Jan 072015

May we kick off 2015 with this great-bad All-Star Jam? I’d like to gather your thoughts, your hopes, your dreams…for reasons I am not yet at liberty to disclose.


  30 Responses to “All-Star Jam”

  1. misterioso

    My goodness, so much love in recent posts for Taylor Swift! More than love–such deep Respect! No “Taylor Swift, Guilty Pleasure,” or “Taylor Swift, If You’re Forced to Listen to Your Teenage Daughter’s iPod You Could Do Worse,” or “That Taylor Swift, Boy, She’s Easy on the Eyes and Doesn’t She Sing, Too?” for this crowd. Just wondering when she became Our Greatest Living Artist. Is this just a way of getting the jump on the Taylor Swift Critical Upgrade that Mod had penciled in on the RTH calendar for the year 2035? Or is this one of those double-reverse backlash things where something’s great because the conventional wisdom says that nothing so popular can be great? Are you guys also sitting around, rubbing your beards, and thinking, “Damn, looking back, Olivia Newton John was really kinda great.”

  2. As well as cliff’s piece from last week I read KingEd’s piece on Phawker and get where they’re coming from. As someone whose childhood tastes are rooted in stuff like Motown, I love the fact that Swift delivers highly structured pop music with escalating returns (ie, verse through chorus [although I could do without the rap-style middle eight]) in a voice that’s pretty direct and energetic. She doesn’t sing in a faux-breathy ot faux-Rock voice (or faux-whatever, for that matter). She sings like a young woman who simply enjoys singing. I can’t judge whether her voice is technically GREAT or anything like that, but I hear her songs and they deliver, through the limitations of modern style pop arrangements, along the the same lines of a Supremes song. She sounds human in the middle of a completely manufactured arrangement, which I think is one of the keys to great pop music. I’ve heard some other song from her new album that starts out bad but then picks up steam once the chorus hits. I compare the 2 songs I’ve heard from her new album with the 3 songs I’ve heard from that lauded War on Drugs album, and the contest isn’t close. Why do War on Drugs hate drums? Every song I’ve heard has what sounds like a single, simple programmed drum beat that runs throughout. Nothing builds. No new doors open (think all the cool doors that Maxwell Smart has to walk through to arrive at the office). Just a frigging drum machine beat taken from Bruce Hornsby or Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer” with a bunch of atmospherics layered on and Bob Dylan’s voice from Infidels (the best aspect of War on Drugs, if you ask me). Fuck that! When I hear that Swift song alongside the Joey Ramone song from U2’s freebie album (which I thought was a cool move, by the way), there’s no contest. I can digest and get a response from Swift’s single in 8 measures. I don’t have to wade through a bunch of hangups over U2’s success and how much I really like the Ramones, etc. I mean, I like the fact that U2 still finds it worth paying homage to the greats of punk rock, but the tune didn’t stick with me.

  3. misterioso

    Not that I am anything like a big Ramones fan, but that U2 song sucks.

    I’d never heard War on Drugs until recently when several people talked them up here. I listened to the new album on the Spotify. I would say “not too bad in small doses.” That said, your description of them is spot on and very, very funny. Maybe the name’s a typo and it’s supposed to be War on Drums?

    Look, I’m not exactly trying to rip Taylor Swift. I don’t really care one way or the other, nothing about her speaks to me but neither does it bother me. But I’ll stick with the Olivia Newton John comparison, ’cause she too was Totally Hot.

  4. I’d prefer to listen to Amy Rigby’s “Dancing With Joey Ramone”


  5. OK– time to go out and replace our entire digital music libraries. Neil’s Ponos is finally out! Wonder if Taylor and The War on Drugs will play ball with Neil?


    My favorite part:

    So why upgrade to an expensive portable music player as the rest of the world seems to be happy with just streaming their music? As Young explained to an audience at the CES electronics and technology show yesterday, ”I didn’t listen to music for the last 15 years because I hated the way it sounded, and it made me pissed off and I couldn’t enjoy it any more. I could only hear what was missing.”

  6. This is an early contender for Most Important Music News of 2015! Just the other day one of my sons was wondering what Magic Alex-like developer conned Young into putting his name to this thing. Speaking of Magic Alex, whatever happened to Alexmagic? If Rock Town Hall is to last and revive through 2015, that guy needs to check back into the Hall. Notice has been served!

  7. Indeed. I was looking at an old post recently and it reminded me how frigging funny he was. Among his greatest hits:
    the Do the Know It’s Christmas hair analysis, his comments about the video in which Tom Jones sings with CSNY, and his perspective on the Who Would You Hire Poll.

  8. In the everything old is new again dept. — this guy who goes by the name of BØRNS made his TV debut on Conan last night.


    There must be a market for Billy Squier revivalists.

  9. RTH Challenge: Former Phillies pitcher Brett Myers has released an EP of (your guessed it) country music. Read about it here:


    More importantly, who is up for the RTH challenge of buying this bad boy and reviewing it for the Halls of Rock? No joke. I’ll reimburse up to the first 3 Townspeople who buy this through CD Baby:


    Alexmagic, our nation needs you now!

