Handbags and Gladrags

It’s all about trust.

There’s this guy Don VanCleave.  He’s gonna fuck with your notion of Alabamans.  He used to run a record store in Birmingham with the moniker Magic Platter, but now he heads CIMS, the Coalition of Independent Music Stores.  Get on his mailing list, don@cimsmusic.com, to get his weekly indie store chart.  But better yet is his commentary.  Sure, often Don cheerleads, but he imparts words of wisdom on a regular basis, he puts forth passionate insights.  And in this week’s missive, Don lamented the state of radio, and swore by Sirius’ Left Of Center.

So I’ve been checking it out.

And I’ve got to tell you, as a dedicated Allman Brothers fan, as a builder of John Mayer’s career, I was stunned that Don liked this music.  Oh, at first it was refreshing.  Then it was kind of like listening to dental drills.  But, in the process of listening I learned that Left Of Center has a weekly audience chart show, broadcast Sunday mornings.  And figuring I’d skim the cream of the crop, I went surfing and found the list.  You can see it here:

Sirius’ Left Of Center

I proceeded to check out each and every track.  That’s what you do in the Net age, everything’s hearable.  And I was stunned how genre-specific this shit was.  How you had to be a fan of the music to truly enjoy it, how it wasn’t one listen grab you.

Not that it all sucked.  The new Arcade Fire track?  Certainly special, the band deserves the hype.  And when I heard Kaiser Chiefs’ "Ruby" on the radio this afternoon, I was reminded of the magic of "I Predict A Riot".  But really, if this is the shit, we’re shit out of luck.  I mean this ain’t no Alanis Morissette, left of center shit that’s universal.

Oh, I liked Robbers On High Street.  And the Modest Mouse track wasn’t bad…  But listening to the Shins you’ll wonder what all the hype is about.  Hell, CD sales aren’t only off because of iPods, this stuff just doesn’t grab you, not unless you’re hooked to begin with.

And I heard the Shins again on the way to the eye doctor, where I found out I was wearing my contacts in the wrong eyes, and was again suitably unimpressed.

But when I was done, and got back in my car and turned my Sirius back on, there was a killer track on the radio.  "Millstone", by Brand New.  And then the CANDYSKINS!  "Wembley".  God, this DJ, he was on a run!

Turned out it was all about the DJ.  This was Matt Pinfield.

Supposedly Matt Pinfield had cred before he appeared on MTV.  But MTV flattens your image, renders you two-dimensional, it’s hard to be appear dark and rock if you’re on TV.

Then again, Pinfield ain’t that dark.  God, when he talks it’s like listening to your best buddy, who’s not teaching you a lesson, but imparting wisdom, all in a friendly way!

And then Matt went on to spin an acoustic Cure song.

And I confirmed my suspicion that last.fm and all the suggestion software radio would fail.  Because it’s about the personality.

They say that Matt Pinfield gets to play whatever he wants.  Which is a rarity on the tightly-formatted Sirius.  But it makes all the difference, I felt like I was on a ride with him!

And then, just to compare, I switched over to the comparable station on XM, Ethel.

Now Ethel experienced a backlash.  They cut the playlist.  The PD has been excoriated all over the Net.  Can’t tell you if the listeners are right, I just don’t listen to the station that much.  Hell, all this modern rock has made me realize my tastes are much more aligned with Mike Marrone.  I like a song more than noise.  But this song they were playing on Ethel right then…  Wow, it cut to my heart.  You see it was "Handbags and Gladrags".

Ever see a blind man cross the road
Tryin’ to make the other side

But this wasn’t the famous version by Rod Stewart, rather this was a cover of the Mike d’Abo penned tune by the Stereophonics.  Who realized they were that hip?

Turns out Rod Stewart’s take on his debut wasn’t even the first version.  Rather, that was done by Chris Farlowe.  Then came renditions by Double Feature and Love Affair.  You remember those, right?  HA!

Just like DJs, it depends on the performance.  And Rod Stewart knocked it out of the park.  And I’m sure the Stereophonics never would have covered it if they hadn’t heard his famous take.  No one’s gonna cover the shit that Rod Stewart does now.  That’s just about commerce.

