Thursday, June 22, 2017

Notes From The Underground: The Week In Review

The big story was having The Failed Reality Star popping into our little town to clog traffic up and tell everybody that everything is great.  There was protesting out on the streets but most of it was peaceful.  In the meantime while this was going on, Ryan's Steak House and Buffet closed their doors. I kind of expected that since the last few times I ate there, the food was subpar.  But I guess I will miss the Rice and Gravy Special that I would made for myself when I couldn't find anything edible to eat.  Ryan's is the one of a few places that have closed that was located on Collins Road, Burger King closed (if anybody needs another BK, there's a new one opening on Blairs Ferry Road), Pizza Hut closed (no more pizza buffets in town here) and Village Inn.

In the meantime summer is here, and so is the Bar B Q Roundup this weekend with a few of my fellow musicians playing on stage, the likes of Wooden Nickel Lottery, Flex and JC Project to name a few.  Basically I was disappointed that Madison didn't have this kind of celebrations going on when I was there but I'm sure they will something on the weekend to bring out the masses.

For the first time all year we finally got some decent new music out there.  Great new albums from Steve Earle, Kasey Chambers has a very good 2 CD set called Dragonfly, which one cd is produced by Paul Kelly and the other by her brother Nash Chambers and while it's not as creepy classic as Bittersweet is, it remains a good listen.  Ride returns with a new album Weather Diaries, which was, as if, Carnival Of Light and Tarantula never existed.  Funny thing about shoegazer albums is that they have their charm but in this day and age that early 90s alternative sound is badly dated.  While Pitchfork lambasted Tarantula, and Creation deleted the record a week after its release, I still find that record to be a enjoyable but somewhat so so modern rock album.  In fact, Black Light Crash remains a classic cut but the rest is ho hum. Weather Diaries starts out strong, the highlights are when Ride channel the power pop excursions of Going Blank Again.  Ride is at their best if they keep it under four minutes, when they balloon songs over 6 minutes the listener nods off to sleep. I'm not sure if White Sands is a perfect song to end this comeback and while Weather Diaries will not make the masses forget Going Blank Again or Nowhere but I do think this would have been a better followup to Going Blank Again rather than Carnival Of Light.   And it did help getting Alan Moulder to mix the album too. http://www.avclub.com/live/drums-portugal-man-ride-and-more-weeks-music-revie-256698/entry/1173

I also liked the new Buckingham/McVie album as well.  Despite the absence of Stevie Nicks, it's mostly the return of Fleetwood Mac (although Mick and John are missing on a couple number therefore the change of name) and at 10 songs it's much more easier to listen to than the overblown Say You Will, to which Ms. McVie was missed.  It's mostly Lindsay's show, Christine adds a couple of love songs at the end.  I'm always happy to listen to a new album of Fleetwood Mac once Christine rejoins and yes Stevie is missed, but still for later day pop and rock, it's recommended.

After 30 radio broadcasts on Lucky Star Radio. Townedger Radio signed off the air.  It was a fun ride but I ran out of CDs and patience to keep on doing it.  Perhaps some later time I'll return with a more underground sounding show but for now, real life happens.

Loretta Lynn had to cancel shows this summer, she suffered a stroke and has been trying to recover from that.  If she's well enough, she has a September 6th show but as of the moment I'll send some good vibes her way.






Monday, June 19, 2017

WNBR Madison Notes

The 8th annual Madison World Naked Bike Ride is now in the history books.  It started out cloudy but once the sun came out I got burnt to a crisp riding the 12 mile bike route through Madison and the usual twice around the Capitol. I'm guessing the turn out was slightly less than the 160 bikers that was with us last year.  It was also the first time I rode a bike since last year's WNBR.  But on sight there was about 40 people that returned, including the crazy skating woman and the other one, I'm terrible with names but if you google WNBR Madison, you would see her face.  But for the most part guys outnumber the girls about 2 to 1.

