Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Best Of 2009 Music (Or Lack)

The halfway point-The Best of 2009 music (or lack)

Is it just me or is the music of this year simply sucks?

So far this year I have reviewed 43 albums of varying degree.  Mainly as background noise or forgettible I have really yet to hear an album that grabbed my attention all the way through.  And while Rolling Stone or SPIN tout the next best thing or when somebody at tells me about the next big thing  I have to wonder if the reviewer has their hearing aid turned on. 

I've tried to listen to the next big thing bands such as the overrated Animal Collective or Fleet Foxes, tried to jump on the bandwagon of Sliverstein Pickups whose album grates on annoyance and ended up wondering WTF did I just hear.  I also got suckered into hearing the latest Hoobastank bomb called For(n)ever and be happy to tell you that Hoobastank's time has finally ran out on them.  Their kind of rock and roll has been dead for the past five years.  Even new country music has ran into a identity crisis from the overrated Zac Brown Band who continue to insult our intelligence with their Hallmark style country that makes Lonestar look like The Mavericks.  Gone are the days of drinking and gambling and two timers replaced by fairy tales, bad rapping about fishing and five year olds saying naughty words.  Now we have Lady Antebellum clones (two guys in need of a shave and a pinup girl) with enough staying power as stale bubblegum.  And while the Nashville traditionist are bitching about the Taylor Swift Thug Life, the question remains do I really want to listen to it?  And don't get me started on the dead in the water format known as Top Forty radio, I've heard enuff autotonedeaf rappers and their crap and the only rap song I remember has the beginning of Chicago's Street Player as a sample and then more bad rapping.  Don't ask me who the rapper was, don't care to know and whoever it is will be forgotten by year's end anyway.

It's enough for a music lover to throw in the towel and ever forget buying a new album ever again.  The major labels serve up dreck, the radio plays dreck and the music lover suffers due to lack of good music on the radio.  Even old reliable acts have given us forgettible albums.  Neko Case comes to mind. With the New Pornographers she's a savior, as a solo artist I listen and forget what just played.  The Fleet Foxes, supposely the second coming of CSNY but all I hear is My Morning Jacket more mellow.  Is Animal Collective that good as people claimed?  I donno, I think I perfer Tangerine Dream myself in terms of that kind of music.  I used to be a big Green Day fan but their lastest I tend to agree that it's overproduced, overrecorded and overplayed that GD finally became the big pompous band of this decade after starting out just fine with their Warning record.  Sure sucks getting old, once started out putting out half hour albums that rock hard, they're now putting out 70 plus minites and trying too hard to make a statement and don't rock enuff.  Even the hype that came with Steve Earle's Townes album made the album more than what it was and in the end, it became the second Steve Earle record that disappointed me the more I played it.  I haven't given up on Earle just yet but the future reminds me more that James McMurtry is the one that I should keep up more often.

Music today isn't as memorable as it once was.  Yesterday I was listening to the Rolling Stones 1989 flop classic Steel Wheels and find it sounding much better today than back then.  Back then we didn't have the internet, cellphones or downloading and MTV still played music videos.  Today, we have DVDs, or Wii or XBOX for our downtime so it seems that music is now an afterthought.  Even My Space can't guarantee you extra plays or making it big anymore, nor radio.  Radio is dead due to dead formats or dead playlists that haven't changed since Nirvana's Nevermind.  Even I can't tell you whose the next big thing, what they tout in the music mags I have no clue or don't care.  Mark Prindle doesn't either so in his website he puts all the new bands under Bands That Kids Dig,which means he probabaly quit caring all along too.  My glory period remains the late 60s and most of the 70s, that's where most of the top ten songs of the week come from.  In the old days, albums went up the chart, nowadays they fall down the chart after release and most are forgotten by year's end anyway.  Another outdated format from Soundscan.

So basically, with most new acts stinking up the speakers, this year I've followed the old bands that I grew up with, all now approaching senior citizen age or getting there. A lotta bands that i have reviewed this year are over fifty.  UFO, Uriah Heep, Judas Priest, Bob Dylan and the over seventy gang; Leonard Cohen, Willie Nelson, Marianne Faithfull (she's not 70 but does sound like she is).  JJ Cale, who actually made one of the better albums of this year and 64 year old Neil Young whose Fork In The Road came out in April is now a forgotten piece four months later.  Although I'm sure getting his big Archives box set would have been fun, economically, 300 bucks to pony up to get a blu ray and having it looking like a doorstop wasn't cost effective, nor was his DVD and CD boxsets either.  And I don't have a Blu Ray disc player anyway. 

Can't say I was disappointed with Fork In The Road, but the digipak pissed me off enuff to take two points off the original grade and this year digipaks seem to rule the roost.  Which meant I decided not to review a lotta albums using that format.  Getting a paper cut just by opening the damn thing is automatic point deduction.  And I don't like the oversized ones from Wicked Cool either.  Either put it out on vinyl if you must and spare us the oversizing, an oversized digipak album doesn't fit on most cd storage cases.  And 14 out of the 42 albums reviewed were stored in the dammed digipak and half of those got traded in. 

