Monday, July 30, 2007

More than just a Bill

There has never been an NFL coaching tree quite like the one Bill Walsh planted. The architect of the West coast offense lost his battle with lukemia today at the age of 75, but his legacy will live on every time a quarterback hits a receiver in full stride after a three-step drop. Here's BW as I'd like to remember him, being carried off the field after his final game as 49ers head coach (Super Bowl XXIII Niners 20, Bengals 16).

RIP Coach Walsh. Here's hoping you're in a better place where you'll never have to hear "49ers Rap" ever again!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Door into Midsummer

When talk turns to great albums from 1967, very few people seem to remember that the Monkees put out three albums that year: More of the Monkees (January), Headquarters (May) and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones LTD. (November). Taken as a whole, this is a body of work that stands up favorably to anything anyone else released last year.

The latter two have just received Rhino's deluxe reissue treatment with complete albums in mono and stereo plus outtakes and alternate mixes (they did More of the Monkees last year). There are also detailed liner notes by Andrew Sandoval, including new interviews with Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork, and detailed credits of who played on each track. Most songs had Tork, Nesmith, and Dolenz playing all guitars, which should put to bed the myth that the Monkees weren't "real" musicians.

When I visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ten years ago, I asked the curator if there was any chance of the Monkees making the hall of fame. He said probably not, because they weren't (perceived as) a "real" band, just actors who played a band on television. He was just playing devil's advocate for his corporate overlords at Viacom and Rolling Stone, but that argument doesn't hold much weight with me. By the time Headquarters came out, the Monkees were as real as the Byrds or the Doors or any other band. I tried to explain this to the RRHoF curator, but ended up just flipping Jann Wenner the bird under the table.

Relatedly, the next Monkees album in line for a deluxe reissue is The Birds, The Bees, and The Monkees. Here are a barrel of Monkees youtube clips from season two. Who's a "real band" now?
  1. Cuddly Toy
  2. Daily Nightly
  3. Daydream Believer
  4. The Door Into Summer
  5. Pleasant Valley Sunday
  6. Randy Scouse Git
  7. She Hangs Out
  8. Sunny Girlfriend
  9. What Am I Doing Hangin' Round
  10. Words
  11. You Just May Be The One
  12. You Told Me

Bonus Question: On how many levels of punctuation is the quoted apostropheed "Monkee's" on that poster wrong?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Northern Britain is the Place I Come From

By attending that wedding ten years ago yesterday, I missed seeing Radiohead and Teenage Fanclub at the Warfield one night later (ten years ago today). Back then, both bands had just put out new albums (OK Computer and Songs From Northern Britain), and it sounded like a fairly compatible pairing, but the two albums met different fates after their release.

OK Computer was instantly hailed as a masterpiece, the greatest album since electricity, and it was obvious that Radiohead would soon be graduating above Warfield-sized venues. Songs From Northern Britain was met with a collective shrug of "they're still around?" from the general public, and dismissive two-star reviews from publications like Rolling Stone. It was like the old big thing versus the new big thing.

In the early 1990s, Teenage Fanclub was the band being hailed with huzzahs. Bandwagonesque was SPIN's 1991 album of the year (despite a dismissive two-star review in RS) , and the Fannies (I hate that nickname!) were on the verge of being the next big thing. And they would have made it if those meddling grunge kids Nirvana didn't beat them to it!

Teenage Fanclub made a few more great albums after that, and Norman, Raymond, and Gerard all progressed as songwriters, but their ongoing consistency killed their indie cred as the decade progressed, until SPIN's 1991 "band of the year" didn't even gain an entry in SPIN's 1995 Alternative Music Guide. Their profile was at an extremely low point in July 1997.

In 1960s terms, OK Computer was Sgt. Pepper's while Songs From Northern Britain was the Band's Music From Big Pink. not an album that changes the world, just one that makes it a better place. In the past ten years, I've probably played OK Computer around 20-25 times (roughly twice a year. I play most album zero times each year, so that's above average). It's clearly a great album and a masterpiece, but it's something I have to be in the mood to hear, and have 48 minutes of downtime to hear it.

In that same time, I've played Songs For Northern Britain more than 200 times (roughly ten times a year). That doesn't mean that it's ten times better than OK Computer, just that I find myself in the mood to hear it ten times more often. For me, it's like being in the mood to make kung pao chicken versus being in the mood to breathe.

