Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rural Ledge-ucation #54: Record Store Day

Besides Christmas and my birthday, my favorite holiday of the year has definitely become Record Store Day. For one day a year (unfortunately), my local shop is filled with people almost literally fighting for the same releases. For the third year in a row, I've compiled my purchases for the day (along with some material found online) for an entire show dedicated to this special day.
Nab this sucka now via iTunes, the Ledge app, Stitcher, or


1. The Electronic Anthology Project, In A Jar
2. Graham Coxon, What'll It Take
3. Arctic Monkeys, Electricity
4. Tommy Stinson, Spork My Ears
5. Justin Townes Earle, Sneaky Feelings
6. Joey Ramone, What Did I Do To Deserve You
7. Joey Ramone, Rock 'N Roll Is The Answer
8. The White Stripes, Hand Springs
9. The White Stripes, Red Death at 6:14
10. Richard Buckner, Candy-O
11. Ryan Adams, Black Sheets Of Rain (live)
12. Lydia Loveless, Alison
13. Afrika Bambaataa, Kick Out The Jams
14. Blitzen Trapper, Hey Joe
15. M. Ward, Roll Over Beethoven
16. The Black Angels, She's Not There
17. Doomriders, Girl U Want
18. Sweet Cobra, Gates Of Steel
19. Devo, Through Being Cool
20. The Flaming Lips, That Ain't My Trip

Friday, April 27, 2012

Live Ledge #63: Gorman Bechard

Anybody who somewhat regularly listens to any of The Ledge shows is aware that Color Me Obsessed director Gorman Bechard is about to start work on a documentary on former Husker Du drummer Grant Hart. Tonight, Gorman appears on Live Ledge to chat about not only that movie but the upcoming premier of What Did You Expect? The Archer of Loaf Concert Movie. 
The Hart movie looks to be unlike any "rock-doc" ever made. Bechard describes Hart as the "Robert McNamara" of rock 'n' roll, and the plan is to utilize the method used on McNamara in The Fog Of War. The doc will be nothing but Grant Hart, as he talks about not only his side of the Husker Du story but other elements of his interesting (and sometimes tragic) life and career.

As he has on his last two movies, Bechard is utilizing Kickstarter to fund this project, and if you want to help (please do) head over to Every Everything to back what should be one of the great music movies in quite some time. The best part of Kickstarter? Every pledge has a reward, from a "thanks" in the credits to artwork and/or dinner with Grant. There's only seven days left to pledge, so head over there NOW!
To listen to the interview with Gorman, you can either a). subscribe to The Ledge in iTunes, b). download The Ledge app in the iTunes store, c), stream it on Stitcher, or...

1. David Bowie, Starman (Top of The Pops Version)  
2. The Clash, London Calling (2012 Mix) 
3. Devo, Girl U Want  
4. The Specials, Gangsters  
5. Ty Segall & White Fence, Crybaby Hair 
6. Cobra Verde, Teenage Kicks 
7. The Sunburns, Hate the World 
8. The White Wires, Just Wanna Be With You  
9. Diamond Rugs, Hungover and Horny 
10. Deer Tick, Born At Zero  
11. Waco Brothers, Great Chicago Fire  
12. Gentleman Jesse, I'm Only Lonely 
13. The Men, Turn It Around  
14. Archers Of Loaf, What Did You Expect? (Merge 7" Version) 
15. Cloud Nothings, Stay Useless  
16. Grant Hart, 2541  
17. Husker Du, Never Talking To You Again 
18. Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Heart Of The City 
19. The Replacements, Customer (Alternate Take)  
20. The Gruesomes, Unchain My Heart  
21. The Revellions, Down On Your Luck  
22. Stoneage Hearts, Rock 'n' Roll Boys Rock 'n' Roll Girls 
23. The Lonesome Savages, The Train Kepy A-Rollin' 
24. T. Tex Edwards, Have You Ever Spent The Night In Jail? 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rural Ledge-ucation #53: RIP Levon

