Friday, September 27, 2013

Live Ledge #126: 1988

1988 is a very overlooked year. It's a year that saw alternative rock make commercial inroads, Mudhoney kick starting the grunge movement, and a number of brand new bands that helped bring about the commercial punk movement of the following decade. Tonight's show covers that great year, along with some commentary from Scott about last week's Big Brother Gossip Show interview with contestant Amanda Zuckerman.
To hear this episode, please check out the usual online spots (itunes, stitcher, etc.), or...


1. Dinosaur Jr, Freak Scene
2. Camper Van Beethoven, Eye Of Fatima (Pt. 1)
3. Graham Parker, Don't Let It Break You Down
4. Robyn Hitchcock, Balloon Man
5. Billy Bragg, Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards
6. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Mercy Seat
7. Bongwater, David Bowie Wants Ideas
8. The Flaming Lips, Hari-Krishna Stomp Wagon
9. The Dead Milkmen, Punk Rock Girl
10. Joe Strummer & Latino Rockabilly War, Nefertiti Rock
11. Pixies, Levitate Me
12. Social Distortion, Prison Bound
13. The Lemonheads, Sad Girl
14. The Fall, Victoria
15. Accelerators, The Letter
16. Adolescents, Instant Karma
17. Naz Nomad & The Nightmares, Kicks
18. Soul Asylum, Chains
19. The Replacements, Cruella DeVille
20. The Junk Monkeys, One More Drink
21. Flour, Love
22. Fugazi, Waiting Room
23. Operation Ivy, Yellin' In My Ear
24. Mudhoney, Touch Me I'm Sick
25. Naked Raygun, Soldier's Requiem
26. ALL, Just Perfect
27. Alice Donut, Tipper Gore
28. The Mr T Experience, Kenny Smokes Cloves
29. Bad Religion, Land Of Competition
30. Untamed Youth, Pabst Blue Ribbon
31. Sonic Youth, Teen Age Riot

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Walking Rock Alphabet: W

I’m a little late getting this one written, as I try to blog as soon as possible after my little journeys around the neighborhood. It’s hot out today, though!!! 84 degrees at 6 PM, so I needed some time to rehydrate and shower.
Unlike most of the last few letters, today’s choice was pretty easy. I became a Whiskeytown fan the moment I heard their debut album, Faithless Street. One of the leaders of the post-Uncle Tupelo time where it looked like rootsy alt-rock may actually become a commercial movement, Whiskeytown at times rocked the hardest. “At times” is the key words, though, as one moment they could recapture the greatness of Gram Parsons, but they could also be as middle-of-the-road poppy as Fleetwood Mac.
The key to the band was their troubled yet charismatic leader, Ryan Adams. Few writers are as prolific as Adams; even fewer showcased such serious ADHD. He really was the alt-country Paul Westerberg, capable of making you tear up with his ballads yet destroy your belongings with the rockers, Adams’ inability to make it commercially was mainly due to the fact he was his own worst enemy.
Oh, who am I kidding. There’s one major difference between Adams and Westerberg. Ryan is just too, precious. He’s a diva. Westerberg has spent a career just shrugging at his musical missteps; Adams usually throws a fit. He’s had a history of calling journalists late at night complaining about a review. He’s made the tabloids with drunken idiocy.
I’m digressing, though. Let’s get back to my walk, and my choice of the second Whiskeytown album, Strangers Almanac. Simply put, it’s a masterpiece, and may be the greatest album of the alt-country movement. It’s everything good about Adams thrown into a blender, combining elements of the Replacements energy, Exile on Main Street-ish Southern country soul, and the heartbreak of the already-mentioned Gram Parsons at his best.
Besides the songs, it’s perfectly produced. It’s lush when it needs to be, and bare bones at others. It has a live feel to it, particularly in the little guitar pieces that jump in and out of the mixes, but it’s not sloppy.
Why this record didn’t push the band to a higher profile is beyond me. It must be because I love it so much. Anyway, it did push me to go farther today than I’ve gone all summer...and I’m now exhausted. Anybody got a whiskey for me?

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Walking Rock Alphabet: V

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Go ahead and bitch. I deserve it. It’s been way too long since my last rock and roll walk, which was way too long after the previous one.
Sorry, it’s been a busy summer. Way too busy. Between my side job and my non-paying other project, I had little time on my hands. I even missed all three Replacements reunion shows, including last Saturday’s that concluded with the old instrument exchange gimmick. You don’t know how much this broke my heart.
Yet I have to admit that I accomplished a few things during this time. I had a few article in the Argus that I’m sort of proud of writing, even if the up and down nature of our live scene means that one week I’m talking to a Beatles tribute band and the next it’s some bubblegum country morons.
There’s also the podcast devoted to Big Brother that I did every week with my wonderful pals, Colette and Mike. In fact, our latest one, an interview with cast member Amanda Zuckerman, saw downloads and streams of over 1.6 million in just one day! Yep, we’re currently number four in the TV and Film category in iTunes, just below shows by NPR and Grantland. I’m shocked that this little show created in my bedroom has done as well as it does. Now if we could only make a few bucks off it!
Enough of that blather, let’s get down to today’s walk. Fresh off yesterday’s (somewhat) successful attempt at yoga - the Diamond Dallas Page program - I couldn’t find a reason to not head out the door. The post-work temperature was in the high 70’s, although there was a humidity level that matched it. Time to pick out an album and head out the door!
It had been so long since I walked, though, that I had to look back to where I left off. My last walk was in the “U” section, so I needed something that started with “V”. This wasn’t as easy as yo may expect, as I had previously wandered around to the Velvet Underground and the Violent Femmes.
Eventually, I found the perfect album for today’s walk. It had to be at least ten years since I listened to the Velvet Crush, so why not reacquaint myself with them today? I chose Teenage Symphonies to God, although I really could have picked anything out of their catalog. But Teenage Symphonies includes “Hold Me Up”, one of the great power pop songs of the mid-90’s.
In case you’re not familiar with them, Velvet Crush were a jangly power pop band that formed in Rhode Island in 1989. They’re one of the best at combining jangly rock with punk-influenced power pop. After recording for Creation Records, they ended up on Sony, which released Teenage Symphonies. They broke up not long after this record, but reunited a couple of years later for a few more albums.
Produced by power pop master Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Ben Folds Five, Connells), Teenage Symphonies is one of those albums that somehow combines a ton of influences into one punchy album. There’s a bit of Brian Wilson (hence the title), along with Big Star, Byrds, Raspberries, and so much more, and covers of Gene Clark (“Why Not Your Baby”) and Matthew Sweet (“Something’s Gotta Give”) perfectly fit in as if they were originals.
Simply put, it was a great album to get back into the groove. I promise this won’t be the last you see of this series. In fact, as we’re getting to the end of the alphabet, I need some ideas. Any thoughts on how I should proceed? What do you think of utilizing a band’s entire catalog? Would that get too narrow of a topic? If not, which band should I do? Not the Replacements, though, as that would be too obvious. Let me know what you think would work!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Live Ledge #125: The Clash

