Friday, May 26, 2017

It's Friends of Mine Week: Special From Jersey It Came Edition

Going to see the incomparable Smithereens tonight at B.B. King's.


Which will probably be the zillionth time I've seen those guys in a club, but this is obviously a good thing. Especially as original bassist Mike Mesaros will be rejoining the band for the show.


That's him on the right of course. He was always the 'Reen with the most teen appeal.

Well, with the possible exception of drummer Dennis Diken, seen here back in the day with some asshole whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels.


Meanwhile, have I mentioned that, on top of everything else, The Smithereens are the greatest cover band of all time?



Have a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

It's Friends of Mine Week: Special Whaling Songs Were Invented in New Jersey Edition

From (we think) 1974, please enjoy Belleville, New Jersey's finest, The Hounds -- featuring lead vocals, Rickenbacker 12-string and songwriting by my old college chum Tony Forte -- and their remarkably Byrds-ian "Dirge of the Wayward Seafarer."





In case you're wondering, this also features inadequate rhythm guitar by that guy on the right in the photo wearing the Wings t-shirt (whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels).

But don't hold that against Mr. Forte. I think this is a genuinely great song and a terrific performance overall.

Of course, it still kinda cracks me up that a bunch of mooks from the land of Tony Soprano would be performing sea chanties, but hey -- rock 'n' roll.

POSTSCRIPT: The cutest thing about all this? Check out the tall guy in the photo looking down at the beautiful blonde. After the band broke up, they wound up getting married, having a fabulous life, and being responsible for some incredible kids. The next person who tells me that rock is the devil's music, swear to god I'm gonna take a hostage.

Tomorrow: More music by people I actually know personally, and yes, they're ALSO from New Jersey.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

It's Friends of Mine Week: Special Ars Gratia Pecuniae Edition

From 2014, please enjoy Foglizard (featuring pal of PowerPop and frequent commenter buzzbabyjesus)...


...with a live in the studio performance of their not-at-all prog-rock "Pigs on a Cracker." That's BBJ with the hollow-body guitar, BTW.



And here's the almost pop "Almost July," the lead-off track from Viva Le Foglizard. Pretty snazzy, I think.



A word from the auteur:
"I posted "Viva Le Foglizard" as a weekend mix over at Burning Wood. Someone posted anonymously "No, Thanks". I wrote back that out of 7 billion people on the planet that weren't interested in my music, only one needed to point it out. I promised his brave honesty would be rewarded by his being the subject of our next song. It became a blog post."

I should add that you can hear more Foglizard tunes and read BBJ's complete history of the band over HERE. Pretty funny stuff.

Tomorrow: some more interesting if not world-renowned music, only this time from a friend I have yet to buy a drink for.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

It's Friends of Mine Week: Special It Takes a Village Edition

From (originally) 1972, please enjoy power pop legend/old chum Mark Johnson and his haunting "Rainy Dues"...



...a track from the just released reissue of his 1972 Vanguard LP Years.


Short version of a very long story: Mark all but ruled the Greenwich Village music scene in the late 70s/early 80s; about fifty percent of the reason The Floor Models got it together was our seeing Mark's band The Wild Alligators tear it up at Kenny's Castaways on numerous occasions (the other fifty percent was seeing The Smithereens do the same thing at the same venue).

In any case, at that time, I kept hearing from various Village types that Mark had this earlier album to his credit, but for some reason, nobody -- not even Mark -- would make me a cassette dupe of it. I eventually chanced across it, a few years ago, at some obscure download site via a vinyl rip. And was surprised at how different it was, stylistically, from the kick-ass pop/folk/New Wave rock he was doing when I met him. Years, in fact, was more or less the last flowering of the whole post-Sgt. Pepper baroque/orchestral/psychedelia album esthetic of the late-60s; think early Tim Buckley or something that could have been produced by Van Dyke Parks.

Oh well. Moving right along, let me just mention that this reissue -- splendidly remastered with bonus tracks -- on Real Gone also features definitive liner notes (including an extensive interview with Mark) by yours truly...


...and that you can (and should) order this remarkable artifact over at Amazon HERE.

You're welcome.

Tomorrow: More interesting music by somebody I've actually shaken hands with.

Monday, May 22, 2017

It's Friends of Mine Week! No, Seriously -- It's Friends of Mine Week! I Really Mean It This Time!

From a 2003 tribute to The Who, please enjoy Seattle legend Jim Basnight and an absolutely wonderful cover of "I Can See For Miles."



I've never actually met Jim, but he's been a Facebook friend for a while now, and I always loved his work.

