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Monthly Archives: January 2009

Saturday morning on Rock Geek F.M., tune in as Cristy and I come to blows about the most important question facing our nation at this critical time: what are the best songs two minutes or less (fewer) in length? In our one-hour show (8-9 a.m. Central Time), we will be able to play only 40 of these songs, so discretion will be fundamental.

You can listen online at Please note that the show is webcast at an entirely agreeable hour for those living in Sweden and Norway. You can tune in at 90.1 FM only if you are one of our closest friends (literally).


The show is now online in one big chunk.


Cristy and I have had five radio shows so far, and we’re hitting our stride.

January 3: Power pop
January 10: Worst guitar solos ever
January 17: Covers
January 24: Songs less than two minutes in length

Although Cristy and I had to resort to sound-collage, we were able to use almost everybody’s suggestions for the radio show featuring songs that refer to their bands by name. Except for Zach’s, and he wins the Golden Geek of the Week Award for naming a song I had never heard of and couldn’t find: “Black ’47.” Scott listened online and said the music was “baaaad,” and, as much as I relish arguing with Scott, I have a nagging suspicion that he may have a point. Beefheart’s “The Blimp” (suggested by Mark E. Nslin) caused a bit of on-air friction between the two hosts. Even 15 seconds of “Iron Maiden” by Iron Maiden was way too much for me.

Suggestions are welcome. Here’s what we have so far.


Monochrome Set
Jocko Homo (Are We Not Men?)
Give it to the Soft Boys
Big Country
Talk Talk
Have a Cigar
Belle & Sebastian/My Wandering Days Are Over
In the Court of the Crimson King
Red Hot Chili Peppers [song off the first album]
Clash City Rockers
Black Sabbath
Chaka Khan
Mommy, What’s a Funkadelic? (does it really say the word?)
Killer Queen
They Might be Giants
Wang Chung
Who Are You?
Wonder Boy
Show Biz Kids

This show is now online.

Admittedly, The Great Cover Up–where Champaign-Urbana bands take turns performing the songs of more successful bands–isn’t always a thrill a minute. Between sets there is more time standing around waiting for something to happen than playing left field in Little League softball. But it is so worth it for those magic moments when a local band manages to sound almost as good as the record they are copying.

This is not one such moment.

This is music I would never voluntarily listen to. Only worse. It’s so bad it’s not even so bad it’s good. I can see tablature flashing behind the guitarist’s half-lidded eyes as he picks his way through a page torn from a back issue of Guitar Hair magazine. These guys make me long for the sweet release deafness will bring, or for the coolly and relatively refreshing beauty of a real Scorpions record mastered by producers with equipment to cover up wrong notes. To think that thirteen years ago I bussed tables with that guitarist–and look how far we’ve fallen. He’s playing that shit and I’m in the audience, listening to it. This building is constructed of bricks that have more talent, brains, and style than this God-awful sewage we paid seven bones to have inflicted on us. I just threw up in my mouth. I just threw up in the singer’s mouth. Except he’s not the singer because he’s not singing. He’s a one-note wonder. I wish someone in the front row would reach up and yank his sack so he could hit those high notes and truly rock us like a hurricane instead of like a leaky urinal. I just went deaf. Two of the five members have half-assed attempts at costumes: a wig and a fake mustache. Nothing in this production rises to the level of three-quarter-ass. They aren’t even funny. It’s thanks to video games like Guitar Hero that a generation of aspiring musicians think that all they have to do to produce accurate renditions of rock classics is to manipulate their joysticks. These are five guys with amplifiers who sound like five guys with amplifiers and a garbage truck with a shot muffler. Rage Against the Music Teacher. Nobody will get closer than fifteen feet to the stage and nobody’s smiling: it’s like the stunned, horrified crowd is watching a rabid dog give birth to an alien. I’m not saying the band is bad, I’m just saying I’d rather have a migraine in August at noon in an unventilated greenhouse filled with skunk carcasses than be here. Nothing needs to be that loud except the Space Shuttle taking off. I frankly don’t know how these guys passed the audition. Perhaps the fact that the lead vocalist is the organizer of the concert has something to do with it. But let’s be fair: the Great Cover Up isn’t really about the audience. It’s about raising money for charity to help the hearing-impaired and drug-addled, and, I hope, buy these kids a xylophone so they can learn some notes. Plus it gives local bands a chance to rehearse in front of a paying audience, and will help cure me of my love for music.

I’m just kidding, it was AWESOME!

In anticipation of the Great Cover-Up, we encourage you to stay in bed, under the covers, and tune in, as we play covers that are better than the originals, and explore the question of why Dylan covers are almost always successful, and Beatles covers almost always fall flat.

8-9 a.m. Central Time Saturday, streaming on the World-Wide Web at, and broadcast feebly at 90.1 FM for the farmers.

Download and be astonished. Good songwriters borrow. Great songwriters mutilate.

Neuter these beasts immediately.

Neuter these beasts immediately.

On Rock Geek FM: Songs about the movies. Actors, actresses, films, the movies, and other songs we snuck in on a technicality. Pop some corn, get a gallon of iced soda, fight for an armrest, and download this MP3.

We take very special requests.

We take very special requests.

Saturday on Rock Geek FM, we will celebrate Cristy’s birthday with a show dedicated to the WORST GUITAR SOLOS OF ALL TIME, taking a cue from a hilarious article in a 2004 issue of Guitar World magazine. Rick has suggested “Cover of the Rolling Stone” by Dr. Hook and “Like a Hurricane” by Neil Young. Larry goes with Wilco’s “I’m the Man Who Loves You.”

Any requests?

You can endure this broadcast Saturday 8-9 a.m. (Chicago time) streaming online at, or 90.1 FM for those within a stone’s throw (like the Rolling Stones’s cover of “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” during which Keith Richards throws up a solo that scholars believe made Mick Taylor quit the band).

Listen to the excruciating hour on MP3.



Unplug me, mate, I’ve thrown me back out!

William: Oh no, Cristy. Matt and Kim are cuter than us.

Look at those darling Brooklyn youth, sweet and innocent. He with the big glasses and Ernie shirt, pimped out in earnest nerd chic. Her looking not a day older than 18, with de rigueur tattoo, punk streak in her hair, and cute flashdance-lacerated t-shirt. These adorable babyfaced pop-rockers belong on every Diablo Cody movie soundtrack, with their mannered naïveté and effortless appearance of putting no effort into their appearance.

So how come they sound more like the Clash than the Moldy Peaches? They look like they should be an “I’m Sticking With You” cover band. But their free download “Daylight” is slamming. I can’t even criticize the fine points of the lyrics because I can’t understand a word. I like it.

I’m not jealous or anything.

Cristy: Did you notice that Green Label Sound is run by Mountain Dew? They may be cuter and younger, but they’re still corporate. We blow them out of the water.

W: Dew? Ew. No wonder they had to have their photo shoot on their bicycles, with helmets, somewhere in Brooklyn. They’re a Mountain Dew ad for hipsters. If we were a band, no way would we be signed. By Green Label. I’m pretty sure.

What is Power Pop?

Listen as Cristy explains the difference and spins crunchy earcandy.

Our first radio show together, at the numbingly early hour (for us) of 8 a.m. Saturday. You can hear the pain and trepidation in our voice, but none of that is to be heard in this explosive mix of Power Pop classics.

Listen to the hour-long MP3 online.

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