All posts tagged: Marshall Crenshaw

The 78 Project

Album Review: Various Artists, “The 78 Project”

Nine times out of 10, if I heard a group of people were going around recording musicians’ performances live to 78 using a vintage direct-to-disc recorder, I’d roll my eyes and silently hope they choked on their mustache wax, but reading about The 78 Project gave me pause, because the folks behind it managed to rope in a lot of incredible talent — Richard Thompson, Loudon Wainwright III, Rosanne Cash, and Marshall Crenshaw appear, and that’s just on Side One. Toss in a song from the mighty Joe Henry (with Lisa Hannigan), and The 78 Project had my money months ago. The idea, as alluded to in the above paragraph, is annoyingly cute: Lug around a Presto recorder and a stack of lacquer disks to capture unvarnished live performances that — given the equipment and recording constraints — sound like they might have been recorded by Alan Lomax. It’s the kind of thing that forces you to ask yourself whether you’re listening to raw honesty or affectation. That’s a thorny question, but still a compelling …

Crenshaw

Marshall Crenshaw: A New Chapter in a Timeless Story

 Marshall Crenshaw. At this point, one word sums him up: legend. From his entry into the fray with his now-classic “Someday Someway” to recording some of the most solid albums of the ’80s (think Field Day and Downtown) to writing songs for one of the best spoof-rockumentaries, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, his career has been varied, always evolving and highly respected by critics and fellow musicians alike. With the release of not one but two new three-song EPs available for download, beginning an ongoing series, Marshall Crenshaw now moves into the next phase of recording while balancing live performances and hosting a weekly radio show as well. I had a chance to speak with Marshall from his home; my thanks go to Mr. Crenshaw for the time and as always, Cary Baker for the assistance. Thanks very much; it’s great to finally get to talk to you after so many years of great music, so thank you for that; much appreciated! Hey, I recognize the name Popdose; have I ever talked to Popdose …

Greatest Un-Hits: Graham Parker’s “Local Girls” (1979)

Not that it’s a bad thing at all, but Graham Parker sounds almost exactly like Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, the Jam, and Marshall Crenshaw. Parker had been toiling as a quirky and amusing but rock-edgy singer-songwriter for the better part of the ’70s (solo, and with his bands The Rumour and The Shot) to big success in his native England, and to the lower-rungs of the album charts in the U.S., including the classic 1979 release Squeezing Out Sparks. A major standout on that album: the power pop classic “Local Girls.” Songs about girls, and a specific type of girl, always strike a nerve and hit big, be they California girls or California gurls, to cite two examples. Maybe the idea of “Local Girls” just wasn’t as exotic or enticing as girls from a distant locale. Squeezing Out Sparks was favorably reviewed by the two biggest musical approval industrial complexes of the day, Rolling Stone and the self-appointed Dean of Music Critics, Robert Christgau. It charted at a respectable #40. None of that could …

The Friday Mixtape: 9/18/09

Remember that mixtape from last week? One hundred Beatles covers? That thing was EPIC! It was freaking magnificent! Yup… That was… really something. Well, then. Midnight Oil – Under The Overpass from Capricornia (2002) fun. – Benson Hedges from Aim and Ignite (2009) The 77s – The Treasure In You from More Miserable Than You’ll Ever Be (1990) Roland Orzabal – Dandelion from Tomcats Screaming Outside (2001) Porcupine Tree – Black Dahlia from The Incident (2009) Velvet Crush – Hold Me Up from Teenage Symphonies to God (1994) Elton John – Something About The Way You Look Tonight from The Big Picture (1997) Gin Blossoms – Till I Hear It From You from Outside Looking In: The Best Of Gin Blossoms (1999) Yngwie Malmsteen – I’m My Own Enemy from Fire & Ice (1992) Toto – Drag Him To The Roof from Tambu (1996) The Smithereens – Behind The Wall Of Sleep from Especially for You (1986) Elvis Costello And The Imposters – American Gangster Time from Momofuku (2008) The Balls Of France – Message …

