Monday, October 31, 2011

Up Yours Boo Berry-10 Scary Songs That Sucks

 I guess this is fitting for the end of the month subject of Schlocky songs.  This comes from the Phoenix New Times article about the 10 worst songs of 2011 (so far).  Christina Caldwell wrote and compile this since I haven't heard most of these so called songs.  Dig them and BTW......BOO!

LMFAO - "Party Rock Anthem" 

It seems like simple, mind numbing fun now, but I have no doubt that in 15 years, this will be the song that people listen to ironically at late 2000s-themed parties. They'll wear clothes from American Apparel, glasses that do nothing to protect from the sun or improve sight, and reminisce about how silly this shit was. I hope I'm wrong; with any luck it'll just be forgotten. 

Design the Skyline - "Surrounded by Silence"

True, I don't have the taste for metalcore, but this is asinine, faux rage from the suburbs done by skinny white kids, so weak that even I could kick their asses. Good job, Victory Records. Are you proud of yourselves? It seems like these dudes were scooped up for their "look" and were told the whole music part will come in time.  (Crabby sez:  Ugh! The worst piece of crap music, screamo, emo, bad Linkin Part earnest harmonies, and Autotuner to boot, personal to Victory Records congratulations you just passed Curb Records as the worst sucky label ever.)

Brian McFadden - "Just the Way You Are (Drunk At the Bar)"

Formerly of Australian boy band Westlife, Brian McFadden is well versed in how to get his date rape on. Classy!

Bruno Mars - "The Lazy Song" 

This is a song about jerking off and sleeping in a Snuggie all day. So rather than staying home and doing that, Bruno Mars wrote a song about it, and we have to listen to it. (Hey, has he caught that "Grenade" yet?) 

Rebecca Black - "Friday" 

Viral video turned virus. 

Kim Kardashian - "Jam (Turn it Up)"

If you couldn't get enough of this shrieking harpy on "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," now you can put her nasal drone right on your iPod. Has there ever been a more generic dance song? Ever?  (Crabby sez: come back Paris Hilton all is forgiven, Next up Kim's version of The Breakup Song)

Jack White and ICP - "Leck Mich Im Arsch"

Everything Jack White touches is gold. Usually. Now, he's a failed alchemist who left this big, steaming pile of feces sweltering in the summer sun and called it satire. Not funny. (Crabby Sez: He did good things with Wanda Jackson that should account for something.)

Hot Chelle Rae - "Tonight Tonight"

This song is bad, but the lyrics are the worst of 2011. There's a classic episode of Zach Galifianakis' internet interview series "Between Two Ferns" where he interviews Charlize Theron. He tells her "[My girlfriend] looks a little bit like you and a lot like Dog the Bounty Hunter." So, Hot Chelle Rae decided to rip the joke and put its author as the butt of it. "I woke up with a strange tattoo/Not sure how I got it, not a dollar in my pocket/And it kinda looks just like you, mixed with Zach Galifianakis." 

Lady - "Yankin"

What does "Yankin" even mean in this context? Whatever. Vulgarity gets you attention. NSFW.  And crappy rapping on a cheap beat box too. Repulsive.

Limp Bizkit - "Shotgun" 

They're baaaack. Thirty seconds in, this song sounds like it's been going on for three minutes. Then, it proceeds to carry on for well over four. It's kind of a metaphor for their career. 

Limp Bizkit and ICP in the worst ten of the year?  Same as it ever was.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

End Of Month Thoughts-October

Selected issues:

The return of Beavis & Butthead was somewhat fun but I do miss the little dumbasses ripping up bad videos.  They would have a field day with the crap that passes for music on top forty.  I may have been more interested in Good Vibes, the animated cartoon that followed B and B.  Granted, the hour of those cartoons was the most I watched MTV on a straight hour basis since a Spungebob Squarepants marathon a few years ago.  Which isn't saying all that much.  I am also beginning to sour on The Family Guy, which Quigmeyer is found hanging but still lives and then takes out his sister's abusive boyfriend later in the show.  Always been a big Family Guy fan but this episode just made me feel weirded out and not in a good way.  One thing to push the envelope, it's another when it begins to not be a funny show.  I'm sure Mr. McFarlane will bounce back but if he continues to go down the road like last night's show I may have to watch something else.

In Living Colour is coming back on FOX although the original cast has moved on the bigger and better things.  I doubt if Jennifer Lopez returns as a Fly Girl though.

The Iowa Hawkeyes continue to frustrate and annoy as they blew a 21-10 lead and lost by one point to a Minnesota team that was 1-6.  And for another year Floyd of Rosedale remains up in Minneapolis whereas the bad Hawkeyes defense can eat crow instead of getting the bronze pig home where it should be but then again Minnesota showed they wanted it more than the Hawkeyes, whose offense had three overthrown balls and a QB being stopped just shy of a first down.   Road doesn't get any easier with Michigan and Michigan State coming into town.  On a flip side Arizona State blew out Colorado 48-10, and Iowa State blew out Texas Tech in Lubbock 41-7.

The ratings are better than last month, thinking that we'll pull about 970 views for the month, maybe more.  I don't forsee going over 1,000 views but one never knows.  Most viewed of the month outside of the Brains Blog was The Crabbys with 15 views.  Sick Of Summer Blog refuses to die.  Big thanks to TAD for his insightful blogs on the the Schlocky Hits of the 70s

I think Tad took it a bit further and added more crappy songs of the past.  Typically, the songs of the classic rock schlock era had earworms that would lay in your head for days but when we were up at Godfather's Pizza last night, KDAT had to play that GD Pink song Fucking Brilliant while we were there and the song got stuck in my head most of that night.  Dammit Steve next time we're up there, at least change it to something other than the monopoly that is KDAT.  Crap that is Cumulus approved.  Fuck that.

And we made it through October.  Next up, November.

Friday, October 28, 2011

It Came From The 80's-Jack The Ripper by The Raybeats

A killer version of the Link Wray classic by The Raybeats.  From the 1983 album It's Only A Movie which hasn't ever came out on CD.  This will blow your mind!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Music Of My Youth-Pop Fluff

The 70's was such a wonderful time that you can hear just about everything on AM, whereas the album rock and underground stuff was happening on FM and basically I never ventured up much on the FM scale.  Most of the stations were Muzak or Religious Hoo Ha.  But at that time, I lived in a 45's AM radio world.

If you were a girl back around 1970 thereabouts, you loved Donny Osmond and The Osmond but if you were a boy that liked that, you would be called a pussy and a few other choice words.  The girl that I was walking home from school had every Osmond album that came out and I'm sure Bobby Sherman and The Partridge Family too.  The Osmonds actually did have some listenable stuff, Yo Yo and Crazy Horses was a guilty pleasure but when Down By The Lazy River or One Bad Apple started playing up, I would change the station.  Sometimes my friends would make requests to the local station for crappy music. me wanting to hear 3 Dog Night while Craig Rothmeyer called up and requested The Candy Man.

I took my rock and roll seriously back then, with new singles by Elton John, or Led Zeppelin or 3 Dog Night to be big events of that week and poo pooing The Carpenters or Bobby Sherman or David Cassidy and The Partridge Family.  But there was plenty of god awful crap from one hit bands.  Stay Awhile by The Bells, Mammy Blue by The Pop Tops, fucking bloody awful. Chirpy Chirpy Cee Cee by Mac and Katie Kasoon.  The K Tel collections of 22 Explosive Hits pretty much sums up the AM radio playlist. Or Rhino's late Have A Nice Day Series.  So anyway,  here's a few artists from that by gone era, that made an impact on radio but to me didn't amount to much.

Olivia Newton-John    If Not For You, was a fine song and remains my favorite Olivia single, it sounded great from the AM side of things.  Let Me Be There and If You Love Me (Let Me Know) were good back to back country sounding songs with a flirty bass singer on the chorus.  Then gave the world the odious Have You Never Been Mellow or worse I Honestly Love You which may have been the inspiration for Debbie Boone's You Light Up My Life.   She got versatile, scoring big with You're The One That I Want with John Travolta for the Grease movie and then hooking up with Jeff Lynne and ELO for Xanadu.  Her last listenable single was 1976's Come On Over.  Then went dance music with Physical and worse Soul Kiss.  She tried a comeback in country with Back With A Heart in 98 which would have been fine but had to reprise I Honesty Love You again.

Paul Anka   Donny Osmond covered a few of his old 50's song (Puppy Love, Lonely Boy) so I guess we can consider Anka to be part of the 70s' pop fluff.   Anka started out at ABC Paramount and the redid some of his hits for 21 Golden Hits  for RCA to which I do like Lonely Boy (Anka's version).  I also think Anka was more in tune with Vegas Pop then actual rock and roll although he scored a freak hit with Jubilation  for Buddah in 1973  to which I enjoyed so much I bought the album as a 99 cent cut out.  Nothing else on that album is equal to the title track which works as a 4 minute single but as the full 7 minute version the arrangement get to be pompous as hell.  And then he may have made the most single puke inducing record of the 70s, You're Having My Baby for United Artist in 1974 which may be more icky than You Light Up My Life.  He did better in 2007 making a album called Rock Swings and using some of modern rock better known songs (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Oasis) into a standard swing music that works a bit.  And repeated to a more lesser success on Classic Songs: My Way.    One really doesn't need a Paul Anka overview but for the good and bad, 30th Anniversary Collection  has most of it.  21 Golden Hits isn't the actual original recordings but I grew up listening to it.

