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam -- and an absolutely gorgeous version of Petty's "The Waiting."



Words, as I am wont to say at times like these, fail me. Jeebus H. Christ on a piece of challah toast, but Vedder sings that brilliantly.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

My New Favorite Band...

...unfortunately broke up four years ago.

Regardless, from 2013, please enjoy New York's finest...The Regulars...


...and "Down in the Basement."

If there's a better ode to the joy of making rock-and-roll for the sheer love of it -- and BTW, The Replacements reference of their moniker didn't escape me -- I haven't heard it.



You can hear -- and download (seriously, do it) -- the rest of their album over at Bandcamp HERE.

But in the meantime, Regulars auteur Joseph Benoit is in the process of working on a solo album; I'll keep you posted on its progress.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Your Thursday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 1983, please enjoy the great Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes doing a live medley of...Eddie and the Cruisers songs?

WTF?



I hadn't heard about this till last week, but there was a scene in the original script in which the character played by Tom Berenger -- the keyboard guy from the Cruisers back in the 60s who can't escape his past -- goes to a Jukes show and is stunned to hear the band playing songs by his old group. Director Martin Davidson actually shot it, although ultimately it didn't make the final cut, but as you can hear the audio has survived.


I must admit that the film is a sort of guilty pleasure for me, as are the songs on the soundtrack, which of course are written by John Cafferty, aka the poor man's Bruce Springsteen. It's not a very good movie, really, but it has a couple of interesting things to say about dreams that don't come true, friendship, and things of that nature.

Plus: Ellen Barkin.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Closed for Monkey Business

Had a long, but productive, night in the studio tweaking the drum track to the "new" Floor Models track.


Regular tanned rested and ready postings resume on the morrow.

Monday, October 23, 2017

George Young 1946 - 2017: Part Deux

I am disconsolate over the death of George Young, one of the co-founding geniuses of The Easybeats, and one of the most important auteurs of rock-and-roll who ever wore shoe leather.

And here is one of the greatest records he was involved with.




You can read the rest of the story about that song OVER HERE.

May I say again, and for the record, that this death shit is really starting to piss me off?

George Young 1946-2017

Goddamnit all to hell.


He's probably best known in this country for having produced the first five AC/DC albums (starring his kid brothers), but his real claim to fame is the stuff he did with The Easybeats in the 60s.

And if there's a better rock-n-roll record than this one...



...I for one have never heard it.

This death shit is really starting to piss me off.

Happy Birthday to Me

So as some of you may have heard, a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance took me to see Bruce Springsteen's new and highly acclaimed one person show on my birthday over the weekend...


...and boy, was it disappointing.

Bruce was drunk and all he did was KISS covers.

Okay, obviously I'm kidding.

In point of fact, despite a certain level of solemnity, Springsteen on Broadway was moving, funny, poetic and brilliant. With nothing more than a guitar and piano (here's what the set, and the word set is something of an overstatement, looked like)...


...Bruce did what felt (somewhat) like a stage adaptation of his recent autobiography, and managed to be about as riveting a performer as I have ever seen.

The setlist:

1. Growin' Up
2. My Hometown
3. My Father's House
4. The Wish
5. Thunder Road
6. Promised Land
7. Born in the USA
8. 10th Avenue Freezeout
9. Tougher Than the Rest
10.Brilliant Disquise
11.The Rising
12. Long Walk Home
13. Dancing in the Dark
14. Land of Hope and Dreams
15. Born to Run

Highlights, for me, were "Land of Hope and Dreams," a song which I had largely ignored in any of its recorded versions, and "Thunder Road," during which I totally lost it. But the entire thing was great theater, and let's just say it was the best birthday present ever.

BTW, I am reliably informed that a high quality recording of the show from Saturday night is now available on the intertubes. For a variety of reasons I'm not going to post anything from said recording, but if our old friend Capt. Al could find it, so can you.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Blue Ash Fan...

...if you happen to see this post, e-mail me. I have something for you to hear that I think you might like.

Hint: It involves Mark Johnson.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Weekend Listomania: Special Broadway is Not in Asbury Park Edition

Well, it's Friday, and as you may have heard, tomorrow is a) a major milestone birthday and b) the day a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance is consequently taking me to see Springsteen on Broadway.


From the NY Times review of opening night:

There came a moment the other night, near the end of Bruce Springsteen’s overwhelming and uncategorizable Broadway show, when it seemed possible to see straight through his many masks to some core truth of his being.

This was when the audience, which had mostly restrained itself through the first 13 songs of the 15-song set, could no longer sit on its hands as if in church. The show had been, to that point, quite solemn — and would continue to be.

But now, entire swaths of the Walter Kerr Theater, apparently unmindful of downbeat lyrics like “I ain’t nothing but tired,” started clapping along to “Dancing in the Dark,” Mr. Springsteen’s biggest hit, from 1984.

He stopped cold. “I’ll handle it myself,” he said, shutting them down with a small, sharky glint of a smile.

Would he ever! Make no mistake, “Springsteen on Broadway,” which opened on Thursday evening, is a solo act by a solo artist with an artist’s steel. Even though Patti Scialfa, his wife, shows up to harmonize on two numbers, this is not a singalong arena show or a roadhouse rouser. Even less does it try to be a feel-good Broadway book musical or a slick, whitewashed jukebox like “Jersey Boys.”

In other words, this is not an "And Then I Wrote" retrospective.

