Sunday, April 19, 2009

Show #7 April 18, 2009

For Wendy's near and far...

Wendy- The Descendents Enjoy!
Abracadabra (Have You Seen Her)- Blue Ash No More No Less
Homicide- 999 DIY The Modern World: UK Punk II (77-78)
The Silence Between Us- Bob Mould District Line
Undercover Agent Zero- The Flys See For Miles (78-80)
You're An Angel- Happy Hate Me Nots You're An Angel 45
Which Way- The Finders It's So Insane 45
Me And You- Adam Schmitt Illiterature
*Shelly's Boyfriend Bonnie Hayes & The Wild Combo Valley Girl: More Music From The Soundtrack
*A Million Miles Away- The Plimsouls Valley Girl: Music From The Soundtrack
*Johnny Are You Queer- Josie Cotton Valley Girl: Music From The Soundtrack
*The Fanatic- Felony Valley Girl: Music From The Soundtrack
E=MC2- The Celibate Rifles Platters du Jour
Chillout Tent- The Hold Steady Boys and Girls in America
Easy Action- The Pop Down On The Boulevard 45

*SacroSet: Songs from the film "Valley Girl"

Growing up on Massachusetts' South Shore in the late 70's/early 80's, I felt strongly that a person's record collection could tell you all you needed to know about them. (Yes, I was just like the guys in High Fidelity.) While my love of punk rock was barely apparent in my fashion choices (or non-choices really), I nonetheless felt it defined me more than any other aspect of my personality. When you love something that is considered "underground" in our culture, your first instinct is to try to share it with others. You want people to know how great it is and, in turn, how cool you are. I was soon to learn, however, that this is a double edged sword. Seeing the same jock douche bags that had been giving my friends and I crap for years in the Cape Cod Coliseum parking lot for The Clash's Combat Rock tour was in every sense a rude awakening. This was the band that changed my world view and to this day informs my political perspective. Yet, I was forced to witness these shirtless a-holes swinging t-shirts over their head screaming "Rock the f****in' CASBAH!" Did they even know what the song was about or what The Clash stood for? My head just about exploded.

Anyway, the whole Combat Rock incident (and The Clash's subsequent implosion in the face of fame) made me leery of any mainstream attention paid to my favorite bands. Luckily, most portrayals of "punk" in the early 80's were outright laughable. A January 1982 episode of CHiPs featured a punk band called Pain that caused multiple car pile ups wherever they went and September of that year saw the premier of Square Pegs with "new wave fan" Johnny Slash (who seemed more like a hippie acid casualty to me). The mainstream's most infamous examination of "punk" came in the December 1982 "punk rock episode" of the television show Quincy (in actuality titled "Next Stop Nowhere") which featured this quote from the program's namesake:

"I believe that the music I heard is a killer. It’s a killer of hope. It’s a killer of spirit."

So, needless to say I was VERY suspicious of the movie Valley Girl, released in April of 1983 and marketed as a "Punk" Romeo & "Val" Juliet. The great thing about the film is that punks Randy (Nicolas Cage) and Tommy (Michael Bowen) are neither the raging tool psuedo punks of CHiPs and Quincy nor the raging tool actual punks from Penelope Spheeris' documentary The Decline of Western Civilization, which freaked my friends and I out when we saw it in 1981. No, Randy & Tommy are just a couple of idiots who act like morons around pretty girls, and who can't relate to that? Deborah Foreman was also a great casting choice as Julie because she looks like a high school girl, not a super model, though the marketing people chickened out and left her off the poster (see above) opting instead for Randy's slutty ex who only has one scene in the film.

Doubtless aware of punk rock's limited commercial potential, Valley Girl Director Martha Coolidge was very savvy in raiding LA Modern Rock station KROQ's playlist for songs for the movie, even though there was no budget for a soundtrack at the time (Rhino didn't release the albums cited above until 1994). For me, the soundtrack represents Power Pop's losing battle for mainstream acceptance vs. the "new wave" sound that would come to dominate MTV and the pop charts in the coming years. You also have to love seeing The Plimsouls in the club scene, supposedly brought to the film by their friend Nicolas Cage.

In retrospect, it's easy to see why so many people have a strong bond with both the Valley Girl film and soundtrack. The filmakers weren't commenting on a subculture, they were simply trying to retell the Romeo & Juliet story for a new generation and they succeeded on all counts.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Show #6 April 4, 2009

A salute to Barbra's the world over!

Barbra- Modernettes Teen City E.P. 12"
What It Is- The Dictators Blood Brothers
The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism-The New Pornographers Mass Romantic
Dance The Night Away- Tweezers Already!
This Life Is Killing Me-Velvet Crush Teenage Symphonies To God
Ghosts of Princes in Towers- Rich Kids DIY Teenage Kicks: UK Pop I (1976-79)
Little Lost And Innocent- Milk 'N' Cookies Milk 'N' Cookies
Can't Wait- Piper DIY Come Out And Play: American Power Pop (1975-78)
*My Mind- The Scruffs Wanna Meet The Scruffs
*Stupid Enough- Van Duren Are You Serious?
*Thirteen- Big Star #1 Record
*Drive Like A Pilot- Tommy Hoehn I Do Love The Light
You Got It (Release It)- Pearl Harbor & The Explosions Drivin' 7"45
Da-a-ance- The Lambrettas Beat Boys In The Jet Age
Don't Get Excited- Graham Parker Squeezing Out Sparks + Live Sparks
Artie J.- Bizarros Bizarros
Stop! Wait A Minute- Pezband DIY Come Out And Play: American Power Pop (1975-78)

*SacroSet: Memphis Heritage

A few days ago I was listening to the Milk 'N Cookies LP trying to decide which song to play when my son Jack came into the Rock Room and said "I'm sorry Dad, but this music is really gay." My reply was "don't say 'gay,' say 'lame' instead," to which he responded "but I mean homosexual, although it is pretty lame too." I thought about trying to explain the whole mid-70's gender bending glam rock scene, where the most mincing, fey (though straight) dudes scored tons of groupies, but I think you had to be there, so I just said "do your homework." In Jack's defense, I have to admit Milk 'N Cookies are laying it on pretty thick, which is one of the reasons I like the record.

The "SacroSet" replaces the unimaginatively titled the “Theme Set” this week. That's "SacroSet" as in “sacrosanct,” which is defined as “1 : most sacred or holy : inviolable ; 2 : treated as if holy : immune from criticism or violation.” As much as I love Power Pop, it’s really the second definition I’m going for (and never mind about all the lower back pain relief remedies that have “sacro” in their name). I can't think of a better first SacroSet than tonight's, focusing on Memphis in the 70's, which helped kick start the Power Pop movement.

Another great addition are songs from the Rhino DIY CD's which David, a guy I went to high school with, reminded me of this week. David was no more geeky than the rest of us back then but he just couldn't play it cool when talking about things he was passionate about, especially music. I once spent a 45 minute car ride hearing him rant about Husker Du's Zen Arcade - the guy talked about that record like some people talk about Star Wars or Jesus. I was in a band in college called No Idea and to this day I don't know why we didn't ask David to be our manager. Who cares he wasn't a hip Boston Rock scenester- he was a fan, a great photographer and without his car we would have missed several shows. Anyway, when I sent out the e-mail about Show #5, David was the first person who responded. All Kindsa Girls' first request is The Rich Kids' "Ghosts Of Princes in Towers-" this one's for you guy.

So, looking up the DIY discs I found that ALL NINE OF THEM are available for FREE download at (I had to get this to extract the files Check out the first link for more information on this outstanding Rhino re-issue series. Thanks David!