Thursday, September 16, 2010

Show #40 September 4, 2010

For Christine and the Mods of '79

- Gruppo Sportivo Pop! Goes The Brain/Design Moderne
He's A Mover- Nikki & The Corvettes Nikki & The Corvettes
OK U.K.- The Smirks Most Fun You Can Have with Your Clothes On: Beserkley Story
Hey Princess- Popsicle Laquer
Rock 'N' Roll Heads- The Scruffs Teenage Gurls
Tournament Of Hearts- The Weakerthans Reunion Tour
Hear This- Slaters The Big Black Bug Bled Black Blood
Things Will Be Different- The Shods Thanks For Nuthin'
^Just The Girl- The Click Five Greetings From Imrie House
Down- The Rooks Encore Echoes
New Little Girl- Off Broadway On
Right Now- The Wild Giraffes Right Now
Prove It- Tweezers Already!
Coit Tower- Millionaire At Midnight Titan: It's All Pop!
*Away From The Numbers- The Jam Direction, Reaction, Creation
*Millions Like Us- Purple Hearts DIY Starry Eyes: UK Pop II
*One Way World- Secret Affair Glory Boys/Behind Closed Doors
*Cortina MK.2- The Lambrettas Beat Boys In The Jet Age
Can't Take It- Numbers Add Up
She's A Sleestak- Nerf Herder How To Meet Girls
Tell That Girl To Shut Up- Holly & The Italians DIY Shake It Up: American Power Pop II
Whole Wide World- Wreckless Eric Big Smash
Dying In Fiction- The Front Lines Where Do We Go From Here? EP
When Reality Hits You- The Genuine Fakes When Reality Hits You
>Substitute- The Who Meaty, Beaty, Big & Bouncy
Break My Heart Tomorrow- Steve Blimkie & The Reason Steve Blimkie & The Reason
I'm Shakin'- Blasters The Blasters
It's Too Hot- Billy Karloff And The Extremes Let Your Fingers Do The Talking
House of Mirrors- Will & The Bushmen Will & The Bushmen
I Can't Wait- The Jolt The Jolt

^Power Pop Peak: #11 Billboard Hot 100 8/16/05

*SacroSet: Britain's Late 70's Mod Revival

>Power Pop Prototype: 1966

Duxbury High School in the late 70's was home to several rigidly defined social groups. The Jocks (mostly football players, and some soccer players who could keep up beer for beer, in long sleeve oxford shirts, Levi's cords and expensive Addidas sneakers) were at the top of the social ladder followed by The Yachties (rich kids and soccer players, heavily layered in Izod shirt over a white turtleneck with optional crew neck sweater, khaki pants with whale belt, Top-siders shoes). Also at the top were some high functioning members of The Druggies (kids from families with less money, or upper middle class kids trying to pass in the DHS smoking area, most wearing white thermal under a flannel shirt and down vest, jeans and Timberlands). At the bottom of the pecking order were The Brains (in glasses, oxford shirt, v-neck sweater vest, Levis cords, and off-brand sneakers), most of The Druggies and the unnamed dorks, dweebs, nerds, etc. The majority of the school, myself included, was in-between these two poles, usually rising or falling with the vicious cycle of high school popularity.

Against such a mundane background, how could I not be completely enthralled with the multiple youth movements in Britain at the time:
  • The last of the Glam Rockers (make-up, spandex, sequins, top hats, etc.)
  • Punks (legitimately ripped up shirts, sweaters, leather jackets or those purchased, probably from Malcom McLaren)
  • Teddy Boy Revivalists (Drape jacket, brocade vest, bootlace tie, drainpipe trousers, creepers on their feet)
  • RudeBoys/Skinheads (Bomber jacket, jeans, Fred Perry shirt, suspenders, Doc Martens )
and the subject of tonight's SacroSet
  • Mod Revivalists (Italian three-button, narrow lapel suits, button-down collar shirts, skinny ties, military parka, pointy-toed "winklepickers" on their feet)
While my favorite music in high school was Punk Rock, I didn't have the guts to pull off any "punk" style beyond The Ramones' ripped t-shirt, jeans, Chuck Taylors look. Plus, I lacked the social "blind spot" shielding me from the ridiculousness of a middle class American suburbanite dressing like a working class British punk. The Mod Revival look was another thing altogether though. I might not be able to look like Johnny Rotten, but I could certainly pull off Paul Weller.

Right across the street from the original Newbury Comics in Boston was a store called High Society- the first vintage/mod/new wave clothing store I'd ever seen. With the little paper-route money I had left after buying records I'd buy a skinny tie or a badge from High Society. My first major clothing purchase with my own money was this incredibly cool blue plaid satin tuxedo jacket that I wore for years and my son Jack wore to a few ballroom dancing lessons when he was in the seventh grade.

Around this time my friend Ted Maguire, who had older sisters and was the most fashion forward guy in our group, discovered the glorious bounty of the Salvation Army. From that point on thrift stores became a regular part of our routine. A few towns north of us, there was an amazing store at the Cardinal Cushing School in Hanover. Once a month, on the 1st Tuesday I think, they would have a "Dollar a Bag" day. I still have suits, shirts, ties, tuxes and shoes I bought back then. Even to this day, I get a little thrill whenever I walk into a thrift store for which I thank the bands in the late 70's British Mod Revival.

Here is the link to download Hour 1 of this week's show:

And here is Hour 2:

Monday, September 6, 2010

Show #39 August 21, 2010

The Back To School Special is dedicated to Carrie Anne....

