Sunday, December 30, 2012

Rural Ledge-ucation #83: Brand New Year

The 2012 clock is nearing its final hours, minutes, and seconds, and I guess it is inevitable that I would produce a show commemorating such a moment. As an overrated hippy guitarist once (kind of) said, "what a long, strange trip it's been". There's been plenty of weirdness and way too much tragedy.
Yet, some good things have happened in the last 12 months. New friendships have flourished, as have new discoveries in music, TV, film, books, etc. etc. Life is full of strange episodes, so why not celebrate with another strange Scott Hudson music compilation?
Find this at the usual online spots, or...


1. Jimi Hendrix, Auld Lang Syne
2. The Bottle Rockets, Brand New Year
3. Todd Snider, Happy New Year
4. Chuck Prophet, New Year's Day
5. Ray Wylie Hubbard, New Year's Eve at the Gates of Hell
6. Otis Redding, New Year's Resolution
7. Van Morrison, Celtic New Year
8. Tom Waits, New Year's Eve
9. The Mountain Goats, This Year
10. Liquor Giants, Happy New Year
11. Camera Obscura, Happy New Year
12. The Breeders, New Year
13. Madder Rose, Happy New Year
14. Billy Joe Shaver, Live Forever
15. Paul Westerberg, Live Forever
16. Rolling Stones, Salt Of The Earth
17. The Bottle Rockets, Another Brand New Year

Friday, December 28, 2012

Live Ledge #94: Janitor Bob

So the secret is now out. I am going to be doing some freelance music writing for the Argus Leader. It's been quite a few years since I've been a "real" writer, so I'm nervous AND excited about this new development.
My first assignment? To interview my friends in Janitor Bob, who will be playing at the Convention Center in Sioux Falls on New Year's Eve. Yesterday (December 27), the article was published, and tonight two members of the band, Martin Dill and Pat McIntyre, returned to The Ledge studios for a full-length interview. They even brought a few extremely rare practice and live recordings, which peppered their hour-long appearance.
Inspired by the prospects of having some locals on the show, the rest of the broadcast featured nothing but Sioux Falls music. Commencing with the legendary Myron Lee, we traveled through the various bands hosted by Rich Show and Dave Scarbrough, and even included a band that featured two Live Ledge chat regulars. Some time in the near future I want to do a full-length history of Sioux Falls rock and roll.
Oh yeah, to close the show there's a very special rare track from what is arguably the biggest concert in Sioux Falls history.
A special thanks to Martin and Pat for wasting their time hanging out on this dumb little show, which you can find in iTunes, Stitcher, or on The Ledge android/iPhone app. Or, you can...


1. Janitor Bob And The Armchair Cowboys, Happy Song
2. Janitor Bob And The Armchair Cowboys, Good For Me
3. Janitor Bob And The Armchair Cowboys, The Very Best Thing
4. Janitor Bob And The Armchair Cowboys, Taste of Goodbye
5. Janitor Bob And The Armchair Cowboys, Shadows and Shine
6. Myron Lee & The Caddies, Homicide
7. Myron Lee & The Caddies, Aw C'mon Baby
8. Dale Gregory & The Shouters, Did Ya Need to Know
9. No Direction, Getting it On with Trudy
10. Flag With Hank, Don't Look My Way
11. Violet, So Lonely
12. Ill Bill and the Spinal Chills, Play With Me (Jean-Anne)
13. The Harvesters, Sense of Style  
14. The State Birds, Hello Mr. Sunday
15. Government Center, Can't Hardly Wait
16. The Habitual Groove of It, Just Another Little Problem
17. Naked Ted, Nothing to Say
18. The Inspectors, Let's Talk About Girls
19. AC/DC, Johnny B Good (07-07-1979 Sioux Falls, With Cheap Trick)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Rural Ledge-ucation #82: Christmas Eve Eve

Friday's show was for the after-Christmas festivities. You know, the part of the holiday where all of the relatives have either gone home or to bed, and the real fun commences. Well, today's show is the perfect soundtrack for your time with the family. It's much more laid back, consisting of blues, Americana, singer/songwriter tunes, country, and other tracks of that type. Most importantly, it's not the easy listening pap that plagues this great day.
So you HAVE to download this from the various services, or...


1. Dropkick Murphys, The Season's Upon Us
2. The Decemberists, Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas)
3. Guadalcanal Diary, Kumbayah
4. Paul Kelly, How To Make Gravy
5. Scott Miller, Yes Virginia
6. Mark Lanegan, We Three Kings
7. Jimmy Reed, Christmas Present Blues
8. Titus Turner, Christmas Morning Blues
9. Chuck Berry Christmas
10. Eddie Cochran & The Holly Twins, I Want Elvis For Christmas
11. Jerry Lee Lewis, I Can't Have A Merry Christmas Mary (Without You)
12. Baby Jane And The Blenders, You Trimmed My Christmas Tree  
13. Kay Martin & Her Body Guards, I Know What You Want For Christmas
14. Loretta Lynn, Gift of the Blues
15. Sabres, A Cool Cool Christmas  
16. Paul Bain, Santa Claus Boogie  
17. Danny Barnes and Thee Old Codgers, All Alone For Christmas
18. Evan Johns And His H-Bombs, Please Mr. Santa Claus
19. Clyde Lasley & The Cadillac Baby Specials, Santa Came Home Drunk
20. Buffalo Killers, Secret Santa
21. Otis Gibbs, Crap For Christmas

Friday, December 21, 2012

Live Ledge #93: Christmas

Once again, I ignore the overly-sentimental pap that the "normals" call Christmas music and have compiled two hours of (primarily) noisy pounders. Granted, more than a few of these tracks are profrane. Some are even downright blasphemous. If that type of stuff offends you, I doubt if you listen to any of the Ledge shows anyway.
Here's what I want all of my listeners to do with this broadcast. After you have endured the family gatherings on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day, pull out that bottle of whiskey, rum, or vodka. Or pour yourself some wine. Cheap beer is ok, too. Just fill it up, turn on this episode, and jump around the room. It will be your best Christmas in years!
Grab this "collector's item" from the normal online locations, or...

