Desert Island Singles: “Did I Say” by Teenage Fanclub (2003)

Image from 45cat.com

Image from 45cat.com

“I’ve always said that Teenage Fanclub is what the Beach Boys would be if they grew up today and didn’t surf.” – Eugene

“’Did I Say’ is shockingly good, two and a half wondrous minutes of the best Badfinger imitation that you’ll ever hear, proof that the band still has what has made them great for so long.” – Adrien Begrand

I can’t say enough about Teenage Fanclub. One of the best, most creative bands I’ve ever heard. In 2003 they released a compilation disc entitled “Four Thousand Seven Hundred And Sixty-Six Seconds – A Short Cut To Teenage Fanclub.” The two-disc set was a collection of tracks through that point of their career. But Norman Blake, Gerard Love, and Raymond McGinley each contributed a new track. Read the rest of this entry »


Desert Island Discs: “Silk Degrees” by Boz Scaggs (1976)

Image from bozscaggs.org

A confession: I hated this album when it first came out in the summer of 1976. Hated it. I was a snotty, arrogant, nineteen-year-old jaded hipster poser. I referred to this as “Slick Debris.” I said that Boz Scaggs sang like Kermit The Frog. I had a default-setting, reflexive, knee-jerk dislike for anything that sold a million copies or more: I reasoned that it was mass-produced simply to appeal to the unenlightened public.

Thirty-eight years later, I still think Boz Scaggs sings like Kermit The Frog. But I have grown to love this album. Even back then, when no one else was in the car, I would sing along to “Lido Shuffle.” Read the rest of this entry »


Desert Island Singles: “This Beat Goes On/ Switchin’ To Glide” by The Kings (1980)

As far as “This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ To Glide” is concerned, where it stands out for me is the transition between one section of the song and the next, creating a rock song that is instantly accessible with miles of pop appeal, along with being ambitious on the arrangement front that is bolstered by solid musicianship. In short, the Kings were pub rock. And when new wave came along, and was embraced by top forty radio at the end of the 1970s, the Kings were ripe for radio play, first in Canada and eventually in the States, too.- Rob Jones, “The Delete Bin”

Image from 45cat.com

Image from 45cat.com

It was the summer of 1980. I was about to start a grad program, and my roommate/ best bud was about to get married. In other words, it was a endless summer of celebrations. The radio, thankfully, was shrugging off disco and “urban cowboy” music and actually started playing some kickass rock’n’roll. And this song was all over the radio. Click here for more.


Desert Island Discs: “New Miserable Experience” by Gin Blossoms (1992)

Image from Wikipedia

“Okay, right off the bat, let’s acknowledge that it’s just not cool to like the Gin Blossoms. They were one of those bands that helped propel modern rock into the mainstream, wound up with gobs of commercial success, and were at one time a ubiquitous sound on corporate radio. So, today, if you try to hang onto any kind of indie cred at all, you’ll probably distance yourself from the Gin Blossoms faster than you can say Alanis Morrissette. Fool.”
Patrick Schabe

Through hard work, relentless performing, great creativity, good connections, or just plain luck, some bands and artists find mainstream success. In many circles this makes them the targets of skepticism and outright derision from jaded hipster posers who run screaming from anything that smacks of popularity. I know: at times I’ve been one of those jaded hipster posers. Not proud of it, but there it is. Click here for more.


Desert Island Singles: “Ups And Downs” by Paul Revere and The Raiders (1967)

Image from muskmellon.wordpress.com

Image from muskmellon.wordpress.com

It would appear that, superficially, they were too cute and silly to have lasting impact on future musicians. The uniforms and predictable humor; they never really became cool. Still, from 1965 through 1969, The Raiders made some of the most influential power pop tunes of that time.The original lineup was raw with energy, but proficient as a band. Compared to other American bands of the era, only The Beach Boys held their status with future power pop enthusiasts. Basically a show band, in the studio it was mainly the lead vocalist and guitarist that performed their duties. – Kendel Paget

Click here for more.


Desert Island Singles: “Blue Period” by The Smithereens (1989)

Image from eil.com

Image from eil.com

I had been thinking about the song “Blue Period,” a gorgeous and heartbreaking duet by lead Smithereen Pat DiNizio and Go-Go Belinda Carlisle, featured on this record. Back in 1989 when the MTV crowd was playing air guitar to the opening bombast of the hit single, “A Girl Like You,” I was savoring the beautiful string arrangement, the very Left Banke-sounding harpsichord, and the sweet harmonies of DiNizio and Carlisle that made “Blue Period” a stand-out tune on “11.” Plus, there is a key moment in the last verse when the duo sings, “I think of you, much more than I’d ever be willing to say,” where it seems like both singers are fighting back the tears as they harmonize. It’s a little masterpiece of emotion that, like most of this record, was overshadowed by the big chords and video of the hit single. – Sal Nunziato

The Smithereens released their third LP, “11,” in 1989 after two commercially successful and critically acclaimed releases, “Especially For You” and “Green Thoughts.” The comparisons flew with comments about how the band had sold out, softened their sound. I think that’s nonsense; “11” is every bit as good an album as the previous two. Click here for more.


Desert Island Singles: “There She Goes” by The La’s (1990)

Image from Wikipedia

Liverpool band The La’s (slang for “lads”) released only one eponymous album in 1990. This song is the most stellar of an album full of stellar.

The lead guitar riff is magnetic. So is the rhythm guitar. Everything sticks to them. The song has no verses, just the chorus over and over with a middle eight that appears once. The La’s were like Teenage Fanclub in their ability to take a classic, 60s pop sound and make it meaningful to a new generation. I’ve described it as being like The Four Seasons jamming with The Byrds. Click here for more.