September 26, 2006

The impossibly good-looking stoner with perfect bone structure

Yippee-ki-yay, the new Lemonheads is out today. And eMusic’s got it, which makes me a happy camper-and-a-half.

Eric over at Marathonpacks has penned exactly what I feel about Evan Dando and the Lemonheads. He captures it so perfectly that no one ever needs to try and encapsulate them in writing ever again; just link to him.

He muses:

“Dando was the pop-culture exemplar of the guy that each high school and dorm floor had one or two of—the impossibly good-looking stoner with perfect bone structure, but also the guy who would manage three or four ‘girlfriends’ at once and write impossible-to-ignore moody pop-rock songs about longing and nostalgia and memory and probably those girls too. The guy who everyone tried to hate, but could never actually hate because he was essentially harmless and would screw himself over consistently with the fervor of a religious ascetic, and would finally put that on record.”

Read the rest here. I love how he says the new record has “guitars that still sound like late ’80s Boston, lyrics sung from a bedroom floor, trying with all of their sleepy might to end a relationship without sounding like a complete dick.” Yes. Exactly, my man.

Here is one of my current favorites off the new disc, I recommend you get the rest (there’s also one more free track for download on the MySpace page):

Become The Enemy – The Lemonheads
(This song is ridiculously catchy & I am in love with it)

August 2, 2006

Purple parallelogram I got in Amsterdam (made me dream a dream I didn’t understand)

I’ve had this one in my queue for months now, and heartily singing it out the other day in my car made me finally decide to post it up. This is a rockin’ little pop song, written by Noel Gallagher from Oasis and Evan Dando from The Lemonheads. According to Dando, speaking around the time of the release of Definitely Maybe: “We met about a month ago and hit it off, then last night we collided in Paris. We’d both been playing the Lowlands festival in Holland this weekend and we wrote a song together called ‘Purple Parallelogram.’”

Purple Parallelogram – The Lemonheads/Evan Dando

A friend once bet me a shiny nickel that no version existed of Noel Gallagher singing this:

Purple ParallelogramNoel Gallagher

It does, it does. It’s rough, but fun.

Makes us all want sing heartily about psychedelic drug excursions (but not in front of the kids).

June 13, 2006

Check the Bargain Bins: Sweet Relief

Occasionally you open the old CD cabinet (which heart-breakingly gathers dust due to the prominence of your iPod with its sleek digital casing and nyah-nyah ability to hold thousands of CDs) and find an old cracked case containing a gem of a disc.

You can probably find the Sweet Relief benefit CD at any number of used record store bargain bins (or on Amazon for a blessed PENNY) – for reasons unknown to me because this is a GREAT album.

Released in 1993, this was a fundraiser for musician Victoria Williams, stricken with degenerative neurological disorder multiple sclerosis. All of the songs on this album are Victoria’s songs. In most cases (may God strike me dead), I prefer the covers to the original because Victoria has a voice that can best be described as unusual (although quite haunting as background atmosphere in “Crazy Mary” with Pearl Jam). But she is a phenomenal songwriter, and this album shows the beauty she is capable of.

There is a lovely alt-country vibe to this disc, featuring Soul Asylum, The Jayhawks, Lou Reed, Pearl Jam, Buffalo Tom, among others – and these two favorites:

Frying Pan – Evan Dando
I love this song dearly, and found myself singing it the other day on a late golden afternoon (which inspired this post). Evan Dando was meant from Day One to sing this song. I love the simple imagery of the opening:
“One laugh in the middle of a struggle
A diamond at the bottom of a puddle
Did you ever stare at the moon ’til you saw double?”

This Moment – Matthew Sweet
Fabulous to have in your pocket for all those goodbyes, all those *moments* that you want to capture, appreciate, and pin down in your memory before they vanish.

By the way, the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund is still doing good works for the ill & struggling.

April 30, 2006

Re-formed Lemonheads sign to Vagrant

The Lemonheads to me represent a slice of mid-’90s goodness that will forever evoke high school memories of new white Converse and cutting class to go to Harry’s Deli for lunch.

After several years of Evan Dando doing the solo thing (and putting out some great stuff, I must say) Vagrant Records announced last week that the Lemonheads are reforming and signed to their label, which also has been home to Paul Westerberg, Eels, The Futureheads, and The Hold Steady.

