More Glorious Noise Radio Updates

It’s been a couple of weeks since the last playlist update, so we swapped in ten new songs hand picked by Glorious Noise contributor Johnny. The new stuff includes tracks by the Rolling Stones, Jim White, PJ Harvey, Tribe Called Quest, Clem Snide, Fugazi, the International Submarine Band, Wire, Sleater-Kinney, and the Verve. So check it out by clicking on the radio icons at the top of the page. New feature: you can now see what’s currently playing on Glorious Noise Radio by clicking here. There’s over four hours of great music (66 songs!) constantly streaming for your listening pleasure.

Another thing: as you might have noticed, the site’s layout has moved around a little. The Glorious Noise design department is furiously cranking out plans to make the site more navigable, easier to read and better looking. Updates will be trickling in over the next several weeks. Let us know what you would like to see improved…

Your Mother Wears Combat Boots

Punk rock gives birth to a whole new generation…literally.

By Phil Wise

Like any era, scene, phase, what-have-you, punk rock has grown into something much bigger than the dirty architects imagined in their puke drenched booths at CBGB. It’s matured (egads!) and even been accepted by the mainstream (don’t tell Johnny Rotten-Lydon-Rotten), despite the New York Dolls being snubbed for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yes, it seems rock and roll’s snot-nosed, loudmouthed little brother has grown up a bit. And so have some of the followers of the scene, which has given birth, er, to the punk rock mom. And they are hot.

All around big cities and even some small towns you can see punk chicks pushing strollers and toting wet naps. Decked out in their leather jackets, spiked hair and Doc Martins, they’ve added to their uniform another list of accessories that includes binkies, Pampers, animal crackers and Tickle Me Elmo. These mavens of punk Momdom can just as soon be heard humming the theme to Barney as the Dead Boys‘ “Caught with the Meat in Your Mouth.”

And the punk moms may not just be raising fine kids, they may in fact be the saviors of a movement that’s been subjugated and tamed by mass media. Imagine the looks of blue hairs (those whose hair is blue due to age rather than by design) when punk mom strolls in with Baby Stiv on hip and a Walkman blasting “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment.” Punk kids may have lost all their shock value but what about the punk moms? Not to mention they’re raising a generation brought up on gobbing as a sign of respect, something babies are naturally adept at.

Now, punk broke some 25 years ago and certainly there were scenesters who became parents in that quarter century, but never before have we seen such a proliferation of punk in maternity wards as we have today. Perhaps it’s because punk’s influence over those years has spread to include a wider range of people. Regardless, there is a new wave of mothers out there still clinging to punk ethics, fashion, music and politics and they’re raising children!

Yes, God May Not Save the Queen, but as long as there are moms out there listening to Television, shacking up with guys who “look exactly like Richard Hell” and know that “Gabba Gabba Hey” is NOT baby-talk, then I’ll sleep well knowing America is in good hands.

The Ear of the Beholder

For reasons too tedious to contemplate and therefore innumerate, I use MSN to connect to the Internet. As a result, when I long in I get to a horribly inane interface and the MSN homepage. Or maybe it is a “portal.” There is a multitude of clickable items and images, from news to weather to fashion to entertainment to. . . .

Today I happened to spot a line: “Ugliest Bands of All Time.” Which, I admit, is intriguing due to the oddity (but nowadays who can tell: who’d ever even been thinking about anthrax outside of a few metalheads or fans of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” before now?). So I clicked through and found the following list with no explanation:

· “We’re Not Going to Take It”—Twisted Sister

· “Run-Around”—Blues Traveler

· “Pet Sematary”—The Ramones

· “American Girl”—Tom Petty

· “Heaven Can Wait”—Iron Maiden

· “Search and Destroy”—The Stooges

· “No One Likes You”—Scorpions

· “My Best Friend’s Girl”—The Cars

· “Free Bird”—Lynyrd Skynyrd

· “Tearin’ Up My Heart”—’N Sync

What the hell is this all about? Is Tom Petty thought to be uglier when he sings that song? Is Iggy more attractive-post Stooges? Does the list maker have something against Germans? And why isn’t there a picture of Dee Snider’s mug if the whole thing is about profound unattractiveness?

One thing of note is that the list consists wholly of men. Which is not sexist in the way that you might think. I’d argue that with few exceptions, ugly women just don’t make it big in show biz. From Britney to Shania, from Madonna to Jessica, it is all about looks first and pipes second. Which is often audibly unfortunate and visually appropriate. Ugly men abound, which makes me think that there isn’t, perhaps, a whole lot of distance between TV newscasts and the music industry (e.g., can you image a female version of Willard Scott talking about the weather?).

