Friday, May 30, 2008

Wow. Just wow.

Hey I the only one who remembers the NEW MONKEES?

The WTFst Videos of All-Time! #4 (in a series)

The worst(?) of the 70's era TOP OF THE POPS!!!

Cool JUDYBATS interview!

PhotobucketWanted to share w/ you a great post on a cool blog ( we just came across the other day about a much admired pop band from the 90s called THE JUDYBATS, which hopefully many of you have heard of.

Well, go this link and read a very informative interview w/ the leader of the band and a great discussion on their last, completely over-looked album "Judybats '00". The link has soundbites of a lot of songs from the album you can steam and listen to, as well. Pass this link along to any who you think would enjoy this!

Monday, May 19, 2008

SPARKS: Alive...and Playing Their ENTIRE Catalog Live In London!!!

PhotobucketFrom our beloved leader Bruce...

Leave it to Sparks to come up with a new twist to exploring their 20 album catalog - they are doing a series of shows in London and each night Sparks (Ron and Russel Mael along w/ sidemen, including Steve MacDonald of Redd Kross on bass) are playing their albums - first to newest - in chronological and sequenced order, encoring with at least one obscure track from each particular albums' era. Cheap Trick did this 10 years ago but only focused on their first 5 albums.)

Joy. Pure Joy. In a life long obsession with music, I have many favorite bands. If forced rank them, I can. Amongst two of my favorite in, say, my so-called "All Time Top 10", Sparks and Be Bop Deluxe have been firmly planted there since I heard 'note #1' from them in the early 70s. More on BBD in a later post, but staying up to see WOLFMAN JACK AND THE MIDNIGHT SPECIAL in the early/mid 70s on U.S. TV was a must. You never knew what was going to happen in-between the obligatory showings of such gripping acts as Leo Sayer and Rufus. Yet, most weeks, there was an imported band from the U.K. or an obscure hard rock act fighting their way to the top who would slip into rotation and confuse, befuddle and infuriate a good portion of their audience. COOL!

PhotobucketNow, I had one of those mini-Sony TVs that I could plug in and fit under the blankets after lights out and Don Kirschner's Rock Concert DON KIRSCHNER'S ROCK CONCERT and MIDNIGHT SPECIAL were midnight events in Boston.

One night, a strange, strange band landed on Earth and played a song called "Something For The Girl With Everything". Joy. Pure Joy. Sparks were exalted and moved to the head of the line of 'new obsessions for me.

I had read about them in Melody Maker, as they were tearing up the charts in the U.K. but just had not gotten around to picking up KIMONO MY HOUSE because - well, I was 12! Shee, I only had SO much money to buy LP's (they cost about $5 back then) and I was living the life of Bolan already with buying imports. $9!!! Gulp.) - not an easy task is suburban Boston in 1974/75 and there are only so many lawns to be mowed and not be a tax on my music listening time.

PhotobucketAnyway, I am green-beyond-green with envy to any of the roughly 500 or so souls experiencing this event in London right now. One of them includes my friend Mike Bennett, a fellow Sparks devotee and respected indie writer and all-round music geek who made the trip from Chicago to give pilgrimage - and to worship. There are not a lot of U.S.-based Sparks obsessives and I wish I could have ended up being there with him, massively geeking out. But, now, thru the joys (that word again) blogging, Mr. Bennett reports from London on the first three shows. Read about them in detail and follow it here.

If you have not explored Sparks before, well there is no good primer to the career to recommend, mainly, because with each album, the band pretty much not only detoured what was working (or not working) and tried something new, they radically experimented with whatever technologies have been available to them, twisted them inside their own vision and made music unlike anything else. Sparks would be impossible to accurately encapsulate without having, say, 4 CDs to address their wonder, excellence and unique character. Yes, it did not always work and they have their share of clunkers in their 35-year career but if you must begin with one go with MAEL INTUITION: BEST OF 1974-1976. It's only a snapshot but what a hot one!

SPARKS albums in stock at NOT LAME:


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Awesome BRYAN SCARY video!!!

NOT LAMEr Peter sent me the link to this video he took of a recent Bryan Scary performance at the Southpaw in Brooklyn. Boy, does it rock! Check it out!!!

JANGLE ON! for MAY 2008!

