Archive for Tongue and Groove

Up and coming

For some reason, singer Angela Everwood added me to her Twitter list, and as is my usual practice, I went out to look for a reason to reciprocate.

And here it is:

This is the sort of Taylor Swift-ish song that Taylor Swift isn’t interested in doing anymore, so I’m glad Angela’s here to take up the slack.

She has several tracks posted to ReverbNation for your dancing and dining pleasure.

Comments (2)




Several last things

The other day I got Twitterspammed — if that isn’t a word, it should be — by someone whose main interest in life, judging by that day’s tweet production, was promoting this song:

“Good theme that swings”? Okay, I’ll look.

This was the song, and I liked it enough to snag it from iTunes:

I know from nothing here, except that Aldrey is from Venezuela, and that this video was shot largely at a pediatric hospital in Maracaibo — which makes its bucket-list lyrics just a hair more poignant.

Comments




A two-octave range

I have always wondered — since the early 1970s or thereabouts, anyway — just how it was that Bernie Taupin could churn out the words first, and only then would Elton John come up with a melody to fit them.

I need no longer wonder:

(Via Maureen Johnson.)

Comments (1)




Crewe cuts

Bob Crewe made great records in the Fifties, the Sixties, and into the Seventies and Eighties. When word came down that he’d died in a Maine nursing home Thursday — complications from a fall, which is something you don’t want to have at eighty-three — I slapped a bunch of them on the stereo, and finally declared two personal favorites, both by the 4 Seasons, both produced by Crewe, both co-written by Crewe with 4 Seasons stalwart Bob Gaudio, released within ten weeks of one another in that magical year of 1964. Fifty years later, these tracks still make me smile, and sometimes a great deal more than that.

“Rag Doll” (Philips 40211) hit #1; “Save It For Me” (Philips 40225) made #10. And the triple threat — the unshakable romanticism, the pristine Crewe production, and the “sound” of Frankie Valli (so declared on the 45 label) — make these two tracks stand out in a year the historians have inexplicably ceded to Beatlemania.

Also worth tracking down: the Motor-Cycle LP (1969) by Lotti Golden, then a New York City teenager, as forceful as Janis Ian and as lyrical as Laura Nyro. The seven-minute epic “The Space Queens (Silky Is Sad),” leading off side two, is sliced into four movements, just like “MacArthur Park”; for the second, Crewe fashions a Wall of Sound worthy of Phil Spector — and apparently without any overdubs, either.

And just to top it off: “What Now My Love,” the French standard “Et Maintenant” with English lyrics by Carl Sigman, previously charted by Sonny & Cher and by Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass, cast by Crewe as a psychedelic torch song (!) starring Mitch Ryder, so far over the top you can barely see it from the ground, which managed #30 in Billboard for Crewe’s DynoVoice label, then just starting a distribution deal with Dot.

(Extreme trivia: During the days when we had both mono and stereo records to pick from the racks, there were different catalog numbers for each variety, sometimes changing just a prefix, sometimes adding a digit — usually 7 — to the front, sometimes doing, well, whatever the hell it was CBS was doing in those days. DynoVoice of this era was the only label I ever heard of that added a 3, a bit of weirdness for which I am grateful to Bob Crewe.)

Comments (1)




The adventures of Sophie

Once upon a time, there was a British band called “theaudience,” which was given to songs with fab titles like “A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed” and “If You Can’t Do It When You’re Young, When Can You Do It?”

Theaudience managed only the one album, back in 1998, before breaking up; lead singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, then nineteen, went on to a solo career, and has now released five albums, the most recent being Wanderlust, from which we extract the current single, “The Deer and the Wolf.”

Definitely a departure from her dance-pop days. And this came out day before yesterday:

I sort of explained Pretty Polly last summer.

This is the cover art from Wanderlust:

Cover art from Wanderlust by Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Why the lapses into Cyrillic? Ellis-Bextor has said that the album is like “a soundtrack to an Eastern European film from the 1970s,” and indeed one track features a Bulgarian choir, recorded at the Bulgarian Embassy in London:

It’s not often I’ve stuffed a post into four different categories.

