Archive for March, 2008


Mott the Hoople “The Hoople”

This record, which came out the next year after “Mott,” is more uneven, but there are some great songs on it, like “Alice,” and “Pearl ‘N’ Roy (England).” And my favorite, “Born Late ’58” which is memorable to me because it was the last song I remember hearing before passing out while drinking stolen gin, in my first major drinking black-out experience, age 14.


Mott the Hoople “Mott”

I got this record when I was in 7th grade because Scott Suter said it was good, though I’m not sure why I trusted him after he said Gino Vannelli was good. Maybe the Gino Vannelli thing was later– I know I unfortunately owned a copy of “Gist of the Gemini” for WAY too long. Anyway, Scott Suter was cool, and recommended Mott the Hoople “Mott” so I bought it– and I was not disappointed. The picture on the cover is the guys in the band standing around in tight leather pants and open silk shirts next to a spotlight or something. It almost sounds like two different bands, one being Ian Hunter and the other the other guys, or Mick Ralphs, or I don’t know who had the influence– but it kind of comes across as competition at its best, in that all the songs are pretty strong, as well as over the top ambitious. I can listen to this whole album from beginning to end; I could then, and I can now.

I’m not even sure what my favorite songs are– maybe “I Wish I Was Your Mother” or maybe “Ballad of Mott the Hoople.”  And as  much as any of them,  “All The Way From Memphis” holds up really well. That happens to be the song that single-handedly made me like the movie “Breaking the Waves”– or maybe it was the only thing I liked about the movie. Or maybe it was what made me not like the movie– I just wanted to hear the whole song, rather than cutting back to the movie.


Mott the Hoople

Sadly I have come to the end of my records, as I have moved out of town and left my records behind. (I was only halfway through the first of three large crates, each one in alphabetical order.) Mott the Hoople would’ve been next, but I can still write a little about them, from memory.

I got the record “Mott” when I was maybe in Jr. High– and I was immediately fascinated with it. Of course “All The Way to Memphis” is irresistible, and songs like “Violence” are just so over the top. Next was “The Hoople” which went even further with crazy songs and lyrics. Check of “Alice” if you have time. It wasn’t until years and years later (I mean 30 years!) that I got another MTH record, which was “Brain Capers”– an earlier one– and it is really pretty good– I listened to it excessively. Then I got a copy of “All the Young Dudes”– which is good– but that song!– I was already more than familiar with it, but playing it on my own, at home, on purpose, and listening intently– what a great song!

Okay, what next? Since I moved to an apartment with a roommate, and my records have not followed me here, I decided to listen to all of my roommate’s records and write about them, in alphabetical order! And there are a lot.

Then someday I’ll get back to my old records, I hope.


Monitor “Monitor”

I got this record in 1981 when this guy came in my store (Garbage Inc.)  and left copies of it, and also an early Meat Puppets single. I believe he was Ed Barger, the producer of both bands at the time, and he was traveling around distributing the records himself. It was the first I’d heard of either band.

Side A starts with horror movie music, then lapses into turgid 1980s  synthpop. Lots of the songs are just faintly annoying. But some of it is really good, too. There are a lot of styles mixed together, actually– it alternates between The Red Crayola and The Birthday Party (oh! the song that sounded like The Birthday Party was the Meat Puppets doing a song!) There are drawings of the band on the back cover. They are, apparently: Steve, Laurie, Michael, and Keith.


Jeffrey Normal & Magick “Earth Days and Astral Nights”

(1988) This is one of those records where I think, “where in the HELL did I get that?” I have no idea how to alphabetize it… either under Normal, or Magick– who isn’t the group, but a woman, vocalist and lyricist. Jeffrey Normal wrote the music, and a whole array of overplaying wankers did the rest. There is a nice cover– black and white photo of JN & M– and on the back cover they look like the white trash Carpenters. There are interesting songs, but the guitar is so incredibly wanky it doesn’t matter. Unlistenable!


Lynyrd Skynyrd “Second Helping”

It’s not totally their fault that “Sweet Home Alabama” became one of the most overplayed songs of all time– it’s not even a bad song– in fact it’s a pretty great song– but I’ll never be able to listen to it, really, it’s still so overplayed. And I STILL can’t understand all the lyrics (though I know every note, and tempo change, and nuance intimately).

This is their second record (get it?) from 1974, and EVERYONE bought it. The cover drawing is by Jan Salerno– it’s pretty famous, and pretty amazing. It’s kind of a big stoner mosaic with hexagons and drawings of the band members and a couple of VERY prominent marijuana leaves. This is the kind of thing you would see NOW in a hip art gallery or prominent art exhibition– though now you’d know there was some irony at play—but was there at the time this was done? That’s a good question.

The back cover photos are also pretty great– extremely high-contrast with bad reproductions– but on purpose? The credits are all handwritten by someone who seems to have learned to write like yesterday. If it was done today, that would be a font. I always really loved these credits: “Ronnie Van Zant – vocals, J&B” — and the THREE guitarists and bass specify the make and model of the guitars they play (Gibson Firebird, etc) as if they take the guitars to bed with them.

Here’s my favorite credit: on JJ Cale’s “Call Me the Breeze” it says, “Handclapping by Wicker, Toby, Cockroach, Mookie, Punnel, Wolfman, Kooder, Mr. Feedback, and Gooshie.” Thanks include: “Nixon (not the President).”

All those guitars! But somehow, a good, clean sound. It’s a great album. Totally worth going back to. “Don’t Ask Me No Questions” is classic, and what all “classic rock” should have to stand up to. “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” is a surprisingly good quiet song.


Nick Lowe “Labour of Lust”

I have absolutely NO feelings about this one, the next Nick Lowe record, from 1979. It’s just not as good. There are a few good songs, though: “American Squirm” (best song on the album), and “Skin Deep” is okay. “Switchboard Susan” is a good Spinal Tap song.

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March 2008