No talkie bits this week. First day of school for the kids, birthday celebrations, picking the boy up at camp, blah blah blah. This idea is definitely a one-shot thing, at least in its current form. I went after song titles that were two words, each starting with the same letter. And I went A to Z, almost literally (with apologies to the letters Q and X). Of course, I broke my own rules twice, when I used a song with an ampersand (hey, it was the letter U, I got desperate), and in one instance, I used a title that was the same word twice, which is not alliteration but repetition (again, letter Y, got desperate). Multiple people asked me to use “Disco Duck.” And believe me, I thought about it, then thought better of it. Artists making their Dizzy Heights debut this week: Ben Folds (solo), Burning Sensations, Elvis Costello (WHAT), The Go-Betweens, The Go-Go’s, Guided by Voices, k.d. lang, The Kinks (this cannot be happening), Neurotic Outsiders, Stone Poneys, Tasmin Archer, and Tom Petty. Seriously, thank goodness for Tom Petty, or I don’t have a ‘Z’ song. Bands coming back for another tour of duty: Basement Jaxx, Franz Ferdinand, The Housemartins, The Jezabels, Joe Jackson, Pet Shop Boys, Propaganda, The Rolling Stones, Squeeze, The Ting Tings, The Trashcan Sinatras, and Tribe. Speaking of Tribe, I pull a segue that my 1993 self would high five. Thank you, as always, for listening.
METAL DAD: THE BOOK IS AVAILABLE NOW. COLLECTS YEARS 3 & 4! Click here. METAL DAD shirts! Click here to get yours.
To view individual photos or a slideshow, click below. All Photos ©2018 Nikki Vee. [See image gallery at] Folk Festival weekend has come and gone here in Newport, RI and in keeping with tradition, the festival offers an array of artists who continue to carry the torch for traditional folk music. But over recent years the Newport Folk Festival has evolved to include a mixture of modern and traditional folk, roots, and blues music while seeking to expand the scope of “folk.” The Folk Festival of today, while it does have its share of fantastic folk and Americana roots bands, also includes the sounds of soul, funk, and rock and roll. The crowd is younger and the torch has been passed. This festival has become so popular it has gained the reputation of a quick sell-out before the acts are even announced, up to nine months before the event. When I say “quick,” I mean in just a few short hours. So if you’re thinking about making the trip one of these years, keep your eyes peeled and your ears open around about November so you don’t miss the initial ticket sales. This year there were 78 bands, plus an open mic at the start of each of the three days. If I wrote about all of them you would be reading this until next year’s festival. So instead I’ll give you a rundown of my favorites from this year. I have a musical bias and it’s very real....
Radio City With Jon Grayson & Rob Ross:  Episode Seventy Six THIS one is a “very special episode” – it was exactly five years to the day Rob first appeared on Jon’s old CBS Radio show, “Overnight America With Jon Grayson” and not only a great radio partnership began but an even better friendship blossomed. So hear the actual story of why and how Rob wound up on “Overnight America…”; the boys talk about local “incidents” that have far reaching effects; more on the ups-and-downs of working with “publicists”; Rob talks about the new Chris Bell biography by Rich Tupica, “In Our Heads” and a great deal more. This is one of the most enjoyable shows Jon and Rob have done and you can tell, as soon as you start listening. So do just that – listen and celebrate with them! Radio City With Jon Grayson & Rob Ross: Episode Seventy Six The podcast will be on the site as well as for subscription via iTunes and other podcast aggregators. Subscribe and let people know about Radio City, as well as Popdose’s other great podcasts David Medsker’s Dizzy Heights and In:Sound with Michael Parr and Zack Stiegler.
METAL DAD: THE BOOK IS AVAILABLE NOW. COLLECTS YEARS 3 & 4! Click here. METAL DAD shirts! Click here to get yours.
METAL DAD: THE BOOK IS AVAILABLE NOW. COLLECTS YEARS 3 & 4! Click here. METAL DAD shirts! Click here to get yours.
