Friday, February 29, 2008

Re-Runs Already

Green On Red - Live at Glastonbury, UK (6/22/85)

What a funny little picture of Green On Red, eh? Awwww. They look so cute! How do they hold those big guitars in their little itty-bitty hands? I dunno, I just dunno.

You lucky childrens, to quote our beloved President (who evidently watches too much South Park), you all get a treat today for being so good in class this week. Two posts in one day! And neither one of them about boring old Barack Obama, who you should really vote for if you care about the future of this country and want to save the world and feel good about yourself and be able to dance on Ellen because he has promised that every American will have "The Chance to Dance!" if he is elected President. So vote, ya knuckleheads! See, nothing political in this post.

"I'm Coming Out, I'm Coming Down."

The Feelies - Live at Various Venues, (May-June, 1989) Part 1

The Feelies - Live at Various Venues, (May-June, 1989) Part 2

The subject header for this post is possibly my favorite Feelies' lyric, from "The Last Roundup" on The Good Earth. Why? I dunno. Just is. Makes me grin ear-to-ear every time I hear it. I'm sure we've all got little things like this that we love about our favorite bands, after the big things, after the albums, the live shows, the naked band pictures, the whatever.

Sorry to be repeating bands already, but I got in a bind this week and didn't have time to upload any of the new rips I did. Falling back on one I've had in reserve for a while. Same story about the Green On Red I'm going to put up right after this. (Though, sequentially, on the blog, you will see the Green On Red first. Ack! Is your mind blown?!)

This one is for Bob, who used to be a Feelie ("Wouldn't you like to be a Feelie, too?") and has made nice words about previous posts. Thanks, Bob!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Guitars That Changed the World

The Dream Syndicate - Live at Soap Creek Saloon, Austin, TX (2/3/83) Part 1
The Dream Syndicate - Live at Soap Creek Saloon, Austin, TX (2/3/83) Part 2

Best band name theft ever? Best first album ever? Best chance to save the world with electric guitars since the MC5? Maybe. Doesn't matter, though, because they were what they were - The Dream Syndicate. That's enough because they did enough and we should all praise them for it. It's a better world because of them. (Imagine an alternate universe without The Dream Syndicate, with music ruled by big-haired synth-pushing drum-machining vest-wearing whiners - the mind shudders! This is the cosmic horror at the heart of Lovecraft, kids!)

A word about this show: I got this directly from the original taper of the show a few years ago. I think I was the first person besides himself to ever hear this particular artifact. And I don't think I've traded it much if at all, not that I was hoarding it, but that its arrival coincided with a dramatic downturn in my trading activities. I have one more Dream Syndicate show from him, from The Medicine Show tour, that I'll get up soon. If you think this one sounds good, wait until you hear the next one. This is why I love audience recordings, right here.

And if you crave more, then you must go to the Archives, where you will find - current count! - 109 more live Dream Syndicate shows! I have about 3-4 that are not up there, including this one, and as soon as I have time and can figure out their arcane labeling system, I'll put this and the others up there in lossless and lossy formats.

Do I even have to say it? Okay: SHIT!

Monday, February 25, 2008

I Am a Scientist

Okay, I'm not a scientist. But Vic Chesnutt once called my wife a "Library Scientist," which is what we really should call librarians. And then he laid his hands on her 9-month pregnant belly and blessed our unborn son. It was a good night.

Anyway, what the hell is this about? Science! I subscribe to several techy and science magazines and spend too much time on science websites and blogs because I'm a frustrated Man of Science. Today Scientific American has an incredible slide show you all should check out: Fade to Black: The Night Sky of the Future. I've posted here what the night sky will look like when we are way too much closer to the Andromeda Galaxy than we are now. This takes me back to childhood daydreaming over the gorgeous planetscapes of Chesley Bonestell, the father of modern space art. Ches did it way better than, well, everyone, but the spirit is there and I appreciate it. Here's Ches' most famous painting, for your eyeballing pleasure.

Anyway, I'm sitting in our cozy little 1920s bungalow, having a beer, a nice Schlafly ESB (my second if you must know), and pondering the sky of our planet billions of years in the future. Got some music on, too, checking out the sound quality on a future post, loving this very early Green On Red show (you will too!) and I'm thinking - "Why the hell does life have to be any harder than this for anyone on the planet? Don't we have the resources to make sure that every man, woman and child on the planet could be doing exactly what they want to be doing right now, rather than scrabbling for food, fighting for their lives, running from people that want to hurt and kill them, etc etc etc."

