Thursday, January 5, 2023

10 SONGS: 1/5/2023

10 Songs is a weekly list of ten songs that happen to be on my mind at the moment. The lists are usually dominated by songs played on the previous Sunday night's edition of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl. The idea was inspired by Don Valentine of the essential blog I Don't Hear A Single.

This week's edition of 10 Songs collects (mostly) previously-posted entries about each of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio's 10 most-played tracks in 2022, as heard on our countdown show This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio # 1162. The countdown show is available as a podcast.

1. THE SMITHEREENS: Face The World With Pride

9/29/2022: "Face The World With Pride" comes to us from The Lost Album, a brand new archival release from the Smithereens. The legendary rockin' pop group recorded the tracks found on The Lost Album way back in 1993, and I don't think any of them has ever been heard much (if at all) by the public at large.

But our pal (and Radio Deer Camp host) Rich Firestone heard 'em years ago. Lucky guy! And our Reechie has long, long thought that the then-unreleased "Face The World With Pride" was a hit record waiting to happen. Now that the song has finally been released on The Lost Album, Rich is still determined that "Face The World With Pride" oughtta be a hit, the hit.

I have no idea what the focus track on The Lost Album is supposed to be. Rich's word is fine for us. "Face The World With Pride" is TIRnRR's Pick Hit from The Lost Album. It made its SPARK! debut on Radio Deer Camp this past Sunday, and returned to the SPARK! airwaves Sunday night on our little mutant radio show. We'll be playing it again on next week's TIRnRR. You can't have a hit record if you only play it once.

And "Face The World With Pride" sure does sound like a hit, a beguiling cross between "Last Train To Clarksville" and Elvis Costello and the Attractions' "You Belong To Me," with maybe a hint of the Records' "I Don't Remember Your Name" and a bunch of others playing indistinctly at the edge of our mental radio's infinite signal. Every power pop or rock 'n' roll radio show should be playing this one, again and again. With pride. Rich is right. This is a freakin' hit.

2. THE BABLERS: You Are The One For Me

10/27/2022: Some years back, a fan familiar with This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio commented that Little Steven at the very least owes us a beer. The format of Little Steven's Underground Garage (both the syndicated show itself and the fab satellite radio channel that followed) is similar to TIRnRR's approach, and if I understand the math, our December 1998 debut predates the April 2002 launch of the original Underground Garage by...I can't count that high. But, like, by more than a few weeks. Or months. Or years.

Which is not to suggest that Little Steven stole the idea from us. That's possible, in the same sense that it's possible the Beatles could have reunited to play at CBGB's in 1977, but it's not terribly plausible. We weren't all that well-known, and there were other great shows who came even before us anyway, mixing old and new rock 'n' roll and pop music much like Dana and I and Little Steven and company do, and we didn't copy them either. Great ideas aren't always unique. They're still great ideas, and we're all lucky to have so many resources available to us if we wanna hear the Ramonesthe Supremes, and the Shang Hi Los on the same radio show.

That said, we're tickled by the notion that the Bablers' wonderful single "You Are The One For Me" was last week's honoree as The Underground Garage's Coolest Song In The World. We love the song, and we've been playing it quite a bit since its release at the end of April. The track is an absolute lock for the year-end countdown of our most-played tracks in 2022, and we're glad Underground Garage agrees with us: Coolest song in the world!

3. PERILOUS: Rock & Roll Kiss

5/12/2022: Rockin' pop resumé! Perilous includes our pals Paul Dougherty of the Trend and Bob Cat Rawks of Hurtin' Units, plus Pauline Digati from early '80s Buffalo stalwarts Pauline and the Perils and Renee Rettie from Screaming Meemies. Their debut single "Rock & Roll Kiss" honors and expands their collective legacy, and makes us wanna dance to rock 'n' roll radio played at really loud volume. We know just the radio show to do that.

10/27/2022: Man, this is such an exhilarating track, and we're lucky to have it on our new compilation This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 5. The force of rockin' pop nature called Perilous combines the lead vocals from Pauline and the Perils with the guitar from Hurtin' Units, the bass from Screaming Meemies, and the pummelin' drums from Syracuse sensations the Trend, and makes 'em all even louder and catchier. Sing, you Perilous peeps. Sing.

4. KELLEY RYAN: The Church Of Laundry

Hey, TIRnRR's # 1 most-played track in 2021, and now also a proud part of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 5.