In case you;ve never heard him before, among other things, he used to be the front man of two absolutely fabulous and influential New Wave/power pop bands called, respectively, The Moberlys and then The Rockinghams.

That being the case (and it is), you can -- and very definitely should -- order a retrospective of 25 years of his music...


...over at Amazon HERE.

You're welcome. Oh, and incidentally, Jim informs me that Pete Townshend was pleased by the cover of "Miles." Much cooler than that it does not get.

Tomorrow: More interesting music, but by someone I actually HAVE met.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Your Friday Moment of I'm a Little Choked Up

Attentive readers may recall that I posted tracks by The Sevens -- aka The Rolling Stones of Switzerland -- a week or two ago, which I found at a terrific download site (from Germany) called All We Need is Pop Music.

Anyway, by way of saying thank you, I sent the proprietor of the site copies of The Floor Models CDs (featuring some asshole whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels on bass), figuring he might get a kick out of them.




And this is the note I just got in response.

Hello Steve, this morning your gift arrived. And it's a little difficult to describe (also because my not so well english language) the emotions because of your gift. At first, you have paid ten bucks only to send two cds to a guy you don't know personally 5000 km across the ocean. That was the first time where i asked myself consciously: What kind of man is Steve and why he do this? And than i began listen to the album and after the first time i was very impressed. Naturally it meets my taste of music.But some songs have (imho) an extraordinary good songwriting and wonderful fitting arrangements. What i also like is the difference of the tracks.The whole album never sounds like one song cutted in 10 or 15 pieces. And it always sound very much agile (or alive?). One critical point is S.O.S in original by swedish band ABBA. To me it sounds a little weak without the particular kick.
The whole album is a great Pop rock/Jangle/Power Pop album and i think if the band had it released in the early eighties who knows what had happened. Steve you can be very proud of your band The Floor Models and the musical legacy of the band. I make music myself for more than forty years and know the meaning what particular experiences in music and making music with friends are really worth.(I hope you understand despite my english language try to say)
And now i come back to the question i asked myself: why do Steve this? I began to read the liner notes by you. And there is a lot what touches my feelings. After i read the liner notes completely two times i believe i have the answer for my question. The kind how you write about the times then, the band, friends, people you've met and the experiences you've made tells me that you are a human being who do the things he like with passion. And passion is an important characteristic for artists of any kind. Okay Steve i stop here my hobby psychology :-). I just can say that i thank you very much for the gift that you've gave me. I really appreciate it! And i want quote an sentence by you from the liner notes where is a kind of humour inside i really love. ''...I look back on the whole experience these days as pretty much the most fun i've ever had with my clothes on.''
Thanks for all and i hope we stay in touch from time to time

Kind regards,
Frank

I honestly don't care that we never sold a million records and got big rich and famous. Stuff like this makes the entire thing worthwhile.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Chris Cornell 1964-2017



Swear to god, I was just listening to the album that song is from when I heard the news.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Closed for Monkey Business


Had a long, extremely productive but exhausting, night in the recording studio yesterday.

Friends of Mine Week, complete with blow your mind music. resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

It's Friends of Mine Week!!!

Attentive and/or long term readers of this here blog may recognize the name Ronnie D'Addario for two reasons.

First, because out of the great goodness of his heart, he sang the angelic McCartney-esque background vocals on Letter From Liverpool, a song featuring a band with a bass player whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels.

And, secondly, because he's the proud dad of the hippest young band on the planet The Lemon Twigs.



But even coooler than that, Ronnie's also been producing exquisite Beatles-influenced pop/rock -- both as a one-man band (a la Emitt Rhodes, who is probably the figure he most closely brings to mind) or in various group contexts going back for decades.

And now, at last, he's got a CD set showcasing some of that work.


Here are two songs from the collection (the second is one of my favorite indie singles of the New Wave era) that should give you an idea of just how terrific he is.





In any case, I think we can agree that First Songs is one of the most impressive early career retrospectives ever heard by sentient mammalian ears.

You can -- and definitely should -- order it over at Amazon HERE or at You Are the Cosmos HERE.

You're welcome.

Monday, May 15, 2017

I'll Be There For You

As you may know, The Zombies just completed an American tour where -- to rapturous applause -- they performed their masterpiece Odessey and Oracle in its entirety.



You may be able to guess from the Odessey song above how the rest of the week here is gonna go. No coveted PowerPop No-Prizes if you do, however.

I should add that, to my delight, another Odessey track is now the unlikeliest radio hit of the current century..