Sunday, November 30, 2008

11/2008 Playlist

Each month, since Feb of 2006, I start a playlist in my iTunes of the tunes that catch my ear that month. I started off writing a post to my Mog page with a short review or comments of each track, not only to keep a running diary for myself, but also to hopefully point others toward these tunes. In the last several months I have started to cross post this information on other sites where I keep blogs. (If you are reading this somewhere besides Mog, you can find all the old ones at  I want to apologies for any weird formatting stuff right here and now, I type this in MS word and then post it on these various message places, some of which have…w ell formatting issues….


Anyway for this month here is what caught my ear…


Midnight Angels

Darling Darling

In the Sign of the Octopus    

By The Hellacopters

I started November in Sweden where I had been to see a couple of the final Hellacopters shows, so it should be no shock that three of the tracks from their last album made it onto this list. They all jumped out at me for some reason at the start of the month. I know that I have already written about In the Sign of the Octopus, so let just say all of these tracks are great and add the Hellacopters own words about each of these tunes (from their site)


MIDNIGHT ANGELS – originally performed by The Peepshows

From Örebro, Sweden, this band put out some rocking albums on Burning Heart Records before calling it quits some time ago. This song is off their last full length "Refuge For Degenerates", which is also their best. When I first heard it I was blown away – it felt as if I forgot to write the song myself. (Nicke)


DARLING DARLING – originally performed by The Royal Cream

The core of The Royal Cream is The Sewergrooves' Kurt & Mattias Värmby (of F.O.F. & Dom Där & Hux Flux fame). The tune has been released in two versions, as a 7” single (2000) and as a different album version on "Death Is Not A Destination – It's A State Of Mind" (Big Bongo Records 2005). I've stood in on bass on occasion with these guys and consider them to be one of the top acts around town. (Kenny)


IN THE SIGN OF THE OCTOPUS – originally performed by The Robots

Together with bands like The Turpentines, Kids Are Sick and "Demons", The Robots were one of Stockholms' younger bands kicking around as The Hellacopters got started. All these bands did shows together & provided a sense of inspiration & healthy competition in those early days. The song is to be found on their excellent 2004 album "The Robots Are Everywhere" (Idle Hands Records).


Outlaw Shit by Waylon And The 357's

            If you saw my post from earlier in the month you know that I have already called this as the song of the year, really from 10 years ago, but it still holds up today… anyway, this is what it is all about, a voice, passion, the truth, and reflection.  Waylon has for a couple of years been one of my all time favorite artists, right up there with his running buddy Johnny Cash. If you are one of those people who think country music isn’t for them, you really owe it to your self to check out some of Waylon’s 70s out put, and the excellent new release this tune came from is another great place to start.


Texas Rangers by Dave Alvin

            From the Blasters and side X, Dave Alvin has added his name onto the list of LA punkers who have gravitated towards county/roots music. This is from his recent album of public domain songs, and is a cowboy story song much like those found on Marty Robbins classic Gunfighter Ballads & Trail Songs


Get Out by The Incubators

            One of the things that I found out about when I was in Sweden was the newest issue of Carbon 14 Magazine ( which has a comp CD of Nordic bands. There were tunes from a lot of bands on it, some, which I already knew of, The Hellacopters, The Robots, and the Nomads. I heard the song by the Incubators and for some reason the voice sounded really familiar. I knew that I had heard it somewhere before, and after a day or two it hit me… it’s the singer from the Tip Toppers, a great power pop/punk group from Norway. I confirmed my suspicions when I noted that the Tip Toppers Myspace page was the listed contact for the Incubators. Really what I like about the song is that it’s punchy, energy filled, and has that Judas Priest ‘Breaking the Law’ swagger.


Riverview Restaurant by The Clichés

I’m going to call this an honorable mention, because it’s not in my iTunes, but it’s a tune that has been rattling around in my skull since I heard it at the Scorgies reunion show I attended the last week before thanksgiving. It’s a simple punk tune, a good old fashion rock song with a rough charm to it.


Thoughts, comments, spare change.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Recent Reads

Here are two books that I have finished recently and enjoyed... both are recommended as fun, fast and hard boiled crime novels. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baby Shark by Robert Fate

Texas 1952, Pool Hall, Murder, Rape, Bikers are to blame. You can almost hear the Hank Williams on the Juke; you can feel the dusty wind and smell the stale beer and sweat. Baby Shark is the story of a girl left to die, a girl with everything taken from her, and looking for revenge. The stripped down story telling, the simple driving theme, return from trauma, taking vengeance, the long road back, it’s all in this sharp, quick, engrossing story.

In the hands of Fate (groan here pun haters) this material, which let’s face it isn’t exactly original, is crafted into something between the psychological quest for self, and the action adventure Rape Revenge stories of the 1970s and 80s. It drags a little in the middle and the end feels a little rushed. For a debut novel it’s solid and I look forward to reading the next entry.

Monday, November 3, 2008

How much would you bet on the flip of a card?

Lucky at Cards

Lawrence Block

 A Hard Case Crime Novel

             Lucky at Cards is the 3rd Hard Case Crime Book by Block that I have read so far, and like the others (A Diet Of Treacle and Grifter's Game) this book was a fast paced read that follows the adventures of people on the margin of what I like to call the G.I. life, which is to say a ‘normal’ life. In this case the main man on the margin is Bill Maynard, a former magician and current card mechanic. He has just been caught cheating in Chicago and finds himself in a new and unmanned town, where he is invited to a card game and falls in with a couple of guys from the upper middle/ lower upper class set. They take a liking to Bill and help him set up with a straight job, a girl, and the promise of that G.I. life….. only they don’t know about his grifter past, and his lack of comfort with the straight world.

             I enjoyed the book, and am looking forward to the other Lawrence Block Hard Case entry, The Girl With The Long Green Heart (currently sitting on my nightstand)… and I wonder, like the other three will it have the same theme. Over and over though Lucky at cards I was reminded of Block’s other books, and the thread that flows though all of them seems to be exploring the lives of people who are on the margins of the society, who all seem to know that they are on those margins, and all seem to know that they don’t really fit in either world…. And it’s freedom that seems to drive the protagonists of his books, and finding that freedom in many places, drugs, on the road, having lots and lots of money… and then there is the question of the price of that freedom… the rootlessness, the acts committed to get that money.. and of course the toll that drugs take.

             Highly recommended.