Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Show #84 August 18, 2012

Dedicated to Rosie and The Robots!

Rosie- The Kooks Junk Of The Heart
Yours Truly, 2095- ELO Time
Into The Light- Soul Asylum Delayed Reaction
Mary Of The 4th Form- The Boomtown Rats The Boomtown Rats
She Said Goodbye- The Phones I'm So Neat 7"
Choose to Play- Redd Kross Researching The Blues
Paint By Numbers- Code Blue Code Blue
Vegetable Row- Cotton Mather Kontiki
^Mr. Roboto- Styx Mr. Roboto 
True Love- The Del-Lords Johnny Comes Marching Home
Groovy Times- The Clash The Cost Of Living EP 
*New Wave Robot- Battered Wives Cigarettes
*I'm a Robot- Weezer Death To False Metal
*Robot Love- The Valves Robot Love 7inch 
*Monkey vs. Robot- James Kochalka Superstar Monkey vs. Robot
*Robot- The Futureheads The Futureheads
*The Robots- Ian North Neo LP 
*Do The Robot- The Saints (I'm) Stranded 
*Robots- Flight Of The Conchords Flight Of The Conchords 
Get Off -The Dandy Warhols The Capitol Years [1995-2007]
No Substitute- The Shivvers Til The Word Gets Out 
Soul Rejection- Happy Hate Me Nots Out 
>The Robots- Kraftwerk The Man-Machine 
Nobody's Business- The Click Five TCV 
Silly Place- The Wondermints Proto-Pretty 7"
The Valiant- Urge Overkill Rock and Roll Submarine 
Running for Your Life- Tommy Keene Behind the Parade
Miss You Baby- The Vacant Lot ...Because They Can
Lonely Boy- Walter Clevenger and The Dairy Kings Love Songs To Myself 
Dance- Kevin K Band Nightlife 
The Robot Song- The Scribbles The Scribbles 

^Power Pop Prototype:  #3 Billboard Hot 100 2/12/83


>Power Pop Prototype:  1978 

I was a big fan of Lost In Space when I was a kid.  My mother tried to ban the show in our house, having grown tired of Dr. Zachary Smith's annoyingly aggressive alliterative asswipery.  Yet I was astoundingly adamant:  I had to have my Lost In Space.  (Mum must have REALLY hated Dr. Smith because the only other show she ever banned was The Three Stooges, and that was only after I bit my sister Sarah's nose.)  Of course, I couldn't tell my mother that I hated Dr. Smith too.  Watching the show I'd always think "why don't the Robinsons kill the guy?  Don would do it in a second if they'd let him! If that's too hard on the kids they could just strand Dr. Smith on a desert planet!  Come On!"  Will was a boy genius who could fix anything yet he would stick up for Dr. Smith show after show- it was very frustrating.  The Robot, on the other hand, was always messing with Dr. Smith.  It was one of the reasons I loved "him" (few robots were gender neutral before Star Wars- insert C-3PO joke here).

The Robot was played by Bob May and voiced by Dick Tufeld.  Between them, they created one of the most indelible characters of my childhood.  That monotone voice- my first exposure to dry wit came courtesy of The Robot- made it all the more exciting when "he'd" freak out, start yelling and waving his floppy arms all over the place, which happily was just about every episode.

Whenever my friends and I would talk about Lost In Space I'd always say The Robot was my favorite character- yet this was a lie.  And forget about the Robinson parents (June Lockhart and Guy Williams), they were, well, parents and thus as invisible as my own.  Judy Robinson (Marta Kristen) was super pretty, but barely there- it's like the writers forgot to give her a personality.  I did like Major Don West (Mark Goddard), despite the fact that he managed to get the crap kicked out of himself or get stuck under a giant boulder every episode.  Seriously, the guy took more blows to the head than Mike Tyson.  I was 12 years old before I realized that getting hit in the back of the head with a lead pipe was most likely fatal.  So, Don was not my favorite.  Nor was Will Robinson (Billy Mumy), though I respected his intelligence and was envious of his relationship with The Robot.  While I would not reveal it under pain of torture, in my deepest heart of hearts I had a secret, unspoken motivation for watching the show:  Penny.  From the first moment I saw Lost In Space, I was taken with Penny Robinson, played by Angela Cartwright (at 13 years of age, an "older woman" to me).  I thought Penny looked great in the early black and white episodes but once we got a color TV she literally blew my mind.

