Friday, June 30, 2006

My fave b-sides: Ben Folds - "Bitches Ain't Shit"

Ben's cover of this Dr. Dre song is hilarious at first, but in truth it's a very well produced record, and classic Ben Folds. It is available on the b-side of "landed", as well as the vinyl version of the Songs For Silverman (2005) album (but not the CD -- take that CD buyers!).

In my CD player: Beach Boys - Songs From Here & Back

By the mid-80's the Beach Boys had become a well oiled oldies act, performing mostly for the masses, but throwing in the occasional gem for the hardcore fans. From 1985 to 1996 I saw the Beach Boys practically every chance I got, usually at the Minnesota State Fair, where they played almost every year. In 1992 I had the insane fortune of meeting them after the show (see pic).

Songs From Here & Back (2006), released by Hallmark for father's day shoppers, is a nice (and overdue) document of the latter day Beach Boys' live shows. The majority of the tracks were culled from a 1989 concert, with a couple added from 1974. The disc also features three "new" solo tracks by Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, and Mike Love. The new tracks are OK, but it pains me to say that I think I like Mike Love's "Cool Head, Warm Heart" best. Ouch - it still hurts to have said that. Wait -- Yup, it still stings a bit.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

My fave b-sides: Monkees - "Goin' Down"

Originally released as the b-side to "Daydream Believer", this song was one of the Monkees' best tunes, not to mention one of the best non-lp b-sides ever. All four Monkees wrote this one, along with Diane Hilderbrand. One of rock's most underrated singers, Micky Dolenz really belts this one. Click here to watch Micky's performance of "Goin Down" on The Monkees tv show.

My fave b-sides: Bangles - "What I Meant To Say"

I purchased this record on a very cold winter night at the Dinkytown Musicland store, back when I was an undergrad at the U. The a-side, "Eternal Flame", was a monster hit from the Bangles' excellent Everything (1988) LP. Unlike EF, "What I Meant To Say" is a great rock track, written and sung by the lovely Peterson sisters. The song is currently available on the Essential Bangles CD.

The Bangles are currently on a short summer tour. They are all mommies now, so they don't tour very often. Check 'em out if you can.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Walter's ceiling

Here's a pic I took of some of the detail in the ceiling of Walter Library. One of the reasons I love working at such a historic University is that I get to be around so much impressive architecture every day.

Walter Library website

My fave b-sides: Wings - "I Lie Around"

"I Lie Around" was the b-side of the amazing "Live And Let Die" (1973). I first heard this record when my brother bought it at a drugstore in Turtle Lake, WI. A few years later I bought my own copy (shown here) at Apache's Musicland.

This song features one of Denny Laine's best vocals, in my opinion, backed with those amazing bright Wings harmonies. "I Lie Around" is currently available as a bonus track on the Red Rose Speedway CD.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

My fave b-sides: Duran Duran - "We Need You"

The b-side of one of Duran Duran's best singles ("Skin Trade"), this track almost sounded like a plea from the trio to its fans when it came out in 1987. Having just lost two of its founding members, Roger and Andy Taylor, the band was definitely in transition.

A newly reconstituted Duran enjoyed a major comeback in 2004, and are currently finishing up their next LP.

My fave b-sides: The Knack - "(havin' a) Rave Up (live)"

The b-side to the single "Can't Put A Price On Love", recorded live at Carnegie Hall in 1980 when The Knack was one of the biggest bands on the planet. They continue to play the occasional live show, so if they come your way go see them. Their 1998 Minneapolis show at the Cabooze was one of the best live shows I've ever seen. Ever. By anybody. Seriously.

A speck of pepper on an Egg McMuffin

I had a very interesting dream last night, starring my brother and a few of our friends, my rabbit Simon and my boss. It was a bizarre dream that ended with me flying backwards off of some football bleachers, then slowly morphing into a speck of black pepper on an Egg McMuffin. The McMuffin represented the universe, and the pepper represented just how small I am in the grand scheme of everything. Yeah.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Ten fave Twin Cities record stores

Minneapolis has had lots of great record stores over the past 40 years. Here's my top ten favorites. I did not put them in any rank order, as they are/were all great for different reasons:

Musicland - Apache Plaza (closed early 1980's)
Don Leary's - St Anthony Center (closed late 80's. I worked at this store briefly in '86-'87)
Great American Music - Fridley (closed late 1980's. Now a Cheapo)
Positively 4th Street - Minneapolis (closed sometime in 90's)
Cheapo Records - Uptown
Oar Folkjokeopus/Treehouse - Uptown
Let It Be Records - Minneapolis (closed 2005)
Harpos Hot Licks - Minneapolis (closed early-mid 80's)
Mr. Bojangles - Columbia Heights (closed early 80's)
Northern Lights - Minneapolis (former Music City store; closed in 90's)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

"The Reality of Iraq"

A letter in today's StarTribune:

As a veteran, I am outraged that the American public has sunk into an abyss of callous denial or phony concern with regard to the mounting deaths of both innocent civilians and our American soldiers in Iraq.

