Monday, November 28, 2011

The Church Temperature Drop in Downtown Winterland

This is an EP that I looked for, years ago, to no avail. A rarity and a treasure in its own right, this EP was deleted in the early 1980s and I reconstructed it through the purchase of The Church's very, very excellent Hindsight album. The track titled "The Golden Dawn" was the B-side that appeared on that compilation, along with a few others.

Temperature Drop in Downtown Winterland is a rarity for another reason--it's the only Church release to have an awful cover. Every single release by The Church has always had a fantastic cover. This one? Ugh. And whose idea was it to use that razorblade anyway? It looks like someone with the shakes went to work with a knife on the artwork. Very edgy and cool for the 1980s, and the Australian music market, but not the sort of thing that stands up very well.

Sing Songs is the penultimate EP from the Church, by the way.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The demise of the CD single has meant the demise of the B-side. Of all the bands you are ever going to hear of, the Verve were legendary for their B-sides (as well as their live performances and the quality of their four studio albums).

This is one of the singles from their second album, A Northern Soul. The cover is cryptic and busy, but features a nice slice of mid-1990s culture and New York City scenery. The work of Microdot is top notch, as always, and the conceptualization of this (and other) cover for the Verve by Brian Cannon represents the best that the Britpop era had to offer. Michael Spencer Jones did a lot of the Oasis stuff as well; his work is timeless. He can capture the style of a band better than anyone.

History is one of the greatest songs of the last fifty thousand years. That is not hyperole; it just is.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Love and Rockets Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven Covers

This was certainly not the sort of thing you would expect to be dated all the way back to the year 1985. This is not "Eighties music" and this is not the sort of plastic throwaway stuff they made by the dumpster load back then. This is special music.

All of the Love and Rockets albums are special. This, being the first, is where they left Bauhaus and all of their side projects in the dust and created something that has stood the test of time. I dare you to put this on and not hear how relevant and immediate it is to listen to now. It is a timeless record, this Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven. There is tension and suspense in these songs, and they expand and drive away with the plot. What a band. And what a courageous move they made, abandoning the gothic imagery and going forward with their subsequent releases. Love and Rockets never made the same album twice, and every one of them was made on a dare with no safety net.

These covers are for the reissue and the re-release. The original, if I'm not mistaken, was a simple blue affair with the heart and rocket logo and the name stamped on the front.

This will lead to blissful, repeated listening.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


The Church. Live. With an orchestra. Amazing.

How Does Canon Blue Get Away With Ripping Off The Cure?

I realize that there are few, if any, preciously original artists anymore, but when I previewed this video and track, I was struck by how blatantly it ripped off The Cure.

Have we now gotten to the point where people are encouraged to do this sort of thing in lieu of being original and creative?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It's Their Song, Not Yours

The band known as the Smiths has not existed since 1987. In the 24 years since then, there have been many ups and downs for singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr, as well as for the other two members of the band. They have had legal differences over royalties and things of that nature; Morrissey's experiences as a solo artist have not been pleasant when it comes to getting paid what he is owed for his recordings.

Having said that, I'm not so sure that this is being done entirely for the money. The ice thawed earlier this year and the Stone Roses reformed. Once that's all said and done, is there anyone who doubts that Morrissey and Marr won't get back together? I'm sure it's in the works and I'm sure that it will be huge.

If not, oh well. The music business is very tough on artists. Not everyone ends up rich and happy. Not everyone gets paid what they are worth. Given how broken the system of rewarding and paying artists is right now, why not keep the music alive by getting it out there in an advertisement?

It's their song. It's not your song. And they are free to do whatever they want with their songs. End of story.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Replacements The Shit Hits The Fans Cover

I believe that I first saw this as a cassette release, and I was an unimpressed then as I am now with it. Well, impressed is the wrong word. I love the Replacements, but I wish they hadn't evolved into a joke that collapsed in on itself.

This is the essence of the "hey, let's fail" side of the band (never mind that the "hey, we need to remix this album so it'll sell" side emerged just a few years later) just before they threw Bob Stinson out of the band for being one of the four members of the band. No American band ever worked harder at sabotaging itself than the Replacements. Many tried, but few achieved what this release represented--one drunken night playing whatever song they could remember. Who, in their right mind, would segue from "Takin' Care of Business" to "I Will Follow" to "Jumpin' Jack Flash" to "Radio Free Europe?" I could never figure that out. That's pretty much the history of rock and roll right there.

Anyway, this is the Twin Tone CD release. I don't know if the quality improves on CD. It was fine on cassette, and it was great to hear it about once or so.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Why Would Anyone Hack Into the Life of Alan McGee?

Alan McGee will probably have to get in line to file his lawsuit against News International.

I realize that he was, and to some extent, still is, a leading figure in the music industry in Great Britain, but I would be shocked to find two or three random Americans who know who he is. I say this not to detract from McGee, but to say, "really? Why'd you hack into his life?"