The album's reputation got a boost when Nick Hornby included two of its songs ("Your Love is the Place I Come From" and "Ain't That Enough" ) in Songbook, his compilation of essays on different songs. In one essay, he compares "Ain't That Enough" to Suicide's "Frankie Teardrop".
"Frankie Teardrop" is ten-and-a-half minutes of genuinely terrifying industrial noise, a sort of aural equivalent of Eraserhead. Teenage Fanclub's "Ain't That Enough" on the other hand, is a three-minute blast of Byrdsian pop, packed with sunshine and hooks and harmonies and goodwill.
I like the Teenage Fanclub song better.
Now that I've heard "Frankie Teardrop", I agree with Nick, and also like "Ain't That Enough" better. In short, I need more sunshine, hooks, and harmonies, and less terrifying industrial noise. Hornby's essay on "Your Love Is The Place I Come From" talked about his need for hopeful music, and songs don't come any more hopeful than that. It's a teenage love letter, dangling preposition and all.

Here are three songs from the album, both of Hornby's selection plus "I Don't Want Control Of You". This is one song by each of the songwriter (Gerard Love, Norman Blake, Raymond McGinley), but everyone sings so well together and the songs are all so consistently great that it's hard to tell who wrote what without checking the credits.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

From Ritual To Romance

Happy Anniversary to J&A, celebrating ten years of lion-free streets.

We sensed a scare, but there's no scare there
Look out and, good, there are no lions in the street
We sensed a change, but the change came strange
All things get painted the right colors when we meet
Short and sweet

Will it be all that many-splendored?
Will there be return for the sender?
Will it even love us tender?
The things we've done we've only done for a little while

To be a cowboy learn how not to be an astronaut
To be a doctor learn how not to be the president
To be the center of the universe, don't orbit things

We're super fly, so the ceiling's high
Good ventilation when smoke's coming off of me
We're super clean so there's gloss and sheen
Will it remain so when cleaning is drudgery

Will it be what's not alteration?
Will it save the grace of a nation?
Will it come through in translation?
The things we've done we've only done for a little while

The Loud Family - Good, There Are No Lions In The Street
(recorded, in the presence of the bride, the groom, and everyone, at the Bottom of The Hill in the city of San Francisco, state of California, on the 8th day of August 1998, and released later on the greatest live album of the 21st century)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bad, There Are Lions in the Street

From Okcupid's "Which Lolcat Are You?" quiz
(avec props a mon ami Amy)

You Are Lion Warning Cat

61% Affectionate, 63% Excitable, 24% Hungry
You are the good Samaritan of the lolcat world. Protecting others from danger by shouting observations and guidance in cases of imminent threat, you believe in the well-being of everyone.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Zeppelin's Last Stand

Today is the 30th anniversary of the final U.S. concert by Led Zeppelin at the Oakland Coliseum. July 23, 1977. It wasn't intended to be their final US show, it just turned out to be their last one.

This show was Led Zeppelin's infamous "Oakland incident" where their manager Peter Grant and drummer John Bonham were indicted for beating up a member of Bill Graham's stage crew. This incident combined with Robert Plant's six year old son son Karac dying from a viral infection a few years later forced the rest of their 1977 US tour to be cancelled. Then John Bonham died before they had a chance to tour the US in 1980, so the Coliseum show turned out to be Led Zeppelin's last stand, at least in the USA.

The concert was one of Bill Graham's "Days On The Green", his summer concert series at the Oakland Coliseum. Judas Priest opened for Led Zeppelin in their first ever U.S. appearance. I didn't attend the concert (I was only eleven, didn't have a taste for hard rock, and wouldn't have been allowed to go even if I did), but having a Led Zep concert t-shirt from that tour was a badge of coolness at my Jr. High for the next two years. Writing LED ZEPPLIN in sharpie on a plain white t-shirt wasn't quite as cool! I heard a bootleg of this 7/23/1977 concert, and it wasn't a very good show. It did rock, but they were touring behind Presence (nobody's favorite Zeppelin album), and were at the apex of 1970s stadium rock excess, more bloated and corpulent than any band ever was, before or after.

My first Day On The Green concert was in 1980, when I saw Molly Hatchet, Black Sabbath (the Dio version), Cheap Trick, and Journey. A whole bunch of bands with very little crossover. I was there to see Cheap Trick, tolerated Sabbath, and hated Journey, while the Black Sabbath fans endured CT and hated Journey, and the Journey fans hated every band that wasn't Journey. It seemed like Journey headlined a DOTG show every year -- they must have been Bill Graham's favorite band. His and Tony Soprano's both.

