Archive for January, 2008

The Fleshtones’ “Take A Good Look” Wins Super Tuesday

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on January 23, 2008 by johnbuckley100

It’s two a.m. somewhere in America, and the Fleshtones are leading a conga line out into a dirty, rainy street.  Keith’s guitar pokes the door open, Bill’s dragging along and pummeling the tom tom, and while Peter does the frug, Ken’s bass is still thumping through the amps they’ve left inside.  The crowd follows, girls giggling, boys laughing til they can’t stand up, all the diehards deputized as official members of the Fleshtones Glee Club, singin’ along.  Right at this moment you say to yourself, “How long can they keep being the best rock’n’roll band in America, playing their hearts out night after night — ever since Gerald Ford was president! — putting out really good records year in and year out, alas never quite getting that break?”  Suddenly a patrol car pulls up, and just as you wonder whether their luck, and yours, has gone from bad to worse, the cops get out dancing to the tune of “Jet Set Fleshtones,” and you know, your heart tells you, no, you can feel it in your bones: these guys aren’t done yet.  No way.  Not the Fleshtones.  Just to prove it, today the ‘tones released a new album (produced by Ivan Julian of Voidoids fame.) “Take A Good Look,” something like the 17th long player by the Gods of the Garage, is the Fleshtones’ best album in at least ten years, and one of the top three or four records of their long and storied career.

  •  The sound is a throwback all the way to those singles and the “Roman Gods” album produced by Richard Mazda.  And of course it is: Ivan Julian, one of the only New York punkrockers who could generate as much six-string excitement as Keith Streng, knows the really good Fleshtones records have always had their inspiration come from Mies Van Der Rohe.  No, not when he said, “Space is liberation.”  When he said, “Less is more, dummy.”
  • The dynamic of the band has shifted, with Keith now singing one out of every three or four songs.  I’m not complaining, though I happen to think Peter Zaremba is now and always has been one of the great vocalists in rock.  It’s just different.  Keith’s asserting himself as never before, singing songs like “Shiney Hiney,” which is not a disquisition on the groundwork of the metaphysics of morals, but a set of instructions about what the world can kiss.
  • If, like me, you think of the Rolling Stones’ “Between The Buttons” as a pop album, you’ll understand why the Fleshtones have always been so much more than just a garage band, so much more than just the most exciting band that’s ever jumped up on top the bar in your hometown and done the gentleman’s twist.  In an ideal world, no, in a halfway decent one, “Love Yourself”, with its haunting blues harp and infectious beat, would be coming out of radios on every dashboard in town.  That it won’t proves nothing but the deficiencies of the planet we live on.
  • Don’t believe me?  Go listen to the title track, to “Jet Set Fleshtones,” to “Ruby’s Old Town.”  Next time Bono boasts about his coop in the San Remo, or wherever it is the rich rockstars live, play him the Fleshtones song “New York City.”  It reduces the U2 song of the same name to so much twaddle.

Yes, I’ve listened to the new Black Mountain, and to the new Cat Power, both out today.  The Fleshtones win Super Tuesday in a landslide.  Those other guys have put out good records, about which Tulip Frenzy will be weighing in later.  For now let’s shimmy out the door and celebrate the ‘tones return to magic form.

A Rose Is Not A Tulip, I Just Like The Image

Posted in Uncategorized on January 14, 2008 by johnbuckley100

Leica M8 with Noctilux at f/1.0.rose3.jpg

Blood Meridian’s “Liquidate Paris” Will Do Until Black Mountain’s New One

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on January 9, 2008 by johnbuckley100

The eyes of the nation await dramatic events later in the month.  We’re not talking about the Nevada caucuses, the South Carolina primary.  We’re talking about the real Super Tuesday, January 22nd, when Black Mountain, Cat Power, and the Fleshtones all release albums.  I don’t know how to handicap Super Tuesday other than to say that in the case of the Fleshtones, I pray they haven’t succumbed to that “change” bug that seems to have infected Obamawannabes: Tulip Frenzy likes its Fleshtones just the way God made ’em.
 
  • But while I’m really looking forward to the other two releases, it’s Black Mountain that intrigues me most.  While we await “Into the Future,” I’ve been playing everything by Black Mountain and its two sister-groups, The Pink Mountaintops and Blood Meridian.  Happily, Blood Meridian released a limited edition new album at the end of 2007.  After contorting myself to find it — searching Ebay, pulling on threads — it’s just showed up in the iTunes store.
  • “Liquidate Paris” is nowhere near as good as their last one, “Kick Up The Dust,” which took away the coveted “Tulip Frenzy Album of the Year” (c) honors in 2006.  It has the same parched, Calexico-esque countrywestern sound as the last one — you know what I mean: percussion that sounds like a marimba but is really a rattlesnake tail shake, and that’s not slide guitar, that’s a ricochet from the shoot-out at the Ok Corral — but Matthew Camirand, Joshua Wells, and the rest of the gang seem like they recorded it while midway through a Pony Express mission, which in this case may have just been Blood Mountain’s latest.  It lacks the relaxed, melodic, poignancy of “Kick Up The Dust,”which was recorded during an extended woodshed on Vancouver Island or some bucolic North’o’theborder locale.  Still, go download “Everything She Said,” “Burning River of Guilt,” “She Calls Me,” and “She Wears Black and I Wear White.”  Those songs are great.
  • For more on The Black Mountain/Blood Meridian collective see Tulip Frenzy v. 1.0.

