Monday, February 28, 2011

Cover Me Impressed: 'Too Many Teardrops'

Much like my post on "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out," this is cheating to call this one a cover. Both of the artists featured here are listed as the songwriters of "Too Many Teardrops." And let's not forget they were married at the time both of these versions were recorded, to boot. Carlene Carter was the first to lay down the track. It appeared on her very well done 1981 album 'Blue Nun.' Now, Carter is known as a country artist, to be sure, but there was this period in the early '80s when she released two albums with members of Rockpile, Cowboy Outfit and other well-known backers of her husband, Mr. Nick Lowe. He also acted as her producer. If you are a fan of Lowe and Rockpile and have not heard the 1980 album 'Musical Shapes' or 'Blue Nun,' seek them out. It will be right up your alley.

As for Lowe's version of "Too Many Teardrops," it appeared a year later on his 'Nick the Knife' album. Some of the personnel that show up on both albums include: Lowe, Carter, Bobby Irwin, James Eller, Billy Bremner, Martin Belmont and Paul Carrack. I'm a much bigger fan of Lowe, but I must admit I prefer the Carter version of this song. It has to do with pacing more than anything else. Lowe's version seems too restrained. I also prefer the background vocals of the Carter version. Weird, since Carter is the background singer on the Lowe version. I think my head just exploded. Anyway, both are keepers.

Carlene Carter - Too Many Teardrops (mp3)
Nick Lowe - Too Many Teardrops (mp3)

More Cover Me Impressed:
"Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me"
"They Don't Know"
"Everybody's Talkin'"
"What Goes On"
"There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"
Halloween Edition
"Porpoise Song"
"Prairie Rose"
"Come On Eileen"
"Walking On Thin Ice"
Jason Falkner Edition
"True Love Will Find You In The End"
"This Will Be Our Year"
"You're My Favorite Waste of Time"
"The End Of The World"
"(Don't Go Back To)Rockville"
"God Only Knows"
"And Your Bird Can Sing"
"So Sad About Us"
"Walking The Cow"

Friday, February 25, 2011

California Dreamin'

You may have noticed a gap between posts last week. My kids were on break from school for a few days. So, we took off for Los Angeles and a quick trip to Disneyland. The boys had a blast, but my first trip to SoCal since I was a teenager was completely devoid of a visit to a record store. I just didn't have the time or freedom. That's not to say I didn't get to take in a little history, however. I saw the Capitol Records building and clubs like the Whisky A Go-Go and the Roxy. I certainly had a California soundtrack going through my head as well. I thought I would share a few of the songs I could not shake last week.

I have to admit the band that pops into my mind when I see the Capitol tower is the Beach Boys, but posting a song by them would attract the music police. So, I'll fight the urge. Same goes with Van Halen. They were the first band I thought of when I saw the Whisky, but my guess is I had better avoid VH tunes.

After our stay in Anaheim we moved the party to the Valley for two nights. That meant in order to do our sightseeing we passed the Hollywood Hills several times. So, here's the song I was constantly singing to myself as we made those treks. It's the first single from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I remember seeing these guys interviewed on I.R.S.' 'The Cutting Edge' when I was just a wee lad. I took to it immediately and still have the vinyl copy of their debut I bought as a 14 year old.

The Minutemen and X are a couple of my favorite American punk bands, and both of them are proud of their California heritage.

X - Los Angeles (mp3) Buy
Minutemen - O'er the Town of Pedro (mp3) Buy

Our trip to Hollywood made me think of a couple of bands that appeared in great films from my youth. Like most young males in the early '80s, I had a thing for Molly Ringwald, and she had a thing for a band called the Rave-Ups. You may remember she had their name scribbled on her three-ring binder in 'Sixteen Candles.' A couple of years later, the Rave-Ups appeared in the Ringwald flick 'Pretty in Pink.' They were the band playing at the bar. The Plimsouls were a huge part of the L.A. music scene in the early '80s, and they showed up for a couple of songs at the Hollywood hangout of the Nicholas Cage character in 'Valley Girl.' I still listen to these two classics all of the time.