I did see Robert Plant in his first solo concert ever, at Peoria's Carver Arena in August 1983, which coincided with my first week of freshman orientation at Bradley University. Plant's band featured Phil Collins on drums, and he only played songs from his first two solo albums (no Zeppelin) to everyone's dismay, but it was the early 80s, so we got a lot of gated drumming from Phil. And this show was also where Collins came up with the title for his third solo album (No Jacket Required), when an employee at the Pere Marquette in Peoria told him he couldn't enter the lounge without a jacket.

A few months later, I saw Genesis at Carver Arena, on the first show of their "Mama" tour. And more of Phil's gated percussion. I still don't understand why Robert Plant and Genesis both started their 1983 US tours in Peoria, IL. It would have made more sense to travel from one coast to the other rather than starting in the center of the country. But there's no point in playing the big city without the assurance that your show will play in Peoria.

(mp3 from 2fs)
Little Roger & The Goosebumps - Stairway to Gilligan's Island

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Padraig Harrington and the claret jug of fire.

Earlier today, I did my best to avoid the internets, so I wouldn't accidentally stumble upon any spoilers for the latest installment of a certain British phenomenon. I wanted to watch the final round of the 126th British Open Championship time-shifted and commercial free without finding out who won. That's the best way to watch a sporting event that starts at 5AM local time on Sunday morning.

I watched the leaders play the front nine, then stopped the tape and went to the A's game, only to find out that the Open Championship was the between innings Arrowhead sports highlight. So I found out who won (Padraig Harrington in a 4-hole playoff with Sergio Garcia), but it was still worth seeing how it all sorted out. When I left the action to go to the baseball game, Garcia was tied with Andres Romero of Argentina, and over the last nine holes, the lead changed between Garcia, Harrington, and Romero four times.

It was like a championship that no one wanted to lose, but no one wanted to win either, because as soon as someone took the lead, they'd lose it to someone else, only to turn around and take it back on the next hole. Romero lost a two shot lead by hitting it out of bounds on the next to last hole, then Harrington hit two balls in the bern (what Scotsmen call "the ditch") on the last hole to lose the lead to Garcia, who followed up by bogeying the last hole to fall into a tie. It was like everyone was choking at the same time, but someone had to win, and that someone turned out to be Padraig Harrington. And in our fraternal major championship battle, that person turned out to be my brother (again!). I picked Sergio Garcia high, so my chances died when he died.

And the baseball game was fun, with wonderful lower deck seats right where the shade met the sun. Unfortunately, the Oakland nine fell victim to two well-known baseball cliches.

1) You can't win if you don't score any runs
2) You can't score if you don't get anyone past first base.

The A's got just two hits, and one of them was a botched pop-up, and wasted a stellar pitching effort by Dallas Braden, who held the Orioles in check except for one inning. This whole month of July has been one long hitting slump for the whole team, and once they break out of it, they're going to score 10 runs a game for an entire week. It's going to be like a long weekend in Vegas after a month in Utah. But they're still stuck in Utah for the time being!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Out of the radio and into your hearts

Judee Sill's Live in London album (just released in the US and added to emusic this week) collects all of her 1972/1973 BBC sessions on one place. Bootlegs of these performances have been floating around the 'nets for awhile (grab them here while you can), but these versions are from the masters instead of off the air, so they're a lot cleaner sounding than the bootlegs.

The album has multiple performances of the same three or four songs ("Lady-O", "The Kiss", "Jesus Was a Cross Maker") , but each performance is slightly different, and they sound a lot less "Laurel Canyony" than the studio versions. Probably not the best introduction to Judee, but worth picking up, in either the old or new fashioned way.

Here's Judee Sill's live version of "Lady-O" (recorded at London's Paris Theatre in March 1972) and the Turtles' cover of the song from their Turtle Soup album (also available on emusic), plus a bonus youtube clip of Judee playing "The Kiss" on BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test in 1973.

Judee Sill - Lady-O (live at the BBC)
The Turtles - Lady-O (45 version)

Sill - The Kiss (youtube video)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Return of the Quakes

After a two year vacation from the league, the San Jose Earthquakes are returning to the MLS next year.

