Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lap of Luxury

Lap of Luxury is the tenth studio album by Cheap Trick which came out in 1988. Considered by some to be their "comeback' album, that moniker never sat well with me because in my world they never went away. The record was created in the midst of much turmoil with their label at the time, Epic Records. Before its recording, original bassist Tom Petersson rejoined the group and Epic had determined that it was going to help with some of the songwriting, and the band agreed only to save their contract. Ironically, "factory ballad" The Flame became a #1 hit single, and the album quickly went platinum. Cheap Trick is my all time favorite band and out of all their work, this is the album I listen to the least. While there is no such thing as a bad Cheap Trick album, this is my least favorite. You can tell by the music that they were getting the screws put to them by Epic to produce a commercially viable record, so much of the music is formulaic. The band itself still points to this album as the one that restricted their range and boxed them into a sound that would eventually stall their recording career for most of the 1990s. That being said, this album is still so much better than most of the top 40 drivel of today's popular music. There are several decent cuts residing on this album and these are a couple of my faves.

Ghost Town
Wrong Side of Love
Buy It

Funny Toon

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Back to the Mansion

Back to the Mansion is the fifteenth studio album by Canadian rockers April Wine, released in 2001. April Wine formed in 1969 and have released more than twenty albums and forge a live performance reputation that still sees them drawing devoted crowds across Canada and around the world forty years after taking their first steps into the hard rock spotlight. Yep they're still around and better than ever if you ask me. I saw them on their tour for this album in a small bar here in Victoria and they rocked the freakin roof off the place. It was amazing seeing them in a small venue like that and I was right up front tippin' back the Kokanee's as they were chuggin out the hits and the great tunes off this album. Personally I think they sounded way better than they did in their gold and platinum years of the 70s and 80s. Sometimes when rockers age their voices aren't like they used to be and it can be a disappointment, but Myles Goodwin was in his A game and sounded fantastic. When they took the stage and started the opening strains of Oowatanite, I got chillbumps the size of quarters. This album has some great material on it, songs such as the album-opening "Won't Go There," "I'll Give You That," and especially the power ballad "Paradise" all carry on April Wine's trademark sound and approach. Longtime April Wine fans will not be disappointed with Back to the Mansion and I'm featuring some tunes here in case some of you missed or didn't even realize that these guys were still putting out albums. In fact I think this album and their last one from 2006 were only available as an import outside of Canada.

Won't Go There
Talk to Me
Buy It

Funny Toon

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


The Dead Milkmen were a satirical punk band formed in 1983 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The band consisted of Joe Genaro ("Joe Jack Talcum"; guitar, vocals), Dave Schulthise ("Dave Blood"; bass), Dean Sabatino ("Dean Clean"; drums), and Rodney Linderman ("Rodney Anonymous"; vocals, synth).

In 1987, Detroit Tigers rookie Jim Walewander became notorious for being a huge fan of the band; this fact was noted on his baseball card, which described the group as "an obscure punk-rock band". Walewander invited the Dead Milkmen to Tiger Stadium to see a game in which he hit his first and only major league home run, and the Milkmen had a short conversation with Tigers manager Sparky Anderson. I mention this because the following year Beelzebubba was released and when I saw it in the store, there was one of those stickers on the shrink wrap and it had a blurb on it by this guy saying they're loud fast and obnoxious and I love this band. Of course it was so many years ago I can't remember exactly. I thought that was pretty cool and although I had seen the Milkmen's previous albums in the record store I had never purchased any of their albums, but on that day I did buy Beelzebubba based purely on the sticker and boy am I glad I did. By the end of the week I had purchased their previous three albums. To this day this is still one of my favourite albums and it kicks butt from beginning to end.

The Milkmen skewered popular culture, indie trend-followers, and the intellectually challenged, while frequently indulging their taste for tastelessness. Critics alternately praised and dismissed the band as geeky, juvenile wiseasses and virtually every review seemed to contain the word "sophomoric," and either you found them funny or you didn't. I did.

Bad Party
Born to Love Volcanoes
The Guitar Song
Buy It

Funny Toon

Friday, January 23, 2009

Still Standing

Got to make this a quick one today as I'm in the middle of this huge honkin' project. I'll explain about it next week as it will be the topic of one of my posts. In the meanwhile a little Scorchers action is just the ticket for the weekend.

Jason and the Scorchers released Still Standing, their second official full-length album, inNovember of 1986. The sound was fuller and more hard-rock oriented than the Scorchers' previous efforts, 1982's EP "Reckless Country Soul", 1984's EP 'Fervor' and 1985's 'Lost and Found. "Still Standing" does contain the jangly 'My Heart Still Stands With You' and the folky 'Ocean of Doubt, 'but most of the album sounds closer to the sweeping and metallic guitar rock that had become mainstream in the 1980's than the proto-Americana of the Scorchers' first releases. Still Standing landed Jason and the Scorchers some nationwide FM radio airplay, with 'Golden Ball and Chain' leading the way as a single. It has been the band's highest-charting single in their career.

