Category Archives: Music Nerdery

The Reigning Sound Love & Curses – Is Out NOW

This was originally posted several weeks ago but since the record is here at last I’m putting it up again.

In the interest of saving time I’ll get right to the point.  The Reigning Sound may be my favorite band.  I’m not just talking about current bands, punk bands, garage rock bands or any other category you want to put them in; I mean favorite band ever.  You can name another band and I’m pretty sure I like The Reigning Sound more.

As you can imagine I was very happy to recently discover that they have a new record called Love & Curses coming out in July (IT’S OUT TODAY!).  Some songs have already been made public and here’s a promo clip that may be the three best minutes of your day:

Full versions of the songs are posted here. The new record will be available from the fabulous In The Red Records.

UPDATED P.S. – Dear Reigning Sound,  Please come to Los Angeles so I can see you.  My wife says that if you play in LA you can stay at our house and she will cook for you.  Here is an example of her cooking if it helps.

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Four That Got Away

Four of My Favorite Albums That I Inexplicably Do Not Own

Over years I have owned thousands of records and from time to time some of them have gotten lost, destroyed or given away.   Below are four records that I have loved and lost but for some reason never replaced.

1- R.E.M. – Reckoning

-What Happened: The dubbed cassette copy I got from my step dad at age 14 was destroyed by the cassette deck of my car 8 years later.

-Why I Haven’t Replaced It – Since I was in my car when it happened I drove straight to the record store to but a CD copy and found it was out of stock so I bought something else.  By the time I thought about replacing it again my feelings for the band had cooled considerably and when I want to hear them today I’ll go for Murmur and be satisfied.

2- The Jam – All Mod Cons

-What Happened: Left in car of a girl I was dating didn’t think to ask for it back before having the “I don’t think this is working” discussion.

-Why I Haven’t Replaced It – I gave her the best two and a half weeks of the late autumn of 1998 and she walked off with All Mod Cons, good riddance to them both.  I’m pretty sure I’ve got everything I need from this album on various compilations.

3- Neil Young – After the Gold Rush

-What Happened: Vinyl copy lent to Irish hobo, never returned.

-Why I Haven’t Replaced It – I hold out hope it will someday be returned to me.

4- Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti

-What Happened: Double CD sold for $4 in the Ass Rock Purge of 1995. In retrospect I judged this one too harshly.  In the years since this is the only Zeppelin album I’ve ever thought I’d like to own again.

-Why I Haven’t Replaced It – Not willing to re-grow my teenage mullet and I suspect I might need it to truly enjoy Kashmir again.

I can think of at least a dozen more but if I ever find myself with extra cash and a desire to replace lost records these will probably be the first ones I go for.

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Coming Soon: The Reigning Sound – Love & Curses

In the interest of saving time I’ll get right to the point.  The Reigning Sound may be my favorite band.  I’m not just talking about current bands, punk bands, garage rock bands or any other category you want to put them in; I mean favorite band ever.  You can name another band and I’m pretty sure I like The Reigning Sound more.

As you can imagine I was very happy to recently discover that they have a new record called Love & Curses coming out in July (UPDATED: According to semi reliable sources the release date has been moved to August 11th).  Some songs have already been made public and here’s a promo clip that may be the three best minutes of your day:

Full versions of the songs are posted here. The new record will be available from the fabulous In The Red Records.

P.S. – Dear Reigning Sound,  Please come to Los Angeles so I can see you.

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You Can Turn It Up Any Time Now

This has been sitting in my draft folder for days and it’s time to let it go.  It’s not perfect but I think it says what I need it to say.

Summer afternoon 1993 – I’m 19 years old and I’m riding a bus home with my first real girlfriend. We had just gone to a used record store where I bought a vinyl copy of The Replacement’s Pleased to Meet Me for $4.99.  After the bus dropped us off and I walked her almost all of the way home (she didn’t like her walking me all the way because her mother might see me) I went home to play IOU, Alex Chilton and the rest of the album* as loud as I could before anyone got home.

