The Current Earworm is Grandaddy’s “Watercooler”

I was parking the car when this came on WFUV, a college station with professional DJs that is currently playing a mix of album-friendly tunes from across eras and genres. Grandaddy, it turns out, got their start 30 years ago in Modesto CA and have dabbled in various indy grunge psychedelic styles ever since.

I’ve played a bunch of their music and it has a mostly muted energy but pops with clever ideas, lyrically and musically. I suspect as I listen more I’ll like some of it more, but Watercooler is immediately classic.

Afternoon Snack: PiL, “Cruel”

I was sitting in the Jacuzzi (a middle of the night ritual, since I have retired), smoking a joint, with a Daily Mix from Spotify playing and the psychedelic lights in our bathroom moving through the spectrum, sipping fizzy water when this song from Johnny Rotten’s second band came on.

I really dug this tune at the time, though I felt the rest of the disc spotty at best, but I sort of forgot about Cruel till the other day, and my, it holds up pretty well.

The thing that also got me about this song was for some reason, the cover of the disc was just freaky in some sort of erotic/exotic/perverted/”I don’t want to go there” way, but I have no clue why.

As for the song, I not only found this video (it actually starts at 7:36) but this TV show has some very weird shit going on, like a magician escaping from a washing machine into which he has been placed, and bound, with water and soap and such going full tilt boogie.

Weird, but fun, I think? And, the song still rules.

Make that Sir Ray

I was having my monthly Skype conversation with my cousin Eve, and her husband Jim last Tuesday when they mentioned that the wonderful Ray Davies had been knighted.

Eve and Jim live in London, and Jim, in particular, is as huge a Kinks fan as am I, and Eve is not that far behind, I suspect.

So, I thought that alone was worth mentioning, but in deference to Coachella and what seems to be a lack of anything creative or new or interesting–at least to us–in the music world, I thought going back to this great Kinks cut from a vastly underrated Kinks album, Muswell Hillbilly was perfect.

I do think of all the songwriters to come out of the rock era, Ray was the cleverest lyricist and social critic while also being the Noel Coward of the last wave of pop tune-smiths, hence the knighthood is really appropriate.

As for Jim and my love for the Kinks, my grandmother’s house, on Holders Hill Road, was in Finchley, just up the road from Muswell Hill, so I always think if Granny and the Davies family being neighbors.

Way to go Ray! Love ya forever.


Afternoon Snack: The Who, “Jaguar” and “Rael”

I have been listening to the complete reissue of The Who Sell Out, which has the original tracks and bits of commercials supporting Peter Townshend’s penchant to make an album a cohesive unit.

Townshend, as most of you likely know, imagined the album as a daily radio program on the BBC, so he sprinkled in radio spots, largely performed by the band making the music sparkly, the ads goofy and funny, and the entire work just so different and musically prescient that the whole affair just kills me. In fact, The Who Sell Out is my favorite album by the band.

With the reissue all the original cuts are indeed there, along with the released spots, but there are almost 30 cuts on this, with several takes on several songs in several styles making the whole smorgasbord kind of fascinating in so many ways.

But, at the core is the music which my mate Steve Gibson called alternative, even though the album was released 10 years before the Sex Pistols saw daylight.

If you listen to the song below, Jaguar, I think you will see what Steve means.

If you drop down to Rael, you will find an instrumental riff that worked its way into Underture from Tommy.



Afternoon Snack: Love, “7 And 7 Is”

I was streaming 60’s hits on Spotify as I drove to meet the family for dinner Friday evening, and the lovely Alone Again, Or by Love came willowing out of the speakers via my IPhone.

I was always a big Love fan, but the song that really did it for me was this one, 7 And 7 Is. I was 13 when the song was released in June of 1966 and along with I Fought the Law the song was easily my favorite of the summer (though You’re Gonna Miss Me by the 13th Floor Elevators ranks right there too).

Clearly, the wall of guitars and driving beat prove I was a rocker of the highest order, even back then. And, well, when I pulled the song up on YouTube this morning, 7 And 7 Is had lost none of its punch.

So, rather than chocolate eggs or a spiral ham for Easter, you can get a virtual slug in the chest from the late great Arthur Lee and his mates. And, tell me if the song doesn’t sound as good and advanced today as it did 50 years ago?