The Rave-Ups - Positively Lost Me (mp3) Buy
The Plimsouls - A Million Miles Away (Live at the Whisky A Go-Go) (mp3) Buy

Let's skip ahead to the early '90s and a couple of power-pop bands that ruled the L.A. scene for a spell and wore their influences on their sleeves. After a fantastic debut album, the Sugarplastic even managed a major-label deal for a minute. They are still one of my favorite bands, and they do release new music every once in a blue moon. Fellas, how about a new one in 2011? It has been several years since Wondermints gave us something new, but they have a pretty good excuse since much of their time is spent backing Brian Wilson. If you don't already have it, do yourself a favor and buy their self-titled debut.

Sugarplastic - Howl a Little (mp3) Buy
Wondermints - Carnival of Souls (mp3) Buy

If the first song you think of when I say "Bangles" is "Walk Like an Egyptian," please take some time to listen to their early stuff... particularly their debut EP and LP. In my eyes, Jason Falkner can do no wrong. Whether you know him from the Three O'Clock, Jellyfish, the Grays, his work with Beck, Air or Paul McCartney, if you don't have each of his solo albums you have a big hole in your music collection. He may very well be my favorite musician today. OK, I said I wouldn't risk posting any Beach Boys, but I have decided to go the Wilson solo route. Wilson's 1988 solo album is a masterpiece. Although he rarely plays anything live from it other than an a capella version of "Love and Mercy," he made an exception on Sept. 24, 2000 when he appeared at the Hollywood Bowl. Rhino had just reissued the album, and he performed "Let It Shine" in honor of the event.

The Bangles - The Real World (mp3) Buy
Jason Falkner - I Live (mp3) Buy
Brian Wilson - Let It Shine (Live) (mp3) Buy

Nice mix, eh? Lucky for you I didn't go to Scranton. What songs put you in a California state of mind?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stream New Song From Foo Fighters

The new album, 'Wasting Light,' won't be out until April 12, but Foo Fighters are giving fans a chance to hear their first single, "Rope," right here. It sounds like nice work from Dave Grohl & Co. You would be a "foo" not to give it a listen. Sorry. "Rope" will be officially released on March 1 via RCA.

'Wasting Light' Tracklist
1. Bridge Burning
2. Rope
3. Dear Rosemary
4. White Limo
5. Arlandria
6. These Days
7. Back & Forth
8. A Matter Of Time
9. Miss The Misery
10. I Should Have Known
11. Walk

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

First Music Video From Reunited Cars

After three all-too-brief snippets of songs, we finally get to hear a full-length song from the Cars. "Blue Tip" has that vintage Cars sound. It reminds me a lot of the 'Candy-O'-era tune "Nightspots" I featured earlier this month. This does nothing but make me want to hear 'Move Like This' ASAP. Circle May 10 on the ol' calendar. Twenty-four years. Man, you sure know how to make a fella wait.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Oh, Boy! Look Who's Back

This one is for Mrs. LTL! Boy George tells Sirius XM OutQ host Larry Flick that Culture Club is, indeed, reuniting. Although I am not a big fan, I do respect that this is not just a straight-up cash grab. Unlike some bands I could name that have reassembled for nothing more than nostalgia and the promise of big bucks on the road, Culture Club is actually planning to release a new album to go along with a lucrative tour. Best of luck obtaining that visa to play America, Boy, and be good. Listen to part of Flick's interview right here. I have been ordered to start searching for a babysitter.

Monday, February 14, 2011

XTC: More of the Early Years

My infatuation with the Barry Andrews era continues. XTC doesn't exactly have a prolific career as a touring band, and Andy Partridge's stage fright is well documented. In 1977, however, Partridge would pop a Valium and hit the stage. Although the band survived for decades, there are very few audio documents of their live performances. The only one I own as a complete concert, in fact, is a vinyl bootleg from the Black Sea Tour in 1981. Andrews, of course, was long gone by this time. So, the only live performance I have that includes Andrews are these two songs from the 'Coat of Many Cupboards' box set that came out in 2002.

