Friday, April 30, 2010

Show #31 April 24, 2010

For Josephine's historical and otherwise...

Josephine- Abbreviated Cieling Abbreviated Cieling 12" EP
Teenarama- The Records Smashes, Crashes and Near Misses
Hurricane J- Hold Steady Heaven is Whenever
(I Live For) Cars & Girls- The Dictators Go Girl Crazy!
Let Your Fingers Do The Talking- Billy Karloff And The Extremes Let Your Fingers Do The Talking
Miss You Baby- The Yum Yums Sweet As Candy
It Won't Do Any Good- Happy Hate Me Nots It Won't Do Any Good 7"
Cold Wind- The Bis-quits The Bis-quits
^He Could Be The One- Josie Cotton Valley Girl: Music From The Soundtrack
Die Trying- New Math Die Trying 7"
Frustration- Purple Hearts Frustration 7"
Sick of Brick- Kevin K And The Hollywood Stars Cool Ways
Private Army- Richard X. Heyman Hey Man!
Tell Me Why (Can't Understand You)- 20/20 20/20
*Downtown- The Cuban Heels Downtown 7"
*Burning Love- The Wild Giraffes Right Now
*Singing In The Rain- Just Water Singing In The Rain 7"
*Cool Jerk- Human Sexual Response Fig. 15
Paper Dolls- Rubber City Rebels Rubber City Rebels
Feel So Good- Spelling Mistakes Feel So Good 7"
Baby It's Cold Outside- Pezband Pezband
I've Gotta Change My Life- The Fleshtones It's Super Rock Time!
Hey! (Not Another Face In The Crowd)- The Thrills DIY: Mass. Ave. - The Boston Scene (1975-83)
Soft in the Center- Hold Steady Heaven is Whenever
>Wayside- Artful Dodger DIY Come Out And Play: American Power Pop I (1975-78)
Diamonds In The Rough- The Vertebrats Jackie's Gone 7"
Rhythm Guitar- Ben Vaughn Mood Swings
Big Brown Eyes- The dB's Stands for deciBels
Mesmerized- The Cold Mesmerized 7"
What's The Point- Sussex Treat Me Kind 7"
She's So Cynical- Modulators She's So Cynical 7"
Running Away- The Romantics Romantics And Friends-Midwest Pop Explosion
That Girl- The Scientists The Scientists
Very Temporary- Bob Mould District Line

^Power Pop Peak: #21 Billboard Hot 100 6/29/79

SacroSet: Power Pop Cover Songs

>Power Pop Prototype: 1975

While I love digging up obscure musical gems from the past, there's nothing like having a new release to look forward to. It doesn't happen very often these days because, I'm sorry to say, I've just lost touch with a lot of new music. When I was in college I could read Boston Rock or The Boston Phoenix and know something about nearly every band in the reviews and club listings, but those days are long past. As I've gotten older, I simply don't have time to keep up on current music. For starters, there seems to be so much more of it today. When I was a teenager you'd go to Newbury Comics and there would be about 10 or 15 new LP's and 45's each week, of which I'd be interested in 2 or 3. Now the Newbury Comics e-mail blast has about 40 new cd's every week, and that doesn't count imports and 7" records. Back then, it seemed like you could have a comprehensive understanding of a genre like Boston Rock, Punk, New Wave or Power Pop. Now it would be a full time job trying to focus on one genre from one country and even then you'd probably miss a lot.

The other issue, and I know I'll come off sounding like an old man here, is that I don't like a lot of the new music I hear. I've lost count of the times someone has told me "you've got to hear this amazing band" and when I do, I'm underwhelmed. Having worked with commercial radio stations for years, I've come to the conclusion that people's music tastes are established between the ages of 16 and 24. For a huge music fan like me, you could probably broaden it out to age 10 to 26. I imagine that for the rest of my life the new bands I discover and love will share some characteristics with those I loved when I was younger. That certainly is the case with The Hold Steady, who have a new album Heaven Is Whenever out May 4th. When I listen to them it often feels like I could have written the songs myself. Not the ones about being wasted on drugs and alcohol, of course, but a lot of the ones about music:

From "Constructive Summer"
Raise a toast to St. Joe Strummer
Sometimes I feel he was our only decent teacher
Getting older makes it harder to remember
We are our only saviors

From "Massive Nights"
We had some massive highs
We had some crushing lows

We had some lusty little crushes
We had those all-ages hardcore matinée shows

From "Stay Positive"
There's gonna come a time
Where the true scene leaders
Will forget where they differ and get big picture
'Cause the kids at the shows

They'll have kids of their own
And the sing-along songs will be our scriptures

From "Certain Songs"
I guess you're old enough to know
kids out on the east coast,
roughly twenty years old,
got coaxed out by a certain perfect ratio
of warm beer to the summer smoke
and the Meatloaf to the Billy Joel.
Certain songs they get so scratched into our souls

From "We Can Get Together"
Heaven is whenever we can get together
Sit down on the floor and listen to your records
Heaven is whenever we can get together
Lock your bedroom door and listen to your records

In the last 10 years I've been much more prone to be emotionally moved by films and books than by music. That's why Craig Finn's lyrics and The Hold Steady's music are such a revelation to me; they take me back to my first love, rock & roll. The great thing is that The Hold Steady isn't nostalgia. This music meets me where I am now- a 45 year old suburban dad- which is the thing I love most about it.