Comments (3)




Spyder, man

I hesitate to call a singer an Unsung (!) Hero, but David Dwight “Spyder” Turner, born in Beckley, West Virginia but raised in Detroit, seems to be largely forgotten except by collectors of old R&B singles and Northern Soul buffs. His big hit came up on the shuffle today, and I figured it was time he got a shout-out from this corner.

A lot of people have covered Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” over the years, but none of them quite like Spyder Turner, who sang every verse in the voice of some other soul singer, the sort of tribute you don’t dare try unless you’re utterly devoted to what you’re doing and you have a voice that can pull it off. Turner did. MGM cut his 5:40 original in half to fit it on a single in late 1966; it made #12 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart. On the LP, Turner sounded like everyone from Jackie Wilson to Smokey Robinson to three different Temptations.

And judging by the concert footage here, Turner, then 64, can still do it. It continues to amaze me that he had only one subsequent chart record: a cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “I Can’t Make It Anymore,” the sort of lost track that reminds you that if you go straight south from Detroit, you end up in Canada.

Comments




Acts to grind

If you’ve ever told yourself “I just can’t get into opera,” here’s a handy guide to make it easier for you:

Anatomy of Operas

(Via the Facebook page of San Francisco classical station KDFC.)

Comments (3)




Coolen on the side

Nancy Anna Francina Coolen wound up with a shortened name (“Nance”), a career in Eurodance music, and a second career as a TV host, all before turning 40. (She’s 41 tomorrow.) There is, of course, the usual array of slightly exciting pictures:

Nance Coolen

Nance Coolen

Nance was discovered by Ruud van Rijen, who created the dance act Twenty 4 Seven in 1989. She remained with van Rijen through 1996; he continues the group today.

This video, set to Nance’s 2003 solo single “If You Wanna Dance,” contains a brief history of her career:

Last I looked, she was doing Showniews for the Dutch channel SBS 6.

Comments




Indy Rock City

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but paper causes lawsuits:

KISS bassist Gene Simmons is among the defendants being sued by a security guard over a confetti-initiated stage accident during a 2012 concert in Noblesville, Indiana.

Courthouse News Service reports security guard Timothy Funk says he worked the band’s September 1, 2012 show at the city’s Klipsch Music Center and was injured after falling on the “slippery, waxy, and glassy” stage.

According to Funk’s lawsuit, “some or all of the defendants” sprayed water from hoses “on the stage, the area around the stage, and on some of the crowd.” They also sprayed confetti around the stage and crowd “in a foolish and reckless manner,” Funk claimed.

Remember, kids: use confetti responsibly.

Said defendants include Live Nation (as owner of the Klipsch Center) and Simmons’ production company.

Comments (2)




Not too much monkey business

You could point a finger at Justin Timberlake for lack of originality, says Jack Baruth, but in fact you’re missing the point:

The second guy to use a bottleneck on a guitar wasn’t being original but today we recognize it as a style to itself and we can discuss the masters of that style without worrying about originality. Half of the licks on Appetite For Destruction are stolen from Chuck Berry — check out “Think About You” if you doubt that — and nobody doubts Slash’s standing as a guitarist and musician.

I suspect that half of the licks everywhere can be traced back to Chuck Berry: rather a lot of British Invasion stuff, for instance, relied on Chuck’s back catalog. Also about this time, Berry and Brian Wilson (!) “collaborated” on “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” a blatant rewrite of “Sweet Little Sixteen.” Then again, Chuck’s own “No Particular Place to Go,” also about this time, was a blatant rewrite of “Sweet Little Sixteen.”

For extra credit, hunt down “Licks Off Of Records” from Martin Mull and His Fabulous Furniture in Your Living Room! (Capricorn, 1973), which is best known for the parody “Dueling Tubas”; “Licks” features a session guitarist who prefers not to be lionized, inasmuch as everything he does comes from somewhere else.

Comments (7)




This could go on for a while

“Bengü” is a Turkish adjective commonly used as a given name: it means “eternal” or “endless.” Meet Turkish singer Bengü — last name Erden — born in İzmir in 1979, who has been making records since the turn of the century:

Publicity photo for Bengu, circa 2003

Album art from Saygimdan by BenguIf I’ve counted correctly, Saygımdan (“Out of Respect”), released in 2013, is her ninth album; the title song is up on YouTube but for some reason — presumably, the desire of her record label — is not embeddable. The lyrics are vaguely Taylor Swift-y:

I don’t bow before anyone, but with you I am leveled to the ground,
I always leave and walk away, it is for the first time I stopped and turned around,
I cried, I silently gathered it all within me,
I raged, but then I calmed down.

