Emitt Rhodes/”The American Dream”

The road along the history of pop, yellow-bricked and sparkling as it can be, is also littered with has-beens, the forgotten and promising young artists who should have made it big, but never did. Chance and choice can play big roles in how things turn out for anyone, but sometimes the very forces that should be working for us turn against us instead. And the relationship between the art world and the business world has often been a contentious one, to say the least. Such are the elements at work in the story of Emitt Rhodes, whose sad tale is one of the many cautionary signs posted along the pop expressway. Continue reading “Emitt Rhodes/”The American Dream””

“Catch a rainbow and I’ll be along, singing coloured songs…”: The Dukes of Stratosphear’s Chips from the Chocolate Fireball

In late 1966, just after they quit touring to devote themselves full time to making music, the Beatles began work on a new album. That album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, would not only go down in history as one of the most important albums in rock, but it also marks the most famous instance of a band adopting a pseudonym or alter ego under which to create music. In the Beatles’ case, taking on the Sgt. Pepper moniker provided the band with a concept for their album and allowed them new freedom to experiment, but countless other artists, like Green Day posing as the Foxboro Hot Tubs or Paul McCartney disguising himself as the Fireman, have donned similar masks for a variety of reasons. Continue reading ““Catch a rainbow and I’ll be along, singing coloured songs…”: The Dukes of Stratosphear’s Chips from the Chocolate Fireball”

Rule Breakers: Mandatory Fun by "Weird Al" Yankovic

 

I LOVE THIS CD! 

If you are having a terrible day and need a pick-me-up, listening to this CD will transform your mood and make you smile, at the very least. I laughed and danced to everything on the album.  The polka medley was great; I loved trying to figure out the original song before Weird Al began singing his polka remix.  It is a great album of parodies with a few original creations by Weird Al included. Check out or reserve this item at your local Chesapeake Public Library.

Just to give you a taste, here is the video for Word Crimes  from YouTube.

"What part of the dream is true, what part of the truth is a dream?": Pere Ubu’s Lady from Shanghai

Bubbling up from the murky waters of Lake Erie and spilling over into the basements, alleyways and abandoned factories of the industrial wasteland that was Cleveland, Ohio in the 1970s, there emerged a monster. Clad in scales of iron oxide and lead, breathing in toxic smokestack emissions and pulsing with spikes of electricity, each of its tentacles formed a band that didn’t just exist in the midst of this stark landscape, but thrived in and celebrated its surroundings. Some of these bands, like Electric Eels and Rocket from the Tombs, were primal and fierce, inspired by the similarly primitive sounds of the Stooges and the Velvet Underground, and the racket they made would, in retrospect, be dubbed punk. One band, however, was another creature altogether. Avant-garage was how Pere Ubu described their own sound, and while rock music indeed may have formed the initial foundation for what they did, a heavy dose of experimentation raced through their veins, and a name culled from French absurdist literature spoke volumes about their character. Continue reading “"What part of the dream is true, what part of the truth is a dream?": Pere Ubu’s Lady from Shanghai”