I thought it might be fun to spell check the latest songs on the new album by Iceland's favorite brood rockers, Sigur Ros. The titles are funny enough as they are but some became downright hysterical when spellchecked. What do you think?
(Gobbledygook)--1st one's never the funniest...
Inni Mer Syngur Vitleysingur
(Inner Merry Singer Vittles)--Mmmnnnn, yummy!
(Gonad Dragon)--Great name for a metal band, no?
Vid Spillum Endalaust
(Void Spilled Endoblast)
Med Sud I Syrum
(Med Sod I Serum)
(Flutelike)--Iceland's version of Jethro Tull!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Just because I'm a little busy (coupled with the fact that nobody reads blogs on the weekend--right?), I'm gonna cut and paste some reviews straight out of allmusic.com for some new music that caught my ear and should catch yours. Forgive me, original content to resume on Monday.
Alpacas Orgling, by L.E.O.
"If those three letters look familiar, that's entirely by design: LEO is an unabashed re-creation of the sound of vintage late-'70s Electric Light Orchestra on an indie rock budget. The ELO lifts are subtle but unmistakable, with direct nods to tunes like "Telephone Line" and "Mr. Blue Sky" mixed in with bits that cleverly nod to Jeff Lynne's creamy pure pop goodness without actively ripping him off. It could possibly be the most clever album-length evocation of an established band's sound since the Rutles. "But that's all it is, right?" sneer the non-believers. "It's nothing but a baldfaced ripoff of the sainted Jeff Lynne, and with a silly album title besides!" Alpacas Orgling is the single best album any of its major participants have ever taken part in. And yes, that includes the hugely overrated Jellyfish, a band much more interesting in concept than in practice. Given the self-limiting task of channeling their own pop sensibilities through those of an earlier generation of craftsmen causes all concerned to step up their game: the songs are gorgeously arranged, with instantly memorable melodies and lyrics generally far less pretentious than the sort of claptrap Jeff Lynne himself often came up with. Of course, the most logical next step is for McAuley, Viola and company to take the lessons learned from this project back to their primary careers, but as long as one is clear on the album's artistic intentions and is willing to approach this kind of wholesale imitation on its own playful level, this is an album any true lover of '70s AM radio pop fluff should treasure."
Future Clouds And Radar, Future Clouds And Radar
"A hefty two-disc set, Future Clouds & Radar features 27 tunes which demonstrate Harrison's gift for crafting gorgeous psychedelic-tinged pop songs has only grown stronger during his lay-off from recording, and his band of compatriots who helped him commit this to tape navigate his stylistic twists and turns with the élan of a Formula One racing team. While Harrison's voice splits the difference between John Lennon and Glenn Tilbrook, melodically Future Clouds & Radar hops from one approach to another throughout its playing time, from the acid-drenched electronic meandering of "This Is Really a Book" and the stripped-bare blues figures of "Devil No More" to the high-spirited rock & roll of "Holy Janet Comes on Waves" and the bittersweet simplicity of "Christmas Day 1923," with plenty of solid hook-infused power pop and up-tempo rock along the way, all presented with just the right degree of polish and played with skill and spark throughout. It's telling that the more relaxed numbers such as "Build Havana" and "Green Mountain Clover" are as effective as the high-energy tunes, and Harrison can play goofy and sincere with equal impact. As strong as Cotton Mather's best work was, Future Clouds & Radar suggests Robert Harrison's best music still lies ahead of him, and this is an accomplished and thoroughly enjoyable calling card for his new enterprise that discerning fans of smart pop will want to hear."