Last Tuesday's release of the Clash's Sound System box set has me listening to almost nothing but "the only band that matters", so it's only natural that tonight's show is devoted to them. Instead of just playing two hours of Clash tunes, though, this episode features a number of different segments. Sure, there's some rarities from the box set, but there is so much more. There's a segment devoted to the original versions of songs that are now known primarily because of The Clash's versions. There is also a mini-set devoted to rockabilly versions, and quite a few acoustic or semi-acoustic reworkings. Of course, there are also plenty of almost note-for-note remakes by the likes of Rancid, Murphy's Law, and Face to Face.
Download this episode from the usual sources, including iTunes, Stitcher, or...


1. The Clash, This Is Radio Clash (Different Lyrics)
2. The Clash, Janie Jones (Polydor Demos)
3. The Clash, London's Burning (Polydor Demos)
4. The Clash, 1977 (Polydor Demos)
5. Vince Taylor And His Playboys, Brand New Cadillac
6. The Bobby Fuller Four, I Fought The Law
7. The Equals, Police On My Back
8. Toots & The Maytals, Pressure Drop
9. Willie Williams, Armagideon Time
10. Banjoey Ramone, White Riot
11. Billy Bragg & The Neurotics, Garageland
12. Afghan Whigs, Lost In The Supermarket
13. Cracker, White Riot
14. Tommy Stinson, Hateful
15. Jesse Malin, Death or Glory
16. Matthew Ryan, Somebody Got Murdered
17. Willie Nile, Police On My Back
18. Rancid, Cheat
19. The Mods, Clash City Rockers
20. Hot Water Music, Clampdown
21. Dave Smalley, Death Or Glory
22. Murphy's Law, Hate And War
23. Saves The Day, City Rockers
24. Face To Face, Tommy Gun
25. Die Toten Hosen, The Guns of Brixton
26. The Clash, Safe European Homes
27. The Clash, City of the Dead (Live at the Lyceum)
28. The Clash, Stay Free (Live at the Lyceum)
29. Manic Street Preachers, Train In Vain (LIVE)
30. Anti Flag, Clash City Rockers
31. The Valkyrians, Career Opportunities
32. The Carvans, Jail Guitar Doors
33. The Hyperjax, Capital Radio
34. The Farrell Bros, Janie Jones
35. The Clash, Long Time Jerk

Friday, September 06, 2013

Live Ledge #124: New Releases

Another month, another pile of new tunes to sample. After a quiet summer, the record industry is finally starting to pump out some worthwhile material. Tonight's show collects brand new music by the likes of The Suburbs, Pixies, Superchunk, Two Car Garage, Tommy Keene, and much, much more.
Plus, you get a couple of stories from that silly Hudson character, including his disastrous interview with the current record holder for the biggest country pop hit of all time. Grab this episode from the usual sources, including The Ledge app, Stitcher, iTunes, or...


1. The Suburbs, Dumb Ass Kids Si Sauvage
2. Pixies, Indie Cindy
3. Pixies, What Goes Boom
4. Superchunk, Me & You & Jackie Mittoo
5. Superchunk, Void
6. Two Cow Garage, Stars & Gutters
7. Two Cow Garage, Annie Get Your Guns
8. Tommy Keene, The Puppet
9. Tommy Keene, Let Me Dream If I Want To
10. Ty Segall, 6th Street
11. The Sharks, I Fucking Love You
12. Fat White Family, Is It Raining In Your Mouth?
13. The Connection, Wrong Side of 25
14. The Connection, Let It Rock
15. Terry Malts, Two Faces
16. Bleached, Looking for a Fight
17. The Julie Ruin, Kids In NY
18. King Khan & the Shrines, Born to Die
19. Death, Keep on Knocking
20. Death, Can You Give Me A Thrill
21. Rough Francis, Don't Look Back
22. The Replacements, I'm In Trouble
23. The Replacements, Hangin Downtown
24. Paley Brothers, Come On Let's Go (With The Ramones)
25. Mystic Eyes, She Don't Cry No More
26. The Hentchmen, Shimmy Shake
27. The Savages, The World Ain't Round It's Square
28. The Avengers, Teenage Rebel
29. Mutants, Insect Lounge
30. The Zeros, Beat Your Heart Out
31. The Bags, Survive
32. Bad Sports, Hypothetical Girl
33. The Dirtbombs, Sunshine Girl
34. Black Joe Lewis, My Blood Ain't Runnin'
35. Babyshambles, Fireman