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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hip To Be Square

Sunday is TV theme song day here at POP ZEUS!



Square Pegs was a teen angst television show that ran for one season in 1982. Although its a bit obscure, I remember it fondly. Not because it starred a young Sarah Jessica Parker opposite Jamie Gertz, but because my sister happened to be about the same age as the characters at the time, and her name happened to be Peggy. This provided hours of fodder for my older brothers to tease her with. I'd like to take this opportunity to state that I was far too young at the time to make fun of anyone, and even if I did, it wouldn't have been my sister Peggy because she'd kick the shit out me. Still.

ADDENDUM: Here is the actual theme song

The Waitresses "Square Pegs" theme

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

And We Thought They Knew How To Rock In Papa New Guinea!

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KISS "Shandi"

KISS "She's So European"

By 1980's Unmasked, KISS had lost all sense of danger. Perhaps losing Peter Criss was part of that, but it was probably more in part due to Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley's increasing stranglehold on the direction of the group. Unmasked showed a new side of KISS, the kind you might hear playing in an 80s teen sex romp instead of a stoner's basement with black light posters covering every inch of the drywall. Gone was the mystery, and KISS was now accepted as wholesome, All American rock whose concerts you could bring yr kids to. They've been like this ever since.

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Bringing drummer Anton Fig (of early Paul Schaffer and the World's Most Dangerous Band fame) in the studio to fill in on drums, Unmasked was KISS' first album since 1975's Dressed To Kill not to achieve Platinum status. Since the record was such a failure in America they decided to give it a go in Australia. They conquered Australia with a 1980-81 tour that went over like the second coming of the Beatles. The Aussies ate it up, including Unmasked's only hit single "Shandi". To this day, 1 out of every 14 Australians owns at least one KISS record.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Drunk With Power Chords

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Dead Horse "Ascension Strut"

Drunk Horse is not here to split hairs. They are here to play straight ahead riff heavy rock with a tinge of 70s supergroups thrown in for good measure. Drunk Horse is not interested in sounding squeaky clean like a Mutt Lange produced Def Leppard album. They want their records to sound like they were recorded in a bog, or perhaps a swamp. Drunk Horse are from Oakland, so you know they're not putting up with any bullshit. If you are looking for music with a chipper attitude I might suggesting buying the latest American Idol winner's record. And lastly, Drunk Horse is coming to yr house for dinner tonight. If yr not sure what to make them, just make meat loaf. Drunk Horse like meat loaf.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Yes It's True I Got A Big Ole Dick, In Africa I Use It As A Walking Stick

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Nat Dove & The Devils "Petey Wheatstraw"

Nat Dove & The Devils "Zombie March"

Nat Dove & The Devils "Loving You"

Nat Dove & The Devils "Steve's Den"

Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil's Son In Law was a 1978 Rudy Ray Moore vehicle in which the Devil offers a man the chance to return to earth if he agrees to be the Anti-Chirst and marry the ugliest bitch on earth, the Devil's daughter. Although a bit incestual if you think about it, but its nevertheless just as funny as any other Moore film. Which exception of Roger Moore of course, who's never really been that funny. Dudley Moore doesn't count, either.

But its the film's soundtrack that really shines. Performed by Nat Dove & The Devils, its blaxploitation funk and r&b that really kicks. It's not as slick as some of the other soundtracks of the time like Superfly or Black Caesar but that's part of its charm. Most of the tracks are instrumentals except for "Loving You" which features Mary Love, a session singer who would later achieve success with Christian influenced soul. My guess is that her work on the Soundtrack to a movie about the Anti-Christ is something she'd like to leave behind her. It also include the instrumental "Steve's Den". What a menacing title!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Everybody Likes Different Songs!

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Venom "Black Metal"

I've always had a love for metal. Its kind of curious that I've never got around to listening to any Venom. Coining the term with their debut record Black Metal in 1982, these leather clad hessians spat out lightning fast riffs with lyrics ripped from the third circle of hell, handled by lead singer/bassist Cronos.