*I played the whole album that day but after a few listens I would skip Nightclub Jitters. Which brings up a related thought: I love The Replacements like they are family they are probably my favorite band ever but on every album there’s one song I usually skip. By album they are: Sorry Ma- Otto, Stink- Go, Hootenanny- Hootenanny, Let it Be – Answering Machine, Tim – Dose of Thunder, Pleased to Meet Me – Nightclub Jitters, Don’t Tell a Soul – We’ll Inherit the Earth, All Shook Down – Problem.  Still, one skipped song per record is a pretty decent run.

the_replacements_pleased_to_meet_meI like Pleased to Meet Me a lot but it’s probably my 5th favorite Replacements album.  That said, I’ve probably listened to it more than any other Replacements record because it has a way of appearing at important times in my life.  For example:

  • When I moved out of the house I brought my records with me (of course). I’d like to say that the first thing I did after getting unpacked was play Pleased to Meet me but that would be a lie, the first thing I did was get my phone line connected and call one of the numbers advertised in the back of Swank Magazine (don’t judge me, I was 20 years old and finally had my own phone line, what would you have done?). The second thing I did was cue up side two of Pleased to Meet Me. In retrospect hearing Nevermind was a better and less expensive way to spend three minutes.
  • A few years later I was dating someone and we had some sort of stupid argument that ended with me driving away angry.  Prior to the argument my girlfriend had borrowed my car and left Pleased to Meet Me  in the cassette player.  When that tape got to Valentine (second song on side 2) I turned the car around and apologized before she could cut me out of all of our photos (she sometimes did that when she got mad at me)
  • In 1999 I paid about $5 to ship Pleased To Meet Me and some other records from Long Island to Los Angeles.  Several months after I moved I found myself back home, across the street from where that record store stood doing something I thought would change my life forever but only changed it temporarily.  When I finally sat down to tell that story I referenced the only man with a song named after him on Pleased To Meet Me (that story can be found here but anyone who has read my blog more than once knows it already.)
  • A few years after that, a particularly bad summer ends with me locking myself in the house and playing Pleased to Meet at least three times a week for the rest of the year.

4360927(Not the record player I talk about below)

A few days ago I was reconnecting an old record player and I wanted to hear how it sounded after being in storage.  I blindly reached into a crate of records and pulled out Pleased To Meet Me.  It’s the same copy I took home on the bus in 1993.  The turntable hummed as it warmed up, the needle lowered to touch the record and the speakers came to life.  It occurred to me halfway through Alex Chilton that this copy of Pleased to Meet Me is the last tangible artifact of my teenage daydreams; the last record I bought and first played at my father’s house (at least the last one I still have today).  I should probably replace it with a CD copy or at least a less worn vinyl copy but I probably won’t  because the sound of this beat up record takes me somewhere I can’t get any other way.

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Knockout Rock Parts 1-3

Yesterday, Jim from Media Loper and other fine publications was making a list of songs he has never tired of. While I can probably list 50 songs I expect to enjoy for the rest of my life  I was already thinking of another list at the time: Songs that made me stop everything so I could listen and then run out to buy the record.

Have you ever been in a bar, at a record store, on a date or in a car and suddenly a song comes on that you have never heard before?  Then, in the split second before you can tune it out or change the station the song catches you just right and you have to stop everything to take it all in?  When the song is ens there are only one thing on your mind: How do I make that song a part of my life?

These moments of surprise discoveries are always thrilling and it’s happened to me many times.  Here are the three examples I can recall of songs that came out of nowhere to knock me over.

The Fall – Kurious Orange – I’ve always liked The Fall more in theory than in practice but this song delivers on all of Mark E. Smith’s promises.  I first heard this while driving my old VW Jetta on Santa Monica Blvd while listening to KXLU.  Before the song ended I had made the right onto Highland and pulled into the tiny parking lot at Aron’s Records.  As soon as the DJ back listed the songs I got out of the car to buy it.

The Swell Maps – Spitfire Parade – This is one of those songs where I wondered how I lived my life without it.  I’m not sure where the Swell Maps had been hiding to that point but when I heard this song I felt like a missing piece of my brain had been found.

The Halo Benders – Virginia Reel Around the Fountain - I had already heard the (relatively) stripped down version of this song by Built To Spill but I didn’t know that Doug from Built to Spill also recorded it with Calvin Johnson on the last Halo Benders record until a year later.   This is the only time I’ve been knocked out by a song I already knew.

More on this topic another day.  I hope you hear something that knocks you out soon, maybe one of these songs will do it for you.

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Lux Interior – RIP

UPDATED:  It’s official – Lux Interior has passed away.  Details at The Daily Swarm.

This hasn’t been officially confirmed by the band but according to Daily Swarm, Lux Interior  of The Cramps has passed away.

