Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Review: Anti-Flag - Terror State
The revolution will be all-ages. How else could Anti-Flag fans participate?
Before this morning I'd never heard Anti-Flag. I had neither interest nor opportunity. How many cycles of middle class anarchy numbnuttery can one person take in a lifetime? But!, in service to the blog I listened to the latest musical manifesto from the band that compelled someone to create an anti- Anti-Flag site. I didn't buy the cd because property is theft and money has the word God on it.
In 2005 Anti-Flag signed a distribution deal with RCA, a major label, making them as immensely hypocritical as fellow whizz-diddlers Bad Religion. That's almost all you need to know.
I expected the music to be sloppy and the words unintelligible, which wasn't the case. I knew that if the music was good I'd have to give credit to a band whose pro-Stalinist genocidal politics I despise. After a few seconds of listening to Terror State I started laughing because what I was hearing was absolutely inconsequential. It's just another children's pop-punk album from Fat Wreck Chords, America's #1 source for children's punk rock from political pedophiles.
On Terror State Anti-Flag is a combination of NOFX and The Clash. There's bits to mosh to, sing and shout alongs, slappy rodeo pit and military style drumming and lyrics that speak truth to power:
there's repression and intolerance/on any deviation from the norm/in all factions of your life/at this time of entry/into war say HEY-HEY/if you know what they sing say HEY-HEY/if you know what they sing say HEY-HEY/if you know what they sing say HEY-HEY-HEY/POWER TO THE PEACEFUL-WHOA-OH
The music just isn't new or exciting. I guess you have to be into them for their message and what they stand for. Maybe they're cute. Four Letter Word is a much better political band and since they're from South Wales their political posturing doesn't reek of rich kid belligerence.
The last track, "One People, One Struggle", is littered with the following line, "The people, united, will never be defeated!". It doesn't even rhyme! Sham 69 fans are spinning in their collective graves. It would work better as "If the kids, eat their donuts, they will never, ever go nuts." It's as funny as the Family Guy where Peter and Lois are at a KISS concert. They're front row and after Gene Simmons sings "I want to rock and roll all night..." he shoves the mike in Lois' face and, since she doesn't know the words, she mumbles ""Um, and have a wonderful time." In Lois' case, sweet, in Anti-Flag's case,........
Ah, what do I know? Maybe the Amazon.com reviewer was right when he wrote "YOur stpid if you hate this band!!!"
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
The Speedies Speed To The Rescue Of HP!
Obscure but great 70s NY power pop/glam/punk band The Speedies scored a major victory in their 25 year battle to break into the national consciousness. Hewlett Packard is featuring their single "Let Me Take Your Foto" in a national tv ad campaign. Who would have thought? It's like winning the lottery while lighting hits you. Then again, who ever thought The Ramones' music would one day be used in commercials.
There's a Speedies revival on the way and I'll be there cash in hand. Their two singles are out of this world great.
No word yet if Speedy Alka-Seltzer will rejoin the band. They say he fizzled out in 1982.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Little Shop Of Horrors... Live!
Saturday night caught me at the thee-ay-ta to see the fancy-shmancy touring production of Little Shop Of Horrors. The 1960 Corman quickie is one of my all-time favorites, and if my mind wasn't like a steel spaghetti strainer I'd have the entire script memorized by now. Mel Welles (Gravis Mushnik) has a website that hasn't been updated in ages. The 1986 Frank Oz musical taken from the campy stage play is also great, and I like the happy ending much better. Oz's film also made wise changes and deletions from the source material. "Ya Never Know" sounds a lot better as "Some Fun Now" and the added "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space" makes "Now (It's Just The Gas)" and "Mushnik & Son" irrelevant.
The stage show is the least of all three Little Shop options. It's too long and tunes fall flat. It ends on a depressing note that doesn't need to be. Sure the 1960 film ends with Seymour dying, but it's his payback and the kicker of "I didn't mean it!" is hysterical. The stage show ends with the urchins talk-singing that Audrey II cuttings went around the world and they grew up and ate everybody. It's redundant since it was more than implied in the prior scene.