Who needs music television? Not us.

Since they no longer play videos on MTV (old news, I know), we must turn to the Web to get our fix that used to at least be satisfied by 120 Minutes. For a while there, I used to tape that show every Sunday night and watch it Monday evening. I was turned on to some great new music that way. I saw the Travis video for “All I Wanna Do Is Rock” on 120 Minutes back in 1997, and that’s still my favorite song of theirs.

But now musicians know how to use the Internet, and I’ve got a broadband connection, so here are three videos that I think you should check out:

Liz Phair – Down. This is a new song from Liz, and I still love her even though she moved to LA as soon as I moved to Chicago. She may be avoiding me, but she still writes great songs. This is a cool video with interesting (for once) use of that goofy, stop-frame/multi-angle technique (as seen in Gaps ads and football games).

Liz Phair 'Down'

Bjork – Pagan Poetry. First things first: Bjork’s boobies are featured in this kinky, unsafe-for-work video. The song is brilliant, and the video is disturbing.

Björk – Pagan Poetry (Official Music Video)

Gorillaz – Rock the House. I initially gave the Gorilllaz album some shit because I was disappointed that there were only two songs with my man Del on them. I’m still upset about that, but I’ve gone back to the album several times recently, and have started to really like it. Except for the handful of songs where the guy from Blur sings in his annoying falsetto. Uggh. But a lot of it is really good. This new video from them is the other Del song.

Gorillaz – Rock The House (Official Video)

If you know of other cool videos, please add them to comments section. It’s Friday and I don’t feel like working…

[Update: This was originally posted years before YouTube, but 15 years later we embedded working videos. -ed.]

The Strokes: Fell in Love with You before the Second Show

The Strokes Blow Up The Spot (And That’s No Hype!)

On Friday night at Metro, the Strokes ran every route in the rookie rock star playbook. They played the waiting game with their sold out crowd, booked an impossibly shitty band as an opener, performed behind a shroud of smoke, and even fell off the stage, just like alleged burgeoning rock icons should. Thusly, you could call them prima donnas. You could even be like the dude in front of me, and scream out “You make me hate rock and roll!”

Or you could have shut the fuck up about the hype, the hair, and the RCA cheese, and reveled in the series of real rock moments that the NYC quintet tossed off with casual efficiency and genuine dedication – just like real rock icons should.

The Strokes don’t just wear their influences on their sleeves – they went to St Vincent DePaul and scrounged up the whole damn suit. And so what? When they finally emerged from backstage about 2am, and Julian Casablancas keeled over his mic stand, promptly misjudging the lip of the stage during the set opener, all of their Velvet Underground tendencies and New York accoutrements mattered little. The band that has J.Lo’s PR types scratching their skulls detonated their own hype and kicked the debris into the balcony, right in the faces of all the pretty people politely cheering with their pinkies raised. An obviously inebriated Casablancas could give a shit about celebrity guests or the slicked-back gold card humps that clogged the cramped environs of Metro. Performing their bare-bones catalog in 45 sweaty, tightly-wound moments, Casablancas, dueling guitarists Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond, Jr, drummer Fab Moretti and bassist Nikolai Fraiture pretty much made each of their 12 songs sound like a true anthem. Casablancas’ vocal – a sandpaper-y cross between Lou Reed and Morrissey – weaved in between the two guitars’ soloing and the rhythm section’s admirable groove, even as his motor skills failed him to the point that he must have leaned on each of his comrades at least twice during the set.

Towards the end of the set, Our Fair Singer pushed the dirty, sullen mop out of his eyes. Introducing “New York City Cops,” a track removed from the forthcoming Is This It? LP in the wake of September 11 (subsequently pushing the release of the record back to October 9), Casablancas was sincere through his drunkenness. “People have been writing some shit about this next song,” he slurred. “Yeah, well, we were fucking there, man, we were fucking there, okay? [And all we’re trying to do] is be confident!” With that, The Strokes launched into “New York City Cops,” a song that would only be misconstrued as offensive by those who tend to make decisions without even hearing the music. The number burned like white phosphorus, and followed up by “Take It Or Leave It,” The Strokes left the stage with a one-two punch of hard-edged, REAL rock and roll that showed their true colors as passionate musicians and — perhaps — future rock icons.