Songs In A and E, Spiritualized
"Who would have thought that Jason Pierce's Spiritualized would have had any life in them after the rather uninspiring Amazing Grace in 2003? In the intervening five years, Pierce nearly died from double pneumonia. Near death experiences by their very nature are life-changing events. The music on Songs in A&E were recorded in that aftermath, but most of the album was written two years before he got sick; with so much of it about near death and survival, it feels like life imitating art. From the first notes of "Sweet Talk," it's obvious that a very different Spiritualized is up and about; an acoustic guitar, a sparse drum kit, the voice quartet, a few horns, and a minimal bassline fuel it. Pierce sweetly croons to a loved one in waltz time; his words are simultaneously appeasing and accusatory. The gospel chorus isn't as overblown as it was on Amazing Grace or Let It Come Down. They are in a support role, offering Pierce's reedy voice a fullness and authority it wouldn't have otherwise. The arrangement is lilting but powerful. How strange, then, the sounds of a ventilator that usher in the next track "Death Take Your Fiddle": "I think I'll drink myself into a coma/And I'll take every way out I can find/But morphine, codeine, Whisky, they won't alter/The way I feel/Now death is not around..."Death take your fiddle"/And play a song for me." Minor-key acoustic guitar and ghostly bass frame Pierce singing a mutant folk-blues that evokes Gary Davis' "Death Don't Have No Mercy." The backing vocals float wordlessly like death angels, hovering around the vocalist and giving the tune an otherworldly quality. But this isn't a song about dying; it's a song about coming close and cheating it; it's eerie. The proof? The next two tracks: "I Gotta Fire," and "Soul on Fire." The former is a taut, "Gimme Shelter"-esque rocker, the latter, a lush, uptempo love song. "Sitting on Fire" is a beautifully orchestrated love song: it's an admission of weakness and codependency but celebrates both of them at the same time: "Baby, I'm sitting on fire/but the flames put a hole in my heart/when we're together we stand so tall/But a part of me falls to the floor/Sets me free /I do believe it'll burn up in me for the rest of my life." Strings, vibes, marimbas, and drums crash in to the center of the mix carrying the protagonist into oblivion. "Yeah, Yeah" is a scorching rocker that feels like the Bad Seeds meeting the old Spacemen 3. "You Lie You Cheat," crashes in Velvets style with acoustic guitar and screeching feedback. The chorus sings atop a flailing drum kit, distorted strings, and wailing electric guitar. The marimbas and strings that power "Baby, I'm Just a Fool," sweetly underscore a very dark pop song, complete with "da-do-da-do-dat det-det-do's". It descends into beautifully textured chaos led by a loopy violin solo over seven minutes. Songs in A&E is the most consistent recording Spiritualized has issued since 1997's Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. It contains the best elements of the band's signature sound, and paradoxically hedonistic yet utterly spiritual lyric themes. That said, newly focused energy, willfully restrained arrangements, and taut compositions give the set a sheer emotional power that no Spiritualized recording has ever displayed before, making it, quite possibly, their finest outing yet.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Did you know...
...that he suffers from "lethologica", the bizarre affliction which describes the state of never being able to remember the word you want to say?
...that he has over one hundred vocal sounds, while his dog Sherri only possesses a mere ten?
...that Steve's urine, since birth, has glowed a bright tangerine color when put under a black light?
...that he once injected Nutmeg at Christmas and almost died?
...that, like the tiny ant, Steve always falls over on his right side when intoxicated?
...that he was recognized recently (2006) by the Dykema Corperation for being the first person to discover that rubber bands last longer when refrigerated?
...that his left eye is, in fact, larger in diameter than his brain?
...that due to a "special" odor his lungs produce while asleep he will eat an average of 14 spiders each night?
...that after an afternoon of drinking with his brothers, Steve accidentally urinated through his tights while swordfighting Michael Redgrave while visiting relatives at Stratford-upon-Avon?
...that Steve's brother, Shaun Ellis Perry, has recently spent 18 months living in captivity with a trio of wolf pups that had been abandoned by their mother at birth, educating them as wild wolves in the hope that they could survive in the wild? Their mother, Penelope Poofta Perry, has since disowned both siblings.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
A constant reader of The Nightmare writes:
"Dear Uncle E. I am such a HUGE fan of your blog! Without your daily postings I would be lost. Before I stumbled upon "The Nightmare" my life was nothing but an empty shell, musically speaking. I used to listen to REM, Rupert Holmes and old C.W. McCall records beore you enlightened...nay...SAVED me, wretched fool that I was, from the tuneless abyss in which I was drowning.
