Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Exit

Today in Music History:

In 1971, A security guard was stabbed to death during a concert by The Who at New York's Forest Hill Stadium.
The ExitThe Exit is a trio of New York City punks that decided to form a band in 1999. Members Ben Brewer and Gunnar had been childhood friends, but bassist Tim Shaya was new to both of them when the lineup developed. The band released an EP just to get on their feet, but the departure of Shaya put things on hold and Brewer shipped off to college to studio political science. Brewer was still passionate about music, and a chance meeting with Jeff DaRosa proved to him that he was still interested in keeping the band together. DaRosa joined the group and they began playing around Boston until they found space in New York City again. They dropped off demos with producer Daniel Rey, and he enjoyed the band enough to produce their debut. The album was released in the summer of 2002 under the title New Beat. Home For An Island followed two years later and is currently being re recorded for an October 2005 release on their new label. Home For An Island is riveting music. It’s grounded in punk rock but isn’t content to stay there. Hints of dub reggae float through the melodies, pop hooks draw listeners into some dark places, moods change from song to song, sometimes within a song.

Don't Push by The Exit

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Friday, July 29, 2005

The Ohio Express

Today in Music History:

In 1966, Bob Dylan suffered a broken neck vertebra when he crashed his Triumph 55 motorbike near his home in Woodstock New York.
A whopping 5 people say that the funny toon should stay. So it will, even though half my time is spent searching them out. As The Kinks put it so well, Give the People What they Want. Let us continue though as this has nothing to do with the Ohio Express. The Ohio Express were the ultimate bubblegum band. What better way to head into a beautiful summer weekend than by posting up some delicious, sugary, bubblegum music. Ohio Express debuted in 1967 with the single "Beg, Borrow and Steal" then tore up the charts in 1968 with "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy" and "Chewy Chewy." The group's biggest hit, the million-selling "Yummy Yummy Yummy", set the standard for the times and beyond; it's main guitar riff has been copied by everyone from The Cars to Judas Priest. Their lead singer,Joey Levine , sang like he had a huge wad of gum in his mouth. His super nasal vocals are a bubblegum trademark. For the next three years, the band was all over the airwaves and all over the record charts. Not bad for a group of high school buddies from Mansfield, Ohio. Even die hard metal freaks should have some Ohio Express in their collections. Just don't let your buddies catch you listening to it.

Chewy Chewy by The Ohio Express

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Residents

Today in Music History:

In 1976, After a four-year legal fight, John Lennon was awarded his Green card, allowing him permanent residence in the US.
The ResidentsFelt a need to post something bizarre today and the Residents truly fit that bill. These mysterious giant eyeball headed dudes are truly weird. Over the course of a recording career spanning several decades, the Residents have remained a riddle. The band's members have never identified themselves by name, always appearing in public in disguise -- usually tuxedos, top hats and giant eyeball masks -- and refusing to grant media interviews. The Residents, always ones to convert their reality, good or bad, into a purposeful intent, figured out that being obscure gave them the added advantage of not having to please anyone but themselves with their music. Who are these guys?

It is rumoured that the four-member group emigrated to San Francisco, California from Shreveport, Louisiana at some point in the early '70s. Supposedly they picked their name when Warner Bros. mailed back their anonymous demo tape, addressed simply "for the attention of residents." Finding no takers for their oddball sound, the Residents founded their own label, Ralph Records, for the purposes of issuing their 1972 debut "Santa Dog," released in a pressing of 300 copies which were mailed out to luminaries from Frank Zappa to President Richard Nixon. "Santa Dog" stands against everything that the music industry felt was important. It was free.

The Residents released the first ever punk single, "Satisfaction," back in 1976, a full year before the Sex Pistols’ UK release of "God Save the Queen." England’s MOJO Magazine recently voted The Residents' Satisfaction as the 74th most important punk single in history. The Residents are credited with "inventing" the form of the music video. Five of their earliest videos are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. They just recently released the album Animal Lover and show no signs of slowing down. They have released over 30 albums in 30 years as well as a large number of singles, compilations, collaborations, etc. One has to wonder how they have managed to retain their anonymity over the years. But whew, some of their stuff is out of this world. I'm a big fan of the Duck Stab album. Todays track is from 1989's "The King and Eye" an album of non-satirical covers of Elvis tunes inserted into a story about a baby king.