The set was great and the different plants were mechanical marvels. I'd love to see a high school production of Little Shop. It makes more sense on a small budget with non-professional actors. I'd REALLY love to see the 1960 script filmed as a tele-drama like Playhouse 90. Here's my favorite lines from the Corman classic:
(Gravis, being asked for a discount) "Look on me, Mrs. Shiva. Vat am I, a philatelist? I sell on Skid Row nothing but cheap carnations, and I should give you a cut rate. I can't even afford water for the flowers. To my own throat I would be giving a cut." (G, after arguing with Dr. Farb on his measly flower order) "Who am I to argue with science?" (G, after Seymour asks if he was being yelled for in the back) "No, I was calling John D. Rockefeller for to make a loan on my Rolls Royce!" (on radio as S enters mother's apartment) "This is Radio KSIK. You've been listening to "Music For Old Invalids". Our next selection is titled "Sick Room Serenade" (S's Mother, giddy upon pulling out bottle from paper bag) "Doctor Slurpsaddle's Famous Tonic. (Reads label) To be taken internally or externally for pain of neuritis, neuralgia, headache... if hit by a truck, call your physician... alcoholic content , 98%!!!! Oh Seymour, you'll never know what this is going to do for me (drinks) Oh, I can feel that surge of warm health going through me already (burps)" (G to S when he hesitates revealing the name he gave the plant) "Vat, you gave it a dirty name you can't even mention it?!" (A) "Don't feel sad Seymour." (S) "Don't waste your pity on me, Audrey. I'm not worth it." (A) "Who says you're not?" (S) "Everybody." (A), "Yeah, I know.... I think you're a fine figurative of a man." (A to S) "Don't worry, You'll be another Luther Glendale". (S, correcting her) "Pasadena". (A) "Burbank". (S to Audrey Jr. upon realizing it feeds on blood) "Who woulda thought it? Well, I guess there's just no accounting for people's tastes." (G, admiring the plant's initial growth) "It grows like a cold sore from the lip." (G, choking up while talking to two high school girls) "You got ta-ta-ta two thousand dollars just for to spend on flowers? Who died, the Chamber Of Commerce?" (G to S when he fantasizes he'll be rich) "Do you see that big sign in the sky? It says 'Gravis Mushnick'... in French!" (G, upon seeing the dying plant) "I can see it all now, We are in the poor house. That big sign in the sky, it's reading 'Seymour Krelboined, R.I.P, in Arabic !!!!" (S to newly talkingA Jr.) "I never been to college and I ain't been around much, but I'd be willing to bet there ain't no such thing as a talking plant... but I'll take your word for it." (G to A in restaurant) "Now dat is what I call a salad. What do you call that salad?" (A) "Caesarean." (Dr. Farb looking in Seymour's mouth) "I'll have this one, and this one, and that one, and I have to have this one Seymour!!!" (S) "It's only one tooth." (F) "Seymour, who's the dentist here, you or me? Are you practicing dentistry without a license?" (Wilbur Force to S as dentist) "Now, no Novocaine. It dulls the senses." (A Jr. to S, carrying a dead body) "Feed Me!!!!" (S) "Aw, take it easy, Dracula. What do ya think I'm carrying here, my dirty laundry?" (G to A Jr.) "Who would you like to have tonight?" (A Jr.) "You look fat enough." (G) "We not only got a talking plant, we have one that makes wit smart cracks. Well, you listen to me, you botanical bum, food you wouldn't get, not from Gravis Mushnick!" (S) "There ain't another cook in the whole world like my ma." (Mother) "That's what your old man said before the louse ran out on me." (Prostitute to S) "How's the rain on the rhubarb?" (Seymour's Mother to police officer Frank Stoolie) "Let me see your tongue.... know what you got? (Stoolie) "Just the facts, maam."
Friday, August 26, 2005
Family Guy: Episodes 7-9
Quality went up in episodes 7 and 9. #8 must have been written by the ghost of Michael O'Donoghue. Episode 7, Brian The Bachelor, had a lot going for it, mixing plot-lines and avoiding creator Seth McFarlane's personal agendas. The cow kite and dejected angry monkey scenes were good, but not as great as Stewie's taunt of Brian:
"How you uh, how you comin' on that novel you're working on? Huh? Gotta a big, uh, big stack of papers there? Gotta, gotta nice litte story you're working on there? Your big novel you've been working on for 3 years? Huh? Gotta, gotta compelling protagonist? Yeah? Gotta obstacle for him to overcome? Huh? Gotta story brewing there? Working on, working on that for quite some time? Huh? (voice getting higher pitched) Yea, talking about that 3 years ago. Been working on that the whole time? Nice little narrative? Beginning, middle, and end? Some friends become enemies, some enemies become friends? At the end your main character is richer from the experience? Yeah? Yeah? (voice returns to normal) No, no, you deserve some time off."
Episode 9, Breaking Out Is Hard To Do, was a little more hit or miss but it had what might be the best Stewie bit of all time when he drags a doodie-filled diaper behind him into the living room, pleading he can't eat because the diaper can't hold any more. "Who Else But Quagmire?" was also funny. The Blob and Haunted House bits fell flat.