Osmonds/Donny Osmond    They could do a credible white boy version of the Jackson 5 (One Bad Apple, Double Lovin), hell they even impressed Lars Urich of Metallica to steal Crazy Horses from the internet for his own enjoyment.  That and Joe South's Yo Yo ensures them to be more metal than Limp Bizkit.  For more fun and games find their 21 Hits Special Collection on Curb.

Carpenters:  Lush Harmonies, singles that did sound good on the radio but they never did much for me. I do give them props for covering Klaatu Calling Occupants in 1975.  Great singles band although Sing with the children's choir does make me want to pull my hair out.

Partridge Family/David Cassidy    The Cowsills had better songs.  And the songs worked better on the TV show than on the turntable.  Songs I could listen to were Friend And A Lover from the Notebook LP (and a failed hit in 1972) or I Woke Up In Love This Morning  (my aunt had those 45s).

Helen Reddy:  In 1973 the underground FM station played Delta Dawn for some odd reason.  Sounded good at the time I guess.  More of a pop singer than rocker, two interesting albums she recorded for Capitol, Long Hard Climb and the Kim Fowley 1977 Ear Candy throw a few left curves.  Her strengths remain the ballads though.

More Pop Fluff:

Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast-Wayne Newton 1972
Something's Wrong With Me-Austin Roberts 1972
Don't Say You Don't Remember-Beverly Bremmers 1971
Precious And Few-Climax 1972
The Candy Man-Sammy Davis Jr. 1971
Torn Between Two Lovers-Mary McGregor 1977
Billy Don't Be A Hero-Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods 1973
You Light Up My Life-Debby Boone 1978
Reunited-Peaches & Herb 1979
Oh Babe What Would You Say-Norman Hurricane Smith 1973

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Top Ten Of The Week-The Crabbys

What's a person to do when he's out and about and looking for places to hit up for new or good music?  20 years ago it was hard to compile a best places to go for records and CDs, there's was so many in town.  Nowadays the 10 or 12 that I know about are spread over two hours driving distance.  Even in Arizona or Madison, the music places are dropping off like flies but thank Zia's for coming through this year and not bother me so much.  I also give Hastings a shout out, they seem to be the go to place if you want Sony Music stuff for 3.99 or a buck more.  For cheaper CDs, Bookman's got the nod but I have yet to find the Half Priced Bookstore in Phoenix, I'm sure they have some cheaper stuff too.

Up here's it's different.

Best Record Stores In the 200 mile range.

1.  Mad City Music Exchange (Madison)
2.  Record Collector (Iowa City)
3.  Moondog Music (Dubuque)
4.  CD's 4 Change (Dubuque)
5.  The Exclusive Company (Madison and other places in Wisconsin)
6.  Co Op Records (Moline/Davenport)
7.  Borders (RIP)
8.  Best Buy (Cedar Rapids)
9.  Barnes & Noble (Cedar Rapids)
10. Strictly Discs (Madison)

Do you see a pattern here?  All the record stores are not in the Cedar Rapids area since there are no record stores anymore in the CR area.  Or Waterloo, or if there is I don't know anything about it.  I didn't include FYE in Moline or Des Moines, haven't been to the latter and the former has a crappy CD section.  I think I'm overrating Co Op since most of their inventory is basically the same that doesn't get moved all that much.  Besides nobody wants to pay 8 bucks for that crappy 90s cd that you can find for 2 bucks at the local pawnshop if lucky.  Pre Played fell off the list simply of the fact that they have really upped the DVD section and made the CD section a quick glance and go.  I think I'm shortchanging Strictly Discs in Madison, they continue to have a fine vinyl section and sometimes I do come across out of print CDs in their store.  But when I'm in Madison, a trip to Mad City Music X remains priority number 1, they tend to have a lotta good LPs in the dollar bins and sometimes have some hard to find oddities as 45s or CDs too.  There's a couple more Madison stores up there B sides and another place which escapes my mind but I have yet to go to those places.  Maybe someday I will.  As for Borders, their budget section did have some fine albums (Sly & The Family Stone, Paul Desmond) but also their 30 percent off closing sale benefitted them dearly.  They'll never be rated again since they're now history but they did go out with a bang.

Best Used Places For Music

1.  Half Priced Books (Madison, Des Moines, Marion)
2.  Frugal Muse (Madison)
3.  Goodwill (CR, Marion, Coralville, Iowa City, Plattville, Dubuque, Madison)
4.  Stuff Etc. (CR, Coralville, Iowa City, Davenport, Waterloo)
5.  Sweet Living Antiques (Iowa City)
6.  Segal's Pawnshop (Cedar Rapids)
7.  Salvation Army (Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Moline, Marion)
8.  St. Vincent De Paul (Waterloo, Madison)
9.  Hastings (Various Locations)
10.  Pawn America (Madison)

Thank God for Half Priced Books.  The only place that can actually challenge me with  a different inventory of albums, cds and even 45s to keep the top ten lists interesting.  With the closing of Relics and Ratz Records, the only place to find music outside of Goodwill or The Army is HP Books and they still have an award winning dollar bins to beat.  If you want to hear Limp Bizkit 3 Dollar Bill Y'all for 2 bucks or less or get some Alan Jackson or Len Steal My Sunshine for a price of a 45, you can't beat it.  If nothing else you have a decent jewel case (sometimes.)  Sweet Living in Iowa City remains ideal for the great lost vinyl piece (or Record Collector for that matter).  Stuff Etc is a consignment place, kinda like Savers' but unlike Savers' I do manage to find some cool 2 dollar cds from time to time.  Savers is so hit and miss.  Just like Goodwill to which most of the places up in Waterloo or Dubuque are so picked clean I rarely find anything of note.  Frugal Muse can surprise me from time to time in their 2 dollar bins, you have to outsmart the Madison collectors since they're on the ball but I know last year I did find John Hartford Aereo Plain  for 2 bucks on CD.  And Frugal Muse gets points for having the hard to find Train Meets Truck Never Been There cd (TMT features Sean Beal later of Big Back Forty fame).  Promos are hit and miss but if Half Priced Books didn't have that Rockpile Live In Montreaux 1980 CD, I know that Best Buy would have never had it.  Despite what that zit face sales associate at Best Buy tells you.

Pawnshops really suck when it comes for used CDs but Segal's Pawnshop is the exception.  I've been known to find new stuff up there.  And Pawn America at the old Circuit City Building in Madison still has a big CD section and although they have been picked clean from the last dollar sale, if you can invest 2 hours to look through it all, you might find something of note.  Led Zeppelin 4 for a dollar anyone?  The St. Vincent De Paul in Madison gets the nod over Waterloo in terms of where to find music, I found some 45s in Mad City last year and usually Waterloo has junk but the Waterloo store has a nice music room where they have the records.  The owner tends to be a bitch though but still if I get the urge to go up to Waterloo (which isn't too often anymore) St. Vincent De Paul is the destination.  As for other pawnshops, with Mister Money now a thing of the past or a shadow of itself, going thru their cd's takes about 20 seconds at best.  Not like it was 10 years ago when it took a good hour to sort through them.   Another causality of the internet it seems.

Top Ten Of The Week:

1.  Here We Go-Shelter 1995   Long time ago during the big Green Day Dookie outbreak, labels were signing up punk bands to see who would be the next big thing.  This band was one of the more successful hardcore punk bands but Ray Cappo was into Hare Krishna Straight Edge philosophy which made their albums somewhat hard to get through at times.  I think this was probably as close to a hit single that Shelter ever gotten and after a second album they parted ways with Roadrunner Records.

2.  Man Sized Wreath-REM 2008  Continuing our band of the month preview, this is off Accelerate.  Never you mind, they earned it.

3.  Hell On Heels-Pistol Annies 2011  A month after issuing this as a digital only album, Sony Music quietly put their album out on physical product and it is one of the better country albums of this year.  Good enough to make the top ten remains to be seen but it is a strong effort from Miranda Lambert's side project.  Next week, her new album Four The Record will be out and already Spin has called it one of her least interesting albums.  I'll be the judge of that next week.

4. Can't Be Who (You Want Me To Be)-Lizzy Williams 2005   When I was over at My Space a few years ago I ended up buying Magic 8 and it became of my go to albums of the last decade.  Kind of lost track with Liz Chaffe till she found me on Facebook and we rekindled our friendship.  Anyway, this song was the basis of a Townedger song but with a different spin on the title.  Liz has informed me that she's working on some new material for a new project and I guess she got some help from Universal in terms of releasing it.  In the meantime Super 8 still can be brought at CD Baby..

5.  Six Days On The Road-Johnny Rivers 1974   Johnny Rivers has always been to me a singles artist.  He makes great singles that sound great on the radio but could never get into any of his albums except for a long ago comp for Pickwick that showcased some of his earliest material before hitting the Go Go scene and hitting it big.  9 years after the fact, he recorded what might be his best album for Atlantic and a top 20 cover of the Dave Dudley number and it did get some airplay on the radio here.  Next year found him on Big Tree with Slow Dancing.

