Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 329: Reeling in the Years, 1986 (Part 1)


Part 1 of my conversation with guest Brian Salvatore as we look back at the music of 1986. 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 was 4 in '86; Jay was (cough) 18 and in college
- Jay: Watched a lot of MTV that year
- Brian: Paul Simon's Graceland was huge
- Peter Gabriel became a megastar
- Van Halen and David Lee Roth split up and released albums
- Brian: Musically, 1986 was all over the place
- Nine of the top 10 selling albums were released in '85
- Album sales were enormous back then
- The Bangles hit big with "Walk Like an Egyptian"
- Springsteen's Live 1975-85 was a big box set release
- First year of Rock Hall of Fame
- Rush and KISS were shocking admissions to Rock Hall in recent years
- Hair metal was thriving; even Judas Priest poofed up their hair
- Hip hop hit hard: Beasties and Run DMC made big impressions
- Aerosmith's career was revived thanks to Run DMC
- Brian: Worst moments include band breakups (Black Flag, Minutemen, Smiths, Dead Kennedys)
- "That's What Friends Are For": Great cause, awful song
- Lionel Richie went from cool in the Commodores to cheesy
- Deaths: Phil Lynott, Richard Manuel, Cliff Burton, Benny Goodman, Scatman Crothers
- Boston's long-awaited third album
- The Vinnie Vincent Invasion took hair metal to ridiculous extremes
- Wank guitar was all the rage
- To be continued...

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

Music:
Fucked Up - Paper the House
Mudhoney - Touch Me I'm Sick (live)
Two Inch Astronaut - Part of Your Scene (live on WVAU)

The Fucked Up song is on the album Glass Boys on Matador Records. Download the song for free at Matablog.
The Mudhoney song is on the EP Mudhoney on Top! KEXP Presents Mudhoney Live on Top of the Space Needle. Download the song for free at KEXP.
The Two Inch Astronaut song is available for free download (in exchange for your email address) as part of Exploding in Sound's EIS Sampler 2013-2014 on Bandcamp

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, May 25, 2014

Uptown Again

Certain bands inspire fervent devotion from their fans, and the Afghan Whigs definitely fall into this category. Last Friday, they rolled into the Paradise Rock Club in Boston for a sold-out show on the first leg of their tour supporting Do To the Beast, the first Whigs album in 16 years. The band swung through Boston in 2012 on a reunion tour, but played the larger House of Blues; this time around, they wisely played a venue better suited to their communal performances. Indeed, the 'Dise was where I saw them back in the day for the Gentlemen ('94) and 1965 ('98) tours.

It was a rainy night and doors opened 45 minutes late, but the crowd was fired up. After a short but stirring opening set from erstwhile Puscifer singer Carina Round, Dulli and the reconstituted Whigs (founding member John Curley is the only returning member from the original lineup; the band also included Dulli's Twilight Singers sidemen Dave Rosser on guitar and Cully Symington on drums, guitarist Jon Skibic and multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson) launched into the bracing "Parked Outside," the lead track from Do To the Beast.


Dulli was his usual electrifying, abrasive self, taking a few moments here and there to chastise the bonehead who kept blinding him with a camera flash and later telling the doofus next to me who was recording the entire show to put his camera away. But for the most part, he was at the top of his game as he led the band through a set that featured seven of the 10 songs on the new album with older classics sprinkled throughout: "I"m Her Slave" and "Miles is Ded" from 1992's Congregation, "Fountain and Fairfax" and "Gentlemen" from 1993's Gentlemen, "Going to Town," Crime Scene, Part One," "Faded" and "My Enemy" from 1996's Black Love and "Somethin' Hot" and "Uptown Again" from 1998's 1965. And of course, the band provided some interesting covers: a snippet of Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" was woven into "I Am Fire" from the new album, the Twilight Singers' "On the Corner" and a rocking minute or so of "Heaven on Their Minds" from the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack, which led off the encore and rolled into "Somethin' Hot."

The new material held up well in the live setting. It's an excellent album and even though it's not the same lineup that played on the classics Whigs albums, it's worthy of the high bar set by Dulli and co. on those '90s releases.

