Category Archives: Shorties

Rockin’ the Vodka on the (Lava) Rocks

Given the anti-gay laws and whole Edward Snowden contretemps, it seems as though Russian vodka isn’t as popular in drinking establishments in the West as it once was, which provides an opening for distillers from other countries. . .including Iceland.  Yes, the land of Björk.

Timing is good for Reyka vodka, which uses lava rocks for filtration, especially as it is running a contest for musicians, DJs and fans to perform at and attend the Iceland Airwaves music festival, which will be held October 30 to November 3.

Musicians and DJs have until August 19 to send in their work to Reyka, using Grooveshark (http://grooveshark.com/reykabands).  Music lovers have time for a cocktail or two, as they’re not to sign up for their chances to win until later this month: they can do it on Reyka’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ReykaVodka) from August 30 th through September 30 th.

There will be two bands and two fans sent to the festival among the glaciers and lava.

Says Reyka senior brand manager Lindsay Prociw, “We want our creative friends around the world to flock to Reyka’s land as a beacon of inspiration and imagination, and we’re happy to shepherd them one band, or fan, at a time.”

Presumably with a sufficient number of Reykas on the rocks, and shepherding is a requirement.

 

Noel Gallagher, Russell Brand and Morrissey are mocking your shoes.

Introducing Your Judges

Noel Gallagher, Russell Brand and Morrissey are mocking your shoes.
Noel Gallagher, Russell Brand and Morrissey are mocking your shoes.
Look at this picture and just imagine the comments. Imagine being a poor soul with ugly shoes who happens to pass by. The insults would be earth shattering. Mozzer, Russell Brand and Noel Gallagher all passing judgment on you in a public space? It’s just too much.

But now imagine that rhetorical arsenal put to work for good. Imagine these were the judges of a nationally televised talent show. Forget American Idol or The X Factor or America’s Got Talent…this is Fuck Off The Stage!

Act after act would come out to perform their bit and then stand there as these three loudmouths dress them down for the entertainment of millions. Mozzer’s turn-of-phrase, Noel’s Northern English verbal blunt trauma, Brand’s…Brand-ism. The horror!

And the best part would be that nobody wins…ever. The season would end with no winner, no big finale…just those three guys having pints and talking shit. THAT I would watch.

Photo via Russell Brand on Twitter

Teegarden and Vanwinkle Live on Detroit TV

Teegarden & Van Winkle Live on Detroit TV

Way back when we first kicked off this whole shit show I posted an article on my recent record buying finds, including a pick-up of an album for which I knew some personal, detailed history but had never actually heard or seen. One of my longest-running musical collaborator’s father had engineered this album (among many others in the late 60s Detroit scene) and he’d told us stories about his adventures with the jazz-rock duo Teegarden & Van Winkle.

Jim Cassily was always good for a story and his eyes would gleam with more than a hint of mischief when he told these particular tales. He loved that his son was in a band as well and clearly revelled in sharing his own exploits as a musician and engineer. Whether it was the early days with Bob Seger or his later life discovery of Irish folk musicians, Cassily was an enthusiast. None of those stories quite got the excited treatment of his days with friends Dave Teegarden and Skip Van Winkle though. To hear him tell it, we had missed the Detroit equivalent of Traffic. Finding that record in 2001 confirmed the musical prowess he credited to the band and now this video clip bolsters his claims that these guys would get “out there.”

Dig this awesome clip of pure Detroit freak-out, live on TV.

VIDEO: Teegarden & Van Winkle Live on Detroit TV

*Note: That dapper man with the ascot (or whatever that is around his neck) is Jim himself, running sound and feeling groovy.

JoJo_08

Jonathan Richman recites poem about playing clubs at 60

Stream: Jonathan Richman – “My Music (For MOJO Magazine)”

This is so good. MOJO magazine shared this fantastic poem and here’s the back story:

“The preposterously youthful 60-year-old is currently touring the UK, and while MOJO’s requests for an interview met with the usual polite refusal, Richman offered to interview himself in the form of a poem.”

