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Seven Decades Of Melodic Rock & Roll

Archive for the tag “The Corner Laughers”

The Big Show #4: Women Who Rock

Bonnie "Guitar" Buckingham

The Big Show #3 was called “Girls, Girls, Girls!”  This week’s edition is “Women Who Rock,” a show devoted entirely to songs fronted by — and sometimes consisting entirely of — women.

Some of the sets are “themed.”

There is a set of quintessentially American rockin’ pop songs fronted by females.

There is a set of quintessentially British rockin’ pop songs fronted by females.

There is a set of “sass,” starting with two old-school put-down tracks (Blondie’s “Rip Her To Shreds” and Holly & The Italians‘ “Tell That Girl To Shut-Up”) and concluding with a more recent sassy song of empowerment (The Dollyrots’ “Because I’m Awesome”).

There is a set of “Bay Area” songs, one by a band out of France (The Leeds), one by a band out of Australia (Jane vs. The World) and one by a Bay Area-based band (The Corner Laughers).

It all ends with a bit of West Coast Pop about summer, and dreaming of summer, by Laurie Biagini.

You can hear it below by clicking on the photo of a pioneering rockin’ woman, Bonnie “Guitar” Buckingham, which also appears at the top of this page. The complete track list follows.

 

Track List:

1.  The Masticators, “Pop Sound”

2.  The Go-Go’s, “Skidmarks On My Heart”

3.  The Bangs, “Getting Out Of Hand”

4.  The Primitives, “Crash”

5.  Lush, “Ladykillers”

6.  Spacemaid, “Taxi”

7.  The Launderettes, “Red River”

8.  The Pandoras, “In And Out Of My Life (In A Day)”

9.  honeychain, “Lucky One”

10. Blondie, “Rip Her To Shreds”

11.  Holly & The Italians, “Tell That Girl To Shut-Up”

12. The Dollyrots, “Because I’m Awesome”

13. The Shivers, “Teen Line”

14. The Zippers, “He’s A Rebel”

15. The Leeds, “Anything”

16. Jane vs. The World, “The Subterraneans”

17. The Corner Laughers, “Transamerica Pyramid”

18. Kostars, “Red Umbrella”

19. Sam Phillips, “Same Rain”

20. Laurie Biagini, “Run To The Sun”

 

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New Music For Your Weekend

Hot NunToday’s round-up of new music now making the rounds on Pop That Goes Crunch radio disproves the notion that Power Pop, and its sub-genres, is one-dimensional and repetitive.

Hot Nun, “A Little Too”: Jeff Shelton turns the volume up to 12 (11 is for wimps) on this melodic, metallic fist-pumper ripped from 1975. Transport yourself to the Oakland Arena and make sure to bring a cigarette lighter along to raise up high during the poignant parts:

The Corner Laughers, “Midsommar”: This is the yang to Hot Nun’s yin. The Corner Laughers already have about 5,000 songs spinning in rotation on Pop That Goes Crunch radio. “Midsommar” carries on their tradition quite well, with its ukelele, its clever paean to Sweden’s summer solstice, and its overall sunny disposition. Feel the melodic sunshine warming your skin:

TV Girl, “Birds Don’t Sing”: This is a bit of West Coast Pop and French Pop blended with a subtle hip hop beat and noises and voices that would have been called “tape loops” in ancient times. If this three-plus minutes of joyful happiness doesn’t brighten your day, your day is simply incapable of brightening:

The Bon Mots, “Galahad”: Four songs from the band’s new longplayer, Best Revenge, were added to Pop That Goes Crunch radio. You can stream the entire album here. I’m sharing “Galahad” because it nicely follows the previous two songs with its jaunty, bouncy rhythms, subtle jangling guitars and hook-laden melody:

Trip Wire, “Stay”: This is mid-tempo Power Pop that relentlessly pounds its way into your brain. I try not to make comparisons between bands, but let’s just say that “Stay” had kind of that rocking yet “peaceful, easy feeling” for which this band is particularly known. That makes it great, so listen to it right here, and then get it on Bandcamp:

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So there’s five new songs to add joy to your day. Support the artists since they are working hard for you, and check out the radio station, too.

 

 

 

 

 

From The Stacks: An Indie Pop Playlist

Stacks of Records

I have written previously that my single most used iOs “app” is Groove which, among other things, creates playlists automatically based on artist attributes in the Last.fm database. It also creates playlists based on genre “tags” appearing in that database.

One “tag” that appeared the other day on my device was “indie pop.” I gave it whirl. The results were quite good, so I took twelve of the tracks and uploaded a new playlist to the 8 Tracks site. It is embedded below, and can be heard in full, and in sequence, by clicking on the arrow in the embedded image. At 37 minutes in length, it would fit nicely on a 12-inch platter of vinyl.

What will you hear on “From The Stacks”?

There are several artists discussed previously on this site. Scott Brookman kicks off the set with “Karen,” a bit of Pet Sounds-inspired pop from his 2000 long-player, For Those Who Like Pop. 

Wondermints contribute one of their lesser-known tracks, the jaunty Zombies-inspired “Sting O’ Luv,” from the long-unavailable Bali.

One of my favorite bands, The Sharp Things, check in with the subtly soulful, “The Devil In You Sings,” from an earlier LP, A Movable Feast

The Well Wishers deliver straight-up jangly Powerpop with “Heroes.”

The Corner Laughers close the set with the ukelele-driven sunshine pop of “Chicken Bingo,” which starts with one of my all-time favorite couplets: “they asked us where we came from, we said San Francisco/they asked again, we said outer space.” You can get that one here.

Along the way, the set list includes a track by the late, great Elliot Smith and a country-inspired ditty by Hippodrome, sung by Chris Richards, who also has been discussed several times previously on this site.