It's not just a couple of beers talking. Think about the resources available to the industrialized nations of Earth - natural and man-made - and think about what they are used for, what they are wasted upon, and how the lives of billions of people could be improved if we started to shift those resources away from their current uses. We'd have a new world, kids, a better world, in our lifetimes. This is where we could go, this is the possible future, but we have to change the now to do it.

One For the Dreamers

Danny & Dusty - Live Somewhere in Hollywood, CA (1986) Part 1
Danny & Dusty - Live Somewhere in Hollywood, CA (1986) Part 2

Yeah, I had a Danny & Dusty ready for you all about a week or so ago, but didn't give it to you, for reasons already stated. I felt bad, because this is a long winter and whether you're sitting in your dark northern hovel or chalet, drinking cheap brandy or fine champagne, you deserve some good music.

So, I dug down deep into the archives and pulled out the other D&D show I have. This is what one calls a "rough"-sounding show. Great performance, but not a Grade-A sound artifact. Still, it is fun, it is Danny & Dusty, it still is winter, it's still worth hoisting a beer over at least.

Remember - new album out now! Shit!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Who Doesn't Want to Be a Timelord? Not Me!

Okay, just drop all you're doing, put on your space helmet, hop in the TARDIS, beam out, whatever you do when you do that thing you do - but go right here, right now!

This is the fan-release of the year, kids! The new and improved Have You Got It Yet? Ver. 2.0. You love Syd and you need to hear this even if you've heard it before. For some reason (which I didn't understand perfectly well at the time but do now), old hippie types kept trying to make me listen to Syd Barrett when I was a teenager. Made me tapes of obscure bootlegs and everything, so that I eventually went and bought the reasonably-priced two-fer LP set then available of his albums. Fell in love, deeply in love, head-over-ass in love forever and ever and ever. Now, all you gotta do is click a couple of buttons. You bastards!

[I'm just seeing this now - but wouldn't Syd have been an awesome Timelord? Throw a scarf on him and he'd out-cool Tom Baker in a heartbeat. Ya know, though I fell in love with the Tom Baker version of Dr. Who as a kid, I'm even more thrilled by the new episodes. I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing that what's happened to the Dr. Who franchise is like what's happened to the Bond franchise. Lifelong fans have grown up and gotten their hands on that thing they love, that excited and thrilled them, and are helping to turn it back into what it should be. That's just a guess, of course.]

Enjoy! (And go buy the legit shit, too, of course).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Our Founding Fathers, Second in a Series

Television - Live in Hartsdale, NY (8/31/77) Part 1
Television - Live in Hartsdale, NY (8/31/77) Part 2
Television - Live in Hartsdale, NY (8/31/77) Part 3
Television - Live in Hartsdale, NY (8/31/77) Part 4

* Check comments for links to a couple of missing tracks. I'll re-up the second half shortly with all tracks.

My brother had an incredible stereo system in the 70s. Big speakers, powerful receiver and a high-end tapedeck. (With the windows open in the summer, all the cows in a five-mile radius could sing along!) Therefore, I was the lucky recipient of much taped music. Christmas of 1979 I remember getting tapes of The Beatles, The Clash and the Knack. (In fact, I remember hearing "My Sharona" on the radio on our way home from Christmas Eve services.)

Much to my good fortune, my brother used this stereo for purposes of good and not evil, making me tapes of albums he hoped would influence my budding musical tastes. After those mentioned above, I remember most vividly getting a tape of the oddly-named band Television, with an album on each side of the TDK-C90 that was his tape of preference. Twenty-seven years later I still have that tape. I don't need to say anything more about how important that music became to me, though one of my greatest pleasures in life is introducing the hitherto un-Televised to the soaring pleasures of Mssrs. Verlaine, Lloyd, Ficca & Smith (also one helluva law-firm!).

Whether you are an old-hand or a fledgling listener, you'll love this show. And I've got a request, a plea for you all. I just found out that I only have half of this show. Always thought this was the entire gig, but it's not, it's sadly not. If anyone out there can supply the second half (ripped at 320, please), I would happily post it here with all due credit. And......wait for it comes.....SHIT!

