Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Show #105 August 10, 2013

This one's for Georgia O'Keefe and all artists everywhere!

Georgia O- The Nields Play 
Modern Art- Art Brut Top of the Pops
Sun In An Empty Room- The Weakerthans Reunion Tour 
A.R.T. Art- Advertising Advertising Jingles 
Paint By Numbers- Code Blue Code Blue
Art School- The Jam Direction, Reaction, Creation 
If Lonliness Was Art- Allo Darlin' Allo Darlin'
Paint Her Face- The Records Smashes, Crashes and Near Misses
^Vincent- Don McLean Vincent 
Postcard of a Painting- Maximo Park A Certain Trigger 
Pop Art- Screams Screams
(My Baby Does) Good Sculptures- The Rezillos Can't Stand the Rezillos: The (Almost) Complete Rezillos 
Artists Only- Talking Heads More Songs About Buildings And Food
Abstract Art- The Flying Colours Abstract Art 
*Meet James Ensor- They Might Be Giants John Henry 
*Goodbye Toulouse- The Stranglers Rattus Norvegicus 
*Pablo Picasso- The Modern Lovers Most Fun You Can Have with Your Clothes On: Beserkley Story
*Max Ernst- Mission Of Burma 12 Classic 45s 
*Escher- Teenage Fanclub Thirteen 
*Magritte- John Cale Hobo Sapiens
*Interiors (Song For Willem De Kooning)- Manic Street Preachers Everything Must Go
*Lichtenstein Painting- Television Personalities Mummy Your Not Watching Me
*Andy Warhol- David Bowie Hunky Dory
*Art Class (Song for Yayoi Kusama)- Superchunk Here's to Shutting Up 
*Jeff Koons- Momus Stars Forever 
Art Must Go- Future Dads 24 Winship 
Night Windows- The Weakerthans Reunion Tour 
Modern Art- Matthew Sweet Modern Art
Hello It's Me- Lou Reed and John Cale Songs For Drella 

^Power Pop Peak:  #12 Billboard Hot 100 3/18/72

*SacroSet:  ArtistSongs

The Love Family recently returned from a week long Art and Music Camp at River's Bend in Philo, CA.  Jaime taught drama to a super cute group of little girls who were obsessed with ABBA and I helped out with the afternoon music class.  Like many of my fellow campers, this is the only time all year that I indulge the "artist" within.  Along with a startling lack of talent, I am way too much of a perfectionist to be any kind of real artist.  I become overly focused on the final product and it never meets my expectations.  Even this year, I was initially disappointed with the raku teapot I worked on all week.  Yet as I look at my teapot now (see photo at the top of this post), I don't see its flaws as much as I remember the fun I had helping mix up clay in a kiddie pool with my feet, forming it around a river rock I picked out myself, building the feet, spout, handle, and lid, then glazing and firing it.  All of this amid conversations with my fellow pottery classmates.   

My time at Art and Music Camp inspires this week's ALL KINDSA GIRLS salute to visual artists.  I've had the idea in the back of my mind for a long time, going back to 2011 when I saw The Weakerthans play "Sun In An Empty Room" live.  Edward Hopper is my favorite artist and band songwriter John K. Samson seems to feel the same as this is one of two songs on the Reunion Tour album inspired by a Hopper painting:
Sun In An Empty Room- Edward Hopper 1963
"Sun In An Empty Room"- The Weakerthans

Now that the furniture's returning to its Goodwill home
With dishes in last week's paper -
Rumors and elections, crosswords, and unending war
That blacken our fingers, smear their prints on every door pulled shut
Now that the last month's rent is scheming with the damage deposit,

Take this moment to decide (sun in an empty room)
If we meant it, if we tried (sun in an empty room)
Or felt around for far too much (sun in an empty room)
From things that accidentally touched (sun in an empty room)

Hands that we nearly hold with pennies for the GST
The shoulders we lean our shoulders into on the subway, mutter an apology
The shins that we kick beneath the table, that reflexive cry
The faces we meet one awkward beat too long and terrified

