Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Careening Around My Cranium with Daryll Collins #4!!!

PhotobucketI know I promised a Holiday Edition of my little wacky-assed column, but due to circumstances beyond my control it didn't happen. I trust that none of you were terribly distraught or crestfallen over this. So it's onward and upward with the first order of business for 2009 being...

MY TOP 20 FOR 2008!!!

This is in no particular order. Each release received ample playing time on CD and iPod over the course of '08. I didn't rate them 1 through 20 as that process gets too tedious. It's very rare that a release stands head and shoulders over all others by a large margin that I would bestow a clear cut #1 for the year. There are exceptions though... in 1986 XTC's SKYLARKING reigned supreme. I could not stop playing that disc. In fact it is my favorite album of the 80's. I suppose I could break them down into groups of six or seven as being more favorite than others, but really my taste is not your taste and vice versa. This is just a snapshot of what new music really floated my boat.

Also, I decided that both The Silver Seas - HIGH SOCIETY and Mike Viola's LURCH were 2007 releases. Otherwise they'd be on this list.

*The Simple Carnival - GIRLS, ALIENS, FOOD
*Rob Bonfiglio - BRING ON THE HAPPY
*Willie Wisely - WISELY
Photobucket*Kelly Jones - SheBANG!
*The Goldbergs - UNDER THE RADAR
*Rick Springfield - VENUS IN OVERDRIVE
*Jordan Zevon - INSIDES OUT
*Roger Joseph Manning Jr. - CATNIP DYNAMITE
*Todd Rundgren - ARENA
*All Day Sucker - THE BIG PRETEND

Two late 2008 releases/discoveries that I'm really diggin' are Fall Out Boys - FOLIE A DEUX and Paul Steel - APRIL & I.


Did I mention I have a separate iPod for music of the current year? My 2008 device has 1114 songs. I load new stuff, listen for a while and periodically delete everything but my favorites. Let's see what shakes out.

* Adrian Bourgeois - "My House"
* Amiel - "No Game To Play"
* All Day Sucker - "Santa Ana"
* Secret Powers - "We Are Alone"
* Greg Pope - "Sky Burn Down"
* Black Stone Cherry - "Devil's Queen"
* Jack McManus - "Milky Way"
* Cliff Hillis - "Elevator"
* Greg Pope - "Backwards"
* Dungen - "Mina Damer Och Fasner"


I got one of those ION turntables for Christmas in 2007. Since then, whenever I have a decent chunk of time I grab a small stack of records and convert them to digital files. Most of my favorite LPs have already been re-purchased as CDs, so it's mainly been a process of converting the single tracks from each album that I still like. I have about 200 albums left to plow through. And about 100 singles...Photobucket


In these tough economic times I've had to make some harsh decisions about my discretionary income. I've cut my movie-going by half, waiting to rent most films or seeing them on weekdays at reduced prices. (One of the perks of being self-employed!) If a movie I want to see is truly enhanced by seeing on the big screen, I'm there. But at $10 bucks a pop, I usually walk out of the theater feeling like I didn't get my money's worth.

Marvel comics are raising their prices by $1.00! DC will probably follow suit. Four bucks for a 22 page comic book is where I draw the line. I buy mostly indies anyway, but will now be cutting back on the books from the Big Two dramatically. And so it goes...

But... I'm holding the line with music. I will continue to buy as much music as possible, with emphasis on physical CDs. I'm old school that way. I guess of all my passions/interests, music reigns supreme.

This was cobbled together quickly. I'll have more soon. Until next time...

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Twitter? TWYTTYR!

Photobucket I know that just about everyone here is a huge fan of Byrd-man Roger McGuinn. C'mon--we ALL are! Well, Mr. McGuinn has joined the Twitter revolution and now, through your Twitter account, can follow his day-to-day life--he updates quite a lot. Want to add him to your Twit-list? Click here!

Louis's Top 20 Records of 2008!!!