History will be harsh on Americans of this generation. They were the ones who elected and then reelected a president who pushed decency, honor and integrity aside in order to pursue a war agenda that was nothing more than a shell game itself.

I hope that this generation of Americans enjoys its summer. I hope that these Americans enjoy their barbecue parties on their big decks, gulp down their Coronas on some sunny Mexican beach or cheer their rosy-faced kids on lush green soccer fields.

After all, that war in Iraq is far, far away, and most Americans never served in the armed forces nor have their kids on a battlefield.

How many more of our soldiers will die in that lonely, sandy, foreign and hostile place? How many more innocent children and adults will be ripped apart by bombs upon bloodied streets?

I hope that this generation of Americans doesn't whitewash the reality of Iraq. I hope that it doesn't disregard the lies that got us there or the underlying hypocrisy that will be our legacy for future historians.

I want an end to this war. I can't stand to hear one more speech by George W. Bush, Norm Coleman, Mark Kennedy, Joe Lieberman, Tim Pawlenty or other war supporters about this war.

Mr. President, do the honorable and decent thing for American citizens. Bring this war to an end!


Today's records

LP's that spent time on the turntable today:

Janet Jackson - Control
Jacksons -
Belinda Carlisle -
David Cassidy -
The Family (self titled)
Fleetwood Mac (self titled)
Cluture Club -
Colour By Numbers
Soundtrack -
The Sound of Music
Soundtrack -
Can't Stop The Music
Soundtrack -
Staying Alive
The Elected -
Sun, Sun, Sun
Brian Wilson -
Gettin In Over My Head
The Three O'clock -
Arrive Without Travelling

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Ronco Record Vacuum

Although the Record Vacuum sounds like a good idea, this was probably one of Ron Popeil's worst products. The Ronco Record Vacuum was supposed to "loosen deep damaging microdust particles" from your records. What it did instead was gather all the little dust bits and other crap into larger bits which were then ground into the grooves. By the 1980's I had graduated to the Discwasher record cleaning system, which I still use and recommend today.

Friday, June 23, 2006

On my turntable: Barry Manilow - This One's For You

I don't like the term "guilty pleasure", yet it's the first thing that came to mind as I put this record on. Barry's records were such a part of the soundtrack to the seventies, so why do we still make excuses for listening to them? This One's For You (1976) is one of Manilow's biggest albums, including "Daybreak", "Looks Like We Made It" and the huge "Weekend In New England" (reportedly Donny Osmond's favorite song). Even though he looks a bit freaky nowadays (botox, no doubt), Barry Manilow is a legend. I like to think that he still has at least a couple great albums left in him.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

First day of summer!!!

Today is the first day of summer. To help get things rolling, please enjoy Frankie and Annette singing the theme from "Beach Party":

On my turntable: The Rascals - Once Upon A Dream

I picked up a lot of groovy music in the spring of 1988, most notably The Zombies' Odessey and Oracle, Prince's Lovesexy, and Once Upon A Dream by The Rascals. Those three albums spent a lot of time in my walkman as I walked between classes at the U of M that spring.

Once Upon A Dream
is a peaceful and playful overlooked gem filled with great psychedelic pop & R&B. I have a lot of affection for this album, which appears to be currently out of print on CD and LP. The LP version I have was released a few years back by Sundazed on 180 gram vinyl. If you can find it (I still see it from time to time) I highly recommend it. Five stars.

Recommended viewing: Frontline - The Dark Side

I caught this on PBS last night. It's something that every American should definitely watch:

The Dark Side

The program is scheduled to be available online Thursday 6/22.