It wasn't a sexual thing- I was six years old for God's sake!  It was just that watching Penny filled me with a warm feeling.  She was compassionate and always fighting for alien animals, even making a pet of a bloop (see picture) that  she  adorably named "Debbie."  (Chimp in a hat?  Looks like a "Debbie" to me.)  Older kids would talk about sister Judy Robinson, but my heart belonged to Penny.  Now that I think about it, maybe Judy's whole reason for being on the show is so we don't have to worry about a space horny Don making a play for young Penny.  I literally shudder at the thought.
Like many of the TV shows I watched as a kid (Gilligan's Island, I Dream of Jeannie, etc.), Lost In Space doesn't really hold up when viewed as an adult.  Several years ago I brought a DVD home to watch with the kids and I couldn't get them to sit through more than an episode.  It wasn't even "good bad" or "craptastic" to them- they live in an on-demand world and have no patience for entertainments that are not perfectly suited to their tastes (sigh).

You never really know where these things come from, but I bet I can track my preference later in life for brunettes with bangs back to Penny Robinson from Lost In Space.  In the 5th Grade at Chandler School in Duxbury, Mass. I had a massive crush on a girl named Kathy Grealish.  She didn't have bangs but her dark hair, dimples and freckles just killed me.  Rachel somebody, who also sat at our table in Mrs. Chase's class, would catch me staring at Kathy and I would be mocked heartily.  Yet, I couldn't stop.  I hadn't watched Lost In Space in years so at the time I never consciously linked Penny and Kathy but in pulling the photos for this post I see the resemblance is uncanny.  No wonder I was so flummoxed back in 5th Grade- I had a Penny Robinson sitting directly across from me!  Of course there are limits- I ended up marrying a bang-free fair skinned blonde with nary a dimple or freckle.  Jaime loved Lost In Space too, though her favorite was Don (boooo!) for reasons I'd rather not know...

Download links for tonight's show are below (Right click and "Save Link As")
Hour 1
Hour 2

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Show #83 July 28, 2012

This One's For Carrie!

Carrie- Dirty Looks Turn It Up 
Living For The Weekend- Farrah Moustache
Rock 'n Roll Is The Answer- Joey Ramone ...Ya Know? 
She's Boss- Psycotic Pineapple Where's The Party
Turn It Up Loud- Candy Whatever Happened To Fun
Hey DJ- Paul Collins' Beat Ribbon Of Gold
I Won't Let Me- Descendents Everything Sucks
Happy Most Of The Time- Brendan Benson What Kind Of World
^Weekend- Wet Willie Which One's Willie
Full Power- Pezband Cover To Cover
You Need A Friend- Sunnyboys Individuals
You Need Pop- The Speedies Speedy Delivery
I Slept In An Arcade- Black Randy And Metrosquad I Slept In An Arcade 7"
Ready To Snap- The Wanderers Only Lovers Left Alive
*Weekend- The Boys Boys Only
*Weekend- Bankrupt Rewound
*Weekend- Last Dinosaurs In A Million Years
*Weekend- The Dictators Go Girl Crazy!
*Weekend- The Diodes Tired of Waking Up Tired
Researching the Blues- Redd Kross Researching The Blues
All The Things That Go To Make Heaven And Earth- The New Pornographers Challengers
I Did the Wrong Thing- The Toms The Toms
Cut to the Chase- David Myhr Soundshine
Everytime- Times Square Joanne 7" 
You Can't Do That- The Tremblers Twice Nightly
>Week End- The Kingsmen Week End 
Leave It In Motion- The Stompers The Stompers
Nothing To Me- Tinted Windows Tinted Windows
Before We Were Born- The dB's Falling off The Sky 
Growing Up- Any Trouble Where Are All the Nice Girls? 
The Weekenders- The Hold Steady Heaven Is Whenever

