Friday, January 30, 2015

Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits: Special A Mighty Wind Edition

[I first posted this one back in 2009, and what strikes me most upon revisiting it is that I was hard pressed to nominate somebody new for the list -- i.e., somebody who arrived on the pop scene too late to make it in the first go round. Whether that speaks to the general blandness of most contemporary pop rather than to my general age-influenced indifference and ignorance of it I would not venture to guess. In any case, as you well know, I have deigned to do some rewriting and I even added a couple of nominees just to keep you all on your toes. -- S.S.]

Post-Beatles Pop Star Who is (or Was), Indisputably, a Huge Asshole!!!

Self-explanatory, obviously, but I've decided not to nominate anybody based solely on their politics. My feeling is that the name of this blog is PowerPop, not Pissed-Off Lefty or National Review Groupie, so out of a decent respect for the opinions of our diverse readership, I myself won't be dissing...oops, almost gave the game away there.

That said, if the rest of you guys feel the need to trash our Pop Star betters for no other reason than their ideological proclivities, feel free. My hands are clean.

And my totally top of my head Top Six is:

6. Sting

Not that I have any particular animus toward the guy, but I figured I'd just beat the rest of you to the punch.

5. Leo Sayer

Never buy an album from a man who looks like he should be singing the lead in Pagliacci.

4. Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins)

C'mon, you knew I was going to do this. Billy Corgan, ladies and germs: His pretentious cueball noggin, his orchestra and his chorus.

3. Nicki Minaj

I carried on about this talentless lump of suet the other week, but at the risk of flogging a deceased equine, let me simply say, and for the record, that if she thought it necessary to set her hair on fire for attention she unquestionably would do it.

2. Mike Love (The Beach Boys)

For a zillion obvious reasons, not the least of which is that it gives me yet another opportunity to post the most awesome photo in rock history. Honorable mention: Occasional Beach Boy John Stamos, who's so big a putz he actually cheated on Rebecca Romijn.

And the numero uno living braying jackass in pop music indisputably is...

1. Neil Tennant (The Pet Shop Boys)

An entire career based on his seething resentment of the fact that nobody took his favorite disco records as seriously as he did. What a jerk.

Awrighty then -- who would YOUR choice(s) be?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thursday Essay Question

The Pretty Things, 1966: The poor man's Rolling Stones or the first great garage band?


I actually saw these guys back in 1974, when they were signed to Led Zep's label and were touring Silk Torpedo (which despite the sub-Spinal Tap title is actually a very nice record). Of course in those days, the music they were making was glam-rock verging on prog, not the, shall we say, rough hewn stuff in the clip above.

As for their early stuff, I still haven't made up my mind; hence the theme of today's post.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Slacker Wednesday

Taking another day off for mental health reasons.

Also, because of that blizzard.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Closed for...

...well, you know.

Hey, it wasn't as bad as they predicted. At least my lights didn't go out.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me

Hole. E. Shit.

Pride of the Pacific Northwest garage rock pioneers The Sonics ...

...are set to release their first album of new material in almost 50 years.

From The Guardian:

This Is the Sonics is due to be released in March and arrives eight years after the Washington state band reformed in 2007. It will be their first album of fresh material since 1967’s Introducing The Sonics, although the group did release Sinderella, an album of reinterpreted old songs, in 1980 during a previous reformation.

Along with the news, the band have also posted a new track, "Bad Betty," online. True to form, it’s a furious garage rocker backed with demonic horns and thundering drums. A different version of the track had previously appeared on a single with Mudhoney as part of Record Store Day in 2014.

And may I say again -- Hole. E. Shit. I just listened to the new track, and the phrase "furious garage rocker" doesn't really do it justice.

Let's just say that these guys, in their prime, came across as intensely demented and made their contemporaries, like Paul Revere and the Raiders and The Kingsmen, sound like The Budapest String Quartet. And that "Bad Betty" sounds just like they did in their prime. Truly amazing and inspirational.

I'll keep you posted about the album....

Friday, January 23, 2015

Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits: Special We Are All Of Us in the Gutter Edition

[I originally posted this one back in 2009, or as we here at Casa Simels refer to it, Year Two of the Justin Bieber Era. As is my wont, I have done some re-writing and added an entry, just to keep my hand in. And also, of course, so as not to be accused of one of the entry's myriad bad things. -- S.S.]

Most Memorable Post-Elvis Pop/Rock/Soul Record Referencing One of the Deadly Sins in Either Its Title or Lyrics!!!

Okay, just so you don't have to look them up -- said sins are Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed and Sloth.

I think I've probably mentioned this somewhere down the line, but one of my great regrets in life is that I never had seven kids so that I could name one after each of them. I think "Sloth Simels" really has a ring to it, don't you?