Golden Ball and Chain
Crashin' Down
Buy It

Funny Toon

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More Rare Donnas

Lately I've had a few email and comment requests about some of the rare tunes of The Donnas that I posted about back in 2007. Being a huge fan of The Donnas I have tracked down and purchased as much of the rare stuff that I could find. The rare stuff being songs that the Donnas have recorded that have not appeared on their regular studio albums. Some are from compilation albums or soundtracks or even eps. Which brings me to some great news for Donnas fans.

The Donnas have announced their latest project: a detailed retrospective collection of their illustrious 15 year (and still counting) career. It will contain remixes and re-recorded versions of classic songs from their 7 album catalogue, unreleased B-sides and rarities, as well as brand new songs. To add to the decadence, the package will also include video footage from the Donnas archives, past to present! The band is excited about this collection (as well as I) and hope to have it out by Spring '09. It will be released on their own Purple Feather Records and distributed by Redeye Distribution. Stay tuned to Good Rockin' for further updates.

While a new studio album would be great, it will be great to finally have all these tracks together on one release and I for one will be pre ordering it when it becomes available. Luckily homercat is here to fill in some of the gaps until they release their retrospective. A couple of these tracks have been requested and a couple are making their first appearance here. Enjoy!

Big Rig
Mama's Boy
Roll on Down the Highway
The Safety Dance

Funny Toon

Monday, January 19, 2009

Jon Astley

Jon Astley began his career as an assistant to Glyn Johns in 1973. In the late seventies he became a freelance engineer and produced the Who's Who Are You and Eric Clapton's Just One Night. It was Astley who took a 25 minute demo of the classic Who are You track and edited it down to a (still) epic 6 minute track.

He turned his attention to North America in the 80's and produced Corey Hart's first two albums, and then signing to Atlantic records as a recording artist himself. Astley released 2 albums and had two #1 alternative chart hits. If you were around in the eighties then you heard the song Jane's Gettin Serious kicking around somewhere. In the 90's Astley focused his career back to engineering and has become somewhat of a whiz kid at remastering older titles. Based on his excellent working relationship with the sometimes cantankerous Pete Townshend, when it came time to remaster The Who's entire back catalog, Astley got the nod as producer. He has also remastered Led Zeppelin for which he has won an award, George Harrison’s solo records, all 8 Abba CDs, the 3 Tears for Fears records, the 10 Level 42 CDs and also 13 Judas Priest records as well as working with contemporary acts Republica, and Tori Amos.

Jane's Getting Serious
Put This Love to the Test
Buy It

Funny Toon

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Flood is the third studio album by They Might Be Giants, and their first with a major label, Elektra Records. It was released in 1990.

They Might Be Giants has always been a great reason for math and computer science geeks to add a real rock album to their collection of John Williams and Weird Al records and Flood is a celebration of dorkiness. Lifting off from their previous album, Lincoln, which was a sort of transitional album, Flood is a soaring, catchy sing-along album destined for people who love quoting Monty Python sketches. Try not singing the words to "Particle Man," "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)," or "Birdhouse in your Soul." (Apparently, "Particle Man" was so catchy that the song was later used as a sing-along in a cartoon show for children.) Combining a book-smart, funny love of history, junk culture, and film noir, this is an essential album to own. Being their most popular record and many fans' first exposure to the group, the album has occasionally been performed in its entirety at live shows. At some of these performances, the group essentially 'opens' for itself, taking the stage as "Sapphire Bullets: the only TMBG cover band that matters."

Put it on loud, sing along, and dance very, very badly like a good nerd should.

Someone Keeps Moving My Chair
Buy It

Funny Toon

Friday, January 16, 2009

Black Vinyl Shoes

Shoes is an American power pop band, formed in Zion, Illinois, in 1974 by brothers John and Jeff Murphy, and Gary Klebe and incorporating several different drummers over the years. After a couple extremely limited recordings, they recorded their true debut for national consumption, Black Vinyl Shoes, in Jeff Murphy's living room and released it in 1977 on their own label, Black Vinyl Records. Though it was barely distributed, enough critics and key people heard the record to start a word-of-mouth buzz. Even with the instantly accessible, catchy quality of the songs, they were unable to achieve mainstream success. Among power pop lovers however, their debut and succeeding albums stand as high points of the era. Black Vinyl Shoes is an album whose somewhat primitive production actually works in its favor. Shoes made a record that was about melodies, hooks, and harmonies, and the result was an album that helped kick start the '80s pop revival -- and still sounds fine today.

When MTV went on the air on August 1, 1981, the channel aired four of Shoes' videos: "Too Late", "Tomorrow Night", "Cruel You" and "In My Arms Again", making Shoes one of the first bands to be shown on MTV. So if you likes some good power pop and have never heard of Shoes you might want to take a gander at these tunes.