HUZZAH! Mr. stevee wins the First Annual Tennessee Williams' Kindness of Strangers Award from The New Disease for providing the second half of this show. I haven't even had time to grab it and listen myself - I wanted to get it up for everyone right away. Thank ye, stevee, thank ye!

Doo-Doo-Doo - Lookin' Out My Back Door!

Or, "Everything Always Comes in Threes?"

The Winter Crazies are setting strongly in. No amount of likker in the world can wash them away. Just find yerself a nice strong warm robot to love and hold and hope for the best.

Need a cover for that new CD your band is putting out? Need a poster for your upcoming cross-country/world mega-tour? Give me a jingle and we'll see what we can do.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New Day Rising, Indeed!

Hüsker Dü - Live at the First Avenue Club, Minneapolis, MN (8/28/85) Part 1
Hüsker Dü - Live at the First Avenue Club, Minneapolis, MN (8/28/85) Part 2

This could devolve rapidly into what I already see as another in an endless series of "Where I was and what I was doing when I first heard [blank]" posts. So I won't tell you about how I was painting an apartment as part of my "Maintenance Engineer" career - ie, janitor - and I'd been lucky enough to score the radio because all the other guys were elsewhere in the complex (they liked to leave me alone because I was the newbie and this was part of the hazing period) and a sound like the opening of the Gates of Heaven came out of that poor little machine, nearly killing it. Before the first three notes were done, I knew what I was hearing - the new Hüsker Dü single! I about crapped myself. Enough to loosen one's bowels from bliss is what I mean, sheer uncontrollability!

"New Day Rising" is the perfect song to play today, still basking in the glow of last night's victories for Obama and looking forward to the fight to come and the eventual new day rising for America.

Crank this one up - wake your neighbors, wake your neighborhood!

And definitely buy some shit.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On Wisconsin!

I've rarely ever called myself a "Badger" or "Cheesehead" but tonight I'm pretty pleased to say I'm from Wisconsin. We learned about "Fighting Bob" La Follette and Wisconsin's progressive political traditions in grade school back in the early 1970s and I hope they are still teaching the children of Wisconsin about them today. "Fighting Bob" would be very pleased with his State and his people tonight, I think. I certainly am. The voters of Wisconsin showed the nation that they are deeply concerned about the future of this country and unwilling to be cowed by negative campaign tactics and imagined inevitability. I lift my beer and brandy to you, my sweet drunken friends, family and neighbors! You did good today, very good.

The other side of the coin tonight was the McCrazy "Straight to Hell" Express and the unveiling of what will probably be his one and only campaign meme from now on: BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID! McCain went completely over the top, trying to out-fear even Bush and Cheney, casually throwing out the word "apocalyptic" even! (And if that's not code to the Christian Right, I don't know what is, kids.) It's hard for me to believe that I once thought very highly of this man, considered him a real political maverick, willing to stake his political life upon his actual beliefs. And now all of that has been tossed out the back of the bus for his fevered pipe-dream of presidency. It's sickening to see a real American hero do this to himself and his country, absolutely sickening.

Last political thought of the night: Kudos to Michelle Obama. She's gonna be blasted left, right and center for it, but when she said that "for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country" I knew exactly what she was saying. A lifetime of bitter cynicism about politics had left me scarred and hateful for decades, but in the last year I've felt those scars begin to heal and new, proud flesh emerge. It's a helluva feeling, folks. I've always cared about my country, but my cynicism has always stood in the way of acting upon my concerns. That's changing, that has changed. And change is what we have to do and where we have to go from now on.

Say it with me: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

Feel the Sun

When I'm not listening to music, obsessing about music, driving my family crazy about music, I'm often to be found making weird little images on the computer...about music.

Well, this peculiar hobby has developed into something almost like a business (pronounced "bidness" of course). And something I'm extremely proud to be associated with is the brand new CD release by The Squires of the Subterrain, Feel the Sun. I lucked into working on this, thanks to my pal Valis' work as producer on the album. He told me that he was putting together this great album of psychedelic pop for The Squire and would I want to make the artwork. Of course I would! One thing led to another and eventually we ended up handing over to The Squire a full-blown package of psychedelic weirdness. (If you think the cover is a trip, you need to buy the CD and see the interior art!) Fortunately, The Squire is a great guy with superb taste (!) and he loved it.

