Thursday, March 06, 2008


Waco review on eMusic

My review of the Waco Brothers' "Waco Express: Live and Kickin' at Schubas Tavern, Chicago" is the review of the day (March 6) on

I also got a note from Dave of the Loved Ones. He thought the post here about "Build and Burn" was "rad."

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008


We are the World Japan imitation

We usually don't do referrals to YouTube weirdness, but this one sent to me by longtime sidekick TV Tom is too astounding to pass by.

We Are the Worldimitators on Japanese TV. Check out the "Norbit"-like Stevie Wonder, the bogus but credible Cyndi Lauper, the incredibly facetious Lionel Richie clone, the strange Michael Jackson wannabe (how would one know?)...A Tina Turner right out of MAD TV, grotesque Billy Joel and Ray Charles caricatures...What's not to like?

By the way, we now have a MySpace page for the book "A Brief History of Rock, Off the Record."

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Monday, March 03, 2008


Loving The Loved Ones

by Wayne Robins

Bristling, exciting, and passionate, the new CD by the Loved Ones (Fat Wreck Chords) has been the fast, loud, proud choice on my music players the last few weeks. "Build and Burn," the Philadelphia band's new album, jumped into my hands when I saw a song on it called "The Inquirer." Once one of the great newspapers in the world, the Philadelphia Inquirer, like many other papers I've loved, has had its struggles, spiritual as well as economic. The excellence in its institutional soul has been victimized by declining circulation, loss of advertising to the Internet, bad-to-worse ownership and bottom-line budget slashes that would shame Jack the Ripper.

"Is the writing on the wall? It's getting harder to read it these days," singer/guitarist Dave Hause sings in the opening lines of "The Inquirer." One of the themes of "Build and Burn," has to do with this country's decaying infrastructure, the collapse of community in working class, and the loss of faith in institutions. Newspapers have always been an essential element of that societal infrastructure and were once the most reliable of institutions.

In an interview with Crawdaddy
at the Wolfgang's Vault Web site, Hause doesn't mention the newspaper. He says
“The Inquirer” is one of the more explictly political songs on the album, as it "calls into question the climate of fear in America that is cultivated in order to control folks and keep them in line." (In the same article, he talks about finding inspiration in the Barack Obama campaign.)

But the questions keep coming in "The Inquirer": "Is their truth not adding up? Is it getting harder ot not criticize what we justify? Are you terrified?" That last word fades into a great punk rock primal scream: Terrified? "Yesssss!"

"Build & Burn" is full of questions. "If I say 'it's alright...' do you believe it, or know that I'm lying?," the singer asks in the midtempo "Selfish Masquerade." In "3rd Shift," a lament about the needle and the damage done, "he could clean up but why start now?" And in "Dear Laura," a letter to the President Bush's wife, he wonders what she thinks about during these last 7 years. "I wonder if she prays for every family torn apart...will you eat our bleeding hearts?"

Even the band's freshened musical approach begets a question. Apparently, the Loved Ones were once an orthodox punk band. This expansive, rich, driving, melodic and uplifting music might not be what core fans were expecting. "Will this overture seem dull to all my friends?" they wonder in the opening song, "Pretty Good Year."

What makes the Loved Ones special is that they let the music provide whatever answers are in their grasp. The core of the group consists of Hause, guitarist Dave Walsh, bassist Christopher Gonzalez and drummer Mike Sneeringer, with lots of extra guitars, keyboard instruments and vocals added in, providing depth and richness of texture.

Familiar touchstones range from Husker Du and Green Day to Bruce Springsteen. Reflecting the latter, "Louisiana" stands apart, a hard rock theme for Habitat for Humanity: a punk anthem about rebuilding and hope, around the image of "pounding nails," filtered through the Guthrie/Springsteen prism. This is a band not afraid to look at its world and its own creative purpose in new and courageous ways. Sincerity and excitement are not mutually exclusive concepts, though it is tough to find them so comfortably carried by any young band. The Loved Ones could be one of the great ones.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008


Wayne at IBS Convention March 8

Intercollegiate Broadcasting System annual convention
Saturday, March 8, Hotel Pennsylvania, New York

1:30-2:30 PM

An Audience with…Wayne Robins, Author of “A Brief History of Rock, Off the Record” (Zurich)
Wayne Robins is the author of “A Brief History of Rock, Off the Record,” tracing the history of rock from its beginnings in the 50s, through the disco and punk revolutions, to the rise of hip-hop culture. Wayne has written for the likes of Rolling Stone and The Village Voice, has taught journalism at NYU, and is now a copy editor for Billboard and Radio & Records. We welcome Wayne Robins to Convention ’08.
Wayne Robins

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