^Power Pop Peak:  #29 Billboard Hot 100  5/26/79

*SacroSet:  "Weekend" Songs

>Power Pop Prototype:  1958 

How's this for a small world...  Our friend Todd has a camp up in Philo, CA on the Navarro River and he asked Jaime to teach a drama class during their annual Music and Arts program earlier this month.  My son Jack was at the CSSSA program at Cal Arts in Valencia, so it was just Jaime, my daughter Nica, her friend Jessie and I at River's Bend.  We were staying in one of the "rustic cabins" and it was pretty nice- electricity, beds, sheets, chairs on the front porch- except for the uphill walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night (hey I'm 47 okay?).

Most of our fellow campers were self-acknowledged hippies and had been coming for at least ten years so for the first day or so we felt like outsiders.  Yet there's nothing like eating three meals a day with people to break the ice and by mid week we had hit our stride.  Nica and I threw our first pots on a pottery wheel while Jaime and Jessie worked with water colors, encaustic paint and mixed media collage.  Afternoons were spent at a swimming hole on the Navarro a short walk from camp.  I really love playing guitar around an evening camp fire and I think some of the younger campers appreciated hearing some songs recorded after 1974 for a change.

During one of the ice- breaking meals early in the week I had a conversation with a guy named Henry that eventually wound its way into (surprise!) music.  I talked about my radio show and he said he had been in a band in Berkeley back in the day.  When I asked the name of the group I was shocked to hear him reply "Psycotic Pineapple."  Not only had I heard of the group, I have all their records, my favorite being their LP Where's The Party?  pictured above.  What's more, I had already pre-recorded this week's show which included the song "She's Boss" from the album.  I'd even corresponded with the group's bass player John C. Berry a few years back when I bought one of their singles on e-Bay.  Turns out I was talking to Henricus Van Holtman (he's the guy on the far left) Psycotic Pineapple's guitar player.  He talked about playing the Mabuhay, The Stone, The I-Beam and other legendary Bay Area clubs.  Psychotic Pineapple shared the stage with just about everybody at the time:  Crime, The Mutants, The Rubinoos, Avengers, Pearl Harbor and The Explosions, etc.  Seems like they were as well known for their gig flyers as for their music.  Bass player Seabury (that's the correct spelling of his name) created the character "Pynoman" who appeared on their record sleeves and flyers.  (He even created an animated series in the late 90's.)

On the camp's Talent Night Henry even performed a Psycotic Pineapple song, his own composition "Headcheese"

Headcheese, I like headcheese
It's got eyes and ears and nose and lips
and everything I like except the tongue

I make my own, I boil the heads and bones
Then I grind it up and put it in an ice cream cone
It's good for you, my whole family eats it
Come over to our house, you'd really like it 
Come over to our house you'll have a real good time

Headcheese, it's the dead cheese
It's got eyes and ears and nose and lips
and everything I like except the tongue

