Nov 092011

The recent rifts over Billy Joel had me yearning for something that we all could agree on. I stumbled across this series of videos from an episode of Eight Days A Week, a British music talk show. Not only did it offer a well-spoken and coifed Green Gartside, a grey but tactful Nick Lowe, and rock critic/pseudo groupie Janice Long, but the discussion covered such a wide assortment of musicians circa 1984 that it seemed that we all could find something to love.

In part 1, we have the conundrum of a whether a member of Culture Club‘s solo attempt is any good. We move along to some footage of The Clash at Shea Stadium and discussion of the jettison of Mick Jones.

In part 2, we have fun the Liverpudlian way, with Echo and the Bunnymen.

And in part 3, we hear about Pogue Mahone and other pub bands of the time.

Along the way, we are also treated to references to Neil Diamond, Elvis Costello, The Moody Blues, and the latest band to jump the pond, REM.


Parts 2 and 3 follow after the jump!

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Sep 242011

Sounds of the Hall in roughly 33 1/3 minutes!

In this week’s edition of Saturday Night Shut-In Mr. Moderator welcomes a newly active Townsperson, then ponders life without REM… Not really, not the second part, but he does play two live tracks from the band, songs he can’t identify but hopes you can! It’s an odd show, as your host dips into some proto-post-punk and worries that he’s pissed off an old friend.

[audio:|titles=RTH Saturday Night Shut-In, episode 46]

[Note: The Rock Town Hall feed will enable you to easily download Saturday Night Shut-In episodes to your digital music player. In fact, you can even set your iTunes to search for an automatic download of each week’s podcast.]

Sep 232011

Relevant or just plain good?

Now try this:

Irrelevant or just plain shitty?

Although I certainly agree with the general gist of Machinery’s REM thread, and would, myself, add at least 10 years to his over-generous assessment of REM’s breakup being “15 years too late,” I think that framing such a discussion around  “relevance” is a mistake. No performer is going to remain relevant forever. Some great performers do not attain relevance while they are active, even. Relevance is largely irrelevant. What matters is the quality of the work. REM’s work after, let’s be generous here, Document may be more relevant than what came before, or it may be less relevant. I have no idea. Perhaps many people find “Everybody Poops”–er, “Hurts”–to be far more relevant than “Radio Free Europe.” I suppose there is nothing preventing a mawkish, bathetic, and dull-as-dirt song from being relevant to people.

Since of course the Stones have been mentioned, the problem with their post-Tattoo You (say) records is not irrelevance, it is shittiness. You might say that the two are related, but in all fairness, the best Stones record ever was not going to make them relevant in 1990.

Let’s try this exercise again:

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Sep 212011

Not to be a hater here…but I can’t think of any band breaking up I could care less about. I mean, have they even been relevant for the last few decades?

So to frame it as a discussion: Are there other bands who shoulda called it quits a lot earlier than they did? Or still should? I’ll start: The Stones. Break up already. Please.

Jun 302011

The following post was submitted by my close personal friend E. Pluribus Gergely.

Hi y’all,

I’d like to get this whole thing settled…once and for all.

For years, the Moderator has been relentlessly jabbing at me for having the first three R.E.M. IRS long players in my record collection. Granted, I haven’t listened to them in years, but I decided to do just a few days ago. I’m here to to tell one and all that they are nothing to be embarrarassed about. They’re actually pretty solid. They feature a bunch of winners: “Gardening at Night,” “Radio Free Europe,” “South Central Rain,” “Pretty Persuasion”…all are tracks that still sound pretty friggin’ good. And “Rockville” borders on great. That’s right, great.

I caught them live as well, right around the release of Murmur. I saw them at the University of Pennsylvania, Bucknell, and the Tower Theater. They were phenomenal. Take a good look at the Letterman clips. That’s more or less what they looked like. To put it bluntly, they were cool, really cool, which is something that some of us (eg, Hrundivbakshi) refuse to admit is, was, and should always be a major point of criteria when judging a pop band. Continue reading »

Apr 182011

Let’s try another 1-2 Punch, shall we? Top 10 lists are too much; Top 5 lists invite too many opportunities for throwing in a hipster, obscuro choice to distinguish oneself from the raging masses. What I’d like to know is what TWO (2) songs you would choose from an artist’s catalog to say as much about that artist that you believe represents said artist’s core as possible? In other words, if you could only use TWO (2) songs from an artist’s catalog to explain all that said artist is about to a Venusian, what TWO (2) songs would you pick to represent said artist’s place in rock ‘n roll?

I’ll pose two artists and you—love ’em or leave ’em—give me each artist’s representative 1-2 Punch. Dig? Here goes!

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