Episode 8, 8 Simple Rules For Buying My Teenage Daughter, was spiteful and didn't know the characters well. Brian's at the bowling alley? Lois gets naked and dry humps 16 year old geek Neil? Written by Patrick Meighan, it's probably the worst episode this season. The Grand Gignol vomit scene was done just to cross it off the list of what the censors used to cut before Family Guy came back by mandate. It's not new. That type of humor was done nicely by Monty Python (Tennis, Anyone?) and then internalized and made into a career by National Lampoon and SNL writer Michael O'Donoghue. I'm not a fan of O'Donoghue. His "genius" seems to have been in setting up scenes of rigid conformity and then destroying it with shock value. As a person he seems to have been a snobbish prick with endless hatreds and affectations. Avoid this book, which the author makes unreadable by making it about his own pretentiousness.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
I wrote yesterday of The Big Boys. A third(ish or less) of their catalog, the funky part, I never listen to. This brought to mind another band I love when they're not doing stuff I don't get into - Canada's NoMeansNo. If they still exist, please let me know, and if their Ramones alter-egos The Hanson Brothers record again I'll buy each of you a pony.
I'm giving a shout out to my peeps and also giving them their props because when in need I can put my NoMeansNo mix-cd into ye 'ol walkperson and hoist weights like a fiend. Some tunes hit me like a cattle prod up the wazoo, which I usually pay extra for, so it's like money in the bank.
Most often a 3-piece centered around husky brothers Rob (lead vocals, bass, guitar) and John Wright (drums and vocals), NoMeansNo have the tightest rhythm section in punk. That cannot be contested and why would you even try? That would just be silly. They're fairly eclectic but their basic sound is steeped in punk, free-form jazz and hard rock. Maybe they're like The Minutemen meet Wagner. To me their weakest songs are their slow, heavy, overlong material, which comprises the bulk of their catalog. But the songs I do like... oh buddy!
Here's most of what's on my mix-cd. The first six tracks are the wazoo prodders I love so much:
The River/I've Got A Gun/Angel Or Devil/Dark Ages/Going Nowhere/I'm An Asshole/Body Bag/Canada Is Pissed/I Get Up In The Morning/Land Of The Living/Oh No Bruno/Joyful Reunion/ Dad. "Dad" is their take on Suicidal Tendencies' "Institutionalized" and I can only listen to it every other blue moon.
Like my main man Stan The Man Lee says, Alka-Seltzer!
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
R.I.P. Big Boy Randy "Buscuit" Turner (alt. title: Leaving Austin)
Hat Tip to the excellent Something I Learned Today MP3 blog.
Buscuit, one of the big boys in Austin, TX's legendary Big Boys, died on the 19th. The most eclectic band of the early American Hardcore era, they made Austin, TX a mandatory stop for traveling bands. They created and owned their scene like 7 Seconds and Minor Threat did theirs. Hardcore's #1 party band, they alternated funk, thrash and post-punk without mixing genres. I never went for the funk but between the three sweet collections The Wreck Collection, The Skinny Elvis and The Fat Elvis I've compiled a 80 minute cd that would convince anyone the Big Boys are mandatory. My pet theory is that the funk will always hold them back.
Turner drank himself to death. I find that sad, unfortunate and also pathetic. I didn't know him but I can't believe he didn't know about his condition at some point. Unless you can convince me otherwise, he committed slow suicide with booze. The Straight Edge guy in me thinks that's weak.
Here's how the Austin Chronicle reported it:
In the worst form of serendipity imaginable, Randy "Biscuit" Turner was found dead in his home late Thursday afternoon. Close friends had not heard from the local musician/artist for several days when Chronicle staff writer Marc Savlov, author of this week's cover story on the ebullient Austin icon, stopped by Turner's house to ascertain his whereabouts. Sensing something wrong, Savlov called the police, who arrived and found Turner's body inside. As of 11:30am Friday morning, the medical examiner's initial autopsy report attributes cause of death to "gastrointestinal hemorrhage due to cirrhosis associated with chronic [alcohol] abuse." Although time/date of death has yet to be determined pending a final report from the medical examiner, it's believed that Turner, 56, had been dead for at least several days.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Old Punk Memory 87 1/2
Frankie Says Relax (your sphincter)
This is as much my brother's memory from 1984 because he worked in NYC and saw a number of people afflicted with Frankie Goes To Hollywood disease. He thought it was hysterical.
I rarely saw the infamous Relax shirt on Long Island (pronounced Lawn-Guylind) but Frankie was one of the last nails in the coffin of New Wave as a genre one could take seriously. Duran Duran started digging the grave and Culture Club bought the wood and nails. They all have a special place in my version of hell.
In 1978 the Village People came out with "YMCA", my first experience with an obviously gay song embraced by straight people and even (I imagine) homophobes who never bothered with lyrics. What made the Relax shirt different was that you had to buy and wear it. It took conscious effort and money to get one.
What made my brother laugh was seeing obviously heteronormative and macho homophobe types wearing it in full-blown obliviousness of what Frankie was saying you should relax.
Every time I think of Frankie Says Relax I remember the imitation my brother did of your typical NYC numbnut saying it like it was the cool thing to say.
Monday, August 22, 2005
I resisted writing about Cindy Sheehan because the political wars of the left and right have no appeal to me. But hey, I need something to write about.
