Friday, October 12, 2012

Show #86 September 15, 2012

This one's for Caroline and all the Rose City Rockers!

Caroline- Throwback Suburbia Shot Glass Souvenir
I Wanna Be The One- The Yum Yums Whatever Rhymes With Baby
What Did I Do To Deserve You?- Joey Ramone ...Ya Know?
She's The One- Little Murders Stop Plus Singles 1978-1986
I Want You Now- The Feeling Twelve Stop And Home
Here In The Deadlights- Brendan Benson What Kind Of World 
Just What I Need- Nikki and The Corvettes Nikki and The Corvettes
Don't Cry To Me Babe- Sneakers Ear Cartoons 
^Rendevous- Hudson Brothers Rendevous 45 
Tired And Lazy- The Wellingtons Keeping Up With The Wellingtons
I Don't Wanna Cry- The Keys Shake Some Action Vol 1 (UK)
Uglier- Redd Kross Researching The Blues
Say Hello- The Late Show Portable Pop
Now She Knows She's Wrong- Jellyfish Bellybutton 
*Wait A Minute- Wipers Is This Real?
*Bathroom Stall- The Epoxies Epoxies 
*Fell in Love at the Arcade- The Soda Pop Kids Teen Bop Dream 
*Hope of the Hour- Dharma Bums Haywire
*Sleeping Aides And Razorblades- The Exploding Hearts Guitar Romantic
*Really Don't Mean A Thing- The Ravers I Was A Teenage Rock and Roller
*Bohemian Like You- The Dandy Warhols The Capitol Years [1995-2007]
*Modern Cinderella- The CRY! The CRY!
Simply Because- Rooney Rooney 
Gone To Stay- Tom Dickie and The Desires The Eleventh Hour
Go- The Heartbeats Go 7" 
>You Must Be A Witch- The Lollipop Shoppe Nuggets Box
Little Runaway- Radio City Class of '77 
Fall Back Down- Mike Viola and The Candy Butchers Falling Into Place
A Feeling- Research Turtles Research Turtles
All Our Good Times- The Nice Boys The Nice Boys

^Power Pop Peak:  #26 Billboard Hot 100 6/21/75

*SacroSet:  Portland Power Pop

>Power Pop Prototype:  1968 

I've only been to Portland, OR ("The Rose City," "Bridgetown," "Beervana," "Stumptown,"  "The City of Too Many Nicknames," etc.) one time, for a job interview in the mid 90's, and it is always been a town I've wanted to get back to.  Like most great cities, Portland had a thriving punk rock scene in the late 70's, lead by one of my all time favorite groups- the Wipers.  Not only was Wipers guitarist Greg Sage a brilliant songwriter and guitarist, he also formed an independent label, Trap Records, that released records by The Stiphnoyds, Sado-Nation and Neo Boys (the "neo" is that they were girls).  Doing research for this week's show, however, I didn't find much in the way of late 70's/early 80's Power Pop.  The Ravers' "Really Don't Mean A Thing" from 1980 is the show's lone selection from back in the day.  The city produced it's fair share of hair metal and MTV style "nu-wave" groups in the 80's but there seems to have been a dearth of skinny tie Power Pop bands- at least that I could find.  Subsequently, I dug up one other group, Two Minutes 50 (formerly The Odds), on Chuck Warner's Hyped To Death website that I'll get to in a future show.

The Epoxies
In my opinion, Portland didn't establish itself as a vital Power Pop town until the early 2000's when The Epoxies and The Exploding Hearts burst upon the scene.  Both signed to Dirtnap Records, which at that time was based in Seattle and has since moved to Portland.  The Epoxies' synthpunk take on Power Pop came with in a very cool package of Atomic Age futurism reflected in everything from their songs about robots and clones, to their record sleeves,  fashion sense and pseudonyms (Roxy Epoxy, FM Static, Viz Spectrum, Shock Diode, and Ray Cathode).  I never got to see The Epoxies but I've heard they put on an amazing stage show featuring an array of special effects.  This of course in direct contrast to the "don't give a sh*t" approach most indie rock bands of the early aughts seemed to take toward their live performances.  The Epoxies also flouted punk rock conventions of the time (which can be every bit as strident as the Taliban) by making the synthesizer a cornerstone of their sound.  The band broke up in 2008, leaving two great albums and several singles in their wake.