1/26/2021: This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio has been happily aboard the Kelley Ryan bandwagon since 2001, when Kelley (then recording under the boppin' dba astroPuppees) placed a track on Shoe Fetish, a fabulous tribute to the pop group Shoes. We began to correspond with Kelley, and astroPuppees' first TIRnRR spin was from Shoe Fetish, a cover of Shoes' "The Tube." Soon thereafter, we started playing a song called "Don't Be" (from astroPuppees' 1996 album You Win The Bride), which I recalled hearing in the 1997 TV movie Friends 'Til The EndFriends 'Til The End was a movie I originally wanted to see because our pals Cockeyed Ghost made a don't-BLINK! cameo appearance. And in the film, actress Shannen Doherty lip-syncs to a made-for-TV cover of astroPuppees' "Don't Be." 

We've gone on to play many, many more astroPuppees and Kelley Ryan tracks many, many times over the course of these last two decades. We're pleased to continue playing Kelley's music, and we're delighted to serve up her new single "The Church Of Laundry" on this week's show. We're friends 'til the end.

5. EYTAN MIRSKY: Watching From The Balcony

Given our oft-stated endorsement of his masterpiece "This Year's Gonna Be Our Year" as The Greatest Record Ever Made!Eytan Mirsky wasn't surprised that song once again made our countdown (# 43). But he didn't expect the fab "Watching From The Balcony" (from his 2022 album Lord, Have Mirsky!) to also make the countdown, let alone make our Top 10. See, saturation airplay can sneak up on ya.

3/10/2022: We opened last week's show with a track from Brother Eytan Mirsky's debut album, 1996's Songs About Girls (And Other Painful Subjects), in memory of drummer Chris Garges. This week, we open with Eytan for a happier reason: the release of his brand-new album Lord, Have Mirsky! Eytan's eighth album is another straight-up winner, and its closing track "Watching The Balcony" secures a berth on this week's playlist, and again on next week's playlist. I betcha we'll play more of its tracks in the coming weeks, too. 

6. THE GRIP WEEDS: Lady Friend

Awright, I'm a little shocked to see that the Grip Weeds' incredible cover of the Byrds' "Lady Friend" has never appeared in any previous edition of 10 Songs. The Grip Weeds' Kurt Reil looms large in TIRnRR legend for his masterful mastering of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 5. "Lady Friend" (from the Grip Weeds' irresistible 2021 covers album DiG) scored sufficient playlist burn to reach # 6 on our survey, so it's kinda obvious to say that we freakin' love the track. Surprised I never got around to writing about. I'd fire me, but me has tenure.

Let's look back at 10 Songs blurbs about a few other Grip Weeds cover tunes:

10/19/2021: A teaser single covering Max Frost and the Troopers' "Shape Of Things To Come" heralds the not-soon-enough release of DiG, a covers collection from the rockin' pop force of nature that is the Grip Weeds. The shape of things to come? Sign us up!

11/16/2021: The Grip Weeds appreciate the Monkees. Smart folks, those Grip Weeds. And those very same smart folks have a new covers album called DiG, which is available in single-, double-, and triple-disc editions. You know how sometimes less is more? With the Grip Weeds, more is more, and the two- and three-disc versions of DiG include two Monkees covers, of "For Pete's Sake" and the sublime Gerry Goffin-Carole King number "Porpoise Song." The Monkees' "Porpoise Song" merits a chapter in my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1), and the Grip Weeds serve the song well. Dig?

11/23/2021: So this week, we turn to another DiG track, a confident 'n' capable take on the Creation's Mod power pop '60s classic "Making Time." The original's unbeatable. Damned if the Grip Weeds don't match it, though, and that oughtta be impossible. It's not impossible for the Grip Weeds. We love the Grip Weeds. 

12/2/2021: We've been leaning full-tilt into the Grip Weeds' new covers album DiG, and it was only a matter of time before we got to their cover of "I Wonder." The Gants' original '60s nugget is an all-time TIRnRR Fave Rave, and my God, the Grip Weeds manage a superlative rendition that honors the Gants yet still makes the song their own. Not sure yet, but I think the Grip Weeds will be represented on the year-end countdown of our most-played tracks this year. I can state with some certainty that we intend to include a track by the Grip Weeds in our blowout observation of 30 YEARS OF DANA & CARL on January 16th. Grip Weeds fans? Yeah, we're Grip Weeds fans.