The Earthquakes were the only MLS team that retained the same name from their NASL days. The club stayed active for twenty years in different leagues with different names. The original Quakes (featuring the legendary player with a Wedding Present album named after him) played in the NASL from 1974 until the league folded in 1984, then continued in the WSL, then finally the MLS.

San Jose's MLS club was initially called the Clash (Billy Bragg at the Warfield, late 1990's -- "Why do you name your football clubs after bands like the Clash?"), but reverted back to the original Earthquakes name after a few years. After reviving the Earthquakes name, they won a couple of MLS titles, but moved to Houston after the 2005 season. Their ownership group (AEG) didn't like playing at Spartan Stadium and wanted the city of San Jose to construct a soccer-only stadium at public expense. The new owners (Oakland A's owners Lew Wolff and John Fisher) are building a soccer only stadium at their own expense. So it was worth the wait for Santa Clara county taxpayers.

These Earthquakes will keep the records and titles of their former team, so they're coming back as an expansion team that's won two MLS titles (one of those Baltimore Ravens/Cleveland Browns things). Great news for Bay Area soccer fans. I should try to get out catch a game sometime . I haven't seen the Quakes since the early 80s when George Best played for them.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Nine hundred seconds of pleasure

My recipe for 15 minutes of uptempo rock & roll after listening to the enjoyable but non-rocking new album by Crowded House.

Do a search for "Rockpile" on youtube,
then watch these clips all in a row.
Girls Talk
Promised Land
So It Goes
Teacher Teacher
They Called It Rock

Monday, July 16, 2007

A as in Anemic

The Oakland A's just lost another one, their eighth in a row, so they're now five games under .500 and 7-20 over the last month. I didn't think this team was capable of losing this many in a row, since it involves Haren, Blanton, and Gaudin all losing two in a row.

The only way to do that is if you aren't hitting, and the A's aren't hitting at all. With this losing streak comes more talk of trading away veterans to build for next year and onward (Jason Kendall was traded to the Cubs today) and getting rid of everyone from hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo to trainer Larry Davis. The hitting coach might have something to do with the team not hitting, but the trainer doesn't have much to do with players getting hurt!

These things tend to run in cycles, so the A's are on the verge of breaking through and running off six or seven wins in a row, but it's probably too late for this year. At least they still have Bay Area bragging rights over the Giants. The A's and Giants are a combined 0-8 since the All Star Break.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mas Mutantes

Today's Os Mutantes show at Stern Grove made me think of my favorite George W. Bush joke.

Advisor: Mr. President, I have some bad news. Two Brazilian soldiers were killed today in Baghdad.
GWB: That's terrible. (long pause) How many is a brazillion?

(answer=this many)

There were a brazillion people at the Stern Grove today. I arrived one hour early and found a prime spot on the hillside, because the meadow was already packed. The Grove has weekly concerts each summer (everything from Huey Lewis to the SF Ballet), and most of them are pretty full.

The cheer for Os Mutantes was nearly as loud as the cheer for the score of the Copa America final (Brazil 3, Argentina 0). The electricity cut out midway through the opening set my Los Amigos Invisibles, which caused a fifteen minute delay, but everything worked after that.

And the Mutantes set was a blast. My favorite part was the extended version of "Ando Meio Desilgado" (my favorite song of theirs), which included one verse in English, one verse in Portugese, and a long instrumental jam that incorporated the solos from "Stairway To Heaven" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". They played all my other favorites except "Bat Macumba", and it was strange to be in a huge crowd that knew all the songs.

As an added bonus, I didn't see Davendra Barnhart, or even anyone who looked like him.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Radio Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

Live Aid was 22 years ago yesterday. I was in the UK when the concerts happened, and still remember this performance by Queen. Can you imagine these guys ever playing small clubs?

The title of the new Spoon album made me think of this song, which is a song I haven't thought about for the last 22 years. After a couple of listens, I like it more than Gimme Fiction, but it probably won't eclipse Girls Can Tell, which is Spoon's Night At The Opera.

I just found out that Spoon is playing tonight with Rogue Wave at the Cafe du Nord. That's a lot smaller than the places they usually play, and sounds like something that would've already sold out in ten minutes, but tickets are only available at the door, so it isn't sold out yet. I still don't know if I want to brave going all the way to the du Nord, because the show probably will sell out about ten minutes after the doors open, and Spoon isn't that great as a live band.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mutant pop aliens from the land of samba

The reunited Os Mutantes are returning to San Francisco this weekend and playing a free concert at Stern Grove on Sunday. I balked a the $50 ticket price when they played the Fillmore last summer, but I should make it out this weekend to see them for free.