This was the second-to-last show before the Afghan Whigs headed to South America for some dates. Dulli mentioned that there was a chance they'd be back in the fall; the recently released fall tour schedule doesn't include a Boston show, but hopefully it will. The band never disappoints.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Stuck In Thee Garage #37: May 23, 2014

A decade can fly by in an instant, so quickly that it doesn't seem possible. And yet here we are. In hour 2 this week on Stuck In Thee Garage, I played music from 2004. MP3 blogs were just starting to happen that year, introducing indie rock fans to tons of new music curated by their peers (as opposed to the Napster free-for-all a few years earlier). And great movies sprung seemingly out of nowhere:



The playlist will be at the pub:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
Thee Oh Sees - Drop/Drop
Twin Peaks - Flavor/Sunken
The Skull Defekts - The Known Unknown/Dances
The Faint - Mental Radio/Doom Abuse
Feral Jenny - Tearless Creep/Sylvia Songs EP
Ancient Babes - What Mean Expendable?/single
Ringo Deathstarr - Bongload/God's Dream
The War on Drugs - Disappearing/Lost in the Dream
The Dandy Warhols - Bohemian Like You/13 Tales from Urban Bohemia
The Pursuit of Happiness - Runs in the Family/One Sided Story
The Hellacopters - Hopeless Case of a Kid in Denial/High Visibility
Descendents - Myage/Milo Goes to College
Rollins Band - Burned Beyond Recognition/Live on The Henry Rollins Show
Mike Watt - Sexual Military Dynamics/Ball-Hog or Tugboat?
Riverboat Gamblers - A Choppy, Yet Sincere Apology/Underneath the Owl
The Monkeywrench - Cold Cold World/Clean as a Broke-Dick Dog
The Dirtbombs - I'm Through With White Girls/Dangerous Magical Noise
Funkadelic - Funky Dollar Bill/Free Your Mind...And Your Ass Will Follow

Hour 2: Songs from 2004
The Walkmen - The Rat/Bows + Arrows
The Futureheads - First Day/The Futureheads
Modest Mouse - The Devil's Work Day/Good News for People Who Love Bad News
TV on the Radio - The Wrong Way/Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes
The Hold Steady - The Swish/Almost Killed Me
Hot Snakes - Hatchet Job/Audit in Progress
Eagles of Death Metal - I Only Want You/Peace Love Death Metal
The Black Keys - No Fun/The Moan EP
Ben Kweller - I Need You Back/On My Way
Drive-By Truckers - The Day John Henry Died/The Dirty South
Feist - Inside and Out/Let It Die
William Shatner - I Can't Get Behind That/Has Been
A.C. Newman - Miracle Drug/The Slow Wonder
Elliott Smith - Don't Go Down/From a Basement on the Hill
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues/Abattoir Blues-Lyre of Orpheus
The Twilight Singers - Hard Time Killing Floor/She Loves You
Mark Lanegan Band - Bombed/Bubblegum
 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 328: Shooting from the Hip


Part 2 of my conversation with guest Matt Phillion as we discuss hipsters. Listen to the episode below or download directly (right click and "save as").


Show notes:
- Matt recently became a published author
- Check out his YA superhero novel The Indestructibles
- Matt: The definition of cool is not trying too hard
- Shopping is simple if you don't care about trends
- WTF is up with skinny jeans?
- Changing office dress codes
- Matt's office phobia
- Hippies turned into yuppies
- Aging well
- Bronies are hipsters who have gone too far
- The life cycle of a hipster
- Matt lived in Hipster Ground Zero for a while
- Saw early signs of the hipster look a decade ago
- The seamy underside of politics
- You need a lack of self-awareness to run for office
- Some employers seem to want mindless worker drones
- Conclusion: We're not hipsters

Music:
Twin Peaks - Flavor
Feral Jenny - Tearless Creep
Ancient Babes - What Mean Expendable?

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

The Twin Peaks song is on the album Sunken. Download the album for free from Noisetrade.
The Feral Jenny song is on the EP Sylvia Songs. Download the EP for free from Bandcamp.
The Ancient Babes song is available for free download on Soundcloud.

