Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Crossing the Streams

One particularly crappy part of getting older is loss. Friends, family members, memories...and even inspirations. This week, we learned of the death of Harold Ramis, a writer/director/actor who contributed mightily to some of my favorite comedic endeavors over the last 40 years or so. Ramis was 69, but I'll always remember him as the skinny bespectacled wisealeck from his stint on SCTV and of course, from Stripes and Ghostbusters. But he also co-wrote and/or directed comedy classics like Animal House, Groundhog Day and Meatballs. 

The guy had a huge role in shaping my sense of humor at a young age, something I'm sure an entire generation of smartasses can agree with. The thing with Ramis was his comedy wasn't all empty laugh calories; there was a genuine warmth and intelligence driving all of his work. Even fratboy favorites like Caddyshack, which has been quoted endlessly for 34 years now, have an underlying humanity beneath the Baby Ruth jokes and Carl Spackler shenanigans.

His crowning achievement was Groundhog Day, which is about as good a movie as you're ever going to find. When it was released in '93, it was kind of shrugged off as just another goofy Bill Murray comedy, but there's so much going on and it's so perfectly put together, it's really a classic film in every sense. And it's Harold Ramis, through and through.

For me, though, it's Ramis as Russell Ziskey in Stripes that will forever be his quintessential performance. As a kid, Bill Murray's performance was the flashy one and he was the guy that me and all my dorky buddies wanted to be. But ultimately, I think I grew up to be more like the Ramis character, which is fine by me.


Completely Conspicuous 317: Too Much to Bear

Part 1 of my conversation with guest Ric Dube as we look at the career of an obscure 1970s Canadian band that had a huge hit and then disappeared. Listen to the episode below or download it directly (right click and "save as").
 


Show notes:
- Recorded in late January at More Lost Time world HQ
- What the hell is Edward Bear?
- Named after character in Winnie the Pooh
- Their one big hit, "Last Song," is instantly recognizable
- Sounds like a studio act
- No high or low end in '70s AM pop hits
- Manilow had great timing
- Second single from that album hit top 40
- Singer Larry Evoy was the one constant member of the band
- Opened for Led Zeppelin in '69
- First album had a psychedelic "acid rock" sound
- Geddy Lee's mellower uncle
- Going for a Canned Heat/Steve Miller Band/Doors vibe
- Endless jamming
- Early Edward Bear ain't half bad
- Opportunistic band, like The Police
- Riding whatever music wave was trending
- To be continued

Music:
Protomartyr - Come & See
The Collected Fictions - It Don't Matter Much
Cloud Nothings - Didn't You

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!


The Protomartyr song is on the album Under Color of Official Right on Hardly Art. Download the song for free at Stereogum.
The song by The Collected Fictions is on the band's self-titled EP. Download the EP for free (in exchange for your email address) at Bandcamp.
The Cloud Nothings song was released as a single in 2010. Download it for free at Epitonic.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Stuck In Thee Garage #24: February 21, 2014

Yeah, I know everybody's watching the Winter Olympics this week. But you've gotta rock, too. This week on Stuck In Thee Garage, I played the usual mix of kickass new and old music in hour 1 and then a collection of great album leadoff tracks in hour 2. The judges were generous in their scoring.



The playlist:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
Speedy Ortiz - Oxygal/Real Hair EP
Krill - Steve Hears Pile in Malden and Bursts Into Tears/Steve Hears Pile in Malden and Bursts Into Tears EP
Guided by Voices - Littlest League Possible/Motivational Jumpsuit
Willy DeVille - It's So Easy/Cruising soundtrack
Aerosmith - Chiquita/A Night in the Ruts
The Upper Crust - Cream of the Crust/The Decline and Fall of the Upper Crust
Mount Carmel - Swaggs/Real Women
Dead Meadow - What Needs Must Be/Old Growth
The Joy Formidable - The Magnifying Glass/The Big Roar
Art Brut - Slap Dash for No Cash/Art Brut vs. Satan
Kaiser Chiefs - Everything is Average Nowadays/Yours Truly, Angry Mob
Jarvis Cocker - Leftovers/Further Complications
The Coctails - Cast Stones/The Coctails
The Weakerthans - The Reasons/Reconstruction Site
Entrance - Grim Reaper Blues/Manifest Destiny
World Party - Is It Too Late?/Goodbye Jumbo