Os Mutantes were formed by brothers Sergio (left) and Arnaldo (right) Baptista, who formed the band in the mid-60s with Rita Lee (center, not participating the reunion). They made a series of weird and inventive albums that mixed Brazilian samba with US/UK psychedelic rock, and were part of the Tropicália movement that also included Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, and Jorge Ben. One of the tenants of Tropicália was to "take in influences from all types of genres and concocting something unique", which flew in the face of Brazil's military dictatorship.

The other Tropicalismos (Gil, Veloso, Ben) all became international stars, but Os Mutantes were largely unknown of Brazil until the 1990s, when they started being championed by Kurt Cobain, Beck, and David Byrne. Cobain tried to reunite the band to open for Nirvana at 1993's Rock in Rio, and Beck's 1998 Mutations album and "Tropicalia" single was a tribute to Os Mutantes. In 1999, David Byrne assembled a compilation of their best songs called Everything is Possible. This compilation (recently reissued and available on emusic) gives a decent overview of Os Mutantes for the neophyte, and makes me wonder why they weren't better known beforehand.

Another Os Mutantes album worth hearing is Tecnicolor, which has versions of their best known songs sung in English. This was recorded in 1970, with the intention of breaking them internationally, but didn't come out for 30 years. It's fun to compare the original Portugese versions with the English versions, but I'm not sure which ones I prefer. On one hand, it's nice to know what they're singing about, but some of their drippy hippie lyrics ("smelly happiness?") work better when you don't know what they're singing about. Tecnicolor was also spruced up to sound more "commercial" (which in 1970 meant "wide stereo separation and more wah-wah") while their original records sounded as lo-fi as Guided por Vozes.

Here are some comparisons. "Ando Meio Desligado" and "A Minha Menina" are two of Os Mutantes better-known tunes (the latter written and sung by Jorge Ben). "I Feel A Little Spaced Out" and "She's My Shoo Shoo" are the same songs in English. Which versions I prefer depend on my mood. I'm also including a couple of tributes to Os Mutantes by Beck ("Tropicalia") and the Wondermints ("Arnaldo Said") to show their influence on modern indie pop. I'm wondering what sort of folks will be drawn to Stern Grove to see them this weekend.

Os Tributos
Beck - Tropicalia
The Wondermints - Arnaldo Said

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hey There

A couple of years ago (early 2005), I was frantically trying to use up my monthly emusic quota by downloading tracks from freshly ripped releases that looked interesting. One of these new releases was All That We Needed by the Plain White T's. They were from Chicago and their style was listed as "Power Pop", so I had visions of Robin and Rick dancing in my head.

The AMG review listed on emusic's album page said that the title track evoked Tom Petty's "American Girl" and the final track "Hey There Delilah" evoked Big Star's "Thirteen", so I downloaded those two tracks. I listened to them once or twice, liked them well enough but wasn't motivated to investigate further, and soon forgot about the Plain White T's.

Fast forward to today (July 2007), I'm waiting in line at a fast food restaurant and hear a song that sounded interesting (and somewhat) familiar. I file away its lyric "hey there Delilah" to google when I get back to work. I find out that it's that same song by the Plain White T's that I'd downloaded a couple of years ago and forgotten about.

And it's currently at Number 3 on Billboard's Hot 100, the top digital download from iTunes, and has even been parodied by Kevin & Bean of KROQ in L.A. How did this two-year old song suddenly become a huge hit? Was it featured in a movie or TV show recently? It's giving false hope to other old and forgotten songs from the back catalogs of ordinary artists everywhere.

Plain White T's - Hey There Delilah (youtube video)
Kevin & Bean - Hey There Vagina (parody mp3)

Monday, July 9, 2007

Get your game on, go play

Back at the end of May, I said
Dan Haren has been the best pitcher in baseball this year..
and deserves to be the AL starter in the All-Star Game.

And today, manager Jim Leyland named Haren the AL's starting pitcher in the All-Star Game. His league leading ERA has "ballooned" to 2.30 after a couple of shaky starts, but he's been the best starters in the league (his WHIP is 1.00 - one baserunner per inning). and one of the few shining lights for this year's Athletics (now 44-44 and back at .500 yet again).