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.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Stuck In Thee Garage #36: May 16, 2014

We have complicated relationships with our cars. We depend on them to get us where we need to go, and when they break down or are unreliable, it can be devastating. Some of us turn into raging maniacs when we're in them. And some of us are WAY too attached to them. This week on Stuck In Thee Garage, hour 2 features songs about cars and driving.

It'll get your motor running:



Here's the 1.21-gigawatt powered playlist:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
Black Lips - Funny/Underneath the Rainbow
Johnny Foreigner - Le Schwing/You Can Do Better
The Wrens - Everyone Choose Sides/The Meadowlands
The Mighty Fine (feat. Mick Collins) - Something for Your Ass/Get Up to Get Down
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - She's On It-Jack the Ripper/Live in Japan 2012
The Nuclears - This is How We Party/This is How We Party
Blondie - Living in the Real World/Eat to the Beat
Veruca Salt - It's Holy/MMXIV
Eels - Mistakes of My Youth/The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett
Sun Kil Moon - Richard Ramirez Died Today of Natural Causes/Benji
Broken Social Scene - 7/4 (Shoreline)/Broken Social Scene
Mission of Burma - 2wice/The Obliterati
The Murder City Devils - Midnight Service at the Mutter Museum/Thelema
Yo La Tengo - Ohm/Fade

Hour 2:  Songs about cars
Big Star - Back of a Car/Radio City
Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Driveby/Sleeps With Angels
The Clash - Car Jamming/Combat Rock
Modest Mouse - Dashboard/We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
Superchunk - Driveway to Driveway/Foolish
Avengers - Car Crash/We Are the One 7-inch
David Bowie - Always Crashing in the Same Car/Low
Gary Numan - Cars/The Pleasure Principle
Primal Scream - Autobahn 66/Evil Heat
Rush - Red Barchetta/Moving Pictures
The Tragically Hip - Highway Girl/Live in Toronto 1989
Max Webster - Drive and Desire/Universal Juveniles
Fu Manchu - Boogie Van/King of the Road
Spoon - Car Radio/A Series of Sneaks



Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 327: Artificial Hip

Part 1 of my conversation with guest Matt Phillion as we discuss the scourge of hipsterism. Listen to the episode below or download directly (right click and "save as").


Show notes:
- Matt recently became a published author
- Check out his YA superhero novel The Indestructibles
- Vin Diesel, businessman
- The brilliance of True Detective
- Hipsters: Is there a cutoff age?
- '90s hipsters were into the grunge look
- The mysterious allure of Mumford and Sons
- Hipsters love shitty beer
- Going to an effort to not look attractive
- Of beards and men
- Tattoos are trendy
- The Beatles set the trends of their day
- Where does it go from here?
- For a few years in the late '90s, it was nu metal and baggy pants
- We're all about the low-maintenance wardrobe
- Hair today, gone tomorrow
- To be continued

Music:
Bob Mould - Hey Mr. Grey
The Hold Steady - Spinners
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - She's On It/Jack the Ripper (live)

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

The Bob Mould song is on the forthcoming album Beauty & Ruin on Merge Records. Download the song for free from KEXP.
The Hold Steady song is on the album Teeth Dreams on Washington Square/Razor and Tie. Download the song for free from KEXP.
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion song is available for free download on Bandcamp.

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, May 11, 2014

One Good Fast Job

Unpredictability is always a good thing, at least in the world of rock music. As a longtime fan of The Tragically Hip, I've usually got a pretty good idea of what's coming, although that band has certainly evolved quite a bit since I first started listening to them way back in 1989. And I've seen their frontman, Gord Downie, when he's played in the Boston area on two previous solo jaunts; with three solo albums under his belt, Downie has explored more experimental, poetic stuff that didn't fit into the Hip's blues-rock framework. But a few months back, I heard the first song from his new collaboration with the Sadies and was blown away. The song, "Crater," was a blast of punked up energy that was a departure for both Downie and the Sadies, who are well-known for their own alt-country efforts and backing up the likes of Neko Case, Andre Williams and Jon Langford. Downie and the Sadies have been working together for the past seven years or so on this new album, ever since they teamed up on a CBC show to play the Stooges' "Search and Destroy." A small tour was announced and fortunately Boston was on the list for May 3, so I snagged myself a ticket immediately.


