Saturday, May 5, 2007

Horner grabs lead at Romandie

Horner finishes second on this epic stage and grabs the overal lead by 7 seconds. A 20K time trial is all that is left.
He will have to fight to hold it as the top ten looks like this
1 Chris Horner (USA) Predictor - Lotto 17.00.17
2 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0.07
3 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 0.09
4 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Astana 0.15
5 John Gadret (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 0.22
6 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0.28
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 0.29
8 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Lampre - Fondital 0.31
9 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana
10 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 0.33

This would be a huge win for Horner if he can hold on. He rode well in the prologue but Dekker,Salvodelli, and even Kashechkin could be trouble for him.
Either way, a hell of ride for one of the most tactically astute US riders.

Whatnauts and the Whatnauts Band 45

What and the Whatnauts do a cover of "Message from a Black Man" on the A side and "Dance to the Music" on the flip. A&I Records #001. A trio from Baltimore 1970. "Message...." is done pretty much as the original. Not bad, but not breaking any new ground.
Outstanding FUZZ guitar on "dance to the music". Full instrumental workout. Bass player steps it up. Definitely the winner on this single. The flipside is the killer on the release. A classic emreges like a phoenx from the ashes of a throw away B-side.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Bottle openers and bikes

Cycling and drinking go hand in hand. Why I do not know. The skinnier you are the better you ride, and the more you drink the less skinny you are, but everyone loves a beer. Most companies provide some sort of bottle opening device. Here are some I've come across
Surly off course have the Jethro Tule which with the 15mm wrench and shoe horn shaped handle is cool as hell. Except, I find the opener will rip the top of your bottle if you aren't careful. The wrench itself has an awesome ergo shoe horn feel and works as well as the benchmark Campy 15mm "peanut butter" wrench. They also have the Scrap tool which is an 18mm wrench and bottle opener made with scrap from making chain rings. Nice reuse of material and it fits in your pocket better. Have not tried this one out yet.
Up next is the Ahern's bike-mounted opener-the Wisecracker. Hard to lose this on the seatpost or headtube!, but who wants to add weigh to their bike?
Surly are back with the Tuggnut -a chain tensioner which features an opener which mimics a DIY conversion. If you set a road bike up as a fixed gear, you can cut the derailleur hanger and make it an opener. Get cracking with that file!
Swobo is not going to get left out with and they pop the opener under their Cart saddle. Handy
Pedro and Park both have a opener available. Pedro's beverage wrench is superior in my opinion.
I have not included promotional or keychain/logo based beer openers that tend to get destroyed in weeks-just some more high zoot designs. Keep them coming!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Nightmares at Toby's Shop comp CD

Toytown Records presents 23 songs of "Obscure Psychedelic, Popsyke, and Progressive Pop 45s 68-73". Definitely lives up to the "Obscure" part, I only recognized 2 names and one of them-Kid Rock is not the American Bad-Ass. Lots of Euro oddities. Definitely on the poppy, produced, and orchestrated side of the street. Lots of strings and horns. Although this statement is probably sacrilege to the the uber nerds who own these records, it is pretty much in line with the Nuggets 2 Euro box.
It opens strong with a fucked up French dude's proggy to rocky pop. Soft Pillow get blessed with a Robin and Barry Gibb composition "Gilbert Green". Spectrum drop a wicked groove on "Music soothes the savage Beast" which is super orchestrated but features a fuzz guitar blast from none other than Jimmy Page!. For me this comp picks up speed here and finishes strong. Is the lyric "Can you hold on to love/Til I come" a sly double entendre? Seems more appropriate for an Alice Cooper song than they Davey Jones/Monkees sounding Witch Way, but either way that's what they're singing about on "Hold on to Love"
Nick Garrie's "Close Your Eyes" was a catchy one. Light Reflections drop the dark and brooding "Eyes Blue Eyes". Kiss Inc drop a rocker with "Kids are crying" Lally Stott gets a little funky on "Henry James"-funny guitar sound. Kid Rock keeps in going with the funky rocking "Doctor Rock" kinda Sweet'ish with some crazy extra percussion that makes the track. Paging DJ Shadow, you better get cracking on grabbing a copy of the Papoose "Marie Song" which opens with a slow drum break and keeps a trippy vibe going.
Good liner notes and photos of the 45 covers, help to give you the fantasy that you could track them down -good luck figuring out the "mystery track" that ends the comp. The liner notes tipped me off to the Sweet Floral Albion site which is a webzine that is fully focused on this style of music. check it It is pretty funny to pick up a comp and then realize there is a whole scene built around this sub-genre.
I don't know why I love comps like this so much, I barely have time to listen to the Small Faces, Donovan, or other more popular bands of the era that did this sound, but I manage to find time to check out these super obscuro nuggets.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Hara Krsna Festival Tulasi Paryer 45 Krsna Rock #16

