Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Off to the Land of Ice and Snow!

Stockholm, here we come!!!



BTW, I absolutely adore that Trent Reznor re-imagining of the Zep song, and I think the David Fincher film of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo from which it derives is (with the exception of one head-scratching directorial decision) close to a masterpiece. Particular kudos go to the screenplay by Steve Zallian, whose opening ten minutes or so is about as brilliantly concise a piece of exposition as you'll ever encounter.

That said, the credit sequence for Fincher's film is -- apart from the music -- utterly and inexplicably pointless and seemingly unmoored to the rest of the film.

BTW -- don't get me started on the piece of crap Swedish version, which is barely at the level of a made for Lifetime TV-movie.

Have I mentioned that we're leaving for Stockholm today?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Closed for Vacation/Travel Prep!!!

Heading to foreign climes -- I'll be more specific tomorrow -- with a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance.


Why do I have the depressing feeling we're going to look like the above?

Monday, March 27, 2017

There Is Nothing Like a Dame!!!

From her forthcoming sophomore album Third (due in a few weeks from the swell folks at Omnivore Records) please enjoy the thoroughly amazing Cait Brennan and the lead-off track -- "Bad at Apologies."




Long time readers will recall that I first wrote about Cait back in February of last year on the occasion of the release of her first album Debutante. Which made my top 10 album list and a lot of other critic's lists as well. Deservedly.

The new one, apart from being even better, was actually recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, in the same room where Big Star recorded, and using a lot of Big Star's gear, including their mellotron. I can only guess at what a thrilling experience that must have been.

I should also add that "Bad at Apolgies" has one of the greatest opening lines -- "I'm the asshole who stole your boyfriend" -- in rock history. And that Third features a song entitled "Benedict Cumberbatch," which is so great I can't fricking stand it.

But -- in the immortal words of Marty Di Bergi -- enough of my yaking. Get over to the Omnivore website here to pre-order the album. You won't be sorry.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Ars Gratia Pecuniae

[I first posted this piece back in 2009 -- when this blog and I were young -- but I'm reposting it now for reasons that will be obvious when you get down to the last graf. Enjoy! -- S.S.]

Sometime in late '73 or early '74, a large and mysterious package addressed to me arrived at the offices of the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review, with a label that said "Trademark of Quality Records," and a postmark from San Francisco, but no return address. When I opened it, I found, to my surprise, a stack of 30 or 40 LP albums. All bootlegs. Each more amazing than the next, including these two --



-- which featured cover illos by a (then unknown to me) comic book artist named William Stout.

And when I say amazing, I'm not kidding; there was Dylan stuff up the wazoo, including the Albert Hall concert, another Yardbirds package (on colored vinyl!) featuring liner notes where the bootleggers interviewed singer Keith Relf about each track in detail, Pete Townshend's home demos, tons of Stones, including the '72 Garden show in glorious off-the-board stereo and a seven-inch EP of live at the BBC r&b covers --


...plus The Beatles fan club Christmas records, and blah blah blah.

In other words, just ridiculously great and in some cases -- a '66 acoustic Dylan set from Australia in perfect sound -- life changing stuff.


And a note: "Dear Steve -- we've been reading you and we think you might like some of this. Enjoy!"

I never found out who had sent me the package, but over the years I followed Stout's career with interest, and was perhaps inordinately pleased when he moved over into movie work; I remember in particular how tickled I was when I saw he'd done production art on the Invaders From Mars remake and the Masters of the Universe flick. (He has slightly tonier stuff to his credit, BTW; more recently he worked on Pan's Labyrinth, and cooler than that it does not get).

Anyway, the other day, while researching an obscure David Carradine movie -- The Warrior and the Sorceress -- I discovered that Stout had a writing credit on it, so with the intention of picking his brain about it and some other stuff (figuring this was as good an excuse as any to finally get in touch with him) I gave him a holler.

Turns out he's a thoroughly charming guy with a lot of (as you might imagine) interesting stories. But just before I hung up I told him about the package that had arrived at SR all those years ago, and how much I've always wanted to thank the people that sent it, whoever they were.

