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Thursday Fun


Kevin Rowland returns with the first new song credited to Dexys Midnight Runners in God knows how many years. The demo of ‘It’s OK Johanna,’ currently available at Rowland’s myspace page, follows in the tradition of the beautiful spoken-sung style that typified Dexys’ three 1980s albums and bodes well for the prospect of a fourth album all these years later.

“I can say what I want, how I want,” enthuses Rowland of his newly-launched myspace page. “It occurs to me that this was some of the intention behind early Dexys wanting to cut out the middle man {Journalist} and expressing ourselves directly in large adverts in the music papers.” Thousands of other bands, and even some of those enemy journalists, didn’t need to wait for myspace to cut out the middle man: at any given point since the Internet made its presence felt in the mid-1990s, they started their own web sites. Dexysmidnightrunners.com and KevinRowland.com would both appear to be available for purchase.

Projected Passion Revue

This writer considers the first two Dexys Midnight Runners albums, Searching For the Young Soul Rebels (from 1980) and Too-Rye-Ay (1982), to be two of the finest albums ever made. In between those albums the greatest Dexys line-up of them all – part brass, part strings, all soul – released three superb singles, headlined three inspirational shows at the Old Vic in London, but did not record an album. However, at the end of this month, a compilation of that line-up’s recordings, live and studio, is to finaly be released. American iJamming! readers can pre-order Projected Passion Revue by clicking on the above image.

In the meantime, the third and final Dexys studio album Don’t Stand Me Down is being debated at the iJamming! Pub. And the transcript from Jamming! Magazine’s interview with Rowland back in 1982, conducted on the eve of second album Too-Rye-Ay’s release, is being retyped for future publication at this site. The Dexys Midnight Runners revival starts here.
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!!! – universally now pronounced chick-chick-chick by those who know – have unveiled a new track from their new album. ‘Heart of Hearts’ is a six-minute stomper lifted from the forthcoming Myth Takes, to be released by Warp on March 6. You can download it

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Presumably, the recording of Myth Takes must have been a smooth process, as !!! members John Pugh and Gorman have teamed up with their friend Madeleine for a side project called Free Blood, who were playing a gig in Williamsburg somewhere round the time I typed this Wednesday night, and whose own music is available, but of course, at their myspace page.

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You may have read my recent musings about both the dad rock movement (parents who make music for kids) and the kid rock movement (kids who make music for kids). Te January edition of Hudson Valley arts magazine Chronogram runs a feature about the number of local musicians who’ve re-focused their musical skills towards the little ones. The recently revamped Chronogram.com is full of multi-media links, which means you can hear the likes of Uncle Rock, Dogs on Fleas and Elizabeth Mitchell while reading about them.

The other new Beatles album released in time for Christmas: All Together Now is the debut release on the new children’s label Little Monster Records. It’s exclusively available at Barnes & Noble.

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If hearing schoolkids sing along to Marshall Crenshaw singing along to the Beatles is not your style, you may prefer Brats on the Beat which, accordining to the press release, “contains 12 Ramones classics, all “kidified” by the Gabba Gabba Hey Singers.” The good news comes with the fact that the lead vocals have been reserved for bona fide punk rockers like Brett Anderson (The Donnas, not Suede) Jack Grisham (TSOL), Blag Dahlia (The Dwarves) and Josie Cotton, whose major claim to fame was with that well-known day care anthem, ‘Johnny Are You Queer Boy.’ You can hear the Brats On The Beat’s take on ‘Rockaway Beach’ at, yes, you guessed, it, the project’s Myspace page.

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And if you think the above is taking things too far, you should hear the singalongababy cover of the Beastie Boys ‘Body Moving’ we acquired on a free baby CD we got we don’t know where. Or you should see the cartoon India Arie singing about how much she loves reggae on the Blues Clues special, Bluestock. On the subject of which….
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“My other problem is beards. I grew up around rabbis, so maybe that’s it, but I don’t trust them: not on rabbis, not on mullahs, not on the Amish, not on anyone. Unfortunately, beards seem to be making a comeback in my town — Islamic-style beards, specifically — as my bewildering neighbors paradoxically proclaim their love for peace and acceptance by adopting the facial hair of misogynistic, homophobic, religious fundamentalists.”

Shalom Auslander attempts to keep his cool when caught behind a slow-moving, peace-proclaiming, bumper-sticker ridden green Subaru on the road out of Woodstock. His piece so speaks to every red-blooded male’s internal battle to avoid killing the local peaceniks that several of my friends have e-mailed it to me since it was published in the Times magazine last Sunday. The “local roadside organic pesticide-free grass-fed nonimperialistic fruit market” would be Sunfrost, known for its annual pumpkin carving festival at Halloween time. (Oh, and for the fact that one of the Bad Brains makes the juices.)

This may be the point to note that I saw my first ‘Barak for President’ saucer-styled button badge several weeks before Christmas – only about a month after our LAST national election, actually. It was being worn, but of course, by a middle-aged white woman in Woodstock.
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Last Century, I met my wife on the dancefloor of a New Brunswick, New Jersey bar called The Melody, where the notorious Matt Pinfield was DJ. (The even more notorious James Gandolfini was also a DJ at The Melody, according to wikipedia which, as we all know, doesn’t lie.) That’s just two reasons why the Melody was the greatest little bar I ever attended. There are hundreds more such reasons, and many of them will be booking babysitters, designating drivers and dusting off their dancing shoes on February 17 for a Melody reunion at the Loop Lounge in Passaic – for which, so we’ve been promised, Matt will once again be spinning records. (Or CDs. Or MP3s.) Why not hold the reunion at the Melody, you ask? Because they tore the building down, that’s why. (Actually, they tore the street down.) Pictures of how it looked before the wrecking ball took its toll are here. Pictures of how it looked at midnight on any given Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from the mid eighties through mid-nineties are much harder to come by but are fondly treasured by all who experienced the musical mayhem. Posie and I plan to be there and I’m sure our babysitter will appreciate that the reunion kicks off at the distinctly non rock-n-roll time 5pm.

The Melody in 2004, long closed and about to be demolished. Photo and Tony Soprano trivia courtesy of DJ Shaggy.

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