6.  Public Image-Public Image 1978  Life after the Sex Pistols and he never rocked harder since.  If anybody notices Johnny Lydon reformed the Image a couple years ago.

7.  You Let Yourself Down-Rollins Band 2000  Big story was Rollins ditching his old band in favor of a more harder rocking outfit called Mother Superior and went from a funk sound to a more of MC5 sound although this song has a bit of a nod to Motorhead.  Album also features a Thin Lizzy cover called Are You Ready to which Scott Gorham plays guitar on it.

8.  Satin Sheets-Jeannie Pruett 1973  This gets played on classic country radio and even KHAK has been known to play it (although I'm sure it goes against Cumulus wishes of playing Need You Now every hour on the hour).  Found the 45 up at HP Books for 50 cents.

9.  Memories Of El Monte-The Penguins 1963  Produced by Frank Zappa who had a genuine love of doo wop.  Co written with Ray Collins who you all know would be the lead singer for the Mothers Of Invention.

10.  Wrong-Train Meets Truck 1994  No used explaining this one to y'all but I'll try to do my best.  Band came from Ohio and made a hard to find CD called Never Been There but it features Sean Beal  who went on to another band named Big Back Forty which made a great album for Polydor and made it to Gabe's in 1998 with the Honeydogs.  But anyway, Never Been There owes a lot to the Crazy Horse sound and somewhere Nirvana figures into the equation.  But it's more hard edge Americana than grunge.  Worth finding if you can.  All Music Guide will not help you, it's not even in it's data base.  After Can't Smile Without You on the Dunce Bigalo S/T, Sean Beal disappeared or simply retired from music.  Such a shame really, he was one of my favorite artists of the 90s.

Side Note: After they opened for the Honeydogs at Gabes, at some point I had Sean right next to me as he was digging the tunes from The Honeydogs.  For an encore, the guys of Big Back 40 and the opening act Arthur Dodge and the Horsefiles did some backing vocals for I Can't Turn You Loose, an old Otis Redding song.  It was a fun time.  If Sean Beal is out there reading this, if ya get a band going again and need some help with it, look me up and maybe we can come up with something.

Side note 2:  Blood should have been a hit single for Big Back Forty.

Late news to add.
What does Jani Lane and Amy Winehouse have in common?  Both died from alcohol poisoning.  In Amy's case an irony.

The blog that will not die: Sick Of Summer Ready For Fall has once again popped up on the all time top five blogs.  Would it be easier just to compile the ten songs into a sellable album (Hits of Sick Of Summer Ready For Fall).  While it will not be anywhere near the Brains Blog for all time best.  I'm sure second place isn't out of the question, especially when Sick Of Summer has been the second most read blog of two months straight.  Can't figure that one out, may as blame the links for that.

Paul Leka passed away at age 68 from lung cancer.  Better known as a producer (Peppermint Rainbow, Harry Chaplin, REO Speedwagon come to mind) he may have penned the best B side turned A side with Kiss Him Goodbye (Na Na Na Na) for a fictional band called Steam to which he hated the song that much that Mercury put it on the Fontana label.  And ended up being the best known song for Steam which did become a real band, and put out a real album for Mercury and had a few more Mercury singles which may have been better but never sold as well as that throwaway Na Na song Leka calls it. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Crabb Bits: New Music and the strange fascination of Jessie J

After surviving another failed attempt by Harold Camping to predict the end of the world, I pretty much turn my attention to whatever is played on radio anymore.  Basically on another website I got into with the 14 year olds of the flavor of the week, one Jessie J.  In other words another MTV manufactured chick singer that can do ten octaves in one chorus line, which seems to be the thing of the day.  See how high they can scream doesn't account for music for me and basically my thoughts were another artist destined for the dollar bins or Goodwill Clarence Sale.  Again it's music for the junior high circuit and the new generation, us old fools have no use for it or can't get into it, just like Grandpa Smith couldn't get into Grand Funk Railroad but enjoyed Glenn Miller.  Grandma Ambrose always had a more objective mind, I don't think she ever complained, even though my mom did when I played Medicine Man 10 times in a row.

While NPR has been playing some new bands of late, I can always say that Deer Tick isn't my band of choice either, finally turning the station after 3 minutes of some song that KUNI played featuring them.  I think the Fleet Foxes might be the best of the so call new bands of jam or modern rock, but I also couldn't get into them either although their harmonies are kinda mellow and nice.  Grizzly Bear was another band who had one good song and the rest was noodling around.  Dawes, a band whose latest on ATO is my pick of the litter, their recent album would make Jackson Browne proud.  In fact he plays on that album too.

My best friend Steve works at Godfather's Pizza and my GF had a craving for pizza so we went there Saturday Night.  Perhaps in one of the big cases of radio overkill, Need You Now, the overplayed Lady Antebellum song of  a few years ago was played in a 10 minute span on the worst GD station in this GD town, KDAT, along with the insufferable Take On Me by A Ha and some other piece of shit song with the lyrics were repeated over and over, can't think of the name and better off that way.  However we got stuck with the Sheryl Crow overplayed First Cut Is The Deepest to which one wishes KDAT would at least play Keith Hampshire or Rod Stewart, or even Cat Stevens.  It seems that I hate enough of Sheryl Crow but in the era of music of the past 20 years, Sheryl Crow seems to be the highlight of female singers of KDAT or Cumulus Radio, the monopoly assholes of Cedar Rapids Iowa.  I hate Cumulus Radio more than Clear Channel since Cumulus owns the majority of stations in this God Forsaken city.  I know my GF likes Need You Now since she's got a dialtone of it on her cellphone but even she said that was getting a bit overplayed.  Need You Now, is this decade's version of Margaritaville or American Pie or Piano Man, a song that knows no one straight format.  I can still vouch for Lady A's first album (at least the first three songs) but when songs get overplayed, they're no better than the annoying Viagara or drug commercials that make watching cable TV annoying.  Maybe KDAT or John Tesh might like that song but hearing it twice in 10 minutes is overkill.  Makes you wish that John Test would go back to Entertainment Tonight or play his new age music rather than bore us with the same easy listening crap that every Cumulus station shoves down our unwilling throats.

For football, The Iowa Hawkeyes outscored Indiana.  Marvin McNutt had three touchdowns and Marcus Coker went over 100 yards in the first half against a hapless Hoosier Defense.  Iowa's defense isn't much better, as Indiana matched them TD for TD in the first half.  Plus Iowa's Defense makes anybody look like Tom Brady, just ask Steele Jantz, the Iowa State Cyclone QB that lead them a OT victory over the Hawkeyes but since then has gotten benched after getting blown out by the likes of Texas, Missouri and Texas A and M.    Here's hoping Iowa gets their act together before going up to Minneapolis for a rematch with Minnesota who has only won one game all year.  If the Hawkeyes can't get the Floyd Of Rosedale back, we may as well call a season.  Injuries do play a role but basically, Norm Parker's crappy cover 2 and bend don't break defense have been lax all season.  But it could be worse, just ask the Marion Indians which won't make it to the playoffs again this year.  They lost their 4th in a row to Maquoketa 31-7.

For the NFL side of things, The San Diego Chargers blew a 14 point lead and lost to the New York Jets in what amounted to be some of the worst playing that the Chargers did all year.  Mr. All Everything Phillip Rivers had a lousy clock management in the last two minutes and most of the fourth quarter to which San Diego showed a lack of urgency on the part of not getting the plays in on time.  I'm not a big Rivers fan, would have been nice if A J would have kept Drew Brees and let Rivers go to some other team.  However the Jets seem to get some lucky breaks judging from that 62 yard interception by Revis and Plaxico Burress having his way with crappy San Diego DBs who couldn't cover him.  And seeing Rivers' fail job in the last two minutes didn't endure me to think he's as great as people perceive him to be.   Next up, a return to Kansas City on Halloween Night to which I may just pass on watching it since San Diego seems to fall on their face at Arrowhead.

And so it goes, I'll be back later in the week with  a new top ten and more rant and raves.  It's what I do best.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The End Of The World

Didn't happen.

Sorry Harold Camping.

You're wrong again.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Top Ten Of The Week-My List Your Tunes

Now that we got the REM 10 out of the way, let's focus on what is the songs that made a difference for me this week.

1.  Real Mean Bottle-Bob Seger & Kid Rock 2006  Written by Vince Gill.  Of course Live Bullet and Night Moves made him Detroit's answer to Springsteen but in the older days before Springsteen, Seger was one of the toughest rockers to come out of the Motor City.  Stranger In Town began the slow decline although I did enjoy that one and Against The Wind.  After a long layoff, Seger returned with Face The Promise and this time out did it a solo artist but with mostly a Nashville who's who of sessionmen (Eddie Bayers, Paul Leim).  On this, he got fellow Detroit Kid Rock to help out on the vocals.  Face The Promise seems at times to be a bit unfinished sounding but it's really his first good album since The Distance and I admired that album from a long "distance" so to speak.  No pun intended.

2.  The Wait-Killing Joke 1980  Popularized by Metallica on the Garage Days Re Visited EP of 1987, I pretty much never heard much about Killing Joke, or got into them till they reformed in 1994 and stayed a fan after that.  Most of their 80's stuff was kinda too new waveish or too goth but their first album remains killer classic.  And Big Paul Ferguson can run circles around Lars on drums too.  However I'll give Metallica their due since they were the band that turned me on to the original version.

