Monday, July 31, 2006

Song Spotlight: Long Live The Weekend By The Living End

Time to take an up close look at a new song. Sometimes it's amazing just how perfectly a band can get it. Take for example, take the Aussie punkabilly band The Living End, who get it just right with this tune from their 5th album, which just came out here in the US last month.

Workin' for a man that you don't understand
so forget it.
Spendin' all your dough, yeah, you know
as soon as you get it.
Wastin' Your time on an assembly line
you want out of it.
Pickin' up your pay at the end of the day
and get out of it.
And Get away.
Cause you're wonderin' if its gonna change
Cause the weekdays are the same as always
never changing.

Make or break,
Another Escape.
I gotta get out, I gotta get out.
Make or break,
Another escape.
I gotta get out, I gotta get out.
Long live,
The weekend.

Monday - Don't want to get out of bed.
Tuesday - I'm walking with the dead.
Wednesday - Never felt so wrong.
Thursday - Takes twice as long.
But Friday, I know where I'm gonna be
faraway from the same old
everyday, ordinary.

Make or break
Another escape
I gotta get out, I gotta get out.
Make or break
another escape
i gotta get out, i gotta get out.
Long live,
the weekend
Long live the weekend.

Week in. Week out.
Week in. Week out.
Week in, week out. Week In, week out.
I don't care if if I don't get paid.
I can't sit here for one more day...
Wasting away.
Cause now you're wondering if it's gonna change
Cause the weekdays are all the same as always
Never changing

Make or break
Another escape.
I gotta get out, I gotta get out.
Make or break
another escape.
I gotta get out I gotta get out.
Long live the weekend
Long live the weekend
Long live the weekend.

_

Saturday, July 29, 2006

New Kicks for Car of the Beast.

It was long past time for me to get some new shoes for my stallion, C.O.B. (Car of The Beast, so named because I have 666 in my license plate number.)

So the little lady and I dropped COB off to be reshod and then spent some time listing to the idol chatter of a bunch of brainless teens in the cafe at Borders. When I returned to the garage to pick up my ride, the 9 fingered man who worked on my car had a question for me.

9 Fingers: "Have you ever hit an animal with this vehicle?"

Greazy: "Yeah. Twice."

9 Fingers: "How long ago?"

Greazy: "The first time was more than a year ago, and the second was 3 months
ago but I just ran over it after the car right in front of me hit it. It didn't do any damage to my car."

9 Fingers: "Well that explains the piece of fur and skin we found in your wheel well."

Greazy (almost vomits): "Shit, sorry about that."

9 Fingers: " No problem, you didn't want to keep it did you? Cause we threw it away.

Greazy: That's ok, can I have my keys now.

So I guess when I ran over that deer a few months ago a bit of skin, fur and gore kicked up of my tire and stuck to my wheel well. I don't know if that is awesome, disgusting or a bit of both.

_

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I've been turned out.

For the last 7 years I've been fighting it, but now I have to come clean and own up to the fact that I'm a whore. My pimp is one of the biggest companies in the world, and day after day I take my place on the proverbial street corner and bring in cash for my daddy. My pimp (the CEO) will all at once brag to his boys (Wall Street) about how much bling he has, and show off his phat ride (company jet) and all his fine threads and then bitch about how much he spends on us. We the street walker get put on pimp arrest. When he talks to us all we get is threats of bitch slapping and threats like "Is The Man gonna have to choke a bitch?" or in CEO Pimp speak "We may have to cut five thousand jobs, because we are not profitable enough."

Why am I picking this moment to speak out against my daddy? Because we had a bit of a meeting the other day on the corner where I work and Daddy let us know that all of our hard work on our backs, and knees has paid off... for him and his boys. See, my company is on pace to make $20B this year. That's T-W-E-N-T-Y Billion with a B. IN MOTHERFUCKING PROFIT!!! All I get from that $20,000,000,000.00 is a cut in pay, less time off and constant threats of losing my job to someone in India. I could probably feel better about myself if I started sucking cock in a ally for real.

_

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Record Review: Be Your Own Pet

Who said all the DIY punk rock that's out these days blows? Oh, it was me. Ok I take it back, but not until I heard the debut album by be your own PET. This group of young rockers have an amazing sound, which is all at once haphazard and right on the mark. As you listen to the 35 minutes of music divvied out to the 15 tracks on the album you get the feeling that Jemina, Jamin, Jonas and Nathan are on the verge of tearing the studio down.

Their tracks have all of the power and helter-skelter inertia of a bull on acid, but there is more to byoP. This group of art school class mates are not a bunch of dirtbag nosepickers from the back of the class room who scamper back to the trailer park to write their tunes. No, indeed, these four are second generation success stories, which doesn't detract from their overall product. All four member's fathers are successful in their Fields such as Photography, Music, and Art.

This could have been the death knell for byoP, in much the same fashion as it looks like it was for The Like, an all girl Cali band who all have famous dads. While I enjoyed their first record "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" it came off as too well done. Too Clean, too influenced by their famous dads no matter how many stories I read about how they made it on their own with no help from their progenitors in the music biz. With byoP there is a certain dirty, honest feel to all the tracks on the record, which is not to say the record is poorly produced or recorded, which it is not. With Indie god Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth as their mentor, the pets gave birth to a record that has an organic feel while featuring all the polish of a big label release.

