Thursday, October 30, 2008

NEW FEATURE: Careening Around My Cranium with Daryll Collins!!!

Hey guys, Louis here. I am extremely happy to welcome Daryll to the stable of NOT LAME bloggers and boy, does he have a lot to say about power-pop, and that's the way we like it!

PhotobucketI am a self professed music nut. In fact I can't remember a time when it wasn't an integral part of my life. My folks tell me that as a toddler I would sit in front of the TV and rock back and forth to the music on American Bandstand. This was when it was on for an hour, Monday through Friday afternoons on ABC. Yeah, I know, I'm old!

Of course The Beatles on Ed Sullivan made a huge impression. And in what seemed to be the case for one out of every three "youngsters" at that time, I took guitar lessons. After guitar lessons came the prerequisite crappy grade school, junior high and high school rock bands. When I finally realized I wasn't going to be the next Robin Trower I settled into a career in my other life's passion...cartooning!

But the love for music has always been there and I have the vinyl, 8 Tracks, cassettes and CD's to prove it! Not Lame has been highly instrumental in turning me on to music and artists I might never have come across. I recently was carrying on an e-mail conversation with Bruce about various music related subjects when I had this thought...

Remember those columns Larry King used to do for USA Today? He would just give random opinions on whatever was on his mind at the time and spill them out rapid-fire. Maybe I could do that for the Not Lame blog with whatever musical gems of thought that were currently careening around my cranium.

Bruce said great, do it. So here we are!

And now without further ado, my latest collection of musical gems of thought...

"I've never been that impressed with how fast a guitarist can play. It's what they play. Most shredders leave me unmoved"

"That brings us to Bill Nelson of Be Bop Deluxe. What a criminally underrated talent! Beautiful melodic leads that can flow as quickly as any speed metal guitar god, yet with a feel and resonance sorely lacking in so many highly rated fretsmiths."

Photobucket"Are you familiar with Be Bop Deluxe's debut "Axe Victim"? How could any teen aged dude from the 70's resist purchasing that album once they've taken a look at the cover art. That creepy skeleton headed guitar leering back at you in front of a stark black background! YOW!"

"Always found Nelson's guitar prowess with his David Bowie-like vocal style such a unique combination."

"Really enjoying Todd Rundgren's latest, Arena. Just wish he would have recorded it with an actual band, especially the drums. Also, the vocals, in my opinion, are a little lost in the mix."

"Those upstarts, Black Stone Cherry really bring home the goods on their latest, Folklore and Superstition. Very few young bands are truly able to lock into that 70's classic rock aesthetic."

"So Robert Plant isn't interested in a Led Zepplin reunion tour. Here's a replacement who I think would be dynamite...Glenn Hughes! The former vocalist for Trapeze and Deep Purple would absolutely do Zeps catalogue justice. Plus he's a bitch of a bass player that would allow John Paul Jones to play keyboards exclusively on certain tunes."

Photobucket"On the other hand, I am not buying the Paul Rodgers fronted Queen. Not one bit. Can't be the Queen I know and love without Freddie Mercury. As a vocalist Rodgers is great and May and Taylor are outstanding musicians. But the song writing chops and unique vocal performance are not there to create the magical mix that was Queen. Mercury's input is essential."

"I've never let music define my "coolness" even in those peer pressure filled high school days. I dug Led Zep, Sabbath, Alice Cooper and Grand Funk Railroad but I also dug The Carpenters, America and Three Dog Night. I like what I like and make no apologies. Guess I wouldn't be an ideal candidate for nominating board of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."

"Speaking of high school and music, two guys in my class once got into a fist fight over what was the better band, The Stones or Chicago! Oddly enough the Chicago dude won the fray. Good times..."

"As we're in the Halloween season I'll pose this question... Have you ever had a song actually scare you? The first track off of Black Sabbath's debut appropriately titled, "Black Sabbath" scared the hell out of me. As I sat in my room listening with headphones my eyes had to have been buggin' out of my head!"

My Top 20 for 2008, so far and in no particular order...

The Silver Seas - High Society (this may be a '07 release but I didn't hear it until now)
Todd Rundgren - Arena
Brent Cash - How Will I Know If I'm Awake
Black Stone Cherry - Folklore and Superstition
Willie Wisely - Wisely
PhotobucketGlen Campbell - Meet Glen Campbell
The Pop Project - Stars Of Stage And Screen
Ike - Where To Begin
The Spongetones - Too Clever By Half
The Goldbergs - Under The Radar
Rick Springfield - Venus In Overdrive
Starling Electric - Clouded Staircase
Jim Boggia - Adventures In Stereo
Kelly Jones - SheBANG!
Roger Joseph Manning - Catnip Dynamite
Pugwash - Eleven Modern Antiques
The Audition - Champion
Glenn Hughes - First Underground Nuclear Kitchen
Harem Scarem - Hope
Owen Sartori - Another Beautiful Day In The Cube

As always I have a stack of CDs I haven't gotten to yet including new releases by Class Three Overbite, Cliff Hillis, The Morning Light, Brown Line Fiasco, All Day Sucker and Greg Pope. So this list is sure to change.


