Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday 80s Flashback for July 25, 2014

The Teen Titans rendered in the style of The Breakfast Club by Cliff Chiang

[See You in the Funny Pages - Redux] -- I'm re-using a previous Flashback, because I am currently in the midst of heroes. Well, comic book, video game, TV and movie heroes. And several hundred people trying to dress like comic book, video game, TV, and movie heroes. If you want to feel like you're at SDCC with me, you can check out Mark Anderson's tutorial on how to draw Batman (but there is, however, no tutorial showing you how to autograph your drawing like one of the artists who actually work on the Batman comics ... sorry). You can also follow some of our adventures by checking out our little friend, Mocha ( This Flashback has something of a heroic theme. To find out what songs made the playlist this year, read and hear more after the break.

"Warhead" by Katrina Kuntsmann (at SDCC)

Found a cool indie comic called Warhead at SDCC yesterday. It's written and drawn by Katrina Kunstmann. She signed my copies of issues #1 and #2, and she drew a doodle of her title character for me. His name is Adam, and he has a nuclear bomb for a head. Find her in the Small Press section, or visit her online at!

Warhead (issues 1 and 2)

Adam enjoys a cuppa

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday 80s Flashback for July 18, 2014

[No Age] -- SST Records was launched in 1978 as a punk label. Founded by Greg Ginn, the leader of and primary songwriter for Black Flag, SST had originally been an electronics company called Solid State Transmitters. He repurposed the company as a record label so he could independently release his band's material and distribute other musicians who couldn't get a major label deal or just didn't want to deal with the demands and loss of artistic control that would come with such a deal. From this humble beginning, Ginn built SST to become the most influential underground label of the 80s. The Minutemen, Hüsker Dü, the Meat Puppets, Soundgarden, and many others released seminal albums on SST. However, near the end of the 80s, Ginn's label acquired New Alliance Records and, after re-issuing some of their key releases on SST, he redirected New Alliance to focus on experimental jazz, unusual rock, and spoken word performances. This activity, along with the overall diminishing of SST's roster, really took the glow off SST for many of their fans. In the midst of this, in 1987, SST released the compilation album, No Age. No Age is a double LP set clocking in at a little over an hour. Notably, it's a collection of avant-garde (for the time) instrumental music. This is notable because, although SST had started delving into jazz releases, all the bands on this compilation hail from SST's staple of punk and underground rock artists.

To give you a taste of this unusual release, which remains one of my favorite compilations, I have selected three tunes and created a playlist on my SoundClound account. This playlist has the following songs:

  1. "Let's Go Places and Eat Things" by Scott Colby (from his 1987 solo release, Slide of Hand, an incredible showpiece of slide guitar virtuosity)
  2. "March of the Melted Army Men" by Lawndale (which later appeared on their own LP, Sasquatch Rock, a dazzling collection of surf guitar tinged alt rock)
  3. Over The Counter Culture by Alter-Natives, a flute and sax driven quartet keen on improv. 

The songs are embedded in a player below. Enjoy!

Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

Saturday, July 05, 2014

There is a Calm ...

There is a calm before the storm.
There is a calm after the storm.

The only difference between 
these two states and the state 
of your mind during a storm

Words and image ©BSW

Friday, July 04, 2014

Friday 80s Flashback for July 4, 2014

80s Boombox via Zazzle

[Red, White, and Bruised ... er, Blue!] -- Once in a while, the Fourth of July lands on a Friday. When that occurs, many of us in the States are given a three-day weekend to celebrate a unique event: when 13 scrappy, English colonies engaged in an act of civil disobedience. Well, it was actually an act of treason. And it was committed by writing a sternly worded letter to King George III, who wouldn't receive his copy until August 30, 1776. Now, I don't know what the Founding Fathers would make of this week's playlist. But there will be plenty of serious fare discussing the events of 1776 on the web, radio, and television. So on the Flashback, we're gong to cut loose and have some fun. If you're ready to celebrate with me in 80s rock style, then read and hear more after the break. We'll enjoy a few tracks that somehow have a little red, white, or blue associated with them.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday 80s Flashback for June 27, 2014

[An Idol Post] -- I heard a Billy Idol song on the radio this week. Now, finding Billy Idol on the FM dial is not exactly a rare occurrence. As a solo artist, and not counting compilations, the man released seven studio albums, a live album, one EP, and 34 singles. And he's not exactly a slouch: Over his career, he has been nominated three times for a Grammy and ten times for the MTV Video Music Awards (he even won one of those). So, there's a pretty good chance that at any hour of the day, some pop/rock station, particularly if it's an 80s station, will be spinning one of his tracks (if we can still call what DJs do "spinning). However, it got me to thinking: What about the band he left just before he became a solo star?