1. The Pogues, Fairytale Of New York  
2. Graham Parker & Nona Hendryx, Soul Christmas  
3. Paul Westerberg, Always In A Manger 
4. Matthew Ryan, It's Christmas Time 
5. Mark Lanegan, Burn The Flames 
6. The Kinks, Father Christmas 
7. Vice Squad, Merry Xmas Everybody 
8. The Yobs, Another Christmas  
9. Sonics, Don't Believe In Christmas  
10. Sonics, Santa Claus  
11. Bantam Rooster, Let's Just Fuck For Christmas  
12. Angry Snowmans, Richard Hung His Sock  
13. Tied For Last, Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas)
14. The Mansfields, Broke On Christmas Again 
15. Hillbilly Casino, Blue Suede Santa  
16. Thee Headcoatees, Santa Claus 
17. Rocket 455, Santa Ain't Coming for Christmas  
18. The Ramonas, Santa's Got A GTO  
19. Brainless Wonders, Revenge Of Santa
20. The Atoms, Merry Xmas (It's Almost Summer) 
21. The Lemonaids, (We Can't) Party At The Beach  
22. The Renfields, Black Christmas
23. Jukebox Zeros, Christmas In The City (Ain't Too Pretty) 
24. The Bloody Muffs, We Wish We Were Drunk (For Christmas)
25. IDFK, Merry Christmas I Have Mono  
26. The Kobanes, Lonely Xmas  
27. The Morgendorffers, Happy Holidays (Rot In Hell) 
28. The Barbecuties, (It's Gonna Be A) Rock'n'roll Christmas Party (This Year) 
29. Johnny Madcap & The Distractions, A Very Merry Christmas  
30. The Lolligaggers, A Lolligagger Christmas 
31. The Nimrods, A Nimrod Christmas  
32. Jacobites, Teenage Christmas   
33. The Emersons, Merry Fuckin' Christmas Baby 
34. Flanders 72, Christmas Is Coming 
35. The Cock Blocks, Bad Santa  
36. Jabberjaw, Rudolf The Punk Rock Reindeer 
37. Toxic Candy Bars, Creepy Santa  
38. The Scutches, Christmas  
39. The Prozacs, No Christmas This Year 
40. The Killer Wigs, Last Year At Xmas 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hudson's 2012 In Review

Here’s my issue with this year’s best album list. While there’s a treasure trove of excellent albums that were released this year, there weren’t any that stood out on a level higher than those below them. Whether it was Westerberg’s Folker, Hold Steady or Arcade Fire’s albums, various Wilco albums, or even the one-off debuts that were the highlights of previous years, this year saw nothing of that sort. The distance between this year’s top-charter and number forty is miniscule. You could almost turn my list upside down and it could be what I’d decide tomorrow. I almost should leave the top ten spots blank, and begin the list with number eleven.
Oh well, I still managed to come up with what I feel is a strong collection of releases, particularly if you enjoy bubblegum pop melodies surrounded by fuzzy guitars, recorded on what appears to be an aging cassette deck or boom box. Yes, it’s a year of lo-fi pop, at least in my household. 
What is probably shocking to most of my friends it the lack of quite a few so-called legends who put out records that were greatly hyped in the music media. Yet outside of Bob Dylan and a few others, I saw little to recommend on most of these albums. Hence, you’ll see no Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, and a few others that are topping the vast majority of top ten lists. Not that these are bad albums. I just don’t think of them as being as great as the media has led us to believe.

Top 40 Albums of 2012

40. JEFF The Brotherhood, Hypnotic Nights. Recorded in only seven days, brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall take the basics of classic rock, garage pop, and fuzzy psychedelia, and boil it down to three guitar strings and a simple drum setup that would make Ringo Starr proud. 

39. Dinosaur Jr., I Bet On Sky. Their third album since the full original lineup reunited, it’s another case of why change a format that has always worked? Yes, there are some keyboard touches here and there that would have NEVER made it onto previous albums, but this is still J. Mascis turning his guitar up to 11 and singing about losing, waiting, and lots of desolation.

38. Mark Lanegan Band, Blues Funeral. With all of the projects that features the deep growl of the former Screaming Tree leader’s vocals, it’s hard to believe that Blues Funeral is his first solo album since 2004. This is one of those album’s you put on late at night, with little to no lighting in the background. Light up a fatty, and let Lanegan help you get through the night.

37. Allah-Las, Allah-las. This is another band whose hype was initially a turnoff. I had read article after article on how this group had so perfectly recreated the 60’s “Nuggets” sound, but the couple of songs that I heard seemed to lack the intensity of that period. I finally gave it a real chance, and if you ignore the hype, this really is a great recreation of a different aspect of 60’s rock. Instead of the Music Machine, think about Love, The Byrds, or the more psychedelic side of that era’s Los Angeles sound.

36. The Mahones, Angels & Devils. Canadian celtic punk rockers, with the emphasis on the rockers part of that description, carry on with their ninth excellent album. On last year’s The Black Irish they covered The Replacements; on this record it’s Husker Du’s “Makes No Sense At All”. It’s not shocking that I would love this band...and album.

35. King Tuff, King Tuff. We’re very close to anointing a new leader of underground stoner rock, and his name is Kyle Thomas. Besides being the frontman of J. Mascis’ stoner side project, Witch, Thomas is also the leader of Sub Pop’s indie poppers Happy Birthday..and that’s just the start of his resume. King Tuff is what he calls his solo projects, and its noteworthy as a halfway point between his work in Witch and Happy Birthday.

