The King Is The Man

September 16, 2010

There’s joyous news for a hope-starved world as Burger King is introducing a glorious buffet of new breakfast items – pancakes, muffins, ciabatta club sandwiches…pancakes.

I just know it’s all going to be flame-broiled and life-altering.

And the restaurant already offers the Croissan’Wich which trumps all other possible breakfast sandwiches if only because the egg, cheese, and breakfast meat rests delicately on the buttery, flakey brilliance that is a croissant.

I don’t usually spend so much time pondering fast food. I usually eat it less than a few times a month.

This episode of reflection was prompted by a barrage of commercials the other night.

Sure, you might declare that such enthusiasm for Burger King is misguided as it could be argued that the foodstuff whose praises I sing so deliriously represents the final link in a chain of events that has ruinous consequences to the people and the planet at each and every juncture.

(including the consumption)

I would likely agree.

But I can’t fret about such matters on an empty stomach.

I think I’ll have breakfast first.

Here are four songs that I stopped on while shuffling…

Queens Of The Stone Age – Better Living Through Chemistry
from Rated R

I can’t help thinking of Sympathy For The Devil when I hear the congas that open Queen Of The Stone Age’s Better Living Through Chemistry. The song then proceeds to plow forward, sometimes dreamy, sometimes trippy, yet always heavy.

I’ve definitely not followed music the past ten years as I had before, but of the bands I have heard, few have impressed me during that time as much as Queens Of The Stone Age.

Eve’s Plum – If I Can’t Have You
from Spirit Of ’73: Rock For Choice

With a name inspired by the actress who portrayed Jan Brady on The Brady Bunch, Eve’s Plum released two albums of delightful alternative-tinged power pop in the early/mid-’90s that were sadly ignored before calling it a day. Lead singer Colleen Fitzpatrick would have a bit more commercial success later in the decade under the name Vitamin C.

As for If I Can’t Have You, it is indeed a groovy cover of Yvonne Elliman’s smash hit from the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever. The song appeared on the compilation Spirit Of ’73: Rock For Choice which gathered an album’s worth of ’70s pop hits interpreted by ’90s alternative acts.

Concrete Blonde – Beware Of Darkness
from Concrete Blonde

There’s a review of Concrete Blonde’s debut that has stuck in my mind for twenty years as the reviewer – in some hipper-than-thou rag – stated that there was no reason for anyone with two ears to ever listen to it more than once.

Personally, I was a huge fan of the L.A. trio’s punk-infused alternative rock and would argue that the group was one of the more underappreciated acts of the ’90s. Their version of George Harrison’s Beware Of Darkness – and I have to admit, I don’t believe I’ve heard his – is a good fit for the band which often incorporated a bit of a gothic vibe to their sound.

The Future Sound Of London – Osho
from The Isness

I know relatively little about dance music, but the duo The Future Sound Of London hooked me the night I stumbled across the über-cool video for their song My Kingdom

In 2002, the act issued The Isness which found the duo incorporating a heavy dose of psychedelic rock into their post-modern sound. Apparently it left many long-time fans baffled and displeased, but I thought the album was stunning.

Osho, though, has a light ’70s funk feel to it, along with sitar, tabla, and some operatic vocals in the background.


In Hopes Of Appeasing The Sun God…

June 25, 2010

I give.

I’ve tried to be patient as the daily high temperatures crept up into the low 90s from the high 80s.

And as those daily highs steadily climbed from the low 90s to the mid 90s, I told myself and anyone who would listen – essentially Paloma and the cats – that maybe we were getting the worst out of the way before we even hit July.

But, for the past several days, we’ve flirted with triple digits.

Something has to be done.

I suppose that Superman could alter the rotation of the Earth (or something) and cool things down to a more temperate and normal state of meteorological affairs, but I haven’t seen him since I stumbled across Superman II on cable last month.

I’m not sure he’d be up to this challenge.

El Sol is pissed.

Perhaps a virgin thrown into the gaping maw of a volcano – perhaps an Icelandic volcano – might set things right, but such shenanigans haven’t been acceptable since the ’50s.

So, as an homage to that great, fiery globe in the sky who is usually a welcome, nurturing presence and to honor the season – albeit several days late – I offer four songs for the sun and a plea that you chill the @#$%&! out…

Queens Of The Stone Age – Feel Good Hit Of The Summer
from R

Queens Of The Stone Age are one of the few bands in recent years that have really wowed me with everything I’ve heard (though I’ve missed their last couple albums). But I had also been a big fan of Kyuss, the previous band of Queens Of The Stoneage guitarist/vocalist Josh Homme.

(of late, he’s worked with John Paul Jones and Dave Grohl in Them Crooked Vultures)

Feel Good Hit Of The Summer is a jackhammer – thunderous, pummeling, with some serious buzzsaw guitar.

And catchy as hell (with an interesting background).

Everything But The Girl – British Summertime
from Worldwide

Like few other artists, it is impossible for me to hear Everything But The Girl and not think of Paloma. I first heard the band in college when a girl named Peggy Sue with whom I worked in a record store would play their albums, but it was during countless hours listening to them with Paloma that made them staples.

You can throw anything on by Everything But The Girl and I’m good. Obviously, there are songs by the duo of which I am more fond, but Tracey Thorn’s voice – and Ben Watt’s, too -is as comfortable as the nostalgic memories of childhood summers.

(even if British Summertime is also rather melancholic)

Blue Öyster Cult – This Ain’t The Summer Of Love
from Agents Of Fortune

I think that I’ve been quite clear about my affection for Blue Öyster Cult.

Nuclear Valdez – Summer
from I Am I

The debut album from rock quartet Nuclear Valdez quickly became a favorite of a college roommate and me when the record store where we worked received an advance copy. The group garnered notice from magazines like Rolling Stone and attention from MTV.

Nuclear Valdez’ guitar-driven, anthemic sound and socially conscious lyrics positioned them alongside similar acts that were finding audiences at the time such as U2, The Alarm and The Call.

The sweeping Summer chronicled the plight of those in exile following the Cuban revolution in 1959 – three of the members of the band were children of such exiles – and takes me back instantly to a summer twenty years ago.