Bootleg City: Lindsey Buckingham, 12/10/92

I was beginning to think I’d never find a tough lawman to clean up Bootleg City, especially after my faux pas-filled interview with Marshall Crenshaw. (I won’t bore you with the details of my preliminary talks with the Police. They work well as a team, but who needs all that drama?) But last weekend, as I was digging through CDs at the one place left in town to shop for music — the local Christian thrift store, Heaven Is One Coffee-Stained Couch Donation Away — I ran across a copy of Law and Order by Lindsey Buckingham. Of course! Who better to scare the crap out of criminals than the man who followed up Law and Order with Go Insane? Here in America we can’t get enough of “maverick cops” who have trouble “playing by the rules” and are willing to risk “life and limb” to nab the bad guys, possibly because they’re “mentally unstable” or just plain “suicidal,” and years down the road may end up making “anti-Semitic comments” to arresting officers while “hammered …

Bootleg City: Marshall Crenshaw

When the economy’s bad, crime get worse. That’s why I decided to hire a new lawman to clean up this one-horse-because-of-all-the-horse-thieves town. I know what you’re thinking: “It’s called Bootleg City. If you outlaw the outlaws and start doing everything by the book, aren’t you defeating the purpose of the place? Isn’t there some sort of town charter you’d be violating? Seriously, Mr. Mayor, how stupid can you be?” The thing is, I agree with you. (Well, except for that rude rhetorical question you tacked onto the end of your thought. That seemed unnecessary.) After all, the welcome sign at the edge of town says the following: BOOTLEG CITY — A PLACE FOR BOOTLEGGERS AND SCOUNDRELS AND EVEN RAPISTS, AS LONG AS IT’S JUST THE VIKING KIND OF RAPE WHERE YOU WANTONLY DESTROY THE LAND, BUT BE A DEAR AND JUST DESTROY THE POOR SIDE OF TOWN, OKAY? WE’VE BEEN MEANING TO LAY WASTE TO THAT EYESORE FOR YEARS NOW. THANKS, AND ENJOY YOUR STAY! Even so, crime is out of control here, so I’ve …

The Popdose Interview: Marshall Crenshaw

It’s been a busy time lately for Marshall Crenshaw: He released his 10th studio album, Jaggedland, last month; it’s his first proper release in six years, and his first for the Santa Monica-based label 429 Records. In addition to keeping up his usual touring calendar, he contributed a slowed-down, moody rendition of “Supernatural Superserious” to the R.E.M. tribute concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall a few months back, and last month he became one of the first musicians featured in the “Drop” series of intimate performance/conversation events at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. After working primarily in home studios and with makeshift assemblages of musicians over his last several records, Crenshaw laid down most of Jaggedland at the Sage and Sound studio in L.A. His band included legendary drummer Jim Keltner and former Soul Coughing bassist Sebastian Steinberg, and the album was helmed by Jerry Boys. A prolific producer/engineer whose resume dates back to the early ’70s, Boys cut his teeth on folk-rock (Steeleye Span, Richard Thompson, 10,000 Maniacs) but came to Crenshaw’s attention …

The Friday Mixtape: 6/19/09

You guys give up, or you thirsty for more? Bobby Jimmy & the Critters – Roaches from Look at All These Roaches [12″] (1986) Bread – The Guitar Man from Guitar Man (1972) George Harrison – It Don’t Come Easy (unreleased) (1971) Matthew Sweet featuring Lindsey Buckingham – Magnet and Steel from Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Album (1998) Rocket Scientists – Gypsy from Revolution Road (2006) Split Enz – I Got You from True Colors (1980) The Real Tuesday Weld – Bathtime in Clerkenwell from I, Lucifer (2004) War – The Cisco Kid from The World Is a Ghetto (1972) Warren Zevon – Hit Somebody (The Hockey Song) from My Ride’s Here (2002) Jellyfish – Watchin’ the Rain from Fan Club (2002) Marshall Crenshaw – Laughter from Miracle of Science (1996) Sieges Even – Eyes Wide Open from Paramount (2007) The Smithereens – If the Sun Doesn’t Shine from Green Thoughts (1988) Vector – How Many Times from Please Stand By (1988)

