Archive for May, 2013

After a bit of wikipedia meandering I came upon a page of honorary rock nicknames. Upon reaching Neil Young I was happy to see him dubbed as the “Godfather of Grunge”. I think this song earned him the title.


For the week of 5/20/2013…

“Borrowed Time” by Parquet Courts

I bought Parquet Courts’ debut album, Light Up Gold, in January and haven’t stopped listening to it since.  I’ll be writing more about it later, but for now it will suffice for me to say that you are missing out if you haven’t checked it out.  Here’s some rock ‘n’ roll music that truly feels alive to me,  perfectly capturing the dirty energy of proto-punk.

Get The Led Out

Get The Led Out

For the week of 5/13/2013…

“Sail to the Sun” by Wavves

Wavves’ latest album, Afraid of Heights, is a pop-punk record, in the early-to-mid-’90s sense of the term.  It’s derivative of Green Day, Weezer, and Nirvana, certainly, but it’s a lot of fun.  While I’ve devoted much of my music listening this week to the excellent new Vampire Weekend album, “Sail to the Sun” and a few other Wavves tracks have certainly garnered a number of plays in the car.

Anyway, here’s the music video, in which a hypocritical priest leaves work and embarks on a night of sin and debauchery.  Not the best music video, honestly, but the song makes up for it.

For the week of 5/6/2013…

“How Are You?” by Cheap Trick

Since Cheap Trick are perhaps the biggest ELO fans ever to become equally famous, it’s never surprising to come across a song of theirs with a clear Jeff Lynne influence.  Among the best such songs is the upbeat “How Are You?” which is a quite brilliant pastiche of the styles of ELO, the Beatles, and Billy Joel.  The bridge in “A Day in the Life” (Paul McCartney’s part) serves as the clearest individual reference point.  Cheap Trick pull these elements together with a vaudevillian glee (and throws in a self-referential “I want you to want me”), really making it all their own to wrap up their 1978 record Heaven Tonight (except for a brief hidden track).

P.S.  Looks like Amazon is selling the golden age Cheap Trick albums for about $5 apiece.  Might be the prime time to snap up some Cheap Trick CDs…

In 1962, “Little Town Flirt” became Del Shannon’s third big hit on the American charts, after his iconic “Runaway” and the less-well-remembered but still great “Hats Off to Larry.”  Shannon’s signature falsetto plays a far smaller role in this song than in those two, but this is a great pop song nevertheless.  Electric Light Orchestra maestro Jeff Lynne was fan of Shannon’s, and, although certainly better known for his recorded Jerry Lee Lewis impressions, Lynne decided in the late ’70s to cover “Little Town Flirt.”  ELO has only a few covers in their catalogue (“Roll Over Beethoven” notwithstanding), but that doesn’t mean that they only cover songs when they can reimagine them in some way.  On the contrary, this version was a pretty faithful cover.

Last year, the Intelligence, a group of San Francisco garage-rockers, covered “Little Town Flirt” on their latest album, Everybody’s Got It Easy But Me.  They learned the song from the ELO version.  Frontman Lars Finberg, well aware of his limitations as a vocalist, recruited one Shannon Shaw to contribute lead vocals.  The resulting cover sounds kind of like a duet between ’50s rockabilly star Wanda Jackson and Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh… which, strangely enough, turns out to be a good thing.