Back When We Were Smart

The new Sloan single is floating around out there. It’ll make your afternoon, but little else.

And because I’m fully 25% Swedish, with living relatives there (can I please visit?), and she’s touring with my daughter’s fave, Jens Lekman, here’s something freshly delivered to J Frank’s gmail from Secretly Canadian:

Frida HyvonenYou Never Got Me Right
(to hell with umlauts. -Ed)

I suspect this will grow on me, just because she gets pretty crazy halfway through. It subverts the preciousness.

The Rich Girls are Weeping has a nice rethink of a NY Times article about the ‘death’ of cd emporiums. Real music geeks never took those stores seriously anyway; they’re over-priced CD outlets catering mostly to tourists, students, and retarded kids who of course find iTunes as exciting as digging in crates, which they’ve never done. The kind of store that carries a million Radiohead bootlegs and little else, and it’s all $15 or up. Some hidden treasures, but no Wowsville (RIP?). Vinyl stores like Bleeker Bob’s do their real money on Ebay — BB’s in-store stuff is so overpriced, I’ve only ever been in there a few times, it makes me so mad. Rocks in Your Head is the real gem, and yeah, Other Music, the partially overpriced Gimmee Gimmee Gimme (RIP?), Kim’s, and a smattering of fly-by-nights and stalwarts in all boroughs, but everyone with sense just waits for the WFMU Record Fair, spends an irresponsible wad of cash there, and then listens to what they’ve bought over the course of the ensuing year.

And a bit of last night: While at my fave Brooklyn watering hole, inspired by the frequent Stones’ songs splitting up a nice batch of VU, Yo La, and GBV, a friend and I had a debate of all things Jagger vs. Richards. I’m not much of a Rolling Stones fan, or at least a very, very picky one (maybe 6 songs total) and I prefer them 1976-82, which is akin to rock apostasy, I’m told. But I think their psychedelic stuff (the fecal “She’s Like a Rainbow”) betrayed their strengths, and was probably inspired only by an effort to compete with what sold records at that time (it worked, saleswise, for the record).

My buddy mentioned that when Jagger decided to go solo, Richards apparently told him that if he did so, they’d forever depelete the Rolling Stones of good material. That’s exactly what happened. Jagger’s mostly stupid pop solo work excepted, the only decent Rolling Stones material after 1985 can be found gasping for air on Keith Richards’ solo records. They’re not masterpieces by any stretch, and sometimes cornier than Jagger (hence Main Offender’s title and “Bodytalks.” Ugh.). But Richards’ solo albums are also infrequent and obvious proof that he now saves his lesser ideas for Stones records, aka tour promos. The solo efforts are delightfully unbusy, simple rock trio arrangements, with a nifty surprise or two, like the straightforward Motown impression “Hate it When You Leave” from Main Offender.

My personal reason for picking up his solo work on the cheap, whenever I can, stems from a Replacements show Mr. Tapeworm and I attended in 1987 or 88, whence the Replacements opened up for Mr. Richards. The ‘Mats, in suits like they were at a wedding, won over the assembled and skeptical Hell’s Angels despite being Bob-less and mistake-rife. Satisfied, we contemplated leaving, but stayed to give Keith a chance. We were smart that night. Richards was amazing — Chuck Berry alums, extended reggae covers, full on rock and roll, and maybe one stones song, if that, and it was “Happy.” Very little talk, mostly one-two-three showmanship, a real here-it-is-and-fuck-you-ness, anti-spectacle thing. Hard to hate him now, even if he did haveto get his blood washed. And heck, the guy can have skull surgery and still play out. They ought to make him a part of stem cell research.

From Main Offender
Keith Richards – Wicked As it Seems
Keith Richards – Hate it When You Leave

From Talk is Cheap
Keith Richards — You Don’t Move Me
Keith Richards –Locked Away

That just felt very uncool. I need to post some new Brazilian electropop band or something, fast.