Know the things we need to say (sun in an empty room)
Have been said already anyway (sun in an empty room)
By parallelograms of light (sun in an empty room)
On walls that we repainted white (sun in an empty room)

Sun in an empty room
Sun in an empty room
Sun in an empty room
Sun in an empty room
Sun in an empty room
Sun in an empty room
Sun in an empty room
Sun in an empty room

Take eight minutes and divide (sun in an empty room)
By ninety million lonely miles (sun in an empty room)
And watch a shadow cross the floor (sun in an empty room)
We don't live here anymore (sun in an empty room)

That's one of the things I love about great visual art; it just sits there and we make of it what we will.   Here are the other artists that inspired songs on tonight's ALL KINDSA GIRLS:
Blue and Green Music - Georgia O'Keefe 1921
"Georgia O"- The Nields

Vase With 12 Sunflowers - Vincent van Gogh 1888
"Vincent" - Don McLean

(My memory is a little hazy, but I think my mom had a reproduction of this van Gogh painting hanging in our kitchen in Brockton, Mass.  I remember eating breakfast and staring up at it.  In fact even as I look at now, I'm tasting Fruity Pebbles cereal....)

The Bad Doctors - James Ensor 1892
"Meet James Ensor" - They Might Be Giants
Jane Avril - Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 1893
"Goodbye Toulouse" - The Stranglers

(Mum was big on the Post-Impressionists, along with the Van Gogh she also hung a couple of Gauguin reproductions, and a print of this Toulouse-Lautrec poster was in our family room in Duxbury for years)
The Old Guitarist - Pablo Picasso 1903
"Pablo Picasso" - The Modern Lovers

Celebes - Max Ernst 1921
"Max Ernst" - Mission of Burma

Print Gallery - M.C. Escher 1956
"Escher" - Teenage Fanclub

The Lovers - Rene Magritte 1928
"Magritte" - John Cale
(My favorite song discovery this show is John Cale's "Magritte" - I love the line "pinned to the edges of vision" and he offers great advice with "somebody's coming that hates us/better watch the art")

Gotham News - Willem de Kooning 1955
Interiors(Song For Willem de Kooning)-Manic Street Preachers
The Melody Haunts My Reverie-Roy Lichtenstein 1965
"Lichtenstein Painting" - Television Personalities

(Back in the early '90's my friend Francie introduced Jaime and I to a woman who worked for Roy Lichtenstein.  I figured that meant stretching canvasses or mixing paints but she actually painted on the canvas herself.  I was shocked!  You'd think that 25 years after Warhol introduced the "Factory" approach to art I would have been hip to the concept but I still pictured the lone artist sweating over a canvas in a tiny studio looking out over the rooftops of Paris....)

Self Portrait with Skull- Andy Warhol 1978
"Andy Warhol" - David Bowie

Polka Dot Madness 4 - Yayoi Kusama
"Art Class (Song for Yayoi Kusama)"- Superchunk
Michael Jackson and Bubbles - Jeff Koons 1988
"Jeff Koons" - Momus

(I know a lot of people think Jeff Koons is a charlatan but I get a kick out of him.  I saw this Michael Jackson sculpture while it was at SFMOMA fifteen years ago.  I'd been looking at it for five minutes or so before I noticed that MJ has three arms!  This, of course, made me love it even more.)

I'm going to wrap up this post by thanking all the teachers at Art and Music Camp, especially pottery instructors Joel and Michael who started our week with a trip to the river to dig up clay and ended it with a brilliant raku firing Saturday night.  Thought it didn't turn out the way I planned, my teapot has really grown on me and now I'm actually proud of it.