Venom "Live In New Jersey"

But I guess the thing that always put me off about Venom was the famous record of one of their concerts in New Jersey where all the songs are edited out and we're left with hilarious outros, intros and crowd banter. Cronos engages the crowd with lines like "You wanna hear a fucking fast one?", as if they're not all fast. When a punter in the crowd calls out for what was probably meant to be "Blood Lust", Cronos replies with "Blood What? I don't think we have one called that." It's a very Spinal Tap moment, but it still shouldn't deter you from laying down your soul to the gods rock and rolll, NNNNNNNNNNYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH BLACK METAL!!!!!

Venom Promo 1

Venom Promo 2

footnote: also included are some promos for their records At War With Satan and In League With Satan. I guess somewhere along the lines they switched allegiances.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I'm Getting You!

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Leroy Smart "Without Love"

Leroy Smart, aka "The Don", recorded records in Jamaica with the likes of producer Bunny "Striker" Lee. He's one of Kingston's most well known artists, having shared the stage with giants like Bob Marley & the Wailers, Peter Tosh and Dennis Brown at 1978's "One Love" Festival. Contrary to popular belief he did not in fact inspire the Don Adams spy show Get Smart from the late sixties. It's a fair assumption however, because it was a well known fact that people were constantly trying to "get" Leroy. And now I'm getting you!

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Monday, September 24, 2007

On Returning

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Of Montreal "Tropical Iceland"

My fervent passion for Athens, Georgia's Of Montreal continues to grow as the days lead up to a set of three concerts they will be performing here in Los Angeles in November. To tide myself over, I decided to put up this fantastic cover of the Fiery Furnaces "Tropical Iceland" they recorded at a Morning Becomes Eclectic session earlier this year. Morning Becomes Eclectic seems to play some decent music, but every time I turn it on I am immediately turned off by host Nic Harcourt's pretentiousness. I mean, I get it Nic, your record collection dwarfs mine. It's really not a contest, dude. It really isn't.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bo Knows Killing Men In Tractors

Sunday is TV Theme Song day here at POP ZEUS!



As a kid, I never realized the saturday morning cartoons I watched (by the way do they even show cartoons on Saturday mornings anymore?) were so god awful. Take Pro Stars for instance. A cartoon that turned Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Bo Jackson into super heroes, Pro Stars was "hot", "cool" and "jammin'". All at the same time. The theme song to this show is literally the stupidest thing I've ever heard. And apparently Wayne Gretzky has the ability to shoot pucks at motherfuckers that turn into boomerangs and then explode. Of course he does. Enjoy the memories you have of your childhood. Because every once in a while you'll see something like this and realize you were duped. Several times over.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out



I spend a lot of time here at POP ZEUS! complaining about how kids have horribel taste in music and that there is no hope for the future, leaving us all doomed. Just as i tie the noose around my neck, somebody sends me something like this. These kids, all under TEN YEARS OLD, hail from my hometown and rock AC/DC covers like seasoned veterans. They even have a go-go dancer! Maybe I was wrong and there is a light at the end of the tunnel after all. For those about to rock, WE SALUTE DUDES!

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Before The Stage Is Set, Before The First Lick Of The Guitar

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David Bowie "TVC 15" (live)

David Bowie's 1978 tour was his first in five years in which he hadn't probably anaesthetised himself with copious amounts of cocaine before taking the stage. It's resulting live album Stage is a represenation of a more happy and healthy Bowie, reworking his classics as well as perfoming material from his later soon to be classics like Station To Station, Low and Heroes.

This version of "TVC 15" from the Station To Station record (my personal favorite by Bowie) shows just far Bowie and his band had come. A stay over from his White Light tour, the song was reworked and this jokey track about a trans-human interface between a girlfriend and a tv set gained even more groove than its original recording. I've always considered this track to be like a sister song to the Misfits' "Hybrid Moments" which is about being raped by a demon by way of an inter-dimensional portal. It's the same basic idea, you see.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

You Can't Hide Behind That Dandelion Forver, Pollard!