Musically, this is a beautifully played and produced album of 60s influenced pop-psychedelia, shades of The Beatles, Beach Boys, Kinks and more melted like a sweet kaleidoscopic glaze over astonishingly strong original songs. I'm blown away by this record. It's absolute ear-candy of the finest kind. You'll love it. (The guitar at the end of "Alexander Mannequin" is a royally beautiful thing you need to hear to believe, just lovely!)

Now, all you need to do is head on over to The Squire's webpage and buy this groovy shit! (And check out all the other cool stuff available while you're there).

Monday, February 18, 2008

Here Comes That Feeling Again!

The Long Ryders - Live at The Keystone, Berkeley, CA (1/13/84) Part 1
The Long Ryders - Live at The Keystone, Berkeley, CA (1/13/84) Part 2

"Looking for Lewis & Clark" changed my life. It was a nasty, hot, humid, silvery-gray overcast Wisconsin summer afternoon and I was sitting in the passenger seat of my brother's typically filthy car in the parking lot of an auto mechanic on Madison's far east side waiting while my brother did something work-related inside. I did not want to be there and why I was there I cannot remember at all. Maybe we were going to the record stores downtown. But at least I had the radio. Madison had good radio: WORT - Listener Sponsored 89.9 FM! And it was a Friday afternoon, second best slot of the week after Harry Rag's Saturday afternoon show of legend. The guy called himself Mike Rock and he lived up to the name. I remember my brother just climbing back into the car when Mike Rock played...the song!

Shit. The shivers still come over me, the insane thrill of That Song screaming out of the dashboard - like hearing the Beatles for the first time! We were both yelling, hooting, hollering - indeed! - by the last note and I wanted to reach through the airwaves and make the DJ play it again and again and again. I wanted to hear it until I died. Still do.

Okay, I've composed myself now.

Besides this, The Long Ryders were my "Get Up & Go!" music for much of 1985. Stagger groggy from my futon on the floor to the stereo in my brother's room of the apartment we shared, put in the tape of State of Our Union and crank it up before I ever hit the shower. I didn't do coffee back then, so it was music or nothing. (These days I need both). By the time "WDIA" came on I was singing along at the top of my lungs, air-guitaring, flinging suds and water all over the place (literally, because we had an old clawfoot tub and a wrap-around shower curtain that couldn't keep the dirty debris in entirely). I'd be ready for work by the end of the album, after I'd had my traditional Kraft mac 'n' cheese (25 cents a box!) with salsa or 99-cent Totino's pizza breakfast.

Final Note: Tom Stevens was kind enough to write me up some liner notes for this, his very first show with the Ryders. He contacted me about eight years ago when he saw it on my bootleg trading list because he needed a copy for his archives. I begged him and he wrote an awesome bit on the show and the band and it's now on the back of the artwork I made, included for your pleasure.


Addendum: I'm being unfair to my brother above. His car was filthy, but so too was my own at that time. Both were traveling trash cans. I'm not going to say if they still are. I'll let you believe we've evolved.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

See My Friends

The incredible Hagbard has an equally incredible blog I invite you to check out at your earliest convenience. Trip Inside This House is that rarity of music blogs - it has real content! If you love psychedelic music, you owe it to see what Hagbard's doing. My fave is The Wayback Machine...wonder why?

And while on the subject of sending you away from my Disease, you may want to check out some other blogs devoted to live recordings. Hagbard recommends the very cool The Drugs Are Working blog (and I second his recommendation!) and a personal favorite of mine is NargoTheBort's Deviant Subculture site.

After recommending the above, I think maybe I should mention my personal bootleg aesthetics. For me, it's completely about the performance, because nothing is better than live music played by live musicians. Sound quality is a (sometimes distant) second for me when I'm picking shows to share with you all. I'd rather put up a blazingly performed but kinda muddy audience boot over an OK but perfect sounding soundboard. In fact, I prefer audience recordings, so that one can get, even distantly, a sense of the performance space and the real sound of the performance as the audience heard it. These are boots, after all, recording by amateurs for love and not multi-track professional live recordings made for money.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Long Weekend Comes Again!

I had this great post all ready to share with you of Danny & Dusty live at the Music Machine...but I don't need to now! You can not only hear but see this incredible show because it's a bonus DVD on the BRAND FREAKIN' NEW Danny & Dusty album. Wow. Shit. (Of course, I don't know if the DVD format is right for the US because I don't understand that stuff, so maybe only our friends across the sea can see it).