8/4/2022: We mentioned Kurt Reil's studio wizardry a few paragraphs North of here, raving about his work in mastering This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 5. Kurt's also the idol o' millions as drummer and vocalist with his incomparable combo the Grip Weeds. The Grip Weeds' latest triumph is this explosive cover of the Who's "I'm Free," as heard on the forthcoming tribute album Jem Records Celebrates Pete Townshend. The rockin' Weeds (whose recent all-covers album DiG has been a TIRnRR Fave Rave) wouldn't be content to merely ape the original recording of "I'm Free," but instead add the oomph you'd expect from talents who truly get the idea and appeal of the 'Ooo. Ooo! The Grip Weeds even dive a bit deeper into Tommy territory, while retaining the incendiary explosiveness that made the Who power pop progenitors. We are gonna take it. Gladly!

7. POP CO-OP: Extra Beat In My Heart
8. POP CO-OP: I Just Love To Watch Her Dance

A two-fer! Pop Co-Op's "Extra Beat In My Heart" is part of the epic story of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 5, and "I Just Love To Watch Her Dance" is from Your Favorite Album of 2022, Pop Co-Op's Suspension.

5/12/2022: As chronicled waaaaaay back here, This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio has a unique sense of pride and investment in the music of Pop Co-Op. The Post-Fab Four of Steve Stoeckel, Bruce Gordon, Joel Tinnel, and Stacy Carson are good guys who make good music, and their specific connection with our little mutant radio program makes us feel like their music is just, well, our music, too.

And we're thrilled that the lads (and marketing overlord lass Laura Sessions Tinnel) chose TIRnRR as the platform to announce their forthcoming new album Suspension. We've heard it, and YOU, my friend, are gonna love it. We selected "I Just Love To Watch Her Dance" as the on-air introduction to our belief in Suspension, and we'll premiere three more tracks over the next three weeks. We'll have details on ordering the album as soon as we can, and you'll have that grand opportunity to further immerse yourself in the magic of these guys and their music. 

Their music? Our music? Listen: Pop Co-Op should be your music, too. Pride is infectious. Investment is fulfilling. Your mileage may not vary. Check your Suspension.


5/26/2022: And, as duly appointed DJs, we know a friggin' hit record when we hear a friggin' hit record. It's our super power.  And we've known about this particular hit, a dynamic summit meeting between power pop legends the Flashcubes and, y'know, power pop legends the Spongetones, for quite some time. We hadn't heard it, mind you, and we weren't told which Spongetones classic these combined forces would be remaking. But we guessed correctly--see above comments re: DJs, know what we're doing--and have been dying to hear it.


A lot of radio shows jumped on "Have You Ever Been Torn Apart?" as soon as it was available, from The Rodney Bingenheimer Show on SiriusXM to Mike Murray's Whole Lotta Shakin' in Rochester, Michael McCartney's The Time Machine  in Maui (the latter with Rich Firestone, host of Radio Deer Camp right here on TIRnRR's home SPARK!), and an apparent zillion others. Awright! A lot of DJs seem to know what they're doing right now. We are legion! We are LOUD! And we for damned sure know a hit when we hear it.

(Oh, and bonus kudos to the Flashcubes and Spongetones themselves for the neat little opening Beatles homage that kicks the track directly into its frenzied Fabmania flight path. See, one gets to pop music by turning left at Greenland, after all.)

6/2/2022: In announcing this epic summit meeting between the Flashcubes and the Spongetones, the good folks at Big Stir Records credited This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl for connecting the 'Cubes and Big Stir in the first place. Well, we're eager to accept that credit! I mean, I can't sing or play guitar, so I'll take whatever meager little musical claim t' fame I can scrounge up. 

But, while we can pad our c.v. with whatever role we played in introducing artist to label, Dana and I were only talking about Big Stir releasing a single from the Flashcubes' live album Flashcubes On Fire. Instead, the 'Cubes came up with "Baby It's Cold Outside," their ace collaboration with Mimi Betinis of Pezband, and this series of Cubic covers for Big Stir was off and piledriving. See, the artists create. We are but humble servants.

Um...sort of humble. Let's not get crazy with the humility here.

10. WENDI DUNLAP: Season Of Loss

11/23/2021: Wendi Dunlap made her TIRnRR debut last week with a spin of a song called "Buildings." "Buildings" comes from her new album Looking For Buildings, and we figured we'd maybe oughtta follow that with more Wendi Dunlap this week. A song called "Season Of Loss" might seem a deliberate selection to play as we head into the holidays, but that's too glib, and it's not what the song's about anyway. We played it because it's a great song that sounds wonderful on the radio. The catharsis of pop music. Sometimes that's all you can ask for.

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This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at You can read about our history here.

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