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Circus Devils "Star Peppered Wheatgerm"

Guided By Voices "My Valuable Hunting Knife" (Shernoff Version)

It's been about a minute since I mentioned Robert Pollard or Guided By Voices, so in celebration of his two, count em TWO new records being released on October 9th, Standard Gargoyle Decisions and Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love, I've decided to delve into the vast (vast!) GBV database and unearth a few new gems.

"Star Peppered Wheatgerm" appears on the first Circus Devils record Ringworm Interiors. This song, like most of the tracks recorded under the Circus Devils moniker by Bob Pollard and Todd Tobias, is interesting to say the least. It also reminds me of my brother moik, who I remember used to keep wheat germ in in our parent's cupboard. I would be looking for an after school snack, like Nutty Bars or a Ho-Ho, and I would come across my brother's jar of wheat germ and suddenly lose my appetite.

The "Shernoff Version" of "My Valuable Hunting Knife" comes from the Bee Thousand: Director's Cut version, apparently the original vision for GBV's now legendary Bee Thousand record. There are several versions of this song floating around there but I feel this one rocks the hardest. I'm not really sure who Shernoff is or if it's even a person and if not, what it refers to but I'm sure that there's a blowfish or two out there who can answer that question.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Do You Like Yr Quasi Futuristic Clothes Mr Powers? I Designed Them Myself.

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Quasi "I Give Up"

This simple track by Quasi, comprised of ex-Sleater Kinney drummer Janet Weiss and ex-Sleater Kinney drummer ex-husband Sam Coomes, from 1998's Featuring Birds exemplifies my attitude towards most obstacles during daily life. Namely giving up. Your car got a flat? Abandon it. Running late for work? Just quit the job. Running out of stuff to write on yr mp3 blog? Write a post like this.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Trick Question. Lemmy Is God.

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Motorhead "Please Don't Touch"

Motorhead has always seemed more like a punk band than a hard rock band to me. Take this cut from 1980's St. Valentine's Day Massacre EP with Girlschool, "Please Don't Touch" for instance. Originally performed by Johnny Kidd, the song has all the swagger of a track by the New York Dolls as well as the Damned. I guess Lemmy is just so metal looking that they always get classified that way. I met Lemmy once at the Rainbow in Los Angeles (by the way, if yr interested in meeting Lemmy yourself, I would go to that place because he is seemingly always there). He was playing the bartop video game with a prostitute on his arm. I feigned interest in the game and asked him how it worked. He explained to me in great detail the rules of the game although I could not for the life of me translate his accent. Really it was just an excuse to say I met the man. Now if you'll excuse me, Lemmy and I are going to play racquetball.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Otto Parts

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The Plugz "El Clavo Y La Cruz"

"El Clavo Y La Cruz" is my favorite Spanish language song. True, it's one of very few Spanish language songs in my collection (others include "Eres Tu" from the movie Tommy Boy and another Plugz song, "El Hombre Secreto" a Spanish version of "Secret Agent Man") but it's still the very best of the bunch. This is in part due to the fact that this song plays in one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies: Repo Man. "El Clavo" plays during the scene where Otto (Emilio Estevez) reposesses his first car. The owner chases after him and Otto throws the dashboard Virgin Mary out the window. Classic. I've always like Emilio ever since this movie, no matter what he was in he still reminded me of Otto.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Everything And The Kitchen Sink

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Danaya "By The Mark"

by Mike Brett

I used to love radio. In the 80s in Chicago, XRT still played funky shit and there were four or five truly great college radio stations I could pick up. What gave me the biggest kick was when a song came on that you had never heard. I closed my eyes and imagined what the band looked like just from their sound. Sometimes they ended up looking just like you thought-Nirvana, for example. And sometimes, they looked nothing like you thought they would-Dinosaur Jr, for example (I thought these guys would be real hot shit-like the Stooges, but they looked like a bunch of my friends' bonghead older brothers). On those evenings, I felt like I discovered this band

The internet has given me back that great feeling. There is a ton of free music out there, and it has taken me a while to find my sea legs. Now, I find most of my new music from trusted mp3 blogs-faves right now are Said the Gramophone, Daytrotter, and Gorilla vs. Bear. I download and upload these mp3s and then wait for the aforementioned beloved sensation when that song pops up on my iTunes. I hurry over to see what is playing (a convenience I lacked in the days of transistor radios), and if it is someone I never heard of I smile.