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Chimes of Freedom!

The Barracudas - Live at the West Side Club, Lyon, France (2/1/83) Part 1
The Barracudas - Live at the West Side Club, Lyon, France (2/1/83) Part 2

I like The Barracudas because for a brief time in the early 70s my friends and I used to say "That's 'cuda, man!" which was short for "That's barracuda, man!" which was, I guess, shorthand for "That's so cool!" I also vaguely recollect a movie about killer barracudas that was a playground discussion sensation for a while and may been the genesis of this phrase. Anyway, I wouldn't recommend trying to resurrect this particular and very obscure catchphrase, kids. "Where's the Beef?" has a better chance.

As far as music goes, to return from Neverland, this is a fierce live show that forever stomps the notion that these guys couldn't rock, a bizarre notion I've heard expressed too often over the years. Great originals, great covers (love the Donovan!) and the sound is very good for the time. Guitars chime, snarl, burn and explode here, kids! Yeah!!!

Like The Barracudas, there were a lot of bands in the early 80s rediscovering the primal joy of the guitar and the beauty of melody coupled with a rockin' garage beat and I'd like to thank them all, wherever they are, because they made my life better then, inspiring me, rocking me, and they still keep me searching for the next musical fix today.

Go Bomp-shit crazy and buy some 'Cudas, man!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Super" Don't Make You a Man!

WARNING! Another political moment. Close your eyes, stuff cotton wads or jelly beans in your ears if you're not interested. Skip on down to the music. has an online petition, requesting the Democratic superdelegates to "let the voters decide between Clinton and Obama, then support the people's choice." I agree wholeheartedly with this idea and thought I'd share the link with you.

Peace and love on this last Valentine's Day of the rule of King George the...Whatever He Is.

My Back Pages, Vol. I

I'm sure it's not cool to be literate in the text-message age, but there it is - I can read! In fact, I love to read. I read alone, I read in groups, I read while eating, I read while driving sometimes (not recommended). Can't help it, I'm afraid. Taught myself to read before I went to kindergarten because I had to figure out what the hell was inside that big collection of Walt Disney encyclopedias sitting on the shelf in the upstairs hallway. (Seriously, this was a multi-volume hardcover set of all kinds of stuff Disney thought kids should know, from science to fairy tales. I learned a hell of a lot from them before I started attacking the World Book downstairs). I'd sit with my back up against the wall for hours, feet under the shelf, taking volume after volume down and devouring them. Their interpretations of classical mythology and the tales of the Brothers Grimm were especially good, enhanced by some excellent and quite frightening classic Disney-studios art.

Anyway, that has nothing to do with this post. Except that I've decided to pick up something I started more than ten years ago and then had to let go due to something I call parenthood. That's not over yet, but it's a little less 24-7. Every once in a while I'm going to write about a book I've recently read, whether you like it or not. Feel free to skip ahead to the tunes, because I'd be surprised if you read this far already. Just kidding. You stopped much earlier.

The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber

Once or twice a year I pick up and read a book that looks like a conventional best-seller type novel. This is a long habit started when I worked at a bookstore 20 years ago and wanted to be able to recommend something to our patrons besides science fiction or the latest book of surrealist poetry. That's how I started reading mysteries, too. A week ago at our local public library (support them, you bastards!) I grabbed one that didn't look too awful. Got very lucky this time, too.

The basic plot concerns the discovery of 16th century manuscripts that may or may not hold the clues to the recovery of a lost Shakespeare play, an original manuscript in Will's own hand. There's a wide-eyed young filmmaker as much in search of love as anything, a devious young lady on the run from her past, a bunch of well-drawn supporting characters including an ex-Polish spy/cryptographer (gotta have one of those!) and lots of Russian mobsters. All of them revolve around the wonderful Jake Mishkin, Olympic weight-lifting, womanizing, lawyering son-of-a-bitch son of a Jewish mobster and a Nazi-princess. Yowza! How can you go wrong, eh!

Well, in the wrong hands, very wrong. But Gruber layers story upon story, plot upon plot, taking us effortlessly back and forth from perspective to perspective, past to future, in prose that subtly changes as Jake changes, from the workmanlike to the poetics of the everyday and beyond. It's a treat to read Jake's confessions and to literally feel the language develop as he does. And, I'll admit, Gruber got me so into Jake and his heart that I was in tears at the end. Me and Jake.