Too much has been written about the Strokes’ stylish pedigree, both by this website and other outlets (Hello, Rolling Stone.) But if Friday night’s show proved anything, it’s that the band can talk the talk. The group’s reverence for its NYC rock forbearers is obvious, both in print and in person. But what about Albert Hammond, Jr’s stage moves on lead guitar, those that recalled Joe Perry, or even Slash? Those guys aren’t New Yorkers. What about the obvious New Wave influences in the precision of the songs and Valensi’s high strung, frenetic rhythm guitar? I swear I heard the Housemartins floating around in there. And the whole band’s underlying groove of booze, love, and anger remind me as much of Mission of Burma’s “That’s When I Reach For My Revolver” as they do of Television or The Ramones. There’s the rub: For months, we’ve been hearing all about the Strokes, without really hearing – really listening to – the music itself. Though the group’s fantastic plastic hype machine will undoubtedly help it sell records, it’s fire-in-the-belly performances like what took place on Friday night that will really make them rock stars. After all, something’s going down in music these days. Pop is dead, Nu Metal is over, and Hip Hop’s wack clown princes are marginalizing the form’s true artists. Rock and Roll never died, but a group like the Strokes – with their energy, simple enthusiasm, and of course their drunken antics – can certainly help the Rock get back on track, and reap the benefits of what it has sown.

JTL

Note: Sting will be glad to hear that I officially hate Moldy Peaches more than he and his soulless corporate whore yuppie rock. Moldy Peaches are a duo from New York City who I had the nauseous fortune to stand through while waiting for The Strokes to take the stage Friday. Remember that geeky neighbor kid that always tried to hang out with you and your friends growing up? The one that copped all your bits, tried to hang but couldn’t, and had food stuck in his braces? Well, New York City’s Moldy Peaches are that kid, if he listened through the wall while Beat Happening, The Vaselines, Frank Zappa, and The Flaming Lips practiced. A bastardized, shitty version of these venerable artists, The Moldy Peaches are the worst thing I’ve paid money for since dollar dances at the Ypsilanti Déjà Vu. Kimya Dawson and Adam Green, two dopes riding a very different New York pedigree than that of the Strokes, came off like The Frogs or Ween if those groups put their wicked senses of humor in a cryogenic chamber and received a year of free lobotomies. Unfunny, unoriginal, and utterly horrible, The Moldy Peaches are the worst thing to happen to music since Fred Durst had kids. You’ve been warned.

JTL

Love: American Style

Glorious Noise is happy to introduce a new member to the team. Kristy Eldredge is a writer living in Brooklyn. Her new feature article reports from New York on her finding true love in the arms of Quasi. Be sure to welcome her to the group and post your thoughts in the discussion section.

Continue reading Love: American Style

The David Caruso Factor

The Beatles are a sterling example of the concept that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

It came as something of a surprise to me—a pleasant surprise, I must say—that there was no blow-by-blow breakdown of the “tribute” to John Lennon that appeared on cable earlier this week. Although I still remember where I was when I heard that Lennon had been shot (for some reason, remembrances of such things are supposed to signify an import beyond the norm, which I’m not so sure about, as it could simply be a function of difference, not significance), it has always seemed to me that his post-Beatles career with such things as “Instant Karma,” wasn’t much more than a variant of a Ray Stevens novelty act.

The whole veneration of Lennon goes back to something that happened during my generation, when The Beatles were new and we were children. Everyone had their “favorite” Beatle. Although they were considered as individuals (e.g., “Paul is the cute one”; “George is the shy one”), the band members were inextricably tied to the band as a whole; there was no notion that there could be solos. Of course, the main dichotomy was between John and Paul for the simple reason that they were the two up front: No one—at least no one at age 10—was pouring over the small type on the label on the vinyl to see who was responsible for what. Even on the Saturday morning cartoon of the band there were obvious differences between the two. John was the guy who made the most cracks while Paul evinced a certain niceness. And so it has remained ever since.

But let’s face it: for every “Mind Games” or “Maybe I’m Amazed,” there has been a whole lot of post-Beatles dreck. Not that I think that those guys should have stopped working after the band broke up, but it does seem to me that there should have been a bit of critical distance applied to their subsequent music. Less fawning. More listening.

For some reason, musicians who have gained success, recognition and popularity through their membership in a band almost never (I really can’t think of a good counter example, but I’m keeping my options open) do as well solo. Think, for example, of all of the albums released by Mick Jagger, Robert Plant, Pete Townshend and on and on and on. How many of these are better than the Stones, Zeppelin, Who, or Whomever?