On the plus side, I didn't cramp up.  Last year, my downfall was doing a 10 mile bike ride before the main event.  While I went full frontal last year, I opted for having silk boxers and a floppy hat.  While there was reports of people getting offended when some of the bikers shouted out "join us and go naked" but the only thing I saw was some girl covering her eyes and looking downward on her bike as everybody passed on by.   Like last year, the meeting place was the UW parking lot and the staging place the co operate house near the hotel that I stayed at.  Elijan, who was one of the folks living there said that anybody can live there for 515 dollars a month. You get room and board, all things paid, and it's like living in a commute. If I was younger I would considered moving there.

Once again plenty of road construction everywhere and the road that had The Graduate Hotel was tore up.  For 183 dollars a night, I decided to park the car there. There's not too many parking spots down in the basement and I didn't care about parking a block away. I think I stayed at the same room last year, room 202.  But any hotel in downtown Madison is going to pricey, but The Graduate is two blocks from the staging area.  Perfect place to hang out.

I have to say that giving up TV has been the best thing for me.  I tried my best to watch something but ended up watching old Gomer Pyle reruns and Turner Classic Movies.  The Big Pharma monopoly of drug commercials is epidemic, 8 out of 10 spots were drug related, for your pets and for your limp dick.  I never thought I've seen TV go this far down the shitter.  You get tired of it, I know I do, thank the Cialis and Viagra stiff necks for forever keeping the TV off over here. Don't need it anymore.

Once the bike ride was done, I stayed around looking bored for about 15 minutes and then made my way back to the hotel, took a nap, then tried a Five Guys Cheeseburger (overrated), then rented a bike to do another 15 miles ride.  The change chasers all over the place.  I don't think I ever seen so many beggers on State Street shaking their cups and asking for spare change.  Plenty of people sleeping on the side walks and in front of closed businesses   And there was a few musicians playing for change as well, one woman was playing her violin for a good eight hours Saturday.  That's dedication. But there was a great Chinese place upstairs across the street from a convenience store, and they were real Chinese food all the way down to the chopsticks at hand.  For Saturday, I managed to do plenty of walking up and down State Street all the way to the hotel by Lake Monona to which a massive sinkhole started after all the heavy rain Friday Night.  Of course on the Terrance, plenty of people getting married and taking plenty of photos, even had a couple dancing on M L King Street in front of the capitol and then somebody rented the Orpheum  Theater for their own wedding reception. Good luck to them.



The bargains this time out was pretty good for 45s, but there were a few museum 45s as well. One was King Crimson's In The Court Of The Crimson King (Part 1 and 2) to which I would have loved to hear how Atlantic chopped that 9 and half minute song into a 4 and half minute edited 45, but that sold for 25 dollars.  The other was Frank Zappa Tell Me You Love Me on Bizarre for 40 dollars (a steal) and they were sold at the new location of Mad City Music Exchange which moved from Williamson Street to Atwood Drive close to the Majestic theater.  While the new location is more roomy than the old place, I like the old location due to its closeness to Lake Monona.  Despite the high prices of both 45s, both were gone the next day I return back there.  While I didn't get those two museum pieces, I did managed to find 10 other 45s of more sentimental value, including Crow's Something In Your Blood, which I have been searching for, for many many years.  I will have to compile that later for a Singles Going Steady blog. I did also find some decent CDs too.   Pawn America was a bust, either they are remodeling or ready to close up shop.  They finally threw out the crappy CDs that they couldn't sell.   Strange when they opened up, I found 100 cds in the first three years.  Now they simply don't sell CDs.  Even Half Priced Books East Side chopped their CD bins in half.   Ain't gonna be much for CDs anymore.  LPs, I didn't find anything and although I did find a good copy of Black Oak Arkansas' Keep The Faith, I forgot all about it while 45 crate digging and left it behind.  When I realized what I've done, Mad City was closed.

The way it goes.

Gas prices averaged 2.17 a gallon.  Most of Verona road going out of Madison still had road construction but over all it wasn't that bad getting through it.   On the west side of Madison, Copps closed their grocery store, so the only thing around was Big Lots and they didn't have shit either.  They're becoming a disappointment.  

So that's the WNBR Madison 2017 story in a nutshell. People riding nude and not much came from it.  Nothing to see.

