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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sleater-Kinney Move To The Inactive List

Looks as though Sleater-Kinney have chosen to end on a high note - according to their website, a year or so after the release of what may arguably be their best album, they're done for now.

But: If there's anything I've learned in thirty-six years of bemoaning the breakup of yet another band, it's that there's always the possibility it'll result in something interesting. So the lesson is: keep your ears peeled. Musicians this good rarely just stop completely.

At least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it...

Bad To The Bone: The 101 Worst Songs Ever

Pat Pierson's "Radio Boy" program
Tuesday, June 27th (today)
east coast: 4pm-6pm
west coast: 1pm-3pm
airwaves: 88.7
live streaming: (click "listen")

Where do I start? I guess the best place is with the first list which was concocted in 1998 for my mag "Yeah Yeah Yeah." As a goof for the last page I ran what I felt were mainly the most annoying songs in my book, at the time. I did have input from friends, but mainly I went with my gut reaction. This time around I dug a little deeper and talked to more friends about it.

Well a lot (and not a lot) has changed since then. The power ballads are still dreadful, but I've opted to leave most of them out mainly because we know what they're about and their offensiveness has worn off a bit with time. Performers like Eminem, Shania Twain, Creed and Daniel Powter have become the newest of bad offenders. (Powter being the most recent victim of oversaturation of a mediocre/harmless song. Nowadays you can't even think of saying, "I had a bad day," without laughing.)

The stalwarts remain. And yes, VH1 & Blender's choices are in here. I, proudly was ahead of that curve with our #1 choice (which without hesitation, holds on to the crown firmly) and Europe too. Upon deeper searching there was a newer recognition of songs the radio continues to kill and/or songs that have no reason to remain as "classics," ergo the title of this piece taken from George Thorogood's meandering blues rocker that's one of the most annoyingly overplayed songs on classic rock radio still. The other "new" one for me was The Who's "Who Are You?," which never mattered much as being bad or good. I just always left it alone and didn't pay attention to it. That was until I realized how much I hear it on the radio vs. the other great Who songs like "So Sad About Us," "Pictures Of Lily," "The Kids Are Alright," and "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere," which remain virtually untouched (and collectively maybe shorter in length than "Who Are You?;" I haven't checked). It really made me think about it a wee bit harder. At least radio's laying off "Eminence Front."

Of course there's bad songs by everyone in every genre and I sure like some songs that would turn some people's tummies, but usually that's for some youthful benign sentimental reason and/or an overtly sweet tooth. We all have them. People still like The Doors and Gary Numan, too.

But bad songs are different. Usually, the easiest ones to pick are those by artists we thought were above such junk. And that's a good reason for many placements from the likes of Mick Jagger, Queen, Genesis, Blondie, Billy Idol, Soundgarden, Kenny Loggins, Don Henley, Paul McCartney, The Firm, Aerosmith etc. Others, like Guns N' Roses' take of "Live And Let Die" and The Charlie Daniels Band, still blow my fukkin mind at how flat-out terrible they are.

Annoying novelty songs were mostly left out too mainly because they're annoying novelty songs and that's where they remain. "The Macarena" remains in the list because it's wretchedness hasn't waned. It's still one of the most annoying things committed to tape ever. "Who Let The Dogs Out" gets an honorable mention.

Other inclusions made the cut due to overt use of bad/weak lyrics and bland/bad production. The '80s is still king for bad production and probably still has the most "winners" on this list. Bad drum sounds and Miami Vice-style productions were embraced by countless dimwits far and wide. There was also the bad trend of "outside" songwriters forced to "revive" old rock bands. So Aerosmith is here. Kiss gets an honorable mention. I should've included "The Flame" by Cheap Trick.

And that's all I know. So you had a bad day... This should make it a little bit brighter.
-Pat Pierson

The 101 Worst Songs (as of 6-27-06)