From the moment I read your magnificent and extremely well written bogus band biography on STYX I was hooked. You and the, I assume, many fine folks who dedicate hours and hours each day to the well thought out content must be a dedicated bunch. Keep it up, for if "The Nightmare" were to cease e-publication I would wither and die like some pathetic Cabernet grape that's been left in the sun too long.
Anyway, might I be so bold to ask a question that's been nagging at me for a while? What I want to know, and I'm sure other readers have had this same question pop up from time to time, is "How many times does Sting sing the Phrase "Message in a bottle" on the song "Message In A Bottle"?
Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, California
Well, Brave Sir Robin, thanks for the kind words and thoughtful question! I'd be happy to answer that for you, since you asked so nicely.
The answer is 10. But the more interesting statistic about that particular Police song is that Sting actually sings the phrase "I'll send an SOS to the world" a mind numbing 879 times during the 4:52 of the song.
Thanks again, and keep reading. All queries are appreciated and will be answered in a timely manner.
We're just glad we could help.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I have a fairly massive back-issue library of music magazines and occasionally, usually on a Sunday, I'll grab a stack and just start leafing through them to see what I might have missed the first time around.
I came across an issue of MOJO that listed the top 101 Beatles songs with commentary on each by a 'famous' musician; some contemporaries of the Beatles and some followers.
The entry on one of my favorite Beatles songs (Dear Prudence) by Donovan made me laugh out loud and induced more than a few cringes at the same time. Here's part of the quote:
"At the height of our fame, we'd kind of isolated ourselves. And relieved of Super-fame, we found it exhilerating sitting around with just acoustic guitars again and just playing. John showed a lot of interest in the Carter Family finger style I was using, and over 2 days I taught him, and he immediately started writing in my new style. Out of it came 'Julia' and 'Dear Prudence'."
OK, so...here's what I found cringe inducing about the afore mentioned statement: "At the height of OUR fame"; "relieved of SUPER FAME"; and the fact that Donovan, who only wrote 4 really great songs and one really good album in his career, is taking credit for one of Lennon's best compositions without the possibility of rebuttle by the deceased Lennon.
And was Donovan ever "super famous" on a par with The Beatles? I don't think so. He comes across as a delusional old prat desperate to re-write his history.
That being said, the use of Hurdy Gurdy Man in the film Zodiac is one of the most affecting and spine chilling in all of filmdom.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
And now a message from Jello Biafra Enterprises and the Government Of California:
"We interrupt this program with a special bulletin:
America Is Now Under Marshall Law.
All constitutional rights have been suspended.
Stay in your homes.
Do not attempt to contact love ones, insurance agents or attorneys.
Do not attempt to think or depression may occur.
Stay in your homes.
Curfew is at 7 PM sharp, after work.
Anyone caught outside of the gates of their suveillance sectors after curfew
Remain calm, do not panic.
Your neighborhood watch officer will be by to collect urine samples in
Anyone caught intefering with the collection of urine examples will...be...
Stay in your homes, remain calm.
The number one enemy of progress is questions.
Remember, national security is more important than individual will.
All sport broadcasts will proceed as normal.
No more than two people may gather anywhere without permission.
Use only the drugs prescribed by your boss or supervisor.
Shut up, be happy.
Obey all orders without question.
The comfort you've demanded is now mandatory.
At last everything is done for you."
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Well, my job has seen fit to send me to Knoxville, Tennessee once again for "Interactive University" training--corperate speak for learning complicated online advertising platforms. Although I'll miss my family very much I am looking forward to the sessions. I have some good friends there that I'm going to be spending some time with, and 18 hours or so of travel time will afford some great opportunities to delve into some serious album absorption. As a matter of fact, I think I'll even give Wilco's Sky Blue Sky another chance...
But don't dispair, gentle reader, 'cause I've pre-posted 5 or so entries utilizing blogger's "post option egg timer" thingy that'll pop up every day that I'm gone. I'll be back with more musical musings and general nonsense quicker than you can scream "Roll Over Beethoven".
Friday, September 19, 2008
Guster, Ganging Up On The Sun: A band moving beyond the hippy drum circles and embracing their inner pop star.
