Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Axe - "Rock 'N' Roll Party In The Streets"
PART ONE: US-81 OFF-RAMP TO MINNEAPOLIS WEST BANK
"Rock 'N' Roll Party In The Streets" is the rare song on Tuesday Tuneage which is not only a Q-98 Classic, but also has status as a favorite of the Cosmic Slop show on Radio K back in the day. I'd try to describe it, but you just have to track it. Soon you'll be pining for a summer night of having a keg cup in your hand, bumming a heater off of a friend, checking out the hot burnout girls in their Levi's, and nodding your head to the killer song blasting on the boombox.
And you gotta love the audacity of the song's premise. Most of us, when we have parties, we have them in our houses or backyards. Maybe in the garage. Not these guys and not this party. It's going to be IN THE STREETS BABY AND IT'S GOING TO BE A ROCK 'N' ROLL PARTY. How many kegs of High Life got drained out on the pavement that night? And did Axe invent National Night Out??
PART TWO: CONSUMER REPORTS SEZ
"Rock 'N' Roll Party In The Streets" is on the album Offering. A sophomore year dorm suitemate had Axe's Offering on cassette and played it frequently, I remember asking him if he could maybe play his copy of Hot Rocks for a change instead. I don't remember what the rest of Offering sounded like, but am pretty sure it didn't equal "Rock 'N' Roll Party in the Streets." Sure, I could go look up the take Rolling Stone had back in '82 or pull up the AllMusic review. But instead, I'm going to offer (sorry) up what genuine Amazon customers think of this album. Because if you are going to spend $15 on an Offering CD (or around $5 for the cassette on ebay, and I get the feeling cassettes outsold vinyl on the original release of this album like 10-1), you should know what the people truly think! (All spelling is left as-is.) Take it away, folks:
"The entire first side is terrific, and the second side is, too, until the last song or two. I own this album on cassette."
"I had 3 cassettes of Offering, one for my car, one for my boyfriend's and one for the portable player I took on my morning run."
"This album had a certain sofistication in it that, I, as a teenager, had to listen to a few times to grasp … Axe's sound, to me, is like Bob Seger electrified!!"
"I bought this on a cassette when it first came out. It's not a great album but definitely worth buying."
"Axe were your typical hard rock bar band type that had just enough licks to find them tapping on the shoulders of 80's A.O.R. radio stations. In order to get there, however, they put on a lot of polish to keep the airwaves sweet, which means that "Rock And Roll Party In The Streets" could have easily used some Everclear in the punch."
"It should also be on your current playlist if you are a true rock and roller."
"Way back in the early 80's my cousin and I walked into this independent record store in Missouri to pick up a Blue Oyster Cult album. At the recommendation of the owner we also picked up this GEM. I wore the vinyl out and switched to cassette."
"FYI - AOR stands for Album Oriented Rock, a very successful FM radio format in the late 70s and early 80s that evolved from the underground/freeform radio formats of the late 60s. ...Post disco, but pre Madonna. Quite a lot of these stations eventually morphed again into Classic Rock stations during the late 80s and early 90s. Axe is one of the many bands that had their moment in the AOR era, but have been excluded from most classic rock programming."
"I dont know if this is a good enough review or not. Need some feedback on it asap. This is my first time doing this."
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
New Radicals - "You Get What You Give"
With "You Get What You Give", New Radicals marked themselves as one of the great one-hit wonders of the past twenty years. I bought their only album, Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too, back in the day when I read somewhere it was a refreshing alternative to Beck's minstrel act on Midnite Vultures. It had always been a fun, pick-me-up album to listen to, but after recently loading it on my iPhone and having it grab me in some way it hadn't before on a bus ride home one afternoon, I began to get more intrigued the overall seventies blue-eyed sould vibe, the humor, the Prince homage in "Technicolor Lover", and daring to a leftist (if not ummm, radical) lyrical vibe into a mainstream album. Not to mention the essential appeal of the hooks a'plenty all over the album. My only complaint is that the scorching indictment of Corporate America is largely buried on the title track via mumbling.
And now it's Groundhog Day here for me, as New Radicals only released the one album. Frontman/mastermind Gregg Alexander broke up the band to focus on songwriting and producing. Great for him, you gotta do what makes you happy. Still, I feel depraved and depressed there have been no more New Radicals LPs, EPs, 45s, or iTunes Exclusives that have come down the line since 1998. All we have is this: Hall and Oates, with the help of Todd Rundgren, covered "Someday We'll Know" in 2003. As expected.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
The Victims - "Television Addict"
The dream where I was a rookie homicide detective and Lieutenant Giardello took a shine to me and my work effort. The only time ever I enjoyed wearing a suit.
Spending an an hour of two of research and seventeen bucks at Amazon figuring out how to hook up my MacBook to my HDTV, just so I could watch my college hockey team on a bigger screen.
Years ago when a couple told me they didn't have a television, stealing Joey Tribiani's material and asking: "What's all your furniture pointed at?"
My Mom saying that TV was the best babysitter. She'd just plop me or my siblings in front of it, we'd stare at it, and she could get the housework done in peace.
The dream where I was part of the Carver basketball team (despite being in waking life short and horrible at hoops), hanging out with Cool, New York, and Thorpe, joining Salami as we walked out to the Motel California.
Those times in the nineties when I would go out of my way during Screen-Free Week - when such a silly concept actually got attention, had to Google it to even see what it's called and if it's still a thing - to watch more TV. Take that, snobby dorks!
The dream where a friend and I were involved with a meth dealer, contemplated turning state's evidence, decided to do one more favor for the dealer, then the cops pulled us over, I lied my socks off, my friend got hauled downtown on a trumped-up bunco charge, and I destroyed damaging evidence and decided to leave town permanently.
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Run-DMC - "Rock Box"
F*ck it, cards on the table, this off my chest: "Rock Box" is the greatest heavy metal song ever recorded.
First heard these guys on Chicago radio during the two years in the mid-eighties when my folks lived in Illinois and I'd visit them on college breaks. Mom was in the store grabbing a couple of things, I was out in the car and started channel surfing. I came across two guys rapping-near-yelling while metal guitar wailed on. I had read in a recent issue of Rock & Roll Confidential that there was a rap-metal group called Run-DMC and figured "how many rap-metal outfits can there be?" Back in Grand Forks, I found myself in the Columbia Mall record store buying Run-DMC's King of Rock and Jason and the Scorchers Lost and Found, what with the purchase of Purple Rain the summer before having led to my permanent removal from the "I prefer music by long-established acts, many are likely British, and some may be dead" ranks.
Soon I would backtrack and get Run-DMC's debut, where they first came up with their groundbreaking (and there is no way of overstating this) sound. Drum machine, synthed chimes, heavy metal riffs, and Hendrix-like leads on guitar. It's like they took the controlled chaos of the early Funkadelic albums or those few seconds of "Beat It" where Eddie Van Halen totally shreds and constructed a whole universe around it.
In two years they would follow the natural progression that "Rock Box", then "King of Rock" suggested, brilliantly cover "Walk This Way," and rehabilitate Aerosmith completely. Their formula was so unique it has never been topped. Rap. Metal. Rap-metal. Boom. I'll listen to Run-DMC on a loop to my death before I get into old fogey songwriter music by the likes of John Hiatt or Elvis Costello.