Hour 2: Great album leadoff tracks
Cheap Trick - Hello There/In Color
R.E.M. - Begin the Begin/Lifes Rich Pageant
The Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop/Ramones
Motorhead - Ace of Spades/Ace of Spades
David Bowie - Changes/Hunky Dory
Blondie - Dreaming/Eat to the Beat
Nick Lowe - Cruel to Be Kind/Labour of Lust
Elvis Costello and the Attractions - Accidents Will Happen/Armed Forces
Prince - Let's Go Crazy/Purple Rain 
Husker Du - Flip Your Wig/Flip Your Wig
The Replacements - I.O.U./Pleased to Meet Me
Bad Religion - Incomplete/Stranger Than Fiction
Fugazi - Turnover/Repeater
Nine Inch Nails - Head Like a Hole/Pretty Hate Machine
The Smithereens - A Girl Like You/11
Buffalo Tom - Sodajerk/Big Red Letter Day
The Hold Steady - Positive Jam/Almost Killed Me

 


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 316: Fire in the Hole


Part 2 of my conversation with guest Brian Salvatore as we dissect the disaster that was Van Halen III. Listen to the episode or download it directly (right click and "save as").



Show notes:
- Recorded via Skype
- Check out Brian's comics podcast The Hour Cosmic
- Jumping into an 8-minute epic snoozer
- Rumors that the VH brothers had jammed with Ozzy around this time
- Nuno Bettencourt has been touring with Rihanna
- Jay happens to have issue of Guitar World from '98 nearby
- The joys of the Columbia House Record Club
- Michael Anthony's MIA for most of the album
- Eddie compared his singing voice to Roger Waters meets Tom Waits
- DLR says they're working on new VH album for mid-2015
- Brian: VH III was bad in a different way than expected
- Jay: Almost an Adult Contemporary sound
- Jay: Also haven't heard anything from VH's Balance, the last Hagar album
- Record sales from the '90s were ridiculous; nearly everything sold well
- Bizarre cover of Balance was actually PhotoShopped pic of Wolfgang VH
- Putting shitty albums in your iTunes
- The latest VH album was what Aerosmith should do: make a '70s-sounding record
- The comics industry now is where music industry was before Napster
- WWE is getting creative about its content
- Netflix and others are changing the way we consume media
- iPods are being phased out

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!


The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Stuck In Thee Garage #23: February 14, 2014

Today was the Hallmark-mandated day to be lovey dovey, but here at Stuck In Thee Garage radio, I'm not buying it. So in addition to playing a bunch of excellent new rock from the likes of Speedy Ortiz, Against Me! and St. Vincent, I spun an hour of anti-Valentine's tuneage.



Ze playlist, if you weel:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
Against Me! - Unconditional Love/Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Cinnamon and Lesbians/Wig Out at Jagbags
Dum Dum Girls - Too True to Be Good/Too True
Chaos of Birds - Rank and Ruin/single
Parquet Courts - Stoned and Starving/Light Up Gold
OFF! - Void You Out/Wasted Years
Future of the Left - That Damned Fly/Travels With Myself and Another
Grinderman - Honey Bee (Let's Fly to Mars)/Grinderman
St. Vincent - Digital Witness/St. Vincent
Drowners - Luv, Hold Me Down/Drowners
Public Image Ltd. - Low Life/Public Image
Speedy Ortiz - American Horror/Real Hair
Teenage Fanclub - It's All in My Mind/Man-Made
The War on Drugs - Red Eyes/Lost in the Dream
Thee Oh Sees - Minotaur/Floating Coffin
Wire - Mannequin/Pink Flag
Descendents - Everything Sux/Everything Sucks

Hour 2: Anti-Valentine's songs
Ben Folds Five - Song for the Dumped/Whatever & Ever Amen
Los Campesinos! - Romance is Boring/Romance is Boring
Brendan Benson - Alternative to Love/Alternative to Love
Gang of Four - Anthrax/Entertainment!
Talking Heads - I'm Not in Love/More Songs About Buildings and Food
The King Khan and BBQ Show - Lonely Boy/Invisible Girl
Pixies - Hey/Live at the Wang Center, 11/28/09
Husker Du - Don't Want to Know If You Are Lonely/Candy Apple Grey
The Afghan Whigs - When We Two Parted/Gentlemen
Barrence Whitfield and the Savages - I'm Sad About It/Dig Thy Savage Soul
Wilco - Either Way/Sky Blue Sky
Lucero - Sad and Lonely/That Much Further West
The Pursuit of Happiness - Back of My Mind/The Wonderful World of The Pursuit of Happiness
The Misfits - Die, Die My Darling/single
Goo Goo Dolls - Bitch/No Alternative
Van Halen - Outta Love Again/Van Halen II



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 315: House of Pain

Part 1 of my conversation with guest Brian Salvatore as we dissect the disaster that was Van Halen III. Listen to the episode below or download directly (right click and "save as").
 