James Brown, In The Jungle Groove: My God, you can actually smell this music it’s so funky!
John Prine, Bruised Orange: Your bitter uncle serenading his daughter with an acoustic six string after downing a bottle of Jack Daniels.
The Kinks, Low Budget: The Kinks finally breaking through to American audiences and with the fabulous title track catapults them into the arenas.
The Monkees, Headquarters: Come on, they were good!
The Psychedelic Furs, Talk Talk Talk: One of the best albums of the 1980’s and before John Hughes got a hold of them and ruined their career.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Neil Diamond, Home Before Dark: Everybody’s guilty pleasure has-been teams up (again) with bearded muso-guru Rick Rubin and releases a little gem of Americana.
AIR, "Moon Safari": Groovy, blissed-out cocktail electronica for aging hipsters and nu-ravers alike.
Johnny Cash, "American Recordings": Stark acoustic beauty and the smell of death.
A3, "Exile On Coldharbour Lane": I “woke up this morning” and found myself grooving to their particular blend of country-gospel-acid-house-techno-blues music.
The Alan Parsons Project, "Tales Of Mystery And Imagination". The tales of Edgar Allan Poe as sung through...ahem...a vocoder.
CCR, "Cosmos Factory": 80% humidity, plenty of mosquitoes, swampy guitar riffs and one hell of a rhythm section.
Future Sound Of London, "Dead Cities": Bladerunner on speed.
Gang Of Four, "Entertainment!:: The sound of 2004 released in 1977.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Can psychedelic drugs really make a difference?
One listen to the 10 minute incendiary guitar solo on title cut Maggot Brain by the tragically underrated Eddie Hazel and I feel confident you’ll agree with that statement.
Maggot Brain starts off with an eerie voice (probably George Clinton) stating that "Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time, for y'all have knocked her up”, and then the song is handed over to Hazel for 10+ minutes of technically proficient fuzzed out psychedelic pyrotechnics. George Clinton apparently told Hazel to “play like your mamma just died”. It must have worked; the emotions and sounds this cat squeezes out of his electric six string are simply mind bending.
Keyboard genius Bernie Worrell delivers the goods on Hit It And Quit It, and the rest of the guys sound like they’re having the time of their lives, especially on last song Wars Of Armageddon, a 9:48 jam that sounds like Hendrix backing Santana at the Apollo Theatre on magic mushrooms. When the cuckoo clock sound effects come in at 4:39 into the song you’ll be convinced that some sort of weird voodoo high priests of funkydom have unleashed their masterpiece.
And you’d be right on the money.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I bought this album at the same time I bought Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots by the Flaming Lips at a time when I was becoming very discouraged by modern bands and modern music in general. Heavily jaded by bands that sounded great upon first listen but lost their appeal after only a few spins (The Strokes being the most obvious), I decided to take a chance on these two albums I heard about from Paste Magazine and was absolutely blown away. Yoshimi was the favorite, right off the bat, but Z by MMJ just stayed with me. I would plug it in every week, listen, and hear something different and weird I didn't hear the spin before. Some new guitar solo or subtle drum break here, an alien blip/ blurb there. It didn’t leave my cd player for a couple of months and is still in heavy rotation on the old iPod. Start with Z then do yourself a favor and delve deeper into their back catalog and buy them all, including their early version compilation albums (at least download their cover version of Elton John’s "Rocket Man").
The absolute perfect medium for My Morning Jacket: THE LIVE ALBUM! I have to admit that this live document exceeded all my expectations. Yes, MMJ fans can be a little biased (they are, along with Wilcoheads--an insufferable lot!) but any objective fan of good music will recognize the energy this album possesses. The version of Magheetah will leave you breathless. Guitars from outer space (yet sounding perfectly organic and home grown at times), reverb drenched vocals from Mr. James, and a rhythm section that's about as tight as any I have encountered, and a song list with absolutely no filler. Perfect song selection.