"Spinning Top" was recorded at Eric's Club in Liverpool on Aug. 13, 1977. These were heady times for the band, and this stop at Eric's -- one of their regular gigs -- must have felt like quite a triumph. It's not every day the lads got to be recorded by a major label (via mobile truck). They had just signed to Virgin, but they hadn't yet recorded the '3D' EP or 'White Music.' Partridge recalls Andrews' organ slowly giving out during the show, and he did have to switch to piano by the time they did "Traffic Light Rock" for an encore. Enjoy the great XTC in its infancy.

XTC - Spinning Top (Live) (mp3)
XTC - Traffic Light Rock (Live) (mp3)

Friday, February 11, 2011

XTC: The Early Years

Many (if not most) XTC fans think the band really established itself when keyboardist Barry Andrews left the band and was replaced with guitarist/keyboardist Dave Gregory. I'm not in this camp. Although I consider XTC one of my favorite bands and think their entire discography through at least 'Oranges and Lemons' are must-have albums, my real soft spot is for the band's first two albums, 'White Music' and 'Go 2.'

I'll never forget the first time I heard XTC. As a bushy-haired 15-year-old lad I bought the band's first compilation, 'Waxworks: Some Singles 1977-1982,' without previously hearing a note from them. That first note came from Andrews' keyboard in the form of the side-one track-one song "Science Friction.' I had never heard manic keyboard solos like that before. Soon, keyboard-heavy songs like "Radios in Motion," "Traffic Light Rock," "Cross Wires" and "Into the Atom Age" became my adolescent anthems. While there is no doubt the addition of Gregory meant a more mature and accessible sound, let's not forget the hyper Andrews era.

For the next couple of days I'll feature non-album versions of some of my favorite XTC songs from 1977 and 1978. Today's songs come from appearances on the 'John Peel Show.' They can be found on the out-of-print disc 'Drums and Wireless.'

XTC - Cross Wires (BBC Radio Session) (mp3)
XTC - Into the Atom Age (BBC Radio Session) (mp3)
XTC - Meccanic Dancing (BBC Radio Session) (mp3)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stream New Song From the Primitives

Slicing Up Eyeballs seems to be the first to have 'Never Kill a Secret,' the soon-to-be-released EP from the reunited Primitives. The four-song affair will feature the single "Rattle My Cage," and the set is scheduled hit the shelves as a seven-inch single (or digital download) on March 7. As I mentioned last year, two of the new songs are obscure covers originally recorded by Suzi Jane Hokum and Toni Basil. The song below, "Never Kill a Secret," may come as a real shocker. Don't expect their old-school jangle pop. Still, with an open mind, you may enjoy this more mature sound. I will, however, cross my fingers that "Rattle My Cage" is more C86.

The Primitives, 'Never Kill a Secret' by Slicing Up Eyeballs

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Strokes! New Strokes! New Strokes!

Bookmark it, baby! The Strokes are releasing their comeback single tomorrow as a free download. You can get "Under Cover Of Darkness" right here beginning Feb. 9. It will be available for 48 hours. So, don't sleep on this one. Woo-hoo! The new full-length album, 'Angles,' is still due out on March 21. Please be good.

'Angles' Tracklisting:
1. Machu Picchu
2. Under Cover of Darkness
3. Two Kinds of Happiness
4. You're So Right
5. Taken For A Fool
6. Games
7. Call Me Back
8. Gratisfaction
9. Metabolism
10. Life Is Simple In The Moonlight

Cars Ready to Put It in 'Drive'

I wouldn't normally waste a post just for a piece of art but, hey, I'll make an exception for this band. We are inching ever closer to the reality of a reunited Cars. After three tiny snippets of new songs from the band's Facebook page, now we have an album cover, news of a new label and a release date for a full-length album. Concord Music and the Cars will give us 'Move Like This' on May 10. Man, that's a long time, but we have already waited 24 years for this moment. So, what's a few more months. Here are a couple of live performances to fill the gap.