The stand out tracks here are hard to separate from the merely great ones. I have be your own PET as the number one record of the year on my on going list, so my praise will be effusive if I linger upon each song too long, so I'll cut to the quick. It is almost as if the first four songs on the record are meant to be played together, and they all feature a similar kick drum line that ties them to one another. If you let the record play you will find that "Thresher's Flail" flows in right into "Bunk Trunk Skunk" with the use of a loud percussion break which is actually the begging of the second track. 1:28 later the kick drum is all that is left as "Bicycle Bicycle, You Are My Bicycle" starts. This song features one of my favorite lines on the record as Jemina seems to warn "Have fun... but be safe with it." before turning the tables by adding "Just kidding. Fuck shit up!" As this the third track ends the bass kicks in with the same tempo kick drum to lead off track 4, "Wild Cat!" Here Abegg's voice shines and is amazingly set off by Jonas Stein's lead guitar.

The middle of the short, yet powerful, disc is where I really fell in love. "Adventure" is a foot stomping, head banging good time. The more I listened to it, the more I came to love, not loath the use of the word "like" as an interjection, as I had upon first glance. "Ok see, yeah, cause we're like, adventures" sounded a bit too much like mall speak to this 30 year old at first, but then I began to love it's honesty and playfulness. For my money, the best track on the record is #8 "Bog" which is another powerhouse crammed into less time then a TV commercial break. "Wanna kitty cat, my boy friend wants dog, we got into a fight I drown him in the bog" purrs Abegg to the great up tempo pace of the tune. This song is an A+ track on an A+ record.

_

Monday, July 24, 2006

Two different types of people:


People are always saying: There are two different types of people in the world, those who like Elvis and those who like the Beatles. Or something to that effect. People like to think that every person who walks the earth falls into either one category or the other opposite one. I think the people who do this fall into one of two categories, they are either judgmental assholes or very astute people watchers who try and bring humor and insight to the internet via a blog.

So with out anymore pretext, here is my first demarcation of the two different types of people in the world. You are either a person who pays extra money at the supper market for the little 4 gallon trash bags for your bathroom. Or you are the type who just uses the plastic shopping bags from said super market to line your bathroom trash can. (As an aside I do realize there are some people who use no bag, or have no can at all, but thats just nasty and I don't want to know you.)

The person who uses the Glad bags may just want to use the right tool for the right job. Or they could be overly concerned with appearances. I'm not saying these are bad people, because they are also most likely the people who get their taxes done in January because it's the right thing to do. They are right in both cases, but it speaks to a certain view of: DOING THING THE RIGHT WAY.

The people who use big two handled bag from the store is most likely a corner cutter, or a penny saver. Neither of those things is wrong either, but their way of doing things may lead to more problems down the road, even if it is easer in the short run. The motto of person #2: Anything worth doing, is worth getting done as fast as possible.

_

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Painting Pictures with Words and Music.

In less than two weeks I am going to see a few amazing musical acts with Inky and C.G.S. On August third we will see The WAiFS with Paul Kelly just south of our nations capitol, a show I can't wait for. So in preparation for the show I have been listening to a lot of music by the two acts. What I have come to realize is that they have one very important thing in common, and it's not just that they are both Aussie acts. What Kelly and Vickki, Donna and Josh of the WAiFS share is the amazing ability to tell a story through song, which perhaps more then the style of their play sets them apart as Folk Rock artists.

Kelly has been around for years, even garnering critical praise here in the US, but never breaking through. I think of him as the Bob Dylan of the antipodes, able to weave a tail using sparse composition and his unique voice to draw you in. You find yourself listening closer to Kelly's prose then other artists, in part because his have well orchestrated story's with fully defined characters. In the picture above from 1975 Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam (right) pours the local dirt into the hands of Vincent Lingiari to symbolize the transfer of his peoples native land back to them from the Aussie government. Kelly captures this moment, and the fight Lingiari lead for 8 years leading up to it, beautifully in his song "From Little Things, Big Things Grow."

However Kelly does not need a true story known the world over to millions of people to set his stories as he proves over and over again, but perhaps most poignantly in "Everything's Turning to White" a tale based on the short story "So Much Water, So Close to Home" by American Raymond Carver. The song is haunting, told from the perspective of the wife of one of the subjects, and riddled with sadness, doubt and unanswered questions. Kelly's tales cover topics ranging from the greatest Cricket player in Aussie history in "Bradman", to life, love, loss and perspective in "Deeper Water."

Like Kelly, the WAiFS, are rooted in folk tradition but not easily pigeon holed in that genre. Their songs are melodic, well crafted and also tell tales about events big and small. They recount the trip taken by the grandmother of sister band members Vickki and Donna Simpson after WWII from Australia to The US to be with her serviceman Husband on the track "Bridal Train." It's the type of song that makes the likes of me buy books to learn more about a historical event, or research a person. Like Dylan's "Hurricane" or Kelly's "Bradman" and Everything's Turning to White" the truth of the tale shines through in it's telling.

Where the WAiFS have a leg up over Dylan or Kelly is where many groups do over solo acts. From song to song on their records you can hear the distinct view of two different Aussie women from the South, and a rough and tumble Northern boy on the tracks penned by Josh Cunningham. They have songs recounting their sojourn as a band through their many stops from all three of their perspectives which helps to define who this group is after a decade and a half of playing together. Their gift for writing is as effective on the more grandiose songs as on the playful road song tracks making for a portfolio of easy to listen to songs that paint pictures in your head.

