Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tuesday Tuneage
Slaughter - “Up All Night”


Slaughter - guided by Mark Slaughter’s high-pitched vocals and hooks a-plenty - had two ridiculously entertaining singles off of their debut album: “Up All Night” and “Fly To The Angels”. “Up All Night” is particularly a blast. The intro has Mutt-Lange-piloting-Hysteria sampling, uses the chorus before a verse is uttered (yeah!), then launches into the beat and a curiously restrained Mr. Slaughter on the opening verse. The rest of the song pulls out tricks from catchy metal greats of the eighties: Def Leppard open chords from Pyromania, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts chants, Slaughter tries for the vocal sound of Guns ‘n Roses’ Axl Rose on the choruses. After the guitar solos, it’s all those chants and choruses again but anybody who is having fun (and who isn’t? Morrissey fans maybe?) isn’t complaining. It all ends with some gleeful folks singing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”* because: 1) amber waves of grain and all that, 2) the band was drinking Red White & Blue beer during the recording (maybe), and 3) why not?

I hear this tune these days and say to myself: “Self, they need to bring back that goddamn great Z-Rock.”


For a time in the mid-aughts, I had one Monday a month off from my day job. Sunday nights would find me at the Bryant-Lake Bowl, scribbling in my notebook with a pint or two. One night I worked myself up over whatever surrealistic nonsense project I had going at the time, wrote a bunch of pages, then headed to The Country Bar to unwind. The place was quiet, the service was quick. I set my bookbag on the stool next to mine, plopped my elbows on the bar, ordered a Premium and a shot of Jag. The bartender served the drinks, flashed me a smile and big brown eyes and said: “Up all night, sleep all day?” Needless to say, I grew quite fond of her.

*An urban legend said “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” was sung by The Langlely Schools Music Project kids all grown up. Not true. Actually I just made it up. (The public hadn’t heard of Langlely when Slaughter released this album, Tuomala. Idiot.)

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Tuesday Tuneage
The Rascals - "Come On Up"

The Rascals' "A Ray of Hope" is the song that plays at wake-up on my iPod-hosting clock radio.  I set if for that tune thinking it would be nice to wake to some optimism by blue-eyed soul wonders, because I’m not a morning person and waking up is almost always ugh. But I may have to change the waking tune to their "Come On Up": The opening fuzz guitar would send a warning shot that coffee needs to be made, while the rest of the tune would remind me that the tasks in my day ahead will rarely be as urgent as the sound of The Rascals here. Why these guys aren't on everyone’s A-list as one of the finest bands of the sixties baffles me, this one is as good as anything The Kinks ever did and The Rascals didn't need to hush-hush Jimmy Page into the studio to riff away for that all-important hard rock cred.

On this Independence Day, gotta say it: Sold, American.