Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Sonic Parthenon Show: Episode 20 - "Don't Panic"

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 20: “Don’t Panic”


“Just Like Honey” by the Jesus and Mary Chain

Set 1
“Lord I’m Discouraged” by the Hold Steady
“Fight Test” by the Flaming Lips
“Fall Down Lightly” by VHS or Beta
“Cold Hands, Warm Heart” by Brendan Benson
“Collect Call” by Metric

Set 2
“Fix You” by Coldplay
“Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
“Life is Beautiful” by Vega4
“Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” by U2

Set 3
“Orange Sky” by Alexi Murdoch
“Pink Moon” by Nick Drake
“The Wind” by Cat Stevens
“Tomorrow is a Long Time” by Bob Dylan

Set 4
“Pet Sematary” by the Ramones
“The Only Living Boy in New York” by Simon & Garfunkel
“Manhattan” by Kings of Leon
“Pale Blue Eyes” by the Velvet Underground

Set 5
“Sometime Around Midnight” by the Airborne Toxic Event
“Wrapped in My Memory” by Shawn Smith
“Spirit” by the Caesars
“I Don’t Want It” by Ween

Set 6
“Thru and Thru” by the Rolling Stones
“The Lengths” by the Black Keys
“Nothin’ Left to Say” by Erica Cashman
“More News from Nowhere” by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

“Stay Positive” by the Hold Steady

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 19: “Chain Gang, Volume 1”

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 19: “Chain Gang, Volume 1”


“Chain Gang” by Sam Cooke

Set 1
“When My Baby’s Beside Me” by Big Star
“Alex Chilton” by the Replacements
“The Replacements” by Art Brut

Set 2
“Keys to Your Heart” by the 101’ers
“White Riot” by the Clash
“The News” by Carbon/Silicon

Set 3
“Every Day I Have To Cry” by the Valentines
“Rockin’ in the Parlor” by AC/DC
“Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones

Set 4
“Memphis, Tennessee” by Chuck Berry
“Tennessee” by Gillian Welch
“Tennessee” by Arrested Development

Set 5
“Fish Fight” by the King Khan & BBQ Show
“Land of the Freak” by King Khan & the Shrines
“Burn This Town” by BBQ
“Can’t Fool With Me” by the Spaceshits

Set 6
“To Live and Die in the Airport Lounge” by My Teenage Stride
“Bonerack” by Teenage Head
“Starlett Johansson” by the Teenagers
“Summertime” by Scarlett Johansson

Set 7
“Sentimental Heart” by She & Him
“Chinese Translation” by M. Ward
“Four Winds” by Bright Eyes
“Say Please” by Monsters of Folk

Set 8
“The Only Ones” by Lookbook
“Another Girl, Another Planet” by the Only Ones

Set 9
“Apache” by Sugarhill Gang
“Apache” by Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band
“Good Times” by Chic

“Rapper’s Delight” by Sugarhill Gang

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

U2 @ New Meadowlands Stadium

@ New Meadowlands Stadium
East Rutherford, NJ - July 20, 2011

On this date in 1969, man stepped onto the Moon. It's all been underwhelming since then. July 21, 2011 marks the end of the American space program as a leading national endeavor. U2 appears to be aware of this. They took the occasion to make a more space-oriented version of their on-going 360 tour. Expanding the use of Bowie's "Space Oddity" throughout the show, there was a definite theme of interstellar exploration mixed in with the usual array of good-cause-down-your-throat Bonoism (now under the philosophical heading of "What time is it in the world?"). The NASA lover in me was moved when "Beautiful Day" was set-up by a message from Mark Kelly, NASA Commander, and husband of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Despite both Bono's mistitling of the man's recent role in Space,and despite his creepy similarity to Terry O'Quinn (John Locke) from Lost, it was unnervingly dramatic. Hearing a real life space commander whose wife was nearly killed by a deranged maniac say "tell my wife I love her very much, she knows" was a Kubrickian/Adamsian (as in Douglas) moment of seriously absurdly wonderful proportions (I'm getting a little choked up just retelling it).