Photobucket20. Umlaut - I UMLAUT EINS (Buy here.) German heavy metal by way of Fort Collins. It may be a joke, but it’s a damn funny one. I highly recommend their live show. Listen to: “Danse”

19. Malibu - ROBO-SAPIENS (Buy here.) The latest side-project from Roger Manning, a fun, bouncy 80’s-synth throwback. It’s extremely fun and will incite much dancing. If people still danced, that is. Listen to: “The Bounce”

18. Journey – REVELATION (Buy here.) Laugh if you want, but this is old-school Journey, filled with soaring vocals (courtesy of new frontman Arnel Pineda) and that “believe in yourself” songwriting that bands just don’t do anymore. Listen to: “Never Walk Away”

17. Neil Diamond - VELVET GLOVES & SPIT (re-issue) (Buy here.) A sterling in-between album that finds Diamond leaving the Brill Building and searching for success on his own. Even though it contains the classic “Shilo” and “Brooklyn Roads”, it’s probably most famous for “The Pot Smoker’s Song”. Listen to: “Shilo”

16. Original Soundtrack - PINEAPPLE EXPRESS (Buy here.) Yeah, this has got lots of previously released material by Eddy Grant, Bel Biv Devoe and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, but I got this for the title cut, a brand new song by Huey Lewis and the News. It’s a really good song. Listen to: “Pineapple Express”

15. Vee Device - LOVE WILL TEAR US TO SHREDS, ACT II: THE GENRE OF SILENCE (Buy here.) The casual listener would be apt to call the output of Fort Collins’ Vee Device, well, pretentious, but unlike similar acts, such as the abhorrent Decembrists, Vee Device as so much catchiness to their music that it becomes the sort of pop music you’d heard during the Russian Revolution. Which is what I think they’re going for. Hopefully. Listen to: “Bastille Day”

Photobucket14. Duffy – ROCKFERRY (Buy here.) It’s so great to have a British neo-soul singer who is not a total crack-whore. No, Welsh chanteuse Duffy likes to take good care of herself and, if that weren’t enough, she knows how to craft a classic sound that is sexy and poppy, but, you know, won’t cut you for a fix. Listen to: “Warwick Avenue”

13. The Proclaimers- LIFE WITH YOU (Buy here.) Am I the only Proclaimers fan in the United States? I have bought every album since SUNSHINE ON LEITH, and each one is better than the last, more raucous than the last, and, more bitingly sweet than the last. This British import (once again, eff you American record companies) is their best record to date. Listen to: “Life with You”

12. Weezer - THE RED ALBUM (Buy here.) Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. They practically invented emo so I should hate them, but you know, I just can’t. Weezer is just so damn likable. Their music is so damn likable. I’ve listened to “Pork and Beans” probably more than any other song this year. It feels like ’95 all over again. Listen to: “Pork and Beans”

11. Brady Harris - COVER CHARGE (Buy here.) I am a total sucker for cover albums. Hearing a new artist (well, an artist that’s new to me at least) doing an unique cover of a popular song, to hear how they take that tune on, is always an inviting proposition and here, Harris does hauntingly jaunty version of “Like a Prayer”, “Smile Like You Mean It” and a stellar mash-up of “I Want You to Want Me” and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”. Oh, and let’s not forget that take on “Ace of Spaces”. Listen to: “I Want You to Want Me / Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”

Photobucket10. Ringo Starr - LIVERPOOL 8 (Buy here.) What does it say about me that Ringo’s output is my fave solo Beatle’s body of work? I can’t help it—the guy’s work is so freaking enjoyable, and sing-songy, and happy, and, well, lovably sad-sack. This album (back on Capitol) didn’t sell for crap, but I bought it on release day, excited to get it home and in the headphones, and it really delivered. It’s a mature sound, but fans of later releases like TIME TAKES TIME will be in Heaven. Listen to: “Liverpool 8”

9. Christophe - THE LIFE OF AN OUTLAW: 1-17-08 DEMOS (Buy here.) Straight outta Lawton, Oklahoma, is the brutally exciting first outlaw country record from OKC horrorpunk legend Christophe. Sure, his punk stuff was good, but his country stuff is GREAT. This self-released disc, stripped bare, with a quivering voice and a resonate acoustic guitar, is full of that small-town spite’n’quiet anger that singers like Merle Haggard and Hank Williams Jr. had, but with a sleek little evil edge to it. Listen to: “The Life of an Outlaw”

8. Flight of the Conchords - FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS (Buy here.) Man—that song “Business Time” was written for me. Too close to home. But also too funny. Listen to: “Business Time”

7. The Osmonds - CRAZY HORSES / THE PLAN (Buy here.) I really have no problem losing credibility with you. The Osmonds should be held in way higher regard than they do. Way higher. Need proof? Look at this two-fer import. CRAZY HORSES is one of the greatest metal—yes METAL—albums of all time, filled with Mormon rebellion at it’s finest and then, as penance, comes THE PLAN, a whacked-out rock opera based around THE BOOK OF MORMON that make’s the Beatles’ SGT. PEPPER look like Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees’ SGT. PEPPER. Listen to: “Crazy Horses”, “Let Me In”