I cannot and won't tell anymore about the book because it would be criminal to give away the plot, except to vent one little vent. I found it all remarkably plausible barring one little archaeological/geological moment in the book that gave away the ending to me. I'm a lifelong amateur armchair archaeologist and I married a geologist, so I pay attention to things that other folks might miss when such matters pop up in books. Still didn't ruin the book because this is far more about finding out what happens to Jake and friends than about finding any silly old Shakespeare manuscript.

Go, now, buy and read this shit! (Me, I'm going to the library to see what else they've got by Gruber!)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Smell of Burning Paisley

The Rain Parade - Live in Atlanta, GA (1985)

I'm one of those guys who love that whole Paisley Underground movement, regardless of how it's perceived and often derided by folks. The neo-psychedelic flowering of the early 80s hit me right between the eyes, musically. (I'll go on at length about the Battle of the Garages LPs some other post, believe me.) And is there a better example of this than "You Are My Friend"? I don't know, I really don't. It's such a damn, damn, damn beautiful tune with a melody that I can't get out of my head once it's slithered itself inside. Hopefully it will nest inside of yours too. Then the snakes in our heads will have friends to play with!

This is a very powerful live show, though I'll admit I have better sounding Rain Parade gigs in the archives. There will be more, but until then...shit.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Our Founding Fathers, First In a Series

13th Floor Elevators - At the Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA (1966) Part 1
13th Floor Elevators - At the Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA (1966) Part 2

A tribute to those that came before, the first of at least several. (How am I gonna get you guys some decent live Television if I don't get you some 'Elevators first? It just doesn't make sense!) Anyways, you can hear the 'Elevators in damn near everything, it seems. And this is a perfect way to hear them - live in their glory! The Roky Erickson CD Club put this sweetie out a few years ago, just one of dozens of lost live and studio recordings they distributed FREE to the fans, tens of thousands of fans, all over the world.

(Okay, here's the deal. Basically, I'm having trouble getting some stuff uploaded and deciding what I want to rip for you all and I already had this one done, so.......)

There's a cool new book about the boys out now, so go buy this paper shit and read it and then buy the music!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Radiant Fuzzbox Wig Returns!

The incredible Plasticland perform "Make Yourself a Happening Machine" at the Stage Door. Don't know where the Stage Door is. Milwaukee? Chicago? Mars?

I got lucky enough to see them again a couple of years ago at a recreation of a famous 1968 happening, complete with bad poetry and horrible in-your-face 60s-style theatre, including (gasp!) flesh-colored unitards to simulate actual nudity. The only saving grace(s) of the evening were the multiple short sets Plasticland played between these pieces. Astoundingly beautiful, loud, roaring psychedelia, as always and ever from Glenn and John and company. In particular, "Mushroom Hill" was turned into one of the hottest pieces of krautrockian guitar-o-phonic space explorations I've ever heard! Drool-able, simply drool-able. Afterwards went backstage with my armful of LPs to get them signed and the gracious men from Wonderland invited me and pal Hagbard (you all know Hagbard, right? thought so...) to partake with them of the beauty that is Milwaukee. And a good time was had by all. 'Nuff said. (Well, I can say that if you appreciate great music and a well-mixed cocktail served in a homey-punk atmosphere, check out the Circle A!)

I've got some great live Plasticland shows to share with you all in the future, but until now, buy their shit!

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Love I Could Have Known

Thin White Rope - Live at the Arena, Vienna, Austria (5/6/90) Part 1
Thin White Rope - Live at the Arena, Vienna, Austria (5/6/90) Part 2

Back from the political boneyard. I made up my mind on something, though. I'm going to be posting live music for your pleasure M/W/F and either do nothing or get weird or vent steam or preach like the newly converted on the other days. Okay? Okay.

Anyway, where were you the first time you heard Thin White Rope? Don't remember?!? Gah, how could you not. Me, I was standing in my kitchen,trembling head to toe, spinning with the ecstasy of newfound guitar noises and primitive drums and a voice like Nixon on 'ludes, man - Nixon on 'ludes!!! - going on about crawling and pissing and freezing and generally scaring the shit out of me! It was beautiful. (I don't know if I mean that Nixon crap - first thing to come to mind is all. But it's a funny image, huh?)