But being a good sport I did review albums if and when I saw fit.  Like Keith Urban's last album so took a chance with his Defying Gravity and was less impressed with the results.  Ready made country hits for now radio but mostly not as memorable.  And God bless Brad Paisley, great guitar player like Urban but can't seem to make a album that gets very so sugary, you end up getting dibeates soon afterward so I guess I have given up on reviewing anything from him ever.  Plus his goatee he can't grow anyway, makes him look more stupid.  But I also was disappointed in the latest Tommy Keene album as well, how can somebody that made quality albums back in the 80s and 90s turn around and make two subpar albums in a row?  Must have been the digipak, played it three times and traded it in.  UFO is still around and managed to make a new album before their record label went bankrupt and like the previous two ho hum.  Contrary to rumour Phil Mogg simply can't sing anymore, just like Stephen Stills on the CSNY Deja Vu Live album.  Neither can Bob Dylan but Together Through Life had enough music to make it worth listening to thoughout.  Marianne Faithfull still has enough range in her voice to make Easy Come East Go a worthy listen to.  But I donno if Robert Christgau overrated her album simply of historic value rather than the album itself.  It's not a A album in my book, but perhaps a worthy B or weak B plus.  Haven't given up on it yet but I cringe upon hearing Antony wobble through Ooh Baby Baby.

Perhaps Christgau had it right on Leonard Cohen's Live In London to which Cohen who cant sing much either managed to put out a 2 cd live classic of his hits that go for 2 and a half hours on 2 CDs.   But in the end, this year won't go down as one of the finest years for music either.  Especially if my favorite record so far is Queensryche's American Soldier album that came out in April.  But will it remain the best of a forgettible year of music?   Tune in five months from now at this point and we can compare notes then.  But I can guarantee you that whoever makes the best won't be The Fleet Foxes nor The Bird And The Bee or Animal Collective or anything that is the flavor of the hour. 

The top ten best of may as well be the albums that I played more than twice this year.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Top Ten Of The Week Done By TAD!

Since U sorta offered 2 let me host a Top 10, here 'tis.

Truth is, I've bn thinking about Nothing Else since U mentioned it, haven't even posted NEthing new on my own blog, so this is an Xclusive release 2 U & yr readers/fans. & BTW, the best address 4 my website is

Sorry if there's WAY more than 10 in this list. & I apologize in advance cos this list is so long. That's just the kinda hairpin I is, don't U know. Hope it all gets 2 U OK.... So w/o further BS, here's:

TAD's 200 Top 10 Most Favrite Overlooked & 4gotten Songs of All Time....

1. Gryphon, "Lament" (1974) -- Best prog-rock instrumental EVER. Sad, mournful, haunting, life-affirming. A gorgeous 11-min mix of gtr, keybs, recorders, krumhorns & lots more. Un4gettable. I want it played at my funeral.

2. Gryphon, "Spring Song" (1977) -- 10 mins of perfection, like a kinder, gentler Jethro Tull. Gorgeous keybs, recorders & krumhorns, w/ a great Olde English fantasy lyric that brings all the parts 2gether. These guys shoulda bn HUGE.

3. Fleetwood Mac, "Silver Springs" (1977) -- The B-side of "Go Your Own Way," shoulda bn included on RUMOURS, FINALLY got nominated 4 a Grammy 15 yrs later when released in a live version off Mac's comeback live album THE DANCE. Possibly Stevie Nicks' greatest song EVER, 4 mins of brokenhearted anguish w/ gorgeous guitar by Lindsey Buckingham & an angry, bitter, powerful vocal fadeout. Hypnotic, gorgeous, magnificent. Other great 4got10 Mac's: "I Know I'm Not Wrong," "The Farmer's Daughter," "Sisters of the Moon," "Fireflies," "One More Night," "I'm So Afraid (live)," "Monday Morning (live)," "Isn't it Midnight?" "Tango in the Night," "Straight Back," "Wish You Were Here"....

4. Happy the Man, "Wind-Up Doll Day Wind" (1978) -- The best American prog-rock band? MayB. This hypnotic, mechanical, robotic # takes awhile 2 get going, but the gorgeous keybs by Kit Watkins & Frank Wyatt's sax blow it wide open from the middle-break on, & the climax is an absolute screeching blowout. Dark, hypnotic, riveting. Worth the 7-1/2 mins.

5. Nick Drake, "Northern Sky" (1970) -- Gorgeous British folk. The best song ever about the cosmic spiritual importance of love, beautiful lyrics, & gorgeous keybs by 4mer Velvet Undergrounder John Cale. NE of Drake's albums R well worth hearing.

6. Providence, "Fantasy Fugue" (1972) -- From my favrite 4got10 album of all time, EVER SENSE THE DAWN. The album's sorta a lighter Moody Blues record, & this is the closest thing on it 2 a singalong, even got some radio play in my (& Providence's) hometown, Boise, Idaho. Great vocals, nice string trio, & autoharp! Who else woulda done it?

7. Moody Blues, "You and Me" (1972) -- Shoulda bn their biggest hit ever, the best-ever mix of drummer Graeme Edge's poetry & guitarist Justin Hayward's commercial-hook-writing sense. Shoulda led off their SEVENTH SOJOURN album. The choruses R classic, the verses R haunting, & Hayward's gtr work at the Nd is pretty striking 2.... The Moodies hava TON of great overlookeds, a few include "Simple Game," "Eyes of a Child, Part 2," "It's Up to You," "You Can Never Go Home," "For My Lady," "Meanwhile," "Nervous," "Veteran Cosmic Rocker," "In My World," "Blue World," "Running Water," "Sorry."

8. Caravan, "The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again" (1973) -- Probly the sweetest song about sex U'll ever hear, w/ great vocals & the MOST GORGEOUS circular-vocal Nding EVER. Great keybs by Dave Sinclair, & nice viola by Geoff Richardson. Other Caravan greats: "Place of My Own," "Dissociation," "The World is Yours," "Memory Lain/Hugh/Headloss," "Be All Right," "Virgin on the Ridiculous," "For Richard (live)," "Can You Hear Me?," "All the Way (With John Wayne's Single-Handed Liberation of Paris)."