I can't wait to see both the WAiFS and Kelly in Virgina, and you can rest assured that when I do I will let you know how it went.

_

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Why are you returning this Jacket?

One of my favorite episodes of Seinfeld was where Jerry returns a purchase just to spite the sales person. It touched me in a way that no other episode of the show about nothing ever did because I love to do things out of spite. I come from a long line of anger ridden people who choose to take out their frustration by spiting others. My great great great great grand father Andre Davitci Greazioni was the one for whom the axiom "cut your nose off to spite your face" came from, which sounds so much better in Italian. The story goes that Andre was always being told that he had the most beautiful face of any man in the village, highlighted of course, for his wonderful aquiline nose. He loved his nose most of all, but was so angered that people said it detracted from his other wonderful features. And so one day he pulled out the salami knife and lopped off his nose so no one would complement his face again.

Now in the modern day, I have been known to cost myself money, time, and convenience in other to cause my enemies anguish. Work is one of my favorite places to do this, where I will take every chance possible to slow things down if I know it will cause my boss pain, even if it causes me some as well. Many have tried to employ shame or reverse psychology on me to try and get me to do what they want, but I have the ability to banter well with super villains, so I always see through their cunning attempts to trick me.

That said, Tomorrow Clerks II is out, now we just have to wait 12 more years for part III where Dante and Randall move to Wabasha and fight over Ann Margaret: Clerks III: Grumpy Old Jersey Men.

_

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

It's Here!!!!!

Today is DVD/New Game Tuesday and for the first time in a while I went out and got something new. Each year I get the NCAA football game from EA when it comes out in July and play the shit out of it until August when the new version of Madden comes out in August. Then I take my NCAA in and trade it in for Madden, and upload the college players to the Pro game year after year while I play.

Yes, I know this makes me a huge dork, but I dont care. I've been playing Madden for 20 years. Is there anything you were doing for fun 20 years ago that you still do now.... and masturbating doesn't count. I find it therapeutic to play Play Station and I only play three games a year. Along with the two football games in summer, I play baseball all winter right up to the point where NCAA comes out. I play on the second of two TVs we have in our living room there by never missing any time with my wife. Contrary to what people tell you I can play while watching TV, talking on the phone or just shooting the shit with Inky.

And so the day has come where I become the coach or the University of Maryland, or Penn St. and take them to a few National titles in the next 4 weeks and I couldn't be happier about it. Maybe that makes my life sad, but I just don't care.

_

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Nerds!

For the next few weeks I am still stuck on my third shift job (August 21 cant get here fast enough) and so I have a lot of nights where I am doing whatever I can to stay awake. I swore off coffee in college, so I drink a shit load of tea, Vault and Mt. Dew and I eat more candy then I should.

The other day I picked up a blast from the past: Nerds. I hadn’t had them in years, and I was enjoying them until I looked at the ingredients. They are: Sugar, Dextrose, Corn Syrup, Malic Acid and Less than 2% of Artificial Flavors, Carnauba wax, Color Added.... etc. It was the Carnauba wax that caught my eye, not the fact that the first 4 ingredients are all just different types of sugar. Carnauba wax is the same shit people use to wax their cars (I say people cause I don’t clean my car). I looked closer at the Nerds and saw that they were in fact quite shiny, but there is no way that makes them taste better, so why add it? Really how many kids would turn down little crunchy balls of sugar just because they have a dull finish?

_

Friday, July 14, 2006

What if?


The course of history can sometimes turn on seemingly small events. Naturally we don't know that they are happening at the time, and we can only speculate on them once they have occurred. Some see them as watershed moments and others look upon them as small additions to a greater unfolding of life that would have happened with or with out them. In my following postulate I contend that with out one man's seemingly inconsequential actions the world today would be very different.

And So I ask: What would the world be like if Rick Rubin had never heard punk rock and Rap while attending film school at NYU?

For starters there are whole genres of music that would have never found their voice, or more importantly, their larger audience. When Rubin first became interested in Rap music in the early 80's, it was a small phenomenon confined to big cities, and primarily to the black community. Rubin started pecking around the clubs and asking questions about the young genre, and before long he was running Raps foremost record label, along with Russell Simmons, out of his dorm room. This alone isn't what put rap over the top, for, at this point the audience was still small and limited. The big moment came in the mid 80's when Def Jam and Rubin put out the big three of Rap records. "Radio" by LL Cool J, "Licensed to Ill" by the Beastie Boys and "Raising Hell" by Run D.M.C. When these records hit the market in 1985 and '86 the commercial viability of Rap was secured and the careers of those artists were ensured.

When those albums hit the street two of Rubin's other gifts to music were realized. The first was the reinvigoration of the careers of artists who's careers were waning. The second was the fusion of different types of music through cameo appearances and duets, and the covering of songs by bands of opposing genres. By this time Rubin had started to take notice of music of all types, and used his simotanious recording sessions with Slayer and the Beasties to bring the two together for "No Sleep till Brooklyn." Rap's future and the re-emergence of Aerosmith were both secured with the duet of "Walk This Way" featured on Run D.M.C's Raising Hell record, a masterstroke even by Rubin's standards. White kids all over America began to pick up new rap records and old Aerosmith albums.

