March 20, 2018
New York City has been a global epicenter for music and culture in general for decades, so it is no surprise that the the 1990s are no different. From the legendary Velvet Underground, KISS and Blondie, to indie rock progenitors Sonic Youth, Talking Heads and Television, to the punk of the New York Dolls, Ramones and The Dictators, as well as the hip-hop, disco, electronic and dance scenes, the 1990s combined it all into a stew of unique sounds interpolated by artists such as the Beastie Boys, Living Colour, White Zombie, Girls Against Boys, Helmet, Biohazard, and more. Like every scene we've dug into, finding the venues, the media, the record stores, recording studios and labels that fostered the sound for the band, New York City has its own spin. How do you get gear to shows in a city most travel by subway? How do you get your band noticed in a sea of competition? How do you not get robbed and randomly punched in the face on the street? To help us unpack it all, we're joined by Eli Janney of Girls Against Boys and The 8G Band from Late Night with Seth Meyers, Mike Lustig of Ruth Ruth, and Mike Stuto from Brownies and Beggars Banquet Records.
Intro - New York Medley (New York City by The Cult, New York State of Mind by Billy Joel, Back in the New York Groove by Ace Frehley, New York City by T. Rex)
Outro - Safe In New York City by AC/DC
March 13, 2018
During our revisit of the one and only Talk Show album featuring the three guys not named Scott Weiland from Stone Temple Pilots during their infamous 1997 hiatus, we remarked how the music remained steady but the vocals and melodies were less interesting. Now we get to examine the other side of that temporary split with Weiland's 1998 solo debut 12 Bar Blues. Would the lack of the DeLeo brothers inventive riffing similarly hamper the lead singers creative output? The simple answer is no, thanks to Weiland's willingness to experiment, filling the record with interesting sounds and surrounding himself with accomplished musicians. It is an admirable, if occasionally messy, attempt to shatter the perceptions of what it meant to be "the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots," but more often than not, the influences start to show. Sadly, this left us wondering if the lukewarm critical reception, albums sales and radio play pushed Weiland back into the easy embrace of Stone Temple Pilots too quickly, who churned out successive radio friendly if bland riffage that palled to their primer-era output. Weiland never pushed the envelope like he did on this record, and we try to figure out why.
Intro - Barbarella
13:20 - Mockingbird Girl
18:05 - About Nothing
29:28 - Son
Outro - Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down
March 6, 2018
Like any decade of rock music and commercial radio, the 1990s had plenty of one hit wonders, many of which we talked about in our One Hit Wonders Roundtable. Marcy Playground managed their own, with Sex and Candy in 1997 spending fifteen weeks at number on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, and top ten on four other US charts, as well as top ten in Canada and Australia, and top thirty in the UK. In other words, it was a massive hit, so how did they follow it up? In 1999 they released Shapeshifter, the whips between more radio friendly pop, Americana-folk, Butthole Surfer weirdness and Nirvana riffage. In other words, it is all over the place. Sometimes an eclectic approach provides a interesting and diverse selection of tunes, other times it is a mess of one-off attempts and half-way-there ideas. Where does Shapeshifter fall? Tune in to find out.
Intro: It's Saturday
12:25 - America
14:09 - Love Bug
19:33 - All The Lights Went Out
24:14 - Secret Squirrel
Outro - Bye Bye
February 27, 2018
Going into this episode, we thought desert rock and stoner rock were the same thing. We were wrong. We thought the "desert rock sound" started with the Sabbath influence lowend fuzzed riffs of Kyuss. We were wrong on that as well. There is an important lesson here - makes sure you are open to preconceived notions being challenged because the truth maybe more interesting than the vision in your head. That wasn't only the case for us. We invited on Jason Georgiades, director of Desert Age, a film about the 80s and 90s desert rock scene, who also had to shift his thinking once he started digging into history, talking to the people, and hearing the music of the California desert around Palm Springs. You've heard of Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss, but what about Across the River and Yawning Man? Or Unsound or Target 13? We talk the bands, the landscape, the (lack of) places to play and the illegal substances that made the desert rock scene of the truly most original in punk, alternative and hard rock. We also get a behind the scenes look at the making of a rock documentary in the twenty first century.
Use the promo code "Green Machine" to get 15% off anything in the Desert Age store.
Intro - Green Machine by Kyuss
11:05 - Monster in the Parasol from The Desert Sessions, Vol 3 & 4
24:04 - N.O. by Across The River
35:37 - She Got Me (When She Got Her Dress On) by Masters of Reality
53:33 - Rock Formations by Yawning Man
Outro - Rodney on the Roq by Target 13
February 20, 2018
You may know him from the "avant-punk" of 1990s Shudder To Think, but you'd probably been listening to Craig Wedren in some way in the last twenty years. From his frequent collaborations with writer/director David Wain on the various Wet Hot American Summer television seasons and movie, Role Models, Stella and Wainy Days, to his recent work on shows like Fresh Off The Boat, GLOW, Powerless, Hung and Blunt Talk, or his contributions on films such as Velvet Goldmine, School of Rock, Search Party, Wanderlust and many more, Craig has put his ear for 70s rock radio and 80s MTV to work. He stops by to talk about his latest solo release, Adult Desire from 2016, and discuss the virtual reality component that took us back to the immersion of yesteryear when audio and visual worked in thoughtful tandem. We also discuss his years spent in the Cleveland area, fronting teenage coverbands and enjoying the sounds of the Michael Stanley Band and Donnie Iris on WMMS, his apprehension writing music for 1990s based television, watching director and former Lemonheads bassist Jesse Peretz burn a suitcase on tour, and of course, KISS, plus so much more.