It starts out like this:

So Jonathan, does it feel at all strange to be sixty years old,
Singing in clubs now for forty odd years,
Playing for students a third your age?
Yes, it feel strange.
Yes, it feel strange.
My face keeps on changing, but the public stays 20.

I once almost got into a fight with a guy over Jonathan Richman. I was young and earnest and couldn’t believe that any decent human being could have heard but not like Jonathan Richman. It didn’t come to blows, thank goodness, but that’s mostly because it was morning, I was hungover, and I was staying at this guy’s apartment for the weekend. I’ve gotten considerably less rigid regarding my prerequisites for decent humanity, but I still think that if you don’t like Jonathan Richman you’re probably an asshole.

Jonathan Richman’s latest album, O Moon, Queen of Night on Earth, was released in 2010.

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Massive Historical Musical Stash Hidden in Michigan

As someone who loves old stuff, especially old musical instruments, this is hard to read:

A massive cache of musical treasures that’s grown to include a fragile harp-piano, the pioneering Moog synthesizer and the theremin used for “The Green Hornet” radio show has been shuffled over the years from a theater to an unheated barn and now languish, rarely seen or heard, in a Michigan storage vault.

That’s the lede to a story detailing the fate of the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments. Donated to the University of Michigan in the 1890s, $25 million collection has gone from “baking to death” in the lobby of Hill Auditorium to an unheated barn to a storage unit off-campus where it sits, unseen and unheard.

Donated to U of M by Detroit businessman Frederick Stearns with explicit instructions that they be “be immediately housed and installed,” the collection is yet another victim of shrinking budgets and changing priorities on American college campuses. The collection seems to have grown over the years as it reportedly includes an early Moog Synthesizer and a Theremin.

Given how this country values history, I don’t have high hopes that this collection will eventually see the light but maybe we could pool our vast GLONO funds to mount a stealth operation to set some of that stuff free!

jim-morrison-1970

How about that new Doors song?

Stream: The Doors – “She Smells So Nice”

Seems crazy that they’re still digging up new Doors material, but apparently producer Bruce Botnick discovered this one while preparing the session tapes for L.A. Woman, which is once again being reissued on January 24. Curious that it didn’t turn up when they released the 40th Anniversary remixes in 2007.

Regardless, this is the kind of Doors song I really like. Lyrics aren’t too silly and the band sounds great. Krieger’s blues licks sound perfectly unfussy with Manzarek’s Wurlitzer electric piano giving more of a Ray Charles punch than his signature Vox Continental. Meanwhile, Densmore proves he was the coolest guy in the band.

This recording must just be a warm-up jam while the engineers were adjusting levels, or something, as Morrison’s microphone is overdriven through most of the song. It’s actually nice to hear them to hear them playing this loose and garage-y at this point in their career.

shins-simple song

So what do you think of the Shins’ major label debut?

Stream: The Shins – “Simple Song” from Port of Morrow, due March 20 on Columbia.

“I know that things can really get rough when you go it alone.”

So this is the sound of the Shins after James Mercer ditches his band and dumps Sub Pop for a major label. Sounds a lot like the Shins back when James Mercer had his old band and was still on Sub Pop.

It sounds good. Might take you a couple listens to get adjusted to the sheen and gloss, but once you’re used to it the song hits the same emotional spots that the Shins always have. Here’s hoping the rest of the album is as good.

Tracklisting:
1. The Rifle’s Spiral
2. Simple Song
3. It’s Only Life
4. Bait And Switch
5. September
6. No Way Down
7. For A Fool
8. Fall Of ’82
9. 40 Mark Strasse
10. Port Of Morrow

From the Shins’ web site: “Port of Morrow was recorded in Los Angeles and Portland over the course of 2011 with James Mercer as usual handling all songwriting duties and lead vocals. The album was produced by Greg Kurstin and mixed by Rich Costey.”