Here is something old of mine I dug out of the toy box that is the Monorail blog.
It's good - I dig it. You will too.
(Ryan Pardey or the guy from Criteria?)
It’s pretty safe to say that the track listing for the sub-genre of "Dance Songs about Boxers" is pretty damn short, at best. So to lay claim as the band to hold the undisputed belt of best dancefloor burners about brawlers, should be an obtainable and realistic goal for any of the bands on said list, and with this, it looks like The Sunburst Band are standing with their arms raised with this cut, about then-world champion Larry Holmes, hoisted proudly on their shoulders. Currently the only contenders for this title that come to mind are the UBB approved Experience Unlimited with their certifiable break, “Knock Him Out Sugar Ray”, “Mama Said Knock You Out” and maybe something from the Roy Jones Jr’s rap album (yeah, shelve that somewhere between K.O.B.E. and your DVD of Kazaam). Dillon’s “Hurricane” or Zevon’s “Boom Boom Mancini” really don’t count as “dance floor heat” so they get a gracious omit.
Found this 12’ single (research has turned up a 7’ version too) in a box of records sitting on the front lawn of a garage sale on the north side of Indianapolis, near the Children’s Museum. At the time, the cover didn’t really pop at me but the fact that Larry Holmes’ autograph was front and center sparked curiosity and thus, was copped - along with the rest of the box that contained jazz treats from Pablo and various other nondescript local market proto-disco 12’s.
Couldn’t really find much about the history of this band but I’ve often speculated that the song was financed by Larry Holmes himself in order to have some nice intro music to win the crowd over on his way to the ring. But what do I know? The guy was World Champ from ’78 to ’85 with a professional record of 69-6 (44 KO’s) and he forced the retirement of famed sport commentator Howard Cosell due to disgust after he beat the ever-loving shit out of actor Randal “Tex” Cobb (the bad guy from Raising Arizona and The Golden Child) for 12 rounds in what’s been widely called “The Most One-Sided Heavyweight Title Fight In History”.
This shit is pure heat. With a taste of DC Go-Go slap Bass and Congo breaks that go on for-fucking-ever, this track is certifiable just off the strength of the 6 minute instrumental B-Side alone. But low and behold, the A-Side kills it with the early disco rap style that you hear (complete with backup singers on the hook and a 2 minute instrumental intro for the nice-nice mix) and pays tribute to more widely known and slightly earlier artists of the same genre, ala Kurtis Blow, Love Bug Starski or The Treacherous Three. (Doe, you’re sleeping on the vocal).
Found this 45 the other day deep in a box and it's been hanging around in my head like a stray cat that you only feed once and now waits for you everyday on your doorstep as you come home from work.
"Holland 1945" by Neutral Milk Hotel has been described to be a homage, but plays like a battle anthem, to Anne Frank (actually, the entire album it was spawned from, "In The Airplane Over The Sea" - which comes with my upmost personal endorsement - is a concept album based on her and her family's life).
It's got everything you need. Smart lyrics, what sounds like a huge soup drum or an insanely recorded kick drum, cymbal crashes galore, punk rock fury and epic horn. It's always about the horns for me.
I guess this shit is rare too - found a couple of them sold on eBay in the neighborhood of $50 to $70. The discography on the bands website states that there were just over a 1000 pressed. Apparently, Indie rock 45's are quickly replacing Third Guitar on want lists the world over.
Oh, did I mention that it's a picture disc and that the sleeve folds out in to a game board of some kind? Yeah - apparently you're suppose to play a game with the record based on where it stops spinning. Once it does, you move your piece on the game board according to the number the record needle is pointing at.
Now listen. I like the song. A lot (that's pretty evident by this post). But I don't know if I could listen to it on repeat in hopes of landing on a 6 to get past the Gum Drop Forrest.
That being said - heres some pictures of it and a youtube of the song.
It was about a year ago when I ran in to an odd youtube featuring a heart shaped transparent 45 that lifted the soul crushing opening drums from Lee Dorsey's version of "Get Out Of My Life, Woman". I was immediately hooked on the slower tempo churner that boasted of one lover's realization that things just weren't going to work out.
Now the identity of the 45 has been revealed, packaged and promoted (in Stones Throw's own grassroots fashion) profusely as, who we all know now as, Mayer Hawthorne.
