Another weekend, another snowstorm, another sub zero day after. Repeat often. The story of winter this year. I guess the rest of the world has cabin fever, I had more 100 views days this month than all of January. The new format is easier to do but everybody likes to see pictures. I try to pick the best pics but sometimes I lose them when I revisit the top tens of the past and then have to find a substitute. Sometimes it's a bigger pain in the ass than trying to pick ten songs of the week and make observations of them.
Winter hangs on. Two straight nights of below 20 night time temps, both record setting lows but the thinking is that we have seen the last of this below zero shit. Indications are forecasting for warmer weather (40 or even 50s next week?) but of course we got to get through this week and another snowstorm for tomorrow. Besides it should start warming up since it's already the middle of February?!
Better Than Ezra (remember them?) has signed up to The End Records and will release a new album this spring with Michael Jerome from Richard Thompson's band playing drums. Might be worth a listen to.
In the great depression, Shirley Temple managed to get America through some of the hard times but making memorable movies, Good Ship Lollipop, Animal Crackers In My Soup, every kid used to sing that when they were that young. Later became Ambassador to Ghana and later Czechoslovakia during their 1988 year of freedom Shirley Temple Black foresaw the changes of that country. She had three children in her life, one Lori became bass player for a time in The Melvins. But now she is for the ages, dancing into the sunset along to Good Ship Lollipop one last time. She was 85.
This is a slow week for music but the Cracked piece i posted last week about ways to make it in the music biz pretty much sums up how bad the music scene really is, and the major labels in particular. It also suggests how bad country music is, when you see about 15 songwriters on a single song. Didn't use to be that way. It sucks really bad today and not about to get better. But this is so dead on about the music industry that I thought I post it again. http://www.cracked.com/article_20939_7-things-record-deal-teaches-you-about-music-industry.html
My love affair with XM radio is slowly coming to an end. Deep Tracks may as well rename themselves The Pink Floyd Channel since that's all they play when I'm in the car. Or on the weekend, it's supposed to be Deep Tracks from other bands! Underground Garage still remains the go to channel until Springsteen comes on and it's on to 60's on 6 and then 50s on 5, which is interesting for all the obscure songs that they play on the radio. Even the 60s played a Randy And The Rainbows song I never heard. The big discovery is Soul Town with old soul and R and B from the 60s and 70s, falling out of favor: Classic Vinyl and Classic Rewind; if we want to hear that we'll turn on the FOX. Or KRNA
Rammstein-Herzelein (Motor/Mercury 1995)
For many years I never got into Rammstein, perhaps the reason why they sang in German and nobody could understand them unless you were German. However this band was unique in their way of taking Metallica riffs along with Killing Joke and Neu type of rock and Krautrock and the lead singer had a voice that recalls those long time Nazi songs. A madness to their method but this didn't get issued in the states till after the oddball success of Sehnsucht. No matter, Rammstein's music, a combination of heavy metal, Industrial and Groove trace has made them one of the most original bands of the 90s, even if you don't speaketh the deuche there's a certain menace and tension that lacks in lesser bands and it sounds like it in Wollt Ihr Das Bett In Flammen Sehen and Der Meister, even throwing in grunge on Seeman, a track I don't get into but they have used this as a closing theme at their show. I haven't heard anything after their 1999 Live In Berlin CD although I'm sure it's just as jarring and intense as anything like Herzelein. And even after 20 years together all six members are still together and still playing. And a hell lot more fun than the Nu metal jokes like Korn, or Mudvayne or Godsmack.
The Association-Birthday (WB 1968)
They got the hits but lost the critics' love (not that they had much critical love in the first place) but The Association remains one of the more curio bands of the 60s. Forever damned by the cuteness of Cherish or Never My Love which could have worked for a good folk rock song, their albums had plenty of variation and perhaps the best of them (Insight Out) showed they had more country rock than what AM radio played them for. The album covers are buyer beware and Birthday which makes you think it's a psychedelic album continues in the pop rock vein that Bones Howe laid down on them and although Birthday sold well, it was considered a disappointment and a sales decline. The key track Come On In, tells of the future that the band wanted to go in and they would for the S/T and Stop Your Motor albums and you really can't blame them for trying something different. They still had hits, Time For Livin, which turned out to be their only top ten British hit and Everything That Touches You, a psycho pop song in a way but reminded me a bit of what The Moody Blues would do (and better). And Like Always, another attempt to revisit the soft rock of Never My Love with lesser results. Birthday while not bad, isn't hippy dippy as the cover art would like you to think it was. The Association was never Hippy Dippy even if they did sing about Pandora's Golden Heebee Jeebees. Or Along Comes Mary for that matter. They were too professional to even be considered hippies anyway and perhaps the best song left off Birthday, Six Man Band would have confused everybody further. But to ever think what if, consider this: Jimmy Webb actually offered them a little something called MacArthur Park to which they turned down, it was too long. That could have been their 24 minute opus which would have blown their reputation out of the water. Which leaves Birthday, with the smooth type vocals and pleasant background music that we have come to expect from The Association.