Playlist of 2007 Top Songs

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2008 by johnbuckley100

Tulip Frenzy is not K-Tel.  We have no deals with labels, and we don’t advertise on late-night television.  But if we were to put together a playlist with two songs each from the 2007 Tulip Frenzy Top 10 List (c), here’s what it would be: 

  1. Ryan Bingham Album: Mescalero Songs: Bread and Water/Hard Times;
  2. New Pornograhers Album: Challengers Songs: All The  Old Showstoppers/Fortune;
  3. Wilco Album: Sky Blue Sky Songs: Impossible Germany/Let’s Not Get Carried Away; 
  4. Black Rebel Motorcycle Gang Album: Baby 81 Songs: Weapon of Choice/Coldwind;
  5. Apples In Stereo Album: New Magnetic Wonder   Songs: Skyway/7 Stars;
  6. Iron & Wine Album: Shepherds Dog Songs: Pagan Angel and A Borrowed Car/Carousel;
  7. Babyshambles Album: Shotter’s Nation  Songs: Deft Left Hand/Crum Begging;
  8. The Chesterfield Kings Album: Psychedelic Sunrise Songs: Up and Down/Outtasite;
  9. Eddie Vedder Album: Into The Wild Songs: Hard Sun/Far Behind;
  10. The Waterboys Album: Book of Lightning Songs: Crash of Angel Wings/It’s Gonna Rain;

Now, go to the iTunes Store and assemble.    

15 Below Zero. Seriously, It Was

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2008 by johnbuckley100

15-below.jpg

The Official Tulip Frenzy Top Ten List Of Best Music From 2007

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2008 by johnbuckley100
  • 10. The Waterboys “Book of Lightning”Who ever would have thought that the Waterboys would rock as hard as, and sound a lot like, Robyn Hitchcock?  This was a left-field surprise that went beyond a return to form, since never once had they sounded this good.
  • 9. Eddie Vedder “Into The Wild”Great movie, perfect soundtrack to it.  
  • 8.The Chesterfield Kings “Psychedelic Sunrise”Until the next Fleshtones album comes out (January 22nd), this is the garage classic of the moment.
  • 7.Babyshambles “Shotters Nation”Pete Doherty makes Amy Winehouse seem like she’s overly fond of 3.2 beer or something, but I was shocked by what an amazing album this is, the best Brit-rock album since Blur was functional.  We need to keep this guy alive.
  • 6.Iron & Wine “The Shepherd’s Dog”Music to listen to while getting tanked up on coffee, sitting in sunlight, while reading six sections of the Sunday Times.  That’s actually a compliment.
  • 5. The Apples in Stereo “Science Faire”The little pop-rock genius Bob Schneider made a good ‘un, rocking hard but not at Ramones speed, while still catchy as their soundtrack for the Powerpuff Girls.
  • 4. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club “Baby 81″Even in a year when the Jesus and Mary Chain came back at Coachilla, this was the best moment for off-kilter hard rock that I lived through.
  • 3. Wilco “Sky Blue Sky”Why put down Jeff Tweedy’s sobriety? With Nels Cline sounding like Tom Verlaine on a good day, this beautiful symphony of noise deserved a far, far better fate than the slagging it took.  (Funny how after putting it down, Uncut put it in their Top Five list…)
  • 2. The New Pornographers “Challengers”Another album hipsters gainsaid, yet still packed such an un-Canadian wallop, it’s a wonder the Arcade Fire didn’t do the honorable thing and just move to Paraguay. 
  • 1. Ryan Bingham “Mescalero”The best album of 2007 was by a West Texas songwriter named Ryan who was smart enough to embrace, not run from sounding like the great lost Whiskeytown album.

Tulip Frenzy’s Top 10 List of The Best Music from 2007

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2008 by johnbuckley100

I never resolved to restart Tulip Frenzy, just as I never really resolved to let Tulip Frenzy 1.0 die.  Blogging, like gardening, takes more attention than I was willing to give it.  And thus Tulip Frenzy went the way of most organic matter, and became digital mulch.  But now it’s back!  So there.The fact that it’s back under new (site) management on the 2nd day of the new year is a coincidence.  Or maybe not.  A few weeks ago, a friend sent me a list of what by the consensus of his cohorts was deemed the year’s best albums.  I agreed with few of the choices, and found myself moved to parley with the extremely reclusive crew at Tulip Frenzy World HQ. Together we agreed to produce our own list.  (The list is coming right up.)  Somehow this morphed into cranking up the Tulip Frenzy machinery all over again.  Tulip Frenzy is dead.  Long live Tulip Frenzy. 

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