Early Morning, April 29

This morning I was awakened by some men working in the street using a jackhammer. It sounded exactly like this:

Songs You May Have Missed #529


Zach Sestili: “Christy” (Year Unknown)

Thanks to a recently posted bit of archival video we’re thrilled to present a second piece of the early musical history of a dear friend, Mr. Zach Sestili aka Zach Pendulum.

All I know or recall about “Christy” (I hope Zach will correct me if I’m in error) is:

1. It was written at around age 16 for a high school crush and, despite playing it for her one day in school, Zach failed to win the girl.

2. By the time I saw Zach perform this song a few years later he had altered (and improved) the melody of a portion of the bridge section (“…and it makes me wonder, what do you need but a guy like me”) but though this video captures the song at an earlier stage of development it’s still more than worthy of the share.

3. Originally that bit of lyric was written as:

Christy, you have everything/And it makes me wonder, what do you need with a guy like me

But, ever one to take an optimistic point of view in his songs, Zach changed the single word “with” to “but” to give the lyric a more hopeful slant.

I keenly miss living in the same city as Zach. He was, and is, the kind of artist I’d never miss the opportunity to see perform. But I’m glad to have seen him up close on the occasions I did–it was simply mesmerizing.

As is the case with the song we previously presented here (“When the Lashes and the Stars Fall”) Sestili’s obvious writing, arranging and performing talents shine through despite the limitations of the original audio sources. If “Christy” and its accompanying video pique your interest, check out the “Lashes” post, wherein we gush at length about this guy’s gifts.


See also: https://edcyphers.com/2013/01/21/songs-you-may-have-missed-300/

“Music was better back then”: When do we stop keeping up with popular music?


(via Skynet & Ebert)


After sixty years of research, it’s conventional wisdom: as people get older, they stop keeping up with popular music. Whether the demands of parenthood and careers mean devoting less time to pop culture, or just because they’ve succumbed to good old-fashioned taste freeze, music fans beyond a certain age seem to reach a point where their tastes have “matured”.

That’s why the organizers of the Super Bowl — with a median viewer age of 44 —  were smart to balance their Katy Perry-headlined halftime show with a showing by Missy Elliott.

Spotify listener data offers a sliced & diced view of each user’s streams. This lets us measure when this effect begins, how quickly the effect develops, and how it’s impacted by demographic factors...

Read more: http://skynetandebert.com/2015/04/22/music-was-better-back-then-when-do-we-stop-keeping-up-with-popular-music/

A Jovial Journey Through Fictitious Band Names


Cleverly-named Pittsburgh-area tribute act Bon Journey play a set that draws heavily on the music of the two bands whose names combine to form their own appellation.


Considering it doesn’t take much to bend idle minds to pointless mental meanderings, this set us to considering the plethora of possibilities for other cover band designations. To wit (hopefully):

If your band covers the music of Bon Jovi and Joni Mitchell you could name it Bon Joni.

If you do music primarily by The Rolling Stones and Styx you could be Styx and Stones.

S’pose you played mostly Johnny Cash and Eddie Money tunes. May I suggest Cash Money?

Now if you’ll indulge us, further into the preposterous we blunder for the sake of a laugh. If your band was all about Richard Marx and Skid Row music, you could be known as Skid Marx.

Supposing your band loves to play 80’s hair band anthems such as “Round and Round” and “Nothin’ But a Good Time”. You could call yourselves Ratt Poison. Of course, your set would feature a heavy dose of Poison, Cuz Ratt didn’t have that many hits but hey, every rose has its thorn I guess.

Let’s say your set combined the music of Grover Washington and AC/DC. You could be Washington/DC. Fats Domino and Don McLean? Fats McLean.

If your band mixed the early work of Clapton with to-the-extreme 90’s white rap may I suggest Vanilla Ice Cream?

You say you’re way into Cream but you don’t really play that much Vanilla Ice? That’s weird. But if you instead focus mainly on Humble Pie and Boston you could be called Boston Cream Pie.

marxSay your Richard Marx tribute band got tired of mixing in Skid Row songs and decided to include more Doobie Brothers in its set. You could call yourselves the Marx Brothers.

No…I’m not done yet. Smokey-voiced Chris Rea and Mark Knopfler of rifftastic rockers Dire Straits have remarkably similar vocal styles. Given this and the fact that in England they are both fairly prominent artists, perhaps it’s not completely unthinkable that if your tribute band were British you’d cover both artists’ material. Whether or not you decide to call your band Dire Rea would be entirely up to you.