9. Kate Bush, "This Woman's Work" (1989) -- This simple, haunting piano&vocal tune was 1st used in a John Hughes film, SHE'S HAVING A BABY, but the heartbreaking lyrics could work in NE context -- it was always a great song, but it's come 2 mean far more 2 me since the death of my mother. & the stunning vocal climax is almost 2 much 4 me 2 take now. Also great by Kate: "Empty Bullring," "December Will Be Magic Again," "Cloudbusting," "Running Up That Hill," "The Man With the Child in His Eyes," "Saxophone Song," "Wow."

10. King Crimson, "Starless" (1974) -- 12 mins from The Nd Of The World. Perfect music 4 plunging down a steep mtn rd w/o brakes. Great guitar, sax, & percussion -- Bill Bruford sounds like he's bn waiting his whole LIFE 2 play this song. Dark, moody, riveting, un4gettable. Other Crimso greats: "Frame by Frame," "Sleepless," the loopy "Cat Food," "The Great Deceiver," "Doctor Diamond (live)," "Larks 1&2 (live)," "Fracture (live)," "The Talking Drum (live)."

Camel: "Manic," "City Life," "Spirit of the Water," "Breathless," "Echoes," "Never Let Go," "Sasquatch."
Al Stewart: "Modern Times," "Apple Cider Reconstitution," "Flying Sorcery," "Almost Lucy," "Valentina Way," "Rocks in the Ocean," "Running Man."
Beatles: "There's a Place," "Things We Said Today."
Beach Boys: "Surf's Up," "Til I Die," "Here Today," "I Can Hear Music," "Cabinessence," "It's About Time."
Queen: "'39," "The Prophet's Song."
Yes: "Your Move," "The South Side of the Sky," "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed," "America," "Looking Around," "Every Little Thing."
The Move: "Do Ya," "Message From the Country."
Group 87: "One Night Away From Day."
Jethro Tull: "Baker Street Muse."
Nektar: "It's All Over," "Do You Believe in Magic?," "King of Twilight."
Strawbs: "Where is This Dream of Your Youth?," "Down by the Sea."
Pretenders: "Mystery Achievement," "Message of Love," "Talk of the Town," "2000 Miles," "Lovers of Today," "Kid," "Stop Your Sobbing," "Birds of Paradise."
Justin Hayward & John Lodge: "When You Wake Up."
Blondie: "Angels on the Balcony."
Gentle Giant: "Think of Me With Kindness."
Sky: "Vivaldi," "Scipio," "Watching the Aeroplanes," "Where Opposites Meet."
Sandy Denny: "Listen, Listen."
Fairport Convention: "Come All Ye," "I'll Keep it With Mine."
Barclay James Harvest: "Spirit on the Water," "Hymn," "Poor Man's Moody Blues," "Ring of Changes," "The Song They Love to Sing," "Play to the World," "Taking Some Time On."
Boston: "Peace of Mind," "Hitch A Ride," "A Man I'll Never Be," "Used to Bad News."
Dire Straits: "Telegraph Road," "Going Home (Theme from LOCAL HERO)," "Romeo and Juliet," "Hand in Hand."
Led Zeppelin: "The Rover," "Over the Hills and Far Away," "Carouselambra."
Pink Floyd: "Flaming," "Astronome Domine (live)," "High Hopes."

-- I think that's all. Sorry this list is so friggin long. 1nce I got started I couldn't stop. I guess U can edit it, if U want, or break it in2 2 parts.... Soma this is stuff I've bn listening-2 every few days 4 YRS. & if U really HATE soma this stuff, please don't tell me, cos I don't wanna know....

Keep Rockin, & My Best 2 All!,
-- TAD.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Crabb Bits: Cheap Trick and Digipacks

On the subject of Cheap Trick The Latest and Digipaks themselves.

What do you mean about digipaks?  The new Cheap Trick is out in stores and it's not on a CD-R

Begeland from twitter.

This actually came from a rant about me and I didn't bother to check the inbox till I was fucking around Twitter and wanted to see what was in there. 

Digipaks are the crappy assed alternatives to jewel cases and most of the new albums are stored in digipaks.  Pearl Jam has all of their albums on Digipaks and new releases from the likes of Steve Earle, Neil Young and The Meat Puppets all came out on this format.  Likewise the new Cheap Trick that was selling for 8 bucks at Best Buy this week.

At this point in life I'm cutting back on releases that are on digipaks rather than jewel cases.  People bitch about jewel cases too but at least I can get them open on the highway without trying to twist a digipak to cough out the album or get a five inch paper cut trying to open them.  I'm still pissed off about Neil Young going green with Fork In The Road but I did promise that I'd buy it.  Digipaks are piss poor storage units that scratch up the cd worse than jewel cases and they get dusty more often (case in point, the RUSH digipaks).  Tea Leaf Green made a three cd box set and put it in one of the worst made digipaks that i've ever seen and I almost crashed my car trying to stick the damn Cd back in the small slit we call the storage area.

I think Begeland misread the rant for I never mentioned anything about CD This is the original blog....