The Video.  I appear at the 1:23 mark.  I'm wearing the silk boxes as promised. ;)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Kyle Bookholz

Kyle Bookholz was part of the folks that made up the Besides it's a B Side Facebook site and even I got bounced from that site we remained friends.  He had a deep musical knowledge and we both shared a love of nostalgia and old baseball parks.  He died Tuesday from cancer.  He will be missed.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Robert Christgau On The New Chuck Berry Album

Chuck Berry: The Definitive Collection (Geffen/Chess) I hope a few young folks out there are aware that the inventor of rock and roll made his bones with six genre- and generation-defining '50s hits: "Maybellene," "Roll Over Beethoven," "School Day," "Rock and Roll Music," "Sweet Little Sixteen," and "Johnny B. Goode." I also hope they'll believe that he later wrote three equally titanic songs: "Almost Grown" and "You Never Can Tell," in which his patented American teenager goes out on his own and gets married, and the sub rosa celebration of the Freedom Rides "Promised Land." And I hope they won't be surprised to learn that those nine titles are only the cream of a 10-buck, 30-tracks-in-75-minutes collection whose most dubious selection both the Kinks and the Rolling Stones thought choice enough to cover. ("Beautiful Delilah," to be precise—I've come around on Berry's sole #1, the naughty 1972 sing-along "My Ding-a-Ling.") Bo Diddley excepted, Berry was the most spectacular guitarist of the rock and roll era, and every '60s band learned his licks. His bassist-producer was the capo of Chicago blues, his pianist entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on his own recognizance, and his drummers were huge. Yet though the size of his sound was unprecedented, the penetrating lightness of his unslurred vocals was as boyish as the young Eminem's because the crystalline words meant even more than the irresistible music. In the hall of mirrors that is Chuck Berry's catalogue, this is where to get oriented. But be forewarned that there's also a 71-track three-CD box that slightly overplays his blues pretensions and Nat King Cole dreams, and that this one could tempt a person to covet that consumable too. I dare you to find out. A PLUS

Chuck Berry: Chuck (Dualtone) In the first 89 years of his life, Chuck Berry recorded two full-length albums worthy of the name, neither currently available for under a C-note although one is set for reissue: 1964's St. Louis to Liverpool, three comeback classics plus seven keepers that include the atypically companionable "You Two" and the atypically familial "Little Marie" as well as two atypically engaging instrumentals. The other is the 1979 groove album Rockit, sharpened by two back-end songs skewering the racist society he'd striven so audaciously to integrate and enlighten. That was his last record for 38 years, when he generated this de facto farewell, which stands as both a summation he put his all into and a little something he might have followed up if he hadn't up and died at 90. Mischievous and horny and locked in, he plays undiminished guitar as a few subtle guest shots add texture. His timbre has deepened—on the recitative "Dutchman," he's a relaxed near-bass. But he's hale vocally and acute verbally on eight well-crafted new ones and two savvy covers that indicate he's learned a few things—the warm songs to the long-suffering wife he married in 1948 and the progeny who chime in like they've earned it have the kind of detail he always reserved for his fictions, musical and otherwise. I've never stopped loving Chuck Berry as an artist, but it's been a while since I thought the old reprobate was anything but a fucked up human being. This miracle gives me second thoughts. A MINUS

Steve Earle: So You Wannabe an Outlaw (Warner Bros.) He's tried the outlaw thing, and on his best album in 15 years sets out to tell the world why it ain't all that. Your buddies on those roughneck temp gigs always head elsewhere. When the news from home is bad, and it will be, there's not a damn thing you can do about it. Hitchhiking is so over a fella could write a keeper about it. And to sum up: "Everybody reckons that they want to be free / Nobody wants to be alone." A guy who's been married seven times is more likely to know nothing about women than everything. But from "Comes to love fallin' is the easy part" to "You can't pretend / The line between a secret and a lie ain't razor thin," he gets a keeper out of that too. While I surely do agree that in love a secret and a lie are the same thing, I hope it will interest him to be told that the secret of not being alone is to let yourself keep falling—for the same one. A MINUS