You’re killing me, KROQ!

Around this time each year, LA’s most well-known rock station, KROQ, puts on a benefit concert that they call “Acoustic Christmas.” I’ve gone twice, including the great show last December.

There are two nights – here’s the lineup:

Night One: Foo Fighters, AFI, Incubus, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Papa Roach, 30 Seconds to Mars, +44, Wolfmother, Saosin

Night Two: Foo Fighters, The Killers, Beck, The Raconteurs, Evanescence, Panic! At The Disco, Angles & Airwaves, Gnarls Barkley, Snow Patrol, She Wants Revenge

For me, Night Two is infinitely better than Night One, though I would like to catch Wolfmother eventually. Beck, the Ranconeurs, the Killers and Gnarls Barkley make the second night more than worthwhile.

So why is KROQ killing me? Usually, they send out an email to their “Street Team” announcing a presale which gives me a reasonable shot at landing tickets. This morning, they announced that this year tickets will go on sale (on TicketBastard) when they play “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters. Well, I guess that’s all well and good, but play the f’ng song already! I’ve been listening all day, heard more AFI and My Chemical Romance (and other Foo Fighters songs) than I would otherwise listen to in a lifetime, and I still haven’t heard “Everlong.” To make matters worse, the late afternoon DJ (“Stryker”) said that tickets could go on sale anytime…today or two days before the show (which is next weekend).

Now that the clock has struck 5 on the West Coast, I’m pretty sure they won’t play the song today. But as I type this, My Chemical Romance is playing (yet again) in the background.

Man, this is irritating.

Get to Know: Regina Spektor

Russian-born Regina Spektor makes quirky, piano-driven music for the hipster set. She scored a minor hit this year with “Fidelity” from Begin to Hope, her fourth full-length release, but her catalog features several great songs. Where possible, I included links to a live performance or the proper video for each song (hosted by YouTube). I also included links to iTunes and/or Amazon for convenient purchase. Let’s get to know Regina Spektor.

“Fidelity” – Begin to Hope

This song is insanely catchy, from the lovely melody to the creative chorus. It’s one of the few of her songs that doesn’t feature the piano, but it works nonetheless.
iTunes | Amazon

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Pissing away what little credibility they had in the first place…

…the Billboard Music Awards have announced this year’s hosts.

I don’t know about you, but I refuse to watch any award show whose hosts’ privates have not been exhaustively documented by multiple paparazzi. Because, you know, ya gotta have standards.

UPDATE: Britney has pulled out of the hosting commitment…which officially represents the first time she has made an intelligent decision with regard to breaking off an engagement.

I didn’t write this…

…but damned if this doesn’t sum up my feelings on Pitchfork.com perfectly.

Glad to know it’s not just me.

After receiving the billionth request, God complies with perv nation

Britney Spears, bottomless. (Most decidedly NSFW)

The Superficial comes through again, and thankfully (if there is indeed anything thankful to be had from this) Brit’s junk doesn’t look like it’s been through the wringer like those hideous shots of Lindsay Lohan from a while back. But be warned, fellow readers. Once you click this link, your life will be forever changed, and not necessarily for the better. (Prepare for delays in uploading. The site, as you can imagine, is getting pummelled with traffic.)

Notes From The Orphanage VII: “…And We’ll Watch Them Fall”

Rex Moroux, Royal Street Inn (self-released) – The first thing that’ll probably strike you about Rex Moroux is that he sounds an awful lot like Adam Duritz of Counting Crows. Unfortunately, not much else will probably stick with you. Nice enough Americana stuff, but not terribly memorable.

Marty Rudnick, More Songs about Cars and Girls (Sandbox) – Marty Rudnick pays tribute to the collected works of Brian Wilson, with production assistance from Australian pop god Michael Carpenter. Stay tuned for the bonus tracks, which include a Beach Boys and a Beatles cover. I apologize for only just now getting around to writing about this, since it’s a wonderful summer album…but, hey, there’s always next summer, right?

The Thermals, The Body, The Blood, The Machine (Sub Pop) – With a voice that’s somewhere between Roky Erickson and Stan Ridgway, it’s clear that Thermals frontman Hutch Harris (no relation) is gonna be an acquired taste, but this is an energetic rock album with some post-punk tendencies. The lyrics, not to mention the artwork, have some pretty strong indictments of modern religion, but given that their last album was called Fuckin A, would you really expect them to pull any punches?

Urban Delights, Revolution No. 1 (Unique) – If you remember ‘90s dance heroes Apollo 440, you’ll love these guys, since they’re led by Harry K, who was Apollo 440’s primary songwriter. Urban Delights do the blending of dance beats and rock rhythms as well as anyone, with songs like “Crush” and “Y U Cum 2 The Party,” a floor-filling, jump-to-the-beat number that’s as good as its title suggests. The more I spin it, the more I like it.

Pepper, No Shame (Atlantic) – Hailing from Hawaii, these guys have a white-boys-doing-reggae thing, like Sublime, 311, or early Smash Mouth. It’s better than you might think, given that description…and if you’ll just stay tuned through the third song, “No Control,” you’ll believe me. But, guys, trust me, you don’t need to intersperse skits throughout the album. It doesn’t work for most rappers, and it doesn’t work for you.

El Presidente, El Presidente (Sony BMG) – Part dance, part disco, part funk, and just enough rock to keep things interesting, El Presidente have some pretty good tunes on their self-titled debut, which is just now making it to the States after a 2005 UK release. Unfortunately, they’re in the shadow of the more popular Scissor Sisters, and, unlike the Sisters, they don’t have Elton John in their corner. Still, “Rocket” and “100 MPH” kick ass, “If You Say You Love Me” is nice and dreamy, and the rest of the disc is quite likeable as well.