Opener Doug Paisley played an impressive solo set of folky, alt-country tunes that was anchored by his fine guitar work. But his laid-back yet affecting set was quite the contrast to the explosive ass-kicking Downie and the Sadies dropped on the Sinclair. The club was about three-quarters full, with other excellent shows lined up throughout Boston that Saturday night, and most if not all of them were Hip fans looking to see Downie in a tiny club. The combo ripped through the first three songs from their excellent new album, And the Conquering Sun, and set the tone for the rest of the night, careening from loud and fast to midtempo and probing back to loud and fast again. Downie's dense and multilayered wordplay was often lost in the volume (especially from where I was standing right in front of the stage right amps), but there was no denying the visceral oomph of the band. There were no Hip or Sadies songs to be found, but the group sprinkled in some interesting covers: The Who's "So Sad About Us," Neil Young's "Grey Riders," Guided by Voices' "I am a Scientist" and the night's closer, an absolutely skull-rattling take on the Stooges' "I Got a Right."

It was fun to see Downie doing his crazy onstage spastic dance moves and gestures while surrounded by the towering Good brothers, Dallas and Travis, thrashing away on guitar (lead and rhythm, respectively). Meanwhile, the Sadies' rhythm section of Sean Dean on bass and Mike Belitsky on drums held it all together. It was a cacophonous and glorious 70 minutes of rock awesomeness, and I feel lucky to have witnessed it.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Stuck In Thee Garage #35: May 9, 2014

You know who still likes albums? This guy. And this week on Stuck In Thee Garage, I played some great album closing tracks in hour 2 (a few months ago, I paid tribute to great openers). The last song on an album has an important role: ideally, it leaves the listener wanting more. Sometimes that can take the form of a blazing rocker, a moody midtempo number or a slow jam. I've got examples of all three this week.


This may be the end, but here's the playlist:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
Bob Mould - Hey Mr. Grey/Beauty & Ruin
Wimps - Secret Message/Party at the Wrong Time
Shake Some Action - Wait for the Summer/Catch the Sun
Soccer Mom - Open Heart Surgery/Soccer Mom
The Afghan Whigs - The Lottery/Do to the Beast
The Breeders - Bang On/Mountain Battles
Thunderbirds are Now! - Eat This City/Justamoustache
Tin Machine - Under the God/Tin Machine
Yo La Tengo - Tom Courtenay/Electr-O-Pura
Paul McCartney - You Want Her Too/Flowers in the Dirt
O Positive - With You/Only Breathing EP
Drive-By Truckers - Pauline Hawkins/English Oceans
Deer Tick - Let's All Go to the Bar/Divine Providence
Diarrhea Planet - Skeleton Head/I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams
Radiator Hospital - Please Thrill Me/Total Request
Gang War - These Boots are Made for Walking/Johnny Thunders and Wayne Kramer's Gang War

Hour 2: Album closers
New York Dolls - Jet Boy/New York Dolls
The Afghan Whigs - Miles iz Ded/Congregation
Fugazi - Last Chance for a Slow Dance/In on the Kill Taker
Arctic Monkeys - A Certain Romance/Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
LCD Soundsystem - New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down/Sound of Silver
Arcade Fire - My Body is a Cage/Neon Bible
Neutral Milk Hotel - Two-Headed Boy, Pt. 2/In the Aeroplane, Over the Sea
Radiohead - Videotape/In Rainbows
The Hold Steady - Killer Parties/Almost Killed Me
Elvis Costello and the Attractions - (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding/Armed Forces
The Replacements - Can't Hardly Wait/Pleased to Meet Me
The Pretenders - Mystery Achievement/Pretenders


Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 326: Pop Goes the '70s


Part 2 of my conversation with guest Ric Dube as we dissect the strange connections of '70s-era pop hitmakers. Listen to the episode below or download directly (right click and "save as").