34. The White Wires, WWIII. I’ve been a huge fan of these power pop garage rockers since WWI, and there’s nothing on third album to make me change my opinion. yes, it’s more of the same, but it’s a formula that continues to work. Why change for the sake of change?

33. Guided By Voices/Robert Pollard flurry of releases. Another year, another endless stream of Robert Pollard-related releases. All have their moments of greatness; all have their lackluster tracks. My suggestion is similar to what John Lennon once said about those upset about the breakup of the Beatles - take the best songs off each release and make one great album.

32. Aimee Mann, Living a Lie. It’s hard to believe that Mann has been writing and recording music for close to thirty years, as her first album in four years has the youthful energy of a newcomer first coming of age. 

31. Farrar/Johnson/Parker/Yames, New Multitudes. Like his former bandmate in Uncle Tupelo, Jay Farrar was approached a few years ago by the estate of Woody Guthrie to record a batch of unreleased Guthrie songs. Not wanting to be compared to Jeff Tweedy, he passed at the time, but finally relented to collaborate with the leaders of Centro-Matic (Will Johnson), Varnaline (Anders Parker), and Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket). Farrar’s decision to focus on songs that Guthrie wrote during his earliest years in Los Angeles gives this album a definite focus and theme.

30. Gentleman Jesse, Leaving Atlanta. It’s been four years since the Atlanta power pop band’s debut record, and they’ve been greatly missed. Any fan of the likes of Elvis Costello, Paul Collins, or Nick Lowe should be impressed by the pop hooks the pervade each and every one of the album’s 13 songs.

29. Mind Spiders, Meltdown. Sort of like Cloud Nothings, the second album from leader Mark Ryan’s project is the first to feature a full band. Yes, this is another hook-laden collection of garage rock power pop.

28. Lucero, Women & Work. Another year, another great Lucero album. Recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, this wonderful band combines Americana, punk, and classic Memphis soul. 

27. The Orwells, Remember When. Chicago high schoolers, obviously well-schooled in the Ramones and Replacements, are already on their fifth album. It’s noisy, it’s snotty, and it’s exactly the kind of guitar noise that 17 year-olds should be producing instead of laptop-oriented, catchphrase garbage.

26. Cheap Girls, Giant Orange. Produced by Against Me leader Laura Jane Grace, Cheap Girls’ third full-length album may be their strongest collection of garage-rock to date. Sure, it’s heavily indebted to 80’s college rock, but what’s wrong with that?

25. Howler, America Give Up. The Minneapolis album of the year, led by 19 year-old former Total Babe guitarist Jordan Gatesmith. Take a bit of the Libertines, add some surf-ish guitar and pop hooks, and you have a new band with a great future.

24. Father John Misty, Fear Fun. I did my best to stay away from the trendy indie-Americana album of the year. Fleet Foxes, where “Father John” used to toil as drummer, bored me, and the legend of this album being created while on a lengthy acid trip didn’t inspire any enthusiasm. Yet, Joshua Tillman (his real name) does have seven earlier releases to his credit, and this album’s recreation of the classic Laurel Canyon folk-rock sound actually does live up to the hype.

23. Jimmy Cliff, Rebirth. Definitely the comeback of the year (except for Mr. Mould and Redd Kross) as this reggae legend’s first album in over seven years is also his best in decades. Sympathetic production from Rancid’s Tim Armstrong, this album contains a number of great originals, along with some fabulous covers of Rancid’s “Ruby Soho” and The Clash’s “Guns of Brixton”.

22. The Babies, Our House On the Hill. What initiated as a side project may very well become a full-time band based on the quality of this album. Kevin Morby of Woods and Cassie Ramone of Vivian Girls first came together last year in Brooklyn just to play occasional house parties, but this fantastic indie pop album is as good, if not better, than anything either of their “real” bands have ever released.

21. The Biters, It’s All Chewed Up, OK? The best description I’ve read of this band is “catchy power pop mixed with ’77 punk; imagine Johnny Thunders mixed with Cheap Trick”. Do I really need to add anything else?

20. The Jim Jones Revue, The Savage Heart. How is it possible that one of my biggest disappointments of the year still makes this list? I’ve always called this band a modern day version of LIttle Richard, based on the intensity and swagger of their first two albums. My disappointment with this album is that this template has been tempered a bit, but I can’t deny that this is still a strong set of tunes.

19. Spiritualized, Sweet Heart Sweet Light. The studio is obviously not kind to Spiritualized leader Jason Pierce, as each of the band’s seven albums seems be the cause or the result of a mental or physical breakdown. This album appears to be as gut-wrenching as the rest, as it took two years to record the album, and then another year for Pierce to mix it in his home. Luckily for us listeners, the results are always worth the wait. Maybe not for Pierce’s health, though, but for those of us who love his work.

18. Waxahatchee, American Weekend. Many thanks to Gorman Bechard for turning me on to this album. Along with hyping this album via email, twitter, and on The Ledge, I noticed as I’m researching for this list that on Amazon he proclaims this as “this is Dylan in 1963. This is the flip side of the first Replacements single in 1981.” If that’s not enough to make you want to check it out, I don’t know what will work.

17. Tim Armstrong, Time Timebomb Sings Songs From Rocknroll Theater. A year ago or so, the Rancid frontman undertook a new gig as the host and creative director of a punk-meets-Twilight Zone musical web series. This release is a collection of the tunes aired on this series, and stands proudly with his acclaimed work with his “real” band.

16. Alejandro Escovedo, Big Station. Back in 2000, No Depression Magazine listed Alejandro as their artist of the 90’s, but a case can be made for him in this decade as he is on another roll these past few years. As with 2010’s Street Songs of Love, he’s accompanied by songwriter Chuck Prophet and legendary producer Tony Visconti on this collection of tunes about the underbelly of our society.

15. Jaill, Traps. The second album by Milwaukee’s Dinosaur Jr.-loving rockers carries on the great sound that made last year’s debut such a wonderful intro to the band.

