How Old Are Mix Tapes?

In this week’s episode of Mrs. America (spoiler alert), the Phyllis Schlafly character opens her adolescent daughter’s mail and finds a mix cassette from a boy, which when Schlafly slides it into the tape recorder turns out to begin, shockingly (for her) and hilariously (for us) enough, with “Cherry Bomb.” Later Schlafly explains to some… Continue reading How Old Are Mix Tapes?

150 Best Albums of 1972

Some bot calling itself Charlie Davis showed up on my facebook feed last week, claiming “There are no songs about animals…FACT.” Probably it was harvesting potential answers to “What’s your pet’s name?” or personal-information security questions along those lines; all I know is somebody I went to high school with had naively answered “‘Wildfire’ ‘Born… Continue reading 150 Best Albums of 1972

150 Best Albums of 1975

“Our long national nightmare is over,” Gerald Ford had promised his fellow Americans the previous August, as he was sworn in as the most un-elected president ever, replacing the only president who ever resigned. But 1975 still had plenty of nightmare left: State Department bombed by Weather Underground, FBI gunfight on a South Dakota Indian… Continue reading 150 Best Albums of 1975

Outsider Proto-Punk Reissue Licks, 2003

MICHAEL YONKERS BAND, Microminiature Love St. Paul, Minnesota, 1968. Techie-teen leader of Michael and the Mumbles tires of twanging surf ditties at prom and VFW crowds, so he saws down his Fender and slashes open his speakers and lets his ominous baritone vibrato’s pomped-up medieval-castle Procol Harum poetry fall into black holes of Link Wray-reverbed… Continue reading Outsider Proto-Punk Reissue Licks, 2003

Monster Records Metal Reissue Licks, 2004

TRUTH AND JANEY, ERUPTS! In April 1976, an unpretentious numskull trio from some Iowa cowtown recorded this ballroom concert (longest endurance tests 9:05, 8:12, 7:21, 6:51), not issued on double vinyl till the early ’90s, and not on CD till now. To read their backstory, you need their 1,000-pressing 1976 studio LP, No Rest for the… Continue reading Monster Records Metal Reissue Licks, 2004

A Bubblegum Top 40

Reprinted in the 2001 Kim Cooper and David Smay-edited anthology Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth; possibly excerpted and/or cannibalized in scores of things I’ve written since. But this is how the original version looked on the page. A year later or decades later — after Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, the Spice Girls, Radio Disney, Aqua,… Continue reading A Bubblegum Top 40

Charlene et. al. review, 1995

An excuse to rave about quite possibly the most ridiculous, brazen, inconceivably over-the-top soliloquy ever to go Top 10. And since you ask, yes I have indeed karaokied it. Did you expect otherwise? Eye Weekly, 25 May 1995

What is New Wave??

And now, something completely ridiculous for the time capsule: Written in straight grey pseudo-objective journalismese, an attempt to explain to squaresville suburban Detroit weekly newspaper readers what exactly is this new wave punk rock stuff they keep hearing about. Some of the predictions are pretty amusing: “no new wave band will ever achieve the mass… Continue reading What is New Wave??