Here it is:

Complete set list:

1.  “Karen” — Scott Brookman

2.  “Forever” — The Hit Parade

3.  “Sting O’ Luv” — Wondermints

4.  “Don’t Turn Your Back (Open Your Eyes)” — The Afternoons

5.  “Miles Away” — Sparkwood

6.  “Heroes” — The Well Wishers

7.  “See You In The Morning” — Kontiki Suite

8.  “The Devil In You Sings” — The Sharp Things

9.  “Smash Up” — Greenberry Woods

10. “Strung Out Again” — Elliott Smith

11.  “Caroline” — Hippodrome

12. “Chicken Bingo” — The Corner Laughers

Five More Top Notch 2013 Pop Releases From The Place Where Melody Is King

I’m still catching up on discussing recent releases that have been spinning my music devices of late. Here’s five more, proceeding in a linear fashion from “quiet” to “loud.”

Andy Klingensmith, Pictures Of: There are only two instruments here — voice and guitar. Or rather many “voices,” as each song with lyrics contains cascades of gorgeous, layered harmonies amid perfect guitar playing. It’s not at all “crunchy” pop, but acoustic pop with an occasional psychedelic sheen in the Simon & Garfunkel vein. Its also the best cool, late-night album you likely will hear for quite some time. Check out “Template Song,” in particular, and let your worries wash away:

Andrea Perry, Four: Perry’s fourth long-player should be played between Cotton Mather’s Kontiki and Emitt Rhodes’ The American Dream. It has the same handcrafted feel as do those two classics. It touches all of the right chamber pop notes with its use of strings, piano, xylophones, among others, alongside Perry’s dreamy yet substantive vocals. It features contributions from KC Bowman of Agony Aunts and The Corner Laughers, about whom you can read about in the post directly below this one. Four reveals its many virtues slowly but surely, and deserves repeat listens:

Laurie Biagini, Sanctuary of Sound: Dusty Springfield would have made records like this had she hailed from Southern California. Biagini creates the sunniest possible mid-60s Sunshine Pop up in Vancouver, playing most of the instruments and handling the lead and backing vocals herself. The Beach Boys run all through Sanctuary of Sound. The album is so unrelentingly upbeat that I couldn’t stop tapping my foot and bopping my head as it played in the background while doing work earlier this week. Feel the warm sand between your toes:

The Connection, Let It Rock: This is garage rock for now people. The Rolling Stones provide the basic template — The Connection cover “Connection” — and the band’s fingers are firmly planted in the kind of melodic rock that once ruled the airwaves. Let It Rock is not some mere retro project, however. It just, well, rocks, and it does so timelessly. The mid-tempo “Melinda” also features some of the coolest “la la la’s” put to wax or to “zeros” and “ones” in quite some time:

honeychain, Futura: This one takes a trip to 1979 and wraps Blondie, The Ramones, The Buzzcocks, The Go-Go’s and countless other kindred spirits from back in that day around Hillary Burton’s capable hands. The sound nevertheless always remains contemporary. The hooks on this five-song EP come at you non-stop, often launched by pummeling percussion, driving bass and equally hammering guitars:

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So there’s another five recent and somewhat recent releases worth checking out. Quiet or loud, slow or fast, they nevertheless come from the place where melody is king.

Three Tasty Pop Teasers From Agony Aunts

When I was young, the prospect of listening to anything by a band that called itself as a “Bay Area supergroup” would have been an aural horror show in the making. Journey was “Bay Area music” back then. Emerson, Lake & Palmer was a supergroup. Heck, Journey consisted of former members of Santana and The Steve Miller Band. It was a “Bay Area supergroup” all by itself.

But time marches on. I’ve lived in the Bay Area for the past fifteen years.

Agony Aunts bills itself as a “Bay Area psych-pop supergroup.” It features members of The Corner Laughers and The Orange Peels, among others. The first two lines of The Corner Laughers‘ song, “Chicken Bingo” — “They asked us where we came from, we said San Francisco/They asked again, we said outer space” — is noted as my “favorite quotation” on Facebook. The circle becomes complete.

Agony Aunts‘ 2010 release, Greater Miranda, is a delectable concoction of sunshine pop, power pop, chamber pop and bubblegum pop, punctuated by occasional psychedelic flourishes and anchored by quizzical lyrics like “[h]e flaunts a billion fortunes and sleeps with frayed eyes split.” Whatever that means, it sure sounds great. The whole record is also beautifully sung and filled to the brim with glistening male-female harmonies. They get special props for constructing a one-minute plus piece of meringue, “RB & YM,” around five words (“Rob Black and your money”) and a bunch of “buh, buh, buhs.” Not taking things too seriously is a major virtue on this blog.

Agony AuntsThe band recently dropped three songs in advance of the November issuance of their next long player, Big Cinnamon. They’re just as good as anything on Greater Miranda.

The lead track, “Twenty-four Mergansers” is 100% hook until about the 1:38 mark. That’s when a synth that would have made Emerson, Lake & Palmer proud back in ’71 takes over, followed by a wall of cascading guitar sound. Calm is soon restored, however, to allow the hooks to lead the way home:

“Family Drugs” sticks a swaying, almost laid-back mid-70s arrangement around a song about bottling up “spaniel rage.” Its all sewn together by those perfect male-female harmonies.

“We Got The Jekyll” is a more straight ahead (at least for them) mid-tempo rocker about dealing with one’s demons, or so it seems because “the Lord will provide you with endless supplies of dirt.” It closes with some more 70’s-sounding synth work fighting with demonic laughter for center stage:

Based on these early teasers, Big Cinnamon promises to deliver big when it is released in full this fall. I have made my peace with “Bay Area music” and “supergroups.”

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