1. We Built This City- STARSHIP (#1 in the original list)
2. Man! I Feel Like A Woman!- SHANIA TWAIN
3. Mockingbird- EMINIEM
4. Nookie- LIMP BIZKIT
5. With Arms Wide Open- CREED
6. Live And Let Die- GUNS N' ROSES
7. Cotton Eye Joe- REDNEX
8. Let's Work- MICK JAGGER (#34)
9. Another One Bites The Dust- QUEEN (#77)
10. The Final Countdown- EUROPE (#3)
12. The Greatest Love Of All- WHITNEY HOUSTON (#7)
13. Love Is A Battlefield- PAT BENATAR (#14)
14. All She Wants To Do Is Dance- DON HENLEY (#30)
15. Flesh For Fantasy- BILLY IDOL (#38)
16. Mama- GENESIS
17. Gold Digger- KANYE WEST
18. The Devil Went Down To Georgia- CHARLIE DANIELS BAND (#96)
19. Fire Water Burn- BLOODHOUND GANG
20. The Tide Is High- BLONDIE
21. How You Remind Me- NICKELBACK
22. You Decorated My Life- KENNY ROGERS
23. In The Navy- VILLAGE PEOPLE (#59)
24. We Don't Need Another Hero- TINA TURNER (#13)
25. Spoon Man- SOUNDGARDEN (#11)
27. Music- MADONNA
28. I'll Be There For You- BON JOVI
29. Mr. Roboto- STYX
30. Sunglasses At Night- COREY HART (#35)
31. She's Always A Woman- BILLY JOEL
32. Macarena- LOS DEL RIOS (#4)
33. Dr. Feelgood- MOTLEY CRUE
34. Danger Zone- KENNY LOGGINS (#15)
35. Watcha Gonna Do?- PABLO CRUISE
36. The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald- GORDON LIGHTFOOT (#92)
37. The Stroke- BILLY SQUIER (#87)
38. Playground In My Mind- CLINT HOLMES (#58)
39. Tragedy- BEE GEES (#48)
40. The Wild Boys- DURAN DURAN
41. The Power Of Love- HUEY LEWIS & THE NEWS
42. The Warrior- SCANDAL (#72)
44. I Believe I Can Fly- R. KELLY
46. How Am I Supposed To Live Without You- MICHAEL BOLTON (#17)
48. Cheap Sunglasses- ZZ TOP
49. Tom Sawyer- RUSH (#6)
50. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go- WHAM!
52. Feelings- MORRIS ALBERT (#12)
53. Armageddon It- DEF LEPPARD
54. Safety Dance- MEN WITHOUT HATS
55. Billy Don't Be A Hero- BO DONALDSON & THE HEYWOODS (#31)
56. (You're) Having My Baby- PAUL ANKA (#93)
57. Ring My Bell- ANITA WARD (#66)
58. Big Girls Don't Cry- THE FOUR SEASONS (#37)
59. Undercover Of The Night- ROLLING STONES
60. I Don't Want To Miss A Thing- AEROSMITH
61. Heartlight- NEIL DIAMOND
62. Total Eclipse Of The Heart- BONNIE TYLER (#51)
63. I'm No Angel- GREGG ALLMAN
64. Another Brick In The Wall- PINK FLOYD (78)
65. Eye Of The Tiger- SURVIVOR (#16)
67. We Are The World- USA FOR AFRICA (#8)
68. That Don't Impress Me Much- SHANIA TWAIN
69. Batdance- PRINCE (#91)
70. Party All The Time- EDDIE MURPHY
71. St. Elmo's Fire- JOHNNY PARR (#39)
72. Poundcake- VAN HALEN
73. Bawitdaba- KID ROCK
74. To All The Girls I Loved Before- JULIO IGLESIAS & WILLIE NELSON (#22)
75. Old Time Rock & Roll- BOB SEGER (#41)
76. Separate Ways- JOURNEY (#19)
77. Where It's At- BECK
78. Abracadabra- STEVE MILLER
80. Mustang Sally- WILSON PICKETT
81. My Name Is- EMINEM
82. Like A Virgin- MADONNA
84. That's What Friends Are For- DIONNE WARWICK & FRIENDS
85. Let The Music Play- SHANNON (#61)
86. Everything I Do, I Do For You- BRYAN ADAMS (#54)
87. The Heat Is On- GLENN FREY (#76)
88. I Just Called To Say I Love You- STEVIE WONDER
89. She Hates Me- PUDDLE OF MUDD
90. Say You Say Me- LIONEL RITCHIE
91. What's Going On- 4 NON-BLONDES
92. You Can Call Me Al- PAUL SIMON (#68)
93. Beverly Hills- WEEZER
95. Me So Horny- 2 LIVE CREW
96. I Only Want To Be With You- HOOTIE & THE BLOWFISH
97. If I Had A Hammer- PETER, PAUL & MARY (#36)
98. Radioactive- THE FIRM
99. When A Man Loves A Woman- PERCY SLEDGE (#57)
100. Who Are You- THE WHO
101. Fly Away- LENNY KRAVITZ

honorable mentions:
Forever- KISS
Sometimes When We Touch- DAN HILL
Living In America- JAMES BROWN
It's Now Or Never- ELVIS PRESLEY
I'll Make Love To You- BOYZ II MEN
Who Let The Dogs Out- BAHA MEN
I Never Been To Me- CHARLENE
Crush On You- THE JETS
Who Will Save Your Soul- JEWEL
Point Of No Return- EXPOSE
Never Gonna Give You Up- RICK ASTLEY
Everything Is Beautiful- RAY STEVENS