Monday, June 19, 2006

2006 Quarter II

My annual CD of fave songs from April-May-June:

1. "Not Tonight" - The New Cars
2. "It's A Hit" - We Are Scientists #
3. "Don't Listen To The Radio" - The Vines
4. "ACDC" - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
5. "Give It Away" - Cheap Trick
6. "Broken Promise Land "
- Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint #
7. "Endless Harmony" - Free Design #
8. "What A Difference A Day Makes"
- Diana Ross
9. "Darque Tan" - Gravy Train!!!! #
10. "Locomotion" - GitiGito Hustler #
11. "Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" - Flaming Lips #
12. "Get Together" - Madonna
13. "Fury" - Prince #
14. "O Jacaranda" - Sananda Maitreya
15. "She's Got It" - Super Deluxe
16. "The Rhino" - Quasi #
17. "I'm Glad I Hitched My Apple Wagon To Your Star" - The Boy Least Likely To
18. "Gloria" - Sister Janet Mead #
19. "Boys Do Fall In Love" - Robin Gibb #
20. "Country Queen" - The Wackers #
21. "Be Thankful For What You Got" - Love #
22. "You Upset The Grace Of Living" - Gandalf #
23. "House Made Of Hope" - Stew #
24. "(let me be your) Dirty F*ing Whore" - Machine Gun Fellatio

# - Denotes vinyl purchase

Super cool website of the week: Malls of America

I may have posted this site before, but it deserves a mention. Tons of great vintage photos here, for those of us who grew up in the glory days of the American shopping mall:

Malls Of America

It's the eyes!

From I'm speechless.

Friday, June 16, 2006

On my turntable: Tears For Fears - The Seeds Of Love

This is the album that made me a TFF fan.

A lot of the CDs that came out in the 80's are far inferior to LP versions, in my opinion.
One such example is The Seeds of Love (1989), an amazing piece of work with warmth and depth that really needs to be heard on vinyl. Although I think 2004's Everybody Loves A Happy Ending is a better album, Seeds of Love is one of my top 20 fave albums of all time, and "Sowing The Seeds of Love" remains one of my all-time favorite singles.

Seeds of Love is one of probably ten albums that always evokes good memories of my undergraduate years at the U of M. The late 80's were definitely a time when I was becoming aware of world and social issues, which I'm sure is one reason why this album spoke to me the way it did (and still does).

Apache Plaza, 2003

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Beach Boys 6-13-2006

Photo of today's Beach Boys reunion. From left: Brain Wilson, David Marks, Bruce Johnston, Al Jardine, Mike Love.

Beach Boys reunion today

From Endless Summer Quarterly:


Beach Boys Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and David Marks will be reuniting atop the Capitol Records building rooftop at 1750 North Vine Street in Hollywood, Calif. on Tuesday, June 13 from 12:30 PM - 1 PM PDT for the Capitol/EMI Double-Platinum RIAA Award Presentation for Sounds Of Summer: The Very Best Of The Beach Boys. The ceremony will include Beach Boys Anniversary Product Release Announcement and Artwork Unveiling. This will mark the first time in Beach Boys history that Wilson, Jardine, Love, Johnston and Marks will be together in one place.

At the event, they will each receive double-Platinum awards celebrating domestic sales to date of more than 2,000,000 units of the band’s most recent hits compilation CD, Sounds Of Summer: The Very Best Of The Beach Boys. Capitol/EMI Music Catalog Marketing will host the festivities, which will also include an announcement and product artwork unveiling by the band members for commemorative Beach Boys anniversary CD and vinyl titles to be released this year. Former Beach Boy David Marks will also attend the event.

Monday, June 12, 2006

On my turntable: Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint - The River In Reverse

Elvis Costello is the new Hardest Working Man in Showbiz. The River In Reverse (2006), his 2nd release so far this year, is an excellent tribute to New Orleans. Created with jazz legend Allen Toussaint, River In Reverse is a very timely album that addresses last year's disaster in New Orleans.

The vinyl version of River comes as 2 LPs on the Verve Forecast label, accompanied by a booklet with lyrics and album credits. The mix is rather bass heavy, which sounds great in my opinion. I've only heard the album a couple of times, but so far my favorite tracks are "Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further?", "Broken Promise Land", and the title track.

