Philly Boy Roy vs. Steve-Dave

Weird podcasting coincidence today.  I have been catching up on some of my podcasts today.  I started with the November 16, 2010 episode of The Best Show on WFMU.  Philly Boy Roy called in and his call is interrupted by the mega-bass alarm on his Swatch playing a song by The Hooters.

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Scharpling and Wurster or Sound Opinions?

This is a bit from the Sound Opinions podcast, which is a great music podcast, but as I was listening to this bit I broke out laughing as it just seemed like the perfect start to a Scharpling and Wurster bit.

It actually was a somewhat interesting interview, but nothing compared to what the masters could have done. If either of Tom Scharpling or Jon Wurster see this, I offer it up as a request, though I assume you do not take requests.

Ted Leo and the Phunnyists

I wasn’t going to post about this, but I have to.  Too many funny things going on with the new video from Ted Leo and the Pharmacists.

If you read the not-so-brief history of a punk guy post from Ted Leo on Friday in which he prepares the world for his majorly massive career shift you can now enjoy the payoff.  Perhaps Ted should fully shift into alternative comedy along with his video mates Paul F. Tompkins, John Hodgman, Julie Klausner and Tom Scharpling (director).  Is the new video for Bottled In Cork a glimpse into the future, a biting expose of the music industry or just a fun romp?  We may never know the truth, but what I do know is these guys are sad:

Actually, I still don’t know what to make of Friday’s post.  An almost stream-of-consciousness emotional download about the ups and downs of a punk life, leading to the need change direction.  Perhaps not as severe of a sea change as it suggested, but still a lot of truth to the tale, I’m sure.  It is actually a great read, so read it.

And if this guy calls you, just hang up.

Superchunk Secrets Revealed – Just What Are We To Be Skipping?

Reading this short and sweet interview with Laura Ballance of Superchunk you will find a few fun facts about classic albums No Pocky for Kitty and On The Mouth, which have recently been reissued.  But the standout insight comes midway through the article:

Do you have a favorite song on the album?
Probably “Skip Steps 1 and 3″ because the lyrics bring back a lot of memories from the tour leading up to the album. By the way, step one is talking about doing something, step two is doing it, and step three is talking about what you just did.

This is HUGE (at least, to me it is).  An actual bit of knowledge about a Superchunk song is a rare find as the bands approach is very much the “it is what you want it to be” motto of Pretty Woman.

So here are the actual song lyrics for the chorus:

Hit the gas straight on

Go through the lights

Go through the trees

Skip steps 1 and 3

Skip steps 1 and 3

My logical analysis of this song all these years was always that the chorus was telling me to just “go through the lights”, even though I knew it did not make much sense.  None of the other lyrics lend themselves to the idea of a list in which you would skip steps 1 and 3.

So now we find that the true meaning of the song is to just do it.  I love it.  Tom Scharpling loves it.  Henry Rollins loves it.

Now I’m off to listen to No Pocky for Kitty, and probably the rest of the albums for the rest of the day.

Happy Superchunk Day!!

Need to Write

This blog is all about writing.  I need to write and I’m just not finding the ability to sit down and crank out one of the many novels in my head (silly job/family getting in the way).  I have struggled for a long time with trying to find an outlet.

I listened to a podcast interview with Tom Scharpling a few months ago – I can’t remember exactly with whom but I think it was this episode of Comedy and Everything Else (Paul F. Tompkins was also on).  On the topic of being a writer Tom said that when he decided he wanted to do it for a living he just started writing everything he could.  Regardless of topic, style, purpose, whatever – just keep writing.  He submitted to every place imaginable and eventually started getting jobs.

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Podcasting History / Best Of

As I kid I remember being flabbergasted at the fact that my father would almost exclusively listen to talk shows when in the car, as opposed to music.  I just couldn’t see the appeal of listening to a bunch of boring people talk about boring things.  I still don’t see the appeal (who would) and I haven’t found anything on the radio that doesn’t adhere to this description..  My car radio has not been on anything except my FM transmitter station since I bought it.  The second car I owned didn’t have a working radio in it for over 3 years.  So lets just say I’m picky about what I listen to.

Now it turns out that there are a lot of entertaining “talkies” out there but as with the music I like it is not to be found within the constraints of mainstream media / radio.  Oh podcasting, what would I do without you?  Here is my Brief History of Podcasting and Nothing Else:

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Best Music of 2010: Ted Leo and The Pharmacists

Amid the retirement controversy (c’mon “journalists”, settle down with the rag-mag headlines) I guess it is time for a look at The Brutalist Bricks by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. (hey, is that enough links in one sentence to the same web site?  obviously I know I’m the only person on the Internet who knows how to find information!)

I like punk, but mostly the off-punk kind of punk.  What kind of punk is Ted Leo?

This may be TL/RX’s strongest album since Shake the Sheets.  The punk is strong with this one.  Right from the opening line of The Mighty Sparrow “When the cafe doors exploded I reacted to, I reacted to you” this album hits hard and fast through the intensity of the music and the intensity of the lyrics.

The punkiest of the punk can be found in songs The Stick (“Election time again, I wish that I was dead”), Mourning in America (“You summon ghosts we tried to bury in their white shrouds, With burning cross and bloody crescent in the White House”), Where Was My Brain (“Modern agriculture gave me a thrill, Until I saw the things it brutally killed”) and Everything Gets Interrupted which closes the album with a little wink.

As you can see, the political messages still reign strong in the TL/Rx lyrics.

TL/Rx are at their best, though, when they dial back a little on the punk and let some of their more modern rock influences shine through.  Highlights of The Brutalist Bricks include the aforementioned The Mighty SparrowBottle in Cork with its shifts in tempo (“Tell the bartender I think I’m falling in love”) and Even Heros Have to Die.

For me, the place where TL/Rx tends to fall down is with their punk rock epics.  Living with the Living suffered greatly from this with 4 songs clocking in at 6 minutes or more.  Nothing kills and interesting song or a great hook like dragging it out too long.  The world does not need a Punk Jam Band.  Thankfully this album does not suffer from jamitis, which makes it feel all the more solid and cohesive.

In the words of Tom Scharpling, I don’t like…..I love it!!!