In any case, my totally top of my head Top Six (I know -- how ironic) is:

6. X-Ray Spex -- Junk Food Junkie

Gluttony, obviously. And NOT, I hasten to add a cover of that stupid Larry Groce novelty hit from the 70s. I think this is hilarious, BTW, but I basically think everything this band did was hilarious.

5. MC5 -- Teenage Lust

One of my favorite songs from what is, despite horrific production by that idiot Jon Landau, on balance the 5's best album.

4. Billy Bremner -- Green With Envy

From the Rockpile guitarist's 1999 solo album, which deserves to be better known. Bremner, of course, deserves immortality for his playing on The Pretenders' "Back on the Chain Gang," but I did not know (until I looked him up today) that he began his career in the 60s as a member of Lulu's back-up band.

3. The Bonzo Dog Band -- Suspicion

Anger + envy + lust = jealousy, which of course is what the song is about. The Bonzos version is the definitive one, of course, and included mostly for that priceless monologue in the middle. "If you have been deceiving me...well, it's a neat bit of jiggery-pokery."

2. Elvis Costello -- I'm Not Angry

Uh...yes, he was, actually. Pissed as hell, if truth be told.

And the numero uno ode to les septs classical no-nos quite obviously is...

1. Fairport Convention -- Sloth

For fairly obvious reasons, I think.

Alrighty then -- what would your choices be?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

As Long as I Gaze on Waterloo Sunset I am in Paradise....

The great Terry Reid, with the Waddy Wachtel band, and a fabulous cover of what may be the most beautiful song written in the English language in the second half of the 20th century.

This is from a memorial show for late bassist Rick Rosas two weekends ago. And no, it is not as transplendent as the earlier version of the song by the same crew that changed my life and which I wrote about, rather passionately back in 2007; Terry's rather obviously hamming it, and his voice is way too low in the mix.

Still, it's worth beholding, and I think by the end of the clip you'll get choked up despite the flaws.

I should add that the guitar player in me is delighted you can see Waddy's hands so clearly; I plan to learn every note of this arrangement toot sweet.

POSTSCRIPT: Courtesy of a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance, a few years ago I actually got to see an actual Waterloo Sunset.

Just call us Terry and Julie -- I won't mind.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Closed for Monkey Business

Got back fairly late from a Weasels recording session -- on which I laid down my first recorded bass guitar part since 1995(!) -- and couldn't sleep due to the attendant creative buzz.

Regular, less manic posting resumes on the morrow, including on Friday -- weather permitting -- another installment of Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Annals of Art Direction (An Occasional Series)

Attentive readers will recall that during last week's Weasel Week, I posted a song -- the work of friend of PowerPop Jai "Guru" Dave Hawxwell -- from The Weasels 2013 masterwork crime against nature Vin Weasel.

And noted that the cover art was unavailable.

Well, here, at last, it is.

And I gotta say -- that just cracks my shit up.

I should add that like all the great Weasels album covers, it is the work of a certain beautiful and brilliant Shady Dame of my acquaintance. I think she's outdone herself with this one, however.

And don't worry -- I'm not gonna post any more songs from the album; I wouldn't inflict of THAT stuff on you at this late date.

You're welcome.

Monday, January 19, 2015

It's Only January, But This is Already the Reissue of the Year!

From the very first year of the lamentable 1970s, and the solo album that sold five or six copies in his hometown alone, please enjoy the amazing Ron Nagle and his kick-ass ironic (or is it?) anti-drug anthem "Marijuana Hell."

Although not, alas, a household word, Nagle's nonetheless a really interesting guy. A member of terrific first generation San Francisco band The Mystery Trend (click over HERE to hear one of their songs)...

...he went on to a serious career as a producer and songwriter (for John Hiatt and Barbra Streisand, among a horde of others) while at the same time pursuing a totally separate life as one of the most important abstract expressionist ceramic sculptors in the country.

This little piece of his is actually in the Smithsonian.

In any case, "Marijuana Hell" is just a great rock-and-roll record, and the rest of Bad Rice, which I had on LP back in the day (thanks to being on the Warner Bros. mailing list when I was rock crit for my college paper), is almost as good; it's an album that clearly deserves its cult reputation. BTW, the great Jack Nitzsche produced, and Ry Cooder is all over it on slide guitar (including on "Marijuana Hell" itself).

I first wrote most of the above in 2010, when I found a clean copy of Bad Rice ripped from the original vinyl (which was long out of print at the time) over at some download site I was frequenting. However, I am delighted to announce that the good folks at Ominvore Recordings will be releasing a remastered and expanded two-disc CD version of the album on January 27; the sound -- which was always good -- is noticeably improved, and the set comes with all sorts of interesting outtakes and other Nagle rarities, as well as a fantastic set of liner notes by first generation Rolling Stone critic Gene Sculatti. In short, a great album just got better.

Needless to say, this behooves behearing; pre-order it at Amazon over HERE. You'll thank me.