3.  Cities-Moody Blues 1967  B side to Nights In White Satin and pretty much left off the Days Of Future Passed till the third reissue and remaster version this finally gets to have its place on that album.   One of Justin Hayward's better unknown songs.

4.  Circles-Eddie & The Hot Rods 1979   In my wild untamed youth, Eddie & The Hot Rods were one of my favorite bands of that time, although they were limped in with punk rock they had more in common with Ducks Deluxe or The Rumour but Steve Nicol was a rapid fire drummer that actually made them more punk sounding.  Better known for Teenage Depression or Do Anything You Want To Do, their third album Thriller wasn't even released in the US.  In fact I got a import LP of this at Record Realm in 79.  Interesting fact was that Linda McCartney actually sang backup vocals on this album if one can believe that.  Alas, Thriller suffered from a clutter production and most of the songs were a desperate attempt to be punk, to which they were not.  Still a fun album in spots.  The Hot Rods would move over to EMI America for the 1980 bomb Fish N Chips and was never heard from again in America although across the pond they been known to reform once in a blue moon.

5.  I Am The Resurrection-The Stone Roses 1989  By now you have heard that John Squire and Ian Brown has kissed and made up enough to form a reunion of this band, who vowed never to regroup again.  How time and money changes everything.  Their debut introduced the world to the Madchester Music Dance Scene which actually gave us some great and good bands.  And on a different note, Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon are ending their marriage.  Wonder if that will mean the end of Sonic Youth?  The Stone Roses's first album remain one of the best late 80s albums but they could never deliver a second proper album till years later when they gave the world the all over the place Second Coming for Geffen.  Which reminds me, why the hell is Sick Of Summer blog continue to get more hits than the last top ten blog?

6.  And It Hurts-The Lonesome Strangers 1997  A long time ago in Arizona, I picked up a copy of Lonesome Pine, the first album from this alt country band which still remains one of the best early alt country albums that nobody ever heard.  Part of the reason why it worked was that Pete Anderson produced it alongside Dusty Wakeman.  These two were instrumental in being a part of Dwight Yoakam's band and of course Anderson remains a great lead guitar player.  After a second album, they broke up only to reunite 10 years later in the making of Land Of Opportunity, to which Randy Weeks and Jeff Rhymes would add Dwight's band as backup on this album.  But anything with Pete Anderson playing lead guitar is always worth getting.   Rhymes and Weeks would part ways and Randy Weeks has gone on to a somewhat successful career as a songwriter and putting out albums from time to time although the only one I have heard was Madeline in 2000.

7.  Two Way Traffic-Status Quo 2011  If you like your boogie 12 bars and a straight ahead beat, Status Quo is your band and has been for 40 plus years.  There's no grandiose statements like U2 or Radiohead, no big Pitchford asskissing like The Strokes or for that matter no LOUD funk rock from the Chili Peppers.  Rock and roll the way that I remembered it and enjoyed for most of my half century on this planet.  The Quo has never done well in the States, their boogie sonics have never endeared the Foghat fans or Aerosmith but over in the UK, The Quo are kings of the 12 Bar Boogie and on their new album all of the songs are boogie rock and roll with little variation.  The way I like it.  Long live The Quo.

8.   Lazy Day-Spanky & Our Gang 1967   In the era of being a kid and going to Woolworth's to find cheap 3 for a dollar 45's I really have lived well even back then, spoiled rotten by the single of the week, which lead to bigger and badder things (8 Tracks, LPs, CD's, cassettes, etc etc).  Wonderful marketing by Mercury with the candy striped label in the late 60's.  I remember buying this at some store in Joliet Illinois but can't think of the name and somehow the record got lost a few years later.  Jann Wanner may not think much of Spanky McFarlane and her gang but I love this band.  Features John Seiter on drums who replaced John Barbata in The Turtles.

9.  Amy-Sunny Sweeney 2011   Country music today is a bit more tolerable than top forty or Cumulus Radio take your pick and there's no shortage of Country Bombshells, who look like Playboy pinups and have about as much writing ability as one.  Chet Flippo laments about how country charts are dominated by males or groups but the female singer gets lost in the shuffle, unless you're Miranda Lambert who finally broke out in 2009 and has a new album coming out in November which will be highly anticipated (thank God for spell check).  Sunny Sweeney has actually had a couple singles that came out long before her album did (which seems to be the norm for major labels in Nashville).  Like Miranda, Sunny is a Texas singer who writes the majority of her own songs on her recent album Concrete.  Amy, the song itself deals with the subject of cheating  and is one of the highlights of Concrete but I can tell you that her chicken shit label will not issue it to country stations due to the subject matter.  Nevertheless, Sunny Sweeney is up and coming and if her chicken shit label will promote her at least two or three more albums, she might make it too like Miranda did.  But here's a thought, you take away the fiddles or the cliche steel guitars and leave it as guitars only, this could be considered Alt country or rock itself.  But I'm sure her chicken shit label would let her twist in the wind for another single before cutting her loose if the next album didn't sell.  Would also help if they get a better sympathetic producer, say Ethan Johns or even T Bone Burnett instead of Brett Beavers. Jes saying.

10.  Kill Your Television-Ned's Atomic Dustbin 1991  In the great year of 91 there were so many albums of classic out there it was hard to keep up on all that mattered.  Nevermind, Pearl Jam 20!  Screamadelica!  even Primus' Sailing The Seas Of Cheese was from 20 years ago.  And of course Metallica's Black album which the metal community decried them as sellouts once and for all.  Green Day's Kerplunk! was recorded in 1991 too, but there were the lesser knowns.  Raindogs Border Drive In Theater, The Dylans, REM Out Of Time likewise.  But I don't see too many people requesting a copy of God Fodder from this band that featured 2 bass players and a lead singer that sang a lot of dorky lyrics but Gray Cell Green was a top 20 alternative rock hit.  They're forgotten now and nobody mentions Ned's Atomic Dustin unless it's a punchline to a very bad joke but at one time, they were buzzworthy in the MTV Buzz Bin.  But don't expect Sony Music to give us a 20th Deluxe Edition of God Fodder anytime soon.    Next up, Senseless Things, The First Of Too Many................

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The REM Ten-Part Lies, Part Truth, Part Heart and Part Bullshit

The Top Ten Of The Week deals with 10 songs from REM, the band that decided to call it a day.  But first a couple passings to tell you about.

Taz DiGregorio one of the best keyboard players in country rock and roll and was part of the Charlie Daniels Band was killed in a auto accident last Thursday while trying to catch up with CDB to a show.  Charlie Daniels paid a tribute to him but that link is now a 404 not found. But Bronson Hermmuth still has his link up 5 years later and you can read it here:

Also last week, Nicole's grandpa passed away in his sleep. He was 86.  I got to meet him one time up in Michigan and even though he was in frail health he did remember me enough to ask about me when her family made it up there for Christmas last year.  He was a wonderful man.  I heard that they did send him off on a 21 gun salute Saturday.  Fitting tribute no doubt.

And now the REM Ten Of The Month

1.  Can't Get There From Here (Fables Of The Reconstruction 1985)  The first REM brought was not an album but rather the 45 single that I got at the old Camelot store out in Westdale Mall now known as the mall of death since there's hardly any stores out there.  Mostly serves as a walking area for folks trying to lose weight.  Which means I didn't join the REM bandwagon (B Side To Can't There From Here, talk about the irony here) till I bought the album later and took forever to get into that.  The greatest fun was trying to figure out what the hell Mike Stripe was trying to sing about in his lyrics.  Produced by Joe Boyd (of Nick Drake, Fairport Convention fame).

2.  Strange (Document 1987)  REM didn't do very many cover versions at that time but when they did they knew how to pick them although if you want to hear Draggin The Line, you have to buy the Austin Powers Spy Who Shagged Me Soundtrack.  Document isn't one of my favorite REM albums, in fact it's kinda low on the list there but somewhere on side 1, they managed to cover Wire and make it a more country sounding pop tune rather than the drool and doom of the version that's on Pink Flag.  I think the more fun Wire version of Strange can be found on the Live At The Roxy Volume 2 that Castle/Sanctuary reissued a few years ago.  Could have been a hit for both bands, however MCA/IRS decided on The One I Love.

3.  Ignoreland (Automatic For The People 1993)  The thing about REM's best albums from the critics and fans is that what they find classic, I find somewhat okay at best.  This sold a ton back in the 90s but like every other REM album that came out in the early 90s most have been unloaded to the dollar bins or Goodwill.  Everybody Hurts seems to be the go to song for the soft hearted but then again you're not like me that prefers this uptempo rocker that echos a bit like It's The End Of The World As We Know It (Bla bla) but I do dig the yeah yeah yeah that goes into the chorus that is Ignoreland but it's no Everybody Hurts.  Which is why I play this one more.