Cindy Sheehan proved to be a narcissist who's taken the unfortunate death of her son in Iraq as an excuse to go insane in public. She's wasted all her pity points on raw hatred. She realized the ultimate fantasy of a Munchausen By Proxy mother, focusing the world on herself and her lose, like she's the only one who's ever felt pain. Her son's death was the best thing that ever happened to this nobody hausfrau who embodies the great Vindictives tune "Future Homemakers Of America"
I found myself turned off by her incessant cursing. I was appalled when I read she spoke at a rally in support of terrorist-abetting bag-lady lawyer Lynne Stewart. Then, when she blamed the war on THE JEWS I decided any sympathy I had for her was replaced by a desire for only the worst for her for the rest of her days. Her family is embarrassed and her husband filed for divorce. She's well on her way.
I'm sorry her son died. That's about it. Cindy Sheehan, the sock puppet of suffering, makes me laugh whenever I see her cry a river.
Mark Steyn sums it up best, as he often does. Cindy Sheehan, another weird chapter in a country that rewards public displays of idiocy.
8/24/2005: I like this poster a lot. "Pull Out Of Iraq...And Let The Bloddbath Begin". I'm sorry, but whenever I see Sock Puppet Sheehan's sobby face I just laugh.
8/25/2005: Here's an article from Powerline that puts all things Sheehan into the proper chronology.
Friday, August 19, 2005
A Punk Cries
Many punks cry, but how many cry professionally?
Thursday, August 18, 2005
I Found That Essence Scary
I found this page, visited the home page and then the links. I needed the links to figure out Break For News is a far left site, since this level of dementia cuts across both the far left and right.
There's something seductive about fully formed conspiracy theories. They add drama to ordinary lives and make people feel important. The ego component of paranoia has always interested me. It's funny and scary at the same time. Nobodies become somebodies because they know everything's a lie, and now they're targets! How exciting!!
The list of fake CIA internet sites carries this disclaimer: "Note: We do not contend that everyone associated with these websites are knowing intelligence operatives. Some have been professionally manipulated, others merely misled. In any event these are promoting the psyop agendas and disinformation themes of the covert controllers. This is also not meant to be a fully comprehensive listing of all the fake websites."
Then on the links page of fellow travelers they link to sites they claim are fake CIA fronts. WTF?
Esther Wong Has Left The Building
Esther Wong, the unlikely "godmother of punk" who showcased such groups as Oingo Boingo at her Madame Wong's clubs in Chinatown and Santa Monica in the late 1970s and '80s, has died. She was 88.
She was immortalized in the Graham Parker song "Manoeuvres"
Downtown L.A. madam Wong's, someone puts a tape on a couple of songs, advertising the place next door, Madam finds out she sure gets sore, Out come the coolies, swinging their lead, get those rockers, take their heads, those poor souls must pay the price, they wind up in tomorrow's fried rice
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Review: Moving Units - Dangerous Dreams
Quality-wise, Los Angeles' Moving Units dwell somewhere in the upper middle in the ongoing super-post Gang Of Four era. They started around the same time as The Strokes and they share a similar aesthetic of treated vocals and driving percussion. They differ in their leanings toward asexual dance funk, traced back to The Talking Heads, Gang Of Four, Pigbag and others. My Washington DC local favorite of the genre was Egoslavia. I fell for The Plastics for a time but they haven't aged well. I'm not a fan of funk in general so when I like something it's because there's a lot more going on in a song besides booty shaking. I like Moving Units well enough.
Allmusic claims "Between Us & Them" as the best song on Dangerous Dreams, and if you like Franz Ferdinand I think you'll agree. "Going For Adds" is my pick, A Franz Ferdinand sounding tune without the disco glam. Dangerous Dreams is interesting in that they reference different bands and sometimes mix them. "Emancipation" and "Birds Of Prey" sound like both Gang Of Four and The Strokes. "Scars" is 30% Joy Division and "Anyone" manages to evoke Ultravox.
There's a bunch of good tunes here but, not sadly, I was born without the funk gene. I'll listen to this again but it's not like Interpol and The Futureheads, influenced by Joy Division and XTC respectively.
Rant O' The Day
I liked this rant on Starbucks and Hippies. So should you.
Onward, To Victory!
Victory Records, taking a full-page stand against the man.
Read the text. It's agit-prop 101
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
The Horrible Truth About CBGBs
Hey Kids! Did you catch the Mission Of Burma reference in the title?
NYMary has a powerpop blog and she posted a recent entry on the fate of CBGBs, which may have to move or close down. Someone called DeepToej left a comment that speaks to the truth of the matter that CBGBs has been legendary, as in the past tense, for a long time. Everybody knew it/knows it but unless you go there all the time it's hard to know for sure. DeepToej writes like he's been there and he's going back in two weeks.
