Friday, December 31, 2010

Should Music Blogs Carry Ads?


Quick, how many of the music blogs your read carry advertising?

Frankly I have no idea myself. I know more than a few on my reading list do, but I'd be hard-pressed to say which ones. At one time rock n' roll and advertising were pretty antithetical and now...well... it's harder for anyone to get their knickers in a knot about it, since there's no real money to be made anywhere in music.

I've always thought this blog was a little shabby (yes, I know you can't read the dates - I tried to fix it once and every post disappeared - ask CallPastorJerkface if you don't believe me) to really be a good platform for advertising but would otherwise not be against the idea that a few dollars (a pretty realistic financial outlook for a monetized blog) might roll this way.

I suspect going forth with such a idea would take forethought, ground work and business sense, each of which I lack. So, for now, I'll just throw the question out to you, my commenters;

Should Music Blogs Carry Ads?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

MRML TOP 33 SONGS of 2010

A best songs of the year is inherently ridiculous when you consider the sheer number of songs released over a twelve moth period. So let us suspend our disbelief in the comprehensiveness of this blogger's listening and enjoy some ripping tunes. And ripping it must be, for this list is tightly bound by my taste for the punchy over the swishy, the pounding over the lilting, the catchy over the fancy and for just the relentless pursuit of relentlessness.
Unlike my unappreciated albums list, neither acclaim nor sales (nor the lack thereof) are a factor here - and no crossover betwixt the two lists is allowed - this time it's strictly about the songs!

In no particular order...

1. The Biters Hang Around
Races like an Exploding Heart!


2. Bad Religion The Devil in Stitches
Those melodic songs with the maddeningly allusive lyrics of Mr. Brett are always the highlight of a Bad Religion album.
Listen here

3. Frank Turner I Still Believe
I fuckin' love Rock N' Roll Retrenchment songs!


4. OFF! I Don't Belong
Really, you could pick any song at random from the The First Four 7"'s and lay waste to much of the contemporary music landscape.


More here

5. Graham Parker: First Responder
GP still knows.


6. Len Price 3 I Don't Believe You
Mod-punk lives in the UK!
Listen here

7. Candy Hearts: Don’t Go Blocking the Sunshine
Indie-twee-punk-pop!


More here

8. Leatherface My World Ends
By rule of custom and law all staff of The Big Takeover must adore Bad Religion, Teenage Fanclub, The Buzzcocks and Leatherface - well I'm batting .750...


9. Rev Peyton: Clap Your Hands
If every generation gets the white bluesman they deserve, perhaps the millennials will anoint Warp Tour vet Reverend Peyton (whose new album, The Wages, was produced by former Zero Boy Paul Mahern and released on Side One Dummy) their Delta man.


10. Varsity Weirdos: Why I Didn't Like August '93
Pop-punk band covers 90's East Coast indie-rock band Elevator to Hell: Goodness ensues
Listen here

11. Miniboone "Cool Kids..."
Indie gets some of it's rock n' roll back.

More here

12. Sleigh Bells Infinity Guitars
Sure hype is toxic but you just need to minimize your contact with it to avoid the ill-effects.


More here

13.Butch Walker: She Like Hair Bands
No matter his twisted history, Walker cuts a fine and clever power-pop line between Marshal Crenshaw and Fountains of Wayne.
Listen here


14. Mark Bates: Death Sucks
Catchy folk-rock song full of desperately clever lines.
Listen here

15. Vampire Weekend: Ruby Soho
Contra was a fine follow-up but I always loved the way the hipsters didn't realize that they were digging a ska band and that the band was unashamed to show it (by say, covering a Rancid song!)
See here

16. Justin Townes Earle: Harlem River
A little of his Dad, a little of his namesake, a little of the Freewheeelin' Dylan and something altogether different.
See here

17. Van Buren Boys Told You So
"I know it's only rock n' roll..."
See here

18. NoMeansNo Something Dark Against Something Light
There's still a some twisted, dark little secrets in the NMN formula.


19. The Dahlmans: Holiday Road
Lyndsey Buckingham (and Chevy Chase) move over, this song has a brand new owner!
See here

20. The Queers: Back to the Basement
Yup, the new Queers album does represent a return to "1-2 Fuck You" sorta punk rock but Joe King has a way with a tune that all the snottiness in the world can't hide.
See here

21. The Lanskies: Bank Holiday
Franco-British Cure-Meets-Futureheads goodness.


More here
22. World Inferno/Friendship Society: Paul Roebson
Ya really can't nail this band down, I mean who guessed they were holding back an A Capella e.p. recorded back in 2005?


