Sep 232014

Hey, did you see this?

I know that you all enjoy movies and film almost as much as you do your music, so here’s a perfect marriage of the two, thanks to our bearded, cycling, kale-eating friends at Pitchfork. Knock yourself out; I know I did.

I would agree with a number of these entries, and think the group of films/songs representing numbers 15-1 are pretty accurate (with the exception of The Lovers on the Bridge. What? If you’re going for a colossal failure, let’s revisit Ishtar. At least that’s about a couple of song writers.) I appreciate the inclusion of two of my favorite song/scenes from film, the use of “The Madison” in Band of Outsiders and “California Dreamin'” in Chungking Express (and snappy little films, to boot).

However, I’m guessing that you, like me, will also take umbrage at a few of the entries. What?!: These Days is rated higher than Saturday Night Fever? And if you’re going to include the great “Heart of the Sunrise” from Buffalo 66, why not include the trailer (which, IMHO, is one of the best film trailers ever spliced together)?!

There are some glaring omissions. How could you leave out these cheekbones? That attitude? Or those bees?

Members of Rock Town Hall! Put aside your remote controls! Take your fingers off that turn table arm! Rip off those headphones! We can do better than this! What are your quintessential movie pop music moments?

Jun 052014


Jus’ sayin’… is a new feature to Rock Town Hall. As much as we like to explain ourselves, sometimes there’s a need to just say what’s on our mind. For the record, that Jus’ sayin’… phrase is high on my list of modern discourse pet peeves, but that shouldn’t stop us from getting with the times. Without further ado…

Aug 132013

Last week I was driving around and flipped the dial to my local Oldies station. Prince‘s “1999” was getting underway. That’s one of the few Prince songs I kind of like (although I don’t like it as much as Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” which always sounds to me like a better version of the same song). I decided to stop flipping and listen to the entire song, anticipating the “I’m a bigger man” character building side benefits to come.

The more I tried to throw myself into the mild enjoyment I get from “1999” the more I felt myself getting perplexed by the song’s rhythm track. People like to dance to that song, don’t they? “It’s got a lousy beat, and you can dance to it!” I imagine some kid telling Dick Clark.

I don’t dance, but I was trying to imagine what elements of the song I might let flow through my hips, if my body ever worked that way in the presence of music. The electronic drums are nothing to write home about. There’s a repeating electronic tom-tom fill that’s especially annoying. The song has very little in the way of bass. What’s at the bottom end may be some kind of synth-bass that’s triggered by the artificial, never-varying drum beat. What in “1999” makes people feel like dancing? Is the rhythmic interplay of the funk guitars and the vocals enough? Is this how people dance to forms of folk music completely lacking drums and bass?

Following “1999” was a song that I can easily imagine dancing to, The Rolling Stones‘ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” I focused on the drum-and-bass parts. Charlie Watts barely varies his simple kick-snare pattern. The bass is cool, moving all around that simple drum part. The maracas are outstanding. If I were capable of dancing, this is the kind of song that would draw me to the dance floor. Is it because the drums, however invariable, are real? Is it because the bass adds variety? Is it because the maracas are so outstanding?

Jul 302013

Hippies have been known to dance to anything, as the above clip attests, but they’re not alone in finding steps to music that’s usually not thought of as possessing a “great beat.” What’s the most unlikely dancing you’ve seen on display?

Jul 052013

Fancy my trainers?

Last night, Mr. Royale and I went to one of those ’80s dance nights. I’m proud to say that I danced my f’ing ass off and even Mr. Royale was seen hoofing it to several classic ’80s Post-Punk tracks. This wasn’t your typical synth-pop, hair metal evening: David J was the guest DJ. As you can imagine, he filled the evening with darker, interesting British music from the early-to-mid -80s, most of it great to dance to and all of it enjoyable to hear.

This morning, the ’80s love-fest continued. While I was scanning my FB feed, another blog that I follow posted some videos from the Hacienda/Factory Records site. While I’ve been resting my weary feet, I’ve been watching these live clips from The Hacienda, circa 1982. Most of them are pretty interesting, and I’m guessing a few will get you up on your feet. The band line up is so good: I would call it my Summer of Love.

Jun 162013

Greetings, fellow seekers of the rare, the unusual, and the putatively worthless. On this Father’s Day, I come before you in humble tribute to the father of RTH, our very own Mr. Moderator, whose singular accomplishment in the field of Rock community I shall celebrate through a choice slab of dusty vinyl.

Specifically, today I share a track that will hopefully nurse him through his legendary fear of dancing in public spaces. The Flares recorded a song for just this problem in 1961 entitled “Foot Stompin’, Part 1.” Though it climbed to number 25 in the charts that year, I heard it for the first time when combing through a haul of 45s I found at a local flea market. It’s infectious, foot stompin’ good fun, and it makes dancing easy!

So here’s to you, Moddie — long may you stomp.


Nov 192012

Did any of you read the article about the New Disco in yesterday’s New York Times? As a rock nerdist who will admit to loving dance music, I thought I would check the scene out.

Holy Crap! I thought that Psy’s “Gangnam Style” was a record of excess, but The Crystal Ark put that video to shame. And it’s so much cooler.

I admit that I continue to lament the end of LCD Soundsystem, so have had to make do by playing my “12” Eighties Electro Pop” compilations and old Deee-Lite cds. And I’m aware that RTH is not typically a place to hyperventilate about dance music. But check out the new video by The Crystal Ark. I think you’ll find at least a little something to love.

Note the signs and signifiers of music from our cultural past. How about the “Letting Your Freak Flag Fly” multicultural and pansexual ethos? If Van Halen is worthy of a Critical Upgrade, maybe you, too, can enjoy this bands’ Unfulfilled Fashion Ideas? There are even uniforms! Yeah, yeah, yeah, the old “cello or guitar = stand in for a woman” has now been updated. Even tonyola had probably never seen keyboards like this!

If you dare, check out this earlier video. It features zombies, visual commentary on the NY lifestyle, and some very beautiful animal costumes. Equus, eat your heart out!


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