(Translation found here; it was better, I thought, than Google’s.)

An earlier song, “Unut Beni” (“Forget Me”), from her 2007 album Taktik, which means pretty much what it sounds like:

And a more recent photo:

Publicity photo for Bengu, circa 2014

Comments




How many more times?

I didn’t really warm to Led Zeppelin until their second album, the legendary Brown Bomber, so I must yield to Jack Baruth on the matter of the latest incarnation of the first:

The Super Deluxe Edition of the first Zep album is obviously the most commercialized, crass, regrettable, anti-rock, boomer-focused, rich-ass-yuppie piece of stupid bullshit to ever disgrace the name of the band that once bestrode the earth like a Colossus. Except it isn’t. To begin with, it comes with stuff you really want: rare photographs, perfect letterhead facsimiles of press releases, and additional historical information that will be familiar to those of us who have read all the Zep biographies but is presented in compelling fashion nonetheless.

The music itself — well, I had concerns. Page is an old man now and who knows how good his ears are when it comes to remastering and mixing forty-five-year-old tracks? No need to worry. He did a good job, at least by my standards.

And for your $118.98 (at this writing), Amazon semi-generously throws in an MP3 copy (regularly $13.49).

Not that I’m going to complain, having spent $60 or so for the four-disc Pet Sounds box set, and we know how Brian Wilson’s ears are, especially the right one.

Comments (1)




Reapplied statistics

It was true when I was eleven, and it’s true half a century later: you can always get my attention with a distinctive love song. (It’s never going to be sung to me, of course, but that’s a small matter in the grand scheme of things.) This one came out in 2005 and blew right past me, though the album whence it came (Piece by Piece) topped the charts in several Eurozone countries.

According to Katie, she and her producer/manager were actually in Beijing and were given the bicycle statistic by their interpreter. No one questioned it.

As for that “12 billion light-years” line, it drew some flak:

Then again, even Han Solo is subject to challenge.

Comments (2)




Now entering the afterlife

Darn few songs mention the late Don Pardo, NBC announcer since 1944. You can actually hear a lot of him in this one, and besides, it’s great on its own merits:

He married Catherine Lyons in 1938, the year he got his first radio job in Providence; they stayed together until her death in 1995.

Thanks, Don. And you too, Al.

Comments (5)




No sign of the dollar

I admit to not having had much use for Ke$ha, as the singer used to spell it, even if she did move 14 million downloads of “Tik Tok.” Having reverted to simply “Kesha,” she’s pushed herself a little farther, and while looking for something else — isn’t that always the case? — I stumbled across this track from her 2012 album Warrior. It’s the last song in the collection, it’s the only one she wrote herself, and I think she’s won me over:

(If this vaguely reminds you of Sia’s “Chandelier,” a favorite in these parts, well, it’s the same producer: Greg Kurstin. And Kesha’s song came out first.)

And you know, I’m the last guy in the world to complain about blue and/or purple hair, even on the Tonight Show:

Kesha on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon July 2014

(Photo by Theo Wargo/NBC.)

Comments




A cellarful of noise

You may recall the Cavern Club, a music venue at 10 Mathew Street in Liverpool which lived up to Petula Clark’s description in “I Know a Place.” The Beatles played there upwards (or downwards, being in a basement and all) of 250 times.

The MonaLisa Twins, major Beatles fans from Austria, have now settled in Southport, a few minutes up the coast from Liverpool, and have begun a residency at that very same Cavern Club, playing a two-hour gig every Saturday afternoon. They’ll also be playing, with and without their backing band, at International Beatle Week, later this month.

Which is as good an excuse as any to trot out Mona and Lisa doing a Beatles track:

Unexpectedly, there are pronoun adjustments.

