Just when you think he couldn’t get stranger…
Too many people know Bobcat Goldthwait from his lesser accomplishments – several Police Academy films, that screeching banshee voice (too many people missing the great jokes within) and lighting Jay Leno’s chair on fire (in retrospect, something more people wish they did). But Goldthwait, who occasionally returns to the stand-up stage, has made his mark as a television director, and with three unique films in five six , as a screenwriter and filmmaker as well.
It seems like a billion years ago that Bob made Shakes The Clown, “the Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies“, but it holds up twenty years later as a raucous and psychotic comedy. If you laughed at the gang-fight in Anchorman, you might want to check out the movie they lifted the idea from.
But while his later movies have been funny, they have mined humor from uncomfortable and disturbing situations. Consider the sick relationship in Sleeping Dogs Lie, the creepy father-son bond of World’s Greatest Dad, and finally this year’s God Bless America, which on first pass sounds like a cross between Repo Man and Natural Born Killers. Goldthwait’s newest film reportedly kicked ass at the Toronto International Film Festival. I can’t wait to see it. (Goldthwait told the L.A. Times that he thought the gun-happy film “was his own Springtime For Hitler”.)
Many people bailed on Bob after it seemed that his career would be a series of loser films like Burglar and Jumping Jack Flash. But Goldthwait, 50 next year, has found his true calling as a filmmaker with a unique voice.
As one of the biggest Kinks fans on the planet I am thrilled that he is making Schoolboys In Disgrace with the full cooperation of Ray Davies. Maybe Bob will get The Kinks the recognition they deserve…and get his own in the process.
Glam punk powerpop alert!
I’ll admit it – I love everything about glam powerpop. The fat guitar chords, the thrashing drums, the foot-stomping beat and the huge hooks are the antithesis of subtle, but there’s a time and place for everything. I love Loudon Wainwright III but I don’t bounce down the street blasting “Your Mother And I” out of the car stereo, windows down, rear-view mirror shaking from the pulse of the woofers. Nope, that’s what glam and powerpop is for.
I missed Smash Fashion’s 2003 release (and have since made up for it) and almost did the same thing with 2010’s Don’t Pet The Sweaty Things. (Thank god for late night “sounds like” tangents on Amazon and CD Baby!) I wasn’t sure what to expect from a group photo that had one guy thrusting a Flying V guitar neck at me while sporting an eyepatch, but at the risk of hearing an album full of Dr. Hook covers I dove in.
Video: “She Goes Down”
Like most powerpop bands, you can play spot the influence. For example:
- “Baby Dancer” and “Blonde Raccoon” are so reminiscent of Dwight Twilley I had to check the credits
- “Hard On Love” is as KISS-like as its title
- “Confessions of a Opium Eater” is the bastard child of “Auf Weidersehen“
- “Proper Way To Eat A Muffin” is T.Rex incarnate
- “Sad Sweet Sick and Beautiful” has Mick Ronson’s fingerprints all over it
- “All Systems Go” is like a mashup of Matthew Sweet and “If I Needed Someone“
- Mott The Hoople, The Sweet, Cheap Trick…and so on.
The title track is as close as you’ll get to a glitter ballad. There are also a couple of covers – the muscle pop rendition of Abba’s “Does Your Mother Know” is really good but “Benny And The Jets” was probably better left alone. Still, this impressive collection of glammy chestnuts is well worth getting and playing loud. These guys know exactly what they’re doing, and they sound like they’re having a blast in the process.
Life is short, stop taking it so seriously. Blast this mofo out a window.
Smash Fashion’s website and MySpace page
Listen/buy at CD BABY.
Smash Fashiion - worth the trip.
Filed under Music, Reviews
Not quite brand new, but hopefully new to you..
Maybe it was the personnel turnover, maybe the effort to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump, but whatever the motivation, Coast Garde is a solid step forward for The Parties. Sounding at times like a merger between Let’s Active and The Three O’Clock, the jangle-pop, harmony-laden album also boasts some primal early Who and Stones DNA for muscle. It’s a great combination that grounds the more ethereal elements with substance, elevating what could be sing-along pop songs into something more substantial.