Known for his unique, jazz-influenced drumming style and soulful Southern singing voice, Levon Helm was the heart and soul of The Band. Known for their status as the quintessential Americana band, Helm was actually the only American in the group. The rest of the band were recruited when Helm worked with Ronnie Hawkins, who relocated to Toronto shortly after he joined the band.
Most people know the rest of the story. After leaving Hawkins, "The Hawks" languished for awhile before getting a call from Albert Grossmaan, Bob Dylan's manager. They became his backing band on the infamous "electric" tours of 1965 and 1966, although Helm dropped out after a few shows due to the intense reaction against Dylan's move to rock 'n' roll.
Helm was recruited back to what was now called The Band in 1967, as they were in the midst of recording the now-legendary "Basement Tapes" with Dylan. A contract with Capitol was signed around this time, and the group recorded a number of albums before guitarist Robbie Robertson called it quits with the lavish "Last Waltz" finale.
After the demise of The Band, Helm moved into acting while also continuing to play music. The Band (minus Robbie Robertson) reunited in the early 80's, and Helm was also a member of the first configuration of the Ringo Starr and His All-Star Band touring package.
In the late 90's, Helm was diagnosed with throat cancer, and radiation treatment turned his tenor voice into a much quieter rasp. He turned his attention to The Midnight Ramble, a late-night jam session held at his home in Woodstock. These shows became a must-see, especially when guests such as Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Dr. John, and many, many others turned up to play with the man.
As his voice strengthened, Helm released a few albums in the last years of his life, highlighted by 2007's Dirt Farmer. 2009's Electric Dirt earned him an Americana Grammy in 2010. The cancer came back a few months ago, and it was on April 17 that his wife and daughter sent out a press release stating that he was in the final stages of his disease. He died the next day.
Today's show celebrates his lengthy career, from his days with The Hawks to a live collaboration with Wilco from last summer. Stream this show via The Ledge app or Stitcher, or 

RIP Levon. You will be greatly missed.

1. Levon Helm & Wilco, The Weight   
2. Ronnie Hawkins & The Hawks, Who Do You Love? 
3. Levon & The Hawks, Honky Tonk  
4. Bob Dylan & The Band, Odds And Ends  
5. Bob Dylan & The Band, You Ain't Going Nowhere  
6. The Band, The Shape I'm In  
7. The Band, Don't Do It  
8. The Band, Ophelia  
9. Neil Young & The Band, Helpless 
10. Van Morrison & The Band, Caravan  
11. Bob Dylan & The Band, Baby Let Me Follow You Down 
12. Sissy Spacek & Levon Helm, Coal Miner's Daughter 
13. Johnny Cash & Levon Helm, The Death of Me  
14. The Band, Atlantic City  
15. Levon Helm, Single Girl Married Girl  
16. Bob Dylan & The Band, I Shall Be Released 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Live Ledge #62: 3 Deaths & a Dummy

This was a pretty tragic week in rock 'n' roll, with the deaths of Dick Clark and Levon Helm. This week's show covers both of these stories, and includes some rare audio from Bandstand. Today was also the 21st anniversary of Small Faces/Humble Pie leader Steve Marriott's death, so there's also a set of Small Faces covers.
That's not all, though. Earlier this week, Gaslight Anthem leader Brian Fallon reversed his earlier opinion on The Replacements, and this audio is aired and discussed. Add to that new music from The Nomads, The Figgs, and an all-Suxtex Records set and you have one of the best Ledge episodes in quite some time.
Nab this via The Ledge android/iPhone app, stream it via Stitcher or


1. Low, Peanut Butter Toast And American Bandstand
2. P.I.L., Poptones/Careering
3. The Mekons, The Shape I'm In
4. Siouxsie & The Banshees, This Wheel's On Fire
5. The Sadies, Leave Me Alone
6. X, All Or Nothing
7. The Shimmys, Whatcha Gonna Do About It
8. The Jam, Get Yourself Together
9. Chords, Hey Girl
10. The Gaslight Anthem, I'da Called You Woody Joe
11. The Replacements, I Hate Music
12. Jawbreaker, I Love You So Much It's Killing Us Both
13. The Bouncing Souls, Man In Black
14. The Nomads, Miles Away
15. The Nomads, You Won`t Break My Heart
16. The Figgs, Chased The Day
17. Dan Vapid And The Cheats, Baby Baby Get OVer Yourself
18. T. Tex Edwards, Death Of A Clown
19. Gay Sportscasters, Derby Crush
20. Pathos, Straight Into The Sun
21. Snowbyrd, Suicidal Friends
22. Los # 3 Dinners, Can't Stop...Gotta' Rock!
23. The Magnolias, East Coast West Coast Girl
24. Nashville Pussy, Come On Come On
25. The Shods, Fuckin' Around
26. Biters, Oh Yeah (The Bitch Wants More)
27. Thee Wylde Oscars, White Light, White Heat