You’ll dig the Stereophonics’ version.  It’s not necessary, but it’s intriguing.  But not as intriguing as the cover of "Love and Mercy" by Golden Smog that I heard on the Loft.

Don VanCleave is right.  We’ve got an exhibition crisis.  People don’t hear the great music.  Hell, according to the Wikipedia, the Stereophonics’ version of "Handbags and Gladrags" went Top Ten in 2001.  Who knew?  We need people to pick the tunes.  We need outlets to expose these people that are trusted, that listeners can believe in.

There’s great shit all over satellite radio.  But somehow, the average American doesn’t see the services as necessary.  Sirius is the Howard Stern service and XM is..?

You’ve got to convince people to sign up.  Both outlets have done an awful job of this.  Maybe when every car comes with a satellite radio and a free trial, the tide will turn.  Maybe people just need to be exposed to it.  Then again, radio is now a dirty word.  The industry burned it out.  People hate radio just like they hate the major labels.

Howdy all,

Wow. What a shit week last week. I would blame it on that lull between Christmas and the first releases of the new year. But, If you look at the Billboard Top 200, there is not a bunch of stuff there to drive anyone into the stores. Especially ours.

The coming 60 days have some releases that are dreams for us. All independent. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Bloc Party, The Shins and Arcade Fire are all on deck and there is much excitement, yes even for physical goods.

What concerns me and what I think is a root problem for our  industry is radio. As great as the new Shins record is (and it is great), you can’t hear it on any mainstream radio anywhere in most parts of the US. Same with the other three titles. This is the new stuff that ought to be promoted. All I get is Nickelback and Hinder mixed in with 15 year old Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots. Not very exciting. Not knocking the two current bands dominating radio because I know they have an audience. I am just saying that radio has become this ultra dull lifeless thing that I rarely turn on.

I can hear you now saying "Don, you caveman, no one listens to the radio. Everyone hears about new music on the internet". Well, that is just not 100% true. A nice chunk of people hear about new music on the internet (obviously). But frankly, many people are just too damn busy to spend non-work time in front of their computers. Some are lucky enough to get to stream KEXP at work but most are blocked.

As I have said before, I keep on top of everything by sticking my dial on "Left of Center" on Sirius. In my opinion, there should be a station like this in every market. For those who have not made the leap into satellite radio. For those who get sun and don’t live on the internet. In other words, the majority of people out there. The people who would be purchasing music but just can’t get turned on.

My kids don’t turn on their radio any more. It sucks too bad they say. What is terrible is that no matter how many ways people have to get turned on to new music these days, what they really need is a filter. Unfortunately, the biggest filter out there, the one in every car on the road, is blocking the best stuff from the air.

Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 01-14-07

 1 BEATLES|LOVE   
 2 MAYER*JOHN|VILLAGE SESSION EP
 3 MOS DEF|TRU3 MAGIC
 4 WAITS*TOM|ORPHANS
 5 TV ON THE RADIO|RETURN TO COOK
 6 CALE/CLAPTON|ROAD TO ESCONDIDO
 7 SPEKTOR*REGINA|BEGIN TO HOPE
 8 CASE*NEKO|LIVE FROM AUSTIN TX
 9 DECEMBERISTS|CRANE WIFE
 10 NAS|HIP HOP IS DEAD
 11 DYLAN*BOB|MODERN TIMES
 12 AKON|KONVICTED
 13 RICE*DAMIEN|9 
 14 NEWSOM*JOANNA|YS
 15 BECK|INFORMATION
 16 RACONTEURS|BROKEN BOY SOLDIERS
 16 INCUBUS|LIGHT GRENADES
 16 RED HOT CHILI P|STADIUM ARCADI
 19 YOUNG*NEIL & CR|LIVE AT THE FI
 19 TIMBERLAKE*JUST|FUTURESEX/LOVE
 21 JAY-Z|KINGDOM COME
 22 SEXSMITH*RON|TIME BEING
 22 MY CHEMICAL ROM|BLACK PARADE,T
 22 LAMONTAGNE*RAY|TILL THE SUN TU
 25 CLARK*GUY|WORKBENCH SONGS
 25 DREAMGIRLS|SOUNDTRACK
 25 YOUNG JEEZY|INSPIRATION: THUG
 28 HOLD STEADY|BOYS & GIRLS IN AM
 29 MEDESKI/SCOFIEL|OUT LOUDER
 29 RODRIGO Y GABRI|RODRIGO Y GABR
 31 MAYER*JOHN|CONTINUUM
 31 SHINY TOY GUNS|WE ARE PILOTS
 33 EMINEM PRESENTS|EMINEM PRESENT
 33 U2|U218 SINGLES
 35 RAE*CORINNE BAI|CORINNE BAILEY
 36 YORKE*THOM|ERASER
 36 YO LA TENGO|I AM NOT AFRAID OF
 36 MATISYAHU|NO PLACE TO BE
 39 COLD WAR KIDS|ROBBERS & COWARD
 39 CAT POWER|GREATEST
 39 STEFANI*GWEN|SWEET ESCAPE
 42 THICKE*ROBIN|EVOLUTION OF ROBI
 42 BAND OF HORSES|EVERYTHING ALL
 42 BRAND NEW|DEVIL AND GOD ARE RA
 42 WOLFMOTHER|WOLFMOTHER
 46 SLOAN|NEVER HEAR THE END OF IT
 46 SILVERSUN PICKU|CARNAVAS
 46 SNOOP DOGG|BLUE CARPET TREATME
 49 BLACK KEYS|MAGIC POTION
 50 VINCENT*RHONDA|ALL AMERICAN BL
 50 KNOPFLER/HARRIS|ALL THE ROADRU
 52 DENNEN*BRETT|SO MUCH MORE
 52 MCKENNITT*LOREE|ANCIENT MUSE
 52 YUSUF (FORMERLY|AN OTHER CUP
 55 GNARLS BARKLEY|ST. ELSEWHERE
 55 KILLERS|SAM’S TOWN
 57 SNOW PATROL|EYES OPEN
 57 BEYONCE|B’DAY 
 59 GOV’T MULE|MULE ON EASY STREET
 59 SIMON*CARLY|INTO WHITE
 61 HAINES*EMILY|KNIVES DON’T HAVE
 62 ROWAN*PETER|YOU WERE THERE FOR
 63 NELSON*WILLIE|SONGBIRD
 63 SWORD|AGE OF WINTERS
 63 CASE*NEKO|FOX CONFESSOR BRINGS
 66 MASTODON|BLOOD MOUNTAIN
 66 KOOKS|INSIDE IN/INSIDE OUT
 66 CLIPSE|HELL HATH NO FURY
 66 WARD*M.|POST-WAR
 70 BLIGE*MARY J.|REFLECTIONS: A R
 70 LEGEND*JOHN|ONCE AGAIN
 70 TUNSTALL*KT|EYE TO THE TELESCO
 73 GRIZZLY BEAR|YELLOW HOUSE
 73 ISIS|IN THE ABSENCE OF TRUTH
 73 CITIZEN COPE|EVERY WAKING MOME
 73 FURTADO*NELLY|LOOSE
 77 MUTE MATH|MUTEMATH
 78 BLACK ANGELS|PASSOVER
 78 EVANESCENCE|OPEN DOOR
 78 FRAY|HOW TO SAVE A LIFE
 78 TRAIL OF DEAD|SO DIVIDED