Comments (1)




The point being gotten to

Back in ought-seven, I did a brief writeup of something called Short Attention Span System Radio, which sought to compensate for listeners wandering away by cramming twice as much music into the same space. The results were curious:

I sampled some SASS, and I think I’d notice that they’d boiled down Manfred Mann’s take on Springsteen’s “Blinded by the Light,” which runs around 7:05 in its LP incarnation and 3:48 as a single, to a startling 1:45 — but it would take probably half a minute for it to sink in, and by then they’re a third of the way through the next song.

Truly revved up like a douche, as the kids used to say. I imagined there might be a place for such a format, but I couldn’t imagine where.

The answer, it turns out, is Calgary:

Top 40 station 90.3 Amp Radio has started to cut off the songs played on air halfway through, allowing for twice the number of songs to be played each hour in a bid to cater to their listeners’ ever-shortening attention spans.

“We’ve got so much more choice, we’ve got less time (and) our attention spans are shorter,” Amp Radio’s Paul Kaye told CTV Calgary. “We are observing people with their iPods, playing their favourite songs and skipping them before the end because they get bored.”

The station used to play about 12 songs an hour, but the new “QuickHitz” format allows for 24 songs each hour by re-editing the tracks.

It was a lot easier to do 24 songs an hour, I submit, when (1) songs were barely over two minutes and (2) you didn’t have to sell 15 minutes of ad space.

Still, having created what I think is the definitive two-minute edit of “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida,” which runs seventeen minutes if you don’t put your foot down, I’m probably the wrong person to complain about this.

Admittedly, I’ve gone the other direction as well. Once upon a time, after listening to the Gentrys’ 1965 version of “Keep On Dancing,” which came out of the studio running barely 90 seconds, prompting the producer to start the song over and run just enough of it to break the two-minute mark, I hacked up a 3:42 extended version in which I did the same thing the producer did, only twice. Amp Radio wouldn’t play it, of course, but at least they’d have an obvious place (or two) to edit it.

Comments (4)




It crawled into my ear, honest

The Friar may be sticking his fingers in his ears about now:

Over at Today I Found Out, a writer explores some of the reasons that songs become earworms, and I imagine those same music folks have pored over these ideas to see what kind of combination of catchiness, repetition, hook and whatever else you can think of actually makes a song something that you can’t get out of your head.

The problem for them is that no two heads are alike (except maybe for Vice President Joe Biden and Peanut), so the triggers that will make a song stick in my head are not necessarily the triggers that will make one stick in your head. Even if the triggers are the same, the qualities that trip those triggers might not be. I may be an unreconstructed punk who will start bobbing my head and drumming out a rhythm on the armrest at “I Was Wrong” or “Bad Luck.” You may be a later music lover who has the same reaction to a Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga duet (in which case may the Lord and all of his angels help you before it’s too late). The point is that a record company that wants to find a formula for a hit can’t make a song that will cause both of us to click on iTunes and demand it take our money.

In my own defense, I do know my own weaknesses. I’m just … I mean, this is exhausting.

Comments (2)




Ninety plus ten?

About the only thing I knew about singer/songwriter Charli XCX, born Charlotte Emma Aitchison 23 years ago, is that she wrote Icona Pop’s weird international hit “I Love It.” (Charli is listed as “featured” on the track, though apparently she joins in only on the one line “I don’t care/I love it,” and she doesn’t appear in the video. And the only reason I know “I Love It” is because I happened upon a note-perfect parody called “I Ship It,” devoted to implausible fanfiction, something I know a little bit about.

Charli has been making music since her teens, and she shares the blame for Iggy Azalea’s irritating but catchy “Fancy,” lampooned by “Weird Al” Yankovic as “Handy.” But Charli’s own stuff works pretty decently on its own terms. “Nuclear Seasons” was the first track on (and the second single from) her 2013 album True Romance:

With all the graphic gizmos cleared away, we see her this way:

Charli XCX in the summer of 2013

And what’s the deal with the Roman numerals, if that’s what they are? Hint: they aren’t:

Well, people have speculated that it means “Kiss Kiss,” but I really just chose the name because I thought it looked cool and sounded catchy. Of course, when I was signed to my record label, I suddenly felt like it needed to stand for something. So I told my label that it could mean, “X-Rated Content” or something like that, and everyone there just kind of looked at me as if I was crazy. They were all probably thinking, “Oh, no, what did we get ourselves into?!” But really, at the moment, it just stands for everything I’ve done so far.