I have never been a fanatic for The Live Album” but between Okonokos and Wilco's Kicking Television I have been converted into a true believer. Like Neil Young jamming in a canyon on Mars.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
You know after REALLY trying to like this album and after multiple spins I have to admit that it ain‘t for me. Oftentimes a really good album sounds horrible (or just plain plain) after one or three spins, so when this album didn't move me the first time I decided to hang back and try again in a few days. Then again. And again. And one more time. Usually after three or four complete rotations (which felt like hard labor with this one) the jems will work there way to the surface. Sufjian Stevens was like that. So was Z by My Morning Jacket. Ditto for many of my desert island albums.
It never happened with Return To Cookie Mountain, and the big problem was that, well, I really wanted to like this one. All the reviews I read were hyping this as the album of the decade, and I wanted them to be right.
Unfortunately, none of them were. It is a plodding, lifeless album wanting desperately to be 'hip' and failing miserably to the point of embarrassment. Like your 40 something hipster college professor with a graying ponytail (who should love this, by the way), it will be pointless to argue with those who dig this album. I have to say that it’s obvious these guys put a lot of work into this, and they do have talent; it just doesn't take me anywhere. It feels pretentious.
If any of you out there have a different opinion I’d like to hear it.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
No matter how hard I try I know that my kids are going to eventually listen to music that I find abhorrent. It’s the natural thing to do, they won’t be able to help it. I am force feeding them daily doses of Flaming Lips, My Morning Jacket, Bob Dylan and Sloan even though I know I’ll be rewarded 6 years from now with 2014’s version of “High School Musical”. I can’t give up, I refuse. But maybe I need to start them in the shallow waters of They Might Be Giants instead of throwing them, head first, into the murky depths of Mercury Rev, Underworld or Wilco.
There’s some terrific music for kids nowadays and They Might Be Giants are leading the way. Their infectious melodies and quirky humor has always kind of lent itself to children’s music, but 2002’s “NO”, 2005’s “Here Come The ABC’s” and most likely this year’s “Here Come The 123’s” (don’t have an opinion--haven’t heard it yet) are terrific for the kids and don’t grate on the parent’s nerves. Just listen to “I Am Not Your Broom” or “John Lee Supertaster” for emphatic proof that this stuff, while silly on the outside, has a weird intelligence lurking just beneath the surface.
There should be a resource for this. A friend of mine and I were toying with the idea but it never really got off the ground. So until there is I must rely on you, gentle reader, for additional cool kids album recommendations that won’t make me want to take an ice pick to my eardrums. Any of you parents out there know of any?
Thursday, September 11, 2008
SWAGGER: To walk or conduct oneself with an insolent or arrogant air; strut; braggadocio.
Listening to Urge Overkill’s masterful 1993 album “Saturation” I come to the realization that I need a little more swagger in my life. I listen to an awful lot of “technically proficient” and “artistically adept” records as of late, but there’s something to be said for brainless, thuggish rock and roll and the adrenalin rush it conjures.
I’m sorry but The Beatles and The Kinks didn’t have it. As wonderful as they are, they never possessed that quality. They were too smart, too musically adept, to succumb to such a primal sound.
The Stones had it… for a while. Bon Scott era AC/DC had it in spades. The Stooges? Of course! Brainless and beautiful, sounds and attitude that make you nod your head in time with the rhythm section and play air guitar on your stick shift.
Stripper music. Cock-rock. Call it what you will, this hedonistic aggressive style of music has a secure place in the history of rock and roll and will never die. There will always be a place and a time for it as long as there are teenagers who feel alienated from their peers and society and want to get lost in a sea of angst-y chugg-a-lugging guitar mayhem.
For us thirty, forty and fifty-something’s it’s a wonderful form of release, a kind of therapy; a way to purge the day’s trials and tribulations.
It’s also fun as hell…
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
For eight years the Britons owned my rock and roll soul. Between the years of 1988-1995 I graduated from anarchistic punk rocker to blissed out Madchester/ Brit-Pop disciple. The music I enjoyed most from that era owed a massive debt to the psychedelic sounds of the 60’s and the burgeoning rave movement in England. It was a glorious mutation that changed the way I listened to music forever and from there I would go backwards, devouring the influences of these sonic genre bandits like salted pistachios. Unfortunately when one is obsessed with a particular style of music (well me, anyway) there’s the eventual casualty of buying a few horrible duds along the way that seemed groundbreaking at the time; The Soup Dragons, The Farm, EMF, Jesus Jones and many more.
