Another All-Star Game, Another National League Tragedy

Avengers VI

July 14, 2016 by Shannon Michael Smith

Guess what? The National League lost again. As if the forced nostalgia wasn’t painful enough. MLB keeps trying to recreate the ’99 ASG magic and it always feels contrived. Rob Manfred is a dull, depressing commissioner who lacks any real vision or desire to make exciting changes to the game (go back three posts to see our recommendations-SMS). He’s a lawyer, ‘nuff said.

Can anyone tell us why L.A. hasn’t hosted an All-Star Game since 1980? Freaking Minneapolis has hosted it twice since then. Dodger Stadium is the coolest ballpark in America, period. Pampered scribes from the east coast will try to tell you otherwise. Don’t trust people that were raised on cigarettes and sewer water, have you seen Christopher Russo?

The Dodgers begin the latter half of the season tomorrow against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. We’re excited about the second half, but don’t let pampered scribe-shills fool you. We can’t believe some of the articles we’ve seen, the funniest of which is “Dodgers in Playoff Battle Despite Injuries” (C’mon, Gurnick, really?)

Los Dogs are sending Bud Norris to the hill manana, seeing as he’s the right man for the job. It’s obvious when you look at his numbers at Chase Field (0-4) and his ERA vs the D-Backs (13.92). If that isn’t convincing enough, his 0-7 record overall against the Snakes should be the clincher. Isn’t it nice to see the Dodger brain trust firing on all cylinders?

The Diamondbacks haven’t announced their starter for Friday yet.

Hey! There aren’t any games today. What’s a blog to do? Since you enthusiastically responded to our summer listening recommendations, we’ve decided to give you three more gone gassers to soak up with your peanuts and suds!

These titles are not “ranked”. We do not rank. Let the insipid top ten shows trumpet that idiocy.

Avengers VI

The Avengers VI-Real Cool Hits

 Originally conceived to be a promo for the Good Humor Ice Cream Company, this 1966 (late for surf) release was out of print until 2001 (a vinyl copy fetched $100 before that). Real Cool Hits is arguably the best surf record of the era (The Ventures Surfing is up there too.) Make no mistake, this album is frantic. From the psychotic, uptempo “The Avenger’s Stomp” to the supreme spy cool of Mancini’s “Mr. Lucky”, this platter will have you in search of a cherry pop, stat! It’s rare that surf records are boss from end-to-end. Usually there’s a stinko vocal or ill-advised cover to drag them down. Not on this release. The frenetic, falling-down-the-stairs drums will get you shakin’ like Eddie Money on a blow binge! Get it now…before the summer goes bye-bye. Recommended listening cocktail: Rusty Nail.


The B-52’s-Mesopotamia

 The B-52’s first two albums were born out of the same Chris Blackwell-produced sessions from the late ‘70s. Manager Gary Kurfirst came up with the idea of having David Byrne of Talking Heads produce their next album, due to his touring relationship with the band.

According to Julian Assange (it was better than typing “wiki”), “Mesopotamia was a major departure in style for The B-52’s. The band’s two previous albums had been more or less true to the live sound that made them favorites of the ’70s New York scene, with basic organ, guitar, a keyboard bass and a strong backbeat. Mesopotamia, with Byrne at the helm, showcased a new sound. This included multi-layered guitars, a horn section, atmospheric synths, complex percussion and various instruments including a bass guitar, marimba, piano and accordion. Mesopotamia was also vocally unique for the band because many of the tracks do not feature the vocal interplay for which the band is known.”

This EP is moody and has a dark, creeping funk to it. “Cake” has the best vocal interplay we’ve heard between the gals. Eno’s influence is littered throughout. The album was conceived to be a full length LP, but Byrne clashed with the label (they expected the album to be recorded quickly) and management over mixing concepts and bailed. When all is said and done, it’s our fave release from the natives of Athens, GA. Recommended listening cocktail: Blood and Sand.

the untouchablesthe general

The Untouchables “The General/Tropical Bird” 7-Inch Single

This ska/stomp classic from 1983 is the Los Angeles band’s second release (the first being “Twist n Shake/Dance Beat” released in ’82). You can see them perform it in the ’84 film Party Animal. There is a rascalsoftheravine staff member who snuck out of his parent’s house in ’84 to see them at the Keystone in Palo Alto. Sadly, key member, Clyde Grimes (his surf twang was integral to their sound) passed away recently (one of our own rascalsoftheravine staffers used to talk to him all the time when said staff member worked at Second Time Around Records on Melrose and N. Spaulding in 1988.) Along with Fishbone, the Untouchables brought black America into the Jamaica/England based ska scene. Their production is at its best on this single…raw, wild, and snappy (unlike the overproduced LPs that followed). The B-Side instrumental, “Tropical Bird” features actual tropical birds. Take that, Enchanted Tiki Room! Recommended listening cocktail: Yellow Bird.

There you have it! Three releases to make your summer swing. See, we do know about something other than drinking and making fun of the Dodgers. Until next time, mirth-seekers!




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