  10. BigSteve

    You cannot fully enjoy Taylor Swift’s new record without contending with her decision to remove her music from Spotify. It’s totally more artistically epochal than giving your album away via Itunes.

  11. 2000 Man

    I haven’t heard any of Taylor Swift’s new album, but then again I don’t think I’ve heard more than one or two of her songs anyway. I haven’t liked U2 since I flipped the first album over to the second side and thought they put the same songs on both sides (like Boston’s first album seemed). So I never listen to them, either. I don’t even know where to go to listen to it, actually. I’m not turning on that radio station, so that seems to be working!

    That Thin Lizzy video is really dumb. But I like the song. I like Thin Lizzy. They were just one of those consistent B level hard rock bands I liked when I was a kid. I need to go buy their records again. Then I can have a Saturday afternoon where I listen to Thin Lizzy, BTO, Grand Funk and the first couple Blue Oyster Cult albums and maybe get some Hire’s root beer. And blueberry Tiparillo’s. Do they still make those? We used to steal those blueberry cigars all the time.

  12. Stealing Tiparillo’s!!! Andyr and I know that routine from middle school days well!

    I love your characterization of the first U2 album (and Boston). I like both of those albums (the first Boston one and U2’s first) and I love Television, but they’re another band that never progressed beyond side 1 of its debut.

  13. mockcarr

    That’s exactly the type of stuff you shoplift because you’d be too embarrassed to actually buy them.

  14. 2000 Man

    Not when you’re twelve! You pull out a few blueberry Tiparillo’s and a Ronson refillable lighter in 6th grade in 1975 or so, and you are a serious bad ass!

  15. trigmogigmo

    Saw mention yesterday that it was David Bowie’s birthday. If you haven’t run across it, I thought the documentary “David Bowie: Five Years” was pretty good. It covers five different significant years in his career. It is available on Showtime on demand.



  16. cherguevara

    I have so much i want to say about the Pono thing, but it has to wait for time to permit.

    In the meantime, I had a “whatever happened to…” moment with Jerry Dammers the other day. Didn’t realize he had fallen under the spell of Sun Ra and had a group still. Thought he was doing DJ stuff. So if you also were not aware, here is a recent-ish clip of his thing:


  17. ladymisskirroyale

    Also big RTH news: Trigmogigmo recently got married. Congratulations, Trig!

  18. ladymisskirroyale

    Interesting, very interesting. It’s one of those harmonic convergence moments: just the other day, Mr. Royale and I were talking about Mr. Dammers. I had bought MR an old Colourfield cd, as we are fans of all thing Terry Hall, and wondered about Mr. “Missing His 2 Front Teeth” himself. Thanks for the update.

  19. trigmogigmo

    Thanks LMKR!

  20. diskojoe

    I’m currently reading the new book about Nick Drake that I got w/my Chrimble swag & I’ve been listening to his albums while I’m reading the book. Does anyone else here in the Hall do this (having the music of the subject in the background while reading a book about the artist)?

  21. misterioso

    Criminy, if BTO and Grant Funk are in the B-list I dare not ask how sucky you have to be to make the C- and D-list.

  22. 2000 Man

    Man, Kim Fowley died today. Yeah, he was an unparalleled asshole, but he had the best show on Underground Garage back when I listened to it (well, Ko Melina really did, but Kim was on way more often) and he figured out a way to unleash The Runaways on teenage boys like me. He may not have been a great man, but he was as Rock N’ Roll as anyone.

  23. misterioso

    He certainly had a fascinating career (if that’s the right word for it). Hard to think of too many bandwagons he didn’t either jump on or help drive. This might be my favorite thing of his, the bubblegum glam of “Motorboat” (as Jimmy Jukebox). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLPKxJiopOA

  24. Yeah, congratulations Trigmogigmo!

  25. One of my bandmates does that. I can’t focus on two things at once but I will sometimes stop reading and listen to a song on spotify.

  26. That “Motorboat” song is pretty cool. I’d never heard it until now. I’ve never understood the fascination with Fowley. I don’t ever recall hearing the Runaways when they were out. They seemed to me to be one of those bands photographed more than listened to, perhaps for good reason. One of these days I’ll try to understand how Fowley got his toehold in the underground pop culture.

  27. It’s not unusual that I have music playing while I’m reading (so long it’s not lyric-heavy music, like Bob Dylan), but it’s rare that I think to put on the music of the artist I’m reading about. Not a bad idea. I have been working on memoir that closely ties specific music to times in my life, and I keep thinking during one of my rewriting sessions that I will remember to play the music relevant to that chapter to see what details I’ve missed.

  28. misterioso

    Well, he seems to have had a certain genius for either anticipating or capitalizing on trends (not totally clear to me which is the more accurate statement, perhaps both are true) and certainly for self promotion. Sometimes that’s enough. See also McLaren, Malcolm, inter alia.

  29. cherguevara

    Hey all. The movie about X, called “the Unheard Music” is on youtube and I stumbled across it. Here it is:


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