Andrew Earles

My Christmas List

Posted in Uncategorized by Andrew Earles on November 26, 2004

Welcome to my morphing Christmas list. You can be one of two people: 1. A person who helps to fulfill these wishes, or 2. A person who helps to ruin my Christmas. Check back daily for changes and additions!!

This is my address:

Andrew Earles
PO Box 820912
Memphis TN 38182

(Note: I’m leaving for a cruise (w/Mom) on 12/18, and will be returning 12/25. Items either need to arrive prior to 12/18, or my PO Box needs to be overflowing on 12/27 – your choice)

Assorted Fire Events: Stories by David Means

The Secret Goldfish: Stories by David Means

A Toyota Landcruiser – Early 80’s (round headlights). Less than 130,000 mi. No stupid shit (lift, winch, racks, etc).

A 4+ mega pixel digital camera – Reputable brand.

Vader’s Beast and Litany

William T. Vollmann’s Rising Up Rising Down (Seven Volume Set)

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Plus Index of Contributors

V/A Love, Peace & Poetry: African Psychedelic Music (Shadoks Music ) – CD or LP

Simon Finn’s Pass The Distance – I have this ripped onto a computer that I never sit in front of.

Sontag & Kael: Opposites Attract Me by Craig Seligman

Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain: L.A.’s Desert Origins deluxe reissue

Spirit They’re Gone Spirit by Animal Collective

Just Farr A Laugh Review!

Posted in Uncategorized by Andrew Earles on November 20, 2004

I’ve never posted a link or the text for a review of “Just Farr A Laugh” – the prank call CD that Jeff Jensen and myself released over two years ago. It was reviewed in Thrasher Magazine, Scram Magazine, Stop Smiling Magazine, and Rocktober, plus some others that escape me. The Onion voted it #4 in the Top Five Comedy Albums of 2002 (in the A/V Club section of their, ahh, sort of popular website). Earlier this week, Mark Prindle reviewed it on his website. Why is this special? Mark is a co-author of mine in the “Lost In The Grooves” book. * By virtue of his STACKED site, Mark may very well be the most voluminous music writer on the planet.

*Sick of reading about “Lost In The Grooves” on this site? I grasp for it all, no matter how small and irrelevant you may deem the accomplishment. I’m proud and defensive – it’s the way this path works. No, I didn’t write a book, but I’m in a book. A book that I’m elated to be in. This holiday season, I can show my mother a published book that contains my writing. Yes, this is in response to an ill-derived e-mail I received.

“Mark Prindle is a NYC-based writer who runs, generally considered to be the most ridiculous record review site in the world. Feel free to add your comments! Mark can be reached at

….so goes his bio….

In addition to this, I like Mark.

Remember, what you are about to read is credited to Mark Prindle…NOT ME!!!!

He awarded the CD 8 out of 10 “dots.”

Go here if you wish to read it from his site.

Please Note: Jeff Jensen performs “The Yogurt Machine” call, not Andy Earles.

All right already…..

ALDA’stroy you if you SWIT’ch off this hilarious prank phone call CD!
Also, can you MCCLEAN STEVENSON the toilet? I accidentally diarrhea’d from seven feet away.


Just Farr A Laugh! – Failed Pilot 2002

The big fancy stars of the genre make prank phone calling seem easy – like a no-brainer or half-tease. But it’s not. There are enough shitty unfunny people doing it to prove my point; check ebay for some of the “amateurs” selling their wares and you’ll see what I mean. For every riotous Screamer, Bum Bar Bastard and Crank Yanker, there’s an excruciatingly unfunny John Musacha, Telephone Head and Laugh Syndicate. But I never give up. You put out a prank phone call CD and make it cheap enough and I’ll buy it. Ball Busters? Got ‘em both. Brother Russell? Same deal. Longmont Potion Castle? Jerky Boys? Great Phone Calls? Three Men In A Tub? The Original Prankster (i.e. Jackie Starr)? STEVE ALLEN!? Got it, got it, got it, etc etc. I don’t know what the hell attracts me to prank phone calls, but I keep coming back for more.

