Jul 062010

This news courtesy of Townsman cherguevara:

XTC Skylarking Better Than You’ve Ever Heard It Date:

In the course of world renowned mastering engineer John Dents [sic] work on preparing the new double vinyl set of XTC’s Skylarking for release, an interesting and wonderful thing has been discovered. John has informed us that that somewhere in the chain from Todd Rundgrens [sic] Utopia sound studio and Londons Master room studio, way back in 1986, a fault has occurred that means all of the versions of Skylarking you’ve ever heard, on CD or vinyl, have sounded…how shall we put this?… wrong. Read complete story here.

I usually cringe when I read about any significantly “restored-to-the-creators’-intent” reissue, but I’m a longtime XTC fan who’s always found Skylarking to sound a bit thin and cold. I always blamed it on a combination of Rundgren’s tight ass constricting Partridge’s increasingly tight ass, with an assist to Todd’s boy and former Tubes drummer, Prairie Prince. I’m curious whether any amount of added warmth and low tones will spark up some of the codified songwriting that has set in by that late date in the band’s career.

[NOTE: cher may have a different take on this and, most likely, can assess the veracity of the supposed technical glitch.]

UPDATE: cherguevara has called… Continue reading »

Mar 222010

I finally got around to seeing Crazy Heart, and oh my! Despite a Herculean effort by Jeff Bridges to overcome the soap operatic acting talents of Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart was about the most pointless movie I’ve seen in a long time. Well, in not too long a time: that Sherlock Holmes movie I saw with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law a couple of months ago really made me question my existence for the 2 hours it ran.

The music scenes in Crazy Heart were good. Bridges actually played and interacted with his fellow musicians in a way that felt real and insightful. The songs helped tell what little story there was to tell. No beefs there!

Bridges was truly fine, but Oscar-winning performance fine? What did he do that the multi-untalented Kris Kristofferson didn’t do in A Star Is Born, for crying out loud? But I’m not here to knock Bridges. The work he did to keep this flat, overtold movie remotely watchable deserved an Oscar. And the Kristofferson comparison was uncalled for. Sorry, I get too much pleasure thinking about a scene from that film with Kristofferson’s character wasted and playing an out-of-tune guitar while seated on a couch.

QUESTION: Why wasn’t the Robert Duvall-produced Crazy Heart simply promoted as a prequel to Tender Mercies, the extraordinary tale of a recovering alcoholic, washed-up country singer trying to make it with a younger, farm-fresh woman and her little boy?

ANSWER after the jump!
Continue reading »

Jan 272010

In a press release issued today, Billy “Reverend Willy G” Gibbons, Dusty “the Pleaser” Hill, and Frank Beard countered assertions published on popular rock and roll blog “Rock Town Hall” that the band had never actually toured with live animals during their celebrated “World Wide Texas Tour” in 1976.

“As far as I’m concerned, this ‘Moderator’ character needs to step out from behind his momma’s skirt and present himself for a good old-fashioned truth-whuppin’,” said ZZ Top’s long-time lead guitarist Billy Gibbons. “Not only did we tour with bison, buzzards, rattlesnakes, and long-horned cattle way back in ’76, we recently secured a full menagerie of African wildlife for our upcoming ‘BBQ Safari’ World Tour — and we’ve got the pictures to prove it. Until and unless Mr. Moderator delivers photographic proof that he in fact exists, we’re issuing a cease-and-desist notice on all this tomfoolery. In conclusion, let me just say to Mr. Moderator and those who care about his half-baked conspiracy theories: do yourself a favor, son: bear down on the meat, and ease up on the potato salad.”

Jan 272010

Here’s an excerpt from ZZ Top‘s Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame page that repeats the claim I’ve heard for as long as I can remember that ZZ Top did a Texas cattle ranch-themed tour that included real livestock on stage with them:

ZZ Top carried stagecraft to elaborate heights with its Worldwide Texas Tour: Taking Texas to the People. For this mid-Seventies extravaganza, which came between Fandango! and Tejas, ZZ Top lugged 75 tons of equipment and animals native to Texas, including a buffalo, a longhorn steer, buzzards and rattlesnakes. They also performed on a Texas-shaped stage.

That’s from the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, remember, an actual, industry-approved museum with dedicated curators! I’ve never been there, but if a fruitless community-wide, 3-day search of the Internet indicates anything I bet the Hall of Fame doesn’t even possess photographic evidence of this rock myth!

Following is the photographic result of our search of ZZ Top pictured on stage with even a single, living buffalo, longhorn steer, buzzard, or rattlesnake.
Continue reading »

Jun 302009

It’s a provocative statement. I know. Fact is I like about 1/2 of that first album. But I’m calling Bullshit On The New York Dolls‘ legendary status.

Let’s face it. The Dolls were a product of a place and time and heavy shtick. And ya know what, I dig the shtick but when all is said and done, the music is moderately interesting at best.

Rolling Stone called “Personality Crisis” the 267th best rock song of all time. Really?! Granted this was 2006 and doesn’t include anything the Raconteurs did but…

K-Mart Stones in drag, man. And yeah that’s cool but c’mon, legendary? Bullshit.

Here’s the greatest thing The Dolls ever did:

I’m not talking about the album, I’m talking about the image on the cover. I maintain that without this cover, The New York Dolls would not have attained legendary status. And though this doesn’t have the balls, it did come 2-3 year before.

What say you?

Oct 142008

I’m a huge fan of XTC. I consider their run of albums from Go2 through The Big Express one of the most impressive runs of albums in rock. I even think Skylarking is a pretty great album, although I don’t wholly embrace its constricted production. However, I was never a fan of Nonsuch. I tried to like it for a few months and finally decided to cast that devil out of the house!

Click here for a fascinating look at a band in the studio at a time when they forgot to change the batteries in their bullshit detector. (Unfortunately, this is one of those YouTube videos that the owner will not allow other sites to embed, so you’ve got to go to his specific URL.)

Does anyone in this studio look uncomfortable with the mess that’s being put down? All that’s missing is a nodding Derek Smalls, stroking his beard nnd pulling on his pipe.

When people tell me they don’t “get” XTC – or think they stink, I figure this must be what they’re hearing. I ask Townspeople who don’t get XTC, Is this what you’re hearing?


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