5 Reviews a Week – Goin’ Crazy Edition

OK, I’ve been told that using album and artist titles to create my intro message is annoying. And I guess that’s right. Well here’s the latest reviews. Heavy on the UK this week, but that’s how it goes. I really have nothing more to say. See what happens when I have no gimmick?!

– Viva La Vida – *** – Coldplay gets a bad rap by many music fans, but their music still speaks to me. I think this latest album is their biggest sounding record, and I think they open up their sound quite a bit, which is refreshing. This album seems to lack some of the bigger hooks featured in previous albums, but in time, may catch on to me. Continue reading

International Pop Overthrow Volume 11

It’s that’s time of year again… Summer!  So, you know what that means? The kids are out of school, people are hitting the beaches, and David Bash has brought the International Pop Overthrow (IPO) festival back to Los Angeles for the 11th year in a row.
I’ve been attending the festival for quite a few years now, at least 6 or 7 in a row.  IPO usually runs for about two weeks.  Some years I’ve attended the majority of the shows, and other years just a few.  This year however, I’ve been busy, so I made my one and only IPO concert stop at Fitzgerald’s in Huntington Beach on Saturday night.  The show was a CD release party for Phillip Vandermost, who turned in a great performance, as did O.C. favorites Scarlet Crush and Sparkle*Jets U.K. (who played a few new tunes at the show). Continue reading

Everybody sounds better on the record…

The way that the vast majority of people experience pop music (unfortunately -and btw, you should get your lazy asses out to see live music 3-4 times a month at the minimum – that way you can find good local artists and support them and quit complaining about the crappy stuff the major music industry outlets shove at you – which reminds me, still digging that American Idol compilation CD you impulse bought?) is via recordings. Continue reading

Perfect reunion music

John Baggs’ post the other day about high school dances got into the back of my brain and crawled out last night when I was sleeping. I dreamed I was at a high school reunion, and the band consisted of two guys playing music like the kind that irritated Belushi in “Animal House,” so between songs, I yelled, “Rock and roll!” The band took a break and a disc jockey put on Zevon’s “Angel Dressed in Black,” which begins “Sitting on the sofa/suckin’ a bowl of crack,” which is perfect high school reunion music, don’t you think?

For your drinking and listening pleasure

I am sitting here trying to feel it. Got some Chris Whitley on the iPod, “Dust Radio”:

Baby got vision child
Like a loaded gun
She use my body
Like carrion crow
Doing our transmission thing
On dust radio
Baby call the number
Nobody left in town …

I’ve got the cold, cold Bombay Sapphire and tonic, splash of sweetened lime juice, in easy reach.

“So what’s it going to be then, eh?”

Now we’ve got some Jeff Beck going: “Led Boots.” He is razoring the atmosphere.

Another sip of gin. And another.

Continue reading

Musical Memories: The School Dance

A song can remind of you of many memories, good and bad. Today I’d like to talk about the school dance.

There are a couple of songs that specifically remind me of the school “dances” that I used to attend. Of course, I use the “dance” lightly, because mostly I would go and stand in the corner and talk to friends. That’s not to say that I didn’t want to dance, I just didn’t know how to ask anybody, so I just went and listened to the music.

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The 10-Second Music Review

It’s hard to stay up on what’s new, what’s worth checking out, what to avoid, and so on. We listen, we seek, we read reviews, we do the best we can, but there’s never enough time to be as informed as we’d probably like.

So I thought I’d take a sec to point you to a service that may help keep you abreast of the latest in music in a very short period of time: The 10-Second Music Review. Continue reading

5 CD’s A Week – Fun Time Extravaganza!

Well, I bet you thought that I would nEVER post again. I guess I am too busy SINGing, DANCEing, and STEALing THINGS to post. But not to worry, it’s not like I got MARRIED or something. I do HAVE FEELINGS TOO! Well anyway, here is another ROSETTA stone of music reviews, that make as about much sense as the air in YOUR LUNGS. Hopefully these reviews will become STRONGER in the future. HEY you never know, you may find a JEWEL you have not heard of before. Stay cool people!
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The Shuffle: “The Bewlay Brothers,” David Bowie, 1971

There are places in the universe that simply are Way Out There: dark, cold, lonely. And these places are embedded in our hearts. They can grow to engulf all of our light, all of our energy, like a black hole in life. And the soundtrack for traveling through these places is David Bowie’s “The Bewlay Brothers.”