The Animals-Rip It To Threads Live (IRS 1984)
My favorite band of the British Invasion, their catalog got shredded to bits, Abkco issued the early years in a box set last December and it's a must have for those who want to hear some of the roughest and toughest R and B covers ever. But The Animals have been an imploding band from within and in a matter of three years Eric Burdon would be the last man standing as he went hippy dippy and made some of the over the top and boring psychedelic albums but decent singles (Sky Pilot, Monterrey). The original Animals regrouped twice, once in a one off recording in 1977 (Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted) and in 1983 buried the hatchet once again and made a subpar album (Ark) and this fiasco live recording, poorly recorded and half the times Burdon sounds way off key. Few times things seem to connect, Bring It On Home actually works itself out to be listenable and Oh Lucky Man turns out the be the best song played. But it would been better served had IRS Records spent a bit more time (and effort) to find better versions played live than just do a one and done recording. This doesn't represent The Animals at their best at all but rather tarnishes their legacy. This was not the way to go out.
Camper Von Beethoven-Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart/Key Lime Pie (Omnivore)
CVB "sellout" albums period when they jumped on the big record money machine called Virgin and issued two albums of varying degree but now reissued and pumped up with bonus tracks which adds to the mystery that is CVB. David Lowery's play on words has been a joy to hear (take off your jewelry you look like Grace Slick!) and sometimes the instrumentals were even better (Eyes Of Fatima part 2, Waka). But losing Jonathan Siegel on Key Lime Pie and replacing him with the less talented but striking beauty Morgan Fichter made the music a bit more one dimensional although they scored a freak hit with a cover of Pictures Of Matchstick Men. Although Key Lime Pie was (at that time) the demise of CVB, you can hear the future in this on Lowery's next band Cracker, which is more of an extension of CVB ideas but with more emphasis on rocking out and would have varying success with it for the rest of Lowery's time with Virgin. On the whole, Revolutionary Sweetheart is the much better of the two but if you can withstand crappy digipacking the bonus tracks would make a nice investment for those who missed out and tells a better story overall. But since I don't see any need of upgrading I'll just rely on the original album intents. http://theseconddisc.com/2014/02/11/review-two-from-camper-van-beethoven-and-omnivore-recordings/
And finally The Beatles 50th concert Sunday Night on CBS was a nice way to remember the Fab four when they invaded The Ed Sullivan Theater and changed music. The usual flavor of the month bands were there and doing from good to overblown (Alicia Keys screaming out a verse which ruined Let It Be she was doing with John Legend, too bad she didn't take the song's advice and let it be) and watching John Mayer and Keith Urban take Don't Let Me Down's original and turn into a showoff case of who can top who on guitar playing. And Brad Paisley's guitar was slightly out of tune as well. I also find it amusing to see Dave Grohl smashing cymbals left and right but you can never really hear them on the Joe Walsh/Gary Clark Jr While My Guitar Gently Weeps. But the night belonged to the surviving Beatles, Ringo Starr popping back on the drums to do the song Boys to which 80 something Yoko Ono was showing off her dancing moves and pissing off the Yoko haters on Twitter. I actually found that quite fun. But then Paul Mac comes up with his band (with Buddha lookalike Abe Lanoniel Jr pounding away on the drums-he's basically has managed to make Paul's band rock out a little bit harder) but Paul looked like he had a good time on Birthday and the song that fired off the shot in TV land 50 years ago with I Saw Her Standing There and then Get Back. The night belonged to them as Ringo joined up with the Sgt Pepper/Little Help From My Friends medley to which Ringo bounced around the stage and got everybody up to sing. And then the obligatory ending of Hey Jude to which the show ends on a high note. Of course it may have not been like it was 50 years ago but it was close enough despite John and George not being there. And perhaps Julian Lennon should have been there to join in the fun and games, if this was 1985 he would have been there to sign along to Hey Jude. Nevertheless, this is the closest you'll ever see of a major television event in music ever again, despite what one of the yayhoos in One Direction thinks. The magic of the Beatles will remain long after the stale pop of One Direction gets designated for reassignment in the dollar bins at the local thrift store.
Come On Darkness-Camper Von Beethoven
Runner-Manfred Mann's Earth Band
The Headmaster's Ritual-The Smiths
All Coon's Look Alike To Me (1902)-Arthur Collins
Come On In-The Association
All Day And All Of The Night-The Kinks
Illumination Theory-Dream Theater
Stay In My Corner-The Dells