Part of it is the fun of listening to an unsuspecting recipient making a dumbass out of him/herself by not catching the joke, but more so than that I think it’s just the fun of hearing clever people saying funny things. Some prankers create humor through entertaining characters of their own creation (ex. The Jerky Boys’ ridiculously aggressive Frank Rizzo, Brother Russell’s clueless elderly Christian Melba), others create humor from the angry reactions of their victims (e.g. Longmont Potion Castle invoking the wrath of his entire hometown by constantly threatening to beat everybody up, Bum Bar Bastards driving bar owner Red to such bizarre threats as “I’LL PUT THE Z-Z’S ON BOTH CHEEKS OF YOUR LIFE!”) and still others create unlikely scenarios and manipulate the ignorance of the other party to heighten the comedy to unbelievable levels of absurdity (i.e. one of the Crank Yankers calling a phone sex operator as a favor for his “deaf friend” who is sitting next to him, The Original Prankster convincing a boneheaded McDonald’s employee to drop not one but TWO telephones into a vat of scalding french fry grease). The two young men responsible for Just Farr A Laugh! hit on all of these elements from time to time, but if I had to sum up their “schtick” — that which distinguishes them from their contemporaries — I think I would sort it into three main categories: (a) making fun of third-rate semi-celebrities, (b) hilarious references to the worst of ’70s, ’80s and ’90s pop culture, and (c) a 4’10, 250-lb black man named “Bleachy.”

Just Farr A Laugh! first caught my attention by its prominent position in Mondo Kim’s ‘comedy’ section, which I’ve long counted on to introduce me to the best of smart underground humor, from song-poems and outsider artists to idiot semi-savant radio dramatist Judson Fountain and the indescribably hilarious Dirty Fan Male CD. My interest was then solidified by the CD’s inclusion in The Onion’s list of Top Comedy Records of the Year. So I forked up the cash, traded in the dough and laughed all the way to the money. Actually I didn’t like it first time through. I think I was expecting something more out of the ordinary, and was disappointed to find that it was just a straightforward prank call CD. But second time through, I got the shit out of my ears and just laughed and laughed and laughed until tears ran up my face. Here, let me share some moments with you.

But first, who are Just Farr A Laugh!? Why, they are Andy Earles, one of Scharpling & Wurster’s funny cohorts on The Best Show On WFMU and a freelance writer (check out his entries in Lost in the Grooves: Scram’s Capricious Guide to the Music you Missed — then check out MARK PRINDLE’s entry in the very same book!!!), and they are also Jeffrey Jensen. Visit to buy a copy and read Andy’s blog!

Now that we’re on paragraph five, let’s talk about the actual CD. It features 33 tracks and drags on for 74 minutes. To be quite honest, it probably deserves a high 7 rather than 8 due to the guys’ insistence on including not only the hilarious gags that worked, but the same exact gags in incarnations when they did not work. But screw that – any CD with 20+ sidesplitting crank calls deserves an 8 no matter what kind of filler shit is stuck in at the end. Here now, let me discuss the calls by category:

(a) These young men LOVE to make fun of third-rate celebrities — not only because names like Jason Bonham and Morris Day are fun to toss out, but also because there’s no threat that the person on the other end of the line will know what their real voices sound like! How else would a major recording studio honestly believe that Christopher Cross is a lisping egotist who says things like, “Did you see the movie Arthur? Did you cry? Well, without my music, that movie would have been SHIT!” Another favorite gimmick of the JFAL! guys is to call a club pretending to be a relative or personal assistant of a complete has-been like Gallagher or Howie Mandel, proudly announce that said semi-celebrity is planning to visit the club, and warn that they don’t want any trouble with paparazzi and hordes of autograph-seeking fans. The person on the other line of course doesn’t want to insult anybody by pointing out the obvious, and laughter ensues for all and one. Other great examples of type (a) calls include “Jazz Jermaine: Ru Paul’s Personal Assistant,” “Tim Butler, An Old Flatmate of David J.,” “Danny Aiello,” and “Isaac Hayes” (who calls a grocery store in tears because some kids in the parking lot said he looked like he ‘just stepped off of Paul Simon’s Graceland tour bus’). The one where he pretends to be the ex-bassist of Tora! Tora! is pretty classic too.

