Blog Archives

Rocktober – Saturday Night Shirley

Rocktober begins again, bringing the rain today after a stretch of nice weather, just in time for a Saturday Night Special Studio with Shirley Manson and Garbage –

The band is probably best known for two songs – the above and the radio mainstay “Stupid Girl” –

Shirley doesn’t hesitate to let people know where they stand, does she?

Have an entire concert from 20 years ago, when they were just starting out.

Saturday Night Studio – 1 Year & Monkeeing Around

This week is one year since I started Saturday Night Studio, which now has it’s own page. Every studio is listed there with a brief description and a link to the post.

Speaking of firsts and anniversaries, this year is the 50th anniversary of the first band I ever liked – the Monkees. Here’s the very first episode from September 1966 –

The first concert I ever saw was in 1986, and it was, of course, the Monkees on their reunion tour. I later picked up a tape (remember those?) of the tour,-

Apparently their influence reached to areas where one would not expect, judging from the story Davy tells at the start of this video…

“We touched a lot of musicians, you know. I can’t tell you the amount of people that have come up and said, ‘I wouldn’t have been a musician if it hadn’t been for the Monkees.’ It baffles me even now,” Jones says. “I met a guy from Guns N’ Roses, and he was overwhelmed by the meeting, and was just so complimentary.” – Chicago Tribune

So the 80s would have been quite different if not for the Monkees.

Other than influencing metal bands, the 80s also saw the debut of The New Monkees, which I’m sure you all remember fondly. I tried to watch an episode once back around 1988, and didn’t get very far.

I recently discovered that the Monkees released their newest album in 2016. They collaborated with several other songwriters and musicians. I found it on youtube, but sadly I can’t say I was all that impressed with most of it (although “Birth Of An Accidental Hipster” did amuse me a bit). However, one song did stand out, the second version of “Me & Magdalena” –

Really digging that tune.

As a kid, I never, ever, ever expected to be hearing new Monkees music in 20-bloody-16!




Saturday Night Studio – Getting Ahead with Lionel

Those of you who remember the 80’s can’t help but remember Lionel Richie, whether you want to or not. For you kids, here’s a quick rundown…

Richie was a member of the Commodores for years, with a number of hit songs. We’re gonna skip that and jump to the 80’s, when he went solo. He scored a string of hits, including “Running With The Night” –

Catchy tune.

Soon after came “All Night Long,” with a video directed by former Monkee and music-video-pioneer Mike Nesmith…

There were others as Lionel racked up hit after hit, such as “Dancing On The Ceiling,” which had a novel idea for the time. In true 80’s fashion, it also had keytar.* Another was “Say You, Say Me” (which I hope to never hear again).

But probably the most-remembered (and definitely most-ridiculed) Lionel Richie song was “Hello.” The song was already syrupy enough to supply every Waffle House in America, but the video just added so much more… you just gotta watch it –

Makes you wanna murder a kitten, doesn’t it? Still, he made hardcore bank off that one, adding more “Rich” to the “Richie.”

Jimmy Fallon, music fan unparalleled and former member of Blue Oyster Cult, actually polished that turd –

Brilliant. I am moved. As should you be.

*To be explored in another post soon.

Saturday Night Stereolab – A Spectacle That Rhymes

Stereolab are an alternative music band formed in 1990 in London, England. The band originally comprised songwriting team Tim Gane (guitar/keyboards) and Lætitia Sadier (vocals/keyboards/guitar), both of whom remained at the helm across many lineup changes blah blah read the rest here.

They’re known for experimental krautrock pop lounge music in space, or something. Space definitely figures into their work, what with songs like “Super Falling Star,” “K-Stars,” “Space Moment,” “Sudden Stars,” and “Space Age Bachelor Pad Music” (which, I suppose, is probably as good a description of their music as will ever be).

It’s been said that Stereolab lyrics are often Marxist or socialist, which the band denies. Half the lyrics are in French anyway, so it’s not like I would even know it if they starting singing socialist economic theory in mid-song. the song most notorious for alleged politicalisms is “Ping Pong,” a rather catchy tune –

Original studio version and video here.

