NYCD: The Blog

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Classic rock. The music itself is, well, classic. But it's been so overplayed, for so long, whether it's on radio or in movies and commercials, that it's hardly necessary to even put on the records or CDs. Mention "Sgt. Pepper" and I can run through the entire thing on speed play in my head in about ten seconds, and say "Yeah, great album. What should we listen to next?" Add in a generation of baby boomers drumming into our heads the fact that Bob Dylan or the Stones or Janis Joplin are Certifiably Great Music, not like the garbage the kids are into today, and it's enough to turn off almost any music freak.

Wouldn't it be cool to go in the way-back machine and listen to these albums when they were new, with an un-jaded ear and without all the baggage they've acquired over the last 40 years? Reading "The Crawdaddy! Book" may be the next best thing. Crawdaddy!, which called itself "the magazine of rock" and whose premiere issue hit the streets in early 1966 (almost two years before Rolling Stone), was the first American publication about pop music that wasn't a trade mag or a teenybopper rag. It almost singlehandedly invented the art of rock criticism in the States, and was the training ground for brilliant rock writers like Peter Guralnick, Jon Landau, and Richard Meltzer.

"The Crawdaddy! Book" chronicles the magazine's early years, from 1966-68. In reading the reviews and features on artists like Bob Dylan, Love, The Doors, and the Rolling Stones, you get an idea of how they affected people when they were new releases and you actually had to think about whether "Blonde On Blonde" or "Between The Buttons" were good, and why, rather than simply knowing that they're classics. The writers also don't love everything you'd expect them to love. The Mamas & The Papas and the Rascals get raves, but Cream's first album and Paul Butterfield's "East-West" get panned. The style is a little dated in places, but the writing has held up surprisingly well, especially considering that most of the writers were in college at the time.

Returning to some of the artists chronicled in the book, I've realized that I still don't like the Paul Butterfield Blues Band or the Doors, but I have a newfound appreciation for the Stones' "Aftermath" and the Lovin' Spoonful's early albums. And I'm grateful to this book for shaking the cobwebs from my ears and helping me remember that classic rock is classic because (most of it, at least) is damn good.

Friday, January 27, 2006

"It's not personal, Sonny. It's business."

Finding 40-50 e-mails about Viagara in your mailbox can be annoying. This type of mail can justifiably be called "spam." But is it really necessary to get all hot under the collar when a friend sends you a few cartoons, or a series of Oprah jokes? Isn't it easier to just delete these e-mails than to put you and your friend in an uncomfortable position, by asking him to stop sending you stuff. The worst part is that you might miss out on a great joke about a canned ham, some mittens, and a Sufi gynecologist.

How about this? Someone asks to be put on the NYCD Newsletter mailing list, then repeatedly deletes the newsletter. What has this world come to that we can't find three minutes to read about "The Hollies" or "The Strokes?" There is of course the possibility that these "deleters" think our newsletter sucks. But that couldn't be true.

Or more recently this happened: 5 minutes after yesterday's letter went out, 5 people requested to be removed from the list. These 5 people had just requested to be put ON the list. Are we that offensive? Does the NYCD Newsletter cause physical pain. "I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE. STOP WRITING ABOUT DR. JOHN! MY CHEST HURTS!"

On a positive note, maybe the 5 who asked to be removed preferred reading the blog. For that matter, if everyone read the blog, we wouldn't have to deal with the mailing list. And if everyone went to Trotsky's restaurant at the same time, there'd be total chaos. But they don't. So then what are we saying really?

Read the newsletter. Read the blog. Buy some CDs and then we can digest our food better.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


(A blogged version of the renowned email newsletter, which has been kickin' ass and takin' names since 2003)






and now...

Starting this week, we're not just a newsletter anymore.
NYCD has decided to fianlly jump on the bandwagon and start "NYCD: THE BLOG." From now on, all our newsletters will be available here, not to mention the random thoughts and rants that pop into our heads in between newsletters. Check it out and tell your friends who are too lazy to sign up for our mailing list!


Thankfully, the lame-ass month of January is coming to an end, and some great new titles are on the horizon. Until then, we do have a handful of things to mention.