Besides Bowie, many others were honored by Bono and the boys. Springsteen (and Clarence of course), and Sinatra, per the Jersey rule, were cited and quoted. Talking Heads and Leonard Cohen also made the grade. And in the "I'll-never-actually-dislike-these-guys" moment of rock n roll for the night, Bono read out the setlist from a show at the Fast Lane in Asbury Park, a gig some 30 years ago. U2 ended the show with their very first single, as they played it at the Fast Lane, "Out of Control". The fact that for all the spectacle, all the causes, the mission statement and agenda of this NGO called U2, they still remember being four semi-punky Irish lads hopping the pond to play the swamps of Jersey, is endearing beyond anything I could normally stomach. Exceptions can be made.

Adam and Larry never seem happier than when they are doing those early songs. Hell, Bono and Edge never seem happier too for that matter, but they also rely on the big later hits and everything else to get by. I still can't explain though that house remix of "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight". I don't know what any of them are thinking. (No more disco U2 heads on the screen please).

Almost 10 years ago, in the ass of the Philadelphia Spectrum, Bono looked at me and kicked a cup at me (this is not some cleaned-up recreation of the scene in American Psycho). He's not the only one for nostalgia and memories. They may be doing Spider-Man Broadway shows, they may be a never-depleted source of Human Rights Campaigns, they may be the most un-rock biggest rock band in the world to still be a rock band, but after all that - they really are just a bunch of Irish guys who kick cups at their fans. That's good enough for me. That and Interstellar Space Exploration.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts @ Coney Island

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts; Girl in a Coma
@ Coney Island
Brooklyn, NY - July 14, 2011

You wouldn't think it going in, but the Battle of Brooklyn played itself out at the free Joan Jett concert in Coney Island. After 32 years in a nice park, Borough President Marty Markowitz's concert series had to relocate to a concrete parking lot to appease angry locals of a religious sort. But now the concert series basks in the glory of the Parachute Jump, and the new ball park, and the landmarked Childs restaurant, and all the back-and-forth of the Warriors' old playground. A gallery of old natives, Pratt school hipsters, over-the-hill tramps drunkenly cursing out Marty, washed-up scuzz, and plain ol' families populated the parking lot. When an old native put his finger into the face of a phoning-it-in fake gutterpunk blocking his view and cramping his space, I thought Do The Right Thing 2011 Edition was about to break out.

Marty Markowitz himself helped showcase the disconnect in New York's multi-cultural melange when (among other things he's done over the last couple of years) he introduced "Rick Russo" from "WRKP" when he actually meant RicH Russo from WRXP which, unknown to Marty, was going off air this very day. The bittersweet mood from those who knew of the demise of the last non-classic rock station on the main dial in New York, emanated from the crowd. Who would sing up for those without a voice? Who would release the battle cry of those who like their rock n roll pure, independent, spirited, and unadulterated? Joan Jett, that's who.

Though she was friendly and even (sort of) sweet, Joan Jett, at 53 - in studded leather attire - is still intimidating. With her ice black hair, iron arms, working class accent, and of course her domination of all-things rock n roll, she is still a force to be reckoned with, even if the Blackhearts play a little bit slower than their heyday.

The open secret of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts is that they are, in some respects, a covers band. They pay tribute to those before and along side of them. But Joan's ability to make songs her own quickly makes one forget that tidbit. With exceptions like "Bad Reputation" (the opener tonight), "I Hate Myself For Loving You" (the closer tonight), and "Love is Pain", it certainly seems that most of the canon is indeed from a canon. Even "I Love Rock n Roll", her anthem that has Joan in the rock n roll history books, is a cover of the band Arrows. Songs spanning the history of rock n roll - Sly and the Family Stone, Tommy James and the Shondells, the Stooges, the Sweet, the Replacements - all re-done and made anew by Joan Jett. And for good measure, she threw a couple of Runaways songs in there too.

