Thursday, December 29, 2016


The Breeders

I became a fan of the Breeders with this album, and never looked back, when I heard the band’s cover of Happiness Is A Warm Gun on the radio. I’d been lucky enough to have heard Eatontown’s WHTG, when Matt Pinfield was programming the music. And beside’s the cover, which is great, later on I heard Only In Threes, a fun, and funny song about a threesome. Loved it. 

Arty fun is the Kim Deal, Josephine Wiggs, and Tayna Donnely. Before Kelley joined the band, and Jim. The drummer on Pod was Britt Walford, have a grand time making much quirky fun. For Deal and Donnely, a cool way to step into the spotlight, and they never let it go. So if you give thew album a chance, chances are you’ll never let it go either. I didn’t.  
Andrea Weiss

Sunday, December 25, 2016


The Breeders
Title TK

“Title TK” is a publishing term that means “To Come.“ It’s very apt, since this third album was a long time in coming. 

The biggest change in their sound.It’s a different rhythm section than on Last Splash. The music is now adult Indie rock, when that genre was beginning to get off the ground. That doesn’t mean sedate. These songs are anything but mild. It just means different for a different time and place. 

The songs are wonderful. And just as fun as LS, with “Sinister Foxx” being a great example of both. I was glad to buy this album when it was first out. My CD has been retired, so now it’s in digital form. Sounds terrific on headphones, too. 

Andrea Weiss

Friday, December 23, 2016


Mass Romantic
The New Pornogrpahers

While I’ll still review some new or current albums, a few that given me lots of writer inspiration over the years, starting with Kelley Deal’s projects, and now TNP. 

One of the best in TNP’s catalog, I’ll put MR on, along with Electric Version, and Brill Bruisers, Twin Cinema is good, even though I’d always had qualms about its production, and while Together and Challengers have their moments, especially Together, they’re a little too mellow for me to really get into now. 

Pop with much power in it, always bubbly, always sparkling and effervescent, with lyrics that can be clear, like “Letter From An Occupant” is a breakup song. Most aren’t, which adds to the fun. Take anything you want from their lyrics. Neko Case sings the showcases, but Dan Bejar wouldn’t hit his stride until Electric Version. Carl Newman is at his best on”The Body Says No,” another breakup song that likens it to world wide diplomacy UN style. 

This album is really where to start with TNP, and then whatever suits your fancy. It’s all here, and you can’t go wrong with any of it. I hear the band will release something next year, and it will be interesting to hear what they do next. 

Andrea Weiss

Sunday, December 18, 2016


The Breeders
Last Splash
4 AD Records

Full disclosure: I‘d reviewed the LSXX boxed set as a promo from 4AD, when i was on the download servicing list for Beggars Group. I stand with the review’s conclusion that it’s a must for Breeders fans, but there was too much gush, and over excitement, marring the review. So I’ll set the record straight here. 

This album holds up really well. It sounds as fresh and different today as it did in 1993, but could it have been a hit? On the album charts, yes. “Cannonball,” maybe. I suspect it would succeed as a download/stream/You Tube clip. That it was a hit at all means that it was a good song. The time was right for it too. 

And there isn’t a bad track here either. I like them all, 26 years after hearing it for the first time. I finally got to see the band in 2013, performing the album live. Wonderful show. It was like they never stopped. I never got to see them in the 90s, a rock regret of mine, and I was glad to remedy that years later. 

Andrea Weiss

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Rise EP

R. Ring
Rise EP
Mass Market Recordings

I’ve had this EP for a while, but never got the time to review it, until now. In 2013 the duo of Mike Montgomery and Kelley Deal toured Europe. This EP was released then. It’s now available at Bandcamp.

Mike’s song "Steam" is very good, and very sad. It’s aid and comfort to a friend whose wife left him. But for all the sadness, there is also empathy and hope. It’s also the most polished song here musically, which suits it well.

As good as Mike’s song is, it’s Kelley’s songs that power the EP. All are about obsession. “Rumine's,”  statement of, “I am cruel, I don’t care,” extends into the question: “Are you mine?” I like the roughness of these three recordings, especially “Rumine,” as it gives them a really warm feel.

All in all, a great EP. And am looking forward to their first full length album in the spring.