I'll leave you with the second Edward Hopper-inspired song from The Weakerthans' Reunion Tour

Night Windows - Edward Hopper 1928
"Night Windows" - The Weakerthans

In the stick count for the song with knowing you're gone
Glancing up at where you lived when you lived here
I see you suddenly alive and nearly smiling
Stop and hold my breath and watch the way we used to be

The full moon makes our faces shine like over-ironed polyester
Then disappears behind the clouds
And leaves me under empty rows of night windows

We could walk to where these streets get pulled together
Blinking, lined with gravel, shoulder squared towards an end
Where the radio resounds from doppling traffic
Where the power lines steal lessons from the hourly news

Depluralize our casualties, drown the generals out in static
We turn and watch our city sprawl and send us signals in the glow
Of night windows

But you're not coming home again, and I won't ever get to say
"Remember how I'm sorry that I miss the way it could be"
"Remember how I'm sorry that I miss the way it could be"

Night windows

Streaming/download links for tonight's show are below (if the download sticks just pause and un-pause)
Hour 1
Hour 2

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Show #104 July 13, 2013

I Wanna Rock, Elaine!

Elaine- The Smithereens Green Thoughts
Do Anything You Wanna Do- Eddie And The Hot Rods Life On The Line
I Wanna Be- Arlis Titan: It's All Pop!
I Wanna Know- The CRY! The CRY!
I Wanna Know- Kevin K And The Hollywood Stars Cool Ways 
I Don't Wanna Know- The Chords This Is What They Want
I Don't Wanna Be In Love- The Last L.A. Explosion! 
I Don't Wanna Be Your Everything- Happiness Factor Self Improvement? 
^I Wanna Be Sedated- The Ramones Road To Ruin 
I Wanna Be Rich- The Marshalls Gettin' Out EP
I Wanna Be Me- The Stowaways I Wanna Be Me 7"
Do You Wanna- The Wayward Youth El Mundo 7" 
Do You Wanna Love Me?- Paul Collins King Of Power Pop 
Do You Wanna Break My Heart- The Sweat No More Running 
*I Wanna Rock- Twisted Sister Stay Hungry (#68 Billboard Hot 100, 10/20/84)
*I Wanna Be With You- Raspberries Fresh Raspberries (#16, 11/25/72)
*Do You Wanna Hold Me?- Bow Wow Wow Do You Wanna Hold Me (#77, 4/23/83)
*Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)- Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Greatest Hits (#20, 7/31/82)
I Don't Wanna Hear It- Shoes Shoe's Best 
I Don't Wanna Cry- The Keys I Don't Wanna Cry 7"
(And) I Don't Wanna Be Like That- Groovie Ghoulies Go! Stories 
I Wanna Wanna Wanna Wanna Wanna Wanna Wanna Get Rid Of You- Psycotic Pineapple s/t 7"
I Wanna Destroy You- The Soft Boys 1976-1981
I Wanna Hate You- Hundred Million Martians Martian Arts 
>I Wanna- The Platters I Wanna 
I Wanna Stay All Night- The Flashcubes Bright Lights 
I Wanna Be The One- The Yum Yums  Whatever Rhymes With Baby 
Doncha Wanna- Tinted Windows Tinted Windows 
Don't Ya Wanna- The Reducers Guitars, Bass and Drums
Don't Wanna Go- Earth Quake Most Fun You Can Have with Your Clothes On: Beserkley Story
I Wanna Be A Lifeguard- Blotto Hello! My Name Is Blotto What's Yours?
(I Wanna Be A) Policeman- The Cheaters Triple A
I Wanna Be A Hero- Incredible Kidda Band Too Much, Too Little, Too Late
I Wanna Thank You- Sloan Navy Blue

^Power Pop Peak:   Released in 1978 and again in 1980- never charted!

*SacroSet:  Hit "Wanna" Songs

>Power Pop Prototype:  1957

Rush in 1976
In the late 70's there was a very interesting transition in my music tastes.  At one point I would have told you my favorite bands were Rush, AC/DC and The Ramones.  Thinking about these three bands now, in this order, tells me that Devo were really onto something with their theory of "de-evolution."  On one side is Rush, one of the most complex rock bands ever, both musically (they were playing "math rock" years before the term was even invented) and lyrically (just listen to the 20 minute opus "2112" about a dystopian future where a lone hero with a guitar goes up against the dreaded Priests of the Temple of Syrinx).  