Founding member of prog-legends YES, and now full-time fairy, Jon Anderson releases his long-awaited solo record, creating music inspired by the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. How original! Songs in Elvish, English, and Anglo-Saxon. Could be the party record of 2006, if you're a loser.

Legends for some reason (wait, let's take a wild guess...), the late father and son team now get the indie-band-cover-version-most-aren't-that-good-but-you-need-it-for-the-one-band-you-like CD treatment. Featuring the MAGIC NUMBERS and SUFJAN STEVENS, among others. This should tide over all you Sufjan fans who are waiting for the release of "District Of Columbia."

THE DOORS - "LIVE IN PHILADELPHIA." Another archival release from the Bright Midnight label. This one is from the "Morrison Hotel" tour, recorded in 1970 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. Apparently this is the tour where Morrison kept his shlong in his pants and rocked the house. A great setlist and great sound.

FLAMING LIPS - "THE SOFT BULLETIN (CD/DVD)." Their breakthrough release gets the deluxe treatment with surround sound remastering.

WANDA JACKSON - "I REMEMBER ELVIS." The Queen of Rockabilly pays tribute to her close friend Elvis Presley, with liner notes by another close friend, Elvis Costello. Apparently, Costello kept his shlong in his pants and really wrote up a storm for these liner notes.

THE TEMPTATIONS - "REFLECTIONS." 45 years after their inception, and with one original member still standing, the band sings the best of Motown. 15 new recordings of songs by their labelmates. Line forms to the right.

And that, dear readers, is our fine list of next week's releases. As always, if there's something coming out that we neglected to mention that you want to buy from us, drop us an email!

BUT DON'T KILL YOURSELF YET! Over the next few weeks, we've got some great things to look forward to, such as...

New records from BETH ORTON, BELLE & SEBASTIAN, RAY DAVIES, DEREK TRUCKS, THE SUBWAYS, RHETT MILLER, and two records from ELVIS COSTELLO - one with the Sydney Symphony and the other with Allen Toussaint.

And now it's time for...


In which Sal and Tony will supply you with somewhat cockeyed but totally accurate descriptions of various super- and not-so-superstars of the music world, and you have to guess who they are.

1. Irene Ryan with a guitar and a sportcoat.
2. A whole bunch of Josh Grobans.
3. If the Bangles were Australian with lots of body hair.
4. The Hollies through a megaphone and not really sounding like the Hollies at all.
5. "The new Marvin Gaye."

Answers at the bottom of the newsletter!


In case you haven't heard, ARCHEOPHONE RECORDS is a new label reissuing classic and hard-to-find records from the infancy of recorded music, 1890-1920. They do a first-rate job with remastering, the packaging is great, and the liner notes tell you everything you want to know about this music and then some. Their three volume set of BERT WILLIAMS and the new two CD set "LOST SOUNDS: BLACKS AND THE BIRTH OF THE RECORDING INDUSTRY" have both gotten a lot of press in the New York Times and elsewhere. You may not think you need a CD of hit records from 1908, but for anybody who's ever had a passion for music, the sounds and the history are as rewarding as a great novel, and your money won't be going into Simon Cowell's kidney-shaped pool.

The bad news - Archeophone CDs are tough to find. The good news - NYCD will now be carrying them at the lowest prices available! Anyone interested should check out and report back to us with your orders.


Over the last few days, 500 new titles have been added to our inventory, some for as little as $1.99. We're adding more every day, and the prices are really incredible.
WARNING: NYCD is also known on Amazon as eobrein102, so if you see that name in addition to nycd_online, it's still us! Also be aware that this link changes every week or so. We can't help it, but we will update the link regularly, so keep checking back.

Until next week, we leave you with this fine quote from Lester Bangs:

"Eric Burdon was certifiably only one thing: short. And like many short men, he yearned to scale the heights, to become in the few years allotted to him one thing he was certifiably, at birth, not: a Negro. Whether or not he succeeded is a question best left to medical research; at any rate the point is moot since Negroes themselves turned into black people, and Eric seems not to have been able to make the transition."

Your friends,
Hold The and Whitman Mayo


1. Willie Nile
2. Il Divo
3. Hoodoo Gurus
4. Guided By Voices
5. Every two-bit soul singer who's marginally better than the last one who was called "The new Marvin Gaye," but who sounds nothing like anyone on Motown, let alone Marvin Gaye.