The bending of expectations and the merging of various types of music continue on as a Rubin staple even to this day. So too does the rescue of careers in decline, with names like Johnny Cash, The Dixie Chicks, Weezer already on the list and varied acts like Metallica, Courtney Love and Justin Timberlake all ready to join it. Where would Cash have ended his career and life with out his Rubinized cover of NIN's Hurt? Would the Dixie Chicks have emerged as a seller on the pop charts with out Rubin? And what do the upcoming Rubin produced releases of Metallica, Love and Timberlake have what it takes to make those names relevant again? If the track record has anything to say about it then the answer is most likely yet.

So where would we be? If Rubin had gone on to make shitty art house movies, like most NYU film school grads do, on his way to an office job in a stuido. There would be an underground legend in Queens called LL Cool J, but while he worked his job at UPS he would just be known as Todd Smith. VH1 would be doing a "Where are they now" show on Aerosmith, wondering how it all went wrong for the 70's icons. Anthony and Flea would have joined up with other bands after the general public ingnored another Chili Peppers record. Hard rock and Nu Metal would be a non factor on the charts today, and MTV would still be showing videos. Or so I think. Thanks Rick, thats some good work out of you.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Song Spotlight: Missy Higgins, Steer

As anyone who's read my blog, or talked to me in the last 18 months knows I've become quite smitten with an Aussie singer named Missy Higgins. She's been hard at work getting out in front of more people all around the world so you all can fall for her too, and she has a bunch of new songs ready to record for her next album, which should be out in early '07. I thought I would take the time to post the lyrics to one of the new songs to give you and idea of what's on the way. This song is about the moment when a person comes to the understanding that they are in control of their lives, and for better or worse they choose where they go.

Feel it falling off like clothing. Taste it rolling on your tongue.
See the lights above you glowing, Oh and breathe them deep into your lungs.
It was always simple not hidden hard, You've pulling on the strings.
Playing puppeteer for kings, And you've had enough.

But the search ends here, So get out of the box And step into the clear.
Your heart is fierce.
And now you finally know that you control where you go.
You can steer.

Hold this feeling like a newborn, All the freedom surging in your veins.
You have opened up a new door, So bring on the wind, fire and rain.
It was always simple not hidden hard.
You've been playing at a game called remembering your name and you fucked it up.

But the search ends here. So get out of the box And step into the clear.
Your heart is fierce.
And now you finally know That you control where you go.
You can steer.
Well you've been listening for answers, But the city screams and all your dreams go unheard.
But the search ends here. So get out of the box And step into the clear.
Your heart is fierce.
And now you finally know That you control where you go.
You can steer.


_

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The 12 Steps of Generic Cereal.

Hello, my name is Greazy Tony and I am addicted to Frosted Mini Spooners. (NOTICE: My smart ass tone in this post is in no way meant to trivialize the struggles those addicted to sex, drugs or alcohol face while dealing with their problem, but I will have some fun with your stupid ass steps. If you're offended email me and I'll send you $10 to buy a sixer and you can get tanked in order to deal. K? Thanks) Back to the spooners, which are the crack of breakfast. Most people in the suburbs can afford Frosted Mini Wheats, and truth be told, I could pony up the dough for the good stuff, but after I got my first taste of spooners I was hooked on the cheap shit. At first I would hide in my basement, dunking each nugget of wheat and sugar into a glass of milk so I could cover my tracks if my wife stumbled upon me. But, as my addiction progressed I got bolder, sitting in front of the TV with a huge bowl of SPNRZ, as the kids call them, not caring who saw me. Before I knew it I was chasing the blue roo (see the advertising mascot on the bag to understand this) lunch as well as breakfast.

My world came crashing down around me one day when I had a lapse in judgment and mentioned my habit in front of some people at work. All at once I was overcome by shame and loss as I stepped up to the 12 steps with help of friends and family.

#1 I admitted I was powerless over cheap cereal that comes in big bags.
#2 I came to believe there is a higher power than I: Kellogg's
#3 Turned my will toward god, AKA Tony the Tiger.
#4 Took an inventory... of my cupboard.
#5 Admitted to Tony the Tiger the exact nature of my wrongs
#6 Was ready to have Tony the Tiger remove the defects of my character.
#7 Asked Tony the Tiger to remove my shortcomings
#8 Made a list of breakfast foods harmed, pork roll, eggs, bacon etc.
#9 Made amends to the foods on my list.
#10 Took personal inventory, and admitted when I was wrong.

I got to step 11 and I cracked, I ran to the store and got a full bag of spooners and a half gallon of vanilla ice cream, when I came to it was all gone. I was lost, saddened and let down in myself. Then I came to and realized that any group where you have to swear over and over that you are powerless and that some mythical puppet master (Cartoon Tiger or white haired old man in the clouds) holds all the keys to your life is bat shit nutty. So I'm going to eat my cheap cereal and I'm not ashamed of it at all. There Grrrrrrrrrreat!!!!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Is it wrong to hate your house?

I've come to the realization that some of us (and by that I mean me) were not meant to be homeowners. In my defense I am a viciously loyal husband, I can make a pretty righteous lasagne, and there are only a few people in the world who can rig up home electronic equipment like I can, but other than that I'm an utter failure as a husband. Sure I can get things done when the job calls for stupid brute strength, such as shoveling snow or carrying stuff, but when skill is called for I wilt like the basil I tried to grow last week.