14. Jack White, Blunderbuss. I’m a bit over the whole Jack White thing. Everything he does seems to have a bit of a underlying quest for media attention. Specially-shaped vinyl, one-off singles with single-digit available copies, two interchangeable touring bands, etc. Yet I can’t deny that for the most part I still enjoy his “real” releases. 

13. Legendary Wings, Making Paper Roses. Some bands just come of nowhere to become my favorites. Kalamazoo’s Legendary Wings is one of them. I stumbled upon their debut album on a music blog, and gave them little thought until one of their tracks came up in shuffle a day or two later. Beautiful power pop with a bit of punk energy.

12. Neil Young With Crazy Horse, Psychedelic Pill. You know exactly what you get when Neil summons his old friends in Crazy Horse, and that’s exactly what you get here. Feedback-laden guitar workouts at times hit close to thirty minutes, leading one to not believe for a second that Young is well past the age of 60. One noteworthy new twist to this album is the fact that it’s his first without the crutches of booze and pot in the songwriting AND the recording phase.

11. Matthew Ryan, In the Dusk of Everything. As he said on a recent appearance on The Ledge, Ryan’s songs are all about “being human”. His newest album completes a trilogy of releases that comprise a song cycle concerning the conclusion of a romantic relationship, and its affects on the “human condition”. 

10. Mission of Burma, Unsound. With this album, the renowned Boston post-punkers have officially released more material during their second round as a band than they did during their original run. More importantly, the level of their reunion material is every bit as inventive as anything they previously recorded. 

9. Titus Andronicus, Local Business. While their first two albums were concept albums of epic proportions, their third album has no lofty aspirations. They’re just a regular band here, recording the album primarily live with only an occasional overdub. The results are a tad less revelatory from their previous albums, but I still can’t resist their call to action.

8. Chuck Prophet, Temple Beautiful. The former Green on Red guitarist thoughtfully remembers an influential San Francisco club, Temple Beautiful, and life in that city during the time of said club. Willie Mays gets a tribute song, as does the Harvey Milk/George Mascone double homicide. 

7. OFF, OFF! Another release that sees Circle Jerks/Black Flag singer Keith Morris, Burning Brides frontman Dimitri Coats, Redd Kross bassist Steven Shane McDonald and Rocket From the Crypt/Hot Snakes drummer Mario Rubalcaba partying like it’s 1982. Few songs make it past the one minute mark, but why not just make your point and conclude the song? Morris still has the passion, and we’re all the better for it.

6. Redd Kross, Researching the Blues. The comeback of 2012. Fifteen years after their last album, the McDonald brothers (Jeff and Steve) are back with their unique brand of pop culture-inspired power pop. One could argue Cheap Trick already made this record back in 1975, but doesn’t that add to the allure?

5. Japandroids, Celebration Rock. Simply put, if you enjoyed 2009’s Post-Nothing, you’ll love Celebration Rock. This duo is not a White Stripes ripoff band. Instead, they’re  sort of a modern day Replacements; a contemporary of Fucked Up. Powerful rock with catchy pop hooks.

4. Bob Mould, Silver Age. I had written off the former leader of Husker Du and Sugar. His move into rhythmic dance-inspired music wasn’t exactly marketed for my taste, and even his occasional rock tracks just weren’t as interesting as what we had come to expect from him. Not so with Silver Age, where Mould straps the guitar back on and lets it rip.

3. Bob Dylan, Tempest. What can be said about Dylan’s 35th album that hasn’t been printed in almost every publication in the world? Nothing. Just take my word that the hype is justified, and I’ll take Dylan’s phleghm-filled growl over any TV karaoke contest winner.

2. Cloud Nothings, Attack on Memory. The early Cloud Nothings releases were one-man band recordings put together in leader Dylan Baldi’s basement. Months after creating a touring band, they decamped in Chicago to record with the legendary Steve Albini. The results add clarity to the band’s sound, but doesn’t dilute the power of Baldi’s arrangements.

1. The Men, Open Your Heart. Take equal doses of the Buzzcocks, Thin Lizzy, Husker Du, and contemporaries such as Japandroids, toss them into a blender, and you have this almost pure “rawk” and roll. Nothing earth-shattering here, but good ol’ melodic hard-edged alt-rock.

Best Reissues, Compilations, Box Sets, Etc.

20. Paul and Linda McCartney, Ram. Although lambasted by critics at the time of its release, I’ve always found McCartney’s second post-Beatles album a bit charming. Sure, it’s over-produced and has its “schlocky” moments, but give me this album over any of the subsequent Wings material.

19. Moe Tucker, I Feel So Far Away. The former Velvet Underground drummer has quietly released quite a few albums and EP’s over the years. Switching to guitar, these releases have featured the help from members of bands such as Half Japanese and Sonic Youth on not only covers of her former band (and other 60’s classics) but originals that decry the rising corporate nature of rock ‘n’ roll. This double disc set compiles the highlights of a low-key life that deserves more attention. 

18. The English Beat, The Complete Beat Box Set. I’m not sure how “complete” this is, but you do get each of their albums, along with a disc of Peel Sessions and another disc of remixes.

17. My Bloody Valentine Reissues. The loudest band in rock ‘n’ roll history finally sees their entire catalog remastered. Now how about that new album you’ve been promising for almost 20 years?

16. The Lyres Reissues. The 80’s premiere garage rockers two best albums, On Fyre and Lyres Lyres, gets the remastering treatment and bonus tracks.

15. Joe Strummer, The Hellcat Years Reissues. The former Clash leader’s final three studio albums saw expanded release this year, with the usual outtakes and b-sides added to each album. Most exciting, however, is the official release of his live reunion with Clash guitarist Mick Jones at a fireman’s benefit concert just a month before his 2002 death. 