Radio City With Jon Grayson & Rob Ross:  Episode Seventy Five Although you could consider this to be a more “subdued” installment, since Donald Trump was just slightly “quieter” last week, there’s a whole lotta love that Jon and Rob deliver in show  #75.  Amongst this week’s topics, a somewhat crestfallen Rob opines on the Madison Hotel in Memphis, as it’s being rebranded as Hu Hotel (Rob is now traumatized); New York’s mayor, Bill DeBlasio lets slip in an article that he has no idea what his staff does/is up to…; for music, the two new tracks from The Cynz and the interview with Django Haskins currently up on Popdose; the boys take sports franchises to task as well as politicians who are in way over their heads and the assholes who run Facebook; the overhype of the Demi Lovato story, “In Our Heads” and even more than that… Nothing slows our intrepid reporters/personalities down – and you should be thanking them every day.  Even better – you should be tuning in and turning others on to each week’s Radio City…! Radio City With Jon Grayson & Rob Ross: Episode Seventy Five The podcast will be on the site as well as for subscription via iTunes and other podcast aggregators. Subscribe and let...
This was originally supposed to be one show featuring songs with colors in the title, but about 600 suggestions later, it was clear that the colors needed to be split up into their own shows, and even then there is enough material to do multiple shows of the primary colors, and maybe the secondary ones as well. I chose to start with blue so I can play a song from Tom Bailey’s solo album Science Fiction that stabbed my inner lovestruck teenager in the heart. From there, I went, well, everywhere, but there is a thread of melancholy that goes nearly from start to finish. Blue is more than just a color, I guess. Artists making their Dizzy Heights debut this week: Billy Idol (wait, what?), The Charlatans, David Gilmour, Electric Light Orchestra, Fine Young Cannibals, Gus, Michael Johnson, Peter Murphy, Real Life (wait, WHAT?), The Smithereens (I have no words), The Undertones, and Yaz (even fewer words). Thank you, as always, for listening.
I spend a lot of time traveling in my car between my current home in Rhode Island and my former home state of New Jersey. Last summer, I was delighted when SiriusXM added a channel called Carolina Shag which played the best of Carolina Beach Music. Unfortunately, after the summer SiriusXM removed the station from the radio airwaves and although you can still hear it online it’s just not the same as being able to listen in the car as you’re headed down the highway. If you know anything about Beach Music you know that the Chairmen of the Board are the reigning kings of the genre. The group was led by General Johnson who was no stranger to musical success. Johnson had chart hits in the early 1960s with a group from New Orleans called the Showmen. Those hits included “It Will Stand” and “39-21-46” which itself is a Beach Music standard. The idea for the Chairmen of the Board came from the songwriting and production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland which had left Motown Records in a contract dispute in 1967 and founded their own Invictus/Hot Wax label group. It was their concept to team Johnson with Eddie Custis, Danny Woods, and Harrison Kennedy. At first, the lead vocals were divided more or less evenly among the group but it wasn’t long before Johnson’s unique vocal style came to the fore.
As time passes, it gets harder to write about something you love, especially like a band – you veer between adoration, hero worship, teen obsession, musician’s arrogance and then rationality that brings you right back down to Earth, where you regain a sense of objectivity.  That’s the moment when you tackle that beloved subject.  Yet, some topics are second nature and the words – and the objectivity needed – come easily, so let me digress… I can write about Big Star because they’re one of my favorite bands – they’re part of my holy trinity, along with The Beatles and The Who.  I have written about Big Star on many occasions; all of those pieces were done with love and passion.  It was suggested by many friends, etc. that I should, perhaps, write a book about them.  Like The Beatles, etc., I never saw my entering the authoring fray as being something of value.  What could I add to a story that’s been told on many occasions? Rich Tupica is one of those people who had/have the tenacity and ability to do just this – undertake a task such as writing about a band that, although legendary at this point and time, has always been veiled in some amount of mystery, mainly due to its founder.  Now, after five solid years of painstaking...
