Dec 102013

An unofficial “fanboy” video for “Paul Rudd,” a song from  ¡MOd! vs ¡POW!, the coming Nixon’s Head joint release with The Donuts, was posted to YouTube this morning. The double CD is due for release in March 2014. Representatives from Nixon’s Head and their label, Groove Disques, have some idea of the video’s origins, but are not commenting.

“We have some idea of the video’s origins,” said an undisclosed source from both the band and the label, “but we are not commenting.”

It is suspected that the timing of this unofficial fanboy video’s release has nothing to do with next week’s launch of the hit movie Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

Oct 092013

Our friend and Nixon’s Head guitarist Jim McMahon passed on Tuesday morning. We hope the following “24-string salute” and link to one of the final recordings he did with us do some justice to the man.

Jim McMahon making like the fadeout from "Maggie May."

Jim McMahon making like the fadeout from “Maggie May.”

Our friend and bandmate Jim McMahon passed away Tuesday morning after a year-long battle with cancer. Almost a year ago to the day we received notification that Jim had been diagnosed. For a group of old music friends hovering around what we generously call “middle age,” this was chilling news. We knew Jim would face this challenge head on, fully prepared, and surrounded by loving friends and family.

No one in the band showed up better prepared to learn and record a new song than Jim. He was the first to arrive at my house for practice or recording session. “I hope you don’t mind me showing up early to set up and give my gear some time to breathe,” he’d say in his cheerful, slightly mischievous Philadelphia accent. Jim would carve out his turf in our tight space, begin unpacking his perfectly organized chords and effects boxes, and tell me about the characteristics he felt the guitars he brought might lend to our night’s work.

Jim owned a lot of gear and chose his artillery wisely. The rest of us were more focused on the aesthetics of his gear. We anxiously awaited the unpacking of his black guitar with the flames and the dice for volume and tone knobs. We dreaded the rare occasions he’d unpack a “pointy” guitar, something from his ‘80s metal-loving side. Jim packed what he felt the songs needed, not paying any mind to whether we were turned on by how an instrument looked. Often his hand-painted green Strat decorated with a big Woody the Woodpecker sticker would get the call. That was the first guitar we knew Jim by. Continue reading »

Mar 062012

Walkout anthem. I just learned that term for a baseball closer’s theme music when he enters a game from the bullpen. Phillies new closer Jonathan Papelbon needs a new walkout anthem because the Dropkick Murphys won’t let him take “Shipping Up to Boston” out of Fenway. Red Sox fans can have that song! They can have the entire Dropkick Murphy’s catalog, if you ask me.

I’m hoping I can warm up to Papelbon, whose keee-raaay-zeee eyes routine and that stupid jig in a kilt to the Dropkick Murphys’ song after the Sox won the 2007 World Series put me off. Clearly the guy is a top-notch closer. In 1979, when my Phillies acquired Pete Rose, I suddenly loved the guy for all the things I hated about him the day before. In the early ’90s I even warmed up a bit to former Mets hero Lenny Dykstra, but I still thought he was a juiced-up jerk.

A cool walkout anthem might go a long way to helping me like this guy—no yahoo rock for jocks or Riverdance music, please. I think my wife is right in her belief that that style of Irish folk dancing is the lamest dance style ever. Let’s pull together our sports-rock expertise and help Jonathan Papelbon select a new walkout anthem. This venture may help Papelbon, but most importantly it will help me. Thank you.

Jun 102011

Here’s a piece of Philadelphia rock ‘n roll history we nearly overlooked. A little more than 33 years to the day, Philly’s “original rock” band Arety, from my old stomping grounds, had their sports-rock fantasy come true: a chance to play in the old picnic area at Veterans Stadium before a Phillies game. History has forgotten Arety (but large swaths of Philadelphians have not lost the amazing Philly accent on display by the band’s spokesman/drummer), and only Phillies fans of a certain age remember the picnic area, but I bet the members of Arety never forgot their dream come true!

What’s your sports-rock dream?

Jun 032011

Artists who followed in the stylish, world-weary tradition of British art rockers David Bowie and Bryan Ferry painted, or hair-gelled, themselves into a corner, including the leading lights of this style of music. Early ’80s New Romantics and the extended Bauhaus scene of musicians also come to mind. Once you’ve seen and done it all, rocking European-cut suits to boot, what’s left to reveal? Who buys modern-day Bowie in 100% unbleached cotton shirts and jeans? Bowie, who strikes me as a mature man who is as comfortable as he’s ever been in such garb, is forced to carry on a public persona that taps into his Thin White Duke elegance. What is the sound of an all-cotton Bowie, Ferry, or Adam Ant, for that matter?

[audio:|titles=Weird Hot, “Mimeograph”] [audio:|titles=Weird Hot, “Jealous”]

Weird Hot, the latest band led by our very own Townsman Shawn Kilroy, may help to answer that question on their new album, Casimir. Kilroy and his mates deliver nine elegantly crafted, European-tailored art-pop songs that are unburdened by living up to some Kilroy legacy of jet-setting, high-life proportions. Without going “country” or resorting to any other deliberate stylistic device the band manages to strip down a sound rooted in UK art rock and deliver their goods in as straightforward and “grown up” a way as an artist working in a more “traditional” vein, like Nick Lowe, has manages to do. It as if the gently poppy undertones of a band like Love & Rockets figured out how to on with the times. On a song like “Mimeograph” it’s as if Spoon finally drops the self-aware pervasive smarm that annoys me and delivers the straight-up take on Bowie’s whiteboy-alien funk-pop that they have in them, complete with an appropriately ’80s-style guitar solo (a phrase I never thought I’d say). Then there’s “Jealous,” which drops the attention-grabbing, self-absorbed histrionics that marred even the best of Elegant UK Art Rock for hopelessly gimme-some-truth me.

I dig Kilroy and Weird Hot. It’s music that looks you square in the eye.

Nov 122010

You’re not Two Cool to tell us what’s on your mind, are you? Let’s kick it out Philly Big Hair style. Philly Townspeeps take note: that stylin’ Two Cool guy “Tony” is future cheesesteak impressario and budding movie extra Tony Luke. Tony hasn’t given up the music bug!


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