14. Archers of Loaf, What Did You Expect? DVD. Gorman Bechard’s concert film of what he calls the “best band of the 90’s” is as great as expected, so it is only natural that some of us have pulled out the audio for personal use. (Bechard recently said on Live Ledge that there are plans for an official release of the concert audio in 2013.)

13. The Plimsouls, Beach Town Confidential. Peter Case has done a great job at putting out archival live recordings in recent years, but this one may be the best to date. Recorded in 1983, this is The Plimsouls at the height of their existence, and this concert recording includes six songs not recorded anywhere else.

12. Alex Chilton, Free Again: The “1970: Sessions. Between his time in the Box Tops and Big Star, Chilton went into Ardent Studio to record a solo album. By the time any record companies expressed interest in the project, Chilton had already formed Big Star. While bits and pieces of these tracks have made it onto various compilations over the years, this is the most comprehensive collection to date.

11. Elvis Costello & The Imposters, The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook. In the 80’s, Costello did a tour that featured a wheel that fans could spin to pick the next song he would perform. A couple of years ago, he brought back this format, and this album is a sampling of the originals, rarities, and covers that were fixtures of this tour.

10. World Party, Arkeology Box Set. Five discs of demos, covers, live tracks, and outtakes from the genius of Karl Wallinger.

9. T. Tex Edwards, Intexicated! Besides being the greatest music tweeter I’ve come across, the former leader of The Nervebreakers has had quite a career since the band broke up in 1981. Intexicated! collects some of his solo highlights, including covers of Dave Davies and The Only Ones...and even a demo of a commercial he cut for the Chili’s chain.

8. Ryan Adams, Live After Death Box Set. When word came out that Ryan Adams was going to self-release a limited edition 15 LP box set commemorating his 2011 tour, the demand crashed his website. When it was restored the following week, I was one of the 500 lucky enough to get through. If you’re not one that needs multiple versions of quite a few of these songs, though, I suggest that you pick and choose from the digital version of the set.

7. Woody Guthrie, Woody at 100 Box Set. The prime influence of Bob Dylan and so many others would have turned 100 this year, and this box combines versions of his most famous tunes with rare radio performances. 

6. The Small Faces Catalog. For years, this seminal band’s catalog has been a mess. Besides the fact that they have two albums with the same name, almost all of their albums originally came out on different labels. All of their material has now been brought together, and each album has now been released as two-disc “deluxe” editions.

5. The Nervebreakers, Hijack the Radio. One of the most under-appreciated late 70’s punk bands, this new compilation combines rare tracks from singles and other studio recordings.

4. Surf Age Nuggets: Trash & Twang Instrumentals. Although not a part of Rhino’s official series of Nuggets compilations, this four-disc set compiles 100 tracks of classic late 50’s/early 60’s instrumental surf music.

3. The Velvet Underground and Nico 45th Anniversary Box Set. You can’t get more complete than this six-disc set. Mono and stereo versions of the album (with outtakes, single mixes, and other alternate versions), Nico’s solo Chelsea Girl solo album, a disc of rehearsals, and a previously unreleased live recording. Who could ask for more?

2. The Kinks At the BBC Box Set. Five discs of British radio appearances, many of which were acquired via home recordings by fans. Along with alternate studio and live recordings of their classic tunes, this box is also noteworthy for a few songs that never saw official release.

1. Rolling Stones Archive Releases. Despite their reputation as bloodsuckers trying to bleed every dollar they can from their fans, the Stones have historically been reluctant to release material from their expansive vault. In the last two years, they have quietly been putting out much of these legendary recordings, and this year alone saw a handful of concerts, a rarely-seen mid-60’s documentary, a 1981 club appearance with Muddy Waters, and even their very first recording sessions.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Rural Ledge-ucation #81: Best Reissues of 2012

This past Friday, I featured tracks from my Top 40 new release albums of the year. This morning's show is devoted to the catalog releases of the past twelve months - box sets, expanded reissues, compilations, live albums, and any other method the record companies used to convince me to purchase the same material once again.
I'll admit it's a pretty predictable list, but still worthy of a show. Tomorrow, I'll unveil the full manifesto of my year in review, but until then download or stream from the various services, or...


Note: Once again the order of play is in the opposite order of my rankings.
1. Paul McCartney, The Back Seat Of My Car
2. Moe Tucker, Too Shy (Single Version)
3. The English Beat, Save It For Later
4. My Bloody Valentine, You Made Me Realise
5. The Lyres, She Pays The Rent
6. Joe Strummer, London's Burning (Encore w/ Mick Jones)
7. Archers of Loaf, Wrong
8. The Plimsouls, Making Time
9. Alex Chilton, Jumpin' Jack Flash
10. Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Out Of Time
11. World Party, Happiness Is A Warm Gun
12. T. Tex Edwards, L.S.D.
13. Ryan Adams, Come Pick Me Up
14. Woody Guthrie, The Grand Coulee Dam
15. The Small Faces, All Or Nothing
16. The Nervebreakers, Hijack the Radio
17. The Tempests, Lemon Lime
18. The Velvet Underground, Heroin
19. The Kinks, Waterloo Sunset
20. Rolling Stones, Bright Lights Big City
21. Muddy Waters & Rollilng Stones, Champagne And Reefer

Friday, December 14, 2012

Live Ledge #92: Best of 2012

I almost didn't do a show tonight, as the tragedy in Connecticut had me kind of freaking out a bit. Plus, would anybody really care about my dumb show tonight after the more serious activity of the day?
Finally, I decided to go for it mainly so I wouldn't have to endure the redundant info and gun control fights that are going to plague TV, radio, and social media for the next few days. A twitter friend even encouraged me, saying that maybe some music will take people's minds off this stuff.
So I did just that, and even went over my two-hour limit on realpunkradio. Today's show is the unveiling of my best albums of 2012, and since there was no Mojo Workout I decided to air tracks from all forty albums instead of my usual format of fitting the tracks that work on our site.
I'll have the full-length unveiling of my list (and the accompanying manifesto) in the next few days, but the track listing will tell you all you really need to know. Sunday's Rural Ledge-ucation will be devoted to the best reissues, compilations, and other remastered material from the year. Please tune in to at 11 am EST that morning for those treats. Until then, grab this show from the usual online spots, or...