I do not like digipaks which is why I didn't buy the new Cheap Trick album. Going to get more picky in the future. Digipaks Suck!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Crabb Bits: Sweet Living Lives, CD Reviews

Sweet Living Antiques, the store that got destroyed by the IC tornado of four years ago is not over on Gilbert Court by the old La Casa mexican restraunt.  And the guy still has boatload of records left and right but didn't have time to sort through all them.  Only had a hour before he closed.  But I'll try to return there, later in the fall.  Had enough Iowa City Stoplights to last me another three months.

CD reviews.

Bruce Palmer-The Cycle Is Complete (Verve Forecast/Collector's Choice Music)  Pointless hippy dippy jams of drums, flute and scat singing by one Rick Matthews Aka Rick James.  I like  a good jam album or good psyceldelic music but hippy dippy nonsense tends to bore me.  How Collector's Choice Music decided to release such a piece of shit cd is beyond me.  Footnote: Palmer played bass in the original Buffalo Springfield and later Trans era Neil Young.  He did a lot better than this.  So did Rick James for that matter.  Grade C minus

The Hoosiers-The Trick To Life (Epic 2008) to not bore me with pointless pop shit that doesn't have anything memorable.  Sounds like The Darkness gone pop, you remember The Darkness?  They were the next big thing in rock around 2003 then imploded a year later.  The Hoosiers were big in the UK, but American taste didn't care  for them.  Easy to see why.  More Pointless garbage to be donated to the local thrift store.  And why is it that these crap pop bands need to sing like Freddie Mercury.  Nerve grating piece of shite Grade D plus

Marshall Crenshaw-The Ultimate Pop Collection (Rhino 2006)  The 2 CD set that I found for 2 bucks at Hastings.  While people lay claim that Marshall's first WB album was pop classic, I perfer much more his Field Day album, the album that people were put off the by the loud drum mix (courtesy of Scott Litt, not Steve Lillywhite look at the credits people).  Field Day had way better songs although none had the catchyness of Someday Someway or even Cynical Girl but Monday Morning Rock and Our Town is where I think Crenshaw was the best.  Later Warner albums showed a bit more strain and were less fun but Rhino cherrypicked the best songs on a single retrospective called This Is Easy.  The Ultimate Pop Collection is much more cheaper and does a good job taking a look at his forgotten MCA Life's Too Short, his 1990 should have been a classic and probabaly his last real great album since Field Day.  Nowadays there's no such thing as Greatest Hits since radio doesn't play much but it's a good sampler of one of Power Pop's great songwriters of the 80s.  Still hanging around with a new album on the 429/Savoy Label to which has been called his best since Life's Too Short......Grade A minus

Judas Priest-Touch of Evil Live (Epic 2009)  If nothing else Judas Priest and Rob Halford have gotten more heavier and more doomy as they get older and this album shows a few highlights from previous recent recordings.  Halford still has most of his high notes and to show you, he peels the paint off on Painkiller.  Clears the room too.  Grade B minus

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Top Ten Of The Week-Courtney Love Hole (Link doesn't work anymore)

And BTW, I'm on Twitter if you really care.

Not a big deal but another way to keep myself in touch with the world.

Hell of a way to start out a new week of top ten mania. Maybe we can get Courtney to host a Top Ten Of The Week.  She ain't doing so well with her band Hole, since she cannot record as Hole without Eric Erlanson in it.  Nevertheless she's not exactly happy with that arrangement but make a deal with the devil and you have to live with the end result.  Anyway, could be worse, this copy and pasting isn't working very well so have to redo everything and put the spaces where they should be.

It's been a rotten week for me and it started with the Iowa City Bargain hunt fiasco which six red lights in a row and countless dumbasses not driving worth a fuck did it in for me to the point that going to Iowa City anymore would be a waste of time and car mileage. I'll still tip my cap off to Kurt at Record Collector for 24 years of having some interesting finds. Thank you for letting me be a part of the record buying public down there and thanks for letting me hold down the fort while you went out next door.

Great to hear from TAD again. The man knows good music and a good obscure forty five from the past. And I do agree that Moonchild from King Crimson would have been a great 2 and half minute song had Robert Fripp didn't bore us to dead the next ten minutes afterwards. I might let Tad compile a top ten in the near future of his lost classics.   Look for his reviews on Badfinger and The Raspberries at his site.

The Great Jones County Fair is this week and Brooks And Dunn and Steve Miller Band are the highlights. Here's hoping we get some kind of summer weather this weekend or before September comes around. Only hot weather I've encountered was in Lake Havasau City and Phoenix earlier in the month.  And doesn't this summer suck here, just like last year.

The songs of note.

1. Undercover Of The Night-The Rolling Stones (1983) This has got the be the worst all time Rolling Stones album ever made although I do enjoy this song for reasons unknown. Originally I gave this a B plus when first reviewed but what I heard back then, I don't know. After Undercover, the only two songs I care about is the B side All The Way Down and finale It Must Be Hell which cops the same guitar riff from Soul Survivor off Exile On Main Street. Undercover Of The Night, the album is a piece of poo.   Also can't understand why The Stones left off Through The Lonely Night off their odds and sods compilation Sucking In The 70s  It would have elevated the grade up a notch on that record or even It's Only Rock N Roll which would have been up two notches.  RIP OFF, the Universal masters of the Virgin albums of the CBS albums and the Atlantic Albums.  No bonus tracks same old same old.

2. Our Town-Marshall Crenshaw (1983) As much as Marshall's first album was pure power pop heaven, I prefer the drum/reverb heavy Field Day that popped up in the summer of 1983. That album had better songs although nothing on Field Day was like Someday Someway. Steve Lillywhite got blasted for the loud drum mix but it was Scott Litt that was the mixer on the album so hang him in effigy. But Litt had his fans as well, so much that REM hired him to produced their so call classic Document of 1987 and later Incubus hired him too. But Our Town got some airplay on KRNA in the early evening hours and moreso at KUNI.