Were it not for the intervention of friends and family our home would have surely fallen down right around us by now. I can't fix the toilet, I cant fix the vent cover and god help all of us if I tried to fix my oven. I hate the way I feel when I have to own up to the fact that I have no idea what I'm doing around the house, and I hate that I have to constantly ask friends for help. The worst part is that I can usually ply people with a baked ziti or some of my aforementioned lasagne to get them to help, or provide them with the cheesy eats to thank them for their help. Now with the oven on the fritz and looking like it would cost about as much as a new one to fix, I can't even do that. Fuck! Oh well, at least I still make a great tomato, basil and moz salad, like all good husbands should.

_

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Sliding down the corporate Chute.

As a younger man I often found myself concerned with "climbing the corporate ladder" but now that I have reached 30 I find myself in a different paradigm. I guess at some point I rolled the dice and landed on space 87 on the game board of life, because I have been sliding down the chute for the last 3 plus years. After breaking my back to get ahead and earning raise after raise for the first three years I worked for my huge life sucking company I just gave up.

Nothing I ever did rewarded me, in any other way then the amount I got paid and the amount of vacation I have, and both of those things have stayed the same as I have slipped down the slide of responsibility. I have gone from the wearing $300 suits, $50 shirts with a $30 tie and highly polished shoes to khaki pants, a tee shirt and work boots. I'm either the biggest dumbass in the world or a fucking genius, because although I have no real chance of moving up now that my huge life sucking company was purchased by a bigger one, I still make the same amount of money as I did before. So I'll just put my hands up and enjoy the ride down the chute. As for what waits at the bottom? I don't know but I do know I can always roll the dice again and start climbing ladders if need be.

_

Friday, July 07, 2006

Top 25 Records: 5-1

And now for the top 5 on my list, and it's a group as formidable as it is divergent. Two of these records were debut albums on small indie labels and two were lesser recognized efforts from already established acts. While one is a greatest hits record, it was new to me. Three of the records are straight out of my back yard while growing up.... New York City. And now with out further rambling... THE TOP FIVE!!!

#5 The Ramones - Mania. I have to thank my sister and her friends for introducing me to Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy. Obviously these punk rock icons were at it years before I was even born, so when Mania came along in the late 80's it gave me the perfect opportunity to catch up on what I had missed. I was deep into listening to 80's rap at the time and first broke that obsession for the Ramones. Others followed and pushed open my mind to other types of music, but the Ramones changed my musical life, albeit years after they had done the same for the generation before me, but I can't help when I was born. Favorite Track: #9 Blitzkrieg Bob.

#4 LL Cool J - Radio. This one I owe to my cousin who arrived in my life from Arkansas when I was 10 bringing with him tons of rap cassettes. Along with other early rappers of the mid 80's he played LL over and over on his Alpine while we cruised in his Olds with the T-tops. I picked up Radio on cassette myself with money I got for my 11th birthday, but I had already memorized all of the songs by listening to his copy. I turned the bass all the way up on my little box and blew the speakers out later that summer while listening to "Dear Yvette" while my folks were out of the house. The music was obviously different then anything my young ears had ever heard at the time, being as rap wasn't yet on the radio in 1986 or 87, even in New York. By the time Bigger and Deffer came out the next year I had a great little collection of rap, and I still have all my 80's rap which I prefer by leaps and bounds over what is out now. Favorite Track: #1 side B (#6 on cd) Rock the Bells.

#3 Liz Phair - Exile in Guyville. All the records in the top 5 represent moments in my musical history when my interests diverged. In the mid to late 90's I was on to heavier rock music, but still holding on to my roots in classic rock, 80's rap and even what some call easy listening (#2). But the one thing almost all the groups I liked had in common was a male voice. Liz Phair was the beginning of a shift in musical paradigm for me. Her vocal style was raw, sensual, strong and playful all at the same time. This record had the sound like it was recorded in an evening in someone's basement and I love that about it. Listening to Guyville is almost like following only the soundtrack to a movie, where in you hear stories and have a picture painted for you. The difference between it and other records I liked was there was this kick ass girl cursing and being sexual, and I can't lie and say that didn't grab my attention. But, more then that, the songs are just really great. They are well written and played and even though some say Liz isn't the greatest singer, I think someone with more vocal talent would have ruined them. Favorite Track: #12 Divorce Song.

#2 Billy Joel - Turnstiles. As an Italian - American kid who grew up in Jersey I was actually issued each Billy Joel record at birth, and then as new ones came out they just showed up at my door, kind of like Time Life books. All through out my life, no matter what kind of musical tangent I have been off on Billy has been there. I think he is the consummate musician and performer, and of all his records I think this one is head and shoulders above the rest. I know people think I'm crazy, especially those who really love Billy, but I'll make my case. Miami 2017 is my favorite song of all time so there is that, but also consider the other 7 tracks. 1. Say Goodbye To Hollywood 2. Summer, Highland Fall 3. All You Wanna Do Is Dance 4. New York State of Mind 5. James 6. Angry Young Man and 7. I've Loved These Days. Wow! Any Billy Joel Show you see, even now in 2006 will feature at least 7 of these 8 songs and the last one I went to he played them ALL. I can listen to this record any time, any place no matter what my mood is. Favorite Track: #8 Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out On Broadway)

