Jul 292011

In a rare, reflective moment, the white suits over at RockTownHall Labs were recently gazing bleary-eyed at the various records and cds contained in the climate-controlled vault when, in an even more rare moment of sudden group awareness, and without the aid of the RTH topic generator, it occurred to several of us that we own records we haven’t listened to in years, records we can’t seem to get rid of.

Was this (anal) retention the result of some childhood trauma? A clinging to nostalgia for our 17–23 musical coming-of-age demographic frollic in the rock ‘n’ roll sun, after which our musical tastes ossified along with the bones in our lower spine (males only)? A passive form of denial, or at least an unwillingness to deal with the clutter, physical and emotional, of our present and past, respectively? Are we really ever going to play that third Psychedelic Furs record ever again? The CCR Best of record? Hasn’t culture blunted our need to spin those songs ever again in our own homes? And what of all those ’90s bands that had a great song and so we bought 3–4 albums and some 7-inches by them hoping in vain that they’d replicate the success? RTH Labs now invites our readers to stand up, state your name, and join the conversation in a show of healing and in a concerted effort to  move onward past the doldrums of self-inflicted record collection melancholy.

Jul 072011

The following piece was submitted by Townsman E. Pluribus Gergely with funding and research support provided by RTH Labs.

Hi Oats,

I’m writing to apologize for not writing a single response to your recent Husker Du Main Stage posting. It was beautifully executed. That said, Husker Du never did a thing for me. Despite the fact that I’ve never heard a single thing they’ve ever done, I just know they have to be bad based on the fact that they’re from Minneapolis, Minnesota and their look is not to my liking. Anybody that collectively looks like that has to suck.

Speaking of Look, I stumbled across something a few days ago that made my hair stand on end. On the evening of July 4th, me, the ball and chain, and the brats headed over to our friends’ house to check out the neighborhood fireworks from their porch. Fireworks never did anything for me nor did they ever do a damn thing for my buddy, so we went inside his house and watched TV while the women gossiped and kept an eye on the brats. Whilst getting tanked, we stumbled upon  Festival, a documentary of the ’64-’65 Newport Folk Festivals, on the Ovation channel (gotta love cable!). Lo and behold, there’s Donovan. Right, Donovan, no big deal. But as the camera drew closer, it was readily apparent that he was wearing an earring.

Not good.

Continue reading »

May 042011

Man, this was tough for me to sit through, simply because it was so boring. I confess: at the 1:18 mark I had to skip forward a bit. How long can you last? 

Roky Erickson couldn’t seem less committed to his own bullshit. Around the 2:20 mark he’s asked if he’s ever met Bob Dylan. You don’t need to be a poker player to get a read on the veracity of his answer, do you?

Feb 212011

The other night I heard a Billy Joel song on the radio that I’d thankfully blocked from my memory for some time, “The Entertainer.” It occurred to me, as I made myself listen to the entire heaping pile of Broadway sea shanty shit, that I may hate this song more than what I’ve long considered The Worst Song in Rock ‘n Roll: Blood, Sweat & Tears‘ “And When I Die.” At least that BS&T turd is performed with true zest. Continue reading »

Sep 072010

DOWNLOAD LINK: Rick Buckler Crash Cymbal Quotient Analysis, edited source material

I pass along a note I received today from RTH Labs’ Senior Music Engineer, Milo T. Frobisher:


FROM: Milo T. Frobisher, Senior Music Engineer, RTH Labs
TO: Townsman Hrrundivbakshi, Senior RTH Labs Liaison
RE: Rick Buckler’ Crash Cymbal Quotient/Numerical Crash Analysis, “Away From the Numbers”

Townsman Hrrundivbakshi, I send this quick note to summarize our recent research findings in re: Rick Buckler’s Crash Cymbal Quotient (CCQ), as found in “Away From the Numbers,” by the Jam.

Our methodology was simple, though far from easy: over the full four minutes (exactly) of this song, our junior engineers counted the exact number of times Rick Buckler deployed his crash cymbal for rhythmic emphasis. Please note that we did not undertake the low-frequency extraction from his snare as you requested, nor a pattern analysis of his tom fills to determine their similarity to, or substantive difference from, those of KISS’ Peter Criss, aka “Cat Man.”

I should warn you that by listening to the edited source material above, in which we replaced each instance of Buckler hitting his crash cymbal with a spoken word marker, you run a significant risk of never being able to listen to this song in the same fashion again. I should specifically point out that my nephew, James Frobisher — an intern in RTH Labs — needed to physically remove himself from the Laboratory premises after being asked to do the CCQ analysis in the instrumental break in the middle of this song, so profound was its effect on his young mind. You have been warned.

The results of our investigation are startling. Over the course of this four-minute song, Rick Buckler hits the crash cymbal — importantly, he seems to hit the same cymbal every time — a total of 137 times. By our base-60 calculations, that amounts to, roughly, one cymbal crash every 1.8 seconds. We leave it to you and your more contextual thinkers in the Hall to determine the subjective value of this datum.

Thank you for your time in this matter. I look forward to working with you further in the future.



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