McGee speculates that they were after stuff from Courtney Love. And who the hell ever cared about Love?

The News of the World had a lot of time on its hands, apparently.

The Original Old Sorehead

I have held a civil tongue for about as many days as I can handle. In a week, no one will speak of or remember Andy Rooney. The old sorehead worked for thirty years past his own expiration date. Whoever thought it was a good idea to keep him around didn't count on him living into his nineties and working as long as he did. Good riddance to him. His schtick was that of a hater of all things that most people didn't care about. His writing was tired and without inspiration. His persona was that of a small-town grandpa who hates kids and sets things on fire just because no one will stand up to him. And for this, he made a living? Good luck finding that gig now.

The reason why people read or listened to Rooney was for the sheer pleasure of hearing or seeing or reading something that someone should never have bothered to write, say, or do. He was the original Seinfeld. Yes, you observe something and you think you have a point. Great. Now, can we have our Sunday evening back? Thank you very much.

Rooney was, for all intents and purposes, a crank with a mean streak. He didn't like anyone or anything unless it came with a dollar in its hand or something for him to ram down his gullet. He was one of the last remaining links to the post-World War II elitism of modern American journalism. You sons of bitches better get off his lawn. That crazy old drunk has money and a gun, and he always made like he was going to use both to settle some imaginary score with no one who gave a damn about his views on staplers or postcards or money belts. Aye, you should have crossed the street and avoided him. Millions of children will be born in the coming weeks. They will no more know Andy Rooney than they will Arthur Godfrey. That's what Andy Rooney will become. He will become Arthur Godfrey. No one will speak of him, remember him, watch him or read of him. He shall become dust.

If it was inane and useless, Andy Rooney milked it like it was a fat cow squirting liquid gold. Not everyone who survived World War II was part of the Greatest Generation. Some of those old bastards were destined to haunt us for decades, using the glory of the dead as their calling card. Rooney was one of those jackasses. Shamed into admitting that the war was justified, he did what any fool would have done and used it to try and establish his own sense of moral superiority for "having been there." A lot of men came back from that war and appreciated the beauty of life. Rooney pissed on daily life and made money cheapening and belittling every precious thing he could use as material. Had he been an infantryman, he would have appreciated the 92 years he was given. Instead, he used his life to grouse and complain about everything. Finally, the old man shuts up. Finally, we have silence. Finally, we will not have to put up with his whining.

No one will ever make Andy Rooney money doing what Andy Rooney did ever again. No more executive washroom, no more office crammed with books, no more choice piece of broadcasting real estate for you, sir. You're done. And now they can tear down that old eyesore and put in something without any substance, flair, or intellect and replace him just the same. Rooney came with none of those things. He chiseled his way in and stayed there, like the late Don Hewitt's personal piece of dead wood, and stayed there until death took his bloated, screaming carcass away on a donkey covered in bees and motor oil.

Yes, a donkey covered in bees and motor oil. Can I have his gig now? What, this isn't the audition? Damn.

Andy Rooney. Small-minded sorehead. Dead. We're done here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Always Fun to Hate Nickelback

Back when Creed was the band everyone loved to hate, there wasn't much you could do on the Internet to express your anger. Sure, newsgroups were fun, and then AOL chat rooms were a blast, but now? Now you go after Nickelback with an online petition.

I think that there should be a special YouTube channel that features all of Nickelback's inherent suckiness, especially that clip where they got bottled off the stage in Europe.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

This is a Job For Shaun Ryder

The History Channel has apparently gotten tired of doing World War II. I hope they are paying Ryder big bucks for this--he's worth every penny.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Don't Shoot Lou

Is there a band out there that is more constrained by their own fans than Metallica?

Whenever you wander into any discussion about Metallica, there are invariably two camps. There are people who just like them and don't care what they do and then there are people who believe that the band's last decent album was ...And Justice For All and don't want to hear anything past that, forever locking them in the place and time in which they arbitrarily "killed" the band.

What is really shocking is to hear that people have such strong feelings for Lou Reed. The commercial indifference that would have met his latest release, had he not worked with Metallica, is out of proportion to his genius. But, by expanding his horizons and, by association, that of Metallica, he seems to have stepped into it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Psychedelic Furs Debut Album Covers

There are a lot of things to like about this release, which was the first proper Psychedelic Furs album. It is an essential, classic album and what you have here is the reissue package, not the original.

Making perfect use of pink and black and blurry lines and punk aesthetics, it's hard to believe just how late to the party they were. Released in 1980? Punk was almost dead and buried for the second time by then. Why, they were new wave, not punk, right? Or did they find a unique path between the two?

I own the original 12" release of Sister Europe, and while it never seemed punk to me, it did seem to have all of the attitude and sensibility of a punk band, but played through a more confident and self-aware filter. There's no reason to reach for labels. Reach for the rest of the catalog and enjoy.