4.  Living Well Is The Best Revenge (Accelerate 2008)  After Adventures In Hi Fi, I didn't pay much attention to the REM wilderness years, the years after Bill Berry left and before Bill Rieflin joined that the albums in question was boring and new agey although I did get the Best Of REM The WB Years.  Accelerate was their hardest rocking album since Monster and somehow the band caught fire with at least better songs (although Sing For The Submarine sucks).  At least the first three rocking songs did keep my attention span on this album.  It also helped that Gareth (Jack Knife) Lee produced too.  Mucho kudos to him.

5.  Pretty Persuasion  (reckoning 1984)  REM was a great singles band if you think about it or kept close attention to the 45 section.  This got played a lot on the student run KRUI FM in IC and 120 Minutes showed the video a few times.  I think even KRNA played it once in the late late hours too.

6.  It Happened Today (Collapse Into Now 2011)  For ballads, I'm not much into them but perhaps one of my favorite cuts came off the final goodbye album with an coda that I could listen to forever.  Strange in an era that albums don't get played much on the radio, Collapse would have sounded more at home twenty years ago rather than the Cumulus Controlled Playlist that makes radio seem like torture anymore.

7.  Star 69 (Monster 1994)  And then there's Monster, an album that debuted at number 1 and then went sound and people were unloading copies of it left and right but I still think it holds up very well over the years. Automatic For The People may have been too morbid for REM's liking so they decided to up the guitars and drums and bury Stripe's vocals in the back just like the old days.  Can't get much better with this ode to call screening.  Or can you?

8.  Texarkana (Out Of Time 1991)   The rare occasion to hear Mike Mills sing lead, much less on two songs off Out Of Time.  This got plenty of airplay on the Arizona Alternative station at that time and remains my favorite off that album.  Although I don't mind Shiny Happy People.

9.  West Of The Fields (Murmur 1983)  A dark album from start to finish although that may have more to do with Mitch Easler and Don Dixon producing and mixing it that way.  Many consider this to be their finest album, though I think it's number two on my all time REM fave albums.  Great point/counterpoint on the chorus between Mills and Stripe I think.

10.  Superman-(Life's Rich Pagent 1986)  In truth this album remains their best to these eyes and ears (Mark Prindle likes this one too judging by his review of it).  Getting John Mellencamp's producer seemed to be them going for the top forty airplay and they did get some with Fall On Me and Superman, which was a cover version sung by Mike Mills.  Even though this was a minor hit, REM has never saw fit to put this on any of their greatest hits packages.  Which really is a shame.  Perhaps someday, Warner or IRS/EMI or whoever owns the IRS stuff might take the liberty of having Superman on a best of.  Or do a REM does covers album.  I'm sure they can stick about 12 covers on it and make a few bucks on the side too.

Certainly, I left off many of the hits and fan favorites but you can create your own top ten with your ten favorites.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Crabb Bits: Arista Jive and J RIP, Strokes, Albums reviews, Link of the day

A new link to tell you about.

Burning Wood is the name and it gives some new and insightful reviews on the latest.  Check them out.

Big news is that RCA or Sony Music has decided to shut down the Arista, Jive, J and Zomba labels, not that anybody gives a fuck.  Can't tell you the last new Arista album I bought.  Arista, formerly known as Bell Records before Clive Davis took over and renamed it can be considered the alternative rock label of the time, signing Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, The Outlaws, Krokus, Graham Parker And The Rumour and gave a second life to The Grateful Dead and The Kinks.  Plus a certain pop artist by the name of Barry Manilow.  As the years progressed on, Arista went more R and B and got big hits from Whitney Houston, Expose and made a big splash in country with the likes of Alan Jackson, Black Hawk, Diamond Rio and Brad Paisley as well as Carrie Underwood.  I really haven't paid much attention to Arista over that much, I think the last Arista album I bought new was Nerf Herder who had a minor hit with Van Halen.  Jive Records was hip hop plus silly rock along the likes of Reel Big Fish and whatever Britney Spears was throwing out.   J Records, was the latest Clive Davis project and had some minor success with the late Luther Vandross, Pearl Jam and Say Anything.  But basically Arista has been a satellite label for RCA/Sony Music.  We'll take the memories I guess but since it's a part of the big four majors, the loss isn't that great.

How time flies.  Ten years ago The Strokes released Is This It to the world and I've been reading the self-congratulatory  kudos and ass kissing from the music mags.  When it came out, I was up in Seattle for my forgettable second go around with my X GF who was wacked out on 10 different types of medication and it was the longest week of being with anybody.  Nevertheless, we both heard things about this album which was supposed to be the album to returned everything back to good old rock and roll.  Or so it goes.  Is This It has to be the most perfect title of a album that never did much for me and my first reaction after hearing it was "is this it?"  In a way Is This It tried to steer us away from the emo-nu-metal shit of Limp Bizkit or Godsmack taking up radio time and I do admit Is This It still doesn't sound like anything that came out in 2001, unless you had a bedroom tape of a low fi band.  Looking back, Room On Fire was a better album for me but the rest seems to collaspe under all the praise Pitchfork or SPIN or Rolling Stone bestowed upon The Strokes.  It's a good album, not a great album and alongside Astral Weeks or Marqee Moon might be one of the overrated albums of the Crabb era.  I'm surprised Sony Music hasn't issued a 10th Anniversity Edition of Is This It with a bonus second disc of outtakes, live numbers and New York City Cops, which got chopped off at the last moment due to 9/11.  Give credit, The Strokes are still around although I haven't heard or plan to hear their last album Angles.    I never did get on the Strokes bandwagon myself.  Next up, 10 years ago Slipknot unleashed their album Iowa to the world, thus giving them the credo of being the best known Iowa band.  And somehow did changed the face of metal rock in their own twisted way...

It's been a busy couple weeks for new releases.  And the guy at Burning Wood scared me off on the Super Heavy album, that Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart, Joss Stone crapfest.  For myself the Jayhawks Mockingbird Time (Rounder) features the return of Mark Olson to the band after being away for about 15 years and it's great to hear the harmonies and vocals of Olson and Gary Louris and basically it's the same band that did Tomorrow The Green Grass except Tim OReagan plays drums (he also played drums and did some vocals on the post Olsen albums) which is a good thing.  However, while the harmonies are intact, the songs here are not exactly memorable and the production and recording is on the blah side.  Welcome back guys, next time make more effort to write a song with a hooks and melody.  And even give O'Reagan a song or two.

Disappointment number two: Nick Lowe-The Old Magic (Yep Roc).  He looks more Spencer Tracy with those glasses that he sports and he still is that pop country mode that goes way back to Impossible Bird.  This time out, Paul Carrack does guest star and Checkout Time might be the best thing Lowe has written that rocked in twenty years.  But his laid back pop groove makes me wish that he would inject some of that Rockpile inspired Pure Pop For Now People attitude that made me a big fan of his music.  Nothing wrong with growing old, we all grow old but God's sakes Nick add some fun to it.  You don't need to redo a Love So Fine or even Rose Of England, we'll settle for All Man Are Liars or hell, Party Of One rock fun.

I didn't hold much hope for the new Ryan Adams Ashes & Fire (Capitol) but Bruce at the pawn shop talked me into getting it and for it's worth Adams doesn't overstay his welcome like he usually does.  In fact the slow moving acoustic guitar and drums is pretty fine especially on Rocks or Invisible Riverside.  Norah Jones plays piano as well as Bemont Tench from The Heartbreakers and Mrs Ryan Adams, Mandy Moore adds female counterpoint vocals.  Can't say this would be my go to album but it's a good album to drive down the road with and I think it's his best since Cold Roses came out.

Perhaps the best album that I have heard this year may be What Do You Expect From The Vaccines (Columbia).   With gobs of echo guitar that rival the Jesus & Mary Chain, vocals recalling Morrissey and The Smiths but also a bit of a nod to pub rock of the 70s and surf music this was one album that I had to play again after hearing it the first time.    I think if there's another band to describe them it would be White Lies, whose latest album actually bombed but The Vaccines, has a kinda dopey sense of fun that has been sorely missing in the music world.  Morrissey would probably would have killed to get something called Post Break Up Sex in his songbook but my faves remain the new waveish Blow It Up, the acid surf  Norgaard, (that does sound like Rockpile in a cave) and Wet Suit which gives us the best inspirational lyric of We grow old and gray at breakneck speed, go easy on me.  Side 2 does come across as a B Side of sorts and when they go over 5 minutes they do get pretentious like White Lies or The Killers but overall it's one of the most enjoyable albums of the year.  Top Ten worthy I think.

The Jayhawks-Mockingbird Time B-
Nick Lowe-The Old Magic C+
Ryan Adams-Ashes & Fire A-
The Vaccines-What Do You Expect From The Vaccines A-

Top Ten Of The Week-Going Goo Goo Over Ga Ga

Well, just between you and me I don't give a fuck about Queen and Lady Gaga getting together if that happens.  I'm sure they'll sell a ton of cds but then again they weren't as good as Paul Rodgers when he guest starred.   In the meantime, plenty of new music and old stuff that I forgot all about till I heard it a second time.  Don't look for Piano Man or Margaritaville on this top ten, they already been discussed.

1.  I Have The Skill-The Sherbs  1980 Or Sherbs for short.  Like Balance and Breaking Away, this was another one hit wonder from a band that is now forgotten since Cumulus Radio doesn't have this on their approved play list.  Sounds a bit like Genesis only more poppier and more keyboard.  Folks at Renaissance has had this on their reissue label a few years.  Sure hope you don't get a CD R if you do seek this out.  Found this on LP.