He laughed, and then finally said "I'll tell them."

I think there was an implied wink, but I'll probably never know.

Meanwhile, when you get a minute, go over to Bill's OFFICIAL WEB SITE, which has lots of other cool art and reminiscences, and definitely behooves beholding. You'll thank me.

UPDATE: So Tuesday, after concluding my appearance on friend of PowerPop Capt. Al's intertube radio show, the good Captain presented me with this piece of original William Stout art work.


You could have knocked me over with a feather. Needless to say, I'm having it framed toot sweet, and it will be occupying a prized place on the wall of the home of a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance as soon as possible.

In the meantime -- have a great weekend, everybody!!!


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Know What I Mean, Girls?

From 1945, please enjoy the incredible Spike Jones-- NOT the guy who made that John Malkovich movie -- and the ultimate feminist anthem "Serenade to a Jerk."



Played this on Capt. Al's radio show Tuesday and I'm now convinced it's the greatest record ever made.

I shouldn't love him, he's lazy
He sits around while I work
But when he's near me my heart sings
A serenade to a jerk

Sometimes he's stupid and hazy
Sometimes his brain doesn't hurt
Still the guy plays on my heart strings
A serenade to a jerk

Oh maybe I'm a little fool
For loving the guy the way I do,
Wonder why I'm stuck with him

Leaving him would drive me crazy
I'm sure that it wouldn't work
So I'll pour my heart out by singing
A serenade to a jerk

C'mon -- did PJ Harvey ever do anything this good? I think not.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Closed for Monkey Business


Busy day yesterday (thank you, Capt. Al).

Regular well-groomed and peppy postings resume on the morrow.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Programming Notes From All Over

Gonna be on friend of PowerPop Captain Al's intertube show over at Area 24 Radio today starting at 12pm EST.


Just click HERE and then hit the LISTEN NOW button for the latest episode of the Captain's Lost at Sea.

We'll be giving out an e-mail address throughout the show, so feel free to make requests. Or threaten us. We're pretty flexible.

In any case, a splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Charles Edward Berry 1926-2017


And this message was just received from a distant star, as reported in today's edition of TIME:


SEND MORE CHUCK BERRY!!!!

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Concept By Which We Measure Our Pain

Holy shit -- it's Robbie Fulks day again!

But seriously folks...I need to preface this song with a couple of caveats.

First of all, I have dear friends who are, in a phrase I dislike, people of faith.

That said, they do not proselytize, they do not look down on me because I'm not religious, and in all the ways that matter, they walk the walk. Unlike the pious shitheels of the Franklin Graham variety.

I'm also not arrogant enough to say that Martin Luther King or Bishop Tutu were chumps because they were devout.

That said, this song speaks for me.



A world filled with wonder, a cold, fathomless sky
A man's life so meager, he can but wonder why
He cries out to Heaven, its truth to reveal
The answer, only silence, for God isn't real

Go ask the starving millions under Stalin's cruel reign
Go ask the child with cancer who eases her pain?
Then go to your churches, if that's how you feel
But don't ask me to follow for God isn't real

He forms in his image a weak and foolish man
Speaks to him in symbols that few understand

For a life of devotion, the death blow he deals
We'd owe Him only hatred, but God isn't real

Go tell the executioner of the power he can't defy
Go tell his shackled victim of the mercy on high
Then go to your churches, go beg, pray and kneel
But don't ask me to follow for God isn't real

No, no matter how He should be, God isn't real

I should add that I'm mostly posting this because it enables me to stick a metaphorical finger in the eye of a certain smug anti-Semitic idiot I know who thinks we non-believers are the locus of evil in the modern world. So fuck him.

And have a great weekend, everybody! Good yontiff!!!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Your Thursday Moment of Why Didn't I Get the Memo?

The great Mark Lindsay (of Paul Revere and the Raiders) and the great Susan Cowsill (of you know who) go all Sonny and Cher on your ass.



Hadn't heard about this one until yesterday, but I think I'm gonna have to buy the CD it's from.