 82 GOMEZ|HOW WE OPERATE
 82 GHOSTFACE KILLA|MORE FISH
 82 PINK FLOYD|DARK SIDE OF THE MO
 85 LEWIS*JENNY WIT|RABBIT FUR COA
 85 STEVENS*SUFJAN|ILLINOIS
 85 DEATH CAB FOR C|PLANS
 85 TOOL|10000 DAYS
 89 BIRDMAN & LIL’ |LIKE FATHER LI
 89 TENACIOUS D|PICK OF DESTINY
 89 FOO FIGHTERS|SKIN AND BONES
 92 DEFTONES|SATURDAY NIGHT WRIST
 92 CASH*JOHNNY|AMERICAN V: HUNDRE
 92 OLD CROW MEDICI|BIG IRON WORLD
 92 PEYROUX*MADELEI|HALF THE PERFE
 92 KNOPFLER/HARRIS|REAL LIVE ROAD
 92 DIXIE CHICKS|TAKING THE LONG W
 98 MCKEOWN*ERIN|SING YOU SINNERS
 98 TAPES ‘N TAPES|LOON
 98 SCISSOR SISTERS|TA-DAH
 98 BLUE OCTOBER|FOILED
 98 FRANTI*MICHAEL |YELL FIRE!
 98 KILLSWITCH ENGA|AS DAYLIGHT DI
 98 VINCENT*RHONDA|RAGIN’ LIVE
 98 30 SECONDS TO M|BEAUTIFUL LIE
 106 FLYLEAF|FLYLEAF
 106 3D IN YOUR FACE|FASTER AND FAS
 106 BROWN*JAMES|LIVE AT THE APOLLO
 106 LIL SCRAPPY|BRED 2 DIE BORN 2
 106 MUSE|BLACK HOLES AND REVELATIO
 106 AMON AMARTH|WITH ODEN ON OUR S
 106 BROWN*JAMES|20 ALL-TIME GREATE
 106 CIARA|EVOLUTION
 106 THREE DAYS GRAC|ONE-X
 115 DROPPING DAYLIG|BRACE YOURSELF
 115 GAME|DOCTOR’S ADVOCATE
 115 HINDER|EXTREME BEHAVIOR
 115 RANDOLPH*ROBERT|COLORBLIND
 115 LADY SOVEREIGN|PUBLIC WARNING
 120 YORN*PETE|NIGHTCRAWLER
 120 LITTLE ONES|SING SONG EP
 120 BEATLES|ABBEY ROAD
 120 DEPECHE MODE|BEST OF DEPECHE M
 120 GUNS N’ROSES|GREATEST HITS
 125 SELF AGAINST CI|TELLING SECRET
 125 MARLEY*DAMIAN|WELCOME TO JAMRO
 125 PAVEMENT|WOWEE ZOWEE: SORDID S
 125 MIDLAKE|TRIALS OF VAN OCCUPANT
 125 HARRIS*EMMYLOU|LUXURY LINER
 130 NICKELBACK|ALL THE RIGHT REASO
 130 STONE SOUR|COME WHAT(EVER) MAY
 130 SHINS|OH INVERTED WORLD
 130 ROOTS|GAME THEORY
 130 MARLEY*BOB & TH|LEGEND
 135 JONES*JIM|HUSTLER’S P.O.M.E. (
 135 SPARKLEHORSE|DREAMT FOR LIGHT
 135 KNIFE|SILENT SHOUT
 135 PROTOTYPES|PROTOTYPES
 135 DAUGHTRY|DAUGHTRY
 135 HARRIS*EMMYLOU|DUETS
 135 FIASCO*LUPE|LUPE FIASCO’S FOOD
 142 +44|WHEN YOUR HEART STOPS BEAT
 142 BUCKCHERRY|15
 142 BEIRUT|GULAG ORKESTAR
 142 MARIE ANTOINETT|SOUNDTRACK
 142 HOT CHIP|WARNING
 142 SCHNEIDER*BOB|CALIFORNIAN
 142 OMARION|21   
 142 WOLF PARADE|APOLOGIES TO THE Q
 142 SWITCHFOOT|OH! GRAVITY
 142 NASHVILLE BLUEG|TWENTY YEAR BL
 152 ISRAEL*JOSEPH|GONE ARE THE DAY
 152 BRIGHT EYES|NOISE FLOOR (RARIT
 152 RASCAL FLATTS|ME AND MY GANG
 152 STEVENS*SUFJAN|SONGS FOR CHRIS
 152 CAT POWER|COVERS RECORD
 152 AGUILERA*CHRIST|BACK TO BASICS
 152 OK GO|OH NO  
 152 PETTY*TOM & THE|GREATEST HITS