Love Me Tender by The Residents

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Slade

Today in Music History:

In 1977, Led Zeppelin cut short a US tour after Robert Plant's six year-old-son Karac died unexpectedly.
SladeBritish glam rockers Slade never truly caught on with American audiences and that has always puzzled me. I was a Slade fan before Quiet Riot's dismal remake of the classic Slade tune, Cum on Feel the Noize, in 1983. Although it did bring about a bit of exposure for the band and they finally released a successful album in the states in 1984 with Keep Your Hands off my Power Supply. Featuring the hits, Run Runaway and My Oh My.

The group originally formed in the spring of 1966 under the name the In-Be-Tweens, By the end of '60s, the group had changed their name to Ambrose Slade and signed on with the Fontana label. Soon after this they shortened the name to Slade and proceeded to become one of the most beloved party bands in the UK. Starting in 1971 with the single "Get Down Get With it," Slade touched off a string of classic singles. Some with humorously misspelled song titles, such as "Coz I Luv You," "Look Wot You Dun," "Take Me Bak 'Ome," "Mama Weer All Crazee Now," "Gudbuy t'Jane," "Cum on Feel the Noize," and "Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me."

With glam rock's demise and punk's emergence by the mid-'70s, the hits eventually dried up for the quartet. Despite the change in musical climate, Slade stuck to their guns and kept touring and releasing albums. After Quiet Riot released their version of Cum on Feel the Noize and Slade finally cracked American audiences, they were unable to keep America's interest even as Quiet Riot went on to destroy another Slade song, "Mama Weer All Crazee Now".

Slade has some rockin' good stuff in their catalog and they're a great fun party band.

Gudbye T'Jane by Slade

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Friday, July 22, 2005

Jethro Tull

Today in Music History:

In 1979, Little Richard, now known as the Reverend Richard Pennman told his congregation about the evils of rock & roll music, declaring 'If God can save an old homosexual like me, he can save anybody.'
Jethro TullJethro Tull was an an 18th-century farmer/inventor. The group co-founded and led by wildman-flautist-guitarist-singer-songwriter Ian Anderson took it's name from this dude. Tull has a long and interesting history. I found myself really taking it all in when I was tuning up for this post. Jethro Tull was a unique phenomenon in popular music history. Their mix of hard rock; folk melodies; blues licks; and surreal lyrics; defied easy analysis, but that didn't dissuade fans. Over the years they have earned 11 gold and five platinum albums. Not to mention the controversial grammy award they received In February of 1989. The band won the Grammy Award in a brand new category, Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for Crest of a Knave, beating out favorite contenders Metallica. Critics buzzed for months over whether the group deserved it before finally attacking the voting for the Grammy Awards and the membership of its parent organization, the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences. I would have to tip my hat towards Metallica I think. Really never crossed my mind that Jethro Tull was even close to Hard Rock.

When the band started out, their managers wanted to replace Anderson with Mick Abrahams as the center man. They were like, dude, that wild ass flute playing ain't going to get this band anywhere. Luckily for us Anderson told them hell no. They opened for Pink Floyd on June 29, 1968, at the first free rock festival in London's Hyde Park, and in August they were the hit of the Sunbury Jazz & Blues Festival in Sunbury-on-Thames. By the end of the summer, they had a recording contract with Island Records. Arguably their best album, and a must have for any collection is Aqualung. Personally I prefer most of their other work, with the exception of Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play. I just can't get into those one long song concepts.

I never tire of their music though even though critics rarely took them seriously, and they were off the cutting edge of popular music since the end of the 1970s. But no record store in the country would want to be without multiple copies of each of their most popular albums (Benefit, Aqualung, Thick as a Brick, Living in the Past), or their various best-of compilations.

My favorite album has to be Songs from the Wood. This album has a certain feel to it that I really dig, maybe best described as a hard Celtic feel. Todays track comes from that album and features everything that is cool about Tull. Some frenetic flute licks, an almost metal guitar riff, and some decent keyboards.

Hunting Girl by Jethro Tull

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Joan Jett

Today in Music History:

In 1991, EMF went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Unbelievable' it spent 14 weeks on the chart before reaching the top.
Joan JettThinking it was time to post a few good summer songs since summer is in full swing now. Joan Jett always makes me think of summer time for some reason. Maybe because I saw her perform 6 times one summer. That might do it. Since I'm a lazy sod today I'll just use the allmusic site to help me along in this post.