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

RIP Dick Clark

I have to admit I have mixed feelings on the passing of Dick Clark. Yes, like almost everybody else, he's been around my entire life (albeit in a much lesser capacity the last couple of decades). Yet he meant little to me in my early days of rock 'n' roll discovery. The late 60's/early 70's were not one of his prime periods, as the rise of supposedly serious rock made the pop stars that appeared on his show appear frivolous.
There are plenty of video clips from that time seems to prove this viewpoint to be correct. Some time in the early days of home video I obtained a compilation of Beatles TV appearances that included the American debut of the "Strawberry Fields"/"Penny Lane" videos. This was a coup for Bandstand, yet his audience wasn't too impressed with arguably the band's greatest 45 achievement. "They're ugly", says one teeny bopper, and that was the nicest statement of the segment.

Yet there's still plenty of wonderful appearances from that time period. One of the only high quality clips of Roky Erickson and The 13th Floor Elevators comes from their performance of "You're Gonna Miss Me" on Bandstand. Syd Barrett-era Syd Barrett's first American TV appearance was also on Bandstand. Outside of the biggest of the biggest stars of the time (Beatles, Stones, Who), almost any band with hopes of hitting the singles charts still found time to appear.

I also can't deny that my love of pure pop music comes from watching Bandstand during that time period...and I bet a good percentage of my later punk and garage heroes had that same experience. The reissue of Let It Be by The Replacements, for example, included an outtake of a cover of The DeFranco Family's "Heartbeat, It's a Lovebeat", and I'm sure the love of tracks like that are the result of Paul Westerberg watching those same Bandstand episodes that I couldn't miss.
As I moved away from the AM dial in the mid-70's, though, Clark's influence on my musical taste waned. While I was discovering hard rock, punk, and singer/songwriters, Bandstand was focused on KC and the Sunshine Band. Clark completely jumped on the disco bandwagon, and I had no room for that.
When disco died, however, Bandstand reverted back to a final attempt to break new ground. Power pop, new wave, and even post-punk made my hungover Saturday mornings worth waking up to witness. I vividly recall Joe Jackson sprinting around the studio lip-syncing "I'm the Man", and John Lydon not even pretending to perform P.I.L.'s "Poptones". X, Nick Lowe, The Romantics, Prince, and so many more performed on network television during a time when there were few opportunities for even the biggest acts.

It wasn't long, though, that the show reverted back to primarily dance-pop, and the rise of MTV lessened the need for recording artists to have this outlet. Since then, Clark's focus was on producing prime time shows that I had little use for, along with the annual New Year's Eve broadcast that I don't think I ever viewed.
Yes, Clark had a hand in the demise of the first wave of rock 'n' roll, and he could have (or should have) seen the end of his career during the payola scandal of the early 60's. But his sins were greatly outnumbered by the historical greatness he brought into the homes of every young person of the last 60 years. As music becomes more and more niche-oriented, there will never again be a person in the music industry with so much power. Forget about the hack jokes of his post-stroke speech impediment, and remember the music.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rural Ledge-ucation #52: Tax Deductible

Yes, I realize that this year's tax day is on Tuesday, April 17. Most years, however, April 15 is the day of sadness - the day when you have to file your taxes and quite possibly write a check you pray will clear the bank. Today's show collects tracks that unites many genres of music - it doesn't matter if you're a country, punk, blues, or mainstream rock band. You're at some point going to be upset about your taxes. Granted, The Who's whine in "Success Story" is a tad more self-serving than Johnny Paycheck or Sharon Jones, but nobody except for Warren Buffett has a smile on their face after a visit from the tax man.
I won't go over the usual drill on how to download this show, except for those that want to grab it directly from this site. In that case,


1. The Beatles, Taxman
2. Johnny Cash, After Taxes
3. Johnny Paycheck, Me And The I.R.S.
4. Todd Snider, Fortunate Son
5. The Byrds, I Wanna Grow Up to Be a Politician
6. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes
7. Robert Cray, 1040 Blues
8. Billy Bragg, Ideology
9. The Mendoza Line, Tax Me
10. The Kinks, Sunny Afternoon
11. Ten Years After, I'd Love To Change The World
12. The Who, Success Story
13. Cheap Trick, Taxman Mr. Thief
14. Talking Heads, Don't Worry About The Government
15. The Jam, Pretty Green
16. Spoon, Government Darling
17. NILS, Tax Office Incident
18. Bad Religion, Voice of God Is Government
19. The Unknowns, Tax-Deductible
20. F.U.2, Tax Exile
21. Cannibals, Axe The Tax
22. The Music Machine, Taxman

