Flashback Friday #1 – Greetings To The New Feature

No one asked for it, but here it is, anyway: a new feature on ESDMusic which, hopefully, will become a regular reason for you to visit the site…provided, of course, that we can come up with enough material to maintain it. But, frankly, when you hear the premise, I think you’ll agree that with all of the music geeks we’ve got around here, that shouldn’t be an issue…

Borrowing on the same general concept as Bullz-Eye’s Mix Disc Monday, Flashback Friday will allow our writers to venture into the depths of their possibly-embarrassing personal histories by pulling out old mix tapes and writing about them. In theory, this should reveal a lot about where we were musically at the time we made the tapes; in reality, however, it may just indicate how limited our budget was at the time…or, at least, that’s what this tape of mine shows.

That’s right, as the person who came up with this idea, it’s only fair that I get the ball rolling, and lemme tell ya: I was attending Averett College in Danville, VA (go, Cougars!), and it was a real rarity for me to buy anything that wasn’t on its second or third markdown in the cut-out bin…and, believe me, you can tell.

Title: Greetings from Averett, Vol. 2
Date of creation: late March 1991 (approximate)

Side 1:

“Main Title / Rebel Blockade Runner,” John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra (Star Wars: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

I’ve always been of the mind that every mix needs to start off with something witty, clever, funny, or just, y’know, something memorable. Given that this was 1991 and we were on what would turn out to be a 16-year drought between new “Star Wars” films, beginning the tape with the familiar main titles from the original flick – now known as “Star Wars: A New Hope” – certainly qualified. Unfortunately, the title theme segues directly into another track, ”Rebel Blockade Runner,” and as a result, the whole thing ends up going on longer than most normal people would ever maintain interest. I mean, I love that soundtrack, and even *I* started to get bored. By the way, while I’ve attributed this to the actual “Star Wars” soundtrack, given my budget, I have to believe that this was much more likely taken from an el-cheapo recording done by, say, the Generic Philharmonic Orchestra…which means it’s almost certainly not John Williams conducting but, probably, his non-union Mexican equivalent. (Juan Williams?)

“Losing My Religion,” R.E.M. (Out of Time)

This is the track on Side 1 which most definitively dates the tape for me. As noted, I was a man with limited funds, and most of my purchases were CDs and cassettes that I’d rescued from the cut-out bin at the record chain in the local mall, but I sucked it up and bought Out of Time on its first day of release. I still remember writing a review for the Averett College newspaper, The Chanticleer, and declaring that this song’s lyrics sounded like a parody of the band’s style. (“I think I thought I saw you try” is the one that leaps immediately to mind.) I must’ve made this tape within a day or two of the album’s release and only known this song; otherwise, I almost certainly would’ve put “Texarkana,” “Near Wild Heaven,” or “Shiny Happy People” on here instead.

“This Is the World Calling,” Bob Geldof (Deep in the Heart of Nowhere)

Wow, did this album get reamed when it was first released. I’m sure Bob didn’t expect much else, though; after you’ve been held up as the pop star who fed the world, you ought to know that the press is going to tear your next LP a new center hole. Yeah, that’s right, Geldof’s fallible. So what? And, anyway, Deep in the Heart of Nowhere wasn’t nearly as bad as everyone said; it just wasn’t as good as, say, your average Boomtown Rats album. I still say the first half of the album is pretty damned good, and this song, which leads off the record, is definitely a highlight.

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In celebration of my having interviewed Graham Gouldman yesterday…

…I present the following fantastic collaboration for your approval: Mr. Gouldman performing an acoustic version of 10cc’s “I’m Not In Love,” accompanied on acoustic guitar and harmony vocals by…wait for it…Neil Finn and Roddy Frame.

Fuck me. That’s quite a trio, innit? Hey, David, I think we’ve found yet another answer to the question, “Name three people I’d like to have a drink with.”

Road Warriors 16

It’s a nineties rock party at minor league baseball stadiums this summer, as Counting Crows, Live and Collective Soul will all tour together. Third Eye Blind will also join them on some of the dates. The tour begins July 22 in Wilmington, Delaware and runs through September 2 in Fargo. For more information, visit www.countingcrows.com.

The self-proclaimed world’s largest music festival is Milwaukee’s Summerfest. At 11 days long and with a ton of A-list talent, it’s hard to argue with that proclamation. Some of the confirmed acts are Wolfmother, O.A.R., John Mayer, Los Lonely Boys, Ben Folds, Peter Frampton, B.B. King, The Fray, Goo Goo Dolls, Sara Evans, Toby Keith, INXS, Weird Al Yankovic, Gym Class Heroes, Papa Roach, Puddle of Mudd, Silversun Pickups, Tool and Blue October. Whew. The festival runs from June 28 to July 8. For more info, go to www.summerfest.com.

311 is working on a new record and plan to return to the studio to record it in the fall. Meanwhile, front man Nick Hexum is talking about testing out some of that new material while the band tours with Matisyahu this summer beginning June 21.

The inaugural Big State Festival will take place October 13 and 14 at the Texas World Speedway in Bryan-College Station. Headlined by Tim McGraw, other acts so far include The Wreckers and Los Lonely Boys. Tickets go on sale June 5 at www.bigstatefestival.com

Bombastic rock band The Mooney Suzuki is gearing up for its summer tour in support of the new album, Have Mercy. Supporting the tour for two separate legs are The Photo Atlas and The Dark Romantics. Here are Read the rest of this entry »

Wearing gold spandex pants, she made a hip-hop album…

What can we possibly say as a preface that would do it justice?

Happy Friday, everyone…!

P.S. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Head over here for more…if you dare!!!

Deep Cuts: Squeeze, “Love Circles”

Inspired by the ever-interesting Jefitoblog, which has been offering up a lot of love to Squeeze lately (including the first half of his Idiot’s Guide to the band as well as some hard-to-find live MP3s), I thought I’d similarly pay tribute to one of my favorite songs by the band, taken from one of their criminally overlooked albums.

Frank was released in 1989 to a fair amount of critical acclaim, but precious little of that translated into sales for the band. After staging an unexpected commercial comeback with 1987′s Babylon and On, an album which produced two top-40 hits for the band (“Hourglass” and “853-5937″), it was actually rather shocking that Frank didn’t sell very well, but my theory has always been that the band’s label – A&M – had decided to ignore top-40 radio for the album and instead focus on Billboard’s latest and greatest chart: Modern Rock. It made a certain amount of sense, given that Squeeze had always been more college-radio darlings than a full-fledged mainstream success, but, still, to go from having 2 top-40 hits to being dropped by your label altogether within the span of two years…? Somebody screwed up somewhere, and it certainly wasn’t Squeeze.

There are, unfortunately, a lot of great tracks to pick from when it comes to spotlighting the unheralded numbers from Frank, including the Jools Holland piano stomper, “Dr. Jazz,” and Glenn Tilbrook’s ode to a woman’s time of the month (“She Doesn’t Have To Shave”), but my favorite has always been “Love Circles,” which offers Chris Difford the vocal spotlight yet still provides some downright fantabulous harmonies for the chorus. It was released as a single, but it did precisely diddley…but, thanks to the aforementioned Jefitoblog, you can check out the song here.

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