This week: the Dead Girls
Local power-pop supergroup the Dead Girls are at the Jackpot this Friday, with Sons of Great Dane and the Sexy Accident on Friday. Doors open at 9 p.m. We recently asked them about their tastes and likes. Articulate, comprehensive answers! You should read.
Favorite local band: The ACB's: Stona Rosa is the album of the year. Not the local album of the year or the regional album of the year — THE album of 2011. It bolts through 10 songs in just over 25 minutes, and every tune is a simple, memorable, original take on modern indie pop, with a lot of classic power pop thrown in for good measure. It's easily the most solid record that has been released from this area in a long, long time, and I don't know why it's not a national hit already.
Favorite non-local band: TIE - Lemuria (from Buffalo, New York) and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (from Springfield, Missouri). Lemuria is my favorite band to work out to, at the moment. They split the songwriting and singing duties between one girl who plays guitar and one guy who plays drums. It's like a modern Sonny & Cher or Captain & Tennille mentality, but the songs are these weird hybrids of prog rock, pop punk and power pop. They use a lot of left-turn guitar hooks and weird time signatures, but in ways that only strengthens the songs — it never feels gratuitous. And Springfield's SSLYBY are kicking ass, as usual — they just released a double album of unreleased material called Tape Club that combines their more recent power-pop anthems with their earlier indie-folk side. Despite the fact that it's a compilation, it feels like a great, complete record.
All-time fave songs:
Television, "Marquee Moon"
The best song ever recorded. Television had a chemistry like no other band before or since. Dynamically, lyrically and aurally stunning.
Big Star, "Thirteen"
There is an undeniable, almost childlike simplicity to this song that makes it ring so true. It's made to be loved by everyone.
Replacements, "Unsatisfied" / "Bastards of Young"
These two songs represent the perfect dichotomy of the Replacements — half sensitive singer-songwriter, half punk rocker. The Dead Girls have covered both.
Dinosaur Jr., "Sludgefeast"
The Dead Girls used to cover this one, too — a perfect tune for a band with dual guitars. DJ is only a trio, but thanks to J Mascis' relentlessly ear-shredding guitar volume, they can still kill it live. Lou Barlow's patented bar-chord bass lines and Murph's tireless, spot-on drumming help to send this hybrid of psychedelia, metal and pop rock soaring off the proverbial cliff.
Guided by Voices, "Motor Away"
Some songs have a chorus, and some songs ARE the chorus. This one is the latter — it's all built around this incredibly simple but brilliant idea that catapults the tune quickly but successfully to a roaring finish.
The Beach Boys, "Sail on Sailor"
This late-era Beach Boys' song is one of their most effective anthems, but it's far removed from traditional Beach Boys. It was written by a mentally unstable Brian Wilson (when he wasn't even really in the band) after the rest of the album (Holland) was rejected by the label due to "lack of commercial material." Grace under pressure, indeed! NOTE: Avoid the Jimmy Buffett cover.
The Beatles, "She Said She Said"
This was probably the first power-pop song. It has all the elements we love about early Beatles' songs but is a great example of when the band started to grow into something entirely unprecedented. The super-compressed, jangly guitars and Ringo's best Keith Moon impression help it add up to something that still feels new, even 45 years later.
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, "Modern Mystery"
The perfect modern-rock anthem — a dance-y, indie jangle-pop tune about learning to accept life the way it is and to just have fun with it. We could all use a lesson there.
Ben Folds and Nick Hornby, "Belinda"
Folds collaborated with author Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy) to pen this heart-wrenching tune about a one-hit wonder whose one hit is about the only woman he ever loved ... a woman whom he ditched for a stewardess with big knockers. This song isn't just for songwriters — the man and his song are symbols of the longing felt by everyone, even after they have achieved their long-sought dreams.
Best recent film I’ve seen: Bridesmaids: It was marketed like a female version of The Hangover, but it's superior to that film in nearly every way. The writing is better, the acting is better, the dialogue is funnier, the situations are simultaneously funnier and more believable ... and though it's in the vein of a dumb comedy, it feels like a movie that really has something to say to its audience.
Best recent book I’ve read: No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy: It's true — the movie is almost 100 percent faithful to the book ... ALMOST. Most notably, the movie cuts the last chapter from the story — there are a few passages at the end of the book that shed some light on the possible fate of Anton Chigurh. But I don't doubt the Coen brothers in doing this — those dudes know how to make a movie and how to shape a mystery. They leave out all the right elements to give the narrative their patented open-ended quality. One of the best books, movies and adaptations of the last two decades.
Favorite TV show: Breaking Bad: No show in TV's history has been able to combine drama, action and dark comedy so seamlessly, while still boasting some of the best acting and writing to be found anywhere. It's already been announced that the next season will be the last, which I think is great — too many shows these days last too long and eventually jump the shark. The folks behind Breaking Bad are some of the smartest in the business and care way too much about this show to let that happen. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are two of the best actors ANYWHERE, and together they are a true powerhouse.
Favorite podcast: This American Life / Savage Love : This American Life takes intimate storytelling to a whole new level, thanks to Ira Glass, who presents listeners with remarkable situations experienced by normal, everyday people. Savage Love takes the "love line" aesthetic to a whole new level, thanks to Dan Savage, whose edgy take on sex in the modern world, as well as his infallible ability to remain as open-minded as he is open-eared, has more or less revolutionized sexual mores.
Favorite venue: The Sprint Center: We were lucky enough to open for Kiss here in December of 2009 — probably the best day of all of our lives, without question. All of the staff at the SC were surprisingly cordial, helpful and extremely supportive of the Dead Girls. And, of course, the sound on that stage was freaking phenomenal.
Favorite place to eat in Kansas City: McCoy's or Oklahoma Joe's: It really depends on where we are and what is most convenient. If we're playing in or near Westport, McCoy's is usually the choice. The food is great; it may be the best microbrewery in KC. If we're just hanging out or popping through KC — and the line isn't too bad — we usually try to stop at Oklahoma Joe's for a Z-Man. You just can't touch those.
Favorite neighborhood in Kansas City: Crossroads: As far as the arts are concerned, this is the place to be in KC. Westport is fun, too, but Crossroads is richer with KC culture. Power & Light can suck it!
Favorite bar in Kansas City: The RecordBar: This place has the best sound, best stage, best staff, best food, and cleanest bathrooms of any bar venue in Kansas City. They go above and beyond to put together insanely awesome shows, and they treat their bands like family.
Favorite drink: Free State Copperhead Pale Ale or Jagerbomb: It just depends ... are we buying our own beers from the bar? Copperhead. Are you treating us to a post-show shot? Jagerbomb.
Favorite article of clothing: My Lemuria hoodie.