When all was said and done, Joan Jett tore Coney Island up. There was a peace because of it. And a realization. The Battle of Brooklyn is on going but at least we're all in the fight together.

Girl in a Coma, the band named after Morrissey song, who I once saw open for Moz, and on the Blackhearts label, are exactly as I remember: well-meaning but just not doing anything for me.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

WRXP 101.9 Signs Off Today

And that's it. The three year saga of RXP comes to an end today. Despite my rantings, complaints, etc, etc, I'm a little sad. In fact, I'm very sad. What could have been? It's more than just the station itself. It's radio. This was rock n roll radio's last stand on terrestrial airwaves. It's really all over and it's been over since the Internet took shape into what it is today.

WFMU, KEXP, WFUV, KCRW, the Current in Minneapolis, and other stations are keeping the spirit alive but what's the best way to hear these stations? The internet. Streaming or podcasting. The last of the rock n roll personalities who teach and share music, instead of just playing the music, can be found on at these stations. And when the day comes that terrestrial rock radio is finished forever everywhere (and that day is coming, in fact all of terrestrial radio may be gone in the coming couple of decades, save for a right wing talk network, a disco/hip hop/dance network, and maybe a suburban white boy/girl downer arena rock network which doesn't count as rock n roll).

My complaining about RXP was pointless because this was inevitable. The future of my music listening is as it has been. On my own time. But when RXP was good, at the beginning, it reminded me of why my first media love is radio. The power of the voice and the ability to shape a narrative around anything, including rock n roll. This is why I'm a Public Radio man above all, but those first 18 months or so of WRXP (along with Little Steven's Underground Garage syndicated on 104.3) really sewed the seeds of my now hap-hazard weekly "radio" show. And where is my haphazard "radio" show? On the internet of course.

They're playing "Fell in Love with the Girl" by the White Stripes right now...this is what it was all about.

A brief word on the personalities: Rich Russo's "Anything, Anything" was great. A WFMU show on the big dial. It was great to hear Matt Pinfield again. He gave out tickets to see the Dirtbombs. He really did. Paul Cavalconte was so deceptively cool, such sublime taste when he controlled his playlist, he still kept the original mantle of RXP alive when he was on. Brian Schock, the original curator of the station, his vision and idea was so fantastical, it was like he came up with the station JUST FOR ME.

And finally there was Steve Craig. The friend of the punks. The man who played The Damned. Who played his friend Mike Ness and Social Distortion. The man who introduced me to Split Endz. Wheel of Ramones! The man who most personified the kind of rock that SHOULD be played in these last throes of rock n roll radio. Above all, he was the guy who introduced me to a song called "Alex Chilton" by a band called the Replacements. For that reason alone, I thank him and wish him all the best. Rock n roll, and Rock n roll radio is not really a place that has heroes (except Joey Ramone), but damned if Steve and these folks didn't give it their best shot in this ridiculous little slice of life.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists; Screaming Females @ South Street Seaport

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists; Screaming Females
@ South Street Seaport
New York, NY - July 9, 2011

Exactly 51 weeks ago, in-what-proved-to-be the last Siren festival at Coney Island, the collective mind of a couple thousand people was blown away by several bands. Yours truly had his slice of the overmind utterly wiped out by two acts - Screaming Females and Ted Leo & the Pharmacists. Marissa from Screaming Females helped Ted Leo at one point during his set, proving that the chemistry was in the air. That certainly proved to be the case as now, a year later, the bands are back together, once again under the flag of the Village Voice.

Forgetting the insult that this bill was the "kick-off show" to the new, Seaport-based 4Knots Festival of July 16 (Ted Leo is no pre-show show! Ted Leo IS the show!), the bands so thoroughly slayed the mix of hipsters, rockers, and tourists, they no doubt will prove to have outshone the coming roster on Saturday.