In my mind's eye this week's band, Danaya, is a bunch of long-hairs with Judas Priest t-shirts pounding away at instruments, hell bent on recreating the late '70s right there in their garage. This songs should be the side one closer of an awesome prog metal album. First, it has two electric guitars (one's not enough, three's two away from Tesla). Second, it has some vintage synth work. And somewhere, around mid-song, they whip out (oh yes) the vocoder. Whoever the drummer in this band is, he can create a furious gallop which almost sounds as if it's gonna take this whole Danaya band off the cliff. The lyrics talk about the 'graveyard of your heart' and implore you to 'focus on your failures'-phrases which very well have been on the pages of my junior high notebook (along with repeated renderings of Led Zeppelin and Metallica logos). I don't know if Danaya can afford a theremin, but they managed to effect the sound none the less. Yes, this song is wickedly over-the-top. Christopher Walken's Glyn Johns would smile behind the booth's glass at this song's productions, sip on his cognac, and think "No, not one cowbell more." Enjoy.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

MTV Get Off The Air

APTOPIX MTV Awards Show

Dead Kennedys "MTV Get Off The Air"

Here are some of my thoughts on the recent MTV Music Awards. I'll try to keep it brief instead of going off on a novel length rant.

1. I am never watching MTV again.

2. Not only were most of the "performers" lip syncing, MTV didn't even show their entire performances. Not only that, but the showing I saw was interrupted by picture in pictures of the likes of Dave Grohl, 50 Cent and the Fall Out Boys spewing inane comments about the award show itself. Shockingly, none of them had anything bad to say about Britney Spears' horse tranquilizer fueled performance.

3. Dave Grohl should stop talking to the people at MTV. He should stop appearing on their network and in fact, all other semi talented artists should as well. This of course means that the Fall Out Boys can spend all the time they like on MTV.

4. What in the FUCK was MASTODON doing performing on this show? When has MTV ever played one of their videos? The crowd they performed to seemed confused at best. A bunch of gold digging hoes in black cocktail dresses looking to hook up with T.I. are not going to appreciate MASTODON, MTV.

5. John Norris is STILL ON MTV. I can speculate that the only reason for this is that he has some sort of gay porn blackmail material on several of the higher ups in corporate. Seriously, this guy is like 60 years old and he looks like a dying bird in a skeleton mask. I though MTV was all about good looking young people. and NOTHING ELSE.

6. Kanye West has a serious attention deficit disorder.

7. All of you who respect yourselves should also just stp watching MTV. It's very easy to just program it out of your channel guide, that way you'll never know it was there.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Well TURN IT UP, MAN!

by Mark Cappelletty

Alice Cooper “Eighteen”
Harry Nilsson “Jump Into The Fire”

The greatest music commercial ever:



Everyone remembers this ad. And nothing says” Dirty Hippie” like the two stoners in the clambake van pitching four records, four cassettes or two CDs full of music that’s not particularly patriotic and, frankly, not even that much rock. You assume that you’ll get your “Rambling Man” and your “Free Bird” and a smattering of other late ‘60’s/early ‘70’s album-rock favorites.

But while the set delivers expected conversion-van smokers like “White Room,” “Smoke On The Water,” “White Rabbit” and “Black Magic Woman,” most of the selections are shockingly weak. What self-respecting pothead busted out with The O’Jays’ “Love Train” while driving down I-75 carrying a load of primo Humboldt County smoke? What counter-culture revolutionary gave the finger to The Man while blasting Seals & Crofts’ “We May Never Pass This Way Again”? What tie-dye stained flower child tuned in or dropped out to the positively unpsychedelic melodies of Elton John or Dion?

