Saturday, January 26, 2008

Things I Like Vol. 42

Ten People/Places/Things That Rock My World:

1) Marah. Like a phoenix from the ashes, baby.

2) "Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution" - New from The Black Crowes. So what if it's another Stones ripoff--it rocks. Plus it's got Luther Dickinson on slide guitar...

3) Brighter Than Creation's Dark - The Drive-By Truckers. Still mining that goth-Skynyrd meets Springsteen vein. And the problem is?

4) On Your Sleeve - Jesse Malin. Expected and unexpected covers that shed new light both on the songs themselves and on the person performing them.

5) Paul McCartney. Staying alive and just trying to be yourself is a lot harder than it looks when you're an ex-Beatle. Plus "I'm Down" is, like, the best two minutes of Richard Penniman ripoff you'll ever hear. Don't believe me? Watch for yourself:

6) Jeff Raspe - DJ extraordinaire.

7) Frankie & Kelly McGrath - Two of the best people you'll ever meet. Thanks for everything.

8) Play it As it Lays - Patti Scialfa. Still one of the most underappreciated women in rock, and a hell of a nice person besides.

9) Convention Hall, Asbury Park NJ - Come see before it morphs into Disneyland.

10) Daniel Wolff. 'Nuff said.

Hero of the Week: CF, for caring enough to tell me things I need to hear, and for putting up with my endless psychodrama. You are a true friend.

Villain of the Week: Gary Mottola, Madison Marquette. For totally misunderstanding Asbury Park's past and thereby fucking up its future. Read a book, dude.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Simple Twist of Fate

Driving home to the Jersey Shore yesterday, I heard local up and coming singer/songwriter Nicole Atkins performing at WXPN radio's Free at Noon show in Philadelphia, and it brought the reality of what has happened to Philly's own Marah this week into sharper focus and just made me sad all over again.

On the radio was a woman who, like Marah, started from nothing, who pushed her way up from the street--sleeping in cars, recording in a makeshift studio--to get her music out. Like them, she worked hard and finally got lucky. She got noticed by the right people and ended up with a major label deal. Now, in this day and age, that's a dicey thing--most new artists who sign with Columbia Records live to regret it, as misguided record production and lack of tour promotion (amongst other things) are the usual result.

But Nicole has gotten luckier still--the folks at Columbia seem to actually know what to do with her, and have really kicked her career up a notch in a relatively short time. She's been on national television (Letterman), had some excellent bookings (The Bowery Ballroom), even done an American Express ad. And yesterday she was on WXPN sounding great --in complete control and enjoying herself. I should be happy for her--another local Jersey Shore musician getting props--but I can't help feeling more than a bit resentful at the odd twists of fate life hands people. Several of my friends have signed to that very same label and received the royal screw--they all worked just as hard and made the same sacrifices as Nicole, and for that they ended up with nothing. How did she get so lucky, and why?

As for the members of Marah--current and former--they are most likely still pondering what has happened to them; how they went from the highest high (a national television appearance, a brand new record receiving stellar reviews, a hotly anticipated national tour) to the lowest low (postponed tour, dismembered band) in a few short days. But they can't afford to linger too long with their thoughts. After all, there are new tours to prepare for, lives to be led, and this is only a brief pause before they move on to the next stage of their lives.

And that's all it can be--for now. "You just gotta keep on livin', L-I-V-I-N" (Wooderson, Dazed and Confused, 1993). But one day they'll be out on the road again--on a lonely tour bus in the middle of Nowhereland, or lying in bed staring at the ceiling late at night--and their thoughts will inexorably turn to the events of this week, and to what might have been. The regret and pain they feel at those moments may be something they carry with them for the rest of their lives.

So congratulations, Nicole--you deserve every minute of your newfound success. With any luck, you'll never experience anything like what happened to Marah this week. Never know what it is to falter when your dreams seem so close to coming true, to fail with the whole world looking on--to hold the brass ring for a brief instant only to have it slip through your fingers.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Shys Return

With all the recent news of band implosion, isn't it nice to know that a totally rockin' band is still together and will soon A) be releasing a record and B) hittin' your town? I though so. New tunage and photos are now up on their myspace page. These guys are the shit. But don't take my word for it. See/hear/experience the magic for yourself.