Legendary spaghetti western director Sergio Leone was obsessed with genre pictures but was ignorant of the constraints traditional Hollywood studios forced on directors. He made some incredible films and his reputation has only grown since his early death in 1989. But even while he was alive, people still admired him, if only from a distance. Leone’s reviews were sort of like how people treat The Fast and Furious films today – his films were perfectly fine, fun even, but the genre he was working with is so bad that the final result can’t possibly be talked about in the same breath as Moonlight. Nothing showcased this attitude more than Akira Kurosawa saying that Leone, in a Fistful of Dollars, “had made a fine movie, but it was MY movie.” Unquestionably, Leone had taken the plot of Kurosawa’s equally classic Yojimbo and repurposed it for Fistful. But Kurosawa conveniently forgot that he was emulating western filmmakers as well and Yojimbo had taken its plot from Dashiell Hammett’s The Glass Key and Red Harvest. Leone, a foreigner who longed to show he could do what Hollywood could do, was only following Kurosawa’s path. Still, people ignore Leone’s first proper directorial debut. Most start with a discussion of the Dollars trilogy and go from there. Trivia hounds will point out that Leone was an assistant to Vittorio di Sica while he was making Bicycle Thieves and that he worked as an assistant director on William Wyler’s version of Ben-Hur. But Leone directed...
Once again, it’s been a musically wealthy summer and Popdose is once again pleased to bring you an exclusive:  this new song from Dauzat St. Marie, “Time To Go Home”. Co-founded by Mat Dauzat (pronounced “dough-zat”) and Heather St. Marie, the duo are known for their richly produced rock songs and exhilarating live shows. The track is a big-hearted, acoustic-based ode to a close friend’s struggles with self-destruction and ultimate redemption. They’re both former members of Hydrovibe (their track “Killer Inside” appears on the SAW III soundtrack), and Dauzat was chosen as Kelly Osbourne’s lead guitarist.  He’s also a member of Schuyler Fisk’s (Sissy Spacek’s daughter) touring band. Currently, they are opening up on tour for Rick Springfield and Pat Benatar. As always, we ask that you give it a listen and tell us what you think! “Time To Go Home” will be released digitally on August 3rd.
METAL DAD: THE BOOK IS AVAILABLE NOW. COLLECTS YEARS 3 & 4! Click here. METAL DAD shirts! Click here to get yours.
I’d hoped to ease into the 2018-2019 theatre season, but Cyprus Avenue had other plans. True, the Public advertised it as a black comedy–but there’s black, and there’s the black of three a.m., when everything’s uneasy and fear seeps into the bones. We’re not five minutes in when the n- and c-words are launched in the direction of a black psychiatric case worker by her patient. He’s testing her, and the playwright, David Ireland, will test us for the next 100 minutes. Crude language is the least of Eric’s sins. We know from the outset that Eric, an Irish Protestant Unionist, has done some nasty things, and flashbacks take us to the beginning of his woeful tale, when he calls his daughter a “whore” after refusing to bond with his granddaughter. The problem is that to his eyes the baby looks uncomfortably like former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. In a time of peace, Eric is a man at war, with his past and himself, and his family provides ample collateral damage. As he drifts deeper and deeper into his Irish troubles, he convinces himself that the infant is Gerry Adams, and with a black marker colors eyeglasses and a beard onto her face. (The doll used gets a real workout here.) That’s enough for his wife and daughter to shun him, but more drastic measures are called for. Fortuitously...
Radio City With Jon Grayson & Rob Ross:  Episode Seventy Four The world keeps spinning crazily – Jon and Rob have their work cut out for them.  From one moment to the next, there’s no lull in the conversation as this week the boys discuss Trump walking back the Russia statement; the anti-climactic baseball All-Star game; more publicist embarrassments; the magnificent new album from Django Haskins, Shadowlawn, as well as a review of The Quick’s classic, Mondo Deco; New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio comes to Rob’s neighborhood (where he is not quite welcome), plus “In Our Heads” and even more! Why listen to anything else, when you get it all right here?  Savor this, for it is like a fine wine… Radio City With Jon Grayson & Rob Ross: Episode Seventy Four he podcast will be on the site as well as for subscription via iTunes and other podcast aggregators. Subscribe and let people know about Radio City, as well as Popdose’s other great podcasts David Medsker’s Dizzy Heights and In:Sound with Michael Parr and Zack Stiegler.
METAL DAD: THE BOOK IS AVAILABLE NOW. COLLECTS YEARS 3 & 4! Click here. METAL DAD shirts! Click here to get yours.