By playing pure and simple rock & roll without making an explicit issue of her gender, Joan Jett became a figurehead for several generations of female rockers. Jett's brand of rock & roll is loud and stripped-down. She adheres both to rock tradition and breaks with it -- she plays classic three-chord rock & roll, yet she also loves the trashy elements (in particular, Gary Glitter) of it as well, and she plays with a defiant sneer. From her first band, the Runaways, through her hit-making days in the '80s with the Blackhearts right until her unexpected revival in the '90s, she hasn't changed her music, yet she's kept her quality control high, making one classic single along the way.

She formed her first band when she was 15 which later became known as The Runaways. The band released three albums that never had much commercial success in America, yet were very popular in Japan; the group was popular in both the Los Angeles hard rock and punk scenes, which led to Jett's production of the Germs' first record, (GI) The Runaways group broke up in 1980 and Jett moved to New York to begin a solo career.

Jett independently released her self-titled debut album in 1980 in America, since no labels were interested in signing her. The record sold very well for an independent release, leading to a contract with Boardwalk Records, who reissued the album under the title Bad Reputation. Then Jett formed the Blackhearts and released the song she is most famous for, I love Rock n Roll, which was a cover of an old Arrows song. Joan has since starred in movies, played in a stage peoduction of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and still continues to put out music albeit not enough of it though. Her last project with the Blackhearts came out in 1999, titled Fetish. This summer song is from her first album and is a cover of a Gary Glitter song.

Doing All Right With the Boys by Joan Jett

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Friday, July 15, 2005

Cheap Trick

Today in Music History:

In 1985, Nude photos of Madonna taken in 1977, appeared in this months Playboy and Penthouse Magazines.
Cheap TrickI talked about The Pretenders near perfect debut album a couple days ago, so continuing that line of thought, Cheap Trick's debut album back in 1977 is not only the perfect debut album, it is also one of the best of all time. This one has it all. Driving home today in traffic, today's song came on and I turned it up a little bit, and I was like holy crap. I started it over and just cranked the volume up. Starts out with a kinda mellow guitar riff and then Bun e and Tom kick in with the rhythm and it builds then Rick Nielsen kicks in with the raunchiest one chord guitar riff that just fucking slayed me all over again. With the volume up to mega decibels the guitar sounded downright raunchy and nasty. Man it had me pumped in traffic. I almost felt like just flooring it and to hell with anyone that gets in my way. Even though I have heard this song hundreds of times it felt like I was hearing it for the first time. Sometimes you forget just how damn good a band is and then you hear that one song and you're like yeah, right on. I remember now. Any album collection is sorely pathetic without the first Trick album. I'll tell ya what, this one never gets stale. That's all I gots to say bout that.

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace by Cheap Trick

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Colin James Revisited

Today in Music History:

In 1967, The Who began their first US tour appearing as support band to Herman's Hermits.
Colin JamesWho woulda thunk it? The Who opening for Hermans Hermits. Similar to the Jimi hendrix opening for The Monkees faux pas. Hugely busy today so I'm going to retool an old post and feature another song by one of my favorite blues guitarists, Colin James.

Colin James is an artist that Canadians know all about. Colin James grew up in Saskatchewan, listening to folk and blues. After learning the pennywhistle and mandolin, he quit school and worked with a succession of bands. I hadn't heard of him until I moved to Canada. He needs more exposure in America because he is truly a great blues guitarist. I guess you could say his big break came in 1984 when a band he was in got the gig for opening for Stevie Ray Vaughn in Regina. Vaughan was so impressed that he took James on the road with him to open several dates in the US. James first album debuted in 1988 and became the fastest-selling album in Canadian history. The biggest problem for Americans is, he doesn't tour the U.S. very much, and spends most of his time in Canada. In 1998, he toured with Steve Winwood, Little Feat and Keith Richards. I had the pleasure of seeing James perform here in March of last year and I can tell you that after seeing him perform I can no longer listen to Stevie Ray Vaughn as all of his stuff sounds second rate. I usually stick to showcasing older music, but today I'm going post a song from his latest album, which happens to be my favorite cut.