The Exploding Hearts
The Exploding Hearts worshipped at the altar of The Undertones, Buzzcocks and The Boys (all HUGE artists on ALL KINDSA GIRLS) and released the brilliant album Guitar Romantic in 2003.  That album blew my mind- an American band unafraid of pop hooks, in fact striving to be as catchy as possible.  I hadn't bought an album by a new band in about two years when I picked up Guitar Romantic.  In my defense, I was in the thick of it child rearing-wise with a five and eight year old at home.  Needless to say the record was a breath of fresh air and I started watching for a chance to see The Exploding Hearts play live.  A few months later I saw they had a show at Bottom of The Hill in San Francisco on July 20, 2003.  Unfortunately, that was a Sunday and I just couldn't swing a late show and 100 mile round trip commute from Sonoma on a "school night," with work early the next day.  I remember thinking "I'll catch them next time- hopefully it will be on a Friday or Saturday."  Tragically, there never was a "next time."  Heading back to Portland after the show the driver fell asleep at the wheel and The Exploding Hearts' van crashed on I-5 near Eugene, OR killing singer/guitarist Adam Cox, (23), bassist Matt Fitzgerald (20), and drummer Jeremy Gage (21).  Guitarist Terry Six (21) and the band's manager were the lone survivors of the accident.

Proving life goes on and rock and roll never dies, in 2004 Terry Six got together with some members of punk band The Riffs to form the Nice Boys.  The group put out a great self-titled album in 2006 that includes tonight's show closer "All Our Good Times."   I only hope the song's refrain "no matter what- you'll remember all the good times" is true.

I'm happy to say that Power Pop is alive and kicking in Portland today.  I discovered three new bands researching this show and two of them sent me their records.  Tonight's dedication song "Caroline" by Throwback Suburbia is from their amazing new album Shotglass Souvenir.  They have a super tight mod influenced "maximum r and b" sound with catchy choruses and great harmonies.  Here's a Throwback Suburbia video from an earlier album:

If that's not enough, I also heard back from a band called The Cry! who just released their first album.  These guys lean a little more punk, like The Exploding Hearts, and are catchy as hell as this video for lead track "Think I'm In Love" proves.

Another new band, Queued Up, is pushing further into mod territory, calling their music "maximum power pop."  Their record isn't out yet but they posted a bunch of live videos on their website that sound promising.


I've got to thank Jimi from Throwback Suburbia for sending a download link to their record.  Greybush from The Cry! also gets big thanks, not only for sending their record but also for turning me on to Throwback Suburbia and Queued Up.

Fred and Toody 6/14/67

Tonight's Power Pop Prototype, 1968's "You Must Be A Witch" by The Lollipop Shoppe, is an early release by Fred Cole, who is the personification of Portland Rock and Roll.  In 1964 the Tacoma born Cole formed his first band The Lords in Las Vegas, where his mother had moved for work.  Dodging poor management and the Vietnam draft in 1967, Fred's band The Weed's left Las Vegas for Canada, as legend has it, running out of gas in Portland.  Fred's meeting with Toody Conner at a club called The Folksinger lead to a marriage and subsequent musical partnership that continues to this day.  After some more draft dodging in the Yukon the couple returned to Portland opening the music store Captain Whizeagle's.  Fred then formed the band Zipper, self-releasing their album on his own Whizeagle records, cutting the vinyl master for this and most future Whizeagle/Tombstone releases on the same lathe used for The Kingsmen's "Louie Louie.   Playing in his next band King Bee, Fred had the same life changing experience many have had, myself included, hearing The Ramones for the first time after scoring the opening slot for a Portland tour stop.  A
Fred and Toody Today
second pivotal moment came when, tired of dealing with a succession of bass players, Fred taught Toody to play the bass and she joined him in his next punk band The Rats.  Disillusioned with the violent turn punk rock had taken with hardcore, Fred disbanded The Rats in 1984.  After a brief foray into country music, Fred and Toody formed Dead Moon, which lasted almost 20 years.  In their 60's today, The Coles are still playing together in a band called Pierced Arrows and run a music store in Clackamas, OR called Tombstone Music.  Were I an independent film producer I couldn't imagine a better rock & roll love story than that of Fred and Toody Cole. 

Finally, I couldn't leave this post without mentioning Bob, one of my first listeners, who lives in The Rose City.  Bob and I got to know each other doing plays in Sonoma; he was Orin Scrivello (DDS!) to my Seymour Krelborn in Little Shop of Horrors.  We were also both in Glengarry Glenn Ross and he directed my wife Jaime and I in Plaza Suite.  Bob moved to Portland a few months before ALL KINDSA GIRLS debuted.  His wife Krista stayed back in Glen Ellen to sell the house so Bob had a lot of free time on his hands in a new city.  I could always count on getting an encouraging e-mail from him after each of those early ALL KINDSA GIRLS shows.  Radio is not like theater or playing in a band, there is no instantaneous feedback loop- you never know if listeners appreciate what you're doing or even if you have any listeners to begin with.  Bob helped me get started and for that I will always be grateful.  So now I'm thinking it's time I head back to PDX and maybe get Bob out to see Throwback Suburbia and The Cry!

Download link for this week's show (Click to Stream or to download, right click and "Save Link As")

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