Show notes:
- Recorded via Skype
- Check out Brian's comics podcast The Hour Cosmic
- An addendum to our look at 1998
- VH III featuring Gary Cherone on lead vocals
- Jay hasn't heard the album, Brian's heard it twice
- Last VH album with Michael Anthony
- Many long songs
- Produced by TV theme composer Mike Post
- Pleasant acoustic instrumental to start album
- Mission statement: We will wuss you
- Cherone sounds a lot like Hagar
- Brian: "Without You" not as bad as I remember
- Eddie needed an editor
- Tough position for Cherone to be in
- EVH played some bass on album
- Restrained drum sound from Alex VH
- Songs drag on way too long
- The "go get a beer" song
- Extreme acquitted themselves well at Freddie Mercury tribute concert
- Mike Post produced artists like Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton
- Severe lack of kickassery
- Jay saw both Van Hagar and DLR in the summer of '86
- Brian saw Pixies recently
- The greatness of Lindsay Buckingham
- To be continued

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Stuck In Thee Garage #22: February 7, 2014

The eyes of the world are on Russia right now as the Winter Olympics began earlier today, but there was plenty of action right here in the U.S.A. as Stuck In Thee Garage unveiled its latest two-hour collection of kickassery. There was the usual eclectic mix of new and old in hour 1 followed by an hour of drug-themed songs in hour 2. As Yakov wisely noted, in Soviet Russia, drugs take you!



What a country!

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
Grass is Green - Vacation 2.0/Vacation Vinny
Radiator Hospital - Tag Me In Again/Total Request EP
Screaming Maldini - Soweto/single
Yuck - Middle Sea/Glow and Behold
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Lariat/Wig Out at Jagbags
White Fence - King of the Decade/Family Perfume Vol. 2
Against Me! - True Trans Soul Rebel/True Trans EP
Le Butcherettes - Henry Don't Get Love/Sin Sin Sin
Bettie Serveert - Tom Boy/Palomine
King's X - Dogman/Dogman
The Afghan Whigs - Uptown Again/1965
Fleetwood Mac - Tusk/Tusk
Cheap Trick - ELO Kiddies/Cheap Trick
Led Zeppelin - Sick Again/Live at Long Beach 1975

Hour 2: Songs about drugs
Curtis Mayfield - Superfly/Super Fly soundtrack
Elliott Smith - Needle in the Hay/Elliott Smith
Queens of the Stone Age - Auto Pilot/Rated R
The Velvet Underground - Waiting for My Man (alternate take)/April 1966 Scepter Studios (Norman Dolph acetate)
The Monks - Drugs in My Pocket/Bad Habits
Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers - Chinese Rocks/L.A.M.F. - The Lost '77 Tapes
New York Dolls - Looking for a Kiss/New York Dolls
The Ramones - Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue/Ramones
Aerosmith - Combination/Rocks
Thin Lizzy - Got to Give It Up/Black Rose: A Rock Legend
Metallica - Master of Puppets/Master of Puppets
The Monkeywrench - Codine/Clean as a Broke-Dick Dog
Soul Asylum - Summer of Drugs/Sweet Relief
Talking Heads - Drugs/Fear of Music
Neil Young - The Needle and the Damage Done/Harvest


Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 314: The Man Who Was Too Loud

Part 3 of my conversation with guest Brian Salvatore as we look back at the music of 1998. Listen to the episode below or download directly (right click and "save as").


