Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ed Sanders

Well, I got a request for the Ed Sander's Truckstop album, and in particular two songs (which took me forever to find when I first looked for 'em since the requester and I made the same mistakes about what should be named what). But, with little ado, and minus a few songs that wouldn't fit on the 25mb storage space that I have, here's Truckstop. If you want the other songs, get ahold of me...

The Plaster Song

Popularized by Red Dorkus and his band, this is the tragic lament of the deliterious effects that plaster casters can have on a relationship.

Jimmy Joe the Hippybilly Boy

The awful tale of a boy misunderstood by his neighbors, but lauded after death. It also drives Amy up the fucking wall, and so I secretly enjoy it.

Maple Court Tragedy

Better known as "Polaroid Spread Shots," this is a classic of love and loss.

Heartbreak Crash Pad
Who hasn't had a special place that becomes impossible to return to due to the weight of memories?

The Illiad, a theme for America, would go here, but I had it up for a while and no one seemed to want it. Maybe I'll put it back up and take down some of these other ones soon.

The ABM Machine

Better known as "Are you a vampire, Melvin Laird," this song questions the evil within all of us.

Homesick Blues

Ed Sanders tackles the problem of the recently released poet prisoner returning home with his characteristic delicacy.


An Irish love song.

Breadtray Mountain

A sequel to "Hardrock Candy Mountain"? The plaintive fiddle sets this apart...

They're Cutting my Coffin at the Sawmill

Pretty self-explainitory.

Pindar's Revenge

The old country school is now a crashpad. If that doesn't break your heart, nothing will.

The Yodellin' Yippie is the other missing track that would prevent you from assembling the full album. It's another that I've put up before, but might be convinced to re-up.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Nature's Hated

So, I'm vaguely curious about Romo, after hearing it described in glowing terms on ILM, and I'm listening to Nature's Hated by Orlando. I think it's OK, a little too Manic Street but no big deal.

Amy comes in and "What the hell is that SHIT? I can't even think, it's that bad!"

So... take it as you will.

Monday, April 10, 2006


It's been a classic MOR day here at the Honest Engine pagoda. What does that mean? Well, it means that I've given my first listen (ever!) to two albums widely reputed to be "classics" that somehow my punk affinities had led me to overlook— Aja by Steely Dan and Hermit of Mink Hollow by Todd Rundgren.

First, the Steely Dan. I found a vinyl copy of Aja in my girlfriend's crates and stuck it on.

Maybe the problem is that I'd been listening to real jazz right before it (Archie Shepp's brilliant Choral Rock), but the smoove was overpowering. Pleasant, and I don't have any hate for it, but like baby food. Like jazz pre-chewed.
I liked Deacon Blues OK, and I thought Josie was pretty cool. I like the bass sound that they've got, warm and mid-'70s. But things like the disco-ish beat on Black Cow and the endless vapid crooning (I know, I know, everyone loves the lyrics. But Home At Last is pretty damn empty, at least to me). Too much pretention in this yacht rock. If I'm going to listen to smoov, I want something a little more fun and a little less late night AM radio. Too much REO Speedwagon. Too much Hall and Oates ballad. And I know, I know, those guys didn't do it as meticulously (or something). And Steely Dan passes on the practical scale— you can tell that they succeeded at putting out albums that sounded like they wanted them to sound, even if that meant saxophones so slick that they glisten like slug trails. And if the argument is going to be that you simply need to be a musician to comprehend their consumate skill, well, I'll cop to feeling a little more populist on that front (while acknowledging the contradiction between that and eschewing 'smooth,' 'accessible' music).
I'm not even going to bother with the real/memorex distinction about whether or not the crushing on Steely Dan that I see a lot of places is genuine/backlash, except to say that the endless hype did make me expect something more. Sorry, I'll take my Sex Pistols album over Aja any day, and rating the other way seems to be more contrarianism than conviction (and I've seen a lot of people now rate it the other way).
Weirdly enough, the "slick disco" isn't as much of a problem for me as the slick jazz. I've been tussling with my dad over Donna Summer and my growing appreciation for her this last week, but he loves Steely Dan in a way that I don't get. It sounds too much like the theme from 'Taxi.'
And, given the choice of studio lunacy, I'll take 10cc any day. At least they seemed like they were having fun, rather than placing a coke-fueled chrome polish onto Randy Newman song suites. Out of 10, I'd put it Aja at 5.5 or so, a bit above "I'm Your Captain." Maybe I'm wrong, and maybe I'll listen to it again in five years.

As for Rundgren, I'm a big Nazz fan but never really knew anything from his solo career outside of Bang on a Drum... Hermit of Mink Hollow is apparently about his breakup with Bebe Neuworth (or whatever her last name is), the relationship that spawned Liv Tyler (kinda). But listening to it really just crystalizes why punk must have been so exciting, and why saxophones have totally dropped out of the rock lexicon. It's not that the sax is a bad instrument, or unsuited for rock, it's just that folks like Rundgren used it as a patina of soulfulness over extremely white licks. Of course, I hate the E Street Band, so whaddo I know? But this album is so packed with self-indulgent pap that it makes Steely Dan sound positively lean and populist. The tortured rhymes of "Lucky Guy" ('And when there's pain he never minds it/ when it's lost he always finds it') sound like they were written as theme songs for angsty tv shows about blondes with teased hair. Despite the Big Star theme of That '70s Show, this is the MOR shit that sums up their aesthetic. For anyone reading, I'm listening so you don't have to. Even the 'rockers' like "Out of Control" sound more like wanky Paul Sabu than, say, KISS. Where did the Rundgren that was so beautifully psychadelic in The Nazz go? When Rundgren threatens to go 'totally out of control,' his rampage means having a couple of beers and maybe letting the air out of his neighbor's tires. And the ballads are one of the strongest arguments for that now-dismissed canard that 'music sucked during the '70s.' If I heard this on the radio, I can only imagine that heroin, safety pin jewelry and nihilism would seem like the only acceptable answer.

So, today's score is two "classic" albums that I'd never heard and now vaguely wish I hadn't. At least the Steely Dan seems like it might be worth listening to again, sometime when I'm going to have totally shitfaced sex with a girl I don't like very much. I can't imagine ever having sex to Rundgren.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Jon Moody, a pal of mine, challenged me to make him a mix that was only 25% guitar rock.
Here's what I came up with:

Moody (Spaced Out) ESG
Handclapping Song The Meters
spin the impossible dreamers
Deep Soul Pt. 1 Ron Buford
Mama Too Tight Archie Shepp
Trance Space Flying Rhythms
Oui Oui Pulsallama
Chinese Black The Neon Judgement
The Rat Kissed the Cat Funkadelic
stand on the word the joubert singers
It's A Nice World To Visit (But Not To Live In) Ann-Margret
break the ice at parties tesco bombers
'Guys are not proud (7'') (Red Sweater) The Anemic Boyfriends
up and above dub P1/E
Good As Gold - Flexible Skulls Tiga
They Don't Want Your Corn They Want Your Kids Liars
Second Song Afrirampo
The Taster Wild Man Fischer
No You Can't Take Them Stuart Hyatt
College Grad The Mutants

Only one of the tracks is guitar rock per se, but there's a fair balance there... His mix was pretty good too.
Lemme know if anyone wants this posted as a .zip