thanks to: Mike C, DJ Timmah, Suzie & Bobbi, Tommy Allen, & the radio dial

Monday, June 26, 2006

Altrok Radio Music Update #122

This week, our Grinders (the stuff we play heavily) include music from:
  • Every Move A Picture
  • Forward Russia!
  • Radio 4
  • Zoppo
  • White Rose Movement
  • Sonic Youth
Plus we've got newly-added music:
  • Boy Kill Boy - Back Again
  • Eagles Of Death Metal - Solid Gold
  • Gnarls Barkley - Gone Daddy Gone
  • Hello Nurse - Last One To Know
  • The Longcut - A Quiet Life
  • The Majestic Twelve - Trapped Underwater
  • The Pipettes - Pull Shapes
  • Razorlight - In The Morning
  • Tara Slone - My Little Secret
  • Soundpool - Span The Universe
  • Bruce Springsteen - O Mary Don't You Weep
  • The Sunshine Underground - I Aint Losing Any Sleep
  • Tokyo Police Club - Citizens Of Tomorrow
  • The Walkmen - Danny's At The Wedding
Our Newly-Added Classics:
  • Blotto - I Wanna Be A Lifeguard
  • The Clash - The Magnificient Seven
  • Dire Straits - Twisting By The Pool
  • The Flaming Mussolinis - Swallow Glass
  • The Jam - Start!
  • Philip Lynott - Yellow Pearl
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Electricity
  • The Ramones - Rock 'n' Roll High School
  • The Soft Boys - (I Want To Be An) Anglepoise Lamp
  • The Sound - Hothouse

Thursday, June 22, 2006

30 Seconds To Boredom

Phew - just noticed the local Alternative station ("The 'Only' Alternative" my mosh-pit-rearranged backside) playing a band I hadn't heard before. I shouldn't have bothered: 30 Sends To Mars' "The Kill" sounds like something you've heard before, because it is something you've heard before. Repeatedly. I thought stamping out pay-for-play was gonna put the kibosh on dreck like this.

I mean, sure, points for the video's references to "The Shining", but come on...

In short, feh.


To say Jenn (Moore) Keating is a good friend of mine would be an understatement on the order of "Hurricane Katrina brought some rain to New Orleans". She and I have been partners in crime for years, albeit mostly electronically as our respective family units grow and flourish, which (mostly) hasn't stopped us getting together to write our semi-celebrated comics. She's got a pretty well-aligned musical sense relative to my own, too, so her suggestion that I start taking Eagles Of Death Metal seriously was not one to be dismissed out of hand.

And thus, it's her I must blame for the presence of "Solid Gold" from their latest album Death By Sexy on my own internal mental tape loop. (It probably benefits from my listening repeatedly to the new cuts I'll be featuring on this coming week's Altrok Radio playlist, too.) It's one of those situations where a pile of acoustic instruments still wind up propelling an infectuously danceable beat - sort of the way nobody ever notices the acoustic guitar dead center in the mix on Pete Shelley's "Homosapien". Then it keeps getting punctuated with a shout - "Sweat!" - which should be the key laugh getter when the song inevitably gets the "fat kid dances like nobody's looking" viral video treatment.

I'll be thanking Jenn by making sure she's heard Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy". One good infection deserves another.

Eagles Of Death Metal links:
  • At their site (including a well-appointed Video/Audio page)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Soundpool Spans The Universe

It's a happy day when something shows up in our mailbox that takes our expectations and twists them gleefully; such is the case with Soundpool's new album On High. It's one of those releases where you wind up constructing a game of "name the genre" and start giggling when you realize you've stopped on "space-age shoegazing Manchester bachelor pad music"; especially on "Span The Universe", the track we'll be adding to Altrok Radio next week. They've got four other worthy tracks to hear on their music page, and/or at their MySpace page, so go forth and be giddy. (One of 'em is in our Grinder this week. See, you should be looking at those music lists we post, shouldn'tya?)

Listen to Soundpool:

The Random Gush's been around a few years now, and has generally spent a lot of time and verbiage looking at big pictures - like "The music industry is corrupt" or "The radio industry is corrupt" or "Congress is full of uninformed politicians easily led by the corrupt music and radio industries into passing laws that are against the interests of almost all of the people that voted for them."

But what we haven't done a lot of is tell you what we like. Musically, that is. I mean, we give you names and songs, but after a while that just sort of blurs into a grey space, when the fact of the matter is that we play music that really excites us.

So rather than the big picture, it probably makes more sense to post a lot of little pictures, more often. Since there's a pile of songs that excites us every week, we'll try to take the time to tell you why they excite us. And while that's probably just more dancing about architecture (and, full provenance given, that line was first told to me by Peter Buck, and he acknowledged he was quoting Martin Mull) it appears that we might actually like dancing about architecture.