Daryll Collins is a free-lance cartoonist/illustrator who has worked for a wide variety of clients including magazines and newspapers, advertising, greeting cards, character design & development, children's books, comic strips and gag cartoons. You can check out his work at

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bruce's NEW AT NOT LAME Update for late Oct. 2008!!!

Straight from the boss, here's Bruce's list of what's new at NOT LAME...

Here are the Top New Releases on the Not Lame web site for late September. There are many new releases on da 'ole home page, but for the time starved, these are the ones worth of your precious time. Click on the links for full mini-reviews on each CD and listen 'n sample lots of soundbites, as well. Have Fun!

We have TWO in this space this week that will make my top five or ten. Class Three Overbite is one of those - right next door to the right is the other one!
I hear some early Queen, Imperial Drag (yup, and some Jellyfish goes along w/ that), Electric Light Orchestra, Bryan Scary, Roger Joseph Manning’s solo work and a whole host of others, but the band is not mimicking while it wallows in its inspirational launch-pads here with this killer batch of 12 songs(and not a bad one in the bunch!). There’s an encyclopedic embrace of just lots of great musical inspirations all over the place.
The arrangements are accomplished and ambitious and all the songs are sweetly filled with layers of vocals and affects, this is a varied, textured album that makes their ambition and skill abundantly clear. MASSIVELY EXTREMELY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Along with the CD at the top, Greg Pop will be making my top five or ten for 2008. There is so much here for *all* pop fans. Like what? The Shazam, Matthew Sweet, The Replacements (at their finest!), the Grays, Terry Anderson or Bill Lloyd and plenty of more of that where this comes from!
Greg Pope is the leader of Edmund's Crown, long a favorite here at Not Lame but on this solo outing, he not only pulls out all the stops, Pope plays every instrument and does the impossible: it sounds like a band at work here there’s so much connection of the instruments to the material. Big ‘ole Talent? You betcha – in spades. MASSIVELY, PROFUSELY Extremely Highly Recommended!

You have not heard the Well Wishers? Well, now is your chance to score big! Order the Well Wishers brand spankin’ new fourth release and I’ll send you an eleven song “Best Of” CD-R compilation of my personal favorite tracks from their previous three albums PLUS two bonus songs!
I'm a huge, huge fan of Jeff Shelfton and all his work over the past ten years with Spining Jennies and The Well Wishers - in fact, Not Lame put out the first two WW CDs. This one sees yet another creative step forward into the template of pop wonderfulness.
It's all easy to enjoy for genuine power pop fans with chugging, melodic rhythms, powerful hooks, angelic vocals, verses that tickle `n hint at `the great money shot of a classic chorus and a respectful homage to pop peers. Those inspirations include Shoes, The Posies, Nada Surf, Matthew Sweet and REM.

This offer will be PULLED SOON as Cliff really wants the folks who take action in a very short time of this CD coming out to ACT - so do not wait. What is this bonus? It's a six song CD-R of rare, out of print and unreleased tracks
This is Cliff Hillis' third solo album and like his previous efforts since leaving one of the 90's best power pop bands, Starbelly, Hillis stretches his wings a bit, never losing is innate and natural ability to deliver melody and hooks to the fore. It`s impossible for his being, apparently. Powerful, guitar-driven pop that`s slick withut being cheesy, light and pleasant without inducing cavities, and that has a rock `n roll soul. Cliff Hillis is one more great reason to empty your bowl. DO NOT MISS THIS ONE!

What a surprise! It’s been seven or eight years since we’ve heard from The Smith Brothers, whose debut album LOST was a huge favorite at the turn of the century here and has been out of print for a *long* time (due to be reissued soon – details coming!). Now, RESTLESS has been unleashed and ushers in the powerful, triumphant return of this ‘lost’ band. So cause for celebration, pop fans old ‘n new. More than a welcome return for power pop fans, an event!