 152 KEANE|UNDER THE IRON SEA
 152 TUPAC|PAC’S LIFE
 162 DEVOTCHKA|HOW IT ENDS
 162 KRALL*DIANA|FROM THIS MOMENT O
 162 TEDDYBEARS|SOFT MACHINE
 162 POGUES|RUM SODOMY & THE LASH (
 162 FLAMING LIPS|AT WAR WITH THE M
 162 OASIS|STOP THE CLOCKS
 162 ARCADE FIRE|FUNERAL
 169 TYRESE|ALTER EGO
 169 BADLY DRAWN BOY|BORN IN THE U.
 169 HELLOGOODBYE|ZOMBIES! ALIENS!
 169 RAPTURE|PIECES OF THE PEOPLE W
 169 GHOSTFACE KILLA|FISHSCALE
 169 SUBLIME|40 OZ. TO FREEDOM
 169 SHINS|CHUTES TOO NARROW
 169 HEAP*IMOGEN|SPEAK FOR YOURSELF
 169 RED HOT CHILI P|GREATEST HITS
 169 PROJECT PAT|CROOK BY DA BOOK:
 169 ARCTIC MONKEYS|WHATEVER PEOPLE
 169 HARPER*BEN|BOTH SIDES OF THE G
 169 OSBORNE*JOAN|PRETTY LITTLE STR
 169 SMITH*MINDY|LONG ISLAND SHORES
 183 DEARS, THE|GANG OF LOSERS
 183 SWAN LAKE|BEAST MOANS
 183 LUDACRIS|RELEASE THERAPY
 183 DECEMBERISTS|PICARESQUE
 183 MY MORNING JACK|OKONOKOS
 183 WHO|ENDLESS WIRE
 183 HENDRIX*JIMI|EXPERIENCE HENDRI
 183 SONIC YOUTH|DESTROYED ROOM:B-S
 183 TOOL|LATERALUS
 192 AUDIOSLAVE|REVELATIONS
 192 BRIGHT EYES|I’M WIDE AWAKE IT’
 192 JOHNSON*JACK|IN BETWEEN DREAMS
 192 CASH*JOHNNY|LIVE FROM AUSTIN T
 192 TRICK DADDY|BACK BY THUG DEMAN
 192 LED ZEPPELIN|LED ZEPPELIN 4
 198 ARMY OF ANYONE|ARMY OF ANYONE
 198 BURKE*SOLOMON|NASHVILLE
 198 CASH*JOHNNY|LEGEND OF JOHNNY C
 198 MCKAY*NELLIE|PRETTY LITTLE HEA
 198 LEE*AMOS|SUPPLY & DEMAND
 198 MELVINS|SENILE ANIMAL
 198 RATATAT|CLASSICS
 198 MARS VOLTA|AMPUTECHTURE
 198 BLOW|PAPER TELEVISION
 198 SMITH*ELLIOTT|ELLIOTT SMITH
 198 PETTY*TOM|HIGHWAY COMPANION
 198 IL DIVO|SIEMPRE
 198 KING*CAROLE|TAPESTRY (REM)
 198 FERGIE|DUTCHESS
 198 ULTRAMAGNETIC M|BEST KEPT SECR
 198 PACK,THE|SKATEBOARDS 2 SCRAPER
           
 c) 2007 by SoundScan, Inc. All rights res

Don VanCleave
Coalition of Independent Music Stores
3738 4th Terrace North
Birmingham, AL  35222

205-595-1932 x201
205-595-1938 (fax)

One Response to Handbags and Gladrags »»


Comments

  1. Comment by secret syde | 2007/01/18 at 20:11:56

    Matt Pinfield is great. I knew him when he used to DJ bars and clubs in New Brunswick NJ back in the early 1980s. The places would be packed because Matt was DJ’ing! So many of us heard so many great bands for the first time thru Matt. It’s nice to see he’s at a place that’s right for his talent, and that amid all the steaming shit that’s today’s pop culture, there’s still treasure to be found.


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