Make a Mistake by Colin James
(File taken down, check current posts for some more great music)

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Pretenders

Today in Music History:

In 1985, At 12.01 Status Quo started the 'Live Aid' extravaganza, held between Wembley Stadium, London and The JFK Stadium, Philadelphia. TV pictures beamed to over 1.5 billion people in 160 countries made it the biggest live broadcast ever known.
The PretendersEvery once in a while some magazine comes out with a list of the top 500 rock songs of all time or maybe the 20 worst songs ever. Stuff like that. I could base some of my posts on a list, but they're just too subjective and no one list could ever be the right one. I can tell you this though, the best song ever recorded by The Pretenders was the first track off their January 1980 debut album. Precious. Towards the end of the song Chrissie Hynde sings, "TRAPPED IN A WORLD THAT THEY NEVER MADE"
BUT NOT ME BABY I'M TOO PRECIOUS I HAD TO FUCK OFF, and to this day it sends goosebumps down my spine whenever I hear it. Just like that, BAM! Chillbumps. The Pretenders is possibly the best debut album by any band ever. Sadly Chrissie and changing company never quite matched the intensity of their first album, and who could? Although Learning to Crawl was a lot more radio friendly and perhaps the best selling album it's still not half as good. The weakest song on their first album is Brass in Pocket, and it was the big hit from that record. Chrissie's "I ain't gonna take no shit from anybody" vocals were a breath of fresh air when the eighties dawned. After 2 albums bassist Pete Farndon was fired because of heroin use and then two days later guitarist James Honeyman-Scott died from a drug overdose. Hynde went into seclusion after Honeyman-Scott's death. A year later,in 1983, Farndon died of an overdose. While in seclusion Hynde had a baby with The Kinks' Ray Davies and then turned around and married Jim Kerr of Simple Minds in 1984. Whew, tough times.

Precious by The Pretenders


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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Stuart Goddard

Today in Music History:

In 1969, One hit wonders Zager and Evans started a six week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'In The Year 2525, (Exordium And Terminus)'.
Adam AntStuart Goddard is the real name of the founder of antmusic for antpeople or Adam Ant. I first heard antmusic in 1980 when I was browsing in my favorite record store. They were playing something that I had never heard before. The music I was hearing had this relentless, driving beat and chanting melodies. I didn't know what it was but I knew I was going to buy it. I just went up to the counter and said, "Give me a copy of whatever that is you're playing". It turned out to be Kings of the Wild Frontier by Adam and the Ants. I went home and just played the piss out this album. Thus I became a big Adam Ant fan, before he made his big splash with the song Goody Two Shoes in 1982. I saw Adam in a small venue around this time, a 2000 seat auditorium and it was amazing. The double barreled attack of the two drummers in perfect unison, Adam's carefully choreographed moves and Marco's spaghetti western guitar playing made for an unforgettable show. At times Marco seemed like he was determined to mess up any choreography by deliberately walking in front of Adam in the middle of some high kick. Yet it all made for one hell of a show.
As adam's music moved away from his punk roots and he embraced MTV and his music became more pop oriented, some of his fan base melted away. Adam's back catalog has just been remastered and re released and I highly recommend any of his stuff. The track I'm featuring today comes from the Prince Charming album and has a definite pirate feel to it. A new generation of Ant-influenced artists covered Adam and the Ants' hits during the 90s, including Elastica, Sugar Ray, Trent Reznor, and Robbie Williams.

Stand and Deliver by Adam and the Ants


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Friday, July 08, 2005

Fred Schneider

Today in Music History:

1978, Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon from The Clash were arrested for being drunk and disorderly after a gig at the Apollo in Glasgow, both were fined.
Fred SchneiderMost people know Fred as frontman for the best party band of the late 70's new wave era, the B-52's. What some people don't know is that he released a couple solo albums also. Well the first one was called Fred Schneider and the Shake Society. It was released in 1984 before the B-52's released Bouncing off the Satellites. Satellites is not one of the B-52's better efforts. Too bad they couldn't have combined the two albums and came out with one great album. So I'm going to feature the song Monster from Fred's first solo album. It's an upbeat, quirky, funny song which had a great video which aired a lot on MTV back when they were good and used to play just music videos. In the song there is an innuendo implied, although Fred states in the disclaimer that this wacky space-age song is about a dinosaur walking around in his polka dot PJ's and not what some dirty-minded people might think. You decide, here's part of a lyric. "There's a monster in my pants and it does a nasty dance. When it moves in and out. Everybody starts to shout. Monster aah!" The backing vocalists include Kate Pierson. If you liked the B-52's then you should have this album.