Friday, April 13, 2012

Live Ledge #61: Silly Rock News

This was a weird week in music - Courtney Love claimed Dave Grohl hit on Frances Bean Cobain, Keith Moon was invited to the Olympics, the Sex Pistols declined an Olympic performance, Axl Rose declined to appear at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, etc. etc. We covered all of those stories this week, plus so many more. The accompanying soundtrack includes brand new music by The Jesus and Mary Chain, Japandroids, and Screaming Females, along with rare and bootleg tunes by a ton of other acts. Grab this right now via the usual methods, or


1. Paul Westerberg, Make Your Own Kind of Music
2. The Damned, Neat Neat Neat
3. Patti Smith, Not Fade Away
4. Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Out Of Time
5. The Rolling Stones, Ain't Too Proud To Beg
6. Jesus And Mary Chain, All Things Must Pass
7. Japandroids, The House That Heaven Built
8. The Sunburns, Dumb Girls
9. The Hold Steady, Stay Positive
10. Slaters, Oldest Story In The World
11. The Plimsouls, Shaky City
12. The Real Kids, All Kindsa Girls
13. Primitive Souls, So it Goes
14. Hole, Boys On The Radio
15. Babes in Toyland, Bruise Violet
16. Screaming Females, Rotten Apple
17. Sex Pistols, Pretty Vacant
18. Radio Birdman, New Race
19. Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers, All By Myself
20. The Dictators, (I Live For) Cars And Girls
21. The Stems, Stepping Stone
22. Titus Andronicus, Riot Squad
23. Hoodoo Gurus, Teenage Head
24. Dead Boys, Hey Little Girl
25. The Who, Substitute
26. The Jim Jones Revue, Ain't My Problem Baby
27. The Mono Men, Mystery Girl

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Rural Ledge-ucation #51: Easter! Mitch Easter, That Is!

If you were a fan of jangly 80's college rock, the odds are that you have at least a few releases that feature Mitch Easter's name. Besides leading bands such as The Sneakers and Let's Active, Easter was the go-to guy for alternative power pop bands not only in the 80's but up to the current day. Today's show celebrates Easter by collecting some of the highlights of his production and performance career. Grab this via the usual methods, and if you utilize iTunes please leave a review, or...


1. Let's Active, Sweepstakes Winner
2. The Sneakers, Condition Red
3. The Sneakers, Decline and Fall
4. Chris Stamey, Cara Lee
5. Don Dixon, Praying Mantis
6. R.E.M., Sitting Still
7. R.E.M., (Don't Go Back To) Rockville
8. Dinosaur Jr., Whatever's Cool With Me
9. Pavement, Shady Lane - J vs. S
10. Bobby Sutliff, Always Love You
11. Tim Lee, I Wanna Believe
12. The Windbreakers, Just Fine
13. Pylon, Crazy
14. Love Tractor, I Broke My Saw
15. The Connells, Try
16. Marshall Crenshaw, Little Wild One (No. 5)
17. Mitch Easter, Valleri
18. Game Theory, I Want To Hold Your Hand
19. Mitch Easter & Angie Carlson, Kizza Me
20. Ride, Black Nite Crash
21. Kimberley Rew, Stomping All Over The World
22. The Hummingbirds, Word Gets Around
23. Velvet Elvis, When It Comes
24. Velvet Crush, Hold Me Up
25. The Mockers, More Import Things
26. Big Troubles, She Smiles for Pictures
27. Let's Active, Talking To Myself

Friday, April 06, 2012

Live Ledge #60: 1987 (Again)

A couple of nights ago, there was a Facebook conversation about the great day when the Replacements played in Sioux Falls back in 1987. That started the wheels turning, and I decided to do a show of music from that year. One problem, though. I forgot that I had already put together a show based around that subject.
After being upset at myself for a few hours, though, I decided to go through with that format once again. Hey, it was a great year for me personally...and musically. Besides other tracks from the albums I utilized back in January, there were all kinds of bands that I neglected in that episode. So here they are - from pure punk to covers to roots rock to British indie pop. Plus, your host drank wine throughout the entire show.
Download this now from the usual sources, or