The music is simple: acoustic guitar and a piano with a timbral color from the palette of foreboding. Bowie’s delivery is devoid of emotion, and the lyrics are dense, echoes of meaning instead of meaning, as real as a dream but as sharp as an icicle: Continue reading

Best opening lines to a song

From “Just Came Back,” by Colin James:

When I first saw you I heard the angels sing.

I thought of Adam and Eve and their

Love thing.

Your favorites?

A conversation with… Corn Mo

Corn Mo in Bristol, England - July 2008Welcome; John Cunningham aka ‘Corn Mo’.

Q/ Morning. How’s it going?


Q/ I was doing – what I laughingly like to call – research. Now the internet is quite a big place and perhaps I was poking around in the wrong corner but it’s quite hard to find a huge amount of information on you. Are you carefully maintaining the persona of an enigmatic master of songs?

No. I’m just not that popular. It would be brilliant if it were true.
Continue reading

Beck – Modern Guilt

I’ve been a Beck fan ever since I first head “Loser” on the radio back in 1994.  I saw him in concert that year (at local radio station KROQ’s annual Weenie Roast) and I’ve seen him twice since (the most memorable was one year on Cinco De Mayo where he performed with a mariachi band at the Greek Theater.) 
I like to consider myself a Beck “completist”, trying to own everything he’s released, which wasn’t always easy. His original contract with Geffen allowed him to release CD’s not only on their label, but anywhere he wanted, and every CD-single he put out always had lots of extra b-sides.
There are many musical sides to Beck Hansen, and I love them all.    Continue reading

The Shuffle: “Nobody Hurts You,” Graham Parker and The Rumour (1979)

Some of us never laughed when Jerry Lee Lewis kicked his piano. We knew he wasn’t doing it for laughs; we knew that if Mozart himself had walked into the concert hall, Lewis probably would have kicked him, too, and the president and the pope or whoever else had the balls to step into the squall of Lewis’s rock-and-roll rage.

That’s what’s at the heart of a certain strain of rock: rage. Lewis got it. But the honor of perfecting it went to Graham Parker, in “Nobody Hurts You” from his snarling “Squeezing Out Sparks” LP (1979). “Nobody Hurts You” remains today a song that quickens the pulse, raises the blood pressure, makes the arm hairs dance. After you hear it, you’re bulletproof. Continue reading

Life is Unfair: The Vapors

Back around 1980, The Vapors scored their only big hit, “Turning Japanese,” which two strange places in my memory. First, around the time it came out, it was parodied on SCTV’s “Gerry Todd Show,” being performed by the unctuous, corduroy-clad lounge lizard Tom Monroe (as played by Rick Moranis), a vision I could never quite erase from my mind’s eye. Three summers later, I went to Washington D.C. with my social studies teacher, Helen Mineta, and another student, Teri Uyeda. We stayed at Helen’s brother’s house – then-congressman Norm Mineta, where his then-wife May and son Stewart also lived. Note that the only non-Japanese American in the group was me. Stewart was a couple of years younger than I was, and took great glee in taunting me by singing the aforementioned song. I was a good houseguest and neglected to inform him the song was actually about, ahem, self-gratification.

The ubiquity of that single disguised just how good the Vapors were. New Clear Days was a darned good album, with some spiky songwriting from Dave Fenton and crisp production from Vic Coppersmith-Heaven that recalled the Jam. Gosh, I wonder why that might have been – because Vic produced the Jam, or because the band’s managers were Bruce Foxton and Paul Weller’s dad.

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5 Reviews a week – Part 2: A Day Late

OK, I know, I’m a day late. What can I say, I’ve been busy. well anyway, I have a great blog planned for you today. Featuring several bands, OLD and new, even bands from 97(‘s). I don’t BLAME you if you find IT strange. But ON that subject, the GRAVITY of the situation is just too much for me. Much like an episode of the SIMPSON‘s, the reviews may be BITTERSWEET, but the WORLD will be a better place for it. I know these reviews are CATNIP for some, but for those who don’t love them, I have put some DYNAMITE in these reviews. So don’t get RED with anger, because it will only make the situation worse. Have fun! Continue reading


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