By Bob Ruggiero
By Hilary Hughes
By Peter Gerstenzang
By David R. Adler
By Devon Maloney
By Brian McManus
By Jessica Hopper
By Harley Oliver Brown
SYNOPSIS: Summer is officially here and that means barbecues! And singed eyebrows! And drunken house guests! And broken dishes! And hurt feelings! And if you're really lucky, trails of vomit all through your apartment! Or even SHC!
Gosh, isn't summer fun?
Oh, your Uncle LD could go right on screaming, because much as he loves the company of all his many dear friends, what he loves more than anything is PEACE and QUIET. And P&Q are not generally considered to be distinguishing characteristics of barbecues in New York City, are they? Why just look around you and you'll smell a lot of burning meat (or worse, those vegetarian substitues that smell worse than cheap pot) and hear a lot of dreadful music being played at top volume on crappy stereos, all wafting down from rooftops all over the city. Swoon-inducing, and not in the good way. Happily, no one ever invites Uncle LD to parties anyhow, so think of the pain he is spared while he sits alone reading AM Homes, HH Holmes, or "Don't Try This At Home: Culinary Catastrophes from the World's Greatest Chefs" by Kimberly Witherspoon . . .
But if your friends force you to attend such festivities, simply make up your mind to make the best of themone party at a time! Uncle LD talks with his pal Jim Bentley about Zen and the art of grilling meats, and the appropriate beverages that ensure a good party. Then Sonny Jim plays some of his favorite songs, Uncle LD plays some of his faves, and we head off to Blue Smoke for some brisket. In my dreams, right?
And keep this handy hint in mind for next year: As our old Baltimore friend Mr Burger was fond of saying, "The best way to start your Fourth of July barbecue is with a gasoline-soaked American flag." Hip-hip-hurrah for freedom of speech!
Next week: More Stuff You've Probably Never Heard
MUSIC FOR TORCHING!
"Keep Wasting Your Time" by Up The Empire LIGHT RIDES THE SUPER MAJOR (unreleased sampler 2006) A slap-happy slacker anthem for the kiddieskind of a suburban tribute to Billy Idol, maybe..."chug chug sneer," but with pretty vocal harmonies and better drums.
"How It Goes" by Catfish Haven GOOD FRIENDS (Secretly Canadian 2006) If you like this, you'll love Damian Jurado, too. I have no idea what these guys look like, but in my mind some of them have adorable college beards and wear unironic T-shirts from regional moving companies. And really good shoes.
"I'll Bring You Home" by Jennifer O'Connor OVER THE MOUNTAIN, ACROSS THE VALLEY AND BACK TO THE STARS (Matador 2006) A drunken seduction that seems to come as something of a surprise to Miss O'Connor's protagonist. Surely a jaunty jukebox favorite-to-be, along the lines of "Sugar Walls" but funnier and without the smirk.
"Bandages" by Hot Hot Heat MAKE UP THE BREAKDOWN (Sub Pop 2002) Keyboard pyrotechnics and lovelorn adenoidal adolescent yelping always work in a two-minute pop song. These goofy kids suffer so you don't have to. Louder, please!
"Some Summer Day" by Stephin Merritt EBAN & CHARLEY soundtrack (Merge 2002) Mr M's sultry habanera celebrates lost youth and lost love, which you can take as his permission to proposition the nearest object of your affection and hopeful convince him/her/it to come with you to the nearest dark corner. If not, the gentle sound of your tears will blend perfectly with this little darling of a song. Oh, Uncle LD reminds you to check this before attempting anything too rash.
"The Joy Of Eating Raw Flesh" by Bow Wow Wow THE BEST OF BOW WOW WOW (BMG 1997) Even without Annabella's rabid cheerleader rants, this Malcolm McLauren project made great music, combining intense tribal drumming with classic rockabilly/surf guitar moves that still say "Party!" some twenty years after it was committed to tape.
"Picnic Boy" by the Residents THE COMMERCIAL ALBUM 25th Anniversary Reissue (Mute US 2004) One of the many gems from their classic album of one-minute songs. Excellent to throw in your multi-disc player with other great party albums (WILD PLANET by the B52s, for example) and let them fall where they may. This song was sung by an uncredited Lena Lovich, who had her 15 minutes with the new wave club hit "Lucky Number."
"Try the Worryin' Way" by the Fabulettes GIRL GROUP SOUNDS LOST AND FOUND (Rhino 2005) Actually almost everything on this sublime box-set (packed in a hat box!) is frug-inducing, but this songthat suggests an alternative to normal dietingseemed perfect for atonement after some scoailly acceptable overindulgence.
"Witchi Tai To" by Future Pilot AKA TINY WAVES, MIGHTY SEA (Domino 2001) A lovely anthem for those who crave a bit of modern tribal love-rock, yet really can't deal with Phish or their lesser followers. There are a zillion of covers of this old Jim Pepper song, which is said to be based on a peyote healing chant of the Native American Church the songwriter learned from his enlightened grandpapa. This gorgeous one is by Sushil K Dade, ex-Soup Dragon, from Glasgow. No, no-one put E in your beer, darling. At least I don't think so.