3. Best Friend-Senseless Things (1991) Forgotten British band made a delightful power pop classic with this song but it was too British for the American buying public and Sony Music only saw fit to issue one album called The First Of Too Many and don't they wish. CD was found for a dollar at Only Deals (RIP) store over by DeSoda's (RIP too).  Yeah I listen to a lotta junk but you gotta listen a lot to junk records to get the diamonds in the rough.  Such as Senseless Things who did make a good album but their next two are only availble as imports and you're not missing much with them either from what I have heard.

4. Tight Connection To My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love?)-Bob Dylan (1986) Some people either consider this a Bob Dylan comeback or setback and in some ways reminds me of his 1978 Street Legal album and this song did get some airplay on the radio and even MTV. Of course, I didn't pay attention to this album while going to work today, I think I was too busy cussing out every red light in town and cussing out the fucking rainstorm that we had all day yesterday and not paying attention to Empire Burlesque. I get more distracted this day and age.

5. White Lies, Blue Eyes-Bullet (1972) Dedicated to TAD, this may have been one of the more perfect AM songs of that decade, Sing Along Chorus, hooky guitars and an intense ending. I seem to recall that KLWW played this more often then crosstown rival KCRG although KCRG had it in their Super 30 Countdown for a couple weeks.

6. Dog Eat Dog-Adam And The Ants (1980) Listen closely and you can hear the tribal drums that recall He's Going Step On You Again from John Kongos, a minor hit about 9 years earlier. Adam Ant could put together a rocking song and Kings Of The Wild Frontier might be stupid in some areas, and silly in others but Dog Eat Dog along with Killer In The Home remain new wave classics. Side note, the early version of The Ants would go on to form Bow Wow Wow with Annabella. And Adam Ant would give us Goody Two Shoes later on.

7. I Ain't Got You-Blue Oyster Cult (1975) It was 30 years ago this summer that me and Russ went to what would be my first concert which was BOC and Brownsville Station at the Five Seasons Center in CR and at that time the Five was state of the art. Too bad that they didn't record the concert, BOC never played better and Albert Brouchard's drum solo on Godzilla was the stuff of legends. But they also played this little Jimmy Reed number and ballooned it up to about 8 minutes as well. Again a fun show but boy our ears rang for about two weeks.

8. Take The Kash (K.A.S.H.)-Wreckless Eric (1978) An artist that recorded for Stiff Records, I bought this simply of the fact it was on Stiff Records and the folks at BJ Records had a few Stiff singles from other artists as well but I think I bought it at a reduced rate. Kind of Popish in a way of Nick Lowe was doing back then Eric had a very rough voice that didn't make him much for American tastes unless you like the obscure and off the wall. CBS had a distribution deal with Stiff and they released Eric's album as a two fer which pretty much killed sales from a uncaring public. A footnote in the history of rock, Stiff Records have come back from the dead to reissue Wreckless Eric's Big Smash and he provided the hilarious liner notes. He would also go on to marry the best female singer songwriter of this decade Amy Rigby and they together recorded a recent album for (what else?) Stiff Records.

9. It Hasn't Happened Yet-John Hiatt (1980) Interesting to note that John Hiatt is still around after all these years but back then he sounded a bit like Elvis Costello, the sacastic new waver that had minimal luck on Epic and then MCA Records to which after Two Bit Monsters, MCA bid him adieu and Geffen would be his home for the next three albums to which he went from Elvis wannabe to a more country rock sound aka John Mellencamp. And his classic years were ahead of him but this song is more famous for Ricky Nelson covering it for his Playing To Win album which came out a year after Hiatt's. John was an acquired taste himself but always been a very good songwriter since Bonnie Raitt and Three Dog Night covered some of his songs.

10. Rubycon (Pt 1 and 2)-Tangerine Dream (1975) It's not often that I include complete song passages from complete albums, but since most of the songs have come from an era that spoke most to me I decided to leave ourselves in the mid 70s and see what next week brings. A lotta people continue to say that Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon is the stoner classic of all time but I disagree, Dark Side is not an album to rock out and neither is Tangerine Dream, one of the first bands to go drum free which is why I thought they sucked when I was a teenager and when the folk at Record Realm would play a TD composition I would groan in agony. But then again I pretty much blinded by the boogie. Later years after being burned out by the same 200 classic rock songs that are rotting away on classic rock radio we move on to what's in the used bins and in the mid 2000's started buying Tangerine Dream albums to see what I was missed. And Rubycon might be the best of the Peter Bauman era, which sounds like a sinister soundtrack to a horror picture or would be worth a drive in the desert during monsoon season. I'm also sure that if I had my very own radio show that Rubycon would have been a edited version before the top of the hour since the total timing is 37 minites. But sometimes classic albums do take both sides of the record to become classic, case in point Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz or Jethro Tull's Thick As A Brick. But had I become a stoner, I'd would challange them a bit more than just Dark Side Of The Moon. I think you can get more out of and get lost into the atmospearic and sinister sounds of Rubycon than you could from Clare Torry's screaming and moaning on Great Gig in The Sky. At least with Rubycon we're spared from Clare Torry. Or Courtney Love (who wasn't even born yet).

RIP The Taco Bell Chihuahua dog who made me first aware of Taco Bell and the beginning of my bulging belly. Gidget, the wonder Taco Bell Dog died from a stroke. She lived to be 15

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Top Ten Of The Week-Borat Is Not Funny

Hello kiddies....