The Popdose Guide to Marti Jones

To fans of her four albums of marvelous acoustic pop in the mid-to-late ’80s, Marti Jones seemed on the cusp of becoming the next (albeit far hipper) Linda Ronstadt. Jones had inherited La Ronstadt’s knack for putting a mainstream sheen on the songs of neglected rock tunesmiths; meanwhile, her partnership (professional and otherwise) with producer Don Dixon brought her music a modernist edge even as the couple matched terrific melodies with her bright, if slightly world-weary, alto voice. Their creative alchemy reached its zenith on 1988’s Used Guitars, one of the decade’s finest recordings, and a celebratory four-night run at the Bottom Line in New York that brought together all the album’s songwriters. Those shows (and a subsequent appearance on Late Night with David Letterman) were a highlight of Jones and Dixon’s never-ending tours of those years, which we discussed last week here at Popdose. But a funny thing happened along Jones’ ascent as the pre-eminent interpreter of modern pop: Used Guitars, like her previous albums, didn’t sell, and neither did its highly touted follow-up, …

Hooks ‘N’ You: Don Dixon, “(If) I’m a Ham, Well You’re a Sausage: The Don Dixon Collection”

When you hear the name “Don Dixon,” you’re probably more likely to think of him in terms of his production career than for his accomplishments as a singer and songwriter … and for those who have thrilled to each and every album in his oeuvre, it’s starting to get really annoying. Not that there isn’t a ton of work amongst his past efforts as a professional knob-twiddler to make him legitimately legendary in his field, but there’s just so much more to the man than that. Next week, Jon Cummings and myself will be providing ample proof of that, when we perform our first collaboration and offer up The Popdose Guide to Don Dixon, but for now, I thought I’d ease you into his work by discussing the best … okay, only … single-disc anthology of Dixon’s work: the obscurely-named (If) I’m a Ham, Well You’re a Sausage: The Don Dixon Collection. (Actually, the title makes sense … more or less … within the first 30 seconds of the album, but until then, you’re allowed …

Basement Songs: The Buggles, “Video Killed the Radio Star”

In 1982, the rock supergroup Asia kept my interest long enough to make me seek out previous work by the band members. This led me to the band Yes, and their final ’70s album, Drama. On it, Asia keyboardist Geoff Downes was given the unenviable task of replacing the enigmatic Rick Wakemen. At the same time, one of Downes’ former bandmates, Trevor Horn, was brought in to be the new singer (another unenviable task, as replacing Jon Anderson in Yes is like replacing Robert Plant in Led Zeppelin; there’s only one voice for the band). Soon thereafter, I learned that Horn and Downes had been in the Buggles, authors of the prophetic song, “Video Killed the Radio Star.” A minor hit on the rock and roll stations where I grew up, it had enough of a lasting impression on me that I sought it out when I went on my ’80s music binge in the early ’90s (this was before VH1 cornered the ’80s nostalgia market). I must have collected eight or nine of Priority …

Mix Six: “Girls! Girls! Girls!”

DOWNLOAD “Girls! Girls! Girls!” HERE I have to thank Melissa at work for this mix. The two of us were talking about songs featuring female names and she said something like: “Sounds like a Mix Six to me.” Well, I knew I had one song locked in because of Melissa’s suggestion. After that, things started to fall into place very quickly. But it wasn’t until I finished the mix that I realized I happen to know women with all of these names. “Julie”(Live), Marshall Crenshaw This song is for my wife. I don’t know if you’ve ever done a song search for “Julie,” but most of the choices are pretty lame. Back in the day when there was a Jefitoblog, he posted this song on one of his Mixtapes (I believe). I had never heard Marshall’s song before, but was surprised to hear that it didn’t suck — you know, given the track record of songs entitled “Julie.” (“Julie” was, of course, originally performed by Bobby Fuller — referred to here by Crenshaw as “my …