In my opinion, CBGB has not been a viable music venue since the end of the 80's. As much as I really like the physical space of the club, and the quite good sound system, I am rarely provided with reason to go there. The main problem is their policy of putting on 7 or 8 bands every night of the week, usually without thought of compatability. So Band A shows up to play, and a few friends come out to see them, then the band and their friends leave, and Band B shows up with their friends. Maybe that's profitable, but what the hell, it's hardly going to motivate someone to check their ad in the Village Voice every week, which is what I did religiously years ago. Maybe it gives bands an opportunity to play, but there are many, many... many clubs in New York for bands to play.
Danceteria Lives On. 3 People Notice
There once was a club called Danceteria, from whose bathrooms you could get diphtheria, I went there once and I felt like a dunce, so I vowed never, never, never to go back there.
If you were in New York City a quarter century ago and wanted to be rub shoulders with fellow hipster doofuses, one of many places you could go was Danceteria. There's a web site reviving the memory of the club, and it's worth visiting to look at the flyers and such which were the best of a visual style very popular at a time when white Capezio shoes and those red framed owlish glasses whose name escapes me were popular.
At the time, in one of NY's five burros, there was a gas station called Gaseteria.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Off The Punk Wagon And Lovin' It
I visit Interpunk on a regular basis just to see what's new and popular. I don't read zines anymore and a number of punk sites appear to be nothing more than corporate dumpsters for band announcements. Here's one. There's another.
I have no idea who these new bands are, and a while back I lost interest. I've poured a lot of time and money into keeping up with the (Steve) Joneses since 1976. I officially gave up buying music on a weekly basis maybe four years ago and I'm so happy to be out of the loop. And richer too (richer being a very relative statement).
I've always wondered how much it costs on a yearly basis to be current with "the scene". I have no idea what I've spent, but if I had invested everything I ever spent on pinball, comic books and records into early Microsoft stock I'd now own pinball machines, a gazillion comic books and every record I've ever heard of.
Ah, but that's what time travel is for.
Laughing At Courtney Love
Friday, August 12, 2005
Review: The Psychedelic Furs - Greatest Hits
The Psychedelic Furs are my favorite post-punk new wave band. I like their cut and paste lyrics, the sax work on the early records and both Richard Butler’s hoarse voice and Bowie mannerisms. I saw them in their original lineup and twice more, the first show a classic, the second really good and the third a waste of time. For that last show they had a full row of lights at the stage level directed into the audience's eyes. No fun.
A few others and I sat in a bar with Richard Butler after the second show. He was funny, he listened, he didn’t hold back and for the autograph he gave me he wrote “love” twenty times in a row because I had said he uses the word a lot. Fun.
I own all their records but I listened to the Greatest Hits CD to see how it works as a package. Right off the bat it earns brownie points by opening with “Sister Europe” from their classic first LP, the album a very logical progression from The Velvet Underground to the post yet still very much punk era. People who bought the disk thinking the Furs wrote “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” would expect it to open with “Pretty In Pink”. BTW, the John Hughes movie was titled after the song, not the other way around.
It’s almost mandatory to own the debut and Talk Talk Talk. Forever Now and Mirror Moves lead into a more commercial sound but are both more than fine albums. Midnight To Midnight, Book Of Days and World Outside yielded a few good songs each but that’s about all. By that point the Furs became like The Kinks and Iggy Pop – surrounding a few good tracks with the musical equivalent of packing peanuts.
The tracks are “Sister Europe”, “Mr. Jones”(single version), “Dumb Waiters”, “Pretty In Pink”, “Love My Way”, “President Gas”, “Here Come Cowboys”, “Heaven”, “Heartbeat”, “The Ghost In You”, “Heartbreak Beat”, “Angels Don’t Cry”, “All That Money Wants”, “Sometimes”, “Until She Comes”, “There’s A World Outside” and Only You And I” (live). The single version of "Mr. Jones" is not as good as what's on the LP.
By the time of “Heartbreak Beat” the Furs were running on fumes, repeating the same mid-tempo beat in any new way Butler could dream up. The cd ends with a live version of “Only You And I”, from the third album. It’s there almost to rebut the last few songs, reminding one and all that the Psychedelic Furs were, at one time, the poop.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Old Punk Memory 37H
Rock The Cashbar!
I saw The Clash on their 82-83 Combat Rock Tour. I saw so many camouflage pants (like in the video!) I knew one of my favorite bands had jumped the shark, crested the wave and abandoned all hope. Cut The Crap came out three years later and it once again proved the maxim that you shouldn't title your work with a word like crap if it's literally crap.
'Cause I know people I went backstage after the show and Saint Joseph Strummer, (oops, wrong pic. Try this) was hypnotizing a room of teenagers with earnest talk while dub reggae played on a boom box. Since then I noticed Joe probably couldn't even order a pizza without being passionately sincere.
He seemed nice enough and utterly harmless. Hey, if you google "Joe Strummer" and "bad teeth" you get 102 returns.