23. The Contrast: Coming Back To Life (or "Caught in a Trap")
Such retro-sixties-ness is blatant Little Steve's Underground Garage bait but we're all the richer for it.


24. Superchunk "Crossed Wires"
A nineties resurgence I never expected
Listen here

25. The Alarm Direct Action
Mike Peters has beaten cancer and an unpleasant mid-career gulch (much of the 1990's) to hit a sustained career high in the aughts.


More here

26. Houseboat DC Showcase Presents: Inferiority Complex, Volume 420
As they warn, "You want novelty? Innovation? Vicissitude?!? You're outta luck!"


27. Betty & the Werewolves: Paper Thin
Twheeeeeeee!


More here

28. Forgetters Vampire Lessons
Blake Schwarzenbach is bach.
See here


29. Magic Kids Super Ball
C'mon that's adorably ridiculous...


30. Article of Faith Back with a Vengeance
Another unexpectedly furious surprise reunion.


31 Wavves King of the Beach
"Noise-pop" is what Nathan Willliams's work gets labeled, as if The Velvet Underground, The Buzzcocks, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Pixies and Jay Reatard were all reference points, which they kinda are but with more Beach Boys (noise-surf?)



32. The Rags "Love is a Lie
Smart Irish guitar-pop.

THE RAGS - LOVE IS A LIE from The Rags on Vimeo.
More here

33. Less Than Jake TV Medley
I admit that the novelty factor and the visuals (and not the dreadful run-though of the That 70's Show theme*) got these long-running ska-punks on the list. * Yes, I know...





Well...



LEAVE A COMMENT:

A) TELL US IF WE GOT YOU TO TRY SOMETHING NEW!

B) TELL US WHAT YOU THINK SHOULD BE ON THE LIST!!

C) TELL US WHAT SHOULDN'T HAVE MADE THE LIST!!
D) Level with us now, is thirty-three songs too damn much? (This was kinda back-breaking work and part of me wonders if I shouldn't scale it back for everybody's sake.)


AND, OF COURSE, IF YOU LIKE THE MUSIC - SUPPORT THE DAMN BANDS!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Clash Reunion? (Strummer /Jones at Acton Town Hall 2002)


This one's for all the people who left comments on our Strumer posts -- you're the ones keeping this series alive!!!

Yup, despite Joe Strummer giving guitarist Mick Jones a book of lyrics for the next Clash album, in spite of offers from Lollapalooza and The Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame, The Clash reunion never quite happened. Bassist Paul Simonon was said to be the holdout and while I say that's good on him, it doesn't make this reunion of the Strummer-Jones axis at a Fireman's Strike Benefit in Acton Hall mere weeks before Strummer's death any less electrifying.


Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
Acton Town Hall, West London, UK
15th November 2002

"A benefit for striking firefighters"

01. Shaktar Donetsk
02. Bhindi Bhagee
03. Rudie Can’t Fail
04. Tony Adams
05. White Man
06. Mega Bottle Ride
07. Get Down Moses
08. Police & Thieves
09. Cool ‘n’ Out
10. Police on My Back
11. Johnny Appleseed
12. Coma Girl
13. I Fought the Law
14. Bankrobber*
15. White Riot*
16. London’s Burning*

* With Mick Jones




Speaking of comments, should there have been a Clash reunion?


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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros: Glastonbury '99


Was there ever really a Strummer comeback? (A Strumback?)

While I dutifully bought Earthquake Weather and the Permament Record soundtrack they weren't very moving. Then came the acid-house/world-beat Rock Art & the X-Ray Style in 1999 and the bottom fell out of my Strummer obsession. I'd like to say I hated that record but I couldn't stay awake long enough to rouse any sort of emotional reaction whatsoever. It was during this time that I passed on an opportunity to drive down to Minneapolis with one of my silent blog followers (he knows who he is) to see Strummer. Not only did I not go, I may well have heaped scorn on the possibility.



I now greatly regret not seeing the man in action and while I've come around quite a bit to both of the first two Mescaleros albums in many ways, I still can only see the very last album, Streetcore, as a true Comeback.