But there were some absolutely fantastic songs and albums during that time that have stood the test of time and are still in regular rotation on my iPod. Here are my picks for the best songs for that 7 year period when ecstasy, rave culture and bangers and mash ruled my psyche and my stereo.
'88-Left To My Own Devices, by The Pet Shop Boys: I’ve got no less than 11 different mixes of this song currently on my iPod, and it’s one of the rare tracks I never, ever skip. It being produced by the great Trevor Horn is a plus, but it’s just a great orchestral slow builder that builds to a masterful climax of shimmering synths and orchestration. If you listen closely you can hear the blueprint for my pick of 1995...
'89-Fools Gold, by The Stone Roses: This song changed EVERYTHING! It was Frankenstein’s monster, Sympathy For The Devil of the rave generation. It had attitude and it had groove. A veritable architectural rendering for the next 5 years. Monumental.
'90-Hallelujah, Happy Mondays (Paul Oakenfold): The beginning of the DJ as an integral part of a groups sound. It changed the Mondays from thuggish 2nd raters to leaders of a new movement.
'91-Loaded, Primal Scream: Like the Mondays before them, Primal Scream were nothing more than wannabe’s, aping the MC5 on previous releases, before this. There were better songs on Screamadelica, but none with the impact of Loaded.
92-Connected, Stereo MC’s: Sure it’s funny to hear someone with a British accent rap, but for a brief moment it sounded very cool. They never equaled this, their moment in the sun.
'93-Lazarus, Boo Radleys: In my opinion, Giant Steps (the album on which this song originates) is the perfect album, definitely one of my desert island discs. Utilizing horns, searing guitars and dub as a base, this song sums up everything good and unique about British music around that time. Groundbreaking stuff, this.
'94-Supersonic, Oasis: Mixing The Sex Pistols and The Beatles with the attitude and free associative lyrical style of The Happy Mondays, Oasis exploded onto the scene in 1984 and this was the number that broke them. For me, anyway, as I never really cottoned to the big smash from Definitely Maybe “Live Forever”. They would die a horrible death with their third album, the bloated Be Here Now and would never regain their former glory. Blur turned out to be better, but at least they gave us one perfect slab…
'95-Common People, Pulp: Their grandly theatrical, synth-spiked pop with new wave and disco flourishes is mastered here on Common People. Exciting and socially acerbic, Common People tells the tale of a rich girl who wants to “go slumming” with the “common people”, and Jarvis Cocker and Co. are simply masterful on this, the best track from 1995.
Monday, September 8, 2008
The calm before the storm, folks...
Leonard Cohen, I’m Your Man
The Waterboys, Fisherman’s Blues
Fishbone, Truth And Soul
Living Colour, Vivid
Mudhoney, Superfuzz Bigmuff
Happy Mondays, Bummed
Cowboy Junkies, The Trinity Sessions
My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything
Dinosaur Jr., Bug
American Music Club, California
Butthole Surfers, Hairway To Steven
Camper Van Beethoven, Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
Jazz Butcher, Fishcoteque
Morrissey, Viva Hate
Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
Dwight Yokam, Buenas Noches From A Lonely Room
Jane’s Addiction, Nothing Shocking
Public Enemy, It Takes A Nation Of Millions
Pixies, Surfer Rosa
Pet Shop Boys, Introspective
The Pogues, If I Should Fall From Grace With God
Sunday, September 7, 2008
The folks over at Surface Tension "tagged" me with the following challenge:
Write 6 random things about yourself
Tag 6 people at the end of your post
If you're tagged, DO IT and pass on the tag...
Oh why the bloody hell not, eh?
#1.I used to be a DJ for a spell at a college radio station in Hamilton, Ontario Canada...the graveyard shift from I think 11pm-4am.
#2. I broke my hand by jumping into my garbage bin whilst attempting to "make room" for more trash.
#3. I used to be able to drink my age every birthday.