Regardless of lyrical messaging, the band has always pushed envelopes out where the Post Office won’t deliver them. Such as “Metronomic Underground,” which I suspect most of you won’t care for but I rather like –

Studio version here.

Singer Laetita Sadier lent her voice to a rather mediocre song by Common for his song “New Wave” in 2002. Her vocals sounded great, but were unfortunately only relegated to the choruses. and yes, she does have a predilection for swearing

My favorite Stereolab song is Miss Modular, heard here live in 2000 –

And the studio version, to close things out with a nicely rhyming spectacle –

Saturday Night Studio – Tik Spok

… I got nothin’. Life’s been keeping me busy. So until I get time to do a real studio, have some space party.

Saturday Night Studio – Winter Sleighing

Just because…

Saturday Night Studio – Out On The Streets

Some stuff found on the streets.

The description reads “Bassist Jay-Tee Teterissa slaps his Marleaux Signature Bass for solid 5 minutes. This video was recorded spontaneous and in 1 take during Musikmesse 2015. Find out more about Jay-Tee:

Slappin’ the bass fantastic –

Tanya and Dorise performing “The Story” –

apparently these two have something of a following in New Orleans. There are a lot of videos of them performing in the French Quarter posted to youtube.

I like their version of this song even better than the original –

Not even gonna try describing this one –

Guy earned every dollar he got.

Bonus Tanya & Dorise, because it’s just so awesome –

At the 2:56 point… the sustain, listen to it! It goes up to eleven!

Saturday Night Studio – Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers (And The Van)

“Our music definitely hearkens another era,” says Nicki Bluhm, “but at the same time, we want it to be contemporary. Reflective of now even though it nods to other times. We want it to be vintage modern.” – Nicki Bluhm

Nicki Bluhm rides around in a van and sings various songs while the band plays in the back. That’s the entire gimmick.

Is she any good?

I guess they do qualify as a band on the run, or at least on the go, and they do an okay cover of McCartney & Wings… their version isn’t awesomely great, but I like how they interpreted the classic intro (which I always thought should have been expanded into songs of their own).

They cover Madonna’s “Material Girl” which just amuses me, and they do a nice fadeout at the end, and do a good job with Stealer’s Wheel as Nicki is stuck in the middle.

My favorite is “I Can’t Go For That” by Hall & Oates, which features a little toy-style keyboard and the …. unique… solo, in addition to what I consider to be one of her best vocal performances –

I kinda have to include this one, given the title –

Rocktober Saturday Night Studio – Halloween

Some music to scare the trick-or-treaters with, along with a trick or two in the mix.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday Night Studio – Postmodern Jukebox

So where do you go to find pop hits from the last several decades covered in the style of swing and jazz standards from a bygone era?  Postmodern Jukebox has that niche, uh, covered.

For example, check out this vintage jazz cover of “Lovefool” by the Cardigans –

I don’t know about you, but I’ve waited 25 years for an “Old Jack Swing” cover of New Jack Swing stylists Bell Biv Devoe

Electronic Dance Music song “Lean On” done in the style of 70s Stevie Wonder? They got that –

…and it’s good. Far better than the original.

It might seem a bit naive to attempt covering a Talking Heads melody in vintage 40s swing style, but I guess they must be having fun. I liked it.

I have to wonder what urban, cosmopolitan feminist-y types think of PMJ’s cover of “Blurred Lines” – all the alleged rapiness with that bluegrass sound that makes the Tumblrinas teeth grind. Bonus points for a woman singing it. [Extra double bonus: listen to it at 1.25 x normal speed]

There’s also an instrumental keyboard mashup deep in the archives titled “Call Me Al, Maybe.”

This is how they remind me of how they polished an unpolishable turd with some Motown sound –

Lastly, one that sort of fits their bailiwick even before they covered it… I always liked this Fiona Apple song, but this cover suits it perfectly. Fiona should have done an alternate version in this style, because she was born sing in this style –

Thanks to my wife for discovering this.