Even with such a powerful final testament, whispers abounded: were all those glowing reviews just "we'll love you when you're dead" critic-talk? Did the band (or the label) fiddle with what Stummer had intended for those final tracks? Those were baseless charges and could not erase the fact that Strummer laid out one of the greatest works of his career in the days and hours leading up to his untimely demise.



What follows is Strummer's smash-out-the-cameras performance from Glastonbury 1999 that was taped by the BBC so that it might forever bear witness to a legend's comeback.


Glastobury 1999 link is in the comments


Speaking of comments, when do you think Strummer made his comeback?


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Monday, December 27, 2010

Joe Strummer: Accompanied With...


HOLY HELL! Strummer fans - 105 downloads and TWO COMMENTS!! That's not even a 2% comment to download ratio - it's time to show your colours and leave a few words behind!!!

*Favourite comment of the lots by the way:

"Hey thanks for this, glad to see people
responded after your 'meltdown' – but you're right it's very much in the spirit of Joe that people have communicated with each other on the comments. The Songs you put here were the campfire, we're just hanging out with like-minded people we wouldn't otherwise have heard from."
Jack



We've been on a Joe Strummer kick, so here's another collection of rare studio material but this time it's almost all examples Strummer collaborating with other artists. It almost always seemed that Strummer needed a strong musical collaborator to fulfill his vision. As an example check out this ripppin' Strummer pick-up band, which includes Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machines, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nick Hexum of 311, DJ Bonebrake of X and Benmont Tench from Tom Petty's Heartbreakers.



Lots of good work here and some egregious filler, may I suggest an edited play list perhaps with the highlights of Generations I and Generations II?


Accompanied By link is in the comments
(But it ain't gonna stay there with two measly comments!)

Speaking of comments, do you think Joe NEEDED collaborators?


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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday Hangover Songs


The Holiday Hangover: Now that the big Day is ending here’s fifteen songs about the mixed feelings that the season brings. There are a thousand more such songs, so please play along by adding your own to the list!

Larry Norman Christmastime
Just becuase Mr. Norman wrote "We Need a Whole Lot More Jesus and Whole Lot Less Rock n' Roll" didn't mean he didn't have a few harsh words about the season.
Key Line "Santa Clause is coming and the kids are getting greedy"




The Yobs 12 Days of Christmas
Hard to miss The Yobs who really degraded the songs of the season with a certain glee!
Key line: Ah all of them, pretty much



Sloppy Seconds Lonley Christmas
How this band manged to be both puerile and incisive is one of the great mysteries of pop-punk
Key Line “I'm gonna spend a lonely Christmas
sitting here and staring back at my TV
"Miracle on 34th Street on the all-night TV repeat
Just Bob Hope, Santa Claus and me"



Blink 182 I Won’t Be Home for Christmas
Speaking of puerility, Blink 182 made it clever n’ catchy and took it to the top of the charts. I, for one, do not resent them at all for this.
Key line " Outside the carolers start to sing
I can't describe the joy they bring
Because joy is something they don't bring me"



No Fun Down Home Country Christmas
A merciless, satiric indictment of the idealization of rural poverty, and the one song on this list that almost no one here will have heard before.
Key Line "I remember Christmas back in '44
There weren't no heat until we burned the door".



For the rest of the list please come and visit The Big Takeover!

And whether right here or over at TBT, please feel free to leave your suggested additions to the list in the comments section!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Joe Strummer: Generations II (More B-sides & Rarities)


Whaddya want for Christmas? More Joe Strummer? Done. Ho ho ho.




Here's another set of otherwise unavailable B-Sides, soundtrack contributions, remixes and further Strummer-osity.



Generations II (More B-sides & Rarities) link is in the comments


Speaking of comments, please leave us your tribute to Strummer.


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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Underappreciated Albums That Rocked 2010


Hey, in 2010 music got some of its wrath back. Thanks entirely to my relentless push for relentless, the music world picked up the pace and the delicacy declined, the preciousness plummeted and the hush got hammered!


Of course my work here in the dark is never done. Wherever there's a band who throw their everything into their music to minimal recognition, I'll be there, yellin'. Wherever some slackasses are getting praised for their cheekbones, I'll be there, spittn' nails. I'll be in the way the critics yell when they're mad - I'll be in the way fans laugh when they're find something new but old under the sun. An' where flesh and blood people are making music for themselves and those around them, I'll be there too.