Henry went to see the Sex Pistols at Winterland in January 1978.  In fact, once he mentioned it I remembered hearing Psycotic Pineapple referenced in the KSAN radio interview with Steve Jones and Paul Cook that later showed up on on the Pistols' Some Product album.  Despite all reports that the show was terrible, highlighted by Johnny Rotten's "ever get the feeling you've been cheated," Henry thought it was great.  Of Sid Vicious Henry said:  "he couldn't play a note, but man what a strap length- he could barely reach the strings."  (I've heard the same said of The Clash's Paul Simenon, so it's a compliment in my book.)  The video of that Winterland show is fascinating to me.  The one and only encore is The Stooges' "No Fun," which ended up being the Pistols' final performance (I'm not counting the reunions and neither should you).  Drummer Paul Cook is working his ass off, guitarist Steve Jones starts out trying but by the end of the song is gobbing on the audience, Sid Vicious is in a daze (he would overdose later that night and end up at the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic) and Johnny Rotten is watching all his Machiavellian conniving, cheating and scheming disintegrate before his eyes.  It's pretty powerful stuff.
No fun indeed.  I hope the surviving Sex Pistols can look back without bitterness and spite and appreciate the good times.  That's how Henry talks about Psycotic Pineapple and their Where's The Party album back in the day.  Sure the Pistols inspired a generation of douche bag Sid Vicious wannabees (just take a walk down upper Haight Street on a Saturday afternoon if you don't know what I'm talking about) but as always its the music that matters and Never Mind The Bollocks is an all-time great. 
Hour 1
Hour 2

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Show #82 July 7, 2012

Dedicated to Steve...  and to Angeline!

Angeline- Pointed Sticks Part Of The Noise
It Must Be Summer- Fountains Of Wayne Utopia Parkway
Someday's Gonna Come- The Reducers Cruise To Nowhere
She's A Heartbreaker- Radio City Class of '77
Gaygirls Dance- Remod Life Of The Party
Icy Tracks- David Myhr Soundshine
Blow Me Away- The Fingers On The Radio
Never Again- This Perfect Day Don't Smile
^Summertime Girls- Y and T Summertime Girls 7"
For Free- The Tearaways Ground's the Limit
What Should I Do?- Durango 95 Lose Control
World To Cry- The dB's Falling off The Sky
Mallo Cup- The Lemonheads Lick
Midnight- The Revillos Attack of the Giant Revillos
*Constructive Summer- The Hold Steady Stay Positive
*Summer Job- Art Brut Art Brut Vs. Satan
*Dorchester Summer- Future Dads 24 Winship
*Summer Holiday and Me- The Jessica Fletchers Less Sophistication
*Endless Summer- Travoltas Endless Summer
*Hot Summer- The Lonely Boys The Lonely Boys
*It's Summertime, Baby- The Cute Lepers Can't Stand Modern Music
*Summertime Fun- Nikki and The Corvettes Nikki and The Corvettes
Going Nowhere Fast- Joey Ramone ...Ya Know?
Run To The Cities- High Rise Run To The Cities
Now- The Plimsouls The Plimsouls... Plus
>The Door Into Summer- The Monkees Listen To The Band
Right Time- The Crowd A World Apart
Untitled- The Saints Eternally Yours
Met Your Match- Brendan Benson What Kind Of World
Ten Fingers- The Pursuit Of Happiness I'm An Adult Now EP
The Summer Rain- Shoes Shoe's Best
Hawaii Five-0- The Ventures Hawaii 5-0

^Power Pop Peak:   #55 Billboard Hot 100 7/13/85

*SacroSet:  Summer Songs

>Power Pop Prototype:  1967

Tonight's show is a lot like life- some sadness but mostly greatness.  Yet the cool thing about life, and this show, is that the greatness makes the sadness easier to take and the sadness makes the greatness seem even greater.  I was very sad to read about the passing of Reducers' bassist Steve Kaika earlier this month.  As I've mentioned in previous posts, during the early 80's I interviewed The Reducers a few times when I was working at WERS and the band even came to Boston once to play on my show "Metrowave."  Singer/guitarists Peter and Hugh did most of the talking in the interviews, but Steve was always happy to contribute as well.  The thing is, from an aesthetic standpoint I had big problems with Steve when I first started going to Reducers shows.  While Peter and Hugh sported the band's signature pocket-T/Levi's/Chuck Taylors look,  Steve had what I considered a far less appealing "old rock and roll dude" style:  pointy toe boots/flares/sleeveless shirt and feathered long blonde hair.  Furthermore, his bass playing beyond reproach, Steve’s singing on the first album came dangerously close to the dreaded "fake British accent."   By the band's third album Cruise To Nowhere though, my opinion of him had changed.  Steve sported the same boots, flares and hair but I'd grown to love his singing, especially on tonight's selection "Someday's Gonna Come:" 