Howie Comes Clean And Proves To Be Full Of Hooey
Howie's Blog came to an end Monday with his admission of pranksterism. The third of the three fake liberals with fake lefty blogs (Blame Bush! the creme de la crumb and Dean's Stop The Neocons a brutally funny attack on the English language), Howie started with misspellings like Dean and settled into straight leftist dogma designed to drive conservatives nuts and elicit unblinking support from liberals.
Howie was never funny and he never tried to be, but he did write some good bits on the need for surrender to our enemies. As Howie/Hooey admits: "Running across some lefty blog, DU I think it was, I decided to have a little fun. I came up with this blithering blather about passive survival and how we need to talk to Usama binLaden and building a mosque at Ground Zero. I wanted to see what reaction I got from the lefties."
The Oldpunks Blog is neither satire nor music blog. It's a joint project of the CIA, Cyberdyne Systems and Mo' Better Meatty Meat Burgers. My real name is 00100111000111101101.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
My internet pal and worthy foe New Evolutionist now has his own blog - Everything Hurtz, where he's starting out fast from the gate hoping for some of that sweet, sweet blog cash and fame. He knows more about what I know then I do so please visit and pay attention. He's only doing this once ya know, and he's doing it for, you guessed it, the kids!
Shut Up And Dance Like A Chicken
Sir Mick Jagger sticks it to the man as only a 62 year old multi-multi-millionaire can, by writing a song called "Sweet Neo Con". It will be on their new album A Bigger Bang. The tune contains the fist-pumping lyrics "You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite. You call yourself a patriot, well I think you're full of s..t".
Smash the state, Sir Mick, smash it good!
I bolded and italicized their new album because that was one of only two parts of the article I reacted to. The Stones record new albums? I thought they stopped once they became a touring oldies act. Their last well-reviewed album was in 1981. Tickets for their 2005 tour start at around $165.00, a price I imagine only neo-cons can afford. Really, why bother? Sing "Satisfaction", do the chicken strut and cart out the dead guy on guitar.
The article goes on to say:
"Jagger also took a dig at fellow band member Keith Richards, who lives in the United States. Keith said, 'It's not really metaphorical.' I think he's a bit worried because he lives in the S', Jagger reportedly joked."
Keith's in big trouble now! He sometimes comes within 100 feet of people who don't kiss his ass, so anything can happen now, especially since the Stones attack Bush on their new album, A Bigger Bang.
By the way, the Stones might be the greatest single inspiration for punk rock.
Update: A MisterPundit at another blog posted this comment, right on the mark: "Can you imagine Jagger singing about Osama Bin Laden 'You say you’re a Muslim. I call you a hypocrite'? No, of course not. The stupid f--k doesn’t have the balls. Then he goes on to say 'I’m not afraid'. Afraid of what? Those mythical angry neo-cons' who detonate themselves on busses? What a f--king puppet. "
Jim O'Sullivan provides new songs on the Stone's set list:
Let's Take a Nap Together
Gimme Tax Shelter
She's So Old
You Can't Always Chew What You Want
Grandpa's Little Helper
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
1/2 Of OMD Is A Hit Machine
Slate has an article today on songwriters, alone and collectively, who crank out pop hits for famous and non-famous singers and groups. It's interesting to consider the singer/songwriter vs. the songwriter and the singer, and if it makes a difference in the long run. My take is that it doesn't as long as a singer doesn't take songwriting credit where it's not due. Elvis Presley took false songwriting credit all the time. It put more money in The Colonel's pocket, and if anything fell out, that was Elvis' cut.
Bananarama and Dead Or Alive were launched by the team of Stock, Aitken and Waterman. For whatever reason I hold Dead or Alive in contempt for this. Wait, I know why, I've always held them in contempt for a list of reasons that expands with the universe. I like Bananarama.
I lit up when I read Andy McCluskey, former bass player and singer for OMD, who had a fine and highly defensible career up to Architecture & Morality, is now a hit maker himself. Andy looks a little like b-movie god Bruce Campbell. And I quote:
Andy McCluskey, formerly of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, created the girl group Atomic Kitten in 1999 and is now behind Genie Queen, a trio audaciously attempting to fuse R&N and '80s-style techno-pop. McCluskey recently declared in an interview, "Master craftsman is my job nowadays and I take it very seriously indeed."
I saw them play a few times and either I met Andy in 1981 or I just think I did. Either way he was very nice. He danced like crazy with his bass guitar when he wasn't singing, working it until you thought he'd do a half-gainer and fly off the stage. I wish him the best of luck.
Monday, August 08, 2005
Review: Echo & The Bunnymen - Songs To Learn & Sing
I can't think of a more uninteresting popular and influential new wave band than Echo & The Bunnymen. Often times you don't notice creativity and musical depth in groups you're not big on, and when Crocodiles came out in 1980 I was underwhelmed. I much preferred former pre-Echo associate Julian Cope's The Teardrop Explodes. I also thought visually Ian McCulloch was simply a less extreme Robert Smith. One was enough.