The ad doesn’t even get their hippies straight-- the over-hyper dude on the left is way too clean-looking — I bet he doesn’t even stink of patchouli — while the other looks like he got lost on the way to a Jimmy Buffet concert. These clowns are no Randee Of The Redwoods.

As for the songs above, they’re the best of the bunch on this album. Face it— do you really want to listen to Joan Baez’s rendition of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”? Neither is really traditional “Freedom Rock,” unless you count Mr. Rosso’s rendition of the Cooper hit on the classic Freaks & Geeks or the fact that the Nilsson song — best used during Ray Liotta’s cocaine freak-out in Goodfellas — sounds like an approximation of a really bad trip. This is MY Freedom Rock. And don’t forget to turn it up. Man.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Always Crush Me

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Menomena "Wet And Rusting"

Menomena impressed me at July's Pitchfork Festival even though the only song I was familiar with at the time was "Wet And Rusting" from their latest offering Friend And Foe. So much in fact that I went right out and bought the vinyl pressing of their LP. The good thing about this is that it came with a free mp3 download of the record so I can have it in my precious iTunes as well.

I've been doing this a lot lately. So I'd like to take this opportunity to relay a message to Prince and (the estate of) Rick James: re-issue your entire back catalog on vinyl and include free mp3 downloads along with it. Also to Prince: your leftover tuna salad sandwich is still in my fridge and its starting to get stinky. I know you said not to throw it out but enough is enough. Come get it or its going in the trash.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

He's A Deep Deep Ocean

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Billy Ocean "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going"

Some of you might consider this total cheese, but I think "When The Going Gets Tough" (which I believe comes from the Romancing The Stone soundtrack) is a damn good song. Maybe it takes me back to my days as a lad, riding my bike around the block endlessly listening to Z95 on my walkman, hoping the next track will be "Rock Steady" by Whispers or "Easy Lover" by Phil Collins and Phillip Bailey. Then I would go to the pool and stare at the hot lifeguard, still humming radio hits to myself as I prepared to enter puberty.

Or maybe it reminds me of the time I sang "Carribbean Queen" in a karaoke bar in Chicago and my friend Mikey retaliated with "When The Going Gets Tough", another Ocean classic. Oddly enough, no one did "Get Out Of My Car, Get Into My Dreams" that night, but then again too much Ocean might have driven the crowd CRAZY. Wow, some things never change.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Mastodon Ameche

Just when you thought that Mastodon couldn't get any more bad ass, they go and produce a video like the one for "Sleeping Giant" from 2006's Blood Mountain LP. This video straddles the line between Tool clip territory and the "Space Madness" episode of Ren & Stimpy. Don't touch the button! The beautiful, SHINY button!

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

We Rool The School

Sunday is TV theme song day here at POP ZEUS!

Galaxy High Theme

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Apparently the ill fated Saturday morning cartoon Galaxy High only lasted for 13 episodes and was taken off the air after two seasons. So then why do I remember this show so vividly? Because it had a bad ass theme song, that's why. For the past twenty or so years this song has popped in my head followed by hours of me trying to figure out what made me think of the Galaxy High theme song.

I also remember thinking the Earth girl in the cartoon was hot. And before you chastise me for being attracted to a cartoon character as a young boy, go back into yr brain vaults and remember you yourself probably had a crush on Smurfette or Miss Yvonne or Ms. Pac Man or whatever at some point in your life. We all have our disgusting secrets. Apparently Galaxy High is now on DVD, if that's the kind of thing yr into.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Well What With This Change Of The Weather, Some People Might Be Getting A Little Bit Of The ROCK AND ROLL PNEUMONIA!!!!

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Husker Du "Turn On The News"

Over all these years of listening to Husker Du's 1984 masterpiece Zen Arcade, I can't believe that it's only just now that I realize that "Turn On The News" sounds like a Hotter Than Hell era KISS track. Maybe its the fact that Zen Arcade is a double album and I've always had sort of a short attention span. What's that? Oh there's a fly in here. And now there's a blue car outside! HA HA HA HA HA! Oh and now my cat just meowed! Man, what a crazy day this is turning out to be!

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