(b) What’s funnier than pop culture references? Until you’ve heard “Confusing Array Of Things To Sell,” you may never know the answer. This – one of the funniest calls on the disc – involves a slow-voiced yokel calling an antique furniture store in an attempt to sell such clearly non-antique furniture items as a used Teddy Ruxpin, a Refrigerator Perry Halloween mask, a Jackson Browne “Lawyers In Love” painters cap, a “Where’s The Beef?” button, and a promotional Press Your Luck Whammy! stuffed toy (“I think you’d like that Whammy! guy — he’s cute!”). Other great examples of type (b) include a man who simply cannot understand the humor in “The Wizard Of Id,” a fellow interested in getting tattoos of “Taz” and “The Taco Bell Dog” above each of his eyes, and the relentlessly laugh-out-loud “Just Farr A Laugh: The Yogurt Machine,” in which a slow-voiced expert on the yogurt market spends several minutes warning an ice cream store owner that ‘Go-Gurt’ is going to be the next big thing, before concluding with a recommendation that the hapless owner read the autobiography of Jamie Farr (“Remember when he played that character ‘Klinger’ on M*A*S*H? Yeah, that fucked him up big-time.”). The biggest joke of all, of course, is that the book isn’t even called Just Farr A Laugh. Andy was remembering it wrong — the actual title is Just Farr Fun. It’s actually available on Amazon for $2.25 if you’d like a copy.

(c) Bleachy gets old, but essentially he’s a short fat excitable black man who for some reason assumes that anybody he calls will know who he is if he shouts “This is BLEACHY!” enough times. He IS cute and ridiculous, but there’s probably a bit too much of him on here.

These three categories don’t cover the ENTIRE album; I’m just trying to cordone off where their main interests and influences lie. There are plenty of other original and hilarious ideas on here, including a middle-aged woman who is a bit TOO excited about the chance to play bass in a young white boy blues band, a teenage girl who is a bit TOO excited about some dumbass indie rock band called “Soulcracker,” and a new guy in town who is a bit TOO enthusiastic about the chance to visit a local bar called ‘Attitudes’ (I realize it doesn’t work in writing, but if you don’t laugh as hard as I do when the caller announces, “I’LL BRING DOWN MY ACOUSTIC!,” then you’re one of those people in life that just doesn’t *get it* — and I don’t just mean the joke, I mean the WORLD).

One final word before I go: This is probably the only chance you’ll ever have to purchase a CD with tracks entitled “‘Bedroom ETA’ – A Jermaine Stewart Cover Band,” “KFC Mashed Potatoes And Gravy Flavored Dorito’s,” and “Honey, Tiger Woods Is On The Phone – Quit Fiddle-Fucking Around.” So keep that in mind and buy wisely.

Also, I’m not sure if I mentioned this in another review, but either way it’s worth repeating. When I was in college, I included the following couplet in one of my shitty “serious” songs and could have sworn that it was clever and witty: “You can be my Tom Bosley/I’ll be your trash and we’ll be glad/I could promise you nirvana/But don’t expect more than a tad.”

GET IT!??!??!?! TOM BOSLEY??? GLAD???? NIRVANA??? TAD???? ISN’T IT FUCKING HILARIFUCKFLE???!??!?! I’M A REGULAR “BECK”! (who sucks, incidentally)

A Dry Martinez

Posted in Uncategorized by Andrew Earles on November 14, 2004

Several, and I do mean SEVERAL, years ago, David Dunlap Jr. and myself were asked by WFMU’s Lowest Common Denominator to co-write a piece. This is the very, very unedited version. The only thing I can gather from this is that, some time, SEVERAL years ago, I used to be funny.

Michener Rock
By David Dunlap and Andy Earles

While music, as an art form, spans across millennia and cultural barriers, it also seems most evocative of the geographical region from which it originates. Even within the art of film, music is often used as a shorthand method for establishing a particular setting. Think of the mere existence of the discipline ethnomusicology; the other arts don’t have such a frequently bandied academic buzzword to describe their symbiosis with geography. The 19th-century composer, Mikhail Glinka, suggested that “the nation creates music” and that the artist merely arranges it.
So with this relationship firmly established, it seems that the logical conclusion would be that musical entities would desire to concretize this connection and name themselves after locations. It did, however, take until the late 1960s before this phenomenon manifested itself in the spectrum of popular music. We are dubbing this genre of music (primarily rock, both heavy and lite) “Michener Rock” as a tribute to James Michener, who seemingly titled every 12-stone tome after various geographical entities (Alaska, Hawaii, Poland, Iberia, Twitty City, Space, et al.) The majority of the bands listed below share not only the place-related naming convention with Michener’s books, but also a certain monolithic innocuousness.
Coincidentally enough, one of the few airport novels by Michener that wasn’t geographically themed was entitled Journey, which is also the name of a monolithically innocuous lite-rock (formerly heavy) outfit that really seems to fit in this genre but unfortunately is excluded on technicalities. We do not claim that this list is complete, but feel free to write an arrogant missive pointing out our inaccuracies to the editor of this publication.