Listening to their 1985 hits collection Songs To Learn & Sing I've concluded there's very little "there" there when it comes to Echo & The Bunnymen. It's lacking in their most popular songs so I doubt it lurks on the b-sides. Sure they had some hits but oh my how shallow they were, repeating themselves and lacking cleverness and surprises. However a song starts is how it pretty much middles and ends. There's also an awkwardness in some of the rhythms.
On the high end you can lump them in with The Simple Minds and The Psychedelic Furs but Echo & The Bunnymen often give just a little more than Orange Juice and Aztec Camera.
Friday, August 05, 2005
Whip It! Whip It Good! (whip sold separately)
King Cameron Archer sends this link to a store selling Item #80417 - Devo Costume :
Protect the world from de-evolution when you wear this “radiation” Devo Costume based on the New Wave band. Costume includes an energy dome hat, a top with snap closures, pants with an elastic waist, and a wrap-around belt with Velcro® closure. Top and pants are made of tear-resistant plastic with imbedded threads. Fits up to men’s size 46. Sunglasses are not included. Devo Whip, item #80417, is available separately.Other items of note:
The Halloween Pizza Face (for the literalists)
Remote Control Farting Bear
Intro To When Cool Becomes Anti-Cool
Two days ago I ran across this Slate piece on Al Gore TV. It offers this punk cultural indicator which I take as more rhetorical than true:
Last night a sales flyer in my mailbox offered a true and pure example of the definitive punk/anti-punk transitive moment. Check it out. "Licenced band t-shirts from Marley to the Misfits." And what a selection! That (worn by a) dope Skull Logo Beanie looks real stoopid (stupid).
Thursday, August 04, 2005
You'd think Lookout Records would be perpetually swimming in da dough from sales of old Green Day records. Guess not since they're going under. That's too bad. They were a fun label. Yes, I label labels.
Wasn't there a scandal years back involving label founder Larry Livermore? One that was so horrible it was never written about directly?
The Lookout message board speaks!:
What sort of respectable thing is lookout to do other than praise Green Day for putting up with their bulls--t. Numerous bands have had to leave Lookout for this. Green Day should have dumped lookout years a go, but they new it would leave the label in shambles. Thank Green Day for giving lookout as many chances as they did. And criticize lookout for signing garbage bands and putting out albums with green day's money for the last 5 or 10 years.
Lou Screw of Junk Records forwards this list of the top 100 rare punk and new wave records from 76-80 as determined by the now-defunct Spiral Scratch magazine. It seems pretty arbitrary to me.
I own #8, XTC's "Science Friction". Can I retire now?
Joey Stalin's Home Page
The New Cosby Kid
So, I'm reading about Meth and I ran across Meth Mouth - "the rapid, rampant tooth rot that looks more like something out of a horror movie than a dental diagnosis." For a second there I thought junkies lost all their teeth except for two massive front ones, a la my main man Mushmouth.
The following pics are not for the squeamish. It ain't pretty. Kiss Me! Alive and living dead The Piece Of Resistance
Stick to booze, kids, and be sure to both brush AND floss. Otherwise this could be you. Hey Hey Hey!!
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Review: David Bowie - Bowie at the Beeb: Best of BBC Radio 68-72
Around 1976 I carried a picture of David Bowie in my wallet. I also had one of Lou Reed. That’s what normal 15 year olds do. I guess. I hope. Probably not. I had become a Bowie fanatic around 1974. I coveted each album up to Scary Monsters and then with Let’s Dance I lost interest. 2003’s Reality is pretty good.
In a world where there’s twice as many Bowie compilations than original recordings there has to be a feeling of overkill. He’s not dead but they’re always picking through his bones for meat residue to sell. Bowie at the Beeb: Best of BBC Radio 68-72 is a 2-disc set that takes Bowie from his Anthony Newley days to Ziggy Stardust, his most lasting achievement.
The first sixteen tracks are only interesting because they show you Bowie didn’t start on the cutting edge. He offers folk crooning and string sections, and he’s backed by what sounds like a generic house orchestra. “Width Of A Circle” and “God Knows I’m Good” are decent. Where’s “Please Mr. Gravedigger and “The Laughing Gnome”?! Whimsical Bowie fans want to know.