#4. I started a "newspaper" in high school entitled "The International Anarchist News" ("I.A.N.") and was tagged by the principal as an official "disturber of the peace". I subsequently locked myself into the gym supply room and played the Dead Kennedy's Too Drunk Too F*&k on a continuous loop until they dragged me out.
*Editors note: I'm not sure if I was "dragged out" by Mr. Barriault, or was forcefully asked to leave with some gentle shoving. Anyone from Pearson High want to chime in here?
#5. I have worked for a newspaper or print product in the advertising field for over 20 years.
#6. I am one of three heirs to the Johnson and Johnson fortune.
Nah, not really, but I couldn't think of the 6th...the heat here in Reddin' is frying my brain! No's 1-5 are absolutely true, however...
Like Erin I'm not big on taggin' folks, and Thom G's too far to really kick my ass for my lack of compliance...although I've no doubt he could. If you feel like doin' it, it's kinda fun, but if not...no worries. Unless you live in SD, within arms reach of the malicious Thom.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
From the NME: "The Grateful Dead may reunite in October, in an effort to promote the campaign of Barack Obama for President of the United States.
The legendary band will reportedly get back together on October 13 to raise money for the democrat’s campaign.
All four living original members will apparently play together — Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann, reports Fox News. The story says that Allman Brothers and Gov't Mule man Warren Haynes will lead the band.
The original leader Jerry Garcia, died in 1995 after suffering a heart attack.
According to the story, the band will use the show as a test-run for a possible full tour next year."
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
BIG STAR, #1 Record/ Radio City. All right, before you get excited and think that you got me on a technicality, I KNOW that the above is actually 2 records. I was a late bloomer to Big Star and these two albums, released on vinyl as one in 1978 and then again on cd in 1992, are definitive Big Star and should have been released as a double anyway. So there. Big Star, the Mack Daddies of all things power pop. Start here, they’ve never been bettered.
Allmusic states: “A two-fer combining Big Star's first and second albums, #1 Record/Radio City remains a definitive document of early-'70s American power pop and a virtual blueprint for much of the finest alternative rock that came after it.”
MATTHEW SWEET, Girlfriend. It was a toss up between this and the magnificently sticky sweet 100% Fun, and this one won out due to the inclusion of the title track, Divine Intervention and Evangeline. The fact that Television’s Richard Lloyd contributes fantastically abstract guitar licks as a counterpart to Sweet’s melodies is an added bonus.
Allmusic states: “Matthew Sweet's third album is a remarkable artistic breakthrough. Grounded in the guitar pop of the Beatles, Big Star, Byrds, R.E.M., and Neil Young, Girlfriend melds all of Sweet's influences into one majestic, wrenching sound that encompasses both the gentle country-rock of "Winona" and the winding guitars of the title track and "Divine Intervention." Sweet's music might have recognizable roots, but Girlfriend never sounds derivative; thanks to his exceptional songwriting, the album is a fresh, original interpretation of a classic sound.”
JELLYFISH, Spilt Milk. Although Bellybutton was by definition more “power pop” than Spilt Milk, this one contained better songs. More of a studio creation than it’s predecessor, it’s tracks were more sweeping in their scope, owing as much to Queen and ELO as the debut did to Big Star.
Allmusic states: “Dreamy vocal harmonies, circus-like swirling organ passages, and crunchy guitars are layered in a manner that evokes the best of the Beatles and the Beach Boys.
Spilt Milk is a flawless pop gem from start right through the unbridled optimism of the closing "Brighter Day."
SLOAN, Never Hear The End Of It. Geez, I could’ve picked anything from these guys and been right on the money. How does a band release album after album (10 since 1993!) of pure pop bliss and not become boring? It’s easy if you’ve got 4 excellent songwriters with 4 distinct styles who possess a strong competitive spirit to “one up” the others. Never Hear The End Of It is so varied that it begs comparison to the Beatles White Album.