#1 Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy. Another 8 Track masterpiece, and another mid career record by a band who is almost always celebrated more for their other works. I first started to dabble in Led Zep at the feet of my sister, in the mid 80's but I was too hooked on rap to go over full time. It was as a freshman at St. Joe's Prep Seminary that I wrapped myself around Zeppelin. I thank Juan, Mike, Mike and Pat for hooking me, and all they had to do was play D'yer Mak'er once. I ran up to Juan and asked "who was that?" and he responded with a shocked look "It's Zeppelin, man" I am sad to say that I have never paid for a copy of this record, but have in fact stolen 3 of them. The first was Juan's tape which I never owned up to. The second was my friend Ira's CD when I was in my next high school and the third was another copy of the CD I took out of the collection of a friend of my sisters husband. Too Much explaining? Well fuck you. Along with being the best record I have ever listened to, which some people could disagree with me on, this record has the hands down best B-side ever. Dancing Days, D'yer Mak'er, No Quarter, and The Ocean are the best grouping of songs ever etched into one side of plastic, 'nuff said. Favorite Track #2 Side B (#6 CD) D'yer Mak'er.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Top 25 Records: 10-6.

Down to just 10 records left on my top 25 list. Here are five of 'em, enjoy bitches.

#10 Dead Milkmen - Metaphysical Graffiti. I have to doff my cap to Smokin' Joe Maksimow on this one. He lowered to boom on me when it came to the Dead Milkmen, and I loved them from the time I first heard this record in the early 90's. If you can take irreverence to it's highest form then these Philly boys did it. Some write there songs off as fun punk satire, but I think there was a ton of substance there as well. I chose a line from "Methodist Coloring Book" as my senior yearbook quote. Favorite Track: #3 Methodist Coloring Book

#9 Sheryl Crow - Sheryl Crow. Forgetting the fact that I have been head over heels in love with Ms. Crow for more 13 or so years, this album just kicks ass. I know most music fans never took the time to take Sheryl seriously after her much overplayed first record. And if they may have wavered in later years that crap she pulled with Kid Rock probably put and end to it. This record is great, and much more straight forward then almost all her others. She waited three years after her debut to put out her self titled record and it was because she was finding her own sound, which abounds on this disc. Right off the bat "Maybe Angels" is a great song and there are a bunch more, although most people only remember the big single "Everyday is a winding road" which has been maligned by people I respect (I'm looking at you Henry Rollins.)
Favorite Track: #7 Hard to Make A Stand

#8 Elastica - Elastica. Wow! That's what I said the first time I listened to this record on my way home from buying it, among others in a little record shop in SoHo in the spring of '95. I sat in my driveway once I got home just to finish listening to the last two songs. I started playing this record on my radio show like it was the only new release of the year, and it is still one of the few discs I can not only listen to all the way through, but also let repeat and go for another listen uninterrupted. I've heard all the criticism that they only got famous because Justine was dating Damon from Blur, and how they sampled and borrowed liberally from other UK acts of the time and I just don't give a fuck. This record is pure unadulterated genius, even if a few rifs were plucked from other rock outfits.
Favorite Track: #4 Car Song

#7 Green Day - Dookie. Ok sure, it was their first step toward selling out, but I just don't care. Think about some of the other shit that was out in 1994, and remember what it was like to have to listen to "Right Now" by Van Halen for the 10 millionth time and tell me you weren't happy to see Billy Joe, Mike and Tre take over the world. The amazing success of this album was born out by the credibility they have earned over the years. From top to bottom this is just a great pop punk record, and at the time it was a bit of a revolution to hear these songs on the radio.
Favorite Track: #10 When I Come Around

#6 Pearl Jam - Ten. Most people from my generation, the ones who graduated from high school in the mid 90's hate me for saying that Pearl Jam is ten times the band that Nirvana is. Ten is the operative word to me because I only had to hear this record once to know my tastes in music were now permanently changed. In tandem with the Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam ushered in my sophomore year while all at once changing my musical focus. This record was like a nonstop assault on your ears, and part of the fun was trying to figure out what it was that Eddie was saying. It hurts me to not have Ten in the top 5, but those are really good too.
Favorite Track: #2 Even Flow.

Listen up hookers! There's more to come tomorrow.

_

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Top 25 Records: 15-11

As hump day dawns I am prepared to bring you the third installment of my top 25 albums list.

#25 Son Volt - Trace. When Jay Farrar started his own band after the break up of Uncle Tupelo many thought he would play the Paul to Jeff Tweedy's John. While Tweedy's band Wilco garnered more buzz, I think time has shown that Son Volt was by far the better spin off. Trace is an amazing example of high quality song writing and amazing execution. Farrar's one of a kind voice come to life on this disc, and I played the hell out of it all through out the 90's. Favorite Track: Tie #4 Route and #6 Drown.