(Note: the tracks were played in reverse order of my list. You know, like a real countdown.)

1. JEFF The Brotherhood, Sixpack
2. Dinosaur Jr., Don't Pretend You Didn't Know
3. Mark Lanegan Band, The Gravedigger's Song
4. Allah-Las, Tell Me (What's On Your Mind)
5. The Mahones, Makes No Sense At All
6. King Tuff, Keep On Movin'
7. The White Wires, All Night Long
8. Guided By Voices, Class Clown Spots a UFO
9. Aimee Mann, Living A Lie
10. Jay Farrar, V.D. City
11. Gentleman Jesse, Word Gets Around
12. Mind Spiders, More Than You
13. Lucero, Women & Work
14. The Orwells, Mallrats (La La La)
15. Cheap Girls, Gone All Summer
16. Howler, Back To The Grave
17. Father John Misty, Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
18. Jimmy Cliff, Guns Of Brixton
19. The Babies, Slow Walkin
20. Biters, Oh Yea(The Bitch Wants More)
21. The Jim Jones Revue, Where Da Money Go?
22. Spiritualized, Hey Jane
23. Waxahatchee, Magic City Wholesale
24. Tim Armstrong, Just For Tonight
25. Alejandro Escovedo, Headstrong Crazy Fools
26. Jaill, Everyone's a Bitch
27. Jack White, I'm Shakin'
28. Legendary Wings, Cartoon
29. Neil Young With Crazy Horse, Psychedelic Pill (Alternate Mix)
30. Matthew Ryan, Amy I'm Letting Go
31. Mission Of Burma, Second Television
32. Titus Andronicus, Upon Viewing Oregon's Landscape With The Flood Of Detritus
33. Chuck Prophet, Play That Song Again
34. OFF, King Kong Brigade
35. Redd Kross, Stay Away From Downtown
36. Japandroids, The House That Heaven Built
37. Bob Mould, The Descent
38. Bob Dylan, Long And Wasted Years
39. Cloud Nothings, Stay Useless
40. The Men, Animal

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Walking Rock Alphabet: K

I’m back, bitches! I’m sure every single one of you that looks at these posts (which I’m sure has yet to hit double digits) assumed that fatty pig fatty Scott gave up on this little project. 
Nope. You see it is December. In South Dakota. Sane people go into hibernation around Thanksgiving, and don’t see the sun until March.
Sure, it’s been an extremely mild fall, with temps that actually hit 70 on Thanksgiving weekend. Those days are gone, though. In fact, my week away from the mean streets of southeast Sioux Falls, SD, is due to a devastating storm full of snow, strong winds, and temps that immediately froze any exposed body parts.
Ok, not really. We did get a bit of that, and I woke up two days ago to a temp of -5, but only our foolish local TV weather scaremongers would call what we had a winter storm. There’s snow on the ground and it was too cold to wander around for an hour. Plus, I’m suffering from an ear infection which has intensified the ear ringing that I blamed on the Hoodoo Gurus a few weeks ago. Trust me, it sucks to have impaired hearing (particularly last night), especially when the focus on the blog post portion of this project is the music that accompanies me.
A lot of weirdness has also gone on these past few days. One unpaid gig is gone (or at the very least, reduced), and there’s now a potential for a paid freelance project. Yes, actual money for being a loudmouth music fan! More news on that when the time is right and there’s dancing in the streets.
So today the temp was 45 degrees when I got home, so I had absolutely no reason to skip. My music choice for the day actually dates back a couple of months, when singer/songwriter Matthew Ryan was my guest on Rural Ledge-ucation. One of his playlist choices was a track from Kevin Salem’s 1994 album, Soma City. As I said to Ryan on that Sunday morning, I had completely forgotten about Salem, although this album was one of my favorite albums of that year.
I first became aware of Kevin Salem as the guitarist for the last few years of Dumptruck, a great roots-y 80’s Boston band that The New Trouser Press Record Guide described as “somewhere between Joy Division and the db’s”. When that band disbanded, Salem worked with artists such as Freedy Johnston, Yo La Tengo, Marc Cohn, and many others. 
Soma City was his first solo album, and it jumps out to a wonderful start with “Lighthouse Keeper”, a mid-tempo rocker with a hook so big that even Mike Tyson in his prime couldn’t avoid. With the exception of a couple of extended Neil Young-ish tracks, most of the rest of the album follows in a similar path. If there’s any comparison (outside of his buddy Freedy Johnston), Soma City is not unlike the best parts of Tommy Stinson’s catalog...even in his vocal style.
It’s always nice to reacquaint yourself with an old favorite, and today was no exception. I’m definitely not going to go years without listening to this again, and I plan on adding his subsequent albums to my playlist. Oh yeah, after years seemingly away from the music biz, I also noticed that he is the producer of the latest album by former Soul Coughing singer Mike Doughty.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Live Ledge #91: Gorman Bechard Interview