That is all.


Monday, January 14, 2008

R.I.P Johnny Podres

It's truly a sad day for Dodger fans--and God knows they've had more than their share. (Just HOW did Walter O'Malley--aka Satan--get elected to the Hall of Fame, for example?)

Yep, Johnny Podres is dead. For those of you who don't know, Podres shut out the Yankees 2-0 on eight hits to win the deciding game of the 1955 World Series, the one and only time that Brooklyn ever conquered their nemesis.

"Just get me one hit and I'll beat 'em," Podres supposedly said. The Dodgers got him two, and for one year, joy finally reigned in Mudville as the long-suffering Brooklynites finally had their championship. But it was to be short-lived, as the aforementioned O'Malley would soon set plans in motion that would result in the team moving to--EEEK--Los Angeles.

The day Ebbetts Field was torn down was one of the saddest in the history of baseball, for it signaled the end of an era when teams lived in the towns they played in, when you could walk down the street and bump into Duke Snider or live next door to Pee Wee Reese. The players were not only your heroes, they were your neighbors. The unique relationship they had with the citizens of Brooklyn will never be duplicated, and the loss to baseball was incalculable.

So R.I.P. Johnny. And as for Walter O'Malley, well, let's just say it's pretty hot where he is...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Marah on Conan

My Marah boyz (and the lovely Christine) on Conan. Righteous!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Things I Like Vol. 41

Ok, so it's a New Year and I promised to keep this here thing up, so here goes.

Ten People/Places/Things That Rock My World:

1) Vodka tonics. I have recently rediscovered the joys of Absolut over ice. Yay.

2) Panera, all locations - I know, it's a franchise. But damn, that sourdough bread is addictive like crack.

3) Speaking of crack - Clancy's, Neptune NJ - the potato soup is, well, you guessed it...

4) Scene of the Crime - Bettye Lavette. Yeah, right on, sis. Being an older chick fucking rules! Don't even try to tell me I'm irrelevant cos I don't dig Hannah Montana--this is music by and for adults, baby!

5) Just A Little Lovin' - Shelby Lynne. All of the above, plus it's all (or mostly all) Dusty Springfield music. Righteous.

6) The Twisted Tree, Asbury Park NJ - Acoustic Maybe Pete, candlelight, health food and BYO wine. Plus it's stumbling distance from my front door.

7) The New York fucking Dolls. Better than most bands even on a bad night (sorry to disagree with you, JM). Coming soon to the legendary Stone Pony for a return engagement. Gotta love Syl's gold Les Paul!

8) Hillary. Ok, so I'm not a huge fan. I thought she and the hubby kinda sold out. But I'll admit it, the crying bit got me.
Can anyone say America's Family Reunion (on the Mall) Volume 2? (If you don't know what that is, use the Google, dummy!)

9) "Lowlife (Livin' the Highlife)" - Kid Rock. Ok, so he didn't get the joke. It's still a great song, and the money goes to one of my oldest, dearest friends. What's the downside?

10) Peter Criss lives in Wall NJ. No no WALL NJ! I know a couple people who might be up for some stalkin'...

Hero of the Week: John Edwards. Everyone's counted him out, and yeah, he probably is out. But he's not going without a fight. Not bad for someone who continues to accept no corporate donations.

Villain of the Week: Roger Clemens. I'm sorry, but you're a lying sack of sh*t. You have been blessed with one of the best arms in the history of the game, and you go and blow your reputation for the sake of a couple of extra years. Say it ain't so.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Another Year

Listen to me watch me
I will hold you in my thrall and
You too will be stars

In the light the moths flit to and fro
Vacant eyes
Different dresses same pain
Dissipated dance
Vodka and hesitance will you won’t you
One night full of empty
Desperation but

The hole will not be filled until you dig deeper.