Posted by: on August 29, 2008 at 2:00 pm


Marshall Crenshaw, Marshall Crenshaw (Warner Bros., 1982)

In 1982, no one was looking for the kind of music Detroiter-turned-New Yorker Marshall Crenshaw was making. An ode to Buddy Holly mixed with power pop, Crenshaw’s self-titled debut is like an Americanized, nerdier version of Elvis Costello. Even if being the domestic Costello was a niche market, Crenshaw’s simple pop music structure was still catchy and nostalgic enough to land the single “Someday, Someway” on the Top 40 charts. And that’s just one highlight on a record of many, including Read more

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Posted by: on July 3, 2008 at 9:00 am


We’ve got to admit: We’ve been on a pretty ridiculous Stiff Records kick as of late — the London label started up in 1976 by Dave Robinson and Jake Riviera, and responsible for launching the careers of dudes like Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe. Characterized by a roster of bands that sported angry, rebellious lyrics, crunchy, melodic guitars, and cheap production techniques (and, at times, some ska, and even Motorhead and Stryper, if you can believe it), Stiff is right up there, along with Factory and Creation, as being one of the most solid and influential the rock world has ever seen. So while we could merely service you with a clip of Wreckless Eric bashing out “Whole Wide World” on some weird TV show (or Will Ferrel singing it to Maggie Gyllenhaal in Stranger Than Fiction, for that matter), we thought it’d be cool to throw up a bunch of takes from the Stiff Records crew, including Lowe, Costello, and lesser knowns like the Adverts and the Feelies. There’s no rhyme or reason to why we picked what we did; these are just some monster jams. So get familiar (there’s a lot more out there than you’ve got time for), and while you’re at it, check out the late, great, Exploding Hearts — 3/4ths of which tragically died in a van accident in 2003 — and their album Guitar Romantic for an essential update on an essential sound.

The Adverts, “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes”

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Elvis Costello, “Red Shoes”

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The Damned, “New Rose”

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The Feelies, “Loveless Love”

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Nick Lowe Rockpile, “So It Goes”

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Madness, “Baggy Trousers”

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Richard Hell and the Voidoids, “Blank Generation”

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Wreckless Eric, “Whole Wide World”

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Yacht, “Mantovani’s Hits”

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BONUS!: Exploding Hearts Live (2nd to Last Show)

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