Allmusic states: “…it's also a record to get lost in, since it is dense with alluring details that create its own distinct atmosphere. Coming from a band that seemed to be settled comfortably within its own sound, this kind of album is indeed a surprise, but this layered, kaleidoscopic album would not have been possible without good straight-ahead records like Action Pact: on those albums, they mastered their popcraft, and here they apply what they've learned on an inventive, excellent record that's their much-needed next great step forward.”
FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE, Self Titled. Just pure pop that manages to sound fresh and retro at the same time. Like Sloan they just seem to keep getting better, or at least maintain their consistant excellence.
Allmusic states: “The only non-modern aspect of it is the fact that the songwriting is so straightforward and wonderful; nearly every song is a pop gem. The result is an album that's almost innovative, when you really think about it — very few albums released in the '90s have been this pleasant, charming, and all-around likeable.”
CHEAP TRICK, Heaven Tonight. Most prefer At Budokan, but this remains my personal favorite. Containing the original studio version of Surrender, this was Cheap Trick at their purest and fuzziest.
Allmusic states: “Heaven Tonight is the culmination of the group's dizzying early career, summing up the strengths of their first two albums, their live show, and their talent for inverting pop conventions. They were never quite as consistently thrilling on record ever again.”
TEENAGE FANCLUB, Bandwagonesque. Every song a winner on this one, and just as influential and important as Nirvana’s Nevermind for bringing guitars back to the forefront. Containing some real muscle with Star Sign and The Concept, as well as some lovely “power” ballads with December and Metal Baby, Bandwagonesque is a perfect power pop album that really stands the test of time.
Allmusic states: “The gold standard of the early-'90s power pop revival, in its own way Bandwagoneque was as much a benchmark as contemporary records like Nevermind and Loveless; though not the generational rallying cry of the former nor the revolutionary sonic breakthrough of the latter, Teenage Fanclub's sophomore album nevertheless heralded the return of melody and craft, coupled with energy and spirit — hallmarks of much of the greatest rock & roll of the past, and virtues as rare as hen's teeth in the years immediately prior to the disc's release.”
ORSON, Bright Idea. With tons of soul, great songs and killer hooks that stay with you for days, Orson are the current torchbearers of power pop and they’re doing a damn fine job. I just wish they’d release their 2007 album domestically...
Allmusic states: nothing.
Other bands that didn‘t make the cut, for one reason or another: BUZZCOCKS, FLAMIN GROOVIES, RAMONES, SQUEEZE, THE RASPBERRIES, THE KNACK, THE RECORDS, THE POSIES.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
In this age of instant gratification and short attention spans, one can easily forget what a great experience listening to a great album back to back can be. I am not immune to the phenomenon of the “iPod Shuffle”, and it certainly serves it’s purpose. Since my commute to work is only about 24 minutes I don’t have the luxury of absorbing an album in it’s entirety…unless it’s the Ramones, of course.
There’s something to be said, however, for the continuity of an entire album and getting lost in it’s concept; and there’s no better way to do this than on a long road trip.
Although I myself haven’t been on a long road trip for a while, I can still remember the albums I discovered while on some of those treks.
The time of day, the weather and the geography can make a big difference in the lasting impact of listening to a record while away from home. Road trips are ideal for discovering new stuff. You’re stuck in the car (or plane, or train, etc) and it has your full attention, the scenery implanting indelible memories tying the place and the time to the music. It’s a wonderfully personal experience, and if you happen to be traveling with another like minded individual it can bond you in ways that’ll never leave your memory banks.
What albums have you discovered while on a road trip, or do you like the mixed tape plan of action? Let’s hear it.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Why does it take bands so bloody long to release an album nowadays? And don't give me that crap about "quality over quantity", either! Back in the 60's bands would release at least one album a year, a ton of them quality stuff, and that continued into the late 70's. 80's bands started taking a little more time between albums, like two years. I think "The Big Wait" phenomenon started in the 90's, possibly the late 90's, and it was all over but the...waiting.
It used to be that if a band didn't release an album within a couple of years their fickle fans would move onto something else, right? So what happened? Is it expense? Is it that bands are touring longer or is it that they don't have the types of contractual obligations with the labels they used to have anymore?
Please enlighten me with your acumen, oh insightful blog readers. I'd like to know.