Intro - I Am A Wolf, You Are The Moon from Adult Desire
5:26 - Are We from Wand
12:07 - Safe Home (Live) from Adult Desire
38:52 - Main Title Song from Role Models
50:11 - Spin Doctor-ish Song from Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later
51:06 - Pearl Jam and RHCP-ish song from Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later
1:15:46 - Until Summer by BAby
Outr - I Am A Wolf, You Are The Moon from Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
February 13, 2018
There are independent artists, and then there is Ani DiFranco. Forging her own path since starting Righteous Babe Records at age nineteen, busking tapes out of the back of her car in Buffalo, NY, DiFranco has remained as proficient and relevant for three decades. After a string of critically acclaimed albums and a well received live album, she released Little Plastic Castle in 1998 and was nominated for a Grammy for Rock Female Vocalist. Known for her folk rock staccato, Little Plastic Castle opens up the sound to incorporate horns, extra percussion, keyboards and more, and finds her breaking the rapid-fire delivery for songs built around mood and groove. Those alterations provide her with a large sonic pallet to play with, but come with some questionable choices, which left us split on what we liked and didn't like about the album.
Intro - Glass House
9:03 - Fuel
12:26 - Pulse
15:25 - As Is
19:44 - Independence Day
22:52 - Pixie
Outro - Little Plastic Castle
February 6, 2018
Like so many previous artists and bands referred to as "power pop," The Tories debut album Wonderful Life from 1997 came and went with little fanfare. Perhaps it was timing, as the early and mid-nineties alternative rock gold rush led to a unwieldy number of releases, most which got lost in the shuffle. Perhaps it was due to the label, which specialized in East Coast jazz and house music instead of California pop rock. Or was it the songs? No, it wasn't the songs. The Tories have the songs, as well as the melodies, the harmonies, the guitar fuzz, everything you expect when the chemistry is right, and creates a power pop album worth checking out. Along with our Patreon special guest, we try to figure out what went right and wrong with Wonderful Life.
Intro - Flying Solo
13:39 - Gladys Kravitz
23:40 - Happy
29:12 - Spaceships in the Sky
Outro - Not What it Appears
January 30, 2018
"We live in urban hell, we destroy rock and roll." Those were the closing sentiments of the 1991 single Motown Junk by the Manic Street Preachers, a band of Welsh nihilist iconoclasts who declared greatness from the start, aligning themselves with The Clash, Public Enemy and Guns n' Roses. Four albums and the disappearance of one member later, the band was no longer a confrontational blitzkrieg. 1998's This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours is the sound of a band collectively exhaling and confronting both the past and their heartache, while building upon the success achieved on the previous album, Everything Must Go. On TIMTTMY, the band embraces a clean pop production that would propel the single "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" to number one in the UK, trading in guitars for organs, electric pianos and sitars. We revisit the record recognizing now that the band would continue on the path of deconstruction with Know Your Enemy three years later and the synth heavy Lifeblood in 2004. In fact, it would take almost a decade to recapture the guitar driven bombast on 2007's Send Away The Tigers. It's a fascinating if uneven attempt to pair pathos and pop sensibility that works for some but not all.
Intro - If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
13:38 - Ready for Drowning
17:43 - Black Dog on My Shoulder
26:45 - Tsunami
41:20 - If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
Outro - The Everlasting
January 23, 2018
There was a brief flicker of a moment at the end of the 90s, before the garage rock rival of The Strokes and White Stripes, before the post-post-punk of Interpol and Bloc Party, before Jimmy Eat World and Dashboard Confessional took emo to the mainstream, that the American underground punk of the New Bomb Turks and Rocket From The Crypt were going to have their moment. At the same time, across the pond in Scandinavia, it took the shape of The Hellacopters signing to Sub Pop and veterans Turbonegro refining their sound with the 1998 release Apocalypse Dudes. Maybe it was wishful thinking that those who previously embraced AC/DC, Motley Crue and Buckcherry would find common cause with the action rock crowd, one that favored Iggy and Stooges as much as Bob Seger and Lynyrd Skynyrd. While The Hellacopters and Gluecifer traffic'd in their own brand of riffage gymnastics, Turbonegro added an extra layer - social and political commentary via bombastic lyrics and outrageous stage presence. In retrospect, it may have all been too much, like the layer upon layer of guitar tracks that would make Billy Corgan crack a smile. It's confrontational, it's explicit (earmuffs for the kids!) and it's also a lot of fun.
Intro - Get It On
13:19 - Rock Against Ass
23:14 - Humiliation Street
27:15 - Don't Say Motherf*cker, Motherf*cker
32:42 - Zillion Dollar Sadist
Outro - Are You Ready (For Some Darkness)
January 16, 2018
It's time to travel back twenty years and revisit the albums of 1998. What albums were overlooked upon release that have gained critical acclaim and fans in the years since? Which albums were big releases that have stood the test of time, and which ones have failed that same test? Are there albums we bought back in 1998 and immediately regretted the purchase? And what are our favorite albums from this wildly divergent year that witnessed the rise of nü-metal bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit along with the pop of Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys, that also featured new albums from major artists like Madonna, the Beastie Boys, Pearl Jam and The Smashing Pumpkins. To help us dig into it all, we're joined by Andy Derer of The Andy Derer Show, Chip Midnight of Kids Interview Bands and Jim Hanke of Vinyl Emergency.
Intro - 1998 Medley (Marilyn Manson, The Smashing Pumpkins, Semisonic, Beastie Boys)
15:54 - Starfighter Pilot by Snow Patrol
23:18 - Poets by The Tragically Hip
36:29 - Something' Hot by The Afghan Whigs
51:02 - At My Most Beautiful by R.E.M.
1:08:25 - California Stars by Billy Bragg and Wilco
1:12:29 - Car Radio by Spoon
Outro - Ray of Light by Madonna