So, in that slightly Steinbeckish spirit, here is my list of sixteen albums by artists that didn't get to live off that fatta the lan' this year but maybe should have:


(All band name links go directly to MySpace for your listening pleasure.)



1) Mother's Children: That's Who
Frenzied Canadian power-pop-punk.



2) Jesse Malin: Love it To Life
Punk survivor Malin rocks like hell.


3) Peachfuzz: Everything Takes Forever
Like Jawbreaker meets the Replacements.









4) Steve Adymyk Band: S/T
More of that power-poppin' punk rock that's gonna go over a storm in Spain and be ignored elsewhere.









5) Sugar Stems: Sweet Sounds of..
If Blondie had been on the C86 comp!





6) Jason & The Scorchers: Halcyon Times
J & S rock like a hurricane in a trailer park.



7) The Roman Line: Morning Portraits.
This blazing roots-punk album came out in December '09 but it's this year's well-deserving anachronism.



8) Tim Barry: 28th & Stonewall
Off-the-grid punk-folk.




9) Chumbawamba: ABCDEFG
With the disco and the punk gone it's just the folk that remains.




10) David Dondero; Zero With a Bullet
The Dylan-was-a-Punk album of the year.




11) Piney Gir: Jesus Wept
Spaghetti-country-punk-gospel-pop born in a thunderstorm.




12) Gaslight Anthem American Slang
Made some of the Cool Lists but never got its rockin'
due.





13) John Moreland: Things I Can't Control
Both punk and country work best in a dingy bar-room, here's a band that could rock either room .








14) Young Evils: Enchanted Chapel
Not a Mini-Pops Misfits but melodic indie-pop like Beat Happening with more pre-Beatles pop and less post-punk rock.



15) Cyanide Pills
Deliriously retro bubble-punk, like The Dammed City Rollers!


16) Young Veins Take a Vacation
Sure it's a mite ridiculous for the young alum's of Panic at the Disco! to make an album redolent of all things Beatles, Kinks and Beach Boys but it still a joyous work.



All that music listening and I still don't even recognize all the artists on the Big Name best-of-the-year lists! Like so many other list-compilers, I've only heard what broke through into my little bubble. So if you want to let your own bubble expand, thou mayest.


As Good 'Ol Charlie Brown requests below, some SUPPORT, in the form of comments that detail what made YOUR list of under-appreciated albums would be great.


Best Songs of the year list will be coming after Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Joe Strummer: Generations (B-sides & Rarities)


RI.P Joe Strummer
21 August 1952 – 22 December 2002
Inspiration to millions

MRML has payed tribute to Joe Strummer and The Clash since our inception and we will never forget.



To celebrate "Joe Strummer Day", here's a bootleg collection of B-sides, soundtrack material, compilation tracks etc. There's some crucial Strummer-osity here (like "Generations" and "It's a Rockin' World" and "Trash City") and even some of the lesser material (like "Punk Rock Blues") is fairly intriguing.


Generations (B-sides & Rarities) link is in the comments*

Apparently track 9, "Don't Tango with Django" is missing, so here is a link for that song.

Speaking of comments, please leave us your tribute to Strummer.


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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Stuart Adamson:BBC Radio Scotland Tribute


Does what it says on the tin and in a very poignant manner. Rather than my blather I'd like to re-print this piece from Crawdaddy Magazine, written by regular visitor Jeff Rosenberg

Stuart Adamson: In Memory

This is the first eulogy I've ever been moved to sit down and write. I share it here in tribute to a man who really touched my life when I was a kid.

Into the lifeless, synthesizer-besotted era of popular music that was the early 80’s, emerged a handful of bands whose sound and spirit rang out like a clarion call of the heart. Among these groups were U2 and the Alarm, but far more visible on MTV and the radio than either, early on, were Scotland’s Big Country. Their anthemic first hit sang not of the emptiness then in fashion, but of primal, spiritual survival: “In a big country, dreams stay with you, like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside – stay alive!” Tragically, we learned this week that the man who wrote and sang those words could no longer bear to take his own advice. Stuart Adamson was found dead Sunday, all alone in a hotel room in Hawaii, a victim of alcoholism and depression, a month and a half after having left his home and family without a trace.

