Tuesday, November 27, 2007

T-Kicks T-Shirts!

"Who needs TV when I got my Teenage Kicks t-shirt?" - Mott the Hoople, "All the Young Dudes"

Just in time for the holidays, we at Teenage Kicks are pleased to make available to you, the Internet-browsing public, blue ring tees just like the one worn in the photograph by the fetching woman snuggling up to the lucky man who is not her husband. We have a very limited number of shirts in sizes M, L and XL (M and XL are really, really limited), and we're willing to part with them for $9.00 each (shipping included), which is less than our cost. If you'd like one (or more), drop me a line at matchison@kc.rr.com, and include your name, address, and quantity and size(s) you need. We'll fill orders, first-come, first-served. And if the demand far exceeds supply, we'll see about making more.


I have Teenage Kicks, which gets my frequent attention, and I have True Sons, a blog devoted to my devotion to the Missouri Tigers, which gets neglected by comparison. Rarely do I mix one with the other, in part because most of you who visit here don't share my Mizzou mania. But because it has been a euphoric fall for the Tigers, and because our team just ascended to the top of the BCS rankings, I thought I'd share my latest thoughts on the eradication of the curse that has long hung over those who love the University of Missouri.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Doo Wop Group on Wheels

As regular readers of this blog may have noticed, I am chief cook and bottle washer of the Southeastern PA chapter of the Jesse Malin fan club. Despite his unorthodox vocals, over-reliance on New York swagger and out-of-date Rod Stewart via Paul Weller rooster haircut, Malin believes. Believes in all the power and the redemption rock and roll can offer. And that, plus a meat and potatoes songwriting style that looks back not only to punk rock circa '77 but also Springsteen, Chuck Berry and Brill Building popmeisters, is more than enough for me. In concert, the passion in his delivery is palpable and he he openly embraces his heroes - as evidenced by the artists he chooses to cover - Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, the Clash, Graham Parker, Jim Croce, Nilsson, The Hold Steady and last Tuesday night at Philadelphia's Tin Angel, a double shot of the ragged glory that is Neil Young.

And that brings us to Malin's cover of Neil's "Helpless" on Tuesday, where he wanders into the crowd and selects one poor sap to sing on mike a wee bit of the chorus. This night the poor sap was your overage, overfed, overserved, humble correspondent. And as this show was broadcast live on WXPN and streaming over the world wide web, the moment has been captured forever.

For those with short attnetion spans, fast forward to about 3:56 in and prepare to be dazzled.
p.s. That's the great Steve Thomas with Malin. Sorry ladies... he's taken.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

List of the Week: Reasons to be Thankful

1. Four tickets on the 50 for the biggest Border War battle of all-time.
2. Yearly countdowns.
3. A blogging partner who is cooler at 50 than I was at 20. Or 30.
4. The joy of discovering new music.
5. The joy of rediscovering old favorites.
6. The return of college basketball and cold nights in warm gyms.
7. A three-year-old’s newfound appreciation of “Blitzkrieg Bop.”
8. The love of a good woman.
9. Our favorite (and only) letter to the editor.
10. All of you who share this space with us. Listen

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from both of us!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hello Larry!

They came, they rocked the drunkards. Last night, The Hold Steady played Lawrence, Kansas’s Granada Theater, a bigger room with a bigger stage than the Bottleneck, site of their last foray into Larrytown. The crowd was bigger, too, and more combustible, and younger and dumber (Hello fratboy meatheads pushing your way to the front! Hello world’s waifiest male crowd surfer! Hello loud unfunny guy! Hello tattooed girl to whom Craig Finn earnestly implored “put your shirt back on, please”!).

Take away that my presence significantly raised the average age in the pit (Is it time to start hanging back by the bar? Yeah, it might be), and it was just like old times, back to my salad days, full of hot, sweaty rock and roll. The band is good, you know that. And they’re a little predictable, too. Maybe “dependable” is the better word. They’re guaranteed to rock or your money back. No one has walked away with a dime yet.

It was a bit more of a professional rock show than the last time I saw them. They had their own crew (instead of setting up themselves), and Tad wasn’t mingling with the hoi polloi before the set. When the band emerged on stage – Franz in his zoot-suited Rollie Fingers get-up; Bobby with his closely-trimmed locks and ever-present Rush t-shirt; Galen looking like, well, Galen; Tad, minus the glasses, seeming the very definition of “normal guy”; and Craig, cleanly shaven, in his best English-department-graduate-assistant-as-rock-star pose – they got the full heroes’ welcome.

The set list was shuffled, with “Hot Soft Light” pushing perennial opener “Stuck Between Stations” into the second slot. From there, it was heavy on tracks from Boys and Girls in America and unreleased gems, and notably light on the mythology of Holly, Gideon and Charlemagne (though Holly’s epic “Your Little Hoodrat Friend” blew the place up). Early on, Finn announced that a recent short break from touring had yielded some new songs, and we got three of them: “Sequestered in Memphis,” trademark riff-a-licious Hold Steady; “Lord, I’m Discouraged,” a slowed-down number that has been all over the interweb; and a song whose title I didn’t catch (I don’t think it was ever said) that detailed an unhealthy post-adolescent obsession with Led Zeppelin songs, name-checking a dozen or so (including “D’yer Mak’r” and “Trampled Under Foot”) along the way.

