Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I guess if you asked I'd tell you my favorite all-time band is probably THE FLESH EATERS. I never saw the 1978-83 version live myself, I'm afraid - it was a couple years later that I got wise to their majesty, and it's been two decades-plus since that time & I still think no band has ever touched them for personification of sheer all-out, fire & brimstone raw power. The number of "rarities" out there from them are fairly few & far between (thankfully), since three of their four LPs have made it to CD in the intervening years. Still MIA is the masterpiece "Forever Came Today" LP and a couple of odds & ends. One thing I own & treasure is a live December 1982 radio show the band did not long after the release of that album on KPFK-FM in Los Angeles. The 15-song set features songs from all four of their albums, including the "Hard Road To Follow" LP that hadn't come out yet. The band are in total howling metal/punk/teeth-gnashing rare form on this particular evening, and man o man how I wish I could've seen them. I reckon this is as close as we'll get - here are three whoppers from that night for your listening pleasure.

(click on these links above, then download from the page the links take you to - or just play the songs there first)

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Finally figured out how to host mp3s on my site, so hey, welcome to a new era in DETAILED TWANG's evolution. I figure that this'll either be the total death knell of the site, or the free, quasi-illegal appleseeds that bring the kids back every week. We'll see. When I envisioned putting up some files a few months ago, I figured like everyone with a halfway decent mp3 blog that I'd try and reveal stuff that you probably haven't heard before, and/or stuff that's so out of print or tough to track down that you'll be friggin' stoked to finally be hearing it. I then thought about two 60s girl-group killers I discovered this past year, and how I'd like to teach them to the whole world. Here goes.

First up is "White Levis" by THE MAJORETTES, courtesy of DJ Chris Owen, a pal and a connoisseur of recorded musical wisdom. I heard him play this at gigs not once but twice, and both times bounded over to the "disc jockey booth" to ask who-the-f***-is-that?? I honestly can't tell you when it's from, but I know that it's a sly knockout of a song. Stupid saccharine fun from the sixties. I hope you like it. Better still is 1963's "Papa t'es Dans L'Coup" by French singer SHEILA, which may not clasify as a rarity per se, since it was sorta featured in the campy French comedy "Eight Women" a few years ago. Here's a YouTube link of her video for it, featuring some of the worst dancing and lip-syncing of all time. Both tracks are among the best 60s girl-pop smashes in my narrow world. We'll see what else we paste up here for ya next time. Enjoy!

Download THE MAJORETTES - "White Levis" 45
Download SHEILA - "Papa t'es Dans L'Coup" 45

(click on these links above, then download from the page the links take you to - or just play the songs there first)

Friday, January 19, 2007


Some old folks may remember the early hype & interest around the band PAVEMENT around 1989-90. They’d put out two strange, semi-experimental frazzled pop/noise 45s on two tiny independent labels & then a cleaner but still whomping 10”EP called “Perfect Sound Forever”. Yet they’d never shown their face in a live venue, and all most of us knew about them was they there were two mystery dudes from Stockton, CA named “SM” and “Spiral Stairs” and an older drummer/producer who sorta tagged along with them. When they finally announced a live show, in San Francisco around late 1990 or so, a lot of us were pretty friggin’ excited to see what they’d be like. Sadly, they were simply awful live, and I remember leaving four or five songs in – and this at a time when I never left shows early to catch up on sleep. I never dared see them live again, but I’d imagine they turned into something marginally decent, given the band’s burgeoning reputation long after I’d lost interest.

No such critical fate is likely to befall San Francisco’s WOODEN SHJIPS after their debut show this past Monday at SF’s CafĂ© Du Nord. The Shjips, who last year put out two of the most exciting slices of raw vinyl power I’ve heard in ages (hard, dark, stretched-out psych with heavy doses of Suicide, Velvet Underground and Thirteenth Floor Elevators as reference points), are at a similar figurative point that Pavement were 17 years ago, but all signs point to them being the better band. First, they didn’t dick around. Three songs, over and out. Sure, each one was about 8-10 minutes long, and featured layer upon layer of droning, building, weaving guitar feedback & deep-lid astral navigation, while being firmly rooted in the proto-punk canon. In fact, did I say something about “raw power”? Their third song, “Death’s Not Your Friend”, the only one they played from the records, flat-out apes the riff from THE STOOGES’ “Raw Power” , but it’s done in such an understated way it only dawned on me when I watched it pummeled into the ground live for ten minutes. Second, without knowing these guys at all personally, you just hear things in their sound that you don’t hear elsewhere – e.g., it’s not all referential, recycled BS from marginal musicians with great record collections. If it was I wouldn’t be nearly as pumped about ‘em as I am. Just listen to their second 45, “Dance, California/Cloud Over Earthquake” . I hear biker rock, experimental 60s soundtrack work, the Velvets – and yet I wouldn’t be surprised if you heard stuff wholly unrelated to any of these touchpoints, they’re just critical markers for unimaginative bloggers like me.