From their news section:
“The recently re-formed Lemonheads are currently in the studio putting the finishing touches on what will be their eighth studio album in a career that spans over two decades… Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Evan Dando is co-producing the album with drummer Bill Stevenson (Descendents, Black Flag), and the band is rounded out with bass player Karl Alvarez (Descendents). NYC-based Dando self-funded the project and has been recording in Stevenson’s Colorado studio off and on during the last year.”

The press release contains a great quote from Rich Egan, the president of Vagrant Records:

The thing I remember most about Vagrant’s first year is being locked up in my apartment, drinking coffee, stuffing 7″‘s into envelopes and listening to It’s A Shame About Ray on cassette all day, every day. If it wasn’t for that record, we probably would’ve left the apartment eventually and given up the label. Nobody writes songs like Evan Dando, nobody sings likes him…the new songs are incredible. He is in top form.”

In honor, here are two excellent live Evan Dando shows that I have just been waiting for a reason to post. The first one (from Glasgow in 2001) is a lovely walk through pretty much every Evan Dando/Lemonheads song that I love, great setlist. The second (from Ludlow’s in Ohio in 2000) has a different lineup, and is stocked full of some pretty funny and fabulous covers. I don’t know what got into Evan that night, but he was all over the map and I like it.

Evan Dando, King Tut’s Glasgow, Feb 18, 2001 (zip link at end)
01. It’s A Shame About Ray
02. Down About It
03. The Turnpike Down
04. The Outdoor Type
05. Paid To Smile
06. The Great Big No
07. Big Gay Heart
08. Favorite T
09. Hospital
10. Being Around
11. The Same Thing You Thought Hard About Is The Same Thing I Can Live Without
12. Hard Drive
13. If I Could Talk I’d Tell You
14. Into Your Arms
15. Confetti
16. My Drug Buddy
17. Hannah & Gabi
18. Ride With Me
19. Stove
20. Rudderless
21. It’s Up To You (featuring Ben Kweller, pictured)
22. All My Life
23. $1000 Wedding
24. Different Drum (Linda Ronstadt, right?)


Second show: Evan Dando – Ludlows Bar and Treehouse, Columbus, OH 12-14-00 (zip link at end)

01. Confetti
02. Hannah & Gabi
03. My Drug Buddy
04. It’s A Shame About Ray
05. The Same Thing You Thought Hard About Is The Same Thing I Can Live Without
06. Frying Pan
07. All My Life
08. Whoops
09. Like A Rose (Lucinda Williams cover)
10. Side Of The Road (Lucinda Williams cover)
11. The Turnpike Down
12. Down About It
13. Favorite T
14. Rudderless
15. I Don’t Care (Ramones cover)
16. Who Loves The Sun (Velvet Underground cover)
17. Jetstreams (Eugene Kelly cover)
18. Hate Your Friends
19. Homos (The Frogs cover)
20. Frank Mills
21. Don’t Fear The Reaper (Blue Oyster Cult, minus the cowbell)
22. Paint
23. Backstreet Girl (Rolling Stones cover)


Enjoy! I am looking forward to seeing what the new Lemonheads will sound like, in a new musical era of sorts from the last time they released something.

February 14, 2006

Mike Watt: Ball-Hog or Tugboat?

I rocked this album probably hundreds of times in high school. All I knew is that it featured some of my favorite artists, which truthfully is why I bought it. I didn’t really know at the time the imitable punk-rock legend that Mike Watt (of the Minutemen and fIREHOSE) actually is. But it was a great introduction.

Released in 1995, Ball-Hog or Tugboat? wins for the most eclectic & confounding title in my collection. 17 tracks, Watt plays thud-staff (bass) on all of them and wrote 14 of the tracks. His steady, bumping presence is complemented by Ed Vedder, Evan Dando, Dave Pirner, Frank Black, Adam Horovitz, Mike D., Flea, Dave Grohl, Pat Smear, Krist Novoselic, Joe Baiza, J Mascis, Thurston Moore, Henry Rollins, Mark Lanegan . . . it’s just madness is what it is.

The thing that I like best about this album is its diversity. You have every type of song on here from classic pleasing (rocking) pop songs to hardcore rock, and punk, and jazzy funk, and Henry Rollins (angry! angry!). There are also great stories told throughout the songs, such as “Drove Up From Pedro,” which tells of Watt discovering punk at a Germs show in Los Angeles.