If there was ever a dog who could be described a rock star, it would have to be Gucci. He was the victim of horrific crimes, left for dead while on fire hanging from a tree. Doug James heard the dog's cries, and saved him. He wasn't expected to last the night, but he hung on...for sixteen years.
Unfortunately, the law wasn't on Gucci's side, and the three assailants were basically slapped on the wrists. James knew something had to be changed, and with Gucci as a living symbol that the current laws were not sufficient, the pair was able to get the state of Alabama to make domestic animal abuse a felony. "Gucci's Law" became a reality.
Color Me Obsessed director Gorman Bechard told me months ago that he has always been looking for a story about dogs to document, and here it is. Just as he did with not only Color Me Obsessed, but also the Archers of Loaf concert movie, What Did You Expect?, and the upcoming Grant Hart documentary, Every Everything, he is utilizing kickstarter to help raise funds for the project. If you want to be involved, or would like to see more information on Gucci, please check out
Bechard is on tonight's Live Ledge to talk not only about this new project, but the full slate of current projects that showcase his love of the subject. Color Me Obsessed and What Did You Expect? were just released on DVD, and the Grant Hart film is in the final stages of editing. When Gucci's movie is funded, filming will immediately proceed.
Besides the chat with Gorman, tonight's show also celebrates the birthdays of Tom Waits and Little Richard, and also commemorates two rock and roll tragedies. Yesterday marked the 43rd anniversary of the Rolling Stones' free concert at Altamont that resulted in the death Meredith Hunter, and the chaos of that moment is heard in the recordings from that show. Tomorrow is also the 33rd anniversary of the fatal shooting of John Lennon, so a short set of cover tunes finished up today's program.
Please, go check out the kickstarter site for A Dog Named Gucci, and also consider picking up Color Me Obsessed and/or the Archers of Loaf flick. To hear this show, stream it via Stitcher or The Ledge android/iPhone app, or...


1. Tom Waits, Satisfied
2. The Rolling Stones, Sympathy For The Devil
3. The Rolling Stones, Under My Thumb
4. Pipe, I'm In Trouble
5. The Mahones, Makes No Sense At All
6. Swearin', Movie Star
7. The Orwells, Mallrats (La La La)
8. Waxahatchee, Be Good
9. Archers of Loaf, Let The Loser Melt
10. The King Khan & BBQ Show, Invisible Girl
11. Little Richard, The Girl Can't Help It
12. Jerry Lee Lewis, Good Golly Miss Molly
13. Graham Parker, Kansas City
14. Jim Jones Revue, Rock N Roll Psychosis
15. Jim Reid, And Your Bird Can Sing
16. Cheap Trick, Day Tripper
17. Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs, Gimme Some Truth
18. The Mono Men, Just A Girl

Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Walking Rock Alphabet: J

I’ve been a big faildozer this week, as I haven’t made it out of the house since Thursday. It’s my own fault, although it’s been a busy week. The temps have been mild, although the wind took away any desire to wander around the neighborhood yesterday.
It’s not like I wasn’t looking forward to my next musical selection. I had made the decision to listen to some Jawbreaker many days before I came to the “J” section. In fact, I did make it out of the house on Tuesday for a few off their 24 Hour Revenge Therapy album before an important phone call sent me rushing back home.
I had picked that album because I mistakenly believed it was the record they were promoting when I saw them in 1993. The setting was Chicago, where I was spending ten days on an excruciatingly boring extended work trip. Musically, though, it was the perfect time to be there, as a glance at the calendar saw concerts by Paul Westerberg and Nirvana. Oh yeah, there was another show, as James Young from Styx had invited me to see his solo project. Some day I’ll babble about that.
You probably know my thoughts about the Westerberg show, so we’ll move on to the Nirvana gig. This was their final tour, promoting In Utero, and is now semi-famous for being the setting of the only live performance of “You Know You’re Right” (an outtake which ended up on a 2002 greatest hits compilation). 
This was my first, and only, time seeing Nirvana, who was as amazing as expected. They played pretty much everything I wanted them to play, and skipped “Teen Spirit”. The final encore culminated in the “Endless, Nameless” bonus track from Nevermind, and Kurt Cobain disappeared after stage-diving into the crowd. 
Enough of Nirvana, though. We’re here today to talk about Jawbreaker, who opened the three-band show (Mudhoney was between them and Nirvana). I wasn’t real familiar with the trio at the time, although we sold their CD’s, 7” singles, and other merchandise at Ernie’s. I was blown away, though, by their Clash-meets-Undertones poppish punk sound, though, and knew the first thing I’d do when I finally made it back home was to invest in their catalog.
I could have done just that after the gig, though. When we finally realized that Cobain wasn’t going to make it back from the audience onto the stage for another song, we tredged out of the Aragon Theatre. Right outside the front of the building, the members of Jawbreaker were selling their merchandise from the trunk of their vehicle. Apparently, the big major label stars didn’t give the band any room at the merch table (or maybe they wanted too much of their proceeds). I declined their offers, though, telling them that we actually sold their material in our Sioux Falls store. 
As I stated before, I believed that this tour was in support of 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, but their most recent album before the Nirvana gig was actually 1992’s Bivouac. For today’s walk, however, I chose their fourth and final album, 1996’s Dear You. Although the album is their major label debut, the cleaner vocals from singer/guitarist Blake Schwarzenback isn’t actually because of a higher recording budget (although the overall recording is definitely cleaner than their other releases). Schwarzenback underwent vocal chord surgery a few months before the album was released, and obviously it was successful. 
Dear You wasn’t as successful as DGC Records believed it would be, but it’s not because of the material. The album fits in well with the rest of their catalog, and songs like “Save Your Generation” and “I Love You So Much It’s Killing Us Both” is among their greatest songs. The industry that had blown open with the surprise success of band like Nirvana had moved on, though, and punk and grunge were quickly being replaced by pre-fab boy bands and overproduced corporate rock.
As stated before, Jawbreaker broke up after this release. Members went on to various other projects, highlighted by Schwarzenbach’s Jets to Brazil...which would have been another inspired choice for today’s brisk pace through the mean streets of suburban Sioux Falls.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

