Monday, October 21, 2013

Still missing Supergrass, but...

Gaz Coombes, lead singer, guitarist and primary songwriter for one of my 90's fave Britpopters Supergrass, has been busy getting his solo career up and running. In 2012 he released the solid Here Come The Bombs, but this early track from the upcoming new album is the best thing I've heard from the ex-Supergrass camp yet.

Meanwhile, Micky Quinn, bassist and secondary songwriter, continues to do good work with his DB Band.

As for drummer Danny Goffey...well he looks to be staying busy with a number of projects, including a recent stint in Pete Doherty's Babyshambles.

I've got a nagging feeling, though, that nothing these fine individuals put out from here on will reach the giddy heights and pure fun of Supergrass' finer moments. (Hope I'm wrong.) Case in point:

Friday, October 4, 2013

Polyphonic Spree release video with a message for YOU

Why yes, I think it's a good time for another hippie revolution. Without the drug abuse, of course.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Didn't know this was a cover!

Just when I think I've got all the big rock music facts tucked away in my brain, along comes a reminder that there's always gaps:

Joan Jett (and The Blackhearts) made "I Love Rock 'n Roll" famous in 1980, which kicked off her career in fine fashion (and is still considered by many her high point artistically). Just found out that this was originally written and performed by a band called the Arrows in 1975, led by Alan Merrill. I prefer the A-side version, slower but a with more feel, over the sped up B-side, which is clearly the style that Joan adopted.

Too bad the Arrows didn't get much traction. It was a hell of a start for this English band but apparently the songwriting chops just weren't there to sustain the momentum. Alan was big in Japan for a time though in the early 70s. (Even acted on a Japanese soap opera!)

Here's a "live" performance from 1976. A bit of "moves like Jagger" going on, but they clearly knew how to get a song across to a teenybopper audience.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My second-favorite band from Japan

Japanese synth/rock/blipblurp band Polysics released another album ("Weeeeeeeeee!!!") recently...but not in the States as of yet.  These guys are apparently almost as obscure here as my number one fave, the sadly folded (ridiculously named but oh so righteously rocking) Thee Michelle Gun Elephant.  Kinda early Devo-ish, but with a much more positive/fun vibe.  Don't let the Engrish deter you from digging these guys!  Dance like everybody's watching and enjoy.  Let's get some stateside support so we can bring them to the West Coast.  I so want to see them play live.

Here's another great one, from 2008:

And one more, from 2005:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Something about this song makes people psycho...

Just came across this great cover of the classic Talking Heads song today.  This Aussie can really sing!

I was going to say it was my "favorite cover of Psycho Killer ever," but then I remembered the fabulous Bobs version, with the manic Gunnar Madsen taking the lead:

Of course, nothing can compare to the original, done in all earnestness here on the great English show The Old Grey Whistle Test back in the early days...

Anyway, thanks to Kate Miller-Heidke for keeping the Psycho Heads flame burning into the 2000's.

If you're interested in picking up the album (Little Eve), she also does a very nice cover of Joni Mitchell's "River" (here's Joni's original).  Kate's got great taste.  FYI, both covers are available on the bonus disc version only.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ya learn something new...every once in a while.

I was adding this Pretenders song to my "Best of 198_" playlist today, but I wasn't sure what year it came out, so I went to Wikipedia to double-check.  Turns out it was released as a single in November 1982, even though I'd always thought of it as a 1984 song because that's when it appeared on their mainstream breakthrough album Learning To Crawl.  How that song, and album, came about is a story of tragedy and triumph, but I was also interested to find out that the "ooh - ah" chant from "Back on the Chain Gang" was borrowed from the Sam Cooke song "Chain Gang" from 1960.  Pretty direct lifting, I'd say, but certainly well-used, and I think it falls into the category of "tribute" rather than "larceny."

Plus the whole metaphor of "chain gang" as the daily grind of work (whether artistic or just going to the day job/office) resonates with me quite a bit, and I imagine just about anybody trying to make it through this life.