Here are three of my favorite cuts, but you gotta just buy the album because there are so many great tracks I didn’t post. I somehow got the big massively tall version (above) of the CD case, but it also comes in a nice square blue cover as well. Which would be easier to file in the ole IKEA CD cabinet.

Piss-Bottle Man – Evan Dando on vocals (golden)

Chinese Firedrill – Frank Black on vocals (*gorgeous* acoustic guitar )

E-Ticket Ride – with Mike D. and Flea (and the baby of Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore & Kim Gordon providing, uh, background vocals)

Other songs I like that I left off here are “Big Train” (little double entendre lyrical content with Dave Grohl, Ed Vedder, and J Mascis), “Against the ’70s” (with Ed Vedder, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl – and didn’t that track get some radio play too?), “Sidemouse Advice” (swingin jazz with Carla Bozulich and Flea), and the title “Intense Song for Madonna to Sing” (and indeed it would be) always makes me laugh.

Mike Watt was instrumental in the Southern California post-punk movement of the ’80s, along with his band the Minutemen, and later fIREHOSE. He began playing music in his early teens, along with friend D. Boon, who would be a co-founder of the Minutemen. From his innocent beginnings (“I didn’t know what the bass was,” Watt says. “In arenas you couldn’t really hear it. But we saw on album covers that every band had a bass player, except the Doors and the Seeds. So we knew it was a big part of the band. In the pictures it looked like a guitar that had four strings. I didn’t know they were bigger. I didn’t know it was lower.”) Watt grew into a kickass & well-respected bassist.

Watt and Boon were in on the very beginnings of the Southern California punk scene, and the way it slowly began to change the face of music. Watt was there as bass became more of a crucial element in the music that he loved to make. “Before punk, bass was kind of where you put your retarded friend,” Watt theorizes. “Left field. It was a real inferiority complex dumped on me because of the bass guitar. But with punk, you had everyone lame, so all of a sudden the bass player was elevated and everybody was brought down. It was a lot more equal, and the bass drove the songs more. They were all learning, they were all beginning.”

The Minutemen released 5 albums before D. Boon’s death in 1985 in a car crash. Watt then went on with fIREHOSE to release more music (Watt says that he got the name fIREHOSE “from watching a film short of Bob Dylan doing Subterranean Homesick Blues using cue cards for the lyrics. I thought that it was funny when he held up the card that said ‘firehose’.” So there you have it.). Watt has jammed both solo and as a temporary member of bands such as Porno for Pyros, J. Mascis’ band Fog, and, most recently Iggy Pop & The Stooges. Not too shabby.

Turns out this is also a timely post because there is a wonderful documentary out about the Minutemen and their influence on the punk-rock movement. Titled We Jam Econo — The Story of the Minutemen,” the film premiered last year in San Pedro, California, and is still making the rounds to cool venues across the U.S.

Tomorrow night (the 15th) it is playing at the Art Institute in San Francisco, and there are about a dozen other screenings worldwide in the next few months. Watt is on tour this Spring both solo and with Iggy Pop. Check out something of a punk-rock legend if he comes to your town.

January 31, 2006

Happy Hour with Evan Dando

For those of you Evan Dando fans who did not heed my advice last time around to sign up for the webboard at, NOW is the ideal time to do it.

I just caught wind of the fact that for all 24 hours of February 1 the site will be having a “downloads happy hour” with all previous video and audio files from the download section made available.

Bacchanalia. At no charge.
Zip on over.

January 1, 2006

Evan Dando solo set

Here is a nice little download from the Evan Dando website. Secret tip: If you sign up as a member on their boards, you get regular and varied live downloads (both audio and video). This one is a quartet of tracks from an in-store at Newbury Comics (MA) in 2003:

1. Confetti
2. My Drug Buddy
3. The Turnpike Down
4. Thrasher


Evan will also be doing a short Canadian tour in February 2006. Dates are as follows:
February 8th – Main Hall, Montreal
February 9th – Grad Club at Queen’s University, Kingston
February 10th – Zaphods, Ottawa
February 11th – Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto
February 12th – The Casbah, Hamilton

Subscribe to this tasty feed.
I tweet things. It's amazing.

Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

View all Interviews → View all Shows I've Seen →