Screaming Females' devotion to 70's rock and Dinosaur Jr-inspired revivalism of that sound, make for mongo riffs and shred of the highest order, with a gift ribbon of Marissa's Corin Tucker-heavy vocals (with occasional screaming).

What can I say about Ted Leo? It's been a long time coming. Ten years after his first Pharmacists-record, The Tyranny of Distance, yours truly is finally appreciating what this dude has been slinging. To demonstrate what I had been lacking for so long before last year's monster set, Ted played all of the Tyranny record between some select rockers, and wrapped it all up with "Where Was My Brain?", two and a half killer minutes from his last triumph, The Brutalist Bricks.

Did I mention these bands are from Jersey? Uh oh...this Jersey thing I've been hearing, don't make me like Jersey man...uh oh....too late?

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 18: Almost Live/Mea Culpa

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 18: Almost Live/Mea Culpa


“News of the World” by the Jam

Set 1
“Pretty in Pink” by the Psychedelic Furs
“Banditos” by the Refreshments
“Living Stone” by Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars
“Raleigh & Spencer” by Pert’ Near Sandstone
“Crazy Beat” by Blur

Set 2
“The Wanderer” by Dion
“Gilt Complex” by Sons & Daughters
“TKO” by le Tigre
“Jesus & Tequila” by 2 Star Tabernacle
“Rebel Side of Heaven” by Langhorne Slim

Set 3
“I’m Gonna Smash Your Face In” by Grudge
“Work-a-day World” by The (Paul Collins) Beat
“Metal on Metal” by Anvil
“Bitch School” by Spinal Tap
“Fox on the Run” by Sweet

Set 4
“Carpetbaggers” by Jenny Lewis (with Elvis Costello)
“Walking the Cow” by Daniel Johnston
“Tell Me Why” by Neil Young
“Sheep” by Screaming Females
“The Mighty Sparrow” by Ted Leo & the Pharmacists

Set 5
“Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett
“Last Train to Clarksville” by the Monkees
“Rubber Band Man” by the Spinners
“How You Like Me Now” by the Heavy
“Money Grabber” by Fitz & the Tantrums

Set 6
“Blank Generation” by Richard Hell & the Voidoids
“Born to Lose” by Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers
“Born Toulouse-Lautrec” by New Bomb Turks
“My Sharona” by the Knack
“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor

Set 7
“Through the Floor” by Crystal Stilts
“Eating Paper” by David Bazan
“Don’t Worry” by About Group

“Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment” by the Ramones

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 17: “Summer Night Dance Party 2011”

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 17: “Summer Night Dance Party 2011”


It’s a Summer Night Dance Party on the Sonic Parthenon Show, a special Monday show for July 4.

“Constructive Summer” by the Hold Steady

Set 1
“Summer is Almost Here” by Pas/Cal
“Celebrate Summer” by the Paybacks
“Celebrated Summer” by Husker Du
“Summertime” by Billie Holiday

Set 2
“King of the Beach” by Wavves
“Dance Commander” by Electric Six
“Dance, Dance, Dance” by the Beach Boys
“Electric Feel” by MGMT”

Set 3
“Rockaway Beach” by the Ramones
“Cedar Point ‘76” by the Dirtbombs
“Coney Island Baby” by Tom Waits
“Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night” by the Hold Steady
“Rock n’ America” by the Catholic Girls

Set 4
“American Slang” by the Gaslight Anthem
“American Names” by Sebastian Grainger & the Mountains
“The Body of an American” by the Pogues
“4th of July” by X
“True Patriot Love” by the Joel Plaskett Emergency

Set 5
“I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” by Ida Maria
“Girls in Their Summer Clothes” by Bruce Springsteen
“The Girls in Their Summer Dresses” by the Airborne Toxic Event
“September Gurls” by Big Star

Set 6
“Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran
“Summer Days” by Bob Dylan
“Another Lost Summer” by Blanche
“Cruel Summer” by Bananarama
“Pain Killer (Summer Rain”) by Turin Brakes

“Diablo Rojo” by Rodrigo y Gabriela

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