Song In My Head #106: “Zombie” by the Fall-Outs

To me, the Fall-Outs are the great underrated band of the 1990s Seattle music boom. How could anyone resist truly infectious pop-punk, topped by classic (if appropriately hoarse) harmonies? While their Sleep album finds heavy rotation on my CD deck, I’ll always have particular fondness for this song. (If you see the 7-inch single somewhere, nab it! It features a nifty organ arrangement that makes the tune resemble an actual Zombies outtake.) I just learned that the band is still together and playing gigs, so let’s make things right, folks…


For your Star Wars Day observance…

May the Fourth is here again, bringing us another Star Wars Day. What better way to celebrate than with Ash‘s cover of John Williams’ “Cantina Band,” released in July 1995 as the B-side to their classic “Girl From Mars” single? I saw the band perform a ripping version in San Francisco last year (and noticed the prominent Darth Vader decal on Mark Hamilton’s bass)…

If you’re so inclined, go to 3:50 of the following video to see the then-teenaged Ash members discuss their Star Wars fandom on a mid-’90s episode of The Big Breakfast, featuring a Star Wars trivia lightning round! (You may roll your eyes at the fairly easy questions, but clearly there were extenuating circumstances involved…)

Song In My Head #105: The Dream Syndicate’s “That’s What You Always Say”

I missed most of LA’s Paisley Underground back in its heyday (being a Northern California-dwelling grade schooler at the time), but a great song will always find its way. I discovered “That’s What You Always Say” the other week thanks to the Bangles’ excellent cover, but after hearing most versions, I have to pick the original on the Dream Syndicate’s 1982 debut EP:

Mystery author Leslie Karst and Soif Wine Bar and Restaurant features in Spring 2019 SANTA CRUZ STYLE

If you enjoy cozy mysteries or the local food scene, keep an eye out for the Spring 2019 edition of Santa Cruz Style. In “Mystery with a Santa Cruz Flavor,” I introduce you to Leslie Karst, the renowned author of the Sally Solari mystery series. Beginning on page 12 of the magazine, Karst tells me how Santa Cruz inspired her unexpected path to writing, the origins of Sally Solari, and the birth of the “snarky cozy.” Want to know how a 17-year-old restaurant has stayed buzzworthy? Turn to page 42 for “Soif and Santa Cruz: The Perfect Pairing.” Soif Wine Bar and Restaurant owner/founder Patrice Boyle reflects on Soif’s evolution, and discusses the restaurant’s new collaboration with UCSC’s Coastal Science and Policy Program. New chef Tom McNary reveals his culinary inspirations, and bar manager Matthew Barron discusses the cocktail menu that’s swaying the allegiance of Soif’s most devoted wine drinkers! If you’re in Santa Cruz County, find free print copies here. The online version appears here.

RSD 2019: The Struggle Continues

I had every intention of getting in line early for Record Store Day, but a last-minute invitation to a dim sum luncheon in Palo Alto changed my plans. The combination of a long day on public transit and erratic coffee consumption left me ill-equipped to face Streetlight’s bins when I arrived in Santa Cruz that afternoon. Two DJs (including a store employee/fellow Sloan fan I recognized) were spinning some groovy vintage Spanish-language soul tunes. (I assumed the cover of Joe Tex’s “Show Me” was by Luis Moreno, but his version I found on YouTube sounds different. Hmm.) What was left at 4 o’clock, you ask? I didn’t see Lone Justice’s Live at the Palomino, but with a CD release on tap I wasn’t worried. My head was turned by Badfinger’s So Fine: The Warner Bros. Rarities, which I debated for a while. The price tag deterred me, but I was more worried about duplicating things I already had. (It’s a dilemma I face often as a Big Star fan. For years I believed they made a mere handful of recordings, but now I see new albums of unreleased mixes every few months. They weren’t together that long, how many more undiscovered tapes can there be? I’m not being snarky, I really want to know.) I put it back, but Pete Ham and company still call to me this morning. Did anyone out there succumb yesterday?  Please tell me if I need to nab a copy after all…

GoFundMe fundraiser to save Kelly’s Books in Watsonville

I first saw the news in yesterday’s Shelf Awareness issue, and then in the Register-Pajaronian:

Hoping to avoid final chapter, Kelly’s Books looks for help

Owner Kelly Pleskunas has done a lot to support Central Coast authors (myself included) over the years, going back to her original Crossroads Books location (which was one of the businesses evicted to make way for Watsonville’s Kaiser Permanente complex in 2016). As those who still feel the loss of Logos Books and Records know, Santa Cruz County needs all its indie bookstores to thrive! Since the Kelly’s Books GoFundMe page is 81% of the way toward fulfilling its goal as of this posting, you could very well be the one to put the fundraiser over the top. Or, support Kelly’s Books the old-fashioned way by buying some books. The store is open daily at 1838 Main Street in Watsonville, or you can phone (831)728-4139 to place an order. (Kelly’s special orders are legendarily quick, you’ll see!)

Song In My Head #104: “I Left My Wallet In El Segundo” by A Tribe Called Quest

I’m in the middle of reading Hanif Abdurraqib’s engaging Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest. Naturally, the first A Tribe Called Quest song I heard has been my mental soundtrack all week. Abdurraqib links this song to classic ’70s sitcom Sanford and Son in delightful fashion, but you should read his book to find out how. In the meantime…