Ronnie Milsap, The Essential Ronnie Milsap (RCA / Legacy) – We’ve all been through this: someone mentions an artist, you say, “I know the name, but I don’t know anything by them,” and they say, “Yeah, you do, you just don’t know you do.” That’s totally Ronnie Milsap. There are forty songs on this collection, and even if you’ve never listened to country music, you’ll know the better part of a dozen of these tracks. Examples: “Daydreams About Night Things,” “Smoky Mountain Rain,” “Stranger In My House,” and “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It for the World.” See, I told you.

Mix Disc Monday: The one-hit wonder’s other hit

The farther away an item becomes in the overall historical timeline, the more condensed its entry becomes. The same goes for music. Several artists are known today for their biggest hit and only for their biggest hit, despite scoring several Top 40 entries. This list attempts to correct that injustice. When a DJ says they’re going to play Crowded House, is there any mystery about what song is coming up? Sadly, no. God, I’ve love to run a radio station for a week.

Anyway, here is my list of songs that were once successful but have since been lost in the mists of time. Anyone who lived through the era will surely know everything here, but for you young ‘uns, perhaps this will serve as a reminder that when it comes to a band’s career, there is almost always more to the story than just a footnote.

“The Sun Always Shines on TV,” A-ha (Highest chart position #20, from the album Hunting High and Low)
Always preferred this song to “Take on Me.” It’s dark, it’s elaborate, and sweet Jesus, listen to that note that Morten Harket hits in the opening.

“Lessons in Love,” Level 42 (highest chart position #12, from the album Running in the Family)
Of course, I’m assuming anyone even remembers Level 42’s biggest hit, “Something about You.” Sigh. Getting old sucks.

“Think,” Information Society (highest chart position #28, from the album Hack)
After reading an obnoxious column in “Entertainment Weekly,” my wife sent the album this came from, titled Hack, to the column’s author, “pop culturist” Joel Stein. I wonder if he ever listened to it.

“Real, Real, Real,” Jesus Jones (highest chart position #4, from the album Doubt)
Ideally, I’d be putting “International Bright Young Thing” in this slot, but that didn’t crack the Top 40. But “Real, Real, Real” will do just fine.

“Love Is Alive,” Gary Wright (highest chart position #2, from the album Dream Weaver)

Oddly enough, this was actually a bigger hit than “Dream Weaver.” They both peaked at #2, but this stayed on the charts for 18 weeks, compared to “Dream Weaver’s” 14. If anyone knows where I can find the full-length version of the 3rd Bass track “Wordz of Wizdom” that samples this song, drop me a line.

“(Forever) Live and Die,” Orchestral Manoevres in the Dark (highest chart position #19, from the album The Pacific Age)
I never know, I never know, I never know why this song was left behind.

“Candy,” Cameo (highest chart position #21, from the album Word Up)

Not only were these guys funky, but the guitarist could play, bro. And he gets exactly 16 beats here to show it.

“The Love Parade,” the Dream Academy (highest chart position #36, from the album The Dream Academy)
Don’t let the title fool you: this is a dark little tune. “They’re lonely together when they’re not apart / If feels like she’s holding on to someone else in the dark.” Ow.

“When the Lights Go Out,” Naked Eyes (highest chart position #37, from the album Naked Eyes)
The band had four Top 40 entries…and yet this song did not make the final cut of their first hits compilation. Um, sure.

“It Ain’t Enough,” Corey Hart (highest chart position #17, from the album First Offense)
Sing to me, fish lips.

“Stick Around,” Julian Lennon (highest chart position #32, from the album The Secret Value of Daydreaming)

You can keep “Too Late for Goodbyes.” I’ll take this.

“Sanctify Yourself,” Simple Minds (highest chart position #14, from the album Once Upon a Time)
Hell, no one even mentions “Alive and Kicking anymore,” and that song was huge.

“Since You’ve Been Gone,” the Outfield (highest chart position #31, from the album Bangin’)
The beginning of the end for the Outfield, which is a pity, because I found this much more tolerable than that damn song about Josie.

“One in a Million,” Romantics (highest chart position #37, from the album In Heat)
Oddly enough, the Romantics’ most well-known song, “What I Like about You,” peaked at #49.

“Sign Your Name,” Terence Trent D’Arby (highest chart position #4, from the album Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby)
So he never lived up to the whole better-than-Sgt. Pepper nonsense. But that’s not to say he didn’t have his good points.

“Wonderful,” Adam Ant (highest chart position #39, from the album Wonderful)
A lovely acoustic entry from the autumn of Mr. Goddard’s career. Pity he had to go nuts like that.

Doctor Who visits Sniff The Tip

For you Doctor fans out there, my podcast this week at Sniff The Tip is called “Rocking The TARDIS.” As the description goes,

A Doctor Who-inspired episode, filled with songs about travel, space, heroes, villains, doom, and triumph. Thrilling Doctor Who sounds are scattered throughout!

That’s right, kids. Thrilling sounds! The podcast has been cranking out a weekly episode since its inception, so there are other shows to browse as well if you’re so inclined. That is all.

Wink r0x0rz

And here is Wink Martindale rocking it up himself! This little clip is taken from some 1958 flick called Let’s Rock. The tune is called “All Love Broke Loose.” Man, Wink was a swingin’ cat.


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Wink ‘n Elvis

Ah, that Wink Martindale! He’s been around a long, long time. So long, in fact, that we have for you now a clip of him interviewing ELvis back in the day. The Big E seems a little out there already. What could have been on his mind that was causing so much distraction? Hey, he’s giving away his diamond ring as a door prize, dammit!


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