I know this is unlikely. But if your band played only songs by New Pornographers and Destiny’s Child the obvious choice of band name would be Child Pornographers. Unfortunately.

marx 2

Do Tom Petty and Johnny Cash dominate your playlist? Cool. I dub you Petty Cash. REO Speedwagon and Patty Smyth? Patty Wagon, natch.

Have a female lead singer who belts covers of Ann and Nancy Wilson tunes  accompanied by a guitarist who wishes he was Ritchie Blackmore? I’m gonna pin Purple Heart on you.

Do Bryan Ferry, Godsmack and the Mothers of Invention form the bulk of your live repertoire? For some reason bands like yours have all overlooked the name Ferry God Mothers so far. You’re welcome.

And to you versatile rockers who alternately play Aerosmith, Insane Clown Posse and Tool songs: Aeroposstool.

You say your lead guitarist worships Duane Allman but your keyboardist wants to play Joy Division? Allman Joy is your band’s new name.


In one of those 80’s tribute bands that mainly cribs the catalogues of the Police, Billy Squier and Culture Club? Police Billy Club.

Or maybe your cover band is a mishmash of Fleetwood Mac, Public Enemy and Yo Yo Ma. It could happen. If so, please help yourself to my suggested band name: Fleet Enema. Of course your band logo may not be as cool as Bon Journey’s…

And if you play Grateful Dead, Phish and Bon Jovi covers I dub you Jam Band Jovi.


Not to fixate on the whole Bon Jovi thing–they are the reason we’ve come to this after all–but it occurs to me that if you like to play Bon Jovi tunes interspersed with Pete Seeger folk songs (and who doesn’t?) you really ought to consider the moniker of Banjovi.

Or if you have a Bon Jovi tribute band that happens to be fronted by a woman who looks like Debbie Harry you could be BlondeJovi. You don’t? K, just trying to help.

Are you one of those acts who tends to ping pong between the British heavy metal of Iron Maiden and the breezy American folk of…America? How about Maiden America?


Are you in a rock and roll revivalist act who cover Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry? You could be Holly Berry.

Thinking of starting a band that plays Gentle Giant, Tim Hardin and Ce Ce Peniston? I dunno. Use your imagination–you can do this!

I could go on. In fact, it’s difficult not to after a while. REM Speedwagon, Buffalo Springsteen, Faith No Doubt, The Mamas & the Papas & the Babys, Aretha Hollies, Ratt Poison, Kajagoogoo Dolls, ABBA & Costello

But I want to hear your tribute band names. Bring ’em on–the more preposterous the better!

p.s. If there can be an Australian Pink Floyd, could there be a Swedish Phish?


Recommended Albums #61


Southern Culture on the Skids: Countrypolitan Favorites (2007)

In 2007 Southern Culture on the Skids took a break from recording their distinctive brand of hillbilly surf rock originals to have a go at some of Nashville’s chestnuts from decades past, as well as a few straight rock artifacts.

culture 2

Now, not only am I typically not big on cover songs, but I happen to be a particular fan of the original versions of songs like Lynn Anderson’s “Rose Garden”, the Byrds’ “Have You Seen Her Face” and Roger Miller’s “Engine Engine #9”.

But Rick Miller’s guitar work, Mary Huff’s vocals, the ripping arrangements and the band’s winsome charisma only add more layers to love.

Yeah, it would be easy to say this isn’t your bag, because chances are you’re not in the habit of listening to “toe-sucking geek rock” as Miller and company describe themselves. But whether you remember the original versions or not, these are deservedly timeless tunes and Southern Culture’s versions are not only credible, they are a blast.

Listen to: “Oh Lonesome Me”:

Listen to: “Wolverton Mountain”

Listen to: “Rose Garden”

Listen to: “Have You Seen Her Face”

Listen to: “Engine Engine #9”

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2013/06/12/songs-you-may-have-missed-425/

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2012/03/12/songs-you-may-have-missed-45/

Songs You May Have Missed #528

hard way

James Hunter: “Carina” (2008)

James Hunter could be seen as a forerunner to the British retro-soul revival that gave us Amy Winehouse and Corinne Bailey Rae. The obvious inspirations here seem to be Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and the like, with perhaps a dash of Van Morrison’s horn charts. And the original songs are convincingly retro–like the kind of material you’d swear was written for a Stax Records session in the 60’s.

Video of the Week: Mime Through Time

Aussie female comedy threesome SketchShe take us from the Andrews Sisters through, um, Miley.

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