Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Iggy Pop- New Values
The Bongos- In The Congo
Deer Tick- Baltimore Blues #1
Altered Images- See Those Eyes
Reverie Sound Review- Arrows
Belle and Sebastian- Funny Little Frog
Teardrop Explodes- The Fighting Takes Over
Of Montreal- Gronlandic Edit
Zoot Woman- Grey Day
Passion Pit- Moth's Wings
Cocteau Twins- Caroline's Fingers
Jeff Buckley- Grace (KCRW)
Jon Brion- Ruin My Day
Left Banke- Pretty Ballerina
Cheap Star- Pop Music of the Future
Stereolab- Moogie Wonderland
Be Bob Deluxe- Electrical Language
Gavin Castleton- Coffeelocks
Juan Son- Goldfish
O+S- We Do What We Want To
Pee Shy- Mr. Whisper
Kirsty MacColl- A New England
Billy Bragg- Cindy of 1000 Lives
Essex Green- Snakes in the Grass
Galaxie 500- Cheese and Onions
Mumford and Sons- Roll Away Your Stone
Gemma Hayes- Happy Sad
Housemartins-Think For A Minute
Mark Kozelek/Rachel Goswell- Around and Around (John Denver)
Juliana Hatfield- So Alone
Stranglers- Walk on By (Bacharach)
Medium Medium- Hungry So Angry
The Heavy- That Kind of Man
Bevis Frond- He'd Be A Diamond
The Samples- Waters Rush
Richard Butler- Good Days, Bad Days
Jeff Buckley- Dream Brothers (Sony Studios)
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
DJ Cam- In A Silent Way/Shhhhh (Miles Davis)
Betty Davis- He Was Freak
Frank Black and the Catholics- I Gotta Move
Captain Beefheart- Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles
Traffic- Hole In My Shoe
The Kinks- Days
The Lilys- Nanny in Manhattan
Eric Matthews- Fanfare
Midlake- We Gathered in Spring
Deer Tick- Art Isn't Real (Ciy of Sin)
Tobin Sprout- All Used Up
The Chills- Push
Beachwood Sparks- Sweet Julie Ann
East River Pipe- Make A Deal With The City
PJ Harvey- The Wind
Monsoon- Ever So Lonely
The Lilac Time- Julie Written on the Fence
The Innocence Mission- Sorry and Glad Together
Pete Townshend- Now and Then
Led Zeppelin- Bron-Yr-Aur
O+S- We Do What We Want
Ivy- Edge of the Ocean
Gil Scott Heron- New York Is Killing Me
The Stranglers- Baroque Bordello
Magazine- Definitive Gaze
Gavin Castleton- Coffeelocks
Katrina and the Waves- Spiderman
The High Dials- Fields of Glass
Dwight Twilley- I'm On Fire
Anthony More- Judy Get Down
The Hoodoo Gurus- I Want You Back
Lou Barlow- Caterpillar Girl
Death Cab For Cutie- Crooked Teeth
Jen Trynin- Getaway (February)
Thin Lizzy- Runnin' Back
Bob Mould- The Silence Between Us
The Who- Relax
Robyn Hitchcock- Goodnight Oslo
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Essex Green-Snakes in the Grass
Red House Painters-Japanese to English
Queen-She Makes Me (Stormtrooper in Stilletoes)
Monsoon-Ever So Lonely
BLK JKS- Kwangingetje
Zombies-I Remember When I Loved Her
Angelique-Mio Amore Sta Lontano (Zombies from Danger Man)
The Nerves-Hanging on the Telphone (Original version)
Cat Power-Hanging on the Telephone
Imperial Teen-Yoo Hoo
Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band-Boogie 'Til You Puke
Chris Stamey and Yo La Tengo-Venus (Television)
Juliana Hatfield-So Alone
Mutton Birds-Come Around
NRBQ-Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard
Chandler Travis Philharmonic-Baby, Come Get Your Cat
Sitting Next To Brian-Cloudy Silver
J Mascis-No Good Trying (Syd Barrett)
Nada Surf-I Like What You Say
Roy Harper/Jimmy Page-Same Old Rock
Big Star-For You
The The-Soul Mining
Jerry Harrison-Worlds in Collision
The Hang Ups-Sign The Letter
Papas Fritas-People Say
Decemberists-California One/Youth and Beauty
Merrie Amsterburg-Lay of the Land
Monkees-Porpoise Song/As We Go Along
Saturday, February 6, 2010
"The old Rocker wore his hair too long,
wore his trouser cuffs too tight.