But back in my youth, Stuart Adamson was a zealot of the human spirit, and his fervent politics of the heart were only made more explicit on his band’s powerful second album, Steeltown. Ever since then, and despite their subsequent fall from grace, I always suspected Big Country were a great band. Now, with the death of one of their members, it’s confirmed. All the great bands, it seems, have at least one dead member. Which means that even INXS, in the final analysis, is a great band. Their leader, Michael Hutchence, died, himself, like Stuart, alone in a strange room, either directly by his own hand or, just as directly, by his own heart. His suicide confirms that there was real pain, to invoke a now-tainted phrase, behind the music. And Bono’s song for his dead friend Michael will have to serve today as eulogy for his old cohort Stuart as well. You’re “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of,” sings Bono, his voice never having bled with more compassion, and we see past the trappings of rock stardom to the heartbroken poets often caught in the middle of it all. And we know that alcoholism and depression are diseases so powerful they need no backstage pass to gain access to their famous victims, they need no private jet to remain right on their tail. And, then, we look to our musician friends here in our own community, the celestial bodies of our own tiny musical solar system… and we find the same pain hiding here. The same diseases. For musicians, singers, songwriters, poets, the heart is an external organ. And so, easily susceptible to conditions such as these.

We seek our musical heroes, our rock stars, out there in the distant night sky. And often, we take our hard-earned money and place it in the hands of those distant stars’ corporate benefactors. Which takes the money we’re spending on music away from those musicians in our local orbit, who might rely on it to earn a living. So we need to rededicate ourselves to finding the balance between following those faraway stars, who certainly do have their place in our cosmology, and supporting those who share their hearts and souls with us through their music in the bar right down the street.

We seek our musical heroes, our rock stars, out there in the distant night sky. And often, we take our hard-earned money and place it in the hands of those distant stars’ corporate benefactors. Which takes the money we’re spending on music away from those musicians in our local orbit, who might rely on it to earn a living. So we need to rededicate ourselves to finding the balance between following those faraway stars, who certainly do have their place in our cosmology, and supporting those who share their hearts and souls with us through their music in the bar right down the street.

And in the same way that our music dollars flow outward and faraway, we also give those distant stars our compassion, as Stuart Adamson’s death has touched and saddened me so deeply this week. But I know that these same illnesses of addiction and depression that killed him are indeed preying today on the hearts and minds of musicians and non-musicians alike, right here in my community. On my friends, your friends, our brothers and sisters. And so I want us to rededicate ourselves as well to cultivating our powerful compassion – powerful for the strength it can give us to do heroic deeds in the service of others – and bringing it to bear in hope of healing the victims of these diseases, in the here and now. If you have a friend who has a real problem with alcohol, please, as hard as it is… don’t not talk to him about it. If you suspect someone you know is depressed… ask her if she is, and listen closely to the response. If there are musicians, or others, in your life who move you, whose very presence you feel makes your world a better place, please let them know. Today. Because these diseases thrive in solitude and silence.

And we might not be able to reach those distant musician heroes of ours who may be in pain, other than by our prayers, lacking, as we do, the backstage pass and the private jet. But for those within our circle, we can do so much more. We can reach out, and we can help each other heal. So in memory of one more fallen hero of mine, I ask you, please, to resolve to do your part.

Stay alive.

12-18-01





Download link is in the comments


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Big Country: Restless Natives & Rarities


Y'know watching Adamson ply his folk-powered guitar-sculpting* got me thinking: if John Peel was a bit off in calling Adamson "the British Jimi Hendrix", maybe's he could be better described as "punk rock's Richard Thompson". By the way, this long out-of print collection of miscellanea goes for between $79 and $365 on Amazon, so if you appreciate this being available here maybe it's time to see what's in the band's catalog.



Restless Natives & Rarities link is in the comments


Speaking of comments, thanks for your words on Adamson, Big Country (and The Skids!) thus far, please leave some words on this collection.


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* One day, I'll describe it right...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Big Country: BBC Live in Concert


It's $199.00 on Amazon for this high-spirited but now out-of-print live show taped for the BBC in 1989 is here. Now that we've offered it to you as a little Christmas gift, perhaps it's time to check out the band's rich catalog.



BBC Live in Concert link is in the comments

Speaking of comments, remember it your words that encourage the posts to continue, and I've got still more expensive out-of-print BC rarities to share...

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