6. Ben Folds - WAY TO NORMAL (Buy here.) Ben Folds follows a formula, sure, but it’s a reliable formula that never fails to deliver. Profane comedy easily mixes with piano-driven melancholia, with liberal doses of maudlin bitterness strewn throughout. If you like Ben Folds, you’ll like this. Listen to: “You Don’t Know Me”

Photobucket5. Jeff Finlin - BALLAD OF A PLAIN MAN (Buy here.) It would be too simplistic to call Jeff Finlin country, Americana, folk, rock, whatever. I mean, how do you categorize Bob Dylan? He’s a genre unto himself. And that’s what Jeff Finlin is. A powerfully snide—but never bitter—voice telling tales about the darker side of the everyman. His music is a personal thing that desires a personal connection to be fully understood. Listen to: “Jesus Was a Motorcycle Man”

4. Glen Campbell - MEET GLEN CAMPBELL (Buy here.) It’s an all covers album, so you got me sold already, but add Campbell’s sweetly plaintive voice to songs like “Sing” and “These Days” and you’ve got a thoroughly melancholy masterpiece, with the songs taking on a whole more meaning in his mortality-filled delivery. Listen to: “Grow Old with Me”

3. Josh Fix - FREE AT LAST (Buy here.) Every year, I search for the next big Queen/Billy Joel operatic/piano man sound. Past winners have been Mark Mallman, Mika and, now, out of nowhere, the attitude-laden Josh Fix. Catchy doesn’t even begin to describe his songwriting. Biting and, at times, mean, his lyrics are definitely prime-era Joel, but with a glorious almost-wall of sound production. Listen to: “Don’t Call Me in the Morning”

2. AC/DC - BLACK ICE (Buy here.) Quite simply, if you don’t like AC/DC, you’re lame. These guys are what rock is all about and, in a time when most piss-poor modern rock is all about whining about how daddy didn’t understand you, these stalwarts return to kick you in the ass and tell you to grow the hell up. All these songs are about rocking, getting laid and blowing shit up. The way rock is supposed to be. Listen to” “War Machine”

Photobucket1. Neil Diamond - HOME BEFORE DARK (Buy here.) Don’t call it a comeback, he’s been here for years. Enough with the jokes, hipsters. Neil Diamond is not some kitsch artifact—he’s the real deal, and probably the greatest living American songwriter. Produced by career-boosting Rick Rubin, HOME BEFORE DARK improves upon the 12 SONGS formula, by having Neil return to his storytelling roots, writing stark songs that are surprisingly uplifting and strangely dour at the same time. If you ever had any doubt to the legitimacy of Neil, pop in this album and then quietly go screw yourself. You should have never doubted Neil to begin with. Listen to: “Act Like a Man”

Monday, January 26, 2009

It's the return of Eric Sorensen's JANGLE ON!!!

By Eric Sorensen‏, written exclusively for NOT LAME

Time has flown over the past few months, and I find myself long overdue in chiming in on chiming 12-string music! As always, I am indebted to Not Lame maestro Bruce Brodeen for keeping his online catalog stocked with jangly material. Recent online additions that merit jangleholics’ attention include:

The Church references are hard to miss, and comparisons to Marty Willson-Piper’s 12-string guitar are warranted on tracks like “If Only I Could Change” and “Seeker.” This is classic psych-pop that Church, Grip Weeds and Rainbow Quartz label fans will really dig. This CD is going to remain in the “play stack” for a long time... and it’s one I enjoy listening to from start to finish.

The band’s latest disc really shines, as evidenced by tracks like “Patchwork,” “Breakdown” and “What’s Going On.” The disc showcases mainstream power pop with just the right amount of alt-rock elements. Bruce is right on the mark when he compares this band with Teenage Fanclub and the Pyramidiacs.

Where do I start? Joe Mendoza (Bart’s brother) deserves a place in a contemporary pop All-Star band with a plethora of chiming, ringing and jangly tracks on his second full-length disc. The title track and other songs – “Christmas With You,” “Photographs Of Me & You,” “Like All Those Other Times Before,” “It’s Only Love” and “Better With You” – are just what fans of pseudo-60s pop have been looking for. The cover art even looks like Joe may be shopping at my favorite record store in San Diego – Rich Horowitz’s Off The Record shop in Hillcrest. Long may you run, Sir Joe!

