Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Ledge, Episode 15: Rediscovered Gems

Enjoying a rare 70-degree day, I hauled a bunch of old discs out onto the patio to record Episode 15 of The Ledge. This week's selections are all songs that I had long forgotten, but had been rediscovered while putting together older episodes. Download it here or tune in to this Friday at 9 am and/or pm.

1. Trio, "Anna - Letmeinletmeout"

2. Crash Street Kids, "Little Girls"

3. Dogmatics, "Drinking By the Pool"

4. Big Dipper, "She's Fetching"

5. DUmptruck, "Back Where I Belong"

6. Close Lobsters, "Just Too Bloody Stupid"

7. Translator, "Everywhere That I'm Not"

8. Liquor Giants, "Over the Hill"

9. The Nuisances, "Brown Eyed Girl"

10. Windbreakers, "Just Fine"

11. The Ticks, "Waiting On You"

12. Flesh For Lulu, "Postcards From Paradise"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Ledge, Episode 14: Alex Chilton Tribute

Instead of a greatest hits set, on epiosde 14 of The Ledge I've gathered a hodge-podge of covers, side projects, and bootlegs to tell the story of former Box Tops/Big Star leader Alex Chilton. Download it here, or tune it this Friday at 9 am/pm.

1. Alex on 120 Minutes

2. The Accelerators, "The Letter"

3. Replacements, "Nowhere Is My Home"

4. Tommy Keene, "Hey! Little Child"

5. Big Star, "I'm In Love With a Girl"

6. Wilco, "Thirteen"

7. Son Volt, "Holocaust"

8. This Mortal Coil, "Kangaroo"

9. Alex Chilton w/Teenage Fanclub, "September Gurls" (bootleg)

10. The Gores, "Nitroglycerine"

11. Tav Falco, "Come On Little Mama"

12. The Cramps, "Sunglasses After Dark"

13. Alex Chilton, "Bangkok"

14. Alex Chilton, "Volare"

15. Alex Chilton, I'm Gonna Make You Mine"

16. Big Star, "Ballad of El Goodo" (bootleg)

17. John Doe, "I'm In Love With a Girl" (SXSW Alex Tribute)

18. Chuck Prophet, "Thank You Friends" (SXSW Alex Tribute)

19. Paul Westerberg, "Alex Chilton" (bootleg)

20. Alex Chilton, "Don't Worry Baby"

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Paul Westerberg's NYT Op-ed on Chilton


Beyond the Box Tops

Published: March 20, 2010

HOW does one react to the death of one’s mentor? My mind instantly slammed down the inner trouble-door that guards against all thought, emotion, sadness. Survival mode. Rock guitar players are all dead men walking. It’s only a matter of time, I tell myself as I finger my calluses. Those who fail to click with the world and society at large find safe haven in music — to sing, write songs, create, perform. Each an active art in itself that offers no promise of success, let alone happiness.
Yet success shone early on Alex Chilton, as the 16-year-old soulful singer of the hit-making Box Tops. Possessing more talent than necessary, he tired as a very young man of playing the game — touring, performing at state fairs, etc. So he returned home to Memphis. Focusing on his pop writing and his rock guitar skills, he formed the group Big Star with Chris Bell. Now he had creative control, and his versatility shone bright. Beautiful melodies, heart-wrenching lyrics: “I’m in Love with a Girl,” “September Gurls.”
On Big Star’s masterpiece third album, Alex sang my favorite song of his, “Nighttime” — a haunting and gorgeous ballad that I will forever associate with my floor-sleeping days in New York. Strangely, the desperation in the line “I hate it here, get me out of here” made me, of all things, happy. He went on to produce more artistic, challenging records. One equipped with the take-it-or-leave-it — no, excuse me, with the take-it-like-I-make-it — title “Like Flies on Sherbert.” The man had a sense of humor, believe me.
It was some years back, the last time I saw Alex Chilton. We miraculously bumped into each other one autumn evening in New York, he in a Memphis Minnie T-shirt, with take-out Thai, en route to his hotel. He invited me along to watch the World Series on TV, and I immediately discarded whatever flimsy obligation I may have had. We watched baseball, talked and laughed, especially about his current residence — he was living in, get this, a tent in Tennessee.
Because we were musicians, our talk inevitably turned toward women, and Al, ever the Southern gentleman, was having a hard time between bites communicating to me the difficulty in ... you see, the difficulty in (me taking my last swig that didn’t end up on the wall, as I boldly supplied the punch line) “... in asking a young lady if she’d like to come back to your tent?” We both darn near died there in a fit of laughter.
Yeah, December boys got it bad, as “September Gurls” notes. The great Alex Chilton is gone — folk troubadour, blues shouter, master singer, songwriter and guitarist. Someone should write a tune about him. Then again, nah, that would be impossible. Or just plain stupid.
Paul Westerberg, a musician, was the lead singer of the Replacements.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Alex Chilton, RIP

Just heard the news, and am in tears.