The other great thing about The Hold Steady is they are one of the few bands that can get me out to the clubs. The group is incredibly powerful live and I'm really looking forward to seeing them at The Fillmore in San Francisco next week. The last time I saw them was a mind-blowing experience that I will never forget.

Here's the link to download Hour 1 of tonight's show (Right click and "Save Target As"

And here's Hour 2

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Show #30 April 10, 2010

Oh Hillary, tonight we rock for thee...

Hillary- The Quick Mondo Deco
Crash- The Primitives Lovely
Tie Me Up- Johnny Thunders & Patti Palladin Crawfish 7"
What Can I Do- Fast Cars Coming, Ready or Not!
Zero Ambition- Back Seat Romeos Zero Ambition 7"
All That Matters- Pointed Sticks Part Of The Noise
Just A Chance- Badfinger Wish You Were Here
Monkey Suit- Pernice Brothers Overcome by Happiness
^Is She Really Going Out with Him?- Joe Jackson DIY Starry Eyes: UK Pop II
Baby You're A Star- Gidgets Ga Ga PPO 2009 Top Ten
Suspicious Minds- The Sports Don't Throw Stones
Schooldays- The Starjets God Bless Starjets
Stay Close To Me- Bad Brains Pay To Cum 7"
Comeback- The Rockers The Rockers E.P. 7"
*No Place Like Home- The Neighborhoods 12 Classic 45s
*1+1- Classic Ruins 12 Classic 45s
*I Want To Help You Ann- The Lyres 12 Classic 45s
*Academy Fight Song- Mission Of Burma 12 Classic 45s
One For The Road- Travoltas Endless Summer
New Difference- Manual Scan Plan Of Action EP
Searching For Affection- Contraband In The Night 45
Wig In A Box- Hedwig And The Angry Inch Soundtrack
You Say You- The Pencils Watching The Tears 7"
Is It Over- The Fevers Love Always Wins
>Shape Of Things To Come- Max Frost & The Troopers Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era
Paper Girl- The Jets Lover Boy 45
Telephone- Transistors Telephone 7"
Lost in the Supermarket- The Clash London Calling: 25th Anniversary Legacy Edition
Bad Indication- Off Broadway On
Don't Dictate- Penetration DIY Anarchy in the UK-UK Punk 1
One Of The Kids- Paul Warren & Explorer One Of The Kids

^Power Pop Peak: #21 Billboard Hot 100 6/9/79

SacroSet: Ace of Hearts Records

>Power Pop Prototype: 1968

Alright! We went two weeks without a major figure in Power Pop shuffling off this mortal coil! I have to say, it was great to get back to straight up rocking this week. The Quick's "Hillary" gets us off to a fine start and Joe Jackson provides another Power Pop Peak from the genre's 1979 heyday. As the blog post from Show #29's proves, the Davis In The 80's SacroSet got me thinking about late 70's/early 80's music scenes across the country, especially the one in my hometown, Boston, Massachusetts.

After The Real Kid's first album (which of course includes the opus "All Kindsa Girls"), my favorite early Boston rock records were the singles on Ace of Hearts. Classic Ruins' "1+1, "The Neighborhoods "Prettiest Girl," Mission of Burma's "Academy Fight Song-" these are amazing records that I would put up against the releases of any label anywhere in the world. The songs, the production, the artwork, the packaging- Ace of Hearts singles were second to none. I'm not alone in this assessment; The Neighborhoods single sold 10,000 copies and the Burma record sold out its first pressing of 7500- these are amazing numbers for 7 inches on a regional independent label.

Ace of Hearts owner Rick Harte is an eccentric dude but he knew enough to go out and find which bands were driving them wild in the clubs and he had the money to do something about it. You'd hear stories about his Phil Spectoresque tendencies in the studio (minus the firearms of course) like a 28 hour mix down session on "Max Ernst," the flipside of the first Burma single, that wasn't even the one they eventually used.

I met Rick Harte in the mid-80's when I interviewed him for a college project. He gave very cryptic answers to all of my questions and only loosened up when he could see I was a huge fan of the label. Then I blew it by asking him about having The Lyres (who he was managing at the time) play on my radio show, WERS' Boston rock showcase Metrowave. Apparently the band's last performance on the station was bootlegged in the Netherlands or Sweden and he was still pissed off about it. Anyway, before I left he gave me the rare color sleeve of Mission of Burma's "Trem Two" single and an uncut "Academy Fight Song" sleeve that still had all the registration marks which was VERY cool.

The early Ace of Hearts singles are compiled on the 12 Classic 45's CD pictured above. In my opinion, it's really only nine classic 45's as I don't care for most of the non-reissue releases on the label after the mid 80's. I'm not sure what happened, but it seems like Harte kind of lost it around that time. Still, from 1978 to 1985 the dude was a bona fide genius and he helped document an important musical era for which I'm deeply thankful.

Click on this link to download Hour 1 of tonight's show (right click and "Save Target As"):

And here is Hour 2: