A Consumer Guide to the Plastic People of the Universe

In A Consumer Guide to the Plastic People of the Universe (2021), Joe Yanosik reviews and grades every known PPU record on the planet (including side projects and mutations, not to mention books and DVDs), all the while — through a series of “historical interludes” — telling the band’s remarkable story, from their post-Beatles/Velvets-obsessed roots in Prague to their critical (if somewhat unwitting) role in … Continue reading A Consumer Guide to the Plastic People of the Universe

1967 Jazz & Pop Results

From Jazz & Pop Magazine (formerly Jazz), the results of a critics poll right at the dawn of rock criticism (would like to know who actually voted). Biggest surprise to me is Donovan at #3. (Thanks Michaelangelo Matos for the tip.) Continue reading 1967 Jazz & Pop Results

Zappa (16): Frank, Lou, Celine, and Carl

“But here at home, the fans of both artists [Lou Reed and Frank Zappa] continue to bicker. Only a few years ago, the Canadian music critic, Carl Wilson, wrote me to say kind words about my book on Randy Newman. I wrote back to thank him and asked him if he read Dangerous Kitchen. ‘I don’t read books about Frank Zappa,’ was his quick reply. … Continue reading Zappa (16): Frank, Lou, Celine, and Carl

Zappa 15: LIFE, June 28, 1968

“The ways in which sound affects the human organism are myriad and subtle. Why does the sound of Eric Clapton’s guitar give one girl a sensation which she describes as ‘Bone Conduction’? Would she still experience Bone Conduction if Eric, using the same extremely thick tone, played nothing but Hawaiian music? Which is more important: the timbre (color-texture) of a sound, the succession of intervals … Continue reading Zappa 15: LIFE, June 28, 1968

Zappa (14): “Dance Fever”!

I noted in my last post that the footage of Zappa on Deney Terrio’s “Dance Fever” had been removed from YouTube. Managed to find a version anyway — hideous quality, but pretty cool nonetheless. Frank appears on the panel (“I thought they were very sincere and I gave them a 96”) with “disco mama” Doris Roberts and one of the sons from “The Waltons.” American … Continue reading Zappa (14): “Dance Fever”!

Zappa (12): Jeff Pike’s Top 10 (+9)

Alas, a little something about the music. Or maybe a lot of something, who knows? Jeff Pike, who has occasionally written about Zappa on his excellent Can’t Explain blog, provides a Top 10 (+9) Zappa-themed list, along with a few additional thoughts on the man. I’ll follow-up Jeff’s list in a later post with my own Top 10+, and we’ll see where it goes from … Continue reading Zappa (12): Jeff Pike’s Top 10 (+9)

Zappa (11)

“However, Zappa is the strangest case. I’ve never met anyone (who expressed an opinion) that wasn’t polarized one way or another — you’re either 100 per cent Zapped or you find him so repellent that his work becomes unapproachable… “I sympathize with Penman’s Zappa problem — it is a toughie, but I can’t accept his position that his problem with Zappa fans and Zappa’s stance … Continue reading Zappa (11)

Zappa (9): “Memories of El Monte”

  “Memories of El Monte,” the Penguins, 1963 — written by Frank Zappa and Ray Collins. Not often commented upon (at least from what I’ve seen) is the fact that “El Monte” holds its place in pop history as one of the early sampling records, stitching in, as it does, quotes from eight doo-wop classics, all of which are helpfully listed on the song’s Wiki … Continue reading Zappa (9): “Memories of El Monte”