The net effect after 3 songs was a host of frothing rock fans who were half out for blood for such a “short” set & half stoked that they’d been left so rabidly wanting more, and surprised that the band were so on fire their very first show. I was greeted with the news that the Wooden Shjips are set to play at least two more local shows in the next couple months (one opening for Roky Erickson -their Myspace page indicates there are also some Austin, TX shows coming up) and I guess I’ll have to chain myself to them now, the way I did with certain bands in the eighties when I was 20 years old. In the process, by overhyping my new favorite band I’ll undoubtedly contribute to “the Pavement effect”, helping dozens of their current fans out the door and on to new sensations. Anything I can do to help, fellas!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE – This film seems to alternately loved and loathed, and I guess I was sorta reluctant to see it in the theaters given the high preponderance of folks in the latter camp. I didn’t need to worry – it was a mostly funny, well-made indie-by-the-numbers comedy with some strong performances from Toni Colette and the always-great Allan Arkin, as well as from the little girl whose beauty-pageant dreams kick the road-movie, dysfunctional family shenanigans into high gear. I can see why this was the hit of Sundance last year because, while being unique in its content, it hued so closely to the structure & feel of past wacky indie comedies that it figured the audiences there would go bananas for it. Solid film, definitely worth a rental. B.

THE OH IN OHIO – On the other hand, this one was a total monstrosity. Staring the once-reliable Parker Posey as an uptight executive who can’t bring herself to climax with her husband or solo, the film is a shapeless, unfunny, poorly-acted mess. I knew we should have turned it off when Danny Devito showed up. His scenes with Posey near the film’s end (they hook up! Right!) are stunningly tone deaf and badly written, and when the thing ends it does so with a total thud. This film is the final proof I needed that Posey, who I & everyone else loved early in her career, really isn’t much of an actress when you get right down to it – she’s great in certain roles (usually when she gets to be a clueless, shrill bitch), but everything else I’ve watched her in lately has had total diminishing returns. This one’s the worst of her sorry 21st Century lot by far. D-.

SUMMER IN BERLIN (pictured above) – They have this great “Berlin & Beyond” film festival in San Francisco every year, and this was the opening night release. It’s about two Berlin-based women trying to figure out how to move their lives beyond the rote and day-to-day, and maintain their deep & very personal friendship as they do so. One, Karin, is a 39-year-old single mom with a serious drinking/depression problem; the other is a smoking-hot, thong-wearing twentysomething who cleans bedpans by day and hits on the fellas by night. I thought the film did a good job capturing their relationship and what happened to it when a man entered the life of the younger woman; that said, there was a lot of hackneyed dialogue and a few scenes that absolutely perplexed me as to why they weren’t cut. “Summer in Berlin” might get a wider general release – I guess it was good enough – but I’ll venture to say it probably won’t. It was what I like to call a “film festival film” in every sense of the phrase. C.

Monday, January 15, 2007


My wife & I were the sort of annoying pre-parents who made all sorts of proclamations about how closely we'd be regulating our son's TV viewing, how he'd be limited to 30 minutes a day, how we'd drop everything to read to him when he got bored, all that crap that everyone who hasn't had a kid yet promises themselves and others. When the reality of child-rearing hit in 2003 - well maybe a year and a half later, when he had formed into something more than a blob on the blanket on the floor - it became obvious that television was a godsend, a magical device that instantly gave the parent the opportunity to eat dinner in peace, to wash dishes, to even read the paper for a friggin' change. Hey, 30 minutes is nothing - another show couldn't hurt, right? And maybe another after that? "Sesame Street"'s an hour - surely we can get a bunch done during that time? Wow, it works! And he's digging it, too.