1. There can be no “Michener Rock” bands whose name consists of “place name + x” or “x + place name.” Unfortunately this excludes some real tempting lite-rock turdmongers and barn-door-size critical targets such as the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Bay City Rollers, Kentucky Headhunters, U.S. Bombs, Of Montreal, Sun City Girls and Rare Earth.

2. No “Michener Rock” bands shall be named after mythical locales. This rule hurts the most. Sadly it must be so that we don’t spend a dark and stormy fortnight penning vapid capsules on such bands as Narnia, Middle Earth, Hades, Valhalla and Satan’s Hollow. Other heavy hitters excluded by this rule can be found in the cassette collection of your mother’s alcoholic middle management boyfriend: Styx, Nirvana, Arcadia and Jimmy’s Chicken Shack. Andy seemed to have the most trouble with this rule; a lapse which I attribute to: a) his public school education, b) the cumulative effect of 3 consecutive “Hydrocodone Summers” or c) his sincere belief that Atlantis and Hades are not mythical and do, in fact, exist.

–David Dunlap Jr.

Wow, Princess, I’m sure that your interoffice e-mails are a real fave round the workplace.

–Andrew Scott Earles

And so, in no particular order

Andy: Firmly atop the micro-genre of bands that were granted their very own spaceships. Third Stage was a big album for me during adolescence, so big that my first neighborhood neck session may have been prepped with “Hollyann.” You must give ’em credit for ignoring any and all progressions on the popular music landscape! I guess that makes Third Stage the very first (1986) ’70s throwback album that wasn’t on SST. Here’s to breaking ground!
Dave: I was captivated by the covers for their first couple of records. The images of domed cities being transported by giant guitar-shaped rockets redlined my preteen sensibilities. I was granted epiphanies of nigh Blakeian proportions. There were eight years in between Don’t Look Back and Third Stage. What were they doing? Waiting for Thomas Pynchon to write the fricking liner notes? Oh no, that was crap alterna-dookies, Lotion.

Andy: There was one of these in the ’70s, who really were from Colorado, but we shall attempt a two-sentence look at the topical irony-metal namesakes, who may actually be named after a big rock, I dunno. I wish that all of the Crusty-Into-Metal evolutions sounded this good.
Dave: Once on Mork and Mindy, during the finale, there’s two minutes where Mork talks to Orson about his mission. Orson throws a giant papier-mâché boulder at Mork; once he dodges it, he tells Orson, “It’s a good thing I didn’t land in Buffalo.” I mention this because I was just reminded that we have left off the ’70s ur-butt rockers from Australia, Buffalo, (Volcano Rock) who, in their own way, share a lot with the current buckeye metallians, Boulder. By the way, I found Boulder’s Ravage and Savage to be one of the most ball-blistering platters of last year. Highly recommended.

Andy: “Valet Rock.”
Dave: I swear to God that I don’t remember them being on the list. Can they have actually have existed? Jeez Christ! I’m thinking over here, but all I can hear in my head are Jean-Michel Jarre records.

Andy: People should really think twice before they go and destroy The Cure for the rest of us.
Dave: Depending on which nanosecond you ask me, I either think that they are lively new wave revisionists with a wink, or talentless smirkers who deserve to be working at a Structure outlet in the mall.

Andy: Have you ever paid a dollar for a Kansas record just to see what one of those ten-minute tracks sounds like? I have, and I’ll let you in on a little something…
Dave: When IBM transferred my stepdad to Wichita, I tried getting into these white-bread pomp rockers merely because I was “now a Kansan.” But even at ten I could tell that the way they tilted their heads and held the headphones on one ear while on stage was unforgivably precious.

Andy: I’m a fan of the mid-period afternoon rock phase and the elaborate album art that went with it. I also own the six-LP Live at Carnegie Hall set, but never listened to it again after hearing how half-assedly “I’m A Man” was performed. Check out their Behind The Music entry, it’s gold. Terry Kath can be seen in the surreal Electra Glide In Blue (1973), where he blows a big hole in Robert Blake during the final scene. Insert obvious joke.
Dave: Luckily they dropped the “Transit Authority” verbiage from their first album to become eligible for our illustrious list. I am still reeling from listening to Terry Kath’s “Free Form Guitar” on side three of their debut double platter. I swear to Bejesus that it is the wildest noise you will find in your dad’s record collection.