What else is new? A great big thanks to my pal Ray Verno for turning me on to the following artists and songs:

A compilation of fourteen terrific covers of Byrds songs by multi-track artist David Heselden. Heselden gives Andrew Gold and Byrds of a Feather a run for the money on classic Byrds tunes like “Turn! Turn! Turn!” “It Won’t Be Wrong” and “She Don’t Care About Time.” Heselden truly excels at getting his Rickenbacker 12-string compressor to create the “snap, crackle and pop” sustain sound that Roger McGuinn introduced in 1965. Long may you run, Sir David!

The latest release from a band that has witnessed the birth of psychedelia in San Francisco in the mid-60s and the election of the first African-American President of the United States in 2008 … and everything in between! This album features the band performing their renditions of many classic folk songs (“Santy Anno,” “I Ain’t Marching Anymore” and “Chimes of Freedom”). The standout track is the mid-tempo tune “Maybe For You” - which features Marty Balin on lead vocals and excellent Rickenbacker 12-string guitar riffs as part of the supporting cast.

Male/female vocals accompanied by a Rickenbacker 12-string should make pop fans think immediately of the Kennedys, the Woodys and the Living Room Legends. Jangleholics will flip for songs like “The Humpback Whale,” “Listen To The Wind,” “Rusty Dusty Days,” “Pushing It Down” and the pair’s own cover version of “Turn! Turn! Turn!”

A 1984 release on the Rough Trade label that brought together Susanna Hoffs, Michael Querico, David Roback and others. The album features nine cover songs by the studio collaborators, with Roback doing the electric 12-string honors on Rainy Day’s cover of “John Riley.” This disc is a very cool nugget from over twenty years ago, that served as a sneak preview of Susanna’s more recent collaboration with Matthew Sweet.

PhotobucketThe following tracks are my favorite songs from Ray’s last five BYRDSIAN volumes:

“Every Little Dream” by Lamar Sorrento
“Doctor Gee” by the Len Price 3
“Driving Under The Frasher River” by Dave Gibbs
“Try To Get Away” by the Haggs
“Everything To Me” by Copperdown
“Everything Again” by The Quarter After
“Find A Reason” by The Strawmen (which reminds me so much of the late/great Rumors’ Rickenbacker-driven pop/rock)
“Into My World” by Basement Apartment (Teenage Fanclub, anyone?)
“Long Time” by the Rose Garden (a cover of an obscure Gene Clark tune, that was reprised by the Retros on Not Lame’s FULL CIRCLE: A TRIBUTE TO GENE CLARK)
“Oceania” by Bobby Previte
“Even Geronimo Surrendered” by John Coinman
“She’s Got A Way” by the Smithereens

While Ray was compiling material from his own sources, I spent part of November culling through some pop compilation CDs to identify the most jangly tracks from each compilation. Standout tracks include:

“Provisional Love” by Barry Mauer
“A Thousand Years Away” by The Minus 5
“Sunflower” and “Reach For The Stars” by the Springfields
“Every Single Day” by Mersey Beach
“Full Circle” by Frank Brown
“A Certain Kind Of Shy” by The Saucers
“Result of Your Love” by Mind Reels

Last, but not least, a great track by Walter Clevenger and the Dairy Kings – “Fast As I Can.” Like David Heselden, Walter gets a Rickenbacker 12-string to chime as crisply as Roger McGuinn does! Walter deserves a place in the Indie Pop All-Star Band not just for his musicianship, but for his good guy support of indie pop compilations and tribute discs. Walter is one of a handful of artists who have appeared on the Gene Clark (“White Light”), Buffalo Springfield (“Burned”) and Byrds (“Full Circle”) tribute disc projects that I have been affiliated with. Many thanks, Sir Walter … and long may you run!

Until next time, jangle on!

NOT LAME linkage 01.26.09

Photobucket* Attention Blue Ash fans...Power Pop Criminals has got BLUE ASH - THE ALTERNATE AROUND...AGAIN!!!

* 1000 Secret Sings has got a great demo from Superdrag's John Davis.

* Paul Collins' official page has got tons of free audio and video!

And here's some recent POP blogs we've come across:

* Thoughts on Melody!

* Smashin' Transistors