This work features more terribly appealing power pop that fans of the Rubinoos, the Knack and Spongetones need to check out. Fourteen happy, bouncy "ever-green" pop gems. These songs have Beach Boys-ish rich harmonies and catchy pop hooks in the tradition of the Raspberries & the Rubinoos!
So that means lift those lighters, pop fans – Rob Smith (he of the classic Australian skinny-tie power pop band, The Innocents) has delivered a classic that should pull at the heartstrings and sensibilities of most folks hanging out in these quarters on the Not Lame site. For those who like comparisons (or like to trace influences) one can hear unmistakable shades of the Beatles, Split Enz, the Raspberries, the Records and the Rubinoos. Rob Smith’s voice also contains flashes of Roy Orbison and Cliff Richard. He’s released a string of really strong albums this decade but TRICK OF THE LIGHT leaves those so far in the dust, it’s hard to even draw a connection to those.
Hard find any fault to bring up on TRICK OF THE LIGHT–he mixes things up with different styles of pop with assured control and confidence.

This offer expires on October 31st! Leader Frank Secich has gone back the original studios where the band recorded throughout the 70s and has unearthed a lot of songs to offer Not Lamers for picking up the reissue of NO MORE, NO LESS from this site - Details on the Exclusive Bonus thirteen Song CD-R at this link.
As for the CD reissue itself, the twelve songs are all at the link for you to sample - they sound great and the liner notes from leader Frank Secich are in depth with the full behind the scenes story of this classic.

EXCLUSIVE BONUS for THIS GUITAR KILLS SONGWRITERS is a cool six song mini CD-r of six of my favorite tracks from Myracle Brah, including a few from the out of print "Life On Planet Eartsnop" , one of the 90's most important power pop albums and #44 on the list of the All Time Best Power Pop Albums in SHAKE SOME ACTION!
This is the first solo album from Andy Bopp, frontman and songwriter for Rainbow Quartz’s sparkling guitar pop melody makers Myracle Brah. Chock full of acoustic versions of Myracle Brah songs performed in a semi-Unplugged mode – plus a few brand new tunes – your ears will be treated to pristine, gorgeous arrangements with beautiful acoustic guitar work while delivering jangly psychedelic rock-pop.

PhotobucketNEW ENGLISH - s/t
THIS is what it’s all about. A ‘out-of-left’ field find! It’s all here – very commercial, immediately catchy power pop in the most classic sense. Reminds us most of *really* good Matthew Sweet, The Churchills, The Rosenbergs, Adam Schmitt, The Bears and Edmund’s Crown for those well versed with what’s going on with indie power pop. Echoes of Cheap Trick and The Who sneak inside the grooves.
It’s one of those releases where if you had to explain to someone who does not ‘get’ what ‘power pop’ is all about and you put something on say --- “THIS is what’s it’s about!”

Monday, October 20, 2008

Brand new MICHAEL CARPENTER video!!!

Even though it was an extremely limited release, every new Michael Carpenter release is a definite event here at, not only the Not Lame office, but in your headphones as well! So, please Mike, hurry up with that Cuban full-length!!!

Until then, here's his new video to tide you over...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Louis's Latest Obsession: MALIBU!!!

Listen up: You NEED this record: Robo-Sapiens by MALIBU!!!


I know this might make me sound like a heretic, but, while I respect their work, I was only a passing fan of Jellyfish. Don't get me wrong--they are awesome, but, for me, I have always preferred the side-projects and production work of Roger Manning Jr. Does that make me bad?

The first time I got interested in his stuff was, when I was in middle school, a chubby Beatles-obsessed loser, buying Ringo Starr's TIME TAKES TIME album. Maybe being a thirteen-year-old excited about a new Ringo Starr album, in the early 90s, no less, didn't win me any popularity, but c'mon, have you heard the song "Weight of the World", feat. the Jellyfish kids? To this day it is one of my fave songs of all time...

See how awesome that song was? (When I first started working at NOT LAME a year or so ago, I made Bruce get a copy of that long out-of-print album--I don't know if he ever listened to it or not...)

My next Manning obsession was 1995's MOOG COOKBOOK project which, as novelty project as it first seemed, with them Moog-in' up songs like "Free Fallin'" and "Buddy Holly", was instumental in bring the Moog keyboard out of retirement and back into the (music geek) public consiousness. Here's their cover of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun"...

It got even more nerdier for me in 2000 when Manning, Jason Falkner and Brian Reitzell of Redd Kross got together to make a soundtrack to an imaginary sequel to one of my fave films of all time, LOGAN'S RUN. Titled LOGAN'S SANCTUARY, it was a space-age 70s blast that I beg you to track down--it's is way out of print, originally issued on the awesome Emporer Norton label.


Lately, his done work with Beck and is on the new increidble Glen Campbell album, (and of course his latest solo offering CATNIP DYNAMITE), but now I am totally obsessed with his new side-project Malibu. Teaming once again with his LOGAN'S crew, this is an all super-synthed-up album that is like Kraftwerk if they were produced by Giorgio Moroder and they decided to make an album you can dance to. To me, that is all you need to know. Listen to a song like "Bounce" and I dare you not to get off your chair and start jumping around the room. Don't let this one disappear under the radar too!