Andy: Self-titled debut (1983), cover art: Concrete angels with guitars and a hard to identify temple of some sort. Wings Of Tomorrow (1984), cover art: A giant metal eagle (placing them in the giant metal bird micro-genre). The Final Countdown (1986), cover art: Comic book band member imagery spiraling forth from the earth’s atmosphere. Out Of This World (1988), cover art: A not so out-of-this-world portrait of the band looking at you. Prisoners in Paradise (1991), cover art: A gypsy squatting in the foreground with the Eye of Fatima in the background. Don’t fucking ask me.
Dave: Their breakout moment, “The Final Countdown,” is inextricably linked in my mind with the time-traveling military thriller of the same name. That song was the soundtrack to a trip to Florida with my church youth groupa trip I might add on which I was the only boy whose pinky did NOT get stinky. Thanks, GOD.

Andy: First off, it should be mentioned that this band had an album called No Parole From Rock And Roll. Also, this outfit served as a soapbox for both a young pre-solo Yngwie Malmsteen and the (then) recently Zappa-schooled Steve Vai. I find that Alcatrazz can write some uber-catchy power metal, namely “Skyfire,” from 1986’s Disturbing the Peace. Institution or big rock? I’m saying big rock because I wanted to include them.
Dave: I believe that their lack of commercial success lay in the fact that most tried and true metal fans do not want to be reminded of prison.

Andy: What? Which one? Unnoticed prog or unnoticed techno? Both!
Dave: Alright, Andy. I suppose me and Sasquatch will take a ride in my cigar-shaped craft and go pick up Nessie before rendezvousing with you in Atlantis. Hey, Andy! Doesn’t exist! Mr. Discovery Channel, it’s about as real as your chances at a healthy romantic relationship.

Andy: This band is on page 23 of The Good Housekeeping Speed Metal CookBook: The Stalwart Dish. The recipe is as follows: 1. Be from Jersey. 2. Add a guitarist with a Hispanic surname. 3. Appear on several old-school Metal Blade and Megaforce comps before signing to a bevy of independents. 4. Go through approximately 863 line-up changes. 5. Break up. 6. Reunite in the ’90s. 7. Release reunion album for Metal Reunion Headquarters: Metal Blade Records. Additional criteria: Since you formed in 1978, it’s not that ridiculous of an idea to name yourself after Hell.
Dave: For the love of St. Benildus, will you please reference rule number two above.

Andy: This is going to give me fever dreams.
Dave: Memorable only for their forgettable appearance in The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years.

Andy: I’ve always been a sucker for their logo and color schemes, even the ones that Leslie West would use for his wardrobe. “Theme For An Imaginary Western” is a timeless shot of boogie-pop nestled in a repertoire that was never as good as I wanted it to be.
Dave: Hey, anyone who knows me knows how much I love Leslie West. In fact, Andy and some others once played a prank on me that involved trying to sell me a VG copy of his solo record, The Great Fatsby for $400. The scary thing is that I was willing to pay it. But seriously, Mountain is disqualified. These bands must be named after geographical entities, not geographical terms. Otherwise, we would open the door to Oasis, Skyy, The Ocean Blue and Fjord. And no one wants that.

Nevada Beach
Andy: You just spilled brandy on your Rockports… oh, how will the great American techno-medical-thriller ever be completed?
Dave: I like that book that your Granddad keeps near the toilet by Alistair MacLean about Remo Williams, the Executioner and the Penetrator all staging an angel dust raid against the Ku Klux Klan on the shores of Nevada Beach. Yes, I like that one very much.

Andy: Black metal is the only genre that sours under the weight of synthetic percussion. I just can’t deal with it. Aside from that MAJOR flaw, these German weirdoes are probably a little too outsider for the everyday dabbler. Introspective to the point of being suicidal, they leave little breathing room.
Dave: It’s got to be a little embarrassing, going up and introducing yourself to other bands at Metal fests named Rotting Christ, Tiamat, Necrophagia, and Witchmaster with such a timid moniker like Bethlehem. Or maybe not.