1. Hoodoo Gurus, Party Machine
2. The Smiths, I Started Something I Couldn't Finish
3. The Jazz Butcher, Looking for Lot 49
4. The Wedding Present, What Did Your Last Servant Die Of?
5. The Close Lobsters, Sewer Pipe Dream
6. The Connells, Scotty's Lament
7. The Cat Heads, Hangin' Around
8. Alter Boys, One Step Ahead of the Rain
9. Bobby Sutliff, Same Way Tomorrow
10. The Jesus & Mary Chain, Some Candy Talking
11. Miracle Legion, Academy Fight Song
12. The Fleshtones, Treat Her Like A Lady
13. Pixies, Nimrod's Son
14. Saints, Just Like Fire Would
15. Scruffy the Cat, My Baby She's Allright
16. Los Lobos, Shakin' Shakin' Shakes
17. X, You
18. The Replacements, Can't Hardly Wait (Alternate Version)
19. Husker Du, Back From Somewhere
20. The Ramones, Bop 'Til You Drop
21. The Cult, Lil' devil
22. Sonic Youth, Schizophrenia
23. Dinosaur Jr, Just Like Heaven
24. Firehose, Honey Please
25. Descendents, Clean Sheets
26. Lime Spiders, Action Woman
27. D.O.A., Tackin' Care of Business
28. Hard-Ons, Then I Kissed Her
29. Angry Samoans, Somebody To Love
30. The Lemonheads, Don't Tell Yourself
31. Goo Goo Dolls, I'm Addicted
32, Butthole Surfers, Pittsburgh To Lebanon

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Ledge #89: High On Stress

It doesn't happen often, but one of the highlights of doing my shows is when I get noticed by the artists I play on Live Ledge or Rural Ledge-ucation. This actually happened a few weeks ago when I first played a track off Living Is a Dying Art, the new album by Minneapolis roots-rockers High On Stress.
Of course, I had to take advantage of this contact, and I quickly invited the band for an interview on The Ledge. A few days ago, the entire band - Nick Leet (guitar/vocals), Mark Devaraj (drums), Jim Soule (bass/backing vocals), and Chad Wheeling (guitar) - gathered together for the typical stupid questions I ask all guests. Besides talking about the band's history, the Minneapolis music scene, and their relationship with former Replacements guitarist Slim Dunlap, the band also chose the tunes for this week's show. A big thank goes out to these guys for participating in my dumb little show.
As always, there are a number of ways to hear this episode. Besides the Android/iPhone Ledge app, the show can be found in iTunes or on Stitcher, or


1. High on Stress, These Days Are Gone
2. Jets to Brazil, Sweet Avenue
3. Elliott Smith, Bled White
4. Whiskeytown, 16 Days
5. Tommy Keene, Today & Tomorrow
6. The Replacements, Color Me Impressed
7. The  Who, Substitute
8. Big Star, Thirteen
9. They Might Be Giants, Ana Ng
10. Nirvana, Lithium
11. Johnny Cash, I Walk The Line
12. The Beatles, I Saw Her Standing There
13. Foo Fighters, Everlong
14. High On Stress, Figure Eights

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Rural Ledge-ucation #50: April Americana

Today's show could have had numerous themes. It could have been an April Fool's Day broadcast, but twitter and Facebook are full of HILARIOUS puns for this day. (Ugh.) It could have also been dedicated to Cheap Trick, as the Illinois Legislature has commemorated the day for the legendary band...but I wasn't aware of this until my friend Craig told me just minutes before the show started.
Instead, today's episode is another of a series of shows dedicated to new and upcoming releases. The past few weeks (and the next couple) have been chock full of some great Americana. It's a good way to clean house a bit by playing tracks from nearly all of these albums. Do yourself a favor and actually BUY some of these discs (or files)!
As always, this show can be found at the usual online spots, or stream it via The Ledge android/iPhone app, or...


1. The Jesus & Mary Chain, April Skies (Live In Detroit)
2. Dr. John, Revolution
3. Ray Wylie Hubbard, New Year's Eve at the Gates of Hell
4. Tommy Womack, Pot Head Blues
5. Billy Joe Shaver, Ride Me Down Easy
6. Todd Snider, Brenda
7. Jay Farrar, V.D. City
8. Centro-matic, Huge in Every City
9. Rocky Votolato, Fool's Gold
10. Justin Townes Earle, Look the Other Way
11. Great Lake Swimmers, Changes With The Wind
12. Andrew Bird, Give It Away
13. The Decemberists, The Rake's Song
14. The Honeydogs, Particles Or Waves
15. Lucero, Juniper
16. Rich Hopkins and Luminarios, Friend of the Shooter
17. Moe Tucker, After Hours