It has to frost NL manager Tony LaRussa that someone that he traded away is starting the All-Star Game for the other side. Getting Haren, Calero and Daric Barton from the Cardinals for Mark Mulder may be the best trade Billy Beane ever made.

I don't normally watch the MLB All-Star Game, but now I have a reason to watch at least the first couple of innings. Dan Haren is Oakland's only representative in this year's game, and there really aren't any other A's that deserve to be there.

It would be cool to see Jack Cust in today's home run derby though. It could have been Cust and Bonds in the finals. The prevailing Bay winds make left field in Telco Park a dead zone, so look for a left-handed slugger like Ryan Howard or Prince Fielder to win, and ESPN's Chris Berman to send the splash hits to Marin County ("back, back, back..that ball's headed to Sausalito!") even though McCovey cove is south of the ballpark (here's the 2007 HR derby drinking game)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

A rundown of Live Earth

I'm of a mixed mind about yesterday's 7.7.07 global Live Earth concerts.

On one hand, I'm very strongly pro Earth ("anti devestation" as David St. Hubbins so eloquently put it), but on the other hand, I'm turned off by sanctimonious pop stars who go by one name trying to "raise conscousness" for something most of us are already conscious of (global warming).

Here are youtube links for a lot of the Live Earth rock, with only some of the talk. Grab them while they're hot. And save our Earth before it's too hot, because it's the only planet we have.

Crowded House - Fall At Your Feet (from Sydney)
Genesis - Turn It On+ Land of Confusion (from London)
The Police - Message In a Bottle (from East Rutherford)
Roger Waters - Money, In The Flesh (from East Rutherford)

And an entire set so glorious that deserves it's own embedded
player from the loud (and punctual) Spinal Tap.

I'd never heard of them before, but Sneaky Sound System rocks.

And according to Fox News, Live Earth including Yusuf Islam on the bill at Wembley shows Al Gore's true allegiance to Al Quaeda. I guess they do have the same first name. Maybe it is a wild world?

Friday, July 6, 2007

Back to Rockfield

In June 1972, the Flamin' Groovies cut a handful of tracks with legendary producer Dave Edmunds at his Rockfield Studios, near Monmouth in south Wales. The songs were intended to be included on an LP called Bucketful of Brains (after their producer's fondness for the Welsh beer Brains), but the full album never materialized, because the label (UA) lost interest after a couple of singles failed to chart. Apparently, UA were trying to market the Flamin' Groovies as rock 'n' roll revivalists like Sha Na Na, when they were actually proto-punks and power-pop previvalists, as this promo film for "Slow Death" shows.

The first three songs the Groovies recorded at Rockfield were "Slow Death","Shake Some Action", and "You Tore Me Down" -- three stone-cold classics that have all been compiled and covered numerous times, and still sound fresh 35 years later. Cyril Jordan told me in 2002 that those three songs payed his bills for the next 30 years. "You Tore Me Down" was finally released as the first single by Greg Shaw's Bomp Records in 1974, but "Shake Some Action" didn't come out until it appeared on the album of the same name in the summer of 1976. People who talk about the Flamin' Groovies' transition from the early 70's "Slow Death era" to the mid 70's "Shake Some Action era" might not realize that the two songs were cut at the same recording session.

Two more songs the Groovies cut with Dave Edmunds at Rockfield were released as their second UA single ("Married Woman"/"Get a Shot of Rhythm & Blues") in the fall of 1972. These were covers of songs originally by Frankie Lee Simms and Arthur Alexander, both fun and energetic tunes, but I don't know why the label chose to release them over "Shake Some Action" or "You Tore Me Down". I've also included a video of the Groovies playing "Roll Over Beethoven" on French TV in 1972 that I just found on youtube.

The Flamin' Groovies
(Rockfield Studios, South Wales, June 1972)
Slow Death
Shake Some Action
You Tore Me Down
Married Woman
Get A Shot of Rhythm & Blues

Bonus: Roll Over Beethoven (live on French TV, 1972)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Another blow to NAFTA relations

Seventies Band Sues Lavigne Over 'Girlfriend'
Avril Lavigne is being sued by two songwriters who claim that her hit "Girlfriend" sounds like a track their American power pop band recorded in the '70s.

Tommy Dunbar, the founder of the Rubinoos, filed the suit in California's Northern Federal District Court in San Francisco on July 2. The suit alleges that "Girlfriend" bears striking similarities to the Rubinoos' song "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," co-written by Dunbar and former Rubinoos' road manager James Gangwer, and released by Beserkley Records in 1978.