Andy: I have one significant problem with this band: The album covers during the ’70s profanely belied their blandness. I mean, LOOK AT THOSE THINGS!!!! Getting something as brazenly stupid/genius as “Hair Of The Dog” on the radio has to be commended, however.

Andy: See Nevada Beach.
Dave: Visualize “Whirled Jazz.” Kind of like the Pier 1 of jazz fusion groups. They began in 1970 as an offshoot of the R-rated sounding Paul Winter Consort. After their first percussionist died, they got legend, Trilok Gurtu. Just in time to release 1987’s Ecotopia.

Andy: By far the most listenable Yes side project. They had the hooks, the split-screen videos, and Roger Dean popped back up with some very confusing “Loch Ness Monster meets a Sea World, Three In The Afternoon Performance In The Harbor Of Future Town” graphics.
Dave: The ultimate prog-lite outfit. Take one part King Crimson, two parts Yes, a Buggle and a Palmer (yes that fucking Palmer) and simmer… but not for too long now. They quickly realized that FM stations were not going to get in bed with an18-minute “Ode to Cartological Majesty on the Outer Reaches of Io.” They boiled off all the excess instrumental onanism and reduced everything to the “Heat of the Moment.” Around three and half minutesabout the exact length of time it takes for Carl Palmer’s floating drum kit to turn a full 360 degrees.

Andy: I’ve seen this band twice in casino and state-fair settings respectively. Their name, in case you were wondering, originated because all three were military brats stationed in Europe when they started playing together. They use self-depreciating in-between song banter (this next set is called “Oh, they did that song,”) and the two main guys have been together the entire time. I once witnessed an effeminate man-wafer screaming “Play Ventura Highway!!!” for the entirety of a casino show. When they didn’t play the song, not even for the encore, he started jumping up and down in his seat, yelling “What about Ventura Highway?!?!?!?!?!?!?”
Dave: For some reason, Andy is reticent to mention that the effeminate man screaming for “Ventura Highway” was a black man. That’s the zinger, fer chrissakes. I don’t think that we’ll be stepping on anyone’s toes if we all admit that African-Americans are not a big part of America’s target demographic. Believe me, all races are welcome on the Blandville Express. I am a total nutwhore for these vanilla bards. I even bought their recent box set, Highway, brand new and lied to both Andy and my wife, telling them that I found it used in an attempt to sidestep mockery. Everything is greatfrom the usual hits to their white reggae contribution, “Woman Tonight” to the theme from “The Last Unicorn.” Lester Bangs once wrote that America are ultimately more subversive than any punk or revolution-oriented rock band because they take the term, “America,” and imbue it with feelings of docility, whim, and contentment. They are responsible for a huge cultural transition in this country… and also for why we now all feel dead on the inside. God bless ’em!

Andy: Think about me when the last of your dirt weed is streaming down the crease of a marriage-counseling brochure.
Dave: Is that barb aimed at me, you bitter fucker?

Andy: The audio instruction manual for nylon jumpsuit removal.
Dave: They are solely responsible for the pop commodification of country music. Seemed to blend with the Oak Ridge Boys and the Statler Brothers in an undifferentiated blur of beards, barbershop harmonies and blandly nostalgic odes to antebellum status quo.

Andy: This I am sure of: They were a studio collective of some sort. These things I assume: They backed up or wrote songs for a cross section of shit. They were so pathetic as to name themselves after the slang associated with a geographical region.
Dave: What’s up with the fact that the state of Alabama is able to beget three namesake bands- Alabama, Bama and Crimson Tide?!?! This is what happens when Southern Rock studio hacks have girlfriends with big dreams and even bigger mouths.

Andy: A glance at this band’s line-up will reveal members with names such as Thumbs Johnson and Pee Wee Watson. My work is done here.
Dave: First saw these jokers in the local bin of a North Carolina record shop. It seems that they are bit geographically confused. They are wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the words, “south carolina,” they have a song called “California,” and found a way to effortlessly combine East Coast yoni-magnet balladry with warmed over Rust Belt boogie. Notable for having a GIANT lobster on the cover of their self-titled debut. However, by the time of the mediocre sophomore effort, the mascot has been emasculatingly reduced to an inch high crustacean-man. The only rock and roll aspect of this band (besides the giant lobster) is that their name rhymes with “Fuck It!”