2.  No-Bulldog 1972  Stole this from Tad's great lost singles blog and I know I had this on 45 once, it was also on the K Tel 22 Explosive Hits to which a shorter version appeared.  Best known for having Dino Danelli and Gene Cornish from The Rascals in this band, they released a album on Decca but outside of this single heard nothing more.  They both later formed the crappy pop act Fotomaker that made a few forgettible albums for Atlantic in the late 70s.

3.  Closer To Your Side-The Jayhawks 2011  One of the big releases of the year was the reunion of Gary Louris and Mark Olsen and the rest of the crew known as the Jayhawks.  Hooray they kept Tim O'Reagan on drums and we can't forget Marc Pearlman playing bass and Karen too.  Alas, the new Jayhawks, while having those wonderful vocals of Louris/Olson, lack memorable songs although this is one of the better songs off that new album Mockingbird Time.

4.  I Fall To Pieces-The And 1997  Forgotten band that made two albums in one year for J Bird, one called Day, (the other And Night) and basically one sounds like half baked U2 (night) and the other more tolerable new wave (Day).  Cover of the Patsy Cline song you all know so well.  Produced by Butch Vig.  Anything else you know as much as I do.

5.  Coming Into Focus-For Love Not Lisa 1995  Another dollar bargain, this band owes a lot to Nirvana although the sound reminds me more of Foo Fighters but I don't think Dave Grohl had the Foos going yet.  Helmet seems to be another source point of music influence and Steven Haigler produced this also  produced Local H breakthrough album As Good As Dead.  Actually thought this band was more pop due to the name but boy I was wrong once the laser hit the disc. Not as abrasive as Sick Of It All, not as hooky as Helmet but it did fit the times of the mid 90s before Limp Bizkit came onboard and ruined it for the world.  Thought about reviewing the 3 Dollar Bill Y'all CD since HP Books had it for a dollar too but simply forgot all about it.

6.  Checkout Time-Nick Lowe 2011  Remember when he was the Jesus Of Cool?  Pure Pop For Now People?  Gawd I missed those days.  He's more into a slower pop mode and his latest album disappoints me but perhaps he can do wonders for you.

7.  Money For Nothing-Dire Straits 1985   Never had Brothers In Arms on any format till I found a 50 cent copy at the Goodwill Store the other day and I still think it's the least of the Dire Straits albums out there despite this being a big hit single and MTV video staple.  Classic rock doesn't play this as much as they do Walk Of Life but then again Canada re-approved it for radio consumption after the offending remark.  Sting guest stars but you already know that.

8.  No Smoke Without Fire-Bad Company 1988  After the failure of Fame And Fortune, which sucked, Bad Company gets former leader of the band Charlie, Terry Thomas to produce this and let Brian Howe take over the band.  Howe, who sang on the atrocious Penetrator album for Ted Nugent joins the second version of Bad Company for five albums and even though it sounds like Foreigner better than that actual band, critics weren't too kind and neither was I till I heard both Dangerous Age and Holy Water and actually liked them.  Got to see Bad Company opened for Damn Yankees around 1993 thereabouts and they put on a pretty good show.  I think Simon Kirke waved at me at the end of their show.

9.  It Isn't Gonna Be That Way-Steve Forbert 1978  This was a failed hit for Forbert but I think Alive On Arrival was a better album than Jackrabbit Slim which boasted Romeo's Tune.

10.  Wet Suit-The Vaccines 2011   The album What Do You Expect From The Vaccines might be one of the best albums of 2011 this year, I'm sure it might give a run for the money on 61 49 from Mike Eldred.  Tune in December for the final listing but The Vaccines are somewhat like White Lies but without the pretentiousness that made the White Lies last album hard to listen to.  Wrap in loads of guitar echo that would make The Jesus And Mary Chain jealous with envy, The Vaccines are fairly big across the pond although they haven't made much of a splash here in the states.  Such a shame really, but look for more Vaccines songs hit the top ten before the year is out.  Inspirational verse:  We all get old and gray at breakneck speed/Slow it down take it easy on me.  My thoughts exactly on getting older.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Moron Monday-More Overplayed Crap

Monday wasn't a very good day, it was of a continuance from the idiocy that we had to endure Sunday Night.  Brandon, the lazy gay waiter at Star Brewery, some dipshit on a motorcycle that passed us like he was practicing for the X Games then stopped at the red light and I really wanted to go up there quickhand and plow into him or least flash my brights on and the dumbfuck driver annoyance squad that we encountered around Monticello and had to deal with them most of the way back to Marion.  But yesterday we knew we had our work cut out when some dumb bitch on a cellphone just about turn in front of me and the driver in the other car next to me over by the busy Hy Vee entrance.   And still yacking on a GD cellphone.  Cops could make a killing if they pull over these yack boxes and enforce the no talking on cellphone law that went into effect.

What makes life that much more annoying is the monopoly of radio stations our wonderful friends at Cumulus has around here.  These guys are much worse than Clear Channel and now they have changed the format at KQCR 107.1 to become yet another top forty crap ass station.  But then again 99.3 out of Dyersville ended up playing Amos Moses twice in one day, which really makes me wonder if classic country is as cracked up as it means to be.  Not that we're picking on Amos Moses, we really don't hear much Jerry Reed on the radio anyway, but it'd be nice to see them dusting off Senorita or I'm Just A Redneck In A Rock N Roll Bar once in a while to make me go wow.  But then again when me and Nicole go somewhere if a song does come on worth noting she does turn the radio down.  Or the player if I have it in the car.  

But when you stuck with the radio and the Cumulus Sixty an overplayed song will drive you bonkers.  Somewhere in this GD forsaken world, Margaritaville or Piano Man is being played and probably about 100 times at the same time.   If Jimmy Buffet would never record another song or tour, he could live off the triple digit royalites from this overplayed lament of losing his prized salt shaker and blaming it on a woman.  I wasn't that big of a fan of that song anyway but it defies categorization.  Which means you can hear it on a oldies station, a easy listening station both new and classic country stations and even KMRY or classic rock.  Which makes it doubly annoying if you don't want to hear it.  Which you will thanks to Cumulus, which owns this town.

Billy Joel's Piano Man is another piece of tripe to which if I never hear again it would like winning the lottery.  This used to be the closing song when the folks at Desoda's would play to tell folks to go home.  With a harmonica riff off a Bob Dylan song or style.this would enable Joel to live comfortably on royalties too.  And for years I detested Joel on the basis of Piano Man  although in later years he would do much better with The Stranger, 52nd Street or Glass Houses but that he did managed to keep getting airplay up till River Of Dreams.  But then I don't think he's much of a rocker.  People used to make fun of Muzak when you went out to eat, or go grocery shopping but if you subjected to hear Margaritaville or Piano Man at your local Family Foods in Anamosa you begin to long the days back of muzak, at least muzak puts a different spin on the overplayed.

We live in a era to which we have so much music and so many ways of hearing it but when it comes to radio and Cumulus' limited playlist and the payola of playing the overplayed you really don't hear radio when it was listenable 20 years ago or even better 40 years ago.  KMRY, which isn't owned by Cumulus (yet) does manage to recreate the songs and playlist of the era that we grew up in, to which Frank and Dean could live alongside The Beatles or garage rock and yes even the dreaded Margaritaville or Piano Man to which KMRY does play on a much more regular basis than I care for.  A music fanatic is always fucked when it comes to the damn playlist created by accountants and experts about 30 years ago and haven't changed it one bit.  There's much more to life than Piano Man or lost my salt shaker and cut my foot on a pop top because I was fool enough not to look where I was going or put on shoes like Buffet didn't do.

There's still songs that make me want to turn it up when I hear them, there are others like Sweet Child O Mine or the two songs in question that make me make a beeline to change the damn channel only to change it again when those damn songs follow me down the dial.  In fact the only escape from the overplayed is either the jazz station or big mouth talk radio on the AM dial.

But then again it could be worse, it could be this.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dubuque In The Fall

The weather has been very nice and unseasonable, if we make it to 80 degrees this late in October, we tend to take advantage of it.  My GF wasn't going to waste the whole afternoon watching football and after a bit of the Arizona/Minnesota game we decided to drive down 151 to Dubuque.  I've been thinking about going up there to let her see first hand what the big deal about the town but decided to spare her on the going to the record stores. I did that a couple days ago.  And had better luck finding cd's at the Platteville Goodwill Store. 

This time of year the fall foilage is perfect.  To see the reds, yellow and greens of the trees overlooking the Mississippi is why everybody goes to this area this time of year.  And it didn't disappoint although I may have missed the Platteville foilage by about a week.  Dubuque still has CDs 4 Change and Moondog Music and Moondog had the latest Jayhawks and Cults at cheaper prices than Best Buy.  Dubuque also has better Chinese Buffets, with Lucky Star next to CDs 4 Change, at least their macaroni and cheese is better made than Green Leaves.  Nevertheless, I took a few pictures of passing trains across the Mississippi to which the BNSF line is always busy going from East Dubuque to Wisconsin.  And the river has been quite down so it was easy getting to the edge of the riverbank and taking some pictures of the foilage in process.