Whatever the heck that means.

Comments




Shaw is the new Black

Is this, as Entertainment Weekly’s Music Mix suggests, “the most hated song on the Internet right now”?

One might reasonably question Catey Shaw’s own Brooklyn Girl credentials — she only recently moved to 11206 from Virginia Beach — but I think most of the hate (51 percent thumbs down on YouTube) comes from people wondering “Oh, geez, is this the next Rebecca Black?” Of course, in so doing, they extend RB’s fifteen minutes of fame even further, but they’re not thinking about that.

Comments




See Spotify run

Singer/songwriter Michelle Shocked is short, sharp, and peeved with streaming-music operations:

She recently released a album on CDBaby.com called Inaudible Women, containing 11 songs named after big-shots in the music industry. With song titles like “David Drummond (Google, Youtube),” “Robert Walls (Clear Channel),” and “Chris Harrison (Pandora),” she’s calling out people who run the digital streaming world. Shocked is associated with a campaign called CopyLike which, according to their website, is made up of artists who defend their copyright and intellectual property.

Shocked insists that the album isn’t silent. Instead, it’s aimed at a completely different audience: dogs. “We love our furry friends. They share our beds, our toothbrushes, and they share our burgers,” she said in a weird video introducing the project. “We decided we would make a high album — in fact, the highest album ever made. Just so that my friends Spot and Rex can hear it, not audible to human ears, and to raise money for my tour — never in the history of recording music has it been this easy to keep Spot happy and support working musicians.”

This is perhaps the most significant recording for canines since the Beatles tossed a 20-kHz tone onto UK copies of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band back in 1967. Shocked suggests that you stream the album for your dogs while you’re at work, which will make her a few bucks and (perhaps) keep the furry friends from finding your toothbrush on their own.

Comments (2)




Seven miles apart

This comes from the “Why the hell didn’t I notice this?” file.

In 1967, Bert Berns met up again with soul singer Hoagy Lands, for whom he had written half a dozen songs in the early Sixties; Lands recorded Berns’ “32 Miles out of Waycross (Mojo Mamma),” which is presumably still sitting in the Bang Records vault, and with the title clipped to just “Mojo Mamma,” the song became an album track for Wilson Pickett. It goes like this:

If those verses remind you of Edwin Starr’s “Twenty-Five Miles,” well, you’re not the only one, and current copies of Starr’s record bear composer credits for Berns and occasional songwriting partner Jerry Ragovoy.

Comments (4)




To be a Rick, and not to roll

I sense a disturbance in the Humor Force:

YouTube has restricted access to a seven-year-old video upload that spawned the still-popular RickRoll meme, in which people trick others into watching [Rick] Astley shimmy in his cheesy “Never Gonna Give You Up” clip.

Simply titled “RickRoll’D,” the video was uploaded by YouTube user cotter548 and has amassed nearly 71 million views. It has been blocked by YouTube in several countries, including the United States.

The video-sharing giant did not immediately respond to request for comment on the takedown, which happened once before, albeit briefly, in 2012.

I have to believe this is a temporary measure, and that Rick has not in fact deserted us.

Comments (4)




Get it while it’s last

Brook Benton, dealing with a man with a long cigar in “Hit Record,” in 1962: “Well, he made me sign the paper for twenty years.” And Benton wasn’t kidding: Rick Nelson’s contract with Decca, starting in 1963, was originally for twenty years, though MCA, successor to Decca, dropped him after thirteen.

Mandatory Fun by Weird Al YankovicI mention this because “Weird Al” Yankovic signed a record contract in 1982 which only just now, 32 years later, has been completed. This does not mean he’s through with recording, but Mandatory Fun may be the last full-length Al album ever: the man’s at his best with topical material, and it’s hard to be topical with two or three years between album releases. So the coming scarcity of Yankovic long-players would be reason enough to snap it up, I think; fortunately, there’s enough good stuff here to justify your ten-buck outlay (or your eighteen-buck outlay for the vinyl version, which comes out next month).