New England
Andy: A Paul Stanley production that sounds like Def Leppard, had they actually hailed from that the region immortalized in their tag. “Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya,” from their first LP is perfect. AOR Metal so catchy that you’ll swear that it was a hit, when it really wasn’t.
Dave: Probably my favorite band on this list besides America. Like Kiss, Starz and Angel, they were under the Machiavellian management of Bill Aucoin. New England had more pop hooks than all of the others combined. Of course, the vocals were fey and thin and the keyboards were high in the mix. So maybe rockers got scared; but nonetheless, their debut (1979) and their second album, Explorer Suite (1980), have more poppy gems than your average Powerpearls comp. Their contemporary sophisticated lyrics had more in common with Rupert Holmes and 10cc than the junior-varsity arena rockers with whom they were often paired. Just to show that the “Michener Rock” scene is just as incestuous as any other, NE’s keyboardist, Jimmy Waldo later joined Alcatrazz. If anything, you must take a gander at the hair of drummer, Hirsh Gardner. A poodlesque coif deserving of its own zip code and ecosystem.

Andy: College rock in the style of tedium that shouldn’t be confused with worthy product. They claim to be named after Wim Wenders’ epic creation, but that’s an insult, so they’re named after the fucking state as far as I’m concerned.

M.A.R.R.S. {{CHECK SP?}}
Andy: Sillier than most late-period A.R. Kane, from whose loins this project shot. I do remember an exciting video, however.
Dave: Notable for having their hit, “Pump Up the Volume,” as the main theme for Gleaming the Cube.

Andy: I wonder where I would be if I sold coke to Don Simpson’s maid.
Dave: Around my cul-de-sac, Berlin was like the aural equivalent of Cinemax After-Dark. Glossy, MOR eroticism. Lead singer, Terri Nunn, is credited on Pleasure Victim for vocals and BJs. Think I’m kidding around?

Andy: They’re named after the mythical bird. Dave’s a Francophile, so this band had to be included.
Dave: While I am huge fan of this French band’s debut, United, I am finding it hard to come up with any jibes that aren’t blatantly ethnocentric. Now do you see why we fixate on bands from the ’70s and ’80s? Tragedy + time = funny.

Andy: Very early entry in the new wave revivalism movement. Very early entry in my “For sale” pile.

Andy: I refuse.
Dave: Again, I’m drawing a blank. The stark image of the Communards keep flashing across my brain screen.

Andy: Never really been able to stomach ol’ Sylvian. Horrible album covers.
Dave: Even during a recent intense five-day period wherein I was into all things New Romantic, I was unable to step to this tuneless, antiseptic offal. David Sylvian’s flat delivery makes even the distanced romanticism of Brian Ferry seem vulnerable and warm.

Andy: The comedic staying power of an Outfield tribute band is questionable.
Dave: Yeah, but what about an Outfield tribute band from Waltham, Massachusetts that sports Rick Springfield mullets, performs shirtless and titles every song after a girl’s name… OK, point taken.

Paris (the band)
Andy: This is the stillborn power trio that Bob Welch formed after leaving Fleetwood Mac, but before embarking on the briefly lucrative solo career that would produce the hits “Ebony Eyes” and “Sentimental Lady” (A Fleetwood Mac carry-over). Paris was somehow allowed by Capitol to release two albums over the 1975/76 period. The album graphics feature a cheap neon Eiffel Tower. This band is .0003429183 % of the reason that tens of thousands of major label employees were laid off around ’79/’80.
Dave: Paris was one of those second-tier supergroups who tried having a hit in each and every genre. Even within the same song, they would veer from prog excess to three-minute pop confections to new wave.

Paris (the guy)
Andy: Wow, this guy went out like Tamagotchis.
Dave: This Bay Area rapper got saddled with the burdensome “Too Political” tag early on in his career. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the marketable rage of Body Count or Onyx. Notable for having his debut tape in the deck of my Jeep Cherokee when it got stolen back in ’94.

Mount Shasta
Andy: When are those eyeballs going to finally fly across the club? Whoops, band broke up.
Dave: Good frat rock for the Ritalin set while it lasted. Melt Banana seemed to render this whole thing kind of obsolete.

Mount Florida
Andy: Just so you know, I jumped around when writing these snippets, and this is my very last one. I think that my eyes are resting against the back of my skull, I spent most of last night engaged in “the talk” with my then significant other, I spent an afternoon of company dime trying to think of something witty to write about Mount Florida, and now I am going to return to an apartment heated by hairballs.
Dave: I question the geographical validity of this entry. I thought that the only mountains in Florida were the ones made of booger sugar that Crockett and Tubbs kept confiscating on cigarette boats.