When theres a new big picture to bring into focus, we'll do that. Remember, we were the ones who told you, back in early 2001, that portable MP3 was going to replace radio, and radio was going to respond poorly by trying to emulate portable MP3 players. The concept of an "iPod" didn't even exist back then, so there's no reason not to suspect we'll try to keep you ahead of other concepts that don't yet exist.

But we'll take a bit more time to gush about the music, m'kay?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Altrok Music Update #121

This week, our Grinders (the stuff we play heavily) include music from:
  • Soundpool
  • Rubicks
  • Camera Obscura
  • The Walkmen
  • Captain
  • The Loud Family And Anton Barbeau

Plus we've got newly-added music:
  • Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint - Six-Fingered Man
  • Don Dixon - Room With A View (with Marti Jones)
  • Forward Russia! - Eighteen
  • The Futureheads - Cope
  • Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
  • Glen Hansard & Marketta Irglova - Falling Slowly
  • Killing Joke - This Tribal Antidote
  • The Majestic Twelve - Cry
  • Mission Of Burma - 2wice
  • The Organ - Brother
  • The Rifles - When I'm Alone
  • Sonic Youth - Incinerate
  • tvfordogs - Natural Science Fiction
Our Newly-Added Classics:
  • Bauhaus - In The Flat Field
  • Belly - Slow Dog
  • The Cure - Grinding Halt
  • Echo And The Bunnymen - People Are Strange
  • Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Happy
  • New Order - Temptation
  • Pulp - Common People
  • Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers - Roadrunner
  • Sparks - Something For The Girl With Everything (feat. Faith No More)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Altrok Music Update #120

This week, our Grinders (the stuff we play heavily) include music from:
  • Barnacle Bill
  • Objects
  • The Oohlas
  • Tokyo Police Club
  • The Futureheads
  • Dirty Pretty Things

Plus we've got newly-added music:
  • Eef Barzelay - Heaven
  • Boy Kill Boy - Suzie
  • Captain - Broke
  • Graham Coxon - You And I
  • Eagles Of Death Metal - I Got A Feelin (Just Nineteen)
  • Every Move A Picture - Mission Bell
  • Guillemots - Made Up Lovesong #43
  • Morrissey - The Youngest Was The Most Loved
  • Radio 4 - Enemies Like This
  • The Research - The Hard Times
  • The Rifles - Repeated Offender
  • The Shell - My Sick Duck
  • Sky Parade - Fire In The Sky
  • Soundpool - Walking On Air
  • Weapons - I Want To Save The World

Our Newly-Added Classics:
  • All - She's My Ex
  • Carter USM - Sheriff Fatman
  • Daryl Hall & John Oates [Yes, really!] - You Must Be Good For Something
  • Joe Jackson - Pretty Boys
  • Mad Daddys - Porno King
  • Modern English - Hands Across the Sea
  • Pete Shelley - Telephone Operator
  • Simple Minds - Promised You A Miracle
  • The Style Council - Walls Come Tumbling Down!
  • Frank Tovey - Luddite Joe

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Pat Pierson - Same Guy, New "Start"

Altrok contributor, heralded writer and all-'round accomplished wheels-of-steel conductor Pat Pierson will be plying his favorite trade on Thursday nights at the new "Start!" theme night at the Loop Lounge in Passaic, NJ (10pm-3am). Looks like they're busting out the Mods (Secret Affair, anyone?) , but also hewing to the Altrok philosophy where new indie and classic 80's tracks live side by side in perfect har-mo-nee.

This, ultimately, is what your Thursday nights needed. You can thank him at the bar.

(If you simply must stay home Thursday night, why not drown your sorrows to the incitingly unique playlist at Altrok's melody:Culture, the modern-rock/punk/new-wave/alterna/indie dance club of the mind? You'll be doing us both a favor. In fact, it happens Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, starting at 7PM Eastern on Altrok Radio. Click the link to the right and get connected.)
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We've stood by as truly independent alternative rock radio died. Sure, something called "alternative" took its place, but we know for sure that anything that "tests well" with soccer moms just ain't alternative. (Even if some of us happen to be soccer moms.) So we've taken matters into our own hands.
This really is independent alternative rock radio, visible here at and audible at our web radio station. It has the classic music that fired our passions back in the day - or that we maybe only heard about from our elders - but it's mostly made of the new music that does precisely the same for us now. We're paying attention to scenes all over the world, watching the energy build, and waiting to see what it creates. Wherever it happens, we'll make sure you can hear about it here. We've been slowly building all this since 2001, and now that you've noticed us, we're glad you're here.
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