Billy Idol first garnered some notoriety as a member of the punk band, Generation X. Generation X got started late in 1976 and, after a few lineup tweaks that saw Billy Idol move from guitar to vocals, they released their debut album in 1978. Ignoring most of the "rules" established by other UK punk bands, Generation X took much of their inspiration from British pop of the 1960s. Consequently, they were one of the first punk bands to appear on the BBC show, Top of the Pops. Musical tensions regarding the band's direction surfaced between their second LP, Valley of the Dolls (January 1979), and what would have been their third studio LP, Sweet Revenge (recorded in 1979 but unreleased until 1998). 1980 saw more personnel changes and the band made another go at a record. They abbreviated their name to Gen X and released Kiss Me Deadly (1981). The album failed to chart, and the band fell apart.

After Kiss Me Deadly, Idol took one of the tracks ("Dancing with Myself") to launch his solo career, while bassist Tony James formed Sigue Sigue Sputnik in 1982. Sigue Sigue spun their creative wheels (and a few synthesizer dials) for a few years before releasing their debut record in 1986. Overall, they released two albums and nine singles between 1986 and 1989. They were also active in the mid to late 90s and the early 00s.

Now, with that windup, you're likely wondering what songs are on tap for this week. Well, you can hear and read more after the break.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Audition Notice: Snyder v. Phelps ... THE MUSICAL!

Sharing for my theater peeps: Audition for Snyder v. Phelps … THE MUSICAL!

My friend, the amazing Shelli Pentimall Bookler, has a new play coming out and you could get a part in it. Information is below (all text and images after this line are borrowed from strictly for helping to promote the show).

Snyder v. Phelps, the musical will premiere at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival 


September 12-14 at The Rotunda
4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

Special performance at Bucks County Community College September 11, 2014

Books and lyrics by Shelli Pentimall Bookler
 Music by Josh Martin
Music Director Mark Urmson

Snyder v. Phelps follows the controversial Supreme Court case of a grieving father of a fallen marine battling  the infamous Westboro Baptist Church

Funded in part by Bucks County Community College Cultural Planning Committee and the Bucks County Community College Foundation

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday 80s Flashback for June 20, 2014

[Do You Remember?] -- Bob Mould recently released his 14th studio solo album, Beauty & Ruin (2014). In the 80s, however, he was the frontman for the seminal rockers out of St. Paul, MN, Hüsker Dü. Named after a popular 70s memory boardgame (the title of which meant, "Do You Remember?"), Hüsker Dü was largely known for being a hardcore band that crossed over to alternative. Or, rather, they were the band that pretty much created the so-called alternative genre. So, we'll celebrate Mould's new music by glancing back at his older material. Jump the break to read and hear what old tracks I picked for you this week. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday 80s Flashback for May 30, 2014

[Down to the Wire] -- Wire formed in late 1976 and immediately took up the flag as part of the new vanguard for British punk. And I mean that almost literally: Their first studio album, released in 1977, was titled Pink Flag. After Wire released three seminal punk records,  Colin Newman (vocals, guitar), Graham Lewis (bass, vocals), Bruce Gilbert (guitar), and Robert Gotobed (drums) ceased working together as a band for a few years. Between 1981 and 1985, they each pursued solo, decidedly non-Wire ventures. They reformed in 1985 and expanded their palette to include more electronic musical instrumentation while refusing to play any of their old material. This was something of a brand new Wire, a Wire II if you like (though they didn't actually change their name). This week, we are focusing on Wire's three studio albums released between 1985 and 1989, the ones on which they more fully embraced sequencers, synthesizers, and drum machines: The Ideal Copy (1987), A Bell Is a Cup ... Until It Is Struck (1988), and It's Beginning To And Back Again (1989). You can read and hear more about these releases after the break.