Video: The Parties “Much Better” (live)
“Can’t Seem To Get My Mind Off Of You” is so catchy it could make a bus full of strangers sing along in unison; it’s a sixties AM radio formula repurposed through a current filter. Ditto “The Target Smiles”, a piano pop melody that Paul McCartney would have likely slotted on an album circa Ram. And tell me “Leavin The Light On” wouldn’t have been a smash for The Hollies. But the most impressive bit is the three-part “Suite”, clocking in at over seven minutes and incorporating everything from Kinks references and Byrdsian chord changes to Stones horn riffs and Who-like anthemic flourishes.
Don’t misunderstand – this is way more ambitious than it is derivative, and it’s persistently listenable. If you like the references you’ll love the album.
Listen to clips at Amazon
The Parties on MySpace
Filed under Music, Reviews
A couple of years ago I stumbled across an album from a band called The Breakers. Why a band from Denmark was on a small label (Funzalo Records) from Arizona was beyond me, but what came out of the speakers was not. Not looking a gift horse in the mouth, I played the snot out of Here For A Laugh and counted my blessings. Motown meets Memphis meets Mersey; why can’t more bands get it? It wound up as my #3 record in 2007.
Prescriptioneers know that I love The Faces – just below The Kinks on my list of best bands ever. Certainly any band that carries that proud flag gets my attention, be it a household word like The Black Crowes or an unknown (on these shores, anyway) group like The Diamond Dogs. Like the latter band, The Breakers combine that bluesy Stones/Faces swagger with a rock and soul edge and a classic Britpop dance band’s fun mentality. And like Rod, Chris and Sulo, The Breakers have a great raspy voiced singer in Toke Nisted.
Video: “Here For A Laugh“
Just when I was beginning to fear they were one and done, I heard that Little Steven signed them to his Wicked Cool label with a new release planned for 2011. Last Fall a label sampler slipped the track “Riot Act” past most of our collective radar, and then today’s mailbox contained a link to another single, “The Jerry Lee Symptoms“. (Actually, it’s a Bo Diddley beat more than a Killer refrain, but it’s smokin‘ either way.) And that wasn’t all – I found that Here For A Laugh wasn’t their debut album, there’s an older one called What I Want. You can stream both albums here (along with the new singles).
When the new album comes out I’ll have a full review, but I couldn’t keep this good news to myself. Now you have two month’s notice as well!
Video: “Riot Act“
The Breakers on MySpace.
Online vendor for What I Want here.
Unplugged? Sure, why not?
Filed under Music, Reviews
(No TGIF today as we conclude the 2010 countdown…)
When all is said and done, rock’n’roll is supposed to be a release, whether that’s from the pulsating rhythm of the music, the depth of the lyrical message or the sheer enjoyment of playing the damned thing loud. It’s hard enough to compare the apples and oranges of music, but when I was finalizing the list I asked myself… which album brought me the most pleasure? Which did I play the most often? Which did I look forward to playing, even if I had heard it thirty times?
And so I give you Pictures from The Len Price 3.
Video: “Mr. Grey“
Recalling the great kinetic music of The Kinks, The Creation, The Small Faces and the early Who, the trio blends in irresistible pop vocals (think Sire-era Searchers or The Records) and punk energy (The Jam and The Clash being obvious influences). The result is a baker’s dozen of explosive three-minute singles; kudos to the production of Graham Day (The Prisoners, Graham Day and the Gaolers).
The album launches itself with the title track (led by Keith Moon drum fills) and follows that jab with the right cross of the celebretard anthem “Keep Your Eyes On Me“, one of 2010’s absolute classics.
Free Download (while it lasts!): “Keep Your Eyes On Me”
By the time I got to the third track, “I Don’t Believe You” I already knew I was gobsmacked…and then it just got better. Music like this is the epitome of what the Underground Garage is going for, so it’s no wonder that Little Steven signed these guys onto his Wicked Cool label. I really liked their first two albums Rentacrowd and Chinese Burn, but Pictures is a leap forward even from those. I had it pegged as a best-of contender when it came out in January, and sure enough, it held off all comers to finish as the best album of 2010.
Listen to clips at Amazon
Video: “I Don’t Believe You”
Len Price 3 on MySpace
The Prisoners heritage is clear