Tag Archives: Plain White T’s

T.G.I.F. – Ten From Daryl’s House

Last weekend my friend Bill shot me a link to Daryl Hall and Todd Rundgren performing “Can We Still Be Friends“, and it knocked me out. I’ve seen Rundgren live a few times in the past decade, and he’s been solid, even returning to some serious guitar wanking on the most recent tour. As for Hall, he’s always owned one of the most amazing voices in rock, and like fellow Philadelphian Rundgren, he’s definitely among the names you rattle off when someone wants to list the great white soul singers of our era. Maybe they’re not the energetic spring chickens they used to be, but if I’m this cool when I’m in my sixties, I’ll be thrilled.

I don’t know why I don’t zero in on Live From Daryl’s House more often than I do. You know the drill – famous guy invites famous friends over, they hang out and play each other’s songs. That was the original concept for Unplugged when Jules Shear hosted the show, long before MTV caved in to the major labels and changed it to a launching pad to sell live albums.

So this week I give you Ten From Daryl’s House – maybe after you give a listen you won’t be as much of a stranger anymore, either. I think you’ll flip at how good Guster was, and that last clip with longtime partner John Oates shows why so many of us mourn the loss of T-Bone Wolk, a musician’s musician and a great guy.

(01) – Todd Rundgren: “Expressway To Your Heart

(02) – Guster: “Do You Love Me

(03) – Plain White T’s: “1,2,3,4”

(04) – Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek: “Break On Through

(05) – Smokey Robinson: Tears of a Clown

(06) – Nick Lowe: Cruel To Be Kind

(07) – Company of Thieves: Piece of My Heart

(08) – Parachute: “She Is Love

(09) – KT Tunstall: Something To Talk About

(10) – John Oates:Backstabbers

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Under The Radar: The Stellas

Proms Gone Bad

Proms Gone Bad

 

The Stellas: Cry Baby Cry

The first release from the North Carolina rock band The Stellas is just a seven-track EP, and for some people that might not seem like enough. Count me among those who would rather hear a band get in, make their point and get out than wade through seventy minutes of junk drawer logic trying to find the good stuff. In the case of Cry Baby Cry, there really isn’t a wasted moment; three of the tracks could be singles and the rest are solid enough to make you jot their name down as a band to keep an eye on.

Some of the promo quotes about their alternative pop sound referenced Fountains of Wayne, but beyond the similar nature to hide an odd topic in a catchy melody, I don’t see it. Ditto any resemblance to The Kinks, and as a lifelong fan of Ray and the boys, it wasn’t for lack of trying; with few exceptions The Stellas’ sound is more dense and thick. Far more accurate are the Weezer comparisons, which become evident within ten seconds of both the title track and the opening cut “Burnout”, although with “In Stereo” I’d be just as quick to name-check Superdrag.

Arty video for “In Stereo” (note: sound is almost nil for first 60 seconds)

A live video of “Burnout” recorded in April 2008.

Personally, I think The Stellas shine brightest on songs like “I’m On The Outside” and especially “18”, where their stop-and-start chopping melodies set up the sing-along choruses. Like the better energetic rock bands that have a powerpop core and a punky edge (think Plain White Ts, All American Rejects, etc.) their songs are tight and sharp. Hopefully they’ll hit the road in larger circles; for now it looks like they’re headed out for an Armed Forces Tour in Southeast Asia.

Semper Fi,  Stellas.

Cry Baby Cry is available via CD Baby.

Check out some additional sound clips on their MySpace page.

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