What has helped calm us both is the fact that 38 years after the first episode of "Sesame Street" aired in 1969, there is actually an abundance of quality educational, instructive, sunny, not-too-annoying shows out there for the preschool set. When I counsel myself about his mind rotting from the TV he's watching, I look at the actual product on the tube, and it's truly hard for me to see where the damage would be coming from. See, we have a Tivo, a lifechanging device that you can get for fifty bucks & then another 12 bucks a month after that. That allows us to pre-screen the shows for the ones without commercials, store up the ones we approve of, and dole them out as we see fit. We also still keep the TV viewing to about an hour in the morning and another hour in the evening, always with us supervising in the room & sometimes watching with him (and of course, all rules such as those are made to be broken). My son totally goes berzerk when we watch a rare "live" show with commercials, and freaks out that his show just abruptly stopped for ads, which he has zero concept of; he also can't fathom why he can't immediately watch another episode of, say, "The Backyardigans" when the one he's watching has ended - because on the Tivo we can just keep them rolling as long as we've stored 'em up, and have the lack of parental discipline to cut him off.

There are a handful out there that truly impress me besides "Sesame Street", which is still the gold standard. I actually enjoy the Disney Channel's "Little Einsteins", an animated show with revolving "rescue"-type adventures by a cast of four preschoolers on a red rocket - a white boy, a girlie girl, a tomboy, and a wisecracking African-American boy. Each show is scored by a famous composer - Grieg and Tchaikovsky seem to be the default choices - and features the paintings of an artist such as Van Gogh. To hear my son routinely command me to walk "adagio" or "allegro" is something to behold, particularly when I have to ask him what those words mean. I also approve of "The Backyardigans" (four suburban African-American hippos with names like Uniqua and Tyrone invent backyard adventures like ice treks, volcano climbing and pirate shennanigans before Mom calls them in for their snacks); "Zoom" (on PBS, almost exactly like the one I worshipped when I was a 1970s kid, minus my first crush Julie); "Arthur" (a little trying at times but always a good "lesson" to be had); and "Charlie & Lola" (a British import, drawn in this great animated cut-&-paste style that's a blast to look at and actually kind of funny besides).

Must to avoid are of course "Barney" (simply horrifying, and so dumbed-down it defies description to even a two-year-old), "The Wonder Pets", "Bob The Builder" (awful) and "The Wiggles", which I know some people swear by but which drives me bananas. The fact that it's "rock-and-roll" themed does nothing for me in the least. And my kid thinks it blows too. I still am struck by how generally good the good ones are, though. I have no doubt they're challenging his mind, reinforcing concepts of reading & counting beyond what we already do ourselves, and giving this only child examples of how kids deal with conflict or problems, and the rewards or punishments that come from proceeding correctly. I think they finally figured out the secret recipe for quality kids TV a few years back, just as adult TV seems to be undergoing a fantastic renaissance right now as well, and I'm glad it's peaking right when my kid's inquisitiveness is as well. Respectful disagreement welcomed.

PS - Apologies to any readers who are bummed out that I even indirectly wrote about my kid, something I promised I wouldn't do when I started this blog. I know it's not punk in any way, shape or form, and I promise to tackle deep underground subcultures like Fuck Off Records, the films of Jodorowsky, and Spock/Kirk erotica in future posts.

Friday, January 12, 2007


I may have been the last interested person to hear the story of a lost 1966 “demo”/acetate version of the VELVET UNDERGROUND’s first album – complete with totally different versions of some of my/your all-time favorite songs - turning up in a warehouse for 75 cents and then going for broke on eBay for $150,000. I got the news that it even existed when the bidding was well underway, and was pretty bummed when my $105,131.69 max bid was trumped by someone else. So then I turned my sights onto getting a CD-R version of it for less than 50 cents, and in that endeavor I was much more successful (though you can trump even that by going to #1 superdope homeboy Brian Turner’s post on WMFU’s blog and downloading the songs yourself before they disappear). I’ve been accumulating Velvets bootlegs and alternate tracks for many years, and I was floored that such a treasure would just pop up out of nowhere – the quintessential record collector’s wet dream.

