Released as a single by ‘Til Tuesday in 1985, Love In A Vacuum. From their Epic Records’ Lp, Voices Carry. Though not a huge charting song (it reached #88), it has since become a classic of the new wave era.
Released as a single in 1980, from OMD’s Organisation Lp, Enola Gay. Initially, the band was unsatisfied with the track, though they agreed with their record label that it might have the potential to be a pop hit. Today, many fans consider it to be one of their best songs.
In Their Own Write (JEM Records 2021)
Live albums are the next best thing to being there, especially when brought to you by a group as great as The Weeklings. Recorded on the stages of the Strand Theater in Lakewood, New Jersey and Daryl’s House in Pawling, New York, In Their Own Write truly does capture the widely adored combo in all their energetic and exciting splendor.
Because The Weeklings are so adept at composing and playing heritage genres, you would swear on a stack of vinyl that their songs were platinum-plated hit singles from the golden age of pop rock.
Bobbing with jingling guitars and cheery choruses, Little Tease, Don’t Know, Don’t Care and Little Elvis mimic the mop-topped Liverpool Class of 1963, where Morning, Noon And Night projects a stirring folk rock feel, accompanied by the tremor of a bluesy harmonica.
Wrapped in rotating rhythms, surrounded by power chords and drum drills snapping like rubber bands, In The Moment bears a potent Who presence, the chugging roll of 1,000 Miles Away rests firmly on Chuck Berry turf, and the melodic shimmer of Leave Me With My Pride would have been right at home on a Raspberries album.
No Weeklings’ gig is complete without greeting The Beatles. That said, In Their Own Write contains a pair of John Lennon and Paul McCartney covers, but rather than recycling the songs note for note, The Weeklings offer treatments that are far different from the original versions. Both The Word and Baby You’re A Rich Man are shaped of a stately stance, marked by weighty arrangements, a measured intensity and harmonica interludes, resulting in very unique and imaginative takes.
The Weeklings flex their stadium rock muscles to maximum momentum on the pulsing Running Away, which climaxes to a whirring jam, as well as the ultra-catchy 3, that bucks and bounces with stabbing hooks, elevated harmonies and a powerful and gritty lead vocal reminiscent of John Waite during his Babys days.
Intended to be experienced to at ear-splitting volume, In Their Own Right will have listeners clapping their hands, stomping their feet and singing along with these nifty tunes. The Weeklings have passed the audition. Here’s to a standing ovation and an encore!
The world needs more cover versions of songs originally done by Syracuse’s own power pop powerhouse the Flashcubes. There have been a few, though not many (and not enough). A local band called Eclipse used to cover ‘Cubes bassist Gary Frenay‘s “It’s You Tonight” in live sets in the ’90s; around 1980 or so, Central New York group the James L. Cortland Band was thinking of adding ‘Cubes guitarist Paul Armstrong‘s “I’m Not The Liar” to their set lists, I was living elsewhere by then, so I don’t know if the fabulous Cortlands followed through with that plan; but I was there, at the Firebarn, when they discussed it with PA, and I can vouch for that much as true.
The highest-profile ‘Cubes cover to date was the Slapbacks‘ cool rendition of Gary’s “Make Something Happen” on the 2017 compilation album This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, Volume 4. You can read all about that here (or as part of a longer account here). While you’re at it, you can still get TIRnRR # 4 as a CD from Kool Kat Musik or as a digital download from Futureman Records. GO!!! This pop gig doesn’t pay for itself, y’know.
And now, Japan’s phenomenal pop combo the Choosers have released a video of their own minty-fresh and fabulous take on “Christi Girl,” the song that served as the Flashcubes’ first single in 1978. Written by ‘Cubes guitarist Arty Lenin, “Christi Girl” is a pure pop ballad that should be a standard by now, and it retains all of its panache in the capable hands of the Choosers. It goes a little something like this:
MORE!! More Flashcubes covers, and more from the Choosers, please. And really, shouldn’t there already be a Flashcubes tribute album by now? Get the Choosers on the phone. We should all have a special place where nobody else can go.
And then, y’know, invite everyone there anyway.
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This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.
The many fine This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio compilation albums are still available, each full of that rockin’ pop sound you crave. A portion of all sales benefit our perpetually cash-strapped community radio project:
Volume 1: download
Volume 2: CD or download
Volume 3: download
Volume 4: CD or download
Waterloo Sunset–Benefit For This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio: CD or download
Another Bite At The Apple (Mike Drop Music 2021)
October 2020 saw the release of “Never Too Late,” an EP that introduced the world to Mike Browning. Drawing on the best and brightest pop rock sounds of mid-sixties AM radio, the North Carolina based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist revisited these influences with spot on precision while injecting his own notions into his superbly-scripted material. Refreshingly pure and moored with melodic perfection, “Never Too Late” registers as a modern day retro masterpiece.
Mike’s current effort, “Another Bite At The Apple” is a single that proceeds to pursue his passion for the music he so deeply loves. Leaning heavily on jogging surf styled rhythms, the springy sentiment owes further tribute to the genre in the form of Mike’s clear and concise vocals, backed by fluid harmonies. A bubblegummy carnival-like organ solo also courts the cut, as well as rolls of tightly-wired hooks and clicking guitar licks.
Semi-autobiographical, “Another Bite At The Apple” mirrors the experience of Mike meeting and getting together with his wife, Janine, who he has been happily married to for nearly thirty-four years. Picture the Beach Boys mingling with Tommy Roe and Gary Lewis and the Playboys, and that pretty much rams the point home on this tasty slice of pop rock sure to steal your heart.
Released as a single in September of 1988, Erasure’s A Little Respect. From the group’s Lp The Innocents, it would become an international hit, thanks, in part, to its popular MTV video.