Yankovic’s promotional campaign was unusual: no single, but eight videos to be released over the first week of release, each of which was put together with a Web partner because Sony wasn’t about to fork over a ton of money for someone who hadn’t put out an album in three years and who had had only one Top Ten single ever (“White & Nerdy,” 2006, which made #9). Everybody loved “Word Crimes,” a reworking of Robin Thicke’s utterly awful “Blurred Lines,” partly because of the brilliant kinetic-typography video, partly because everyone loves to play the More Grammatical Than Thou card, but mostly, I think, because the rewrite was so much better than the original. And “Foil,” a parody of Lorde’s “Royals” with aluminum at its heart, was downright weird, which never hurts.

Deserving of more note: “Mission Statement,” which is what Crosby, Stills and Nash, with or without Young, would sound like if they were present-day buzzword-driven corporate consultants, and “First World Problems,” a Pixies sendup with Al doing his best (and not at all bad) Black Francis and Amanda Palmer in the role of Kim Deal. The polka medley, as always, is delightful, with wholly unexpected transitions and no bleep in “Thrift Shop.” And you won’t miss much by ripping just the first 11 songs: the 12th, “Jackson Park Express,” is a pretty acoustical tune, à la early-Seventies Cat Stevens, over which is laid a genuinely creepy boy-meets-girl story that takes nine minutes to go nowhere.

Note: Amazon.com put this out as a download, just for this weekend, for $5.99. If you find Mandatory Fun compelling and don’t object to the sheer intangibility of downloads, you’ll find it more so at four dollars off.

Comments (6)




A hint of thirst

First she was Agnes Monica Muljoto, which was quickly shortened to simply “Agnes Monica,” under which name the Indonesian singer released several albums, the last of which was a best-of package called Agnes Is My Name. And then, suddenly, it wasn’t; she resurfaced as “Agnez Mo,” perhaps in the interest of getting some recognition in the States. I think I’d recognize someone like this:

Agnez Mo in 12/13 Regard Magazine

That business about “Coke Bottle” in the text refers to this:

Something of a departure, I think, from her earlier image:

Agnez Mo

Of course, I’m old enough to remember when “Coke Bottle” described cars:

Chevrolet Camaro

And it’s not like Agnez is some sort of throwback, either. In a weird sort of marketing innovation, the aforementioned Agnes Is My Name compilation was distributed through KFC locations in Indonesia: you could buy it separately, or it could be thrown in with the purchase of a combo meal. The album moved about a million copies.

(Now that I think about it, though, it’s probably a good thing that the album came out before the “Coke Bottle” single, inasmuch as the 400-odd KFC stores in Indonesia sell Pepsi.)

Comments




Here we go loop

Why we don’t have 8-tracks anymore, as explained by Roger:

Because the eight-track was a stupid technology. I remember exactly when I realized this. I was in a car listening to someone’s Beatles Again/Hey Jude 8-track. The song “Rain” came on, and IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SONG, it did that weird grinding noise in the middle of it. I should note that “Rain” is a three-minute song.

I think I decided this about three seconds after I had one jam on me, opened it up to see what I could do about it, and discovered that this mechanism couldn’t possibly work.

Lots of that particular title out there; I didn’t have one, but then I already had the LP. At the other extreme, 1982’s 20 Greatest Hits by the Beatles, which Capitol scrapped right before release: the number of copies which managed to escape the label is believed to be in single digits, and only four have ever been seen.

My last-ever 8-track tape was Janis Ian’s For All the Seasons of Your Mind (1967), the second of her four albums for Verve/Forecast, featuring the slightly bitter tune “Shady Acres,” which remains a favorite.

Comments (2)




Business un-taken care of

Lots of people have pointed to this article about “classic rock” by Walt Hickey at FiveThirtyEight, and as usual with something from Nate Silver’s baby, it’s meticulously researched and presented with an eye toward actual clarity.

Some weird statistics emerged, of course. In the Phoenix radio market, Creedence gets about half again as much airplay as might be expected. I assume this is sort of induced nostalgia, since nobody in Maricopa County has ever seen a river, green or otherwise, let alone a bayou. Furthermore, Bostonians have a curious love for the Allman Brothers Band. And Billy Joel does well in Miami, which made no sense to me until Hickey explained: “Think about who might be listening to classic rock stations in Miami: retired New Yorkers!”