Afternoon Snack: The Yardbirds, “Shapes of Things”

The Biletones are gearing up for summer with a new cluster of songs. Summer means a gig back at The Bistro in Hayward end of June, two dates in Madison, Wisconsin and then back to Frankie’s Blue Room in Naperville, Illinois late July/early August, and then a gig in at Raymond’s, in Cazadero, on the California Russian River.

One of the tunes to make the potential set list is the Yardbirds Heart Full of Soul which is great as my rhythm-playing lead singer mate Tom Nelson and I have been lobbying to do something by the band for at least five years.

It should not be necessary to acknowledge that the Yardbirds were the greatest guitar band ever: Just the fact that Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page each held the main axe slot confirms this maxim.

I was sort of shocked when I ran a search on the site here and did not see any entries for the band, so I figured that needed to be corrected.

As it was, I made a Spotify playlist of the songs the band is working on, and after Heart Full of Soul finished, I decided to add The Yardbirds to my artist’s list, and started streaming them as I drove home from golf this morning.

On the way, I had to stop and run an errand, so I stuffed my IPhone–which was doing the streaming–into my pocket, and as I walked to the shop in the little circus, I could hear Still I’m Sad, ostensibly piping through the muzak system. “Such an odd coincidence,” I thought, and then when Shapes of Things came on, I decided whoever controlled the mall streaming was a fan and having a go at it.

Until I realized the music was emanating from my IPhone, which managed to get to “play” in my butt pocket.

So, ok, maybe there is no god, but no denying what a great band The Yardbirds were, and what a great cut Shapes of Things is.

Check it out and try to argue, but you will lose. Every time



Afternoon Snack: Avi Buffalo, “What’s In It For Me?”

Back in the days before the market crash and stuff like that, I subscribed to Mojo Magazine. But, it got expensive and well, print is dead, so after six or seven years I let it drop.

I do sort of miss the rag even though I was forever behind in reading and remotely staying current with the what was new, for Mojo was great for that in my view.

I found Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket, and Avi Buffalo, among others via Mojo, which made it a lot easier to identify newer bands I might find challenging.

I had pretty much forgotten about Avi Buffalo till last week, when I accidentally wiped out the albums I had stored on my car playlist. So, in the process of rebuilding, I found a mix disc I burned with What’s In It For Me.

Granted, this tune is nothing earth shattering, but it is tuneful pop with really fine guitar interplay and pretty good drums. The bass player plays a Hofner, but he is the weak link.

Anyway, for what it is worth.


Afternoon Snack: For Lemmy, Knopfler, and all Guitar Players Everywhere

I started looking for this video the day Lemmy left us, with the intent of posting it as my little tribute to the guy.

When I looked on YouTube, I could not find it (apparently the skit was on a BBC series and the posting was a copyright violation) so I had to scrounge.

The video really speaks for itself and, it is way funny and cool (and must have been a blast to do).


Afternoon Snack” Def Leppard, “Armageddon It”

Def Leppard is a band I paid no attention to during their heyday, and truth is, I have listened to some of their stuff of late, and it all kind of sounds the same.

But, this song–which is clearly in their sound wheelhouse–is just a great little pop/rock tune with great drums and fun (if simple) guitar pyrotechnics.

You can love it or hate it, but it is a perfect little pop tune.

Afternoon Snack: Roxy Music, “Prarie Rose” meets Talking Heads, “The Big Country”

I cannot same that I am as crazy about Roxy as my mate Gene, but I do indeed love them, their sound, and a shitload of their songs.

I have my loves–Out of the BlueVirginia Plain, and All I want is You–but Prarie Rose has something to it that pushes beyond being just a favorite Roxy tune.

Aside from being just a wonderful piece of music and lyric, their are links to both Talking Heads (The Big Country) and Big Country’s In a Big Countrythat line being core to Roxy first.

Here are the Heads, live in a song that sort of has that great feel between driving and laid back thanks to great drumming laying down that fantastic groove.

Here is Roxy from a few years back, and though the hand held IPhone camera is way shaky, the audio is pretty good, and Phil Manzanera just fucking kills his solo even if we cannot really see him (check the video behind Ferry and I think that is a simulcast?)

Stuart Adamson’s fine Big Country band will be saved for another day!