Carrie Anne-
The Hollies 30th Anniversary Collection
School Is In- Josie Cotton Valley Girl: Music From The Soundtrack
I Don't Want It- The Genuine Fakes I Don't Want It
Don't Let Go- Seventeen A Flashing Blur Of Stripped Down Excitement
Stupid Rock Star's Dream- The Riffbackers PPO 2009 Top Ten
What Happens Next- The Cute Lepers Smart Accessories
I'm Gonna Be The Lonely Boy Tonite- Cherry Twister At Home With Cherry Twister
Rebel 81- Pictures Kicks & Tips 7"
^Teacher, Teacher- .38 Special The Very Best Of The A&M Years
A Few Home Truths- Hoodoo Gurus Purity Of Essence
X-Ray Proved- Princes Of Peace X-Ray Proved 7"
If You Don't Want Me No More- Dogs Legendary Lovers
Kids Today- The Strand Seconds Waiting
Chance To Play- Milk 'N' Cookies Milk 'N' Cookies
*Hot For Teacher!- Thundertrain Teenage Suicide
*Teenage Dirtbag- Wheatus Wheatus
*Teacher's Pet- The Quick Untold Rock Stories
*School of Rock- School of Rock Soundtrack
Saturday Nite Is Dead- Graham Parker Squeezing Out Sparks
- The Numbers Govt. Boy 7"
You Can't Touch Her- Paul Warren & Explorer One Of The Kids
You Don't Have To Tell Me- The Blitz Panic Button 7"
Walk Away- The Pets Misdirection
Sing It Shout It- Starz Violation
>School Days- The Runaways The Best of the Runaways
When The Girls Get Here- The Young Fresh Fellows The Men Who Loved Music
Listen To The Heartbeat- DL Byron Shake Some Action Vol. 4
Sunrise On Sunset- The Hollywood Stars The Hollywood Stars
Throwaway Style- The Exploding Hearts Guitar Romantic
What I Got- The Wigs File Under: Pop Vocal
Schoolgirls- The Headboys The Headboys
I Wish I Could Go Back To College- Original Broadway Cast Avenue Q

^Power Pop Peak: #25 9/29/84

*SacroSet: Back To School

>Power Pop Prototype: 1967

My son Jack started his freshman year at Sonoma Valley High School on August 18th and daughter Veronica's 6th Grade year at Woodland Star Charter School begins on August 25th (and don't think she isn't grinding on her brother about him starting a week earlier). Doing research for this Back To School Special, I found so much music to play that I think I'll be able to make it a yearly event. I have to say though that the song I'm most excited about this week is The Genuine Fakes "I Don't Want It." I found the band when I was rounding up music for the Swedish show and I can't get enough of the song right now. The funny thing is, had I come across The Genuine Fakes in a record store I might have passed them by because they break one of my Record Shopping Rules, in this case "#5--No facial hair." As the picture above shows, The Genuine Fakes are 4 for 4 in the mustache department. Even with the offsetting positives of matching black short-sleeved shirts and ties, the soup strainers would probably be a deal-killer.

This got me thinking about about other Record Shopping Rules that I have almost subconsciously followed in my 35 years as a music consumer:
  • The best music ever made came out between 1975 and 1985. You could probably even narrow it down to 1976 to 1982. Now, that's just me talking, but I bet even the current bands I love (Hold Steady, Sloan, Fountains of Wayne, Big Kid, The Weakerthans, Kevin K and, for that matter, The Genuine Fakes) would agree.
  • Guitars are a must. I don't think I own any records that don't have guitars and I'm pretty sure I don't want to.
  • No more than five guys in the band. And it's five only because I'm making an allowance for a lead singer who doesn't play an instrument or MAYBE a keyboard player (see below). If it takes more than four people to play it, it's probably not for me. This is an excellent way to avoid Ska bands (other than the 2nd Wave British groups- The Specials, English Beat, etc.- it's a genre I avoid like the plague). The Boomtown Rats (lead singer, 2 guitars, bass, drums, keyboards) are a rare exception to the "5 Man Max" rule.
  • No "percussion." If the drummer needs to be called a "percussionist" or if the group has both drummer and "percussionist," I'll take a pass. And, if it says "drum programming," double check that you're in the right section of the record store because that ain't right.
  • No facial hair. Name one great punk rock band (aside from The Stranglers) that has a guy with facial hair. Now, name one Southern Rock band with a guy who ISN'T sporting whiskers. See?
  • Beware of keyboards. Think twice about a group that has a dedicated keyboard player. Organ may be okay (especially Farfisa, then maybe Hammond) but avoid groups with synthesizers, synclavier and anything else that sounds like it was made at NASA.
  • Women who rock are the exception, not the rule. I love the ladies, but let's face it, there are A LOT more women our there who want to be Kelly Clarkson, Miley Cyrus or Destiny's Child than want to be Suzi Quatro, Joan Jett or The Go-Go's. No judgement; that's just the way it is. After Blondie's success in the late 70's, all these female-fronted Power Pop groups got record contracts but many sounded like a pop singer in a rock band- "pretty" vocals with no grit to them- so I now proceed with caution.
  • Distrust horns. Granted there a few great bands with a saxophone player (X-Ray Spex, Hanoi Rocks...oh, I guess there are only two) but you've got to watch trumpets, trombones, etc. because again you're getting dangerously close to Ska territory. There's a reason Fear had a song called "New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones."
  • A record cover photo is worth a thousand words. Is the band wearing suits and skinny ties or cowboy hats and leather vests? They are sending you an important message- ignore it at your own peril. Of course, I played .38 Special tonight who are 100% in the latter category, so there are rare exceptions.
I'm sure there are other "rules" I've been following over the years, but like I said before, they are almost subconscious at this point. If I think of any more I'll be sure to include them in future posts. Also, if you have any of your own Record Shopping Rules, please leave a comment and I'll put them in as well.

Here are the links to download this week's show (Right Click and "Save Target As"):

Hour 1

Hour 2