Friday, June 09, 2006

In my belly: Hello Kitty fruity snacks

Yeah yeah, so they're a wee bit girlie. These fruit snacks are delicious and veggie-friendly (gelatin free). My only complaint is that the bags are so small, but luckily there are ten bags in a box!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Top 10 most important albums

This is not necessarily a list of my favorite albums, although some of these LPs would certainly be considered favorites. Without putting too much thought into it, here's a list of the ten albums I consider most significant to me, from my first 40 years. In other words, this is another self-indulgent blog entry. Thanks for reading! :)

10. Symphony or Damn (CD) - Terence Trent D'Arby
9. Phaseshifter - Redd Kross
8. Beauty and the Beat - Go-Go's
7. #1 Record/Radio City (CD) - Big Star
6. Arrive Without Travelling - Three O'Clock
5. Forever Changes - Love
4. Smile (bootleg) - Beach Boys/Brian Wilson presents SMiLE
3. Odessey and Oracle - The Zombies
2.(tie) The Monkees
More of The Monkees
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd
- The Monkees
1. 1967-1970 - The Beatles

FMA defeated!


WASHINGTON— The Senate voted 49 to 48 today to defeat the Federal Marriage Amendment, a measure that would have denied marriage to same-sex couples and seriously threatened civil unions and domestic partnerships. Seven Republicans joined 41 Democrats in voting down the measure, which opponents said was a politically motivated distraction from real challenges facing the country. “President Bush and the Republican leadership gambled their dwindling political capital on a discriminatory amendment and came up empty,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “With the addition of Senators Specter and Gregg, not only did every senator who voted against discrimination in 2004 stand with us today but momentum is on the side of equality. This is a resounding defeat against discrimination.

Solmonese continued, “For the House to now take up a bill that’s dead and twice failed would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt this is nothing more than election-year posturing."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

8-Track Corner: Osmonds - Brainstorm

After having my tonsils out (4th grade?) I ate a lot of ice cream and listened to this tape. The beauty of 8-tracks (perhaps the only beauty) is that they played continually until you yanked them out of the player. By the time I healed from the surgery I was sick of this album, thus forever freezing these tunes into a specific place & time.

The Brainstorm 8-Track splits one track, "It'll Be Me", between programs one & two. Herein lies the most annoying feature of the 8-Track tape. Brainstorm (1976) is a good album overall though. I think this was the last full-length original album recorded by all five Osmond brothers, including Donny.

Billy Preston (1946-2006)

Monday, June 05, 2006


I washed dishes, folded laundry, and listened to the following LPs:

The Beatles - 1962-1966
Love - Reel to Real
GitoGito Hustler- Love & Roll
Elton John - Peachtree Road
Van Dyke Parks - Song Cycle
Split Enz - True Colours
Plasticland - Wonder Wonderful Wonderland

8-Track Corner: Beatles '65

Here's a new blog feature I'll try out. Let me know what you think! These are 8-tracks from my collection, many of them unique. Those of you who bought 8-tracks know that they frequently featured a different track sequence than LPs and cassettes, and often split songs in half between two tracks! In the middle of the track you'd hear that distinctive ka-thunk, followed by the remainder of your favorite song. Ah, technology.

I most likely purchased Beatles '65 at Apache Plaza's Musicland. This 8-track features different artwork than the LP and includes an extra song, "You Can't Do That", on Program 4.

Serve the interests of all?

In a recent weekly radio address, Bush said:

"Ages of experience have taught us that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society. Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all."

The interests of all? What does this mean, exactly? All religious conservatives? All bigots? All Americans who believe that 'equal rights' are only for people like themselves? There are so many problems with this logic, but I realize that it's not about logic. It's about attempting to make the average Joe be afraid of gay people. It's about diverting attention away from the actual issues that are poisoning this country.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

What I'm reading: SMiLE - The Story of Brian Wilson's Lost Masterpiece

The story of the Beach Boys can be fascinating, particularly the history of the legendary SMiLE album. Author Dominic Priore, a leading expert on the topic, details the complete history of the SMiLE project in this book, from SMiLE's conception in 1966 to its completion, performance, and triumphant recording in 2004. The book features interviews with many insiders, and includes intros by SMiLE collaborator Van Dyke Parks as well as Brian himself.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Sean Lennon - Friendly Fire

Star-studded short film promoting Sean's forthcoming coming LP Friendly Fire, due out later this year:

2006 - Top 10 fave albums (so far)

10. Are You Wigglin? - Gravy Train!!!!
9. Love & Roll - GitoGito Hustler
8. Caroline Now! The Songs of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys - Various
7. Gandalf (1967) - Gandalf
6. Peachtree Road - Elton John
5. Totally Out of Control - Hudson Brothers
4. Sun, Sun, Sun - The Elected
3. 12 Songs - Neil Diamond
2. In Space - Big Star
1. 3121 - Prince