Still, one thing puzzles me about the entire enterprise, to the extent that it challenges my very definition of “classic rock”: I contend that the one song the format must contain is “Takin’ Care of Business”, yet there is not a single mention of Bachman-Turner Overdrive anywhere in the article.

(I was originally sent the link by Dr. Pants.)

Comments (1)




Turn it up

California singer/songwriter Sabrina Lentini, last mentioned here, put out a very nice EP, a stripped-down girl-and-her-guitar set called No Price for Love. She took gigs wherever she could get them, and eventually tried out for American Idol; 212 performers were offered tickets to Hollywood, and she made it to the top 48 before being culled. And she got an idea for a second EP to be somewhat unlike the first:

This time, I want to breathe even more life into my songs. I’m ready to be “AMPLIFIED!” I’m so excited to add amazing musicians, producers, and creativity. I have so many songs that I’ve written since the last EP, and I just cannot wait to share them with you all!

But this takes money, which she calculated as $1500 for each of five tracks — and started up an IndieGoGo campaign that ended Tuesday with $7620 in the kitty, 101.6 percent of the goal.

In the meantime, it’s summer, she’s out of school, and she’s working, with eight appearances in July alone, all within a couple of hours of her Orange County home. (Two, in fact, are on the same day: the fifth, around noon on the Huntington Beach pier, followed by an early-evening show up in Ojai. I hope the traffic is bearable.) Here’s a clip from a Long Beach appearance, in which she performs the Pistol Annies’ “Hell on Heels”:

Amps, schmamps: there’s a lot of life left in the girl-with-her-guitar scene.

Comments (8)




Al in a day’s work

“Weird Al” Yankovic would like to set the, um, record straight:

I did a print interview recently where I talked about how I only had one more album left on my current record contract, and how after that I would be weighing my options. I talked about how at that point I might be more inclined to focus on digital distribution, since theoretically that would allow my releases to be more timely and topical. I talked about how quickly the industry is evolving, and how perhaps it might not even make sense to continue releasing conventional albums at that point. In fairness, my quotes in the article seemed pretty accurate. But the headline screamed, “WEIRD AL SAYS HIS NEXT ALBUM WILL BE HIS LAST!” Well, um … no, I didn’t. That’s inaccurate, and extremely misleading, and has caused more than a few fans to freak out. But I guess “WEIRD AL IS CAREFULLY WEIGHING HIS OPTIONS AND ISN’T ENTIRELY SURE WHAT HE’S DOING AFTER HIS NEXT ALBUM!” isn’t quite as catchy, headline-wise. So again, to be clear … if you were led to believe that I’m planning on retiring anytime soon, I’m not (sorry, haters). I truly love what I do, and if I ever stop working, it won’t be of my own free will.

Mandatory Fun by Weird Al YankovicThat album — Mandatory Fun — ships on the 15th of July, a mere two weeks from now. And, says Al, don’t look for a single to lead the way:

Well, here’s the thing … there IS no “lead single” for my new album. I’ll be releasing 12 “singles” all at once on July 15 — so you can decide for YOURSELF which songs are the hits!

By the way, I’ll have 8 — that’s right, 8 — brand new music videos … and I’ll be world-premiering one every single day for eight days straight, starting on July 14!

No, I don’t understand the Cartoon Communist graphics. However, I always assume Al knows what he’s doing.

Comments (1)




Make me feel so good

Some things you need to know about Gloria and about “Gloria,” as explained by Dave Barry:

She comes around. She is not playing hard to get. We later learn that she comes around “just about midnight,” and “she knock upon my door.” In other words, she is the perfect woman if you’re a teenage male, which is what Van Morrison was in 1963 when he wrote “Gloria,” and what I was in 1965 when I first heard it performed by Mr. Morrison when he was with the band “Them.”

(Yes, to be grammatically correct, the band should have been called “They.” But hey: rock ‘n’ roll.)

Three-chord songs, of course, are in the repertoire of every band known to man — and, for that matter, to woman. Which makes me wonder about female cover versions of “Gloria.” Of course, girl-on-girl action, as it were, is No Big Deal these days, and anyway Sixties revivalists like the MonaLisa Twins would sing it, you should pardon the expression, straight: no change in the lyrics. In the actual Sixties, though, maybe not:

The Belles, circa 1966

I bet a couple of them might be taller than five foot four.

Comments