This Smart Remarks 45, more than any other, is responsible for my insatiable need to search out and own obscure pop singles. When I was in high school (around ‘83-84) I ordered a handful of 45s from the huge catalog of some failed distributor/mail order place back east. They consisted mostly of no-longer cool punk/wave titles. (A KBD collector could have cleaned up. Among the things I passed on were the Vains’ “School Jerks,” the Electric Eels, and, I seem to recall, Cracked Actor’s “Nazi School”.) Most of the ones I recognized were pretty expensive, say $2.50, which seemed like an awful lot back then, so I stuck to the unknown cheap stuff. I really had no idea what I was getting into, so I made my selections based on whether or not the band names and song titles sounded like they might appeal to my sensibilities (i.e. girls names in song titles, band names that hearkened back to the pre-Sgt. Pepper 60s). I scored big three times; among my selections were the Paper Tigers 45 featured a few days ago and the Riff Doctors’ lovely “I Don’t Want To Go Back.” As great as those were, this one was special.
You know how so many punk and power pop records of the era have “ironic” lyrics about taking you out to the drive-in or meeting your parents, or whatever? This one evokes an innocence that seems completely real, an un-selfconsciousness that not even the fake British accents can negate. Perhaps that’s why I like it so much; I don’t mean to get all David Marsh on you, but it reminds me of that rare (and I do mean rare) hopeful feeling I occasionally had in high school that my interest in some girl might possibly be mutual. This is absolutely one of my very favorite records that ever lived.
Oh, produced by Tom Marolda, of the Toms. They had a 12” EP in 1985 which is rumored to be rather more slick.
Supposedly at odds with this country artist’s image as the somber Man in Black, this collection of humorous songs actually isn’t that much of a departure for Johnny Cash. Listeners who may have grown up during his days as a Top Ten artist will recall his steady stream of singles that always seemed to have a clever gimmick or catchy twist; why, some of those aren’t even on this collection, meaning there ought to be a second volume! More than three decades later, Cash would release concept CDs collecting songs based around particular themes — Love, God, and Murder — so perhaps this album is a thematic link, or a theme he could return to. The songs are just basically nutty. If one could imagine a project combining Cash with the cartoon character Screwy Squirrel, then this would be it, meaning not all the material is in good taste all the time. There are some real choice roasted nuts here, especially the duet with Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, in which for once it is OK that the performers get drunk while playing. There is no credit for Elliot in the original liner notes. Some of these songs were favorites of Cash, including “Dirty Old Egg Sucking Dog,” which, as a highlight of his career, he performed on The Muppet Show. Cash’s sense of humor is really great, and although he certainly makes brilliant music when totally in a dark mood, there is something to be said for a project like this, where he gives free rein to that side of his personality that has always made him popular with children, for example. And incidentally, this album has proven to be a very popular item with younger listeners. Cash’s romping, stomping buddy Jack Clement actually has a large hand in the proceedings, although one has to read the fine print on the label to know it. He wrote practically all the best songs, except for the hilarious “Please Don’t Play Red River Valley,” which is a request from the Man in Black himself.
Soda cans designed by Dan Clowes and Charles Burns from the 90's.
OK Soda was a soft drink created by The Coca-Cola Company in 1994 that aggressively courted the Generation Xdemographic with unusual advertising tactics, including endorsements and even outright negative publicity. It did not sell well in select test markets and was officially declared out of production in 1995 before reaching nation-wide distribution. The drink’s slogan was “Things are going to be OK.”
OK Soda never captured more than 3% of the beverage market in any of the target locations, failing to match Zyman’s hype. The project was cancelled by Coca-Cola just seven months after its kickoff, and the soft drink was never widely released to the public.
RICHARD SWIFT Releases Free Digital EP, Hits the Road With Stereolab and The Walkmen Secretly Canadian is pleased to announce “Ground Trouble Jaw,” a new digital EP from RICHARD SWIFT, which is being given away for free for a limited time via our friends at EMusic. The EP is sure to please fans of classic Swift, as the five tracks run the gamut from 60s girl group pop to Motown soul to Onasis-flavored 50s street gang doo-wop to synth-fueled pop classics (think Prince sitting in on the “Plastic Ono” sessions) - all with Swift’s emerging trademark vocals which bring his songs to life like few other singers do today.
Additionally, Swift will hit the road at the end of the month in support of his good buddies The Walkmen, following it up with a string of dates with Stereolab.
TOUR DATES: 08/21/08 Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour w/ The Walkmen 08/22/08 Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour w/ The Walkmen 08/27/08 Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge w/ The Walkmen 09/25/08 Costa Mesa, CA - OCPAC: Samueli Theater w/ Jose Gonzalez 10/17/08 Seattle, WA - Showbox w/ Stereolab 10/18/08 Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom w/ Stereolab 10/19/08 Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom w/ Stereolab 10/21/08 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore w/ Stereolab 10/23/08 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theatre w/ Stereolab 10/24/08 Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern w/ Stereolab