#14 Counting Crows - August and Everything After. If I am being honest with myself I have to put this record on my list. This is one of those guilty pleasures, but the fact is that there were few records out in 1994 that I listened to all the way through, and I wore this one out. Still to this day, hearing any of the tracks from this disc takes me back to that huge transitional year between high school and college. Not to mention the impact some of these songs had on my love life, and the subsequent good choices I made due to how bad it was then. Favorite track: #5 Anna Begins

#13 INXS - Kick. This is one of the first rock records I purchased myself, meaning that I rode my bike down town with ten bucks in my mud encrusted paw and made the transaction. At the time I was into Rap more than anything but Z-100 and WPLJ in NYC flogged this record to the point where I had to have it. I played it that whole summer and on into the next year, and never really stopped to this day. They could have been the very earliest seeds of my infatuation for all things Aussie, and even if they weren't this is still one hell of an amazing record. Even JD can't totally fuck up most of these tunes, I guess. Favorite Track: #3 Devil Inside

#12 Eric Clapton - From The Cradle. I know, I know, I know. It's a cover record, sue me. One of the greatest ax men of all times decided to cover some of the greatest blues songs of all time and I'm not supposed to take notice? This was another record I played all the way through multiple times a week, but I wasn't always listening. I found that this disc really impressed visitors to my dorm room, so much so that from time to time we would get caught up in other things and forget to keep listening to the genius that is EC. Clapton is god! Favorite Track: #4 Hoochie Coochie Man.

#11 Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Just as my Sophomore year of high school began I was in the process of coming out of my prolonged rap music phase, what with the advent of Young MC and the like. I was looking for something with a bit more substance, but that was also new. I was immersed in Led Zep, The Doors, The Clash and The Ramones but they were all gone. Enter the Chili Peppers who I was not yet exposed to at that point. Along with Pearl Jam (I'll get to them later) this was the frame for the rest of my high school years, and have stuck with me for 15 years now. This record just had a sound that was so new and fresh to me, that I almost couldn't help over play it. And it still sounds as good today as it did blaring from the tape player at St. Joe's Prep Seminary. That's the sign of good music, isn't it? That it never goes away. Well this record still gets regular spins from this old man, and I don't see that changing as I get even older and gray. Favorite Track: #5 Suck My Kiss.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Top 25 Records: 20-16


It's Tuesday so it's time for the second installment of my Top 25 Records list, as promised.

#20 Missy Higgins - The Sound of White. There's not much more I can say about Missy Higgins then I have said on this blog already. Simply put: if you don't know her, shame on you. Her songs are simple yet powerful, and wonderfully adorned with piano, guitar and simple backing accompaniment. There is no over production on TSoW, which makes it an amazing listen no matter the listeners mood. Knowing that I may not have found Missy when I did, if I hadn't gone to Australia only makes me want to go back to Oz sooner. Favorite Track: #10 (on the Aus Version) The Special Two

#19 Poe - Hello. A favorite of mine since college, Poe never made it as big as I thought she would. The single that made the most noise was Angry Johnny, which I have to admit was the one we played the most on our radio show. The reason it was a big hit was the lyric "I wanna blow you... away." which we adroitly turned into a little comedy bit. My co-host, Jon would respond to each of the spaced out lines in the song like so: Poe: "Johnny?" Jon: "Yes". Poe: "Angry Johnny". Jon: "I'm not mad". Poe: "This is Jezebel in hell". Jon: "Must be kind of hot down there huh?" Poe: "I wanna kill you". Jon: "Oh no". Poe: "I wanna blow you..." Jon: YYYYYes!!" Poe: "...Away." Jon: D'oh!" Kind of childish I know but it was great fun and I took the time to listen to the rest of the record and I loved it.
Favorite Track: #1 Hello.

#18 Bettie Serveert - Lamprey. Best album ever named after a vampire fish, hands down. I've got to give yet another assist to Inky here, because I missed this record in '95 just as I missed the one that made her list, 1992's Palomine. This Dutch group is impossible to stop listening to, thanks in part to lead singer Carol Van Dijk's sweet voice. They play a brand of pop that never got uploaded to the mainstream from the indie world, and what was the mainstream's loss was the indie world's gain. I didn't get a hold of it till I met Inky but once I did they became an all time favorite.
Favorite Track: #4 Re-Feel-it.

#17 Oasis - (What's The Story) Morning Glory? This album could have been the soundtrack to the 90's for a lot of people. After the newest Brit invasion got underway with the likes of Oasis, their archenemy Blur and background dwellers The Stone Roses, we pricked up our ears waiting for the next big thing out of London. Then the brothers Gallagher went and caused a ruckus in the US by boasting about how big they were, and as American often do with boastful foreigners the were cast aside. Still this album never stops delivering quintessential rock 'n roll, and that's all most of us want from a rock band.
Favorite Track: #3 Wonderwall

#16 Indigo Girls - Swamp Ophellia. As should be evident by now, I love female singers, and Amy and Emily are two of the very best. The Girls were a part of my country/folk rock phase that continues unabated to this day. Something about their Georgia sound set them apart from other Athens area bands of their day such as REM, The B-52's or the Georgia Satellites. They are among the best harmonizing dues I have ever listened to, with a remarkable ability to all at once complement one another and yet set each other off. This record was chock full of amazing songs, although only two ever got any radio play.
Favorite Track: #2 Least Complicated.

10 down and just 15 to go. More tomorrow.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Top 25 Records: 25-21

Following fast on Inky's heels I have compiled my list of my favorite 25 records of all time. We have some crossover, but that is only because she has been such an influence on my musical tastes over the last 10 years that we have been together.

#25 Killing Heidi - Reflector. This group of Aussie's got together in 1996 while they were still in high school and won Triple J's unearthed contest, which unleashed them on the antipodes. In 2000 they put out "Reflector" and kicked a goal with it. Lead singer Ella has the perfect voice for fast paced pop with a message, albeit, on for folks younger then I when I first heard it. Nevertheless, I fell hard for this album after just one listen and have done likewise for all of their records since. The fourth record was slated to come out later this year, but alas, work out of Melbourne is that KH have called it quits 90% of the way through their new project. Sad. Favorite Track: #1 Mascara.