AC/DC in 1978

In the middle is AC/DC:  blunt, heavy riffage (though still far beyond my meager musical abilities) and
The Ramones in 1978
numerous songs about testicles; seriously "She's Got Balls," "Big Balls," Snowballed," "Ballbreaker," etc. Then you come to The Ramones and the genius of simplicity.  It's like Rush is a phaser attack, AC/DC is a nuclear blast and The Ramones are a tidal wave- all three will kill you, but in vastly different ways.

I disavowed Rush during my high school punk years but, despite what I may have told my friends at the time, I've never turned my back on AC/DC.  I could make the leap from The Ramones back to AC/DC easily but the next step back to Rush seemed like a million miles away in a direction I wasn't interested in any longer.  Admittedly, I love those rare occasions when "Working Man" or "Fly By Night" come on the radio (I was done with the band before their 80's hits like "The Spirit Of Radio" and "Tom Sawyer," but I like hearing those too).  My favorite scenes in the Paul Rudd/Jason Segel movie I Love You, Man were those where the two bonded over their love of Rush.  Even so, unlike AC/DC and The Ramones, Rush hasn't graced my turntable much in last 30 years or so.

On The Ramones first album Johnny's guitar is on the right and Dee Dee's bass is on the left.  Once I figured this out, I'd turn down Johnny and follow along with Dee Dee to figure out the songs on my guitar.  I'd never been able to do this with any of my other records and boy was it empowering.  (Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson's stuff is amazing but hard enough to decipher with my ears let alone my fumbling fingers).  And The Ramones lyrics are just awesome.  Most of the songs on their first album have 30 words or less and 28% include the word "wanna."  As illustrated by this companion graphic to the one at the top of the post, The Ramones "don't wanna" do things almost as much as they "wanna" do them.  

Tonight's Power Pop Prototype, "I Wanna" by The Platters, from 1957 shows that "wanna" has been a force in rock and roll from the beginning.  To me this is the genius of The Ramones and Punk Rock- it took the music back to its roots.  By the mid-70's a lot of "rock" had become pompous "art," far removed from its humble origins (The Dictators and I blame Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band).  Punk was a big slam on the reset button and it all started with The Ramones.  Interestingly, thanks to the "wanna" theme this episode of ALL KINDSA GIRLS includes more songs than any other- 34 to be exact.  Something about "wanna" inspires brevity I guess.  Think about it, can you imagine a 14 minute Rush song with "wanna" in the title?  (I can't, but I must admit it's fun trying.)

The Power Pop Peak tonight, The Ramones "I Wanna Be Sedated," failed to make the Billboard chart on its initial release or when it was re-released on the Times Square soundtrack (I'll come back to that film sometime- it's worthy of its own post).  The good news is that I now hear "I Wanna Be Sedated" on the radio at least once a month, so the song has taken its rightful place in our culture. 

Nica, Michael, Jack
You might not have noticed this, but in the last post about Bottle Rock Napa, my daughter Nica is wearing a Ramones t-shirt in the picture with Michael Franti.  She picked the shirt out herself and I tried not to make a big deal about it when she came downstairs with it on, but it was a very proud moment for me as a father.  The funny thing is most of the people who said "cool t-shirt" to Nica that day were dads just like me.

Finally, I've got to send out honorable mention to Bay Area rock and roll greats Psycotic Pineapple (I wrote about them last year in this post).  The full title of their song from tonight's show is:

"I Wanna, Wanna, Wanna, Wanna, Wanna, Wanna, Wanna Get Rid Of You" - how cool is that?!?