Unfashionable to the end --- drank his ale too light.
Death's head belt buckle --- yesterday's dreams ---
the transport caf' prophet of doom.
Ringing no change in his double-sewn seams
in his post-war-babe gloom.
Now he's too old to Rock'n'Roll but he's too young to die."
I wonder how long the static radio format and genre known as "classic rock" will last. No era of music has ever been cryogenicized on the radio for so long. It's a hoary old oeuvre on permanent repeat-play. I don't deny the importance or quality of much of this rock, but its implicit attitude toward musical evolution is "try as they might, they'll never top these 300 songs."
"They've thrown away their blue suede shoes."
Classic Rock is comfort food and functionally no different than the canned "big bands and ballads of the '40s and '50s" format that I used to run off four reel-to-reel machines at WTTT-AM in Amherst in the 1980s. It's the same 40 odd year difference between Sinatra's prime and WTTT circa 1985 that it is between Zeppelin's heyday and today's classic rock format. But where this used to frustrate me on behalf of new generations that might think Classic Rock starts and ends with those 300 songs, the true depth of rock music's library is re-awakened in the interet-age. Now that commercial radio is not the all-powerful monopolizer of most musical discovery for the public, the gold mining has begun in earnest for music lovers.The gates are open if the voracious are ready for the cornucopial musical orgie to commence. Have some Skip Spence with your Bon Iver? Don't mind if I do.
So where does one find this vast archive of great rock music that the narrow-casters of rock radio have always cast off like the dough left around a cookie cutter? Talk to the gang at the record store Turn It Up! and they'll tell you as much about the Shangri Las as they will Arcade Fire. On the air, WRSI 93.9 The River is a rare gem as well, programming from their ears and hearts with just the right amount of oversight and a savvy integration of advertising that keeps the commerce palatable and relevant to the listener. (Plus they gave me a three hour radio show to explore music even beyond their already generous margins. The only thing as fulfilling as listening to a song that moves me is turning someone else onto it.) WMUA at UMass is all over the map but it's my old home and is never a dull trip. Online, KCRW Santa Monica's Eclectic 24 stream is another brilliant source for music discovery. In print, the seemingly bottomless, Mojo Magazine is a terrific lens for viewing rock music without the meddlesome tethers of time. Their ethos is also my model. All music exists all the time. The Zombies will always be ripe for discovery and nestle comfortably side by side with the Decemberists on any iPod.
Parents these days have an easier time of it turning their younger kids onto Hendrix and the Beatles than parents of the 60s and 70s did trying to hip the youngsters to Bobby Goldsboro or even Elvis Presley. Elvis seemed like an old fart when I was 11. In fact Elvis was just 38 when I was 11. But whew, that was a beefy 38.
Jimmy Page told Cameron Crowe in 1975, "I just felt that I wouldn't reach 30. That's all there was to it. It was something in me, something inbred. I'm over 30 now, but I didn't expect to be here." After being a generally hazy figure, Page is now an increasingly public and coherent guy whose enthusiasm for music remains, as is clear in the film "It Might Get Loud" and a recent Mojo Magazine article about his personal "jukebox." It makes me feel better to be 46 seeing Page make sense of 66.
I've noticed that it does start to get a little silly for straight ahead rock bands to keep going through the motions ala the Stones, U2, or this Sunday's guaranteed painful spectacle of The Who at the Super Bowl. Artists like Loudon Wainwright and Springsteen are better suited to bringing their music along for the whole ride. Most would cite Dylan. I've loved getting older with Loudon and his records and shows. So what if these guys need two pee breaks during their sets these days. They've earned it.
"Now that I am dead, my agent finally said, he wanted to have lunch with me.
Now that I've deceased, my record sales increased, I'm making lots of royalties.
I'm the composer, decomposing, I'm in the Rocker's Hall of Fame.
My songs the critics they are praising, yes they've even learned to spell my name!"
--Richard Thompson "Now That I Am Dead" (Bill French)
"And he was too old to Rock'n'Roll but he was too young to die. No, you're never too old to Rock'n'Roll if you're too young to die."