The lawsuit also names as defendants Lavigne's publishing company Avril Lavigne Publishing and the co-writer of "Girlfriend," producer/remixer Dr. Luke.

Dunbar and Jon Rubin formed the Rubinoos as middle school students in Berkeley, Calif., in 1973. The band is best known for its 1977 remake of the Tommy James and the Shondells' hit, "I Think We're Alone Now" which reached No. 45 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Lavigne's Vancouver-based manager, Terry McBride, CEO of Nettwerk Music Group, claims the suit "has no basis. There's nothing similar (between the two songs)," he says. "Our musicologist says there is no similarities of melody, choral progression or meter."

I'm solidly on the Rubinoos side on this case, but I also don't hear a lot of similarity between the two songs, other than the chorus (which the Rubinoos may have borrowed from the Stones' "Get Off My Cloud"). What do you musicologists think?

Rubinoos vs. Avril Lavigne (youtube)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Pursuing happiness

To celebrate the 4th of July (and Canada Day), here's a song by a Canadian band that took their name from the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Off to watch a baseball game between an American team and a Canadian team. Two national anthems for the price of one! Happy 4th of July everyone.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

eSounds of eSummer

Last month Emusic polled their users for the the greatest "summer albums" available on their service. They unveiled the results yesterday and this is the top ten.
  1. The Pixies - Dolittle
  2. Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
  3. The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema
  4. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Green River
  5. Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
  6. M.I.A. - Arular
  7. Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted
  8. Bob Marley And The Wailers - Complete Upsetter Singles
  9. Big Star - #1 Record/Radio City
  10. Spoon - Kill The Moonlight
I've never thought of Pavement as a "summer band", but I guess they are. Their first two albums in the top ten. The rest of their top 50 is here. I braved the clunky interface and voted in their poll by finding something I liked, then clicking "related artists" until I had ten albums. Because my list was somewhat arbitrary (and a little SF-centric), I've put it in alphabetical order.
  1. Brendan Benson - Lapalco
  2. Beulah - The Coast Is Never Clear
  3. The Format - Dog Problems
  4. Mother Hips - Green Hills Of Earth
  5. New Pornographers - Electric Version
  6. Yuji Oniki - TVI
  7. The Orange Peels - Square
  8. Oranger - Shutdown The Sun
  9. Papas Fritas - Pop Has Freed Us
  10. Teenage Fanclub - 4,760 Seconds
I'm always surprised at how well my tastes jibe with the emusic community when they do these lists, so I'm also surprised that my selections (especially Teenage Fanclub and Brendan Benson) didn't make their top 50. My votes may have pushed Beulah and the Format into the top 50 though.

My definition of what constitutes a "summer album" isn't etched in stone, but I would consider to be something that I can listen to and enjoy without having to think about. Albums that sound great at a barbecue, or on the beach, or driving around in my Integra with the sunroof up.

I've fallen out of the practice of mix making for the last few months, but I can feel a summer mix in the making. Without doing an iTunes search for "summer", what are definitive summer songs?

[First rule of blogging: When you're too lazy to write. just make lists!]

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Heroes of the Half Year

We're at the halfway point of the calendar year as well as the halfway point of the baseball season, so it's nearly time to list the songs and albums that I've been enjoying so far in 2007.

Ten worthy albums, alphabetically by artist.

  1. Mitch Easter - Dynamico
  2. Field Music - Tones Of Town
  3. Fountains of Wayne - Traffic and Weather
  4. Future Clouds & Radar - self titled
  5. Ted Leo+Pharmacists - Living With The Living
  6. The National - Boxer
  7. The Primary 5- Go
  8. Silver Sun - Dad's Weird Dream
  9. The Shins - Wincing The Night Away
  10. Sloan - Never Hear The End Of It
Ten more songs, alphabetically by title.

  1. Paul McCartney - "Ever Present Past"
  2. Twilight Sad - "Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters"
  3. Arcade Fire - "Keep The Car Running"
  4. Nick Lowe - "Loose Limbed Girl"
  5. Holy Fields - "She Knows"
  6. Broken West - "So It Goes"
  7. Shake Some Action! - "Sound of Your Mind"
  8. Of Montreal - "Suffer For Fashion"
  9. Apples in Stereo - "Sunday Sounds"
  10. My Teenage Stride - "To Live And Die In The Airport Lounge"