The set earns its value with the 1972 sessions. Mick Ronson and the Spiders From Mars really kick arse and the famous BBC techs record everything perfectly as usual. The session includes The Supermen/Eight Line Poem/Hang Onto Yourself/Ziggy Stardust/Queen Bitch/Waiting For The Man/Five Years/White Light White Heat/Moonage Daydream/Hang Onto Yourself/Suffragette City/Ziggy Stardust/Starman/Space Oddity/Changes/Oh! You PrettyThings/Andy Warhol/Lady Stardust/Rock 'N Roll Suicide
My box set contains a third disc from a live 2000 in-studio show. It contains Wild Is The Wind/Ashes To Ashes/Seven/This Is Not America/Absolute Beginners/Always Crashing In The Same Car/Survive/Little Wonder/The Man Who Sold The World/Fame/Stay/Hallo Spaceboy/Cracked Actor/I'm Afraid Of Americans/ Let's Dance.
Disc 2 is the keeper. The box retails for $26.98 and if you’re a Ziggy Stardust fan you may have to break down for this one.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Review: Bob Mould – Body of Song
Body of Song is a minor masterpiece. In the ever-evolving world of former Husker Du/Sugar singer/guitarist Bob Mould, sometimes you have to look back to find a reason to move forward, and Body of Song should make everyone happy except the eight CHUD who can differentiate between songs on Land Speed Record, a live version of The Emergency Broadcast Signal.
Bob has a Boblog where he details all things Bob. If you want to visit the homepage of the place Bob went last night for a Taco, check out Boblog (he’s a linker!)
Husker Du isn’t referenced directly on Body Of Song. It’s mostly Sugar and the solo albums. Sugar was a tighter late period Husker Du (Grant Hart was a loose, slappy drummer) where Bob treated his voice so it separated left and right, giving the effect of singing the track twice. On some Copper Blue tracks I swear that’s the case. File Under Easy Listening better centers the vocals. BTW, “JC Auto” on Beaster is a perfect song, Bob’s answer to the challenge of Big Black’s “Kerosene” and the fully realized bedlam hinted at here in there in the post-Husker era.
I have the first two solo albums, and I swear they sound like Gordon Lightfoot turned his amp to 11 for “The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald”, a heretofore unexplored nautical aspect to Bob’s work . Was Mike Watt an influence? (Well, was it? I’m asking.) In 2002 he released the synth-laden Modulate. Body of Sound does carry over a very few club elements but it’s not a dance record. Synths are now a common feature in what calls itself punk.
Here’s a track by track breakdown, but first, Body Of Song is great.
Circles – Bob’s untreated voice. He affirms his status as guitar god and king of the one-man wall of noise. A nice hint of sonic danger. (Shine Your) Light Love Hope – Opens with a dance counterstrike high hat beat and at first I panicked. The guitar kicks in and then it’s all good and I realize PIL did it a quarter century ago and I survived. Bob treats his voice so it sounds like he’s yodeling. My favorite track. Paralyzed – Untreated voice. Nice warm theramin sound. Bob’s best vocals. I am Vision, I Am Sound – Psychedelic like Bob playing with The Dukes Of Stratosphere. 1st album Sugar vocals. Underneath Days – Bob’s great when he belts out a note and holds it. Slight yodel in the vocals too. Nice hint of danger. Could have come from Beaster. Always Tomorrow – Untreated voice. Slight club groove feel but still nicely abrasive. A Sugar tune. Days Of Rain – Nice delay of the killer chorus. Worth the wait. Nice anvil-lite percussion and violin. Best Thing – 2nd Sugar album sound and vocals. High Fidelity – lost Sugar B-side. Bob lives in DC and I swear he got the idea for the cascading pipes from Kay Jeweler Christmas ads. The cheesy pipe organ is great. Missing You – An average Sugar track that should have been made more interesting. Gauze Of Friendship – Highly confessional lyrics with a seafaring quality to the later part. Beating Heart The Prize – Ends with a dramatic bang like Leatherface, the band that replaced Husker Du as my favorite band. Bob could have gone even more over the top on this one and I bet he will live. Great stuff.
Monday, August 01, 2005
The Legacy Of Jimmy Carter
I find this to be a very subtle absurdity. It made me laugh though.
Violent Femmes In The News!
The Las Vegas Review-Journal carried a little article on one-album hit wonders The Violent Femmes, together now for 25 years. Their classic 1983 debut is “the only album to go platinum without ever cracking the Billboard 200, the magazine's weekly list of the nation's top-selling albums.” That’s a cool factoid.
Bassist Brian Ritchie whines “Every band gets reduced to, if not to one song, a handful of songs. It's an injustice. It's not fair. It's frustrating, but that's just the way it is. I'm frustrated not only as an artist, but as a listener. Everybody is suffering because radio sucks."
Oh, please. “Blister In The Sun” has allowed The Violent Femmes to tour since 1983, and if that’s the only song the radio plays, that’s the only song the radio plays. They can get in line with every other band that thinks their entire catalog should be on constant rotation. “Blister In The Sun” got them this weekend section write-up and it gives Ritchie a platform to moan and insult other musicians. What the hell else does he want...
“Add It Up” and “Gone Daddy Gone” are equally good songs but they don’t get played on possibly any commercial music services. It’s the Holocaust all over again.