Show notes:
- Recorded via Skype
- Check out Brian's comics podcast The Hour Cosmic
- Brian's #3
- Sean Lennon was considered the poor man's Beck
- Yuka Honda was married to Lennon, now married to Nels Cline
- Jay's #3
- Totally slept on QOTSA in '98
- Homme's first post-Kyuss band
- The greatness of Them Crooked Vultures
- Brian and Jay have same #2
- Frank Black got dropped by a major label
- First album by major arist commercially released online
- Jay: Pete Townshend made some great solo albums in early '80s
- Brian's #1
- Billy Bragg and Wilco covering Woody Guthrie
- Jay's #1
- Sloan has four talented songwriters
- Paul Stanley's stage raps
- The end of The Best Show on WFMU
- Mourning a great radio experience
- Next up: 1984

Music:
Screaming Maldini - Soweto
Brawlers - Instagram Famous
Grass is Green - Vacation 2.0

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The Screaming Maldini song is a self-released single. Download the song for free (in exchange for your email address) at Bandcamp.
The Brawlers song is on the EP I am a Worthless Piece of Shit on Alcopop! Records. Download the song for free at Soundcloud.
The Grass is Green song is on the album Vacation Vinny on Exploding in Sound Records. Download the song free at Amazon.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Quick and to the Pointless

Celebrity deaths, just like any other deaths, are inevitable. And when they involve drug overdoses, they're not all that surprising. Regardless, when someone dies at a relatively young age, it's still a shock. Today, news broke that Philip Seymour Hoffman, quite possibly the most talented actor of his generation, died of a reported heroin overdose at the age of 46.

I had read recent reports that Hoffman, who had been sober for years, was using drugs, so when I heard that he had died I pretty much knew what the cause was. It's easy to be cynical and make cracks that he got what he deserved, but obviously, the guy had a problem. He was born just two months before me (that's where our similarities end) and he had three young children, so all this does is make me sad.

And over the last 20 years or so, he left us with some amazing acting performances in Capote, Almost Famous, Punch-Drunk Love, Moneyball, Boogie Nights, Magnolia and many more that I haven't seen yet. Hoffman tended to lose himself in roles, so unlike a larger-than-life actor like Jack Nicholson or Tom Cruise, he never just played the same guy.

He's certainly not the only actor or musician to succumb to drugs: the list includes Hendrix, Belushi, Joplin, Chris Farley, Kurt Cobain, River Phoenix and so many others. It really is a stupid way to die, but there's no denying that substance abuse is insidious and a disease. It's a damn shame that these talented lives were cut short, just as it's a shame when ANYONE dies of an OD or as the result of a substance abuse problem. My father was a serious alcoholic for the last decade or so of his life, and even though the cause of death was renal failure, it was all that boozing that directly to all his health problems.

All we can do now is remember the good stuff PSH left behind.


Stuck In Thee Garage #21: January 31, 2014

This week's installment of Stuck In Thee Garage radio featured an hour of eclectic rock (with some funk mixed in) and an hour of political songs inspired by the State of the Union and the general sorry state of politics in general. And of course, it's not just limited to this country:



The playlist:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
Brawlers - Instagram Famous/I am a Worthless Piece of Shit
Eddy Current Suppression Ring - Pitch a Tent/Eddy Current Suppression Ring
Jason Loewenstein - Circles/At Sixes and Sevens
Motley Crue - Live Wire/Too Fast for Love
Mondo Generator - Lie Detector/Dead Planet
Bullet Lavolta - Rails/Swandive
Kam Fong - On Top, Rockin' It/From the Bottom of the Sea
Cloud Nothings - Stay Useless/Attack on Memory
Helium - Pat's Trick/The Dirt of Luck
Slowdive - Catch the Breeze/Just for a Day
The Jam - The Modern World/This is the Modern World
The Wildhearts - Stormy in the North, Karma in the South/Riff After Riff
Jaguar Love - Humans Evolve Into Skyscrapers/Take Me to the Sea
Mighty Fine - Black Train/Get Up to Get Down
Prince - Housequake/Sign o' the Times
Parliament - Up for the Down Stroke/Up for the Down Stroke

Hour 2: Songs about politics
X - The New World/More Fun in the New World
Green Day - American Idiot/American Idiot
Alice Cooper - Elected/Billion Dollar Babies
Public Enemy - Shut 'Em Down/Apocalypse '91...The Enemy Strikes Back
Gang of Four - Not Great Men/Entertainment!
Game Theory - Throwing the Election/Tinker to Evers to Chance
The Redskins - Kick Over the Statues!/single
Elvis Costello and the Attractions - Oliver's Army/Armed Forces
The Clash - Ivan Meets GI Joe/Sandinista!
The Evens - All These Governors/The Evens
Radiohead - Electioneering/OK Computer
Black Sabbath - War Pigs/Luke's Wall/Paranoid
R.E.M. - Ignoreland/Automatic for the People
Drive-By Truckers - Wallace/Southern Rock Opera
Neil Young - Campaigner/Chrome Dreams (Rust Edition)
Black Flag - White Minority/The First Four Years