Picture Sleeve 45 of some kirtan action. Front and center in the photo is Hansadutta from back in the days when he was "just a devotee" in Germany not a meglamaniacal guru in Cali. Tulasi Prayer b/w Hara Krsna Kirtan. Hara Krsna Records (HKR 2001/11)
Standard recording of krsna chanting. Notable for the picture sleeve. 1974. Shows that Hansadutta had the record bug well before he got to record his LPs a few years later.

Chubby Checker goes Psychedelic CD

Underground Masters brings this Dutch oddity to light. 1971 and Chubby is in Holland recoding these 11 tracks with an trippy organ and fuzz guitar group. Released mainly on budget labels until now. This is pretty far from "The Twist". 11 songs. Heavy Hendrix/Funkadelic influence on track 2 "My Mind". Production is OK, kind of a Funkadelic feel to it. The band chugs and boogies along in a competent hard rock/psych/white boy boogie fashion that is pretty good. Chubby must have gotten his hands on some bad acid when he composed, "When the Sun stops Shining" a depressing ballad about things ending-kind of a cut rate "whiter shade of pale". "Stoned in the Bathroom" lives up to its name. Track of the record for me is "Love Tunnel" with the lyric "don't get hung up/in the love tunnel" Nice fast rocker with a trippy vocal breakdown in the middle. Chubby don't need no hassles or hang ups cause it is "so hard to face reality"!. Lyrically he seems to be covering a lot of topics Dylan hit on. This seems especially clear on "How does it feel?" which has a serious nod to Dylan vibe going on. Some tripped out Jesus worship on "He Died". What the hell is the Twist guy doing trippy ballads about Jesus for???
It is kind of sad to think of Chubby all fucked up in Holland trying to make a "statement" record. The constant drug references seem kind of forced but are still funny. He wraps it up with a song dedicated to his "best friend" on the "ballad of Jimi". Don't remember any cool photos or stories of Chubby and Hendrix hanging out, but Chubby pays tribute to Hendrix none the less.
The music manages to transcend the goof factor or a pop guy going "psychedelic".
Underground Masters is a label out of France that has put on a couple dozen hard to find and obscure psych records.
Got mine at Aquarius if you're looking. Forced Exposure has it as well.

Basso's Big Day

That is the bad news, hopefully he gives his DNA and lets the chips fall where they may. In better news Salvodelli won the Tour of Romandie prologue with Chris Horner in 3rd! This race has always been kind to Horner. Hard to pick an overall winner but a Giro contendor seems likely. Brajkovic might have a chance since it is a week long race, but Discovery sent less than the B team. How about some long shots like Cadel Evans, Mick Rogers, Thomas Dekker, Kashechkin, or Julich. Looking over this race it shows that the Pro-Tour is stretching teams thin. Several of the line ups seem doomed from the get go. Stage 4 should be decisive with 4 Cat 1 climbs ending in a mountain top finish. Stages 1-3 are all hilly and should keep the race lively. Ends with a 20K TT which you can't count out in a short stage race.
German race Henninger Turm went to T-Mobile's Sinkewitz. Danny Pate was the best placed American at 77th.
Romandie is the main race action for the week, but one of my favorite named French races is up on the 6th the "Trophée des Grimpeurs".
Countdown to the Giro is on. Salvodelli, Cunego, and Popovych are my favorites without seeing the start list. I hope that DiLuca animates the race in Vino like fashion, but don't know if he can hold that Ardennes form through the end of may

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Shirley Bassey is Something LP