That being the case, a coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded to the first reader who -- to my satisfaction -- comes up with a list of the following:

Best or Worst Springsteen Songs He Probably Won't (Or Shouldn't) Do in His Acclaimed New One Man Show!

And my totally top of my head Top Five is/are:

5. You'll Be Coming Down



From Magic, which was precisely the moment when I stopped being a lapsed Bruce fan. Sort of cynical folk rock, and the band performance and production are chilling.

4. The Girls in Their Summer Clothes



Also from Magic, and one of Bruce's best Brill Building homages ever.

3. Candy's Room



This has always struck me as one of Bruce's most under-appreciated British Invasion pastiches; I mean -- does anybody else think it sounds kinda like The Yardbirds? In any case, thematically I just don't see it working in the show.

2. Prove It All Night



I'm sorry, I have never warmed to this one for any number of reasons I won't get into. Although I will admit that part of it is that I hate Jon Landau's production on Darkness with a white hot hatred and always have.

And the number one Springsteen song that should be a rock standard that I won't get to hear tomorrow unquestionably is....

1. Rendezvous



His big power pop move. He used to open with it on the Darkness tour back in the late 70s, which was a pretty ballsy thing to do given that he wouldn't release the song officially for another couple of decades.

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be?

PS: I love you, BG.

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Closed for Monkey Business

Had a long, but extremely productive, night in the studio last night.


The results of which I will share with you guys tomorrow, but in the meantime I'm taking it easy.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Your Tuesday Moment of Self-Indulgence: Special Four Strings Good! Edition

Okay, the short version.

A few months ago, two significant others of my old garage band chums The Weasels were coming back from picking up a pizza when they noticed a bass guitar -- specifically, a Fender Precision Lyte (a model I used to own back in the 90s, in fact) -- in a trash can in their neighborhood. It was a mess, but they were intrigued enough to bring it back to the Weasels home studio and try it out. Turned out it was, however unsightly, totally playable and its electronics intact.

I heard the story, and a few weeks later I was at the Keuka Kafe, my local watering hole down the street from a certain Shady Dame's home in Forest Hills. BTW, if you're in the neighborhood stop by and tell 'em I sent you.


But I digress.

Anyway, this particular afternoon, I struck up a conversation with a young guy having lunch at the bar who, as it turned out, was a guitar tech who specialized in restoring instruments like the aforementioned Fender Precision Lyte, so it seemed serendipity dictated I give him the job of bringing new life to our trash can bass.

Cut to last week, when said job was finished. Here's how it went.


And here's me, looking frighteningly like Groucho Marx, checking it out.


Bottom line: The bass now looks great and plays great.

And a big PowerPop No-Prize to Gabe Mera, who did the restoration. I can't recommend his work highly enough; if you have a similar job for him, contact him here.

Monday, October 16, 2017

My Subconscious at Work

True story: In the last two weeks I have had bizarre dreams involving pop music.

In the first, I dreamt that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were hosting a show on ESPN.


Titled The Rolling Stones Sports Desk.

Hey -- to quote Judy Tenuta, it could happen!

In the second, and more disturbing, I attended a concert by an underground rock band.


Called The Papoose of Pop.

I am not making any of this up.

In any case, I think it's getting increasingly obvious that my decades of obsessing over rock-and-roll have gotten me into a weird area here in my Golden Years.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sad Songs Mean So Much: An Occasional Series


This is an oh so tragic story, so please try not to laugh.

A long time ago (no Spanish American War jokes, thank you) I was going through a really painful breakup, by which I mean I was at the beginning of a three year depression that made me all but impossible to hang out with because of my annoying habit of saying things like "What's there to live for?" in response to questions like "Would you like fries with that?"

As you can imagine, my emotional state was impacting my listening habits, and at one point the then new 1991 album Anything Can Happen, by Nashville alt-pop rockers The Questionnaires, happened to cross my desk.


One song from the album in particular -- the (I thought) ragingly beautiful breakup ballad "In the Back of My Mind" -- hit me pretty hard and I began listening to it obsessively, to the point where I think I basically ignored everything else on the record, the rest of which could have been Lithuanian grindcore for all I knew.

Anyway, one day a critical colleague of mine -- toiling at Entertainment Weekly, as I recall -- happened to ask me what I was listening to, and I recommended said Questionnaires album, rather heartily, as I also recall. A few weeks later he called me up about a review assignment, and he finally said "Uh...Steve? You know that Questionnaires thing you made me listen to? It...really sucks."

To be honest, I didn't really see the point in arguing, and I'm sure I figured that my own judgement probably wasn't all that reliable anymore, for obvious reasons. So I put the CD away out of earshot, and eventually mislaid it somewhere, probably while moving to a new apartment a year or two later.

Cut to the present and, for whatever reason the song popped into my head unbidden yesterday. So out of curiosity, I went through my iTunes library and checked out "In the Back of My Mind" for the first time in at least two decades. And guess what -- I still think that it's ragingly beautiful in a sort of Brian Wilson/early Association/lotsa harmonies kind of way.

Okay, no larger point, but you can listen to it here and make up your own mind about whether or not I'm the biggest pathetic wimp who ever lived.



Incidentally, the guy who wrote the song is big band jazz great Woody Herman's grandson. What Woody would have thought about any of this, of course, is anybody's guess.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Closed for Monkey Business


Dealing with doctors today.

Nothing serious, but still annoying and time consuming.

Regular incredibly posting -- including, possibly, the triumphant return of Weekend Listomania -- resumes on the morrow.