I'm back again, I've heard y'all missed me....

Thank you Diggy Kat for sitting in and providing us with a winning top ten.  Here's hoping I can top that.  But first a bit of observations.

Poor Jessica Simpson.  Tony Romo broke up with her and she's broken hearted all over again.  I wish she could find herself a good man but I don't think she'd know what to do with a good man.  Plus the fact she's too high maintence.  Sorry about that darlin....

Are we ever going to see the National League ever win a All Star Game again in this lifetime?

Am I going to be impressed of any more new albums this year?  Donno if the Dead Weather, the new Jack White side project will work or not.  Pitchfork Inc, denounced the new Alice In Chains track and called the new Son Volt album a boring pile of poo, they only gave it a 3.7 on the rating scale.  Wasn't that impressed with The Search so I may take a pass on the new Son Volt.  I want to rock out and not be bored to death.

RIP Drake Levin, former guitarist with Paul Revere And The Raiders.

And Michael Jackson is still dead.

The Top Ten Of The Week.

1.  Nuclear Apathy-Crack The Sky (1978)  These guys were prog rock but came from Pittsburgh of all places and made a few albums for Lifesong to which at that time in the 70s could be found in the dollar bins.  John Palumbo was the leader but he left during the making of their third album Safety In Numbers and had a great vocalist in Gary Lee Shepperd filling in.  This track is kinda Pink Floydish in a way and too bad that the FM stations back then didn't give them the airplay like PF.  Renaissance Records added this song on a Crack The Sky best of called (what else?) Crack Attic.  However Crack The Sky still remains around, with a brand new album coming out in September via their website.  One good thing about the internet is that it keeps the cult bands going, long after the majors gave up on them and moved on to the flavor of the week.

2.  Lady Whiskey-Wishbone Ash (1970)  Another band that made some headwave on the FM underground in the 70s but never gotten their due, this is from the first Wishbone Ash album, full of UK guitar boogie rock and I think W.A. might be one of the most unappreciated bands out there.  Classic rock radio never gave them any kudos which shows you how shallow classic rock radio is on free radio.  This is an album cut.  Decca Records went with Blind Eye for the first Ash single.  Didn't get much airplay outside of Beeker Street and I think Clyde Clifford does play that once in a while.

3.  Tall Dark Stranger-Buck Owens (1969)  Why does classic rock radio suck but classic country doesn't?  I figured it's a longer and better playlist.  I heard this on the way to work from the small town FM station on 99.3 and damn right.  When they play a classic country song from Buck Owens, I do take notice more than you do.

4.  Bested-Big Back Forty (1997)  I still believe that in the past twenty years that there was good albums from good bands that slipped under the radar and I still stand by my original review of this band from Columbus Ohio that this was the best album of 1997.  Still sounds good 12 years later.  So much so that I ended up buying a 2nd copy of this album when I was out in Arizona for a dollar.  A great album driving when you're on the road.

5.  I've Got Enough Heartache-Three Dog Night (1970)  Yeah, they were a singles band and yeah most of their albums you can live without (well the ones after Harmony), 3 Dog Night didn't write their songs but found great songs from other bands such as Traffic or Elton John or even Spooky Tooth to which this song comes from.  In fact, I think I like this version better than the one on Spooky Tooth Two.  Didn't care much for Spooky Tooth come to think of it.  I got stuck in the truck exit runaway listening to Spooky Two so that record brings a bad memory.  So much that I donated it to Goodwill before I came home.  Just like the Quicksilver Messenger Service Original Masters CD.

6.  White Bird-It's A Beautiful Day (1970)  I'm not sure who's the more dated, IABD or QMS.  With Quicksilver, I guess you had to be in a drug induced mood to get the jams out since most of Classic Masters of Quicksilver bore the fuck out of me.  However, I did find the S/T IABD  and Marrying Maiden 2 on 1 that Sony stuck out in the UK before Matthew Katz blew a tampon and Sony took it out of print.  The Kim Jong II of the music biz, Mr Katz has made life hell for It's  A Beautiful Day and Moby Grape in terms of filing lawsuits against the record labels.  But you can get a shitty sounding S/t IABD CD from his San Francisco Sound label and pay import prices for it.   Look hard and you might find a better sounding Sony UK CD in the dark corners of your local record store.  Provided if you still have a record store in your town.

7.  The Human Jukebox-Sandi Thom (2006)  From the ironically titled Smile...It Confused People CD, Sandi got some big time PR by doing online live shows from her living room and amazingly got a recording contract in the process.  Kinda reminds me of KT Turnsbull or Meredith Edwards of Bitch fame.  Seems to be a one and done deal in the US since SONY music didn't issue her second album stateside.  Found for a buck at the pawnshop.  A mercy buy.

8.  Joe Louis Is A Fighting Man-The Dixieaires (1947)  From a album of Joe Louis tribute songs, this one is interesting for that Bo Diddley beat before Bo Diddley; sounds like early rock and roll.  Joe Louis was perhaps the best boxer before Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson.  But then again people back then loved Joe Louis unlike Mike Tyson.  In fact I don't think there was ever a tribute album for Tyson. 

9.  When The Whip Comes Down-The Rolling Stones (1980)  From Sucking In The Seventies, that odds and sods album of long ago.  This track actually doesn't suck, it rocks pretty damn hard for a band that was in it for the money and usually phone their performances in (Live Licks anybody?).  Sometimes the Stones needed a good boot in the ass and even then I'm still not convinced that they were THE GREATEST ROCK N ROLL BAND IN THE WORLD PERIOD.  But this track does prove that they could rock when they wanted to (which isn't too often anymore).