Also, credit where credit is due, the original Ramones graphic in this post was created by this guy and is actually a pretty funny comparison with The Misfits:

Streaming/download link for this week's show is below

Friday, August 2, 2013

Show #103 June 29, 2013

This one's for Natalie!

Natalie- The Sidewalks Natalie 
7 Digits- Orbits Q: What... Ans: Nothing... 
It's in You, It's in Me- Sloan Hardcore 7˝ 
All The Rage- The Producers The Producers 
Don't Ask Me Love- The Madd Are Pretty Quick!
Pitbull Cruiser, Blue- Big Dipper Crashes On The Platinum Planet 
It Won't Be Long- The Quick Mondo Deco 
Midnite Snack- The Donnas Turn 21 
^5-7-0-5- City Boy 5-7-0-5 
Out To You- Numbers Add Up 
Monument Of Me- The Merrymakers No Sleep 'til Famous 
The Others- Paul Warren and Explorer One Of The Kids 
Apply Some Pressure- Maximo Park A Certain Trigger 
Burnin' Up- Tom Dickie and the Desires Competition 
*6060-842- The B-52's The B-52's 
*634-5789- Ry Cooder Borderline 
*2-6-5-8-0- Kim Wilde Kim Wilde 
*Echo Valley 2-6809- The Partridge Family At Home With Their Greatest Hits 
*853-5937- Squeeze 853-5937 
*(619) 239-KING- Mojo Nixon (619) 239-KING 
*Star 69- R.E.M. Monster 
*5035- Toronto Lookin' For Trouble 
A Friendly Goodbye- Bowling For Soup The Great Burrito Extortion Case 
He's My Best Friend- Jellyfish Spilt Milk 
I Return- The Moberlys Sexteen 
>66 5 4 3 2 1- The Troggs Hit Single Anthology 
Going Thru The Motions- London Cowboys Animal Pleasure 
Wish Upon A Star- Robert Johnson Close Personal Friend 
I Hope You're Happy Now (Without Me)- Big Kid You Must Be Kidding 
Breaking It Down- The Jetz Catch Me 7" 
Hold My Hand- Jerks Get Your Woofing Dog Off Me 7" 
867-5309/Jenny- Tommy Tutone Tommy Tutone-2 

^Power Pop Peak:  #27 Billboard Hot 100 10/10/78

*SacroSet:  Telephone Numbersongs

>Power Pop Prototype:  1966

My son Jack and I had an amazing time on Thursday at the Napa Valley Bottle Rock Music Festival (read about it in the post for Show #102).  My only regret was that my daughter Nica didn't get to go.  So, needless to say, I jumped at the chance when I was offered three passes for Sunday.  At one point, the three passes shrank to two and Jack graciously agreed to stay home, but by Sunday morning it was back to three.  The only thing was that Sunday was also Mother's Day.  Here's how great my wife is:  after a morning and early afternoon of Mother's Day activities, Jaime drove us over to Napa and dropped us at the front gate.  No parking nightmare- we just strolled right in.  

Michael Franti and Spearhead had just started playing and I was expecting some resistance as we moved through the crowd but everyone was very easy going- several people even invited us to step over their blankets as we made our way to the front.  I know a lot of people who are Franti fans and a few years earlier
Michael Franti takes it into the crowd!
I'd put his song "Say Hey (I Love You)" on one of the mix CD's Nica gives out as birthday party favors.  Even so, I went in with the low expectations of a neo-hippie/reggae mash-up that I probably wouldn't like.  Man, what a smug bastard I am sometimes.... Michael Franti and Spearhead are AMAZING!!  It was one of the most fun, positive, inspirational performances I've seen in years.  I was blown away by Franti's ability to work the crowd and connect with each and everyone of us.  I don't think I'll ever forget Nica and I dutifully following Franti's requests throughout the set to "JUMP UP AND DOWN!!"  Jack had gone to scout for a better view up front which was too bad because during one song Michael Franti left the stage and showed up about ten feet behind Nica and I!!!  It was pretty thrilling though unfortunately none of the photos of Nica with Franti in the background came out.  I'm always telling Nica and Jack how transformative (not the word I use) a great show can be and they got to see it first hand with Michael Franti and Spearhead.