Never got the pleasure of seeing the Rope live. I had to make a choice one night between them and a band that I've completely forgotten about. Bad choice. But I can slightly make up for it by presenting you with this great sounding show. Enjoy! (And buy some thin white ropey shit!)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I Want a Better World for My Son

September 11th did not dunk me in the waters of fervent, drunken, irrational patriotism like so many of my countrymen and women. Instead, it awoke me. And I awoke frightened. Frightened because I realized that the world really had changed - America and its people would now have to face the same fears and challenges to safety and the future that the rest of the world had been facing for so long already.

Since, I have had a lot of trouble dealing with my country's response to that day. Much of it has been hasty at best and terribly wrong at worst. But we get the leaders we choose, I think, and while we were unlucky to have those we did on that September morning, we were fully aware of the choices available to us at the next election day. The results speak for themselves.

But I think sometimes we can be slow learners, us Americans. Not that we never learn, it just takes several solid blows to the head and the heart to make us change direction. And now a new direction has presented itself, come up from this time of change, and I for one fully intend to support this new direction and do all I can to see it come about, to see the birth of a new American century. A century of progress and freedom and real democracy for all the people of the world, the kind of century I want my son to have, that I want all our children to have.

Thank you for your time.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

There's New Places to Explore

The Feelies - Live at Jake's, Bloomington, IN (5/4/91) Part 1
The Feelies - Live at Jake's, Bloomington, IN (5/4/91) Part 2

So, here we are. The Feelies. Doesn't get much better than this, brothers and sisters. The Feelies have provided a soundtrack to life and love for me and my wife for about 20 years now (along with Neil Young, The Mekons, Robyn Hitchcock, Velvet Underground and a few others). Guitars, guitars and - wait for it! - guitars - unmistakeable guitars! Once you have them in your head, they are there forever. Example: I put on a Wake Ooloo CD in the car a few weeks ago, first time I'd played them for her (oversight on my part!), and she said instantly: "Is that Glenn Mercer?" That's good, that's good!

I got a lot more live Feelies. Let me know if you like this one. There are two Feelies recordings available from Twin Tone, who have done something remarkable and are making custom order CDs available of OOP albums! Get The Good Earth and No One Knows now! And Glenn Mercer has a new solo CD out, plus those Wake Ooloos may still be available, so seek out the shit!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Sending You a Postcard

Green On Red - Live at Zeche, Bochum, Germany (10-4-1985) Part 1
Green On Red - Live at Zeche, Bochum, Germany (10-4-1985) Part 2

Yowza! I still get goosebumps when I listen to Green on Red - great hackleberry sized buboes all over my body that itch and swell and eventually explode in glorious Technicolor. No, wait, that's the Plague.

Okay. There are bands that define moments in the pop culture zeitgeist and Green on Red were one of them. The early 80s actually had quite a few bands like this, but GoR did it best. They put a whole bunch of stuff together - garage, punk, psychedelia, country, blues and old fashioned rock 'n' roll - and created a pure beast from it, a slouching, lumbering, screaming drunk of a beast but pure nonetheless.

From the first moment I saw the cover of Gas, Food, Lodging I knew something special had been achieved. That record just FELT right! And LOOKED right! And, boy, did it SOUND right! Still does. And this live recording (transferred from a vinyl bootleg, I think) is a near-perfect summing up of GoR from that time. Listen to the album and listen to this live show back-to-back, it'll do ya good.

Oh, yeah - go buy their shit!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Drinking with The Kings

Great Plains - Live at Stache's, Columbus OH (10-31-85)

I have lost a noticeable portion of my hearing. Why? Live music. I regret the loss but not the cause. One of those live shows was Great Plains at O'Cayz Corral (Madison, WI) sometime in 1985. A dozen, maybe two dozen people came out, the band looked exhausted (they sat down on stage for a good chunk of the show) but the music was good, even "great."

You were there, maybe, if not at O'Cayz and not for Great Plains, but you were there and you know what I mean. I'm not one to wallow in nostalgia. I detest and loathe nostalgia - it is a sickness, the kind that makes people vote for aliens out of time like Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton. But you know exactly what I mean about that time and place, which makes it easier for us to communicate. Communication is good.

And while I loathe nostalgia, I love history. Great Plains are part of our history. All those weird nights in all those weird clubs listening to weird music played by...people just like us. That's our history.

Enjoy your history lesson, kids!

And buy some of Great Plains' shit!