Tel Aviv
Andy: Pristine debut single followed up by a torturous full-length. Completely lost in a maelstrom that is the ghost of indie-rock past.
Dave: The absolute nadir of Teenbeat’s already questionable mid ’90s output.

Argyle Park
Andy: I don’t find this even a tad amusing.
Dave: Further research revealed that it’s actually a lite jazz whooir named Argyle Park. ’Tis a pity really. I was envisioning Argyle Park being near the intersection of Tuesday Street and Chamomile Cove.

The United States Of America
Andy: Backpack record geek holy grail for a while there in the mid-’90s, still a great record, tho.
Dave: I tried finding this during the height of its craphound popularity, but ended up settling for the Peanut Butter Conspiracy instead.

Andy: More Mayo Thompson worship via modern day hipsters, but they get away with it due to good songwriting and good sense o’humor.
Dave: Another one of those friend-of-a-friend of the slobs who run Drag City projects.

Andy: This is one of those bands whose discography consists of one greatest hits collection. Quite a mystery, I’d say, but it reminds me of Momma’s Family, a television show whose episodes mysteriously premiered in rerun format.

Taj Mahal
Andy: Check out his important ’80s period.
Dave: However much a part of you wants to defend this guy, just remember that your boss is going to drive down to Jazzfest and use ol’ Taj as the background music for an afternoon of jello shooters and Austin Powers impressions.

Pearl Harbour (and the Explosions)
Andy: Product of a successful boardroom meeting.
Dave: The prototype for the type of femme-lead “punkwave” band that one might glimpse in a straight-to-video feature from New Line Cinema about apocalyptic Canadians.

Andy: Members of The Soft Machine, King Crimson, Yes, and Roxy Music team up in 1977 to create some seminal Post-Heyday Rock.
Dave: They hold the distinction of being the most unlistenable band on this list. When the keyboard noodles kick in, you are actually happy for a brief respite from the atonal plodding. Horrible. Again with the incest thing as they shared a member of Asia.

Andy: On Kindercore, the Pax Channel of rock.
Dave: A band of Caucasians that radiates unremarkability. This whole Kindercore thing has me vexed. This little label has tons of bands that are either make the cut for Michener Rock or come dangerously closeOf Montreal, Great Lakes, Marshmallow Coast, I am the World Trade Center, Essex Green, Japancakes and Ashley Park (unless that is just another person again).

Andy: Yeah guys, I think that the “topless bonding” album cover is a REAL good idea.
Dave: Since neither of their two main hits, “Dance with Me” and “Still the One,” has a trace of Crescent City seasoning, it’s probably not too hard to swallow the fact that this band was actually formed in Saugerties, NY. For the ten-minute duration of their quickly aborted reunion attempt, one of them had even temporarily bought the domain name, “” I’m not even kidding. Really crushes your cockles, doesn’t it. If you are thinking that they did “New Orleans Ladies,” forget it. That was LeRoux.

“Lost In The Grooves” On NPR!!

Posted in Uncategorized by Andrew Earles on November 9, 2004

On Thursday (11/11) during the 3p – 4p hour (Eastern Time), the show “Talk of the Nation” will be focused on “Lost In The Grooves” and will essentially be an interview with the editors, Kim Cooper and David Smay. Big news, cuz I wrote in the book. As you may or may not know, this is a call-in program. How amazing would it be if someone called in and said, “Andrew Earles’ love letter to the first Thin Lizzy album really moved me to finally check out their non-hit material” or “I’m a huge Scott Walker fan, and Andrew Earles’ comparison of Walker to Andy Kim’s late-60’s orchestrated pop has given me a new obsession” or “I would have never thought to pull a Supreme Dicks or V-3 CD out of the cutout bin had it not been for Andrew Earles’ futile affinity for 90’s footnotes.” ??????? Ok, that would be badass for me, not you. “Comparing Scott Walker to Andy Kim makes no sense,” or what about “Earles’ is giving Bob Lind a little too much credit,” or “his entry for the second Brick album reads exactly like his entry for the first Television Personalities album which is identical to his writings on the second Only Ones album…this guy needs some new material!” TUNE IN CALL IN


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