10.  Closing Time-Leonard Cohen (2008)  From Live In London, Leonard's comeback live album and he had to work again since his former manager embezzled most of his money and sold his back catalog (the bitch) but even at age 74, Mr Cohen really sounds like he's happy to be on stage and he sounds like he's having a good time too.  He's got a great band backing him up as well as his long time background singer, the amazing Sharon Robinson and the Webb Sisters singing too.  Usually live albums are throwaways but even old crank Robert Christgau gave this album an A.  But of course has to throw in his 10 dollar words to which nobody fucking understands.   Live In London is a lengthy 2 CD set (A whopping 2 and half hours total time) and is perhaps the best way to experience Leonard Cohen in a live setting.  Cohen doesn't have much of a voice (never really did) but his croak is more in tune than Bob Dylan nowadays.  However I do give Live In London a A minus (or four stars mind you) and you can't go wrong.  It's a fun record.

And finally, thanks be to TAD for checking out the Crabb site and if you're reading this, thanks for your support. 

This just in....Sasha Baron Cohen is NOT funny.  Borat wasn't funny and Bruno is worse.
I repeat you're NOT funny Sasha Baron Cohen.  Jes saying.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Top Ten Of The Week-Diggy Kat Guest Stars

Hello dedicated followers of the music scene!

As i'm sure you all know by now that R "Crabby" Smith from The Townedgers is on a much deserved and overdue vacation. i'm sure all of you also check out his top tens and rants via blogs. so, since Crabby is mentally and physically off, i figure to fill the gap i would post a top ten and a blog rant. (only for you Crabby!) Shall we start with my top ten of what i have been listening to a lot this past week? (alphabetically of course)

1. Count Basie and his Orchestra - Good Mileage (1979) this is a live version from a concert in Switzerland that also featured Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass. this song is mostly a drum solo by Butch Miles, and wow! what a drum solo it is! i had never heard of his name before, but i definitely need to find out more about him. insanely astonishing drummer!

2. Dirty Love - Code Red (2009) the first song i heard by Dirrty Love and what a fun song!! makes me wanna boogie! i believe this is Leah's first recorded lead vocal too, great job! for such a new band it amazes me how well they have everything put together already. this song helps rock my invisible socks!! can't wait for their debut to be complete!

3. Elysa Fein - Other Ladies (2009) Elysa Fein hails from New York, her latest recording is a beautiful song about one of a kind love, one thing about Elysa is that not only all of her songs different from each other, but all equally beautiful. Hopefully someday soon she will record a debut cd!

4. Fat Mattress - Mr. Moonshine (1969) something magical about their debut and this song. most remember Fat Mattress as the band Noel Redding started after his time in the Jimi Hendrix Experience, however Fat Mattress' debut is all killer and no filler, even their b-sides were top notch! Fat Mattress has been in heavy rotation here for months.

5. Green Day - Last Night On Earth (2009) is this what Dave Clark 5 would sound like today? good chance i think! this is probably my favourite Green Day song from my favourite Green Day album! beautifully touching song, my how they have grown!

6. Pariah Piranha - R 'n' Arg (2007) coming from Pennsylvania, Pariah Piranha is like an odd mix of Meat Puppets, The Muffs and Patterson Hood. great interesting stuff!

7. Razorback - Love Uncovered (1998) so let me profess my love for this song! a band from the Phillippines that embraces wide ranges of sounds. definitely a lot of 1980s mix in here including L.A. Guns, Queensryche, Guns N Roses and even some Led Zeppelin. i bet ya Godsmack was a huge fan too ;-). can't sit still while listening to this song!!

8. The Townedgers - Hey Bama (1993) ahh "hey bama"! sometimes there's just nothing better than listening to The Townedgers. Slipknot might be the best known band from Iowa, but Townedgers are certainly the best. of course if all you reading this contacted The Townedgers to negotiate how to get some cds by them, they might be even more popular than Slipknot, they definitely deserve it! i'm still not sure why Barack Obama didn't ask The Townedgers to slightly rewrite this song and play it at his inaguration, hmm...

9. Waylon Jennings - Silver Ribbons (1966) so, anybody that knows me knows i might as well have a Waylon shrine =P, Waylon made his acting debut in Nashville Rebel as the star of the film, this song was the first track off of the soundtrack. oooh how i swoon for Waylon!!

10.White Owl - Fifteen Men On A Dead Man's Chest (2007) a band coming out of Moscow is always a fascinating treat for the ears, never knowing quite what to expect, on this song the take on an infectious tale of some pirates! how the chorus makes me bop!!! looove this song!