The Walking Rock Alphabet: I

My initial intention was to not bother with today. Between the morning’s Rural Ledge-ucation broadcast, laundry, and pure laziness, I didn’t have much desire to do anything. Plus, I’ve been putting off my end of the year lists and CD sets, and time is closing in for me to have these ready by Christmas.
The problem I’m having this year is declaring my Top 5 albums of the year. I have close to 100 releases that deserve a place on my list, but there is nothing that has set itself so far apart from the pact that it deserves to be on top. 
So as football started, I began trolling through my iTunes library to start taking notes, but then I started to feel guilty about not heading outside. Here it is December 2, and my weather app was constantly reminding me that it was 62 degrees! That’s right, September temps in December! 
Fine, I’ll make it outside, but what should I listen to? The obvious choice in the “I” section was Iggy Pop, but I wasn’t feeling it. Instead, I chose a band that received a lot of airplay last year, and who has a great name - Insomniacs. 
Unfortunately, though, I don’t have a story to tell here. Yes, the album in question, Just Enjoy It!, was a power pop fave of 2011, but I don’t really know much about them, and their online presence is pretty meager. It also doesn’t help that there is a blues band called The Insomniacs. (Even googling their name with the album title gives you more medical advice sites than music info.) 
Here’s what I do know, and believe it or not this info came from Myspace. They formed in 1989, and after a couple of singles were picked up by renowned garage rock label Estrus. They continued to release singles and full-lengths until 2004. In 2010, they reunited with a slightly different lineup, and this album is the result. 
That’s it. In fact, I didn’t discover anything about the members of the band outside of their first names. Oh yeah and the fact that Little Steven loves them and gives them plenty of Underground Garage airplay.
Let’s just say that if you enjoy Beatles-ish melodies performed with Small Faces-ish soul with power pop enthusiasm, then this is the album for you. That’s all I’m giving you tonight because I need some more coffee. And I have a load of laundry to put in. 

Rural Ledge-ucation #80: More New Finds

If Friday's Live Ledge is a new release show, you can almost bet that Sunday's Rural Ledge will follow a similar format. There's nothing but new tracks today, including brand new releases by Graham Parker, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, Lloyd Cole (with his son, Will), and many others. Strangely, there's a mini-set of songs about being cold, which makes no sense given that the first two days of December have seen record-setting high temps. Oh well. They are new tracks, so today is the day to play them.
Nothing changes as to how to get this show. You can find it in iTunes. You can play it in Stitcher. You can also get The Ledge iPhone/android app and play all the shows. Or...


1. My Morning Jacket, It Makes No Difference (Live)
2. Jesse Malin, Wendy
3. Lloyd & Will Cole, Pale Blue Eyes
4. Lloyd & Will Cole, Lost Weekend
5. Banjoey Ramone, I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
6. Minnesota, Deep Freeze
7. Tracey Thorn, In the Cold Cold Night
8. Cowboy Junkies, Fuck I Hate The Cold
9. The High Lonesome, Fish Out Of Water
10. Graham Parker, Last Bookstore in Town
11. Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, Vampire Girl
12. Mike Doughty, Running Back
13. The Pogues, Dirty Old Town
14. Bettye LaVette, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Saturday, December 01, 2012

The Walking Rock Alphabet: H

I broke my own format today with my band choice. Well, kind of. As I stated when I started this series of walking to an alphabetical list of bands, my plan was to be even more obscure than in the earlier round of alphabetical album titles. 
As I looked at my list of “H” bands, though, one group stood out. I tried to move on, but I was completely in the mood to wander around in the 55 degree temperatures with this fabulous band.
Today’s band is the Hoodoo Gurus, for my money the greatest band to ever come out of Australia. Yes, I know this very moment there’s a woman who wants nothing more than to bash me in the head with an empty gin bottle for not giving that award to her beloved INXS, but I stand by this claim.
Other friends will wonder how I put the ‘Gurus over The Saints and Radio Birdman. Well, those two bands certainly did create the “big bang” of Australian punk rock, but their careers were too short-lived to proclaim either the greatest ever (although The Saints did reunite in the 80’s for a couple of good albums). 
There’s also the legacy of AC/DC, but their standing on my list ended when original singer Bon Scott neglected to turn his head to the side when he drunkenly passed out on that fateful evening in 1980. He was replaced by what always appeared to me to be a cab driver, and they’ve just made the same album over and over ever since.
What about Nick Cave? While he is Australian, and his original band, The Birthday Party, were THE great Australian post-punk band, he formed the Bad Seeds after relocating to London. I’ve always thought of him as a British act, regardless of his original home.
Ok, enough of this. I could go on and on justifying my choice and listing other deserving acts, but let’s get on with the Hoodoo Gurus story. Singer/guitarist Dave Faulkner and drummer James Baker came from the late 70’s band The Victims, and were joined in this new band by Scientists guitarist Roddy Radaij. The first couple of years featured no bassist and three guitarists, until the lineup was solidified with ex-Fun Things guitarist Brad Shepherd and The Hitmen bassist Clyde Bramley.
After obtaining a record deal, the band went on a great run of fabulous albums. Stoneage Romeos, their debut, is a classic, but Mars Needs Guitars and Blow Your Cool aren’t far behind (plus many other great records over the years). My pick today was Mars Needs Guitars, mainly because of my desire to hear tracks such as “Bittersweet”, the garage-y raveup “Like, Wow - Wipeout”, and the bonus cover of the Flaming Groovies’ “Teenage Head”.
I actually should hold a grudge against this band, though, as they are probably the band that has caused the constant ringing in my ears. Their 1991 release, Kinky, which was highlighted by the pure power pop sound of “Miss Freelove 69” was their most straightforward rock album to date. When their subsequent tour was scheduled to hit Omaha, I immediately bought tickets. 
Our seats couldn’t have been least in the short term. The show was booked in a theater, and we had the first row in the center section, which was behind a small orchestra pit. Unfortunately for me, the band’s massive PA setup featured both towers of speakers set up at an angle that pointed directly at me! With Dinosaur Jr. sound levels pounding into me, I ultimately couldn’t hear for three days and 20 years later I still have ringing in my ears. Damn you, Hoodoo Gurus! Oh well, it’s only rock and roll...and I did love the show!