Monday, January 17, 2011

Replacements - A Family Tree

The Replacements - the little band that couldn't - may have been the last of the rock 'n' roll true believers. They didn't hide behind layers of smug irony, nor did they limit their bleary-eyed ambition to the safe havens of indie cool that have sprung up in the internet age. They overtly aimed for greatness even while self-handicapped by a crippling distrust of success - a dichotomy that ensured they exist in a frustrating no-win bubble that could never be broken. But, man, did they ever try to break it.

If you were lucky enough to witness them live, good night or bad night (because either held its own kind of glory), then you know their greatness was realized beyond debate. If you're a latecomer, then you'll just have to take us old folks' word for it as you ponder the recorded evidence. The Replacements albums have all been reissued and remastered with bonus tracks, and they're all worth checking out (particularly Let It Be, Tim, and Pleased To Meet Me). Today's exercise, however, is to compile some of the post-Mats projects.

Once the Replacements crashed and burned, it wasn't surprising that leader/main songwriter Paul Westerberg continued his path of iconoclastic brilliance, whether under his own name or the Grandpaboy moniker. More unexpected was how Bassist Tommy Stinson went on to prove himself an incredibly strong songwriter, first in the excellent Bash & Pop, then in the short-lived Perfect, and more recently under his own name. Drummer Chris Mars managed to put out four albums of decreasing charm before ditching music altogether. And Bob Stinson was predictably rudderless without the controlling hand of Westerberg, but his energetic work in Static Taxi only proved the tragedy in his passing. Bob's replacement Replacement, Slim Dunlap, released two fine records that almost sound like lost Keith Richards solo joints. As a bonus, this mix ends with the '06 reunion of the band that was recorded for the Don't You Know Who I Think I Was? best-of.

It's arguable that no other band has sired so many worthwhile splinter groups. The Beatles, of course, turned into three and a half awesome solo careers - but after that, I'd be interested to hear any other suggestions that rival the Replacements. I know they have to be out there, I just can't think of them.

Let's Not Belong

1. Paul Westerberg Knockin' On Mine
2. Paul Westerberg Ain't Got Me
3. Bash & Pop Never Aim To Please
4. Bash & Pop Loose Ends
5. Chris Mars Reverse Status
6. Chris Mars Popular Creeps
7. Grandpaboy Hot Un
8. Grandpaboy Psychopharmacology
9. Slim Dunlap Partners In Crime
10. Slim Dunlap Cozy
11. Slim Dunlap Cooler Then
12. Perfect Making Of An Asshole
13. Perfect Don't Look Down
14. Static Taxi Max Factor
15. Grandpaboy Let's Not Belong Together
16. Paul Westerberg Gun Shy
17. Paul Westerberg Looking Up In Heaven
18. Tommy Stinson Hey You
19. Slim Dunlap Nowheres Near
20. The Replacements Message To The Boys

Track 1 from 14 Songs (1993)
Track 2 from Eventually (1996)
Tracks 3, 4 from Friday Night Is Killing Me (1993)
Tracks 5, 6 from Horseshoes and Hand Grenades (1992)
Tracks 7, 8 from Grandpaboy (1997)
Track 9 from The Old New Me (1993)
Tracks 10, 11, 19 from Times Like This (1996)
Tracks 12 from Once, Twice, Three Times A Maybe (2004)
Track 13 from Seven Days A Week (1997)
Track 14 from Closer 2 Normal (1989)
Track 15 from Mono/Stereo (2002)
Track 16, 17 from Folker (2004)
Track 18 from Village Gorilla Head (2004)
Track 20 from Don't You Know Who I Think I Was? (2006)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Best of the Best of 2010

Get ready for another UHM quantum top 20, compiled grudgingly from the comps I've posted throughout the year (as well as a few last minute additions).

This was another year of great music, and this mix is subsequently filled with one outstanding tune after another. All of this blog's obsessions are represented: a little punk energy from the Cute Lepers, some dirty rock 'n' roll from Jim Jones Revue and J. Roddy Walston, some rootsy Americana from Mynabirds and Kasey Anderson, some modern R&B updating from Asa, a touch of glam from Free Energy, and a whole lot of power pop/pop punk/whatever-you-wanna-call-it from most of the rest.

The Best of 2010

1. Spoon Trouble Comes Running (from Transference)
2. Silver Seas Somebody Said Your Name (from Chateau Revenge!)
3. Asa Why Can't We (from Beautiful Imperfection)
4. J. Roddy Walston & The Business Don't Break The Needle (from J. Roddy Walston & The Business)
5. Jim Jones Revue Dishonest John (from Burning Your House Down)
6. The Biters Dreamer (from The Biters ep)
7. Smash Palace How Can You Say? (from 7)
8. Free Energy Bang Pop (from Stuck On Nothing)
9. Title Tracks Every Little Bit Hurts (from It Was Easy)
10. The Cute Lepers What Happens Next (from Smart Accessories)
11. Yukon Blonde Babies Don't Like Blue Anymore (from Yukon Blonde)
12. Elvyn Those Were The Days (from The Decline)
13. Sunrise Highway Magic (from Sunrise Highway)
14. Locksley There's A Love (from Be In Love)
15. Telepathic Butterflies Aloha! (from Wow & Flutter)
16. Willie Nile Can't Stay Home (from The Innocent Ones)
17. The Gay Blades Mick Jagger (from Savages)
18. Kasey Anderson All Lit Up (from Nowhere Nights)
19. Little Fish You, Me, and the TV (from Baffled and Beat)
20. Jason Falkner Emotion Machine (from All Quiet On The Noize Floor)
21. Mynabirds What We Gained In The Fire (from What We Lose In The Fire We Gain In The Flood)
22. The Shivers American Girls (from Sunset Psalms)
23. Dan Kelly Grown Up Solutions (from Dan Kelly's Dream)

So that makes 23 artists on the UHM quantum top 20, and damn, there's still no room for great songs from great albums by Bobby Bare Jr., the Postelles, Nick Curran & the Lowlifes, Luke Doucet, Ted Leo, Macy Gray, My Jerusalem, and Caroline & the Treats, and a whole host of others.