Adam Marsland's Chaos Band: Adam's last studio cd was half a decade ago, it was a solo cd that was arguably his best effort yet...until possibly now! that's right, next month will finally show the release of "Go West", a 2 cd set says to me it will be worth the wait, and the few songs i have heard off of it have proven they once again have outdone themselves. let's talk about being excited for this cd! and equally as excited as the sneak preview of all the songs on 31 July! yes the Chaos Band will reveal the new album,all 23 songs, in it's entirety in Marina Del Rey at Brennan's Pub! and it's free!! you better be there too! =D

Alice In Chains: Growing up i was a huge Alice In Chains fan, still am, but back when i was a pre-teen adolescent they influenced me so much in my writing/singing. particularly their lead singer Layne Staley, i idolised that man, in fact back in the early 2000s, all the members of Vufcup were huge Alice In Chains fans. we even covered "Angry Chair" once in concert. their videos were stunning pieces of art and back then i used to buy cassettes, and all 3 of their studio albums have a strong memory connection for me. Alice In Chains last studio album was in November 1995. undoubted their best cd to date. since that time a lot of bands had came out and made it huge that were heavily influenced by Alice In Chains. Sadly by this time Alice In Chains had been on a hiatus mainly due to Layne's drug problems. even though everyone knew he had serious problems i never ever remember hearing one bad word against him, i never met him but saw a lot of interviews and he seemed like a shy person with a very good heart, amazing talent, captivating as a performer. About 5 or 6 years had passed since their last cd and i had this feeling that Alice In Chains was going to come back with a new album and put all those imitators in their place, the feeling was so strong that i was expecting anyday to hear they were working on an album or about to release one, it would have been the perfect time too, i thought "wow, this is going to be amazing!" Not too long afterwards i dropped by a close friend's place to, i think it was drop something off, but it was just quick and before left he said "hey man, i'm sorry to hear about Layne, that's a real drag". if anything, i'm glad the news came from him. i just went walking in a daze, went over to a bandmember's place who also loved Alice In Chains and told him about it, he shed a tear as well. i later went home and up until that time i don't think i ever remember crying as much as i did that night. If it taught me anything, it was to not idolise the living 'cuz their choices aren't done yet. I remember hearing a few years ago, the original members of Alice In Chains had gotten back together to do some shows, i thought that was fantastic, they all seemed to worked perfect together. and now here we are, they have a new lead singer, they kept the name Alice In Chains and they are about to release a brand new cd. How do i feel about this? so mixed. i have not yet heard the new lead singer, what a great opportunity though to be working with Jerry Cantrell, Sean Kinney and Mike Inez though!!! however, not sure why they got a new lead singer since Jerry Cantrell is perfectly capable of singing lead as proven with Alice In Chains and on his 2 solo recordings. should they have kept the name Alice In Chains? mixed feelings. Alice In Chains was all 4 of them working together as a band, it was the amazing vocal harmony between Layne and Jerry, it was half those songs that Layne wrote his lyrics too and all those songs Layne sang out his soul in, all of the is gone, where is the legacy? however, as with any addiction like drugs, alcohol or smoking, it is a selfish addiction that leads to destruction, Layne was the cause of his own death, he made his choices, everytime he abused drugs was a chance for an overdose and finally that happened, it's not like it was unexpected like a vehicle/plane crash or a homicide, this was bound to happen and it did, so why should the name Alice In Chains die just because of his own selfish choices? Has Alice In Chains wasted a lot of time over the years? 3 cds, 2 live discs, 2 eps and a box set in a 21 year span so you tell me. I do hope this album sells amazing for them, however, all those bands that long since imitated Alice In Chains have faded to the background now so in that way i feel they have nothing to "prove" with this album, we already know they are amazing songwriters/musicians.

The Artful Dodger: The Artful Dodger has released a brand new cd! it's entitled "Feed On My Soul But It Will Make You Sick". this is one top-notch cd! 11 insightful songs that will make you feel. my only complaint is it's only 36 minutes. amazing cd!!! you can download it for free at his site! Dirrty Love: After The Juju Bones broke up, understandably bassist Leah wasn't sure what to do next. this dilemma didn't last long at all and before we all knew it she had the metal dance power trio Dirrty Love in full throttle! playing shows, recording and writing, a profile, pictures, the works! for a band that has only been round for a few months, and with Leah fronting for the first time, they are proving to be a force to be reckoned with! let's keep an eye out for this band 'cuz something tells me they're gonna take us all by surprise!

Green Day: So after half a decade (you guys are as bad as Adam =P), Green Day are back with an 18 song mini opera called "21st Century Breakdown". as much as i have always loved Green Day i never had a favourite cd by them...until now. sometimes it's hard for a band to have some many songs on a single disc and some of the songs fall into the background, probably the fillers. every song on this cd stands tall on it's own, every song is memorable. they did an amazingly incredible job! go Green Day!!!

Michael Jackson: So, what more is there to say? media is saying it all i think, 24/7. you know it's sad, here's a guy that was way up on top, how many decades ago? oh yeah about 2 decades. musically just faded to the background it seemed. remember when so many people seemed to refer to him as "wacko jacko"? i wonder if these are the same people that are now worshipping him again. i saw where they gave a tour of his neverland home recently and Michael had a little hiding spot that was like a secret compartment, they actually showed it, they said Michael had that built just in case anything bad were to happen. because ya know that works in real life, hiding really resolves issues. i wonder where all those people that are now taking the time to send letters/flowers/cards/etc were the last 2 decades? sure it's very thoughtful, but kinda too late for Michael now to realise how supportive his fans are,huh? this should be a great lesson, if there's a band/artist you admire, take the time out right now to write them a letter to let them know how much they mean to you so they can read it while they are alive. is your favourite artist no longer in the limelight? well why don't all the fans get together and promote an artist you want to see on the top again? it's all up to you, ya know. you are the fan. by the way, "a ticket to his memorial"?!?! and just now they were like "selections have been made, are you one of the lucky winners?" ..... "lucky winners"?!?!?!?

Stephanie Andreus: Stephanie has been hard at work on her 2nd cd. she's kept a lot of it under wraps, but the few things i have heard are breathtaking. not sure when her new cd "Pandora's Box" will be released, but one thing is for sure, this one can not be missed!!

Hope i made ya proud Crabby =D