Saturday, December 22, 2007

May we rock you?

The sonic juggernaut that was 1993's Saturation was the high water mark for the Chi town trio. The album still rocks hard 14+ years later. Fed by a steady diet of power chords and smack, when time came for a second helping, there was nothing left but scraps.

Fast forward. From Wakefield, England we have The Cribs. Straight ahead rock with a predisposition towards rock star entitlement. When you buzzsaw chords like these guys do, I guess cocky is just part of the job description.
Both bands prove that rock is and always will be fun.

I didn't think there could be a new Urge. I might be wrong. Time will tell, if the lads can steer clear of the scag.

I'm just sayin'.

MP3: Bottle of Fur

The Cribs-Mirror Kissers

Urge Overkill-Positive Bleeding

Friday, December 21, 2007

A wizard. a true star

Forever flying just under the radar of the pop music mainstream, Todd Rundgren has sustained a 40 + year career through dedication, reinvention and a devoted fan base. I was approaching the ripe age of four when Mr. Rundgren released what I believe to be one of a few absolutely perfect albums, flawed only by the limitations of analog recording and the media of the day, vinyl. The result was a compromise in quality, surely a small price to pay for an opus of such magnitude.

Born out of the era of the 'concept' album, ‘A Wizard, A True Star’, prophetic in in nomenclature, was less cocksure rock star bravado and more a definitive statement from an artist reaching maturity, displaying the true scope of his ability at the zenith of his creativity. Mr. Rundgren backs it out of the driveway, spins it around the block a few times and shows us all just how shiny it is. His effortless capacity to transcend styles combined with a mastery of instruments is altogether masturbatory and dazzling at the same time. In 1973 he was short circuiting Moogs while the rest of us were playing Pong.

Dare I say it. This is a seminal recording.

Since childhood, this masterpiece has had a major impact on my life, so much so that I quoted a line from ‘International Feel’ in my high school yearbook. Still a good line even 20 years after I had the wherewithal to use it.

It would be impossible, without serious copywrite infringement to share the complete breadth of the LP without sharing it in it’s entirety, so I will simply post a medley from the end of the second side. Besides that, you should own this record. It is a cornerstone in any collection.

Check the vid to get a load of the new age hippie getups on the boys, complimented with an authentic Ankh guitar (ala Logan's Run). Frilly shirts = hard rocking.

Can you imagine all this while shacking up with Bebe Buell and rearing the offspring of Steven Tyler?

I’m just sayin’.

MP3: I Don't Wanna Tie You Down

MP3: Is It My Name

MP3: Just One Victory

Dirty on Purpose -

Serena-Maneeh video for

The Early Years - All Ones And Zeros

My Bloody Valentine, Only Shallow

All ones and zeros

Just as I hate to label bands, I love to take the easy way out and lump then together for ease of classification. Probably not fair, but there is always an air of urgency and importance that's implied by grouping together peers as part of a movement. Like they actually all got together and said, let's all make somewhat similar music and let the world know that this music is important music. Only critics are that pretentious.

That said, the whole 'Shoegazer' revival thing has really got me. I was a big fan of the first wave back in the late 80's early 90's. My Bloody Valentine, Ride, you remember, right?

Well, it's back and quite good. Some of the latest crop include The Early Years, Serena Maneesh and my personal faves, Dirty on Purpose. Brooklyn in da house!

Now on the count of three, everybody look down. I think I need some new laces.

I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Motors - Airport

Power pop quiz

A guilty pleasure or a legitimate sub-genre of pop? I have always pondered the question, never arrived at an answer but continue to enjoy the wonderful hook-filled songs of the Power Pop period. This little diddy from London pub band the Motors, reached a respectable #4 across the pond. Formed in 1977 by Nick Garvey and Andy McMaster, later joined by Bram Tchaikovsky and Ricky Slaughter the band enjoyed only limited success. When it came time for final call, only Tchaikovsky went on to further achievements (1979's 'Girl Of My Dreams).

I've also included a song I have always loved. The Records 'Starry Eyes' from 1979. To this day I'm not sure of the history behind this song, but pop music about the pop music business makes for a great pop song. Not unlike The Beatles' 'Ballad of John and Yoko', this cautionary tale is delivered in a perfect, time tested, radio friendly three minute format. Follow the link to bliss.

One last thing. The Top of The Pops clip. What is with that Andy Gibb peroxide quaff on host Jimmy Sayville? A baton? Fingerless vinyl gloves? I think I really missed out on the whole Qualude thing.

I'm just sayin'.

MP3: The Records-Starry Eyes

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Maniac/manic depressant

With all the ink currently flowing about Anton Corjbin's Ian Curtis biopic, Control, coupled with the fact it's snatched up armfuls of indie festival prizes faster than peel and eat shrimp at an early bird buffet, I felt it fitting to use Joy Division as a point of departure. To where, I'm not exactly sure.

In the realm of popular music, and art in general I believe there are no more original thoughts. No new ideas. No fresh innovations. It's all a matter of tweaking the existing. Re-purposing and repackaging the past. Albeit these new combinations are akin to 'new', but they are in reality, hardly original. Hey, don't get me wrong, I like the Editors, but they are not covering any new ground.

Rock and Roll is based on three chords and there are only 12 notes on the scale. Do the math, it is a finite number. Case in point, a little musical deja vu, Joy Division's 'Shadowplay' and Micheal Sembello's 'Maniac'. Here we have two songs, pop songs that couldn't be farther apart stylistically, yet if you listen closely, the tempo and guitar (especially the solo) are quite similar.

Was Micheal Sembello channeling Bernie Ian Curtis? It's as odd a coincidence as Chicago's Peter Cetera sporting a Bauhaus t-shirt in the video for 'You're the Inspiration'.

In addition to the songs, the videos are also somewhat alike. Mr. Curtis' dancing acumen is not quite on par with the french body double who performed in place of Jennifer Beals in the film, but I bet if you caught Ian during a real nasty, tongue swallowing epileptic fit, you might mistake the two.

I'm just sayin'.

Hello there

The theory goes that a million monkeys typing at a million typewriters will produce the entire works of Shakespeare. Let's see what one monkey can accomplish.