Grouplove sweatin' it out!
After Franti we rushed over to catch the last of Grouplove's set at the Citi Stage.  They are a newer LA band the kids have gotten into thanks to songs like "Itchin' On A Photograph" and "Tongue Tied," the latter of which they were playing when we got there.  Like Joan Jett on Thursday, Grouplove was facing right into the sun and they were completely drenched in sweat.  I don't know how the bass player, in long sleeves and sporting about 15 pounds of head/face hair,
didn't succumb to heat exhaustion (I didn't take this photo of him but I wanted you see what I mean).  I'm happy to report that Grouplove lead singer Christian Zucconi can hit all the high notes live, just as he does on record- that guy has an incredible voice.  Grouplove are very energetic and fun, I would have liked to see more of them but three songs is all we caught.  

Train were up next on the same stage we saw Michael Franti, so we headed over there after Grouplove.  As we were walking I noticed a booth for San Francisco radio station KFOG and thought I'd drop by to see if my friend Dred Scott was working.  Jack got there first and turned to Nica and I saying "Oh my God- it's Michael Franti!"  Sure enough, Franti was finishing up and interview while six or seven people watched.  When he was done he signed some autographs and I got this, which makes me smile every time I look at it:
Nica, Michael and Jack
I shook Michael Franti's hand and we thanked him for the photo.  We may have missed him earlier but this picture is a hundred times better.  As we were walking over to see Train, Nica could barely contain herself saying "did that just happen?!?"  It was awesome.

The crowd for Train was the polar opposite of the audience for Franti and Spearhead.  As the kids and I walked up to the front we must have been told twenty times "you CAN'T stand there," "keep walkin'," "no way, move on," "forget about it."  I even heard seated people complaining when the crowd stood up as the band took the stage.  Anyway, Train started with a couple of mid-tempo songs I didn't know followed by their hit "Drive-By."  They were four songs in before lead singer Pat Monahan even acknowledged the crowd, with a lackluster "how's everybody doing!"  After Michael Franti and Grouplove, Train seemed very workmanlike and flat.  I was planning to hang around for Nica, figuring she would want to stay for "Hey Soul Sister" and "Marry Me."  Yet after the fourth song Nica and Jack walked out of the crowd saying "this is boring, can we go see something else."  I have to admit I was proud of them- they saw the same thing in Train I did and on that Sunday it wasn't going to cut it.  (I didn't even bother to take a picture of the band).

Cake finishing up on Sunday
The kids weren't any more enamored with The Wallflowers.  We caught a couple of slower mid-set songs; I would have hung in there hoping to hear "The Difference" but we were hungry and left for food.  (As we were eating we heard The Wallflowers play "One Headlight" and it sounded pretty good.)  We had an hour until Cake so we went to see a couple of comedians who were very funny- J. Chris Newberg, who performed with a guitar, and Rob Delaney.  Then a little before 8pm we went to see Cake.  The first half of their set was new material which sounded good but we were hoping for the hits.  Lead singer John McCrea is a true showman banging on his vibraslap while urging the crowd into complicated clapping and singing arrangements.  It was fun, but we were still hoping for the hits.  Then about 40 minutes in the band switched into "crowd pleasing mode" and played all their hits starting with "Never There."  The crowd went nuts- Nica, Jack and I included (that's me in the background):
We rocked at Bottle Rock!
Hearing "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" was especially cool because it was the theme to Chuck, Nica's first favorite TV show that she and I would watch together.  Cake closed with an amazing version of "The Distance" that had the three of us jumping up and down- a perfect close to Bottle Rock.  Thanks again to my friends for the passes and another memorable day I got to share with my kids.

Sorry, no download links for this week's show- I'll re-post if they become available.