Tag Archives: Power Pop

Everything Works If You Let It

19 Aug

One of my favorite bands is Cheap Trick.  I saw them exactly one million years ago and then I saw them again just a couple of years ago and they blew me away in both eras.  The only part of the more recent performance that I wished was different was if Robin Zander and Tom Petersson (the cute ones) still looked young and hot instead of weathered and mildly hot.   But energy-wise and rockingness-wise, they were 100% on.

I had a ridiculous amount of gems to choose from for today’s post , but with Cheap Trick, I find I always come back to  “Everything Works If You Let It.”  It’s got all the power pop rockin’ rock that you’d expect and it also has one of the most important messages ever for someone like me.  Or for everyone, for that matter.

 Everything will work out if you let it.

Seriously, it’s such a good mindset to have.  And I’ll share a little secret with you.  The words also make for a great argument when trying to convince someone in your life to just let things be, relax.  You just have to tread that fine line between truism and crunchy, new-age truism, but it will be hard for someone to dispute the fact that everything really does work if you let it.

But back to Cheap Trick, who are anything but new-age.  Let’s make this your theme song for the weekend.  If you feel stressed about anything or if you’re worried about anything, play this song.  Report back to me on Monday.


Big Troubles

10 Jul

Generally speaking, even though I love drama, I prefer to stay away from trouble.  Especially big trouble.  And also generally speaking, I like big troubles to stay far away from me.  Except for one.  I rather like the band, Big Troubles.

They’re from Ridgewood, New Jersey of all places, which would seem like a big enough trouble to surmount, but I guess they don’t let big troubles bog them down.  If you don’t know of them yet, you should.  Or should I get all predictive and say ‘you will’?  They’ve been doing a bit of a PR push lately because their second album is coming out in September, so you may have already come across a recent article or so.  Plus they’re touring this summer with a band that you better be familiar with now since they graced Margauxville on April 30th, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

That’s actually an amazing pairing for suckers of jangly pop like me.  Listen to just one example of why you should care about Big Troubles:  “Misery.”  Go on, download; misery loves company.


Naked Furniture

9 Jun

Yesterday, I received some very depressing news.  My most beloved secret email address that only a few special people got – but that all of my blog comments went to – was being discontinued.

Here’s the story.  Follow carefully; it’s awfully complex.

A couple of years ago, I discovered my favorite band in the world, Valley Lodge.  In fact, I discovered them through Twitter.  It’s true!

My friend Calvert & I joined Twitter and started following a small group of really interesting and funny people.  This was before I started using it for the advertising industry folk.  JK!   But you know – people who were involved in art and architecture and design and blogging and comedy.   Teensy little list but very lovingly curated.  Calvert was my main source of finding interesting people to follow in those days and he immediately suggested following the hysterical @mrdavehill .  One day, not long after this, @mrdavehill didn’t post a funny tweet at all.  Instead, he posted a song he had recorded with his band Valley Lodge and it changed my life.

I do not say that lightly.

It was a cover version of the super groovy ’70s hit by Bob Welch, “Sentimental Lady.”  @mrdavehill said that it was downloadable but he totally lied.  It only streamed.  I tweeted him back asking if it was available for download anywhere and he replied with “right click” instructions.  As if I didn’t know that!  Okay, I know I shouldn’t still be mad a his reply.  It was so long ago and he was trying to be nice and helpful.  But, still, he had just insulted the small amount of highly technical knowledge I possessed.  I mean, come on.  Who doesn’t know how to download?

Deep breath.

Turns out my friend Ryan had seen this Twitter exchange.  He tweeted back that I should hit him up on ichat and he’d send me a bunch of their songs. Wait, what?  I was so confused!  How did Ryan…?  What…?

Sure enough, later that morning, Ryan sent me some songs, including the amazing “All of My Loving.”  A couple of days later he met me for lunch.  We had grilled cheese.  And tomato soup.   And then he gave me two actual CDs by Valley Lodge.  He  had just signed them to a multi-million dollar publishing deal.  Well that’s not exactly true, but that is what their songs should command.

I was smitten immediately and wanted to do a video for them.  Ryan hooked me up with @mrdavehill and before you knew it, I was casting a lot of naked men.  And Valley Lodge was playing really loud while they were naked!  Pretty much my version of heaven.


Just one of the guys in the video wasn’t naked.  He was a Bear and for some reason, preferred not to disrobe.  That was cool, I guess.  Maybe he didn’t want to get naked in front of a lot of people and have it filmed.  To each his own.   But here’s what he did like to do in real life:  organize leather invasions.

Leather invasions are where a groups of leather clad guys would invade places like museums, parks, shows, etc.   It was art.  Or as they called it, it was putting the kink back into NYC.   By the end of the shoot, we were pals.  And while I didn’t get a naked Bear in the video, I did get something better than that:  an @leatherinvasion dot com email address.  Amazing.

Since then it’s been a source of unending happiness.  All my blog comments go there.  Or went there.  My Bear is moving on apparently and with his life change, my email address will no longer exist.

Sigh.  ‘leatherinvasion’ is just so much cooler than ‘gmail.’  The only thing that can make me feel any better about this sad, sad, sad turn of events (I’m serious, I’m super bummed), is to watch the video and listen to Valley Lodge non-stop.  It’s kind of the only thing that makes everything all right, always.

Wach this video.

Then you need to download “All of My Loving.”  Right click.

And then, go to the super Valley Lodge website. And then, finally, buy some of their stuff.   Oh, and lastly!  They hardly ever perform, but they playing twice this month!

Now I’m going to send myself a few leatherinvasion emails while I still can.


Evil Scurvy Love

27 Apr

I’m a sucker for pop music, as you may have noticed.  There are a some artists along the way that I’ve adored who, for one reason or another, are totally overlooked by 99% of the population.  And I’m talking about the Pop Music Lovers population!  Weird.

Jonny Polonsky is one of those guys.  He’s a power pop singer who got a record deal in the mid-90s when one of the demo tapes he had sent around landed in the lap of The Pixies’ Frank Black.  No surprise that Frank had good taste, so he took Mr. Polonsky under his wing, did some demos with him and got him a manager.  Although a record deal materialized, the label was having problems of its own and the release just languished.  A couple more came out elsewhere over the years, but nothing has really made a dent.

I stumbled on the first record back when it came out and was kind of smitten from the moment I heard it.  I love “Evil Scurvy Love” and even though it’s not his most hit-single-y song on the record, it’s always the one I go to first.  Probably because I’ve never been one to resist evil scurvy love.  Enjoy!


Baby, It’s Cold Outside

27 Jan

The utterly fabulous Pezband is a sadly underappreciated band from the 1970s.  They kind of got lost between Power Pop and New Wave and were never properly cherished by either.  Everyone needs to (re?)discover them and love them.  Work with me, people!

I’ve always wondered why “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” wasn’t a huge hit.  It’s a perfect song.  Pezband hailed from Chicago so they know something about being cold.

I hear New York is awfully cold right now.  And because I’m always in sync with New York, even if I happen to be away, well,  baby, I’m cold too.

Download the magic here.