Writing A Postcard
Buy It

Funny Toon

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Laurie Anderson

Finally those pesky holidays are over and life is finally back to normal. After the hustle and bustle that ensues in December, the first couple of weeks in January seem almost strange by comparison. So that leads me to thinking of strange things and melancholia. When I get to feeling that way, that's when I start to pull out some of my weird stuff and chillax, seems like I appreciate it more. January always seems to be the time of the year when I listen to Laurie Anderson a lot. Half of her catalog is a bit wiggy and perplexing, yet strangely alluring.

Laurie Anderson is a poet, writer, visual artist, and social commentator, who is perhaps best known as a recording artist, one whose technical wizardry and live shows have earned her a reputation as one of the most eccentric performers in the business. In general she's known as a "performance artist." A performance artist is an artist who works in the medium of live performance. Laurie's performances use a bewildering variety of media, including film, electronic and acoustic music, slides, costumes, and other weird effects that don't even have names. Some common themes in her works are airplanes, dogs, family, the United States, dreams, and language. She scored her first and only hit back in 1982 with her opus O Superman, which came out in 1981. If you've heard that song you'll agree that it's pretty trippy. She has invented a couple of instruments for use in her live shows, most notably a tape-bow violin that uses recorded magnetic tape on the bow instead of horsehair and a magnetic tape head in the bridge. In the late 1990s, she developed a talking stick, a six-foot-long batonlike MIDI controller that can access and replicate different sounds. While she may have had her most success in the 80's she has continued to busy throughout the years and on April 12, 2008, Laurie Anderson married longtime companion Lou Reed in a private ceremony in Boulder, Colorado.

Born Never Asked
Language is a Virus
Buy It

Funny Toon

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

50th Anniversary Reunion Concert

Throughout these pages I've made no secret about the fact that I'm a huge fan of The Osmonds. So I was happier than a pig in poop when this release made it's appearance last year. The Osmonds 50th Anniversary Reunion Concert Live in Las Vegas was one of PBS' top pledge drive programs last year. Unfortunately I missed the original airing but in April of last year it made its debut at #3 on Billboard magazine's Top Music Video sales charts while the 2 DVD Collector's Edition version reached #16. In addition, the companion CD entered the Billboard Top 200 chart. I have yet to purchase the DVD but I did scoop up the cd as soon as it came out. Plans are in the works to get a hold of the DVD. When The Osmond family recently reunited to celebrate a historic 50th anniversary and performed live together for the first time in 27 years at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas last year. the event actually sparked a whole new wave of "Osmondmania" -- with the family recently appearing on Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Dancing With The Stars and Entertainment Tonight.

In their 50 historic years in entertainment, The Osmonds collectively and individually have recorded 142 albums with over 100 million units sold worldwide. They hold 51 Gold and Platinum sales awards, and their concerts have set attendance records around the world. This performance features all seven performing Osmonds - Donnie, Marie, Jimmy, Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay- and was recorded during their historic, sold-out 50th anniversary reunion show in Las Vegas in 2007. While maybe not the greatest release of last year, for a fan such as myself it was a great addition to my collection and it has made many many trips to the cd player in our house.

I Can't Live a Dream
Soldier of Love
Buy It

Funny Toon

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bad Day

Been having a bad busy day/week. Apologies to all. Here's a quick post till homercat gets back to normal.
So very lazily of me I say take this major talent adrift in a sea of obscurity, Willie Nile's 1980 debut album is nothing short of a revelation. Mix in equal parts Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Nils Lofgren, and what you get are Nile's celebratory tales of life and love, all delivered in his trademark reedy tenor and supported by a crackling rockin' band. "Vagabond Moon" kicks this album off with a bang, just a wonderful, melodic, straight ahead rock and roll song. Impressive debut for this under appreciated talent.

320 kbps

1. Vagabond Moon
2. Dear Lord
3. It's All Over
4. Across the River
5. She's So Cold
6. I'm Not Waiting
7. That's the Reason
8. They'll Build a Statue of You
9. Old Men Sleeping on the Bowery
10. Behind the Cathedral
11. Sing Me a Song
12. Edge of the Earth

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Flirtin' With Disaster

Well it's a new year and it's time to get back to the regular life and put those vacation days behind us. To help celebrate the new year let's turn back the clock 30 years when a bona fide classic rock album kicked us all in the ass.

Flirtin' with Disaster is the second studio album by southern rock band Molly Hatchet, released in 1979. Probably their most well known album, with the title track being their best known song. The album is a 40-minute tour de force spearheaded by a triple guitar attack and the raspy trademark growl of Danny Joe Brown. This is a hard driving rock record, plain and simple with no frills or lofty concepts. There is a much more southern rock sound and feel here than their first album. Their monster debut album was more metal than southern rock. On Flirtin' things are more even keeled from start to finish. But the message was sent and received loud and clear, Molly Hatchet was in the business of hard partying and hard rocking. Flirtin' With Disaster is a true classic and a worthy member of the top 100 club.

Whiskey Man
One Man's Pleasure
Buy It

Funny Toon