Monday, May 17, 2004

First some news: I saw a real unexpected band from the past on Saturday. I was flipping through Time Out's listings section while sitting on a bus, and suddenly noticed with a shock that The Scene Is Now (this was a very long-running NYC group w/all sorts of connections to no wave, etc.) were playing that night at the Baggot Inn (a club I never expected to find myself in - if you click the link you'll probably understand, especially if you read the section of rules for musicians or look at the other things on their schedule). Anyway, it was a pretty great, very relaxed show for all 18 people there (and if I subtract friends of the bands, I have a feeling that there'd be about 2 people left over, including myself) and featured Rick Brown and Sue Garner as the rhythm section. If you'd like to see an example of an older group of musicians playing music that can be broadly classed as rock without looking foolish or like a nostalgia act, I'd highly recommend checking these guys out (there's even the odd moment of no wave noise to liven things up). They sound very much like another related band called Mofungo; if you haven't heard Mofungo I'd say that the more melodic/folkier side of the Minutemen is kind of in the same territory, but both The Scene Is Now and Mofungo incorporated a lot of other elements. One problem: they don't seem to have a website and Rick & Sue didn't know any details about future shows, and this one sure wasn't easy to find out about. All I can say is keep an eye on the weekly listings.

Today I have three glam rock songs from slightly unexpected sources. Nick Heyward was the lead singer for Haircut 100, a pretty well-known new wave group. Since leaving them, he's had a solo career that's moved steadily towards power-pop. His last album (that I know about) came out in 1996 and was called The Apple Bed, and while its overt Beatle-isms seem to have annoyed some of his long-term fans, I think it's pretty great. I'd really like to know what he's been up to since then, but even with google I'm clueless aside from one track that appeared on a CD called Blockbuster A Glitter Glam Rock Experience that came out in 2000. This is his (possibly overly faithful) take on T. Rex's Hot Love. The liner notes don't give a recording date, so I'm not sure exactly when Nick did this.

I did a small bit on P.M. Dawn in March. They started out as a kind of wimpy, somewhat successful hip-hop group, then switched to a really interesting mildly-psychedelic soul/pop sound that eventually lost them most of their audience. Their final album thus far (I've read rumors of an impending new release, and I think there was another album that was never exactly available, but I'm not clear on the details) was called Dearest Christian, I'm So Very Sorry For Bringing You Here. Love, Dad. It suffers a little bit due to a number of similar sounding mid-tempo tracks, but includes a couple of neat rock songs, including Art Deco Halos, which is a pretty straight-up T. Rex rip (nice of them not to call it Diamond Star Halos).

Last track...I think I'd call this glam rock, though I'm not 100% sure. This is by a band called Women In Rock. They were a project of Andrew Beaujon, now probably better known as a critic and writer for Spin, who was one of the original pillars of Teenbeat records with his band Eggs. The song appeared on a vinyl-only single on 555 records, but honestly the b-side isn't so hot, and you can get the a-side on a CD compilation called Little Darla Has A Treat For You Volume 8. The song is called Throw the Apes, and I'd really love to hear someone cover it some day with huge production. It has a fantastic descending chorus that cries out for a full orchestra, and the drums could stand to be better recorded. Nonetheless, I've always enjoyed the original as long as I turn the volume way up. Knowing the full details of Teenbeat releases requires a level of devotion that I don't quite have, but I'm under the impression that there are other unreleased Women In Rock songs. I'm kind of working on finding out more...

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