Famous for singing the themes to Goldfinger, Diamonds are Forever, and Moonraker, Welsh singer Shirley Bassey is the only person to sing more than one Bond Theme. This LP is noteworthy for some orchestrated covers of the Beatles,Doors, etc. As stated and repeated I am a sucker for covers and especially overly orchestrated pseudo swinging covers of pop hits. Shirley goes for the throat with a cover of the Beatle's "Something". Blood, Sweat, and Tear's "Spinning Wheel" gets the treatment next and is pretty transcendent with some sick horn stabs. Here cover of "Light My Fire" slows down the tempo and has a nice chugging rhythm propelled by bass and horns more than keyboards. Real nice. Mandatory cover of a song from Hair
Not a mandatory purchase but if you are a geek that loves odd covers a decent purchase for a buck or two. I got mine at an antique shop for $0.75
Is she the female equivalent of Tom Jones? Wale's best female singing export? Hard to say but she is a "Dame Commander of the British Empire" which is pretty fucking cool.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Incredibly Steep 10 minute bike movie Rad

Props to whoever thought it up and shot it.
Props to EvilCycling which was ths site I saw it on.

Deep Purple with the Royal Philharmonic LP

I remember buying Machine Head on cassette when I was in 7th or 8th grade. Thought it was OK with a few killer moments. Overtime I have grown to love Deep Purple. Between today and when I was in 7th grade is a lot of time to grow... Despite that I do not consider myself a Deep Purple expert. So when I saw this in a box in the back of a book store, I snatched it up my mind a pinball machines of hope and expectations. "Concerto for Group and Orchestra composed by Jon Lord" Are you fucking serious?
It opens slowly and I was nervous this was going to be a legit attempt at playing classical music, but Richie Blackmore kicks off the fire works half way through the "first movement". The orchestra and band coexist more that intermingle and overall it has a disjointed feel rather than an epic Wagnerian journey type of vibe. Richie B's classical guitar hero moves were heavily influential on a young Yngwie who is probably falling off a bar stool right now telling someone about what could have been. Which may or may not be a better fate than Richie B wandering around Renaissance Fairs strumming a lute.
You might remember that DP had a singer and you might be wondering what his role would be on this project. You'll have to wait til half way through side 2 for him to appear and it's not some bittersweet symphony. He belts it out and then the maestro Jon Lord steps back to the organ. Side 2 is really where it is at for this LP as the band and orchestra start to work together more effectively. And fear not the drum solo is in full effect about half way through the 2nd side. Classical music and a drum solo??
Jon Lord's liner notes are an added bonus.
This record is so pretentious and demented it is jaw dropping. It only makes me wish someone like Lil Wayne was ambitious enough to try and get down with the NY Symphony Orchestra or something.

This is a stereo version on WB but their might be an earlier version on Polydor for the true collector.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Classics Wrap Up

Het Volk
1.Pozzato 2.Flecha 3.Boonen
Milan San Remo
1.Freire 2.Davis 3.Boonen
Tour of Flanders
1.Ballan 2.Hoste 3.Paolini
Ghent Whevelgam
1.Burghardt 2.Hammond 3.Freire
Paris Roubaix
1.O'Grady 2.Flecha 3.Wesseman
1.Schumacher 2.Rebellin 3.DiLuca
Fleche Wallone
1.Rebellin 2.Valverde 3.DiLuca
Leige Bastonge Leige
1.DiLuca 2.Valverde 3.F.Sheck

Somethings really stand out on this list Where is Bettini? Ditto for Boonen. Fuck yeah or Ballan and O'Grady. DiLuca was a beast can he hold it for the Giro? Valverde is strong will it translate at the tour? Awesome springs for Liquigas, Gerlosteiner, and CSC. Can Flecha pull out a big win next year? Astana was extremely quiet and that will put some pressure on their grand tour performance. What about the weather hot and dry in April? Someone call Al Gore. And can someone fix the roads in Tirenno Adriatico? A few less crashes there would help everyones season.
Tour de Romandie and Henninger Turn coming up this week and about 15 days til the start of the Giro. Grand Tour season is here so be prepared for the shorter stage races and the 3 week bangers. These races should be wide open this year and I am expecting some changing of the guard at the Giro and Vuelta. The Tour should/could boil down to Vino vs Valverde vs Sastre vs Leiphemer. Hopefully the drug scandals will be resolved before they stain another years races.

LBL Killer grabs the prize

DiLuca grabs a huge win at LBL,Valverde 2nd, Schelck 3rd

So I go 1 for 3 on podium picks. 5 for 10 on the top 10.

Sanchez landed in 13th

The timing of your final attack is so critical. The final kilometer seems to take a lifetime.

LBL predictions

Poduim=Rebellin,Valverde, Sammy Sanchez
Top Ten includes Kroon,Bettini,DiLuca, Contador,Cunego,Thomas Dekker, and Chris Horner