Imagine an alternate history of these recordings, one in which the band broke up after this session was laid down, and then pursued mediocre-to-nonentity musical careers that ended in failure and zero records. Presuming that the recordings would still ultimately be unearthed in Manhattan in 2005 or whenever it was, how would we have reacted to the earthshaking squall of track #1, “European Son” (seriously! They originally intended for it to open the album!)? Or to the life-changing guitar work on “Run Run Run” and “I’m Waiting For The Man”? Or the hypnotic trance/ice-drone of “All Tomorrow’s Parties”? I’m reasonably confident it would have caused a rock-n-roll revolution in the motherfucking streets. Me, I’m actually surprised that this is even better than I expected. Of the 9 songs on here (they added “Sunday Morning” and “There She Goes Again” to the eventual LP), unless I’m high, eight of them are mildly and in some cases wildly different from the later versions. Only “Run Run Run” is the same version, and even that one, like everything else on here, has muted “White Light/White Heat”-esque low fidelity production and tons of vinyl pops & crackle not on the later version.

The surprise winner for me was the wholly different Nico vocal on “Femme Fatale”, which also includes feminized Reed/Cale backing vocals. “European Son” is massive, of course, and features a crazed guitar shitstorm every bit the equal of the later version. It unfortunately doesn’t have the chair dragged across the floor & the broken glass we all love so much. “I’m Waiting For The Man” is completely different, as is “Heroin” – I like the later versions, as these sound too much like demos, but hindsight is of course 20-20. In all, it’s one of the best “bootlegs” out there, and a total gift to the Velvets fan and the rock and roller at large. I’d recommend getting a version straight off of the acetate if you can, rather than wait for a cleaned-up official version – though of course you and I will buy that one too, right?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


On our old blog we wrote about mainstream TV's early 80s reaction to punk rock - that was before the magic of You Tube. Here's the evidence. First, some QUINCY:

And now some CHiPS:

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


If you're as old as I am you remember when punk rockers actually terrified the heartland and the music industry at large. Here's a great clip from 1979 of some fake punks doing a spot for Chicago's Q101 - what we used to call an "easy rock" station, playing "Fogelberg", The Eagles, etc. You'll definitely dig on the punk rock namechecks - especially "Flesh Eater"! Enjoy.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


I’m always on the lookout for that one golden pop act that’s going to blow my deep-underground leanings away and bring me into the sugar-filled promised land of massive hooks, deep grooves and candied adrenaline overload. The ones I seem to go for almost always have with female singers. I honestly don’t know why, but I suspect it has something to do with the chauvinistic notion that a “softer” form of music (that being pop music) sounds better when it's paired with a "softer" voice. In past years I’ve flirted with ELASTICA (an album with maybe 3 great songs and tons of filler); the SAHARA HOTNIGHTS (two great songs and lots of pablum); JOHNNY BOY (one masterpiece of a song - "You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes..." - and electro garbage after that); THE PIPETTES (great debut single; awful teenypop dreck immediately followed) LOVE IS ALL (still kinda like them; check out "Make Out Fall Out Break Up" and "Motorboat"!); and the LONG BLONDES.

Now the Long Blondes were always one good album away from superstardom in my eyes, and who knows, some folks may feel this is it. I was just hoping for something moderately decent. I've followed their 45s pretty closely the past couple years - I think there were six in all, with half being fantastic uptempo wavoid girl pop & the other half being total schlock. The two singles that stood out the most for me were "Lust In The Movies" (an even better version of the 45 kicks off this CD) and "Seperated By Motorways" (totally inferior and meaningless version here). But the full-length record confirms that they're only rarely inspired enough to write the big, monstrous pop bombs I've been pining for - too often they're grinding the gears between sappy lite MOR-ish new wave and going-through-the-motions femme vamping ("Weekend Without Makeup"; "Once and Never Again"). And how many times in one album do we need to be reminded that the twentysomething singer - who I will say is quite a smoker if you know what I mean - used to be 19?. The title track is pretty good, and I have no doubt that John Peel himself would have probably fallen for it were he still with it. The band can indeed move to the more interesting half of the musical spectrum when they choose to, but I suspect a push for the "big break" on this record and it totally plays that way to my ears. I guess I'll just keep looking for the one true pop band of the 21st century.