Riding hard on the back of his first full length release on Stones Throw ("A Strange Arrangement") and it's subsequent current single (re: a New Holidays cover) "Maybe So, Maybe No", the Ann Arbor, Michigan native finds himself on his (I would think) first whirlwind tour spanning two continents.
Having been able to earnestly dissect the entire album for more than a week (I'm looking at you Pendleton Round-Up and your mind numbing 4 hour drive) and becoming an honest fan of what I like to call an "ambitious" first effort that roots itself in a deep Doo-Wop and Motown sound, I found myself with the unique opportunity to see the live product intimately at our local jazz lounge, Jimmy Mak's (thanks to Portland's annual Musicfest Northwest).
Now before I go any further about the actual show, it's important to mention the mentality of the crowd, due in part to the fucking disaster that is James Pants, upon my arrival. This guy. Man. This fucking guy. Seriously, it needs to end. We were all subjected to a 40 minute "DJ Set" (term used as advertised) that basically translated in to him on stage, mumbling incoherently in to a mic and flailing around like a wounded duck while he played with his iPod. It was basically a Tony Clifton-esque karaoke performance (oh yes, sunglasses and Elmer Fudd Hunting Cap intact) that had strange tones of a Tim and Eric (Awesome show. Great job.) skit that went horribly wrong. I hate even the idea of even giving this clown this much exposure, but I couldn't pound my drinks fast enough to make it stop and thus the crowd responded accordingly in mood and anticipation for the end. I'd be pissed if I had paid to see that circus.
That being said, young Mr. Hawthorne came to the stage to a welcoming, hungry and standing-room-only crowd. Immediately launching in to his current single, I notice the absence of the horn section and, in effect, my favorite part of the album. Meh. My interest still holds. 10 minutes later, I find that the 2 biggest hits from the album have been played and I'm listening to a steady barrage "Rest in Peace so-in-so" and oddly southern twanged "Whurr all my ladies at". Huh, I didn't know they said slang terms like "scurred" in Ann Arbor? Go figure.
His stripped down band, and in effect his hour long show, moved along at a steady enough pace to hold my curiosity but not my complete interest. There were lulls and surprises throughout the rest of the set, most coming from his selection of covers. Most notably, a surprising ELO track (sorry, the name escapes me), then morphing his own "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out" in to Slum Village's (re: J Dilla's) "Fall In Love" instrumental and a respectable version of The Isley Brothers "Work To Do" (check for the Average White Bands version, my personal favorite - thanks Danny).
All in all, the dude has ambition and great taste. I prefer the final product of his album over his live show due in part mainly to the exceptional production, but I'm not knocking the guy's show. I fully endorse any opportunity to catch his act as it's easily better than 75% of the acts on tour at this time.
Saturdays experiment turned out to be a mild success. With our new setting, the mood followed suit and resulted in a more laid back, summertime, Guayabera shirt, beer sipping type of event. Not to say this was a bad thing because I packed my record bag accordingly, but it just seemed like the "riot" had taken a Lortab and pounded some Dos Equis (Stay thirsty my friends) this time around. The guest DJ card seems to be filling up with 3 short, but very tasteful, sets from DJ's Natty, Sesqui and Troy. Duffy was pissed he got snubbed on table time, but he was too busy doing blow in the bathroom to really care (I kid, I kid). Nice sunglasses, Sonny Crocket.
Shit, we even added a $1 Bin this time around. Next Level.
Lot's of new faces and even a rumor of some cross pollination from our other two-headed baby, GEMS & GIANTS over at the Jade Lounge. Gives one hope that we might be starting to pull our weight. The pleasant surprise of the night was the table addition of Kahlil Breithaupt, owner and operator of the very impressive label Hammond Beat Records. Kahlil contributed with some really dope 45's and CD's for sale, some privatized shopping ("..I heard what you play and think you might like this...") and a great story about how his love of his music, and more importantly the Hammond sound, turned from a hobby to a full out business. Hopefully he will continue to be a part of our micro-community because lord knows we need help classing up this fucking circus.
I also had the time to take a few pictures earlier in the event. There isn't much to look at besides people standing around or digging through crates, but hey - it's better than nothing. All in all, a big thank you goes out to any and all who showed support of any kind. See you in August.