Note how the Patron Musician of this site, Neil Young, has been a part of many bands but has always been apart from them. In my argument, Buffalo Springfield been successful, we would probably not be giving Neil quite as many props today—if any at all.

ON THE CATWALK, BABY

Further Probing the Link Between Fashion and Rock — Is Fashion Only Clothes Deep?

Johnny Loftus

Recently on Glorious Noise, in an article discussing Hollywood’s propensity to favor the underdog as the perfect paramour for the straightlaced overachiever, I made the point that said overachiever — at least in the context of the Teen Comedy — is usually the cheerleading captain (Kirsten Dunst in Bring It On) or at least rich and popular (Freddie Prinze, Jr in She’s All That). And — whether they be male or female — that Cool Kid’s true love usually turns out to be a punk rocker or an intellectual or an amalgam of both, either way decidedly not someone who dates the preps. This seemingly innocuous article developed into a fascinating conversation string debating the interrelated topics of rock, fashion, self-identity, motivation, and feminism. Taking one part of that discussion, it’s interesting to look at Fashion’s role in Rock, and vice versa.

So.

Rock and Fashion, Fashion and Rock. To which side of this dichotomy do those who consider themselves rockers — and concurrently those who consider themselves fashionistas — align themselves? And does that line blur continually between the two camps, with the hardliners in both staying as far away from the other as possible? Glorious Noise is currently interviewing for a fashion editor, who will then cover the Fashion side of the equation. In the meantime…

In Rock at least, fashion — or at least what one wears — has always been a signifier of music style. The Greasers and the Preps, the Mods and the Rockers, and Steve Dahl’s infamous Disco Demolition — these battles were all based on a demarcation of style and music. But even the 70s heavy metal dudes drunk on suds tearing up Comiskey Park’s infield while burning millions of disco records had a look that defined them. It wasn’t a pair of pink sidewinders or a bright orange pair of pants, but hell, you knew them when you saw them coming. Nowadays, musical genres still spawn their own fashion. There’s the club kids with their giant jeans and florescent T’s. In another corner are the neo-Goths, who’ve updated the 80s Robert Smith look with piercings, vinyl pants and hair dye. And there’s the indie rockers, whose style has always revolved closely to that of the Fashion world, if only because the genre’s fans have those skinny hips that haute couture adores so much. Natch.

If someone tells you that they don’t care about fashion, they’re usually lying. Unless they’re a drummer, and that’s a whole different article. Anyway, it’s true that the two are linked, whether the Rockers or the Fashion kids like it or not. But how? In obvious ways, like Steven Tyler or Shirley Manson sitting stage-side at Fashion Week in Milan? Or is it something deeper, something that somehow plays back into the vibe of my article about Bring It On‘s guitar-playing, Clash T-shirt wearing lovable loser, who wins the sunlit love of his school’s fashion maven?

I’m afraid I can’t go any further with this point until some input arrives from all of you GloNo readers, who were so gracious as to write in your thoughts about the other article. What do YOU think?

JTL

GloNo Radio Switches Formats, Merges with Clear Channel

Okay, that’s a lie. We don’t have anything to do with the Great Radio Satan. But we did dump a bunch of tracks from our playlist, most of which happened to be rap tunes. (This struck me as decidedly KKKorporate, hence the phony headline.)

But there was actually a good reason, three good ones in fact. First, rap sounds like shit over the Internet due to the inherent lack of fidelity. Second, well, we are trying to keep the music mix a bit more focused on rock, alternative, non-mainstream, punk, indie, alt-country, and roots music. Why? I don’t know, that’s what most of us here seem to be into. So as much as I love Ice Cube and Eminem, they’re 5000. Go ahead and criticize me in the comments if you want.

The third, and most important reason, is that we’ve got new material! GSV has submitted about 10 new tracks, including songs from the always amazing Jack Bruce, heavy pioneers Spooky Tooth, and a great number from, get this, Daryl Hall.

Check out the radio station with those handy links on the right, and go attack the bulletin board for suggestions, requests, comments, and criticism.

Keep on rockin’ in the free world,

Jeff Sab, GloNo Radio co-station manager

[We’ll be updating the radio playlist about every two weeks, so keep tuning in to let us know what you think – ed.]

Spreading like a plague

Glorious Noise’s very own Phil Wise reviews Built to Spill’s latest offering over on NeuMu. Check it out and congratulate the old boy for spreading his love out into the world a little more! Here, here.

Rock and roll can change your life.