#24 Blues Traveler - Four. I love when Jersey boys make good, and with their fourth album the Princeton Kids blew up. It was 1994, the year that bridged my senior year in high school and my freshman year in college and you couldn't pass a dorm room with out hearing one of the many great tracks from this record, like Run-around, Crash Burn, Brother John and the big single Hook.
Favorite Track: #5 The Mountains Win Again.

#23 Live - Throwing Copper. Once again we visit 1994 and my freshman year at York College, where after every Blues Travler song you would hear the local boys from the White Rose City: Live. Hot off their killer set at Woodstock '94 that summer the fall semester echoed with Ed's one of a kind vocals (ok two of a kind if you ever heard his brother Adam sing) and that classic mid 90's sound. This was, and is their best record and even though the songs got played over and over and over on mainstream radio they are just really fucking good.
Favorite Track: Tie #8 Shit Towne and #11 Waitress.

#22 Hey Mercedes - Loses Control. This is one of the discs on the list that is all Inky's doing. She didn't force it on me, she just played it just about every time she was in the car or on the computer and I found myself asking, 'wow. Who is this really amazing fucking band?' All you little emo kids out there, take notice, these ex Braid members are the Clash to your Dashboard Confessional. They are the OG's of the genre and they did it better. Sadly they too are broken up.
Favorite Track: #3 Playing Your Song

#21 Less Than Jake - Losing Streak. Inky and WVYC at work again, as the SKA wave threatened to wash from college radio to the mainstream but was quelled by the likes of the Bosstones. LTJ are one of the punk-ska bands who over the years have phased out the horns and moved more toward 3 chord punk. That said, Losing Streak was the height of Jake's more traditional ska approach and it was and is an amazing record. 16 songs in all of 35 minutes and all of them make even the whitest guy want to dance around like a doped up fool.
Favorite Track: #1 Automatic and #2 Happyman played back to back!

_

Sunday, July 02, 2006

A New Look for TGWOOFY

I've been at this bloging thing for almost 6 months and over 100 posts, so I thought it was time for a new look.


OOOOH! IT'S GREEN NOW!!!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Best of 2006: Music...Half Way Edition

Last year I did a Top 50 lists of my favorite songs from 2005. This is my list of the songs I have not been able to stop playing so far in '06. Just as a disclaimer, some of these songs were released prior to this year, and some haven't been on a record yet. This is my list and I don't go by anyone's rules but my own.

  • #25 The Big Guns - Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins.
  • #24 Shores of California - Dresden Dolls
  • #23 Inside Job - Pearl Jam
  • #22 Young James Dean - Girlyman
  • #21 Bunk Trunk Skunk - Be Your Own Pet
  • #20 Breathe Me - Sia (Re-released on her album this year thanks to 6 Feet under.)
  • #19 Nth Degree - Morningwood
  • #18 Living Proof - Cat Power
  • #17 Parade - Pretty Girls Make Graves
  • #16 Back Stabber - Dresden Dolls (On here twice... great record)
  • #15 KT Tunstall - Suddenly I See
  • #14 World Wide Suicide - Pearl Jam (Still great after 15 years)
  • #13 Divorce By 23 - Clare Bowditch (Came out in November of '05 and it took me a few months to get it here from Australia)
  • #12 Adventure - Be Your Own Pet (This is just a fucking amazing record. It may be the best of the year by the time it's all said and done.)
  • #11 Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken - Camera Obscura (Best track on the bonzer new record from Scotland's best)
  • #10 Steer - Missy Higgins (Should be the biggest hit on her much awaited second record. I heard it live with her band in NYC and it was great)
  • #9 Hold On, Hold On - Neko Case (I can't stop listening to this disc. She has one of the most soulful and amazing voices ever)
  • #8 No Way Back - Foo Fighters (I've said it before and will say it again. Dave Grohl is a genius)
  • #7 Little Voice - Sara Bareilles (Her debut was an indie, but now she has a label, and this powerful tune should headline her next record.)
  • #6 I Will Follow - Death Cab for Cutie (Plans is an '05 record, but this depressing if not totally touching song is '06 for me)
  • #5 All Around Me - Flyleaf (I never thought I would see the day when I would have a Christian band in my top 5. Damn MySpace!)
  • #4 Decide - Killing Heidi (Once again this song should be out later this year on KH's newest record. 10 years and this Aussie outfit is still rocking... and get this the lead singer Ella is only 26!)
  • #3 Fake Tales of San Francisco - Arctic Monkeys (These young rock gods have already lost a band member, and they've only been together like 11 minutes. The record is one of this years best... run don't walk to get it)
  • #2 Handle with Care - Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins (A record as outstanding as it is varied in it's sound Rabit Fur Coat came out early in the year but this cover is still holding strong. As a matter of fact it is the best song released this year..........)
  • #1 Bridal Train (Live) - The WAiFS. (The track comes from the bands '05 double live album, but the song is older then that. I wish I had heard it sooner, but once I did I fell in love with this group. They studied under Bob Dylan and sing with Aussie accents and play perfectly together.)

Check back in the beginning of '07 for the full years list. For now prepare for my Top 25 Favorite records of all time list, coming at you in 5 record installments this Monday through Friday.