The dog days of summer are upon us. I’m feeling lazy these days and I’ve even considered suspending the column for the rest of the summer and coming back fresh in September so if you don’t see the column for the next few weeks, don’t worry, I’ll be back. I’m pretty proud of my non-stop streak though so chances are I’ll be back next week. There’s not much to say about the Free Movement. They are one of those groups that hit big once and then faded into history. The Free Movement got together in L.A. in 1970 in an apparent effort to build on the success of fellow Angelenos the Fifth Dimension. And it worked … for a minute. The original members of the Free Movement were Godoy Colbert, Josephine Brown, Cheryl Conley, Jennifer Gates, Adrian Jefferson, and Claude Jefferson. Their lineup even emulated that of the Fifth Dimension albeit with the addition of one more female singer. Their first record deal was with Decca and it was for that label that the Free Movement had their one and only hit. “I’ve Found Someone of My Own” climbed the pop chart all the way to #5 in 1971 while also making its way to the Top 20 on the R&B chart. Ironically, by the time the single hit, the...
Summertime is a time for music festivals, and one of the most unique of these is the International Pop Overthrow (IPO), a series of gatherings devoted to the multitude of forms that pop music takes. Think anywhere from the late 1950s all the way into the 2000s to get a style-sense. On an average evening at an IPO show, you’ll hear some Rickenbacker jangle guitar and tambourine, maybe some freaky ’80s synths, probably a ton of vocal harmonies, and a great deal of energy. That’s how David Bash likes it. The founder of the festival and a champion for the continuance of these genres, coupled with an insistence that great new music is never an oxymoron, Bash is once again on the move with his event. We had an opportunity to catch up with him to discuss. _________________________________________________ How long has International Pop Overthrow been happening, and what was your impetus for getting it on its feet? International Pop Overthrow, or IPO as it has come to be known, began in 1998, in my home base of Los Angeles. I wanted to create a platform for artists from all over the world to be able to play on bills with like-minded bands and in front of people who would dig what they do. I was...
The thing that was so magnetic about Moon Rock, Paul Steel’s second album, was the juxtaposition. He had the pastel colors in place in his grand, highly orchestrated classic pop tunes, but he also had a wicked sense of humor. It came through on the opening cut “In A Coma” where the girl of his dreams is wooed away because, sadly, her rescuing hero is actually in a coma. “I Will Make You Disappear” is a gorgeous, harmony-laden threat of violence. “Hole In Your Heart” is a pitch-perfect kiss off that would make Dylan and Costello proud. But that was a decade ago. In those twelve years, Steel was/is a part of the duo Cold Crows Dead, released an EP as LL Cosmonaut, and became a producer/songwriter for hire working with groups like Empire of the Sun. But now Steel has returned as himself, and with a sequel to his first album, April & I. This one’s called Carousel Kites, and is a contender for best album of the year. In it, immaculate pop-rock production meets sometimes devious, sometimes melancholic, but always interesting songcraft. It is sugar-infused ear candy that has enough bite in it so it won’t rot your sweet tooth. Popdose spoke with Steel about the album, where he was, how he got here, and about...
Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Django Haskins has been making music steadily with his band, North Carolina’s The Old Ceremony for over fourteen years; he’s been one of the key performers during the run of Big Star’s 3rd live shows since their inception; he’s also introduced us to a brilliant project, the two-man Au Pair, with Jayhawk Gary Louris.  Now, he’s stepping out to present his latest work — a brilliant, shimmering, ethereal and at times, haunting solo album, Shadowlawn.  Popdose had the good fortune to be able to take time from Mr. Haskins’ busy schedule to have a chat and catch up with him (and this writer would like to thank Mr. Haskins for his kindness and participation). Let’s begin with the new album, Shadowlawn. It’s your first solo album in 17 years — why now? What is the genesis of this album; what inspired this collection of songs? Give us an assessment of the songs and a guided trip/map of the journey. ​I’ve been putting all my songs into Old Ceremony records for the past fourteen years (and now Au Pair, as well), so there was never any need for a solo record. What changed was that, with the advent...