Monster by Fred Schneider and the Shake Society


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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Molly Hatchet

Today in Music History:

1989, It was announced that for the first time compact discs were out selling vinyl albums.
Molly HatchetFirst of all I want to send out my thoughts and condolences to the people of London for what they're going thru today. I hope my English readers and their families are well and suffered no harm from today's cowardly attacks.

I saw Molly Hatchet back in 1982 and to this day I think it was the loudest concert I have ever attended. My ears were ringing for days. That might explain why I'm about half deef these days. Hatchet was a group that spawned from the "southern rock" movement of the 70's. Hailing from Jacksonville, Florida Hatchet took their name from a famous 17th century axe murderess, hatchet molly, who would behead her lovers. Their debut album was released in 1978 and went multi platinum. The second album Flitin' With Disaster was released in 1979 and did even better.

Molly Hatchet is one of those bands that has had endless personnel changes over the years yet they are still touring and recording. As of 2005 one original member from the 70's lineup still remains, Dave Hlubek. Former lead singer Danny Joe Brown died March of this year from complications of diabetes. He had officially left the band back in 1995. You'll have to google it to see who is now the frontman because I have no idea. Yet I have been a Molly Hatchet fan since my first listen of their debut album. Sadly though, Danny Joe will always be the vocalist to me and asshat that I am I may not be able to give their new stuff a chance. We'll see. Here's a great cut from their debut album that is classic Danny Joe Brown.

The Creeper by Molly Hatchet


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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Public Image Limited

Today in Music History:

In 1975, Rolling Stone Keith Richards was arrested by the highway patrol in Arkansas on charges of reckless driving and possessing an offensive weapon, a seven-inch hunting knife.
PILFirst of all, what the heck was Keith Richards doing driving in Arkansas? Then again this post has nothing to do with Keith.

When the Sex Pistols broke up in 1978, Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) turned around and formed Public Image Ltd. with guitarist Keith Levene, who had been a member of the Clash in one of its early lineups. PiL originally was a quartet that devoted itself to droning, slow-tempo, bass-heavy noise rock, overlaid by Lydon's distinctive rant vocal. By 1984 PiL had released six albums in the UK and three in the states, charting several songs in the UK. 1984 marked the start of Lydon's move toward a more accessible dance-rock style, a direction that would be pursued further untill 1993. That is the year Lydon completed his memoirs. In turn he decided to put an end to PiL and pursue a solo career.

PiL's music is not for everyone and some of the earlier bass heavy stuff was almost unlistenable for me. As the years went by I found myself enjoying each successive PiL album and the last three albums are definitely my favorites.This track comes from the 1992 album 9.

Happy by PiL


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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Gerry Rafferty

Today in Music History:

In 1978, The manufacturing of 'Some Girls' the new album by The Rolling Stones was halted at EMI's pressing plant after complaints from celebrities including Lucille Ball who were featured in mock advertisements on the album sleeve.
Gerry RaffertyGerry Rafferty was born in Paisley, Scotland in 1947, the son of a Scottish mother and an Irish father. His father was deaf but still enjoyed singing, mostly Irish rebel songs, and his early experience of music was a combination of Catholic hymns, traditional folk music, and 50's pop music.

At the end of the 1970's, thanks to the song "Baker Street" and the album City To City, Gerry Rafferty was a popular music giant. Before his success in the 70's Rafferty had already been a member of two successful groups, the Humblebums and Stealers Wheel. The latter producing the hit single "Stuck in the Middle with You". When City to City hit number one in the states Rafferty did not tour to promote the album because he was a bit of a recluse. If he had toured the album probably would have hit double platinum status. Because of this his next album charted well and the critics liked it but the momentum was slowing down.

The track here today is not as well known as "Baker Street", but it happens to be my favorite Gerry Rafferty recording. Rafferty's Paul McCartney-like vocals carry a haunting central melody with a mysterious and yearning lyric that really makes this a good song.

Days Gone Down by Gerry Rafferty


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Friday, July 01, 2005

Happy Birthday North America

Today in Music History:

In 1956, Elvis Presley appeared on NBC- TV's 'The Steve Allen Show' and performed 'Hound Dog', to a live Hound Dog.

Canada Day

138 Years young today, so a couple tunes for the great white north eh?

I Am Anthem by Molson beer commercial(I think)

Proud to be Canadian by the Arrogant Worms

All you North Americans have a safe holiday weekend, be back on Tuesday.