You can see him standing there
Another young kid on the subway stairs
You gotta wonder why they even try
He's just arrived and he's so bold
He's gonna reach his hand out and grab a hold
Of the world that's spinning by

He say’s “someday’s gonna come for me,
just you wait and see,
someday’s surely gonna come for me”

The weeks turn into months
And then the months turn into years
It’s funny now things don’t look the same
But he’s still waiting for his chance
He’s gonna dig in and toughen up his stance
He knows you gotta stick to your guns

He say’s “someday’s gonna come for me,
just you wait and see,
someday’s surely gonna come for me”

You can see him standing there
An older man with a wistful stare
He wonders what went wrong with his schemes
He’s toed the line and played the game
But all his dreams were shot down in flames
It’s not as easy as it seems

He say’s “someday’s gonna come for me,
just you wait and see,
someday’s surely gonna come for me
someday’s surely gonna come for me
He say’s someday’s surely gonna come for me”

The compassion in Steve’s voice gets me every time, I really can’t imagine snide Peter or gruff Hugh singing the song as well.  Cruise to Nowhere also shows Steve in fine form on “Jackpot Fever” and “Boys Will Be Boys,” the latter another of the band's anti-cop songs (how bad can the police in New London, CT be?).  One of the great things about The Reducers is that every album is a revelation.  Peter is my favorite singer on the first LP (“Out Of Step,” “Better Homes and Gardens,” “All About You”), on Let’s Go it’s Hugh (“Bums I Used To Know,” “Your Mother,” Maximum Depression”), Steve on Cruise To Nowhere and on the later albums drummer Tom even steps up to the mic.  The Reducers have been together for over 30 years and I can’t imagine the group without Steve Kaika- he will be missed.

Now onto the great news…   New music is traditionally not a big part of ALL KINDSA GIRLS.  First, there is so much of it these days it would be a full time job keeping track of it all.  (The great Ed Slota is the only person I know who is up to this herculean task.)  Second, maybe it’s my age, but a lot of the new stuff I hear these days doesn’t do it for me.  For every great band I discover like The Wellingtons, I have to sift through 50 indie rock groups who care more about social networking than making great records.  Music critics are no help as they throw the word “pop” around so much it has lost all meaning.  Frankly, it all makes me tired, so I’d rather just put on a Plimsouls or Big Star record and save myself the trouble.  That said, there is nothing like hearing a great new record for the first time and on this week’s show I have FOUR of them:
  • David Myhr, a member of 90’s Swedish power pop giants The Merrymakers, has released his solo debut Soundshine and it is awesome!  The guy has forgotten more than most of us will ever know about crafting brilliant pop hooks and melodies.  Already a solid “Best of 2012” contender;
  •  The dB’s are back!  Holder, Holsapple, Rigby and Stamey- the four guys that made the iconic Stands For Decibels and Repercussion albums are back with Falling Off The Sky and it is a very fun record.  Chris Stamey’s “Before We Were Born” stands among their best songs; 
  •  …Ya Know? compiles a grab bag of Joey Ramone recordings from the last years of his life.  It is so good to hear his voice again;
  • Brendan Benson has released another glorious power pop album What Kind Of World.  This guy deserves serious radio play- hopefully he’ll get it this time.

An embarrassment of riches!  I’ll be able to say “new music on ALL KINDSA GIRLS” a lot in the coming week’s- hopefully you’ll join me.

Download this week’s show here (Right click and “Save Link As”):