On the second trip, Nicole seemed to be lot more interested in the Aquarium that is located in the Port Of Dubuque but we got there a little later than usual but she did manage to take some pictures of sea animals and seeing the beaver putting on a show with his little tricks and driving into the water and coming back up.  We settled on going to the old Dubuque Star Brewery, that is now a sports bar.  Nice to go take a look at but make no mistake it is a tourist trap.  Gotta 12 dollar Star Burger, which had a great Bar B Q sauce to go with it.  However I wasn't too impressed with the gay waiter who did a shit job waiting on us to the point he didn't get a tip.  Look it's simple; I pay 2.75 for a GD Pepsi, I expect a refill or two.  For that Flamer Boy got a tip due to the cost of the one time Pepsi and didn't bother to refill it.  Basically most of the waiters and waitress sucked a lot too but Booji Boy got the wrath.  Tip of the day Brandon, if you want a tip, fill the damn glass up with Pepsi.  Still, The Dubuque Star Brewery and Eatery remains a go to place just to see their massive beer can collection in the ground floor.  And of course the famous shot tower next to it which one should seek out when your in the Que City.

I think Nicole was fine with going there but I don't think she cared much for the hills and all these homes on top or on the side of the hills.  If somebody tells you Iowa is flat, they never been to Dubuque.  It's kinda like a mini San Francisco, with winding roads up and around the downtown area.   Fun to see but not so much in the wintertime when your trying to get up those ice and snow covered roads that town is famous for.  In this day and age Dubuque has actually been a better place to be in terms of record stores and oddities than Waterloo or Des Moines or even Iowa City although Davenport still has a Big Lots and Cracker Barrel.  If nothing else, it was just a trip to get out of the house and at least showed the girlfriend that there's more to this place than just corn, cold and snow.

But if you do decide to go to Dubuque and the Port where the casinos and Star Brewery is at, bring plenty of cash.  You're going to need it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Missing Top Ten-The Sounds Of Arizona

Three weeks ago I made the trip down to start Arizona 25, which went with 25 years ago I moved down there to start a better life but somehow returned back home.  I did add a couple songs to my last top ten but the majority of songs come from the week I was down there.  Some worked, some were a waste of time and three CDs got redonated back to charity.  For the most part Arizona radio is like radio up here, it sucks and there's hardly any variety to boot outside of hearing Graham Parker and couple other bands that escape my mind.  Therefore this top ten comes from selected songs and take it for what's it worth I guess.

Top Ten From The Arizona Desert.

1.  Please Love Me-B B King 1952  Something found for four bucks at Hastings in Casa Grande a 2 on 1 CD of some of Mr. King's earliest recordings for Kent/Crown to which Flair/Virgin issued in the mid 90's.  B B does a spot on Elmore James riff and thankfully keeps the blues scream down to a minimum.  You know the blues scream don't ya?  It's when the singer sings the first line of the verse and then goes YeeeeSSSSSS on the next chorus, never liked it much when Freddie King did it nor when B B does it but these recordings were the basis of the live breakthrough Live At The Regal which B B gave the world a decade later.

2.  Don't Look Back-Fine Young Cannibals 1988  This trip I didn't buy a single album but I did buy three forty fives, mostly unknown stuff but this was a top ten hit for FYC to which you couldn't escape them on the radio in the late 80s and then just like that they faded from view.  I've seen their albums in the dollar bins all the time but rarely their 45s.  Which was why I picked this up at the Tucson's Zia's.

3.  Mad Elaine-Ian Gillan Band 1978  I do have the vinyl album but it's scratched in spots which made me go search for the CD version to which The Zia's on Thunderbird in Phoenix had a copy.  Long time ago Metal Blade actually reissued a whole bunch of Ian Gillan's solo albums to which I never picked up.  After leaving Deep Purple, Gillan went more toward a rock fusion sound which confronted and alienated the DP fans.  Martin Popoff didn't care much for them either but i do find the album Scarabus highly entertaining.

4.  All Over The Radio-Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers 2011
5.  Good Intentions-Rich Hopkins & Luminarios 2010

A tale of two bands that a part of Arizona rock history.  Roger Clyne was once part of The Refreshments, who made two albums for Mercury/Universal and then imploded and Roger took the drummer and formed The Peacemakers, a band that had a revolving door of whos who in the Arizona music biz, former Gin Blossoms, Dead Hot Workshop and Gloritone guys came and gone  Hopkins on the other hand had Tucson's Sidewinders who made a couple albums for Mammoth/RCA and had to change their name due to a lawsuit from some top 40 bar band in North Carolina and they became the Sand Rubies.  Between Sand Rubies reunions he's been in Luminarios which has been recording albums for about 20 years, some good, some uneven.  Great guitarist but his vocals are somewhat lacking.   The last Sand Rubies album was spotty at best but the recent Luminarios album he retains Bruce Halper on drums and comes up with perhaps his best album in years with  el otro lado/the other side, an album I didn't know existed till I've seen a copy at Zia's in Tucson.  Worth a listen if you come across a copy but you probably don't since Hopkins' stuff is pretty much found in Arizona stores only it seems.

Clyne seems to be holding his own although I haven't paid much attention to his last couple albums due to that GD digipak from the inside packaging which is a bitch to open while driving and his new album seems a bit lacking in spots but All Over The Radio would sound great on the radio if Cumulus would open up their GD playlist.  Unida Cantina features a new guitar player in Jim Dalton and Roger Clyne still sounding a bit like Elvis Costello leading The Gin Bunnies at times.  But then again I'm not much into Costello and Unida Cantina is okay at best.  But hey I did get Clyne's autograph on this CD.  That accounts for something.

6.  Throw The Chains Away-REO Speedwagon 1974  Perhaps the biggest find was the REO Speedwagon CD's found at Zia's Speedway in Tucson.  The 1977 REO album with Kevin Cronin was a start in the right direction but 1974's Lost In A Dream was showing the band was spinning their wheels and although Riding The Storm Out was good, the next two featuring Micheal Murphy (no relation to the guy who gave us Wildfire) were boring but Throw The Chains Away is actually quite hard rocking despite itself.  Time hasn't been too kind to Lost In A Dream but it still is a step up from the twice more boring This Time We Really Mean It, to which they never did mean it.

7.  Never Saw The Point-Cults 2011  Like I said, radio sucked down there and most of the music stores didn't play anything that grabbed my attention till I heard this album from Cults, one of those band with a influence by Jesus And Mary Chain but also they have a profound liking of 60's girl groups and Phil Spector production.  The Primitives figure as well.  They're kinda throwback to shoegazer music like Yuck was to My Bloody Valentine but I also think Cults owe a lot to The Ravonettes too.  Is it worth your time?  I'm guessing, buzz band now, dollar bins the next year.  That's the way the record industry is anymore.

8.  Ah Ha-Under The Influence Of Giants 2006  One of those 5 for 5 dollar cds that I needed but in order to pick this up, I had to pick up four others or play the full five, so I basically picked up four other pieces of crap (Peter Case-Six Pack Of Love, something from Garageland that sucked and BoDeans to which a BMG copy so I donated them all) in order to buy this record to which I got for a dollar a few years ago at Hastings but the CD was scratched to hell so that got returned.  Anyway, this band only made one album for Island but the lead singer does those Michael Jackson's hee hee noises and this song was pretty good.  Worth a dollar if you have a dollar to waste.

9.  Hobo Holiday  (Two Dollars)- Naked Trucker and T Bones 2006 Out of the five cds that I got to get UTIOG's the other keeper was this comedy farce from The Naked Trucker and some dude named T Bones and I guess they were country's answer to Tenacious D, the Jack Black parody band.  They made a couple shows for Comedy Central but dammed if I ever seen any of them. Nevertheless the source point song has to be Eddie Rabbit's Two Dollars In The Jukebox to which T Bones changed it to two dollars and a hand job, kind of reminds me of the Eddie Vespa song of Letter To My Ex Wife.  The highlight of Live At The Troubadour which made the album a keeper and not donated back to the Goodwill.  But then again I'm sure the CD's donated back may have been melted down from the Arizona heat.

10.  Dead Flowers-New Riders Of The Purple Sage 1974  Finally, Sony Legacy has finally decided to give the world the version of the Rolling Stones cover from Home Home On The Road on one of those thrown together comps called Set List.  Would have better had Home Home been reissued as a straight issue but I guess there were no takers, some of the live stuff got reissued on the revamped Best of New Riders CD.  The big bonus was the inclusion of some 1971 livedates at the Fillmore, although poorly recorded and to me not as good although the reason why it was issued was Jerry Garcia played on those dates. 

As they say buyer beware....

Things That You May Have Missed

Greetings and I'm back again.  Most of this week, I couldn't type very well for the fact that I got some fucking cardboard slash on my finger and trying to figure how that happened.    For the most part, I haven't been around here at my crabb room but rather over at the GF's house and spending the past two weekends over there.  I'm still trying to find some type of compromise of time here and time there but she seems to think it should be over there all the time.  I do love her but my livelihood remains over here at the Crabb house. and still seem to be more at home here.  Is there a common bond for this, don't know, but I still can't shakes these come and go as I please mode that been a part of my life for fifty years.