10 thoughts on “Back When We Were Smart

  1. For my head the last great thing the Stones did was “Luxury”, which I thought was greatly unappreciated.After that maybe an honourable mention for “Hand of Fate” and “When the Whip Comes Down” but that’s about it.I’ve liked all Keith’s solo material and still give it a go every once in a while. “Running Too Deep” is amazing.


  2. I only like six things about the Rolling Stones:HeartbreakerMiss YouWaiting on a FriendCocksucker BluesEmotional RescueShatteredOtherwise, they all died in a plane crash in 1985.


  3. “I need to post some new Brazilian electropop band or something, fast.”You and me both, buster.You can write all the thinky pieces you want about record stores, but people only care about The Next Big Thing.I nearly got into a fist fight with a kid at the WFMU record fair last year over a pristine copy of Roxy Music’s s/t — I hadn’t seen a good copy in YEARS and wanted it, bad — but the kid had spunk, and I think he might have literally ripped my throat out for it, so I let it go.


  4. Agree totally with you about the record shops. There was a time when I would spend hours “binning” (mostly at Sounds on St. Marks and Freebeing) but these days I only pop into Other Music periodically to see what’s happening on the racks. And I believe Rocks In Your Head (the brick et mortar) is RIP.


  5. Fistfights at the fmu fair aren’t far from the truth – some real rabid collectors there – I love the Asian kids rifling through records so fast they can’t possibly be doing anyhting other than scratching some OCD itch. Fave story – I think Mr. Tapeworm witnessed this — guy (visual: jean jacket and pants, 5 foot nothing, long black hair and beard like harry shearer in spinal tap, big comb in back pocket, white adidas high tops) comes up to video table, interrupts anyone, and says “you got Rush, Albany show, 1989?” Vendor says no. Guy walks away in petulant huff. I remember the record show in 2001 soon after 9/11; some basement-dwelling music geeks were talking about flying a cessna into Z100. After death, they would be rewarded with entrance into a garden filled with any women who would talk to them.


  6. <>Fave story – I think Mr. Tapeworm witnessed this — guy (visual: jean jacket and pants, 5 foot nothing, long black hair and beard like harry shearer in spinal tap, big comb in back pocket, white adidas high tops) comes up to video table, interrupts anyone, and says “you got Rush, Albany show, 1989?” Vendor says no. Guy walks away in petulant huff.<>This actually happened at a Philly area record show, at some big King of Prussia convention center. It was actually 1986, Albany, which I mention not to say “hah, you were wrong,” but rather to prove that my memory is broken. I can remember *that* fact from six years ago, but I cannot remember what I did three minutes ago.WFMU geek conversations lean more toward Can bootlegs and whether or not 1/2 Gentlemen/Not Beasts came with a poster insert (it did, apparently).Personally, I’ve been frequenting a Long Island record store … the kind that charges gazillions for Beach Boys records but sells the first Roxy Music in mint shape for $4 or $5. Hate to rub it in … The selection is inconsistent (sometimes they have nothing … sometimes they have lots of cheap Blue Note jazz reissues, Undertones vinyl, etc …), but it’s always a relaxing hour away from work, even if the only thing of note is the complete Zebra discography …


  7. And no, I’m not telling where it is. There’s only room for one of us there.And is The Sound Library still open? I no longer have sufficient funds to go anywhere near the place (or any other Manhattan diskery, for that matter), and I heard it was not doing well. Fabulous selection. One of the few stores that charges premium dollar for stuff that’s worth every penny.


  8. The Sound Library – I almost forgot – remember watching ?uestlove from Roots dropping $400 like it was pee-pee one afternoon there? HE and I discussed old disco singles before I figured out who he was. Great place. Wonder if they still operate, yeah; don’t wanna know, really.You know, I gotta respect the true underground record store – we all know/remember one like your Long Island oasis, the place where the help’s taste is so poor you can feast like a king on their scraps. Same for bookstores — places with Grisham for $30 but fantastic first editions rebought from a library, outside in a bin, for $1.It’s probably the only good thing about the suburbs.


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