Show notes:
- Recorded at More Lost Time world HQ
- Christopher Cross' surprisingly long career
- Producer Michael Omartian was in disco act Rhythm Heritage, which released the #1 hit "Theme from S.W.A.T." in 1976
- Also did theme from Baretta
- Steve Barry formed Rhythm Heritage with Omartian
- Barry produced Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods
- Ric plans his funk album
- Sammy Davis Jr. sang the Baretta theme
- "Billy, Don't Be a Hero" was big hit for Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods
- Ric's unsealed Bo Donaldson record
- First discovered while touring with the Osmonds
- The sadness of the 1970s package tour
- The Osmonds actually had a few cool songs
- "Hold Her Tight" was a Zeppelin sound-alike
- Recorded during their "rock" phase, which didn't last long
- Donny and Marie were the big moneymakers
- Donny Osmond had a few hits in 1989
- His mid-'70s song "C'mon Marianne" was much better

Music:
Deerhoof - Milk Man
Fat History Month - Angel From Montgomery
The Baseball Project - To the Veterans Committee

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

The Deerhoof song is on the Kill Rock Stars compilation Crazed MP3 Fans Vol. 1. Download the comp for free at Bandcamp.
The Fat History Month song is on Exploding in Sound's EIS Sampler 2013-2014 on Bandcamp.
The Baseball Project song is on Yep Roc in Austin: On Spider's Tab. Download the comp for free at Noisetrade.

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, May 02, 2014

Stuck In Thee Garage #34: May 2, 2014

It never ceases to amaze me how music can make just about any situation better. For me, anyway. Swamped with work? Crank up some rock and I'll get through it. Running around with a million things to do? Fire up the iPod. Pissed off at the world? Make it one louder.

This week was crazy busy, but the sense of accomplishment at putting together a good show is always worth it. I ended up playing a ton of newer music in hour 1 and then songs about nighttime in hour 2. It came together pretty nicely.

Just ask this dude:



The playlist, if you will:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
Eagulls - Nerve Endings/Eagulls
Damon Albarn - Lonely Press Play/Everyday Robots
Dum Dum Girls - Lost Boys & Girls Club/Too True
Hymnals - When You're Away/single
Bedroom Eyes - Wild Sins/single
The Both - The Inevitable Shove/The Both
The Baseball Project - From Nails to Thumbtacks/3rd
Gord Downie and the Sadies - It Didn't Start to Break My Heart Until This Afternoon/And the Conquering Sun
The Pack A.D. - Big Shot/Do Not Engage
Mac DeMarco - Blue Boy/Salad Days
Screaming Maldini - Islands/single
Wye Oak - The Tower/Shriek
Cheap Trick - Southern Girls/In Color: The Unreleased Steve Albini Sessions
The Upper Crust - Rabble Rouser/The Decline and Fall of the Upper Crust
AC/DC - Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be/Let There Be Rock

Hour 2: Songs about nighttime
James Brown and the Famous Flames - Night Train/Live at the Apollo (1962)
Public Enemy - Night of the Living Baseheads/It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
El-P - Up All Night/I'll Sleep When You're Dead
Billy Squier - Lonely is the Night/Don't Say No
Scorpions - Big City Nights/Love at First Sting
KISS - King of the Night Time World/Destroyer
Eagles of Death Metal - I Like to Move in the Night/Death by Sexy
David Bowie - African Night Flight/Lodger
Max Webster - Night Flights/A Million Vacations
Led Zeppelin - Night Flight/Physical Graffiti
The Boomtown Rats - Up All Night/Mondo Bongo
The Cure - A Night Like This/The Head on the Door
The Hold Steady - Massive Nights/Boys and Girls in America
Greg Dulli - Early Today (and later that night)/Amber Headlights
Sleater-Kinney - Night Light/The Woods
Buffalo Tom - Late at Night/Big Red Letter Day
Iggy Pop and James Williamson - Night Theme/Kill City
Iggy Pop and James Williamson - Night Theme (Reprise)/Kill City