The Cars - Nightspots (Live: 9/14/78) (mp3)
The Cars - You Might Think (Live: 9/11/84) (mp3)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Curtain Call: Elvis Costello (6/2/80)

In 1980, Elvis Costello & the Attractions made one North American appearance, and this is it. The Heatwave Festival -- dubbed the punk or new wave Woodstock -- went on with many hitches at Mosport Park just outside of Toronto. That doesn't take away from the fact that the cavalcade of stars would have been a dream to see. Just look at this lineup: The Rumour, Rockpile, Pretenders, B-52's, Talking Heads and, of course, Costello and his band of merry men. Wow! Time machine, please.

The Clash were supposed to perform as well, but they had to cancel at the last minute. Remember, I did mention hitches. About 85,000 people attended during the day, but that number swelled to about 100,000 when Dan Aykroyd told a radio audience to come on down. He would get them all on the guest list. Close to 20,000 ended up getting in for free to see Talking Heads and Costello. It's estimated the promoters missed out on about a million bucks with the stunt. And how would you like to have been one of the 85,000 paying customers?

I digress. The Costello set is filled with favorites from the early years, including a few from 'Trust,' an album that wouldn't be released until 1981. One of the big problems with this bootleg, called 'Daze of Glory,' is that six songs from the show are omitted. Sadly, two of the tunes are "Clubland" and "You'll Never Be a Man." It would be interesting to hear what they sounded like in their infancy... just before they appeared on a studio album.

As for the recording itself, it doesn't stand up to the other shows I have chosen for this series. I guess that's to be expected at a huge outdoor show, but I really like the set list. That's why it makes my favorites list. As I mentioned, six songs are missing, and the makers of this bootleg try to make for it by adding seven bonus tracks from a June 2, 1982 show from the Capitol Theatre in Sydney. The sound quality of those songs is much better. For today's mp3s, I'm sticking to songs from 1980 and 1981. Enjoy, Costello fans!

'Daze of Glory' Tracklist
From the Heatwave Festival in Toronto (6/2/80)
1. Shot With His Own Gun
2. Accidents Will Happen
3. The Beat
4. Temptation (mp3)
5. (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea
6. Secondary Modern (mp3)
7. Lovers Walk (mp3)
8. Less Than Zero
9. High Fidelity (mp3)
10. Alison
11. Lipstick Vogue
12. You Belong To Me
13. Radio, Radio
14. Pump It Up
15. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?
16. Mystery Dance
17. I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down (mp3)

From the Capitol Theatre in Sydney (6/2/82)
18. Hand In Hand
19. The Beat
20. Kid About It
21. Watching The Detectives
22. The Long Honeymoon
23. Waiting For The End Of The World
24. Almost Blue

Other Costello Shows in the Curtain Call Series:
April 12, 1979
Oct. 17, 1983
Nov. 21, 1987
Sept. 22, 1994

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Download New Song From Dum Dum Girls

Here's a quickie. The title track from Dum Dum Girls' upcoming EP, 'He Gets Me High,' can be had from the widget above. The Sub Pop release will be out on March 1. If you enjoyed the fun and fuzz of "Jail La La," you'll want to take a sec to grab this one.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Song and LP Info From Vivian Girls

The news is out on the next full-length album by Vivian Girls. 'Share the Joy' will be shared with the world on April 12 via the band's new label, Polyvinyl. You can download a song from the LP below and pre-order the album here. "I Heard You Say" is a little less lo-fi and fuzzy than its predecessors, and just about every aspect of the production is more polished (but not too polished, if you know what I mean). If the rest of the record sounds like this, Vivian Girls will not be relegated to my "just missed" list of top albums for 2011... as they were back in 2009.

Vivian Girls - I Heard You Say (mp3)

'Share the Joy' Tracklist
1. The Other Girls
2. I Heard You Say
3. Dance (If You Wanna)
4. Lake House
5. Trying to Pretend
6. Sixteen Ways
7. Take It as It Comes
8. Vanishing of Time
9. Death
10. Light in Your Eyes