By Eric Sorensen‏, written exclusively for NOT LAME

With the advent of spring came a steady stream of new discs featuring crisp, chiming and jangly 12-string tracks. Here are some of the top albums and songs that made my playlist during the past month:

PhotobucketTHE QUARTER AFTER - CHANGES NEAR My Top Ten list for 2007 was just amended to include this terrific pseudo-60s disc that provides firm evidence that there is no sophomore slump for this group of pop musicians! With Dominoc Campanella on Rickenbacker 12-string, and a strong supporting effort from the other bandmembers and guests like Ric Menck of Velvet Crush, this disc grooves from start to finish. “Early Morning Rider” grabs “Song of the Month” honors, but “She Revolves,” “Changes Near,” “Follow Your Own Way,” “Turning Away,” “See How Good It Feels” and “This Is How I Want To Know You” are also standout band-penned tracks that will appeal to jangly pop fans. There is also a very strong Gene Clark vibe on several of the less jangly tracks – which really shouldn’t surprise anyone since Menck’s aforementioned band, the Velvet Crush, nailed their recorded version of Clark’s “Why Not Your Baby.” Changes Near is timeless psych/pop that may owe a debt to 60s pioneers like the Byrds and Love, but we in turn owe a debt to the Quarter After for their devotion to a genre of music that they excel at!

Speaking of Byrds-influenced pop, the word is on the street that the RHINOS will soon release their second disc... and I got a sneak preview of the terrific Byrdsian track “Everything That She Believed.” The disc will jump right into my Top Ten list for 2008, and this song will definitely compete for jangly “Song of the Year” honors.

PhotobucketTHE MALIBUS - NOW!
This band wears its love of the Beach Boys on their shirt sleeves and demonstrates that reverence on all 14 of the original tracks, but the chiming track “MCMLXV” will remind pop fans of the Barracudas’ coda to the mid 60s “I Wish It Was 1965 Again.” Like the Barracudas, the Malibus make the leap through time quite effortlessly!


This disc is hot off the presses (Zip Records) and it showcases Rogers’ continued knack for writing songs with a nod to the 60s – in particular, the British Invasion. Fellow indie pop singer/songwriter George Usher collaborated with Rogers on this disc, and guest artists like Roger McGuinn, Marty Willson-Piper and Pete Kennedy should further whet jangleholics’ appetites. McGuinn’s Rickenbacker 12-string is very pronounced on “Blind Man’s Blue” and Willson-Piper and Kennedy share lead guitar duties on the extended final track “What Happened to Manfred, What Happened to Jane.” Upbeat pop tracks that also feature chiming guitar riffs include “The Last To Leave The Party” and “I’ll Always Leave A Light On.” The album exhibits contemporary pop through a prism of Kinks/Ray Davies, Zombies, Byrds and other influences, and the result is every bit as strong as Rogers’ debut disc Sunday Fables. Long may you run, Sir Edward!

This latest 18-song disc proves that the Songetones are still America’s Fab Four. This is Beatlesque pop at its best. Every song has a melody that is catchy, and tracks like “Invisible Girl” even add some frosting to the cake with some chiming guitar play. Long may you run, Sir Jamie, Sir Steve, Sir Patrick and Sir Rob.

I discovered Jamie’s earlier work on the CDBaby site several years ago, and I finally added this 2007 release to my collection. The Pasadena Pop Sessions includes tracks that feature Nicole Gordon on lead vocals and Orleans (remember “Dance With Me?”) on backing vocals … as well as Jamie’s very cool covers of “Bells Of Rhymney” and “Surfer Girl” (sounding like Beach Boy acolyte Jeffrey Foskett). The highlight of this disc is Jamie’s original song, “Nothin’ To Do Town” that sounds like an outtake from Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever album. The song blends 12-string electric guitar riffs with lyrical references to Gram Parsons’ last journey into the dessert. I highly recommend all of Jamie’s discs to Byrds fans in particular and pop fans in general!

Another disc chock-full of classic power pop tunes that will remind listeners of the Knack and the Rubinoos. “Please Won’t You Please” and “Feel The Sun” are embellished by ringing, chiming guitars.

PhotobucketTHE VERY BEST OF DANIEL WYLIE AND THE COSMIC ROUGH RIDERS and ROSS - A COLLECTION FOR ENIMIES AND FRIENDS are two superb compilations that showcase the talents of the Cosmic Rough Riders and Ross. The former band favored Byrdsian pop; the latter artist favors Beatlesque pop. Both genres of music favor a generous portion of jangly guitars. If you don’t already have the earlier works by these artists, both compilations are an excellent way to fill in the gaps in your library. Favorite tracks: the demo version of “The Loser” by CRR and “My Sister” by Ross.

THE HOLDENS - WHAT PULLS GRAVITY (1993) and TED HOLDEN - KILLERMYWAY (1995) are my “blast from the past” discs this month. I discovered both discs at the CD Cellar in Falls Church, Virginia, where founders Kenny and Ted introduced me to many jangly pop artists. The two discs feature Ted Holden on muted Rickenbacker 12-string guitar – sounding like a blend of the Feelies and REM. Songs like “Too Good” and “4 Walls Down” have stood the test of time nicely.

Until next month, jangle on!