The encore kicked off with the unreleased and rarely played “Arms and Hearts,” a slow and spooky number that may be the single most unrepresentative song in the Hold Steady canon. That segued into a scorching “Most People are DJs” and then into the set-closing “Killer Parties,” which has come to be for the band what “My Way” was for Sinatra, the flashing neon sign that says “time to go home, folks.”

There was no mass dancing on the stage at shows end, but we received the normal benediction, Finn’s affirmation that we’re all The Hold Steady.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

List of the Week

Once, years back, I was loitering in a bookstore, perusing the pages of some pop music encyclopedia, and the first words in the entry for each artist gave some florid description of their music, like “psychedelic dream pop” or “proto goth metal.” Then I got to The Replacements, and it said simply rock and roll. Damn right, I thought. And so as I prepare to see another rock and roll band – The Hold Steady – tonight, I give you a non-exclusive list of ten great no-nonsense, four-on-the-floor, guitar-bass-drums (keyboards optional), rock and roll bands, in no particular order.

1. The Rolling Stones
2. The Clash
3. The Replacements
4. The Hold Steady
5. The Faces listen to Pool Hall Richard
6. New York Dolls
7. The Stooges
8. The Ike Reilly Assassination
9. The Ramones
10. Marah listen to Freedom Park

Friday, November 09, 2007

The North Will Rise Again

Here at Teenage Kicks, we love us some Canadians. From Trip's current crush Jeremy Fisher to longtime faves New Pornographers to the primo power pop of Sloan, O Canada, we will stand on guard for thee. In aught-six, we both fell hard for Jason Collett, a sterling purveyor of North Americana, and word comes this week that he'll breach the northern border with a new disc in February. Can't wait 'til then? Us, either. So thanks to the good folks at Arts & Crafts, here are a pair of new tracks to enjoy.

Listen to "Charlyn, Angel of Kensington"

Listen to "Out of Time"

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Song For The Dreamers

The best rock and roll should always be able to surprise... and inspire. And that's why Danny and Dusty, a one-off anti-supergroup of L.A. paisley underground gadflies qualifies as the best rock and roll. Formed around the nucleus of Dan Stuart (Green on Red) and Steve Wynn (The Dream Syndicate), Danny and Dusty recorded (apparently in one legendary 36 hour bender) one booze-soaked masterpiece of pure alt-fun. I hadn't known anyone who even knew who these guys were (besides my brother Scooter) until recently I met up with someone who was able to burn me a copy of their long out of print debut, The Lost Weekend.

Now a new album (Cast Iron Soul - available here) has brought the boys back together for a few gigs... and so far only one on the east coast - January 12, 2008 at The Bowery Ballroom (tix here) with the guiter heroics of Dave Schramm and his band The Schramms opening. One question punk - are you man enough to go to Manhattan for this gig? Saddle up because I think Feeney is driving, and you know what that means... on the way home I'll be asleep before we hit Hoboken.

But I digress - take a listen to a true lost classic - the original song from The Lost Weekend and of course, since it's 2007, a recent video. And just check out rock and roll Dan Stuart at 3:42 of this video ... Danny and Dusty got soul. This song stings, it swings, and you'll be a better person for having heard it.

And since it's Friday, here's two more alt country classics, one each from The Beat Farmers and the Del Lords.

Danny and Dusty - Song For The Dreamers

Obligatory YouTube video

Beat Farmers - Bigger Stones

Del Lords - Judas Kiss

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

List of the Week

While it still doesn’t exactly qualify as writing, last week’s effort at jumpstarting the creative process by making a list proved such a ratings bonanza that I’ve opted to make it a regular feature.

In 1973, I was watching Sesame Street twice a day and listening to radio religiously. I was an only child at the time, but thanks to the older children of my parents’ friends, I was exposed to a stream of 45 rpm records, mini-platters that mattered, stacks of wax that blew my impressionable mind. For their own sadistic amusement, adults would play singles while I sang into the handle of a curtain string, my imaginary microphone of choice. Trip recently made an off-hand reference to one of my favorite tunes of the era, and I turned wistful, that sense of time and place rushing back. And so here is the list of the ten greatest songs of all-time, as determined by me at age five:

1. The Osmonds – “Down by the Lazy River”
2. Sweet – “Ballroom Blitz” listen
3. Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Proud Mary”
4. The DeFranco Family – “Heartbeat (It’s a Love Beat)”
5. The Rolling Stones – “Brown Sugar”
6. Joe Tex – “I Gotcha” listen
7. Daddy Dewdrop – “Chick-A-Boom”
8. The Jackson Five – “ABC”
9. Melanie – “Brand New Key”
10. Badfinger – “Day After Day” listen

What were your top ten songs at age five? Leave your list in the comments.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Joe Posnanski on Springsteen

Here in Kansas City, we have a sports columnist named Joe Posnanski. I collect records. Joe collects National Sports Columnist of the Year awards. He has been in Japan following the Land of the Rising Sun's answer to the World Series (Nippon Ham Fighters' manager Trey Hillman is set to take the same post with the Kansas City Royals). While experiencing searing back pain and a sense of isolation in a very small room, he composed these words on his relationship to Bruce Springsteen's songs.