Just think three weeks ago I was getting ready for AZ and two weeks coming back here.  Mother Nature was kind enough to spare the dust storms when I was there but seems like they had a big one on Tuesday that shut down interstate 10 between Phoenix and Casa Grande and big pileup from a dust storm.  At least the weather was sunny all the while I was there.  Weather here has been delightful and for the first time in years, the fall foilage you have to see to believe it.  The leaves are turning to a bright yellow to which the sun enhances it to the point that you might be in a dream.  Up around the Mississippi area you cannot get a motel room nor campground around the Decorah/ Calmar area.    But it's not just there but down here as well and for the next 2 weeks the peak season will be here.  I'm not sure if it warrants a trip to Madison already, I did that last year at this time and the AZ trip I really don't need any more buyouts of music stores.   But it does not stop Nicole from telling me to go up to HP Books when I get too bored over at her place.  Still it amazes me that the AZ trip didn't get me any vinyl albums to speak of, although I did have my chances.  I think I felt I was more at home, hanging at the local Bookman's or Zia's Music Stores and wishing I can spend more time in these places that meant so much for me in my time in AZ. 

But getting back home, I took Nicole to Octoberfest in Amana, which is the go to place in October.  Being going down there, fight the crowd, eat too much and see some polka band playing polka music.  Unfortunely for us we ended up hearing a crappy band trying to do top forty and sounding like shit as each song came and gone.  I thought about calling 911 to report that the dude killing Tommy Tutone's Jenny must be dying himself.  The worst excuse ever to sing.  Sure they were playing but GD it, if your going to play at least make some kind of effort to stay in tune and not screw up the song.  To which one would say the more you drink the better we sound but there wasn't enough beer in Amana (or Iowa) to ever make this band sound tolerable.  But most of the time, I was following my best friend's dad to the bathroom just to make sure he doesn't get lost.  His dad is 86 years old and is beginning to lose a bit of control on where he's going but then again I'm not sure that my best friend is also losing it, especially when the more he drank the more he started talking to strangers.   Nothing wrong with talking baseball with a Cardinal fan but when he hugged the old hostess at the Ronnenburg Inn,  she gave him a creeped out look and perhaps thought about calling security or the cops.  My best friend means well but sometimes he doesn't have good judgement, particularly when he drinks.

I'm sure Pumpkinfest in Anamosa would have been better but we missed out on the parade and settled on a Pumpkin Pancake breakfast the next day to which I think I liked the pumpkin pancakes better than she did.  But then again, we had to deal with a thousand GD flies in the building, kinda sad when you can't eat without a few of them flying bugs trying to land in your pancakes.  To which I drove back home and got the mower to mow her yard and then come home and mow my yard, take a shower and then had to hear my mom bitch and moan about not getting a hold of me, since my best friend turned off the phone and the phone wasn't working at the GF's house, since Mediacom had some kind of malfunction.  Never mind that, so Mom was pissed at my best friend for not returning the messages, but pissed at my brother for not erasing the 15 minutes of messages that Mom left bitching about something other.

And on the while the big news was Steve Jobs dead from cancer at age 56 on Wed which may have been the biggest shocker of the year.  I guess without Jobs' knowhow, we wouldn't have the internet or the computer as we know it today.  Or the Ipad, or I Phone or I Pod, and many other wonderful things.  I knew he died but since i had a nasty slash on my finger couldn't type that out.  Thank God for copy and paste otherwise there would have been no top ten of the week or it would have been late.  I could get Jeff Higgins from Groove Sandwich to do a top ten next time if he feels like it, he probably would have been more rock but I always enjoyed Farce The Music's guy as he tries to find the next big country thing and has to weed through the Jason Aldean country cornsters that is "country".  But next week, ole Crabby will return with a top ten that returns you to the familiarity of what is music to me.  Which does include country at times.

No comment on Hank Williams Jr being bounced from Monday Night Football by calling Obama the enemy on a half drunk half drugged commentary on FOX the other day.  Hell he did look drunk or pissed that his woman didn't get him any that day.   I like some of Hank Jr's stuff but he really hasn't come up with anything of note in the past 10 years and I know I'm sick of hearing All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over on MNF games.  But the redneck country boy will survive, unless he falls off the mountain after another tirade about the President.

And on the subject about Hank 3,  Hank Jr's estranged son I bought his 2 CD set and still can't get into it.  Certainly while Hank Jr talks about being an outlaw, Hank the 3rd is the true outlaw and even though the 77 minute Gutter Town is scattershot with bizarre sound effects and weirdness to have images of Rob Zombie, the music on it is mostly Cajan with Tom Waits and Les Claypool adding their weird fun to it.  Good for a listen or two. 

I'm sure the ratings for this month will return us back to the usual 600 views or less before the tracker came on board and oh well I guess.   However I had to be surprised at the 3 views this week for the Randy Cliffs Trixie Trailer Sales Blog, one of the best albums that nobody has ever heard from, unless they found a copy for a dollar in the bargain bins at Half Priced Books.  It remains rock and roll fun, more fun than whatever SPIN or Rolling Stone or Pitchfork Media touts.  So perhaps the world might be ready for Train Hits Truck Never Been There for the next forgotten favorites.  Depends if and when I get time to do that.

I see the snows had hit parts of Flagstaff yesterday and I'm sure we'll get our share of the white shit but for now the weather has been great, the leaves are turning color and things are looking good here.  I'm sure I'll be back with the next installment of Top Ten Memories and see where the road leads.  Apparently things are going according to plan here judging by the spam crap in the comments section.

Good thing I got approval control eh? 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Top Ten Of The Week-Farce The Music Guest Stars.

This week, I slashed one of my typing fingers so I can't type very well but my good friends at Farce The Music gives us ten country songs of note.  The Good And The Bad.  If you enjoy your top ten music with a bit of sarcastic and dry sense of humor, you'll get a kick out Farce The Music.  FTM, actually was one of my earliest followers at the old Twitter and we sometimes trade barbs about the college football teams but we do agree on one thing and that Jason Aldean is NOT country.  Your opinion will vary.  The links provided actually do work so you can hear the music but FTM is mostly into the new country.  Good and bad again. 

1. George Strait – Here for A Good Time 2:57
A solid single from ol' King George. It incorporates partying and a little philosophy with relative ease. It also exudes all the charm Strait is known for. Nothing earth-shattering but a strong tune.
2. Montgomery Gentry – Where I Come from 3:20
Same song, new verses. Stock Montgomery Gentry tune. Thankfully, that at least means some twang, steel guitar and some of the trappings of what country should sound like. Of course that also means rocking and strutting. "Where I Come From" is pretty much "My Town Part 2." Not bad and it'll probably get them back on the radio but really.... can't we get some new freaking subject matter on the radio?
3.  Sawyer Brown – Smokin’ Hot Wife 3:10
I smell cheese before this even starts. It sounds like a Bellamy Brothers song right off the bat, which I would prefer. Hmm, no this isn't good. It reminds me of some other song that I can't recall at the moment, but I'm pretty sure it's a direct rip-off of that song. This is worse than bad Buffett, and that's saying something.
4.  Robin Meade – Dirty Laundry 4:17
I'm not expecting much from the CNN news caster... and oh shit, it's a cover of Don Henley. This is awful. Not as spectacularly bad as that Chenoweth chick's foray into country, but it's in that league. Make it stop. Robin, stick to your day job.
5.  Taylor Swift – Sparks Fly 4:19
Well, it sounds like a Taylor Swift song. Ms. Swift is most certainly NOT like a box of chocolates. She certainly knows how to craft a vaguely country pop tune that's sweet on the ears. Nothing more, nothing less. The gals 12-25 will love it.
6.  Ashton Shepherd – Where Country Grows 3:11
I love Ashton's voice and the fact that she's very traditional sounding. However, I can't be a hypocrite here. This is YET ANOTHER COUNTRY LISTING SONG. Sigh.

7.  Jeff Bridges – What A Little Bit of Love Can Do 3:35
This sounds different than the crap he's put out lately. Oh... Jeff Bridges.. not Jeff Bates. My bad. Catchy, bouncy, cool song. I love this but it's pointless sending it out to radio. Nashville likes glitter not gruffness.

8.  Steel Magnolia – Without You 3:26
Did this accidentally get put on here when it was actually intended for the Adult Contemporary promo only disc? I half expect Sting or Train to come on next. This is pleasant enough, I suppose but just not what I want out of country radio. This group lacks excitement.
9.  Tyler Farr – That’s What They’re Bitin’ On 2:31
Rock riff. Attitude. Testosterone. The gates are open, y'all. The Aldean copycats are lined up from here to Athens and Nashville's herding them in. No thank you.

10.  Blake Shelton – God Gave Me You 3:47
The least country song Shelton's ever put out (maybe aside from "Home?"). It's a fairly catchy power ballad, but it's also pretty standard fare aimed at the soccer mom demographic. It's a radio programmer's wet dream.
 Farce The Music is one of the better fun music sites that pretty much takes on the Jason Aldeans and other so called plastic hat acts that is Nashville country today.  For better or worse, if you enjoyed reading this top ten, you can find more songs that didn't make the cut at 

Thanks Farce The Music for the links, viewpoints and guest starring while Crabby is on the mend.