By Jody Callahan, Bob Mehr
Updated Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pop hitmaker, cult icon, and Memphis rock icon iconoclast Alex Chilton has died.
The singer and guitarist, best known as a member of '60s pop-soul act the Box Tops and the '70s power-pop act Big Star, died today at a hospital in New Orleans. Chilton, 59, had been complaining of about his health earlier today. He was taken by paramedics to the emergency room where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death is believed to be a heart attack.
His Big Star bandmate Jody Stephens confirmed the news this evening. Chilton had been scheduled to perform with Big Star on Saturday as part at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.
The Memphis-born Chilton rose to prominence at age 16, when his gruff vocals powered Box Tops massive hit “The Letter.” The band would score several more hits, including “Cry Like a Baby” and “Neon Rainbow.”
After the Box Tops ended in 1970, Chilton had a brief solo run in New York before returning to Memphis. He soon joined forces with a group of Anglo-pop-obsessed musicians, fellow songwriter/guitarist Chris Bell, bassist Andy Hummel and drummer Jody Stephens, to form Big Star.
The group became the flagship act for the local Ardent Studios' new Stax-distributed label. Big Star’s 1972 debut album, #1 Record met with critical acclaim but poor sales. The group briefly disbanded, but reunited sans Bell to record the album Radio City. Released in 1974, the album suffered a similar fate, plagued by Stax’s distribution woes.
The group made one more album, Third/Sister Lovers, with just Chilton and Stephens — and it too was a minor masterpiece. Darker and more complex than the band’s previous pop-oriented material, it remained unreleased for several years. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine would name all three Big Star albums to its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
In the mid-'70s Chilton began what would be a polarizing solo career, releasing several albums of material, like 1979’s Like Flies on Sherbet — a strange, chaotically recorded album of originals and obscure covers that divided fans and critics. Chilton also began performing with local roots-punk deconstructionists the Panther Burns.
In the early '80s, Chilton left Memphis for New Orleans, where he worked a variety of jobs and stopped performing for several years. But interest in his music from a new generation of alternative bands, including R.E.M. and the Replacements, brought him back to the stage in the mid-'80s.
He continued to record and tour as a solo act throughout the decade. Finally, in the early '90s, the underground cult based around Big Star had become so huge that the group was enticed to reunite with a reconfigured lineup.
The band, featuring original member Stephens plus Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow of the Posies, continued to perform regularly over the next 16 years. Big Star became the subject of various articles, books and CD reissue campaigns, including the release of widely hailed box set, Keep an Eye on the Sky, released last year by Rhino Records.
Chilton is survived by his wife, Laura, and a son Timothy.

The Ledge, Episode 13: 90's Minneapolis

Concluding the two-part series of Minneapolis music, episode 13 is all 90's music. Click on the link on the left to subscribe, or download it here. You can also hear it aired on at 9 am and pm this Friday.

1. Babes in Toyland, "He's My Thing"

2. Replacements, "Kissing in Action"

3. Bash and Pop, "Fast and Hard"

4. Grant Hart, "Think It Over Now"

5. The Sycamores, "GLM (Good Looking Man)"

6. Draghounds, "Boiling Point"

7. Honedogs, "Rumor Has It"

8. Jayhawks, "Waiting For the Sun"

9. Golden Smog, "V"

10. Hang Ups, "The Entry"

11. God's Favorite Band, "1st and 7th"

12. Zuzu's Petals, "Jackals"

13. The Leatherwoods, "Proof Positive"

14. Lifter Puller, "Let's Get Incredible"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Ledge, Episode 12: 80's Minneapolis

For the 12th episode of The Ledge, we head back in time 20 years to the most magical music scene of the decade. Yes, I'm talking about Minneapolis. To listen, head to or download it at here! Oh yeah, and The Ledge is broadcast on Realpunkradio at 9 am and pm every Friday.

1. Husker Du, "Green Eyes"

2. Suicide Commandos, "Burn It Down"

3. The Hypstrz, "6654321"

4. Loud Fast Rules, "Black and Blue"

5. Curtiss A, "Land of The Free"

6. Suburbs, "Cigarette in Backwards"

7. The Phones, "Modern Man"

8. The Replacements, "Johnny's Gonna Die"

9. Soul Asylum, "Sometime to Return"

10. Run Westy Run, "Circle of Joy"

11. The Magnolias, "Shirley's Looking Down"

12. Surprise Bonus Track

13. Trip Shakespeare, "Toolmaster of Brainerd"

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Ledge, Episode 11: The 90's

Angered by the awful and narrow playlist of Sirius' 90's alt-rock station, Scott has gathered some of his favorite songs from that decade. Listen to it on Friday on or download it here:

1. The Replacements, "Someone Take the Wheel"

2. The Pixies, "Velouria"

3. Frank Black, "I Heard Romona Sing"

4. Superchunk, "Slack Motherfucker"

5. Archers of Loaf, "Web In Front"

6. Supersuckers, "Creepy Jackalope Eye"

7. Rocket From the Crypt, "Ditch Digger"

8. Guided By Voices, "I Am a Scientist"

9. Pavement, "Summer Babe (Winter Version)"

10. Rev. Horton Heat, "Wiggle Stick"

11. Afghan Wigs, "Turn On the Water"

12. Rancid, "Salvation"

13. Face to Face, "Disconnected"

14. Uncle Tupelo, "Chickamauga"