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Here is the official press release:

Lux Interior, lead singer of The Cramps, passed away this morning due to an existing heart condition at Glendale Memorial Hospital in Glendale, California at 4:30 AM PST today. Lux has been an inspiration and influence to millions of artists and fans around the world. He and wife Poison Ivy’s contributions with The Cramps have had an immeasurable impact on modern music.

The Cramps emerged from the original New York punk scene of CBGB and Max’s Kansas City, with a singular sound and iconography. Their distinct take on rockabilly and surf along with their midnight movie imagery reminded us all just how exciting, dangerous, vital and sexy rock and roll should be and has spawned entire subcultures. Lux was a fearless frontman who transformed every stage he stepped on into a place of passion, abandon, and true freedom. He is a rare icon who will be missed dearly.

The family requests that you respect their privacy during this difficult time.

I was lucky enough to see Lux, Ivy and the band live several times and they always, always killed.

Go out and buy a Cramps record today, you’ll never regret it.

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Replacing The Icons

Recently, the esteemed and highly entertaining Joe Posnanski was trying to determine the most iconic songs of the rock era.  Along with a team of writers and blog readers he came up with a final list* of iconic songs. I’ve got a comment about the list but first go see the final list complete with Joe’s commentary and the follow up post here.

* Some writers like ESPN’s Keith Law  have made their list public.

Overall I can’t argue with the list, all of the songs are certainly iconic.  The list contains nothing but outstanding songs but now that the list of iconic songs has been established I’d like to propose something:

Let’s take every song on the list and place it in a vault for one year where no one can listen to them.

It’s not that I don’t like the songs, take another look at the list:

Alive, American Pie, Another Brick in the Wall, Bohemian Rhapsody, Born to be Wild, Born to Run, Bridge Over Troubled Water, (Gnarls Barkley), Crazy, Crazy (Patsy Cline), Georgia On My Mind, God Save the Queen, Good Vibrations, Fight the Power, Fortunate Son, Freebird, Friends in Low Places, Hey Ya, Hotel California, Hound Dog, I Feel Good, I Love Rock and RollI Walk The Line, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Imagine, Johnny B. Goode, Layla, Like a Rolling Stone, Like a VirginLondon Calling, Louie Louie, Mack the Knife, Melt With You, My Generation, My Way, Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang, Oh Pretty Woman, Peggy Sue, Purple Haze, Purple Rain, Rapper’s Delight, Redemption Song, Respect, Rock Around The Clock, Satisfaction, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Stairway to Heaven, Staying Alive, Sunday Bloody Sunday Thriller, Welcome to the Jungle, The Weight, Y.M.C.A.

Those songs are great but I’ve heard them all many, many (and in some cases MANY) times before.  I could sing every song on this list without having to look up the words.   It’s not that I never want to hear them again, I just don’t NEED to hear them anymore.  I can play them in my head from memory.

I think we could all benefit from putting these songs away and hearing some different voices; songs and artists that while not iconic today could become iconic  if given a chance.   Here are five of my choices to replace songs on the icon list, some are well know and some are not but they are all worth checking out. I’m not saying they are better than all of the songs listed above.  I’m just saying that if you removed any of the five songs above with the ones I’m about to name I would be okay with it.  I can name about 200 more but these will do for now.  Feel free to suggest some alternate icons in the comments.

Townes Van Zandt – Pancho and Lefty: Not the best Townes van Zandt song (that’s To Live is To Fly) but the best story he ever told, that makes it icon worthy.

Greg Cartwright -Live The Life: Greg Carwright originally recorded this traditional gospel song song as a member of The Compulsive Gamblers then again with The Oblivians, here he is  playing a quieter acoustic version.

FYI – This version was recorded at Goner Records which I mentioned yesterday in reference to a very good cause.

The Replacements – Bastards of Young: Over the past few years I’ve listened to the Replacements less but this makes my list no matter what.

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - The Ballad of the Sin Eater: The iconic version appears on the Hearts of Oak record but here is a live version from a solo Ted Leo show that captures the feeling of it very well.

Toots & The Maytals – Pressure Drop: Far superior to the version the Clash later recorded (and I love The Clash).

Note: If you’re wondering:  Am I just trying to call attention to some of my favorite songs?  Yes, of course I am but for a good reason.  While my choices may never become iconic rock anthems they derserve to be heard by a wider audience and it’s hard to for these voices to be heard when the airwaves are  filled with the same old songs.  I would love to see everyone retire some of the classic rock standards, just for a little while, and try something else.

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