Andrea Weiss

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Kelley Deal 6000
Go To The Sugar Altar
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Nice Records

           As head-spinning as Game Theory’s Lolita Nation, but without James Joyce influencing the lyrics. Scott Miller is my all time favorite male musician; Kelley Deal is my favorite for women. Or I could just say they are tied for first place.
            These two albums are of a piece. If you love one, you’ll love the other, as that’s how consistent they are. Spare, but rich and full all the way through. There isn’t a bad song in the bunch. For the most part, they are uncategorizable pop, but then you get a rocker about finding the love of your life, “Brillo Hunt,” with a guitar solo to thrill to. 
            The lyrics are subtle, nuanced, like Scott Miller's or Carl Newman's. Many things are happening here, almost too many to keep track of, and that’s okay. It just means you’ll listen again. 

Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Top Tens

It may be a bit early, but I was filling top tens out for radio stations, so I figured it was time anyway.  No rankings except for Special Teams. Song of the year. Songs first.

Special Teams - SunFire (Kelley Deal and Friends)

Nice As F##K -Door

Daws - Roll With the Punches

Tegan And Sara - U Turn

Tacocat - The Internet

Mitski - Your Best American Girl

Margaret Glaspy - You And I

Warpaint - New Song

Angel Olsen - Shut Up Kiss Me

Sad13 - Get A Yes


Nice As F##K

Margaret Glaspy - Emotions and Math

Tegan and Sara - Love You to Death

Mitski - Puberty 2

Tacocat - Lost Time

Daws We're All Gonna Die

Esme Patterson - We Were Wild

Angel Olsen - My Woman

Sad13 Slugger

Andrea Weiss

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Greg Lake

           When I heard that Greg Lake had passed away earlier this week, I was just as upset, maybe even a bit more, than when Keith Emerson passed. I like lyrics, I like singers, and I loved Greg’s songs, all of them. Don’t misunderstand me, Emerson was an amazing keyboard player, I love Carl Palmer’s drumming, but the words were always foremost for me.
            “Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends.” An invitation to what? A good time, a wild time, a fun time, or something darker? That’s the wonderful mystery. I still haven’t solved it for myself, but I wonder every time I hear the song.
            “Oh, what a lucky man he was.” Greg wrote this when he was twelve. He was that sharp and pointed even then. When this song was first released, it was naturally taken as anti-war – Vietnam, that is. When I heard it, I thought it was about WWII, but in interviews I read later, he said it was a Medieval fantasy. That's the beauty of this song, that it can mean different things for different people, yet the message remains the same.  When I saw Greg play this song live acoustic in 2010, while his voice was deeper than when he was young. That was the only change. He still sounded great. And, of course, Keith’s marvelous Moog solo, still a favorite of mine.
            “Every day a little sadder, a little madder, someone get me a ladder.” I think everyone feels like this at times. But for all of those times, there are also those like Hoedown, happy ones.
            There are so many others, and everyone will have their own. But I’ll conclude with “I Believe In Father Christmas” and "21st Century Schizoid Man.”
            The former has always been one my favorite Xmas songs, especially as its message is that Xmas shouldn’t be commercialized, something I agree with.
            The latter is, of course, King Crimson, and another favorite of mine, especially since it is the 21st Century.
            Long live Greg, ELP, his solo projects, and his songs. I am so glad I got to see him and Keith on their duo tour. I met him after the show, too. He was a real sweetheart who put me at ease. People were taking pictures of us, and Greg clamped his huge arm around my shoulders, said “relax,” and didn’t let go until everyone had their shot. And that one bit of kindness was I think what Greg was all about. That, and, of course, his music.

Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Message #2

I’m thrilled and humbled by the response to my last few posts. And, well, I’ll be reconfiguring things a bit from now on, as in, if I have something worthwhile to say, I’ll say it. If you agree with me on that, happy reading. Of course there’ll be enough record reviews to break things up.

As a disabled and conscientious person, I do think that the disabled will get the shaft from Trump and co. So, as a writer, I’ll speak out on it, but rather than ranting, something a lot more fun. Like a screenplay. A web series I've begun work on, titled Modern Rock.

Out indie band Modern Rock runs afoul of the new thing on the block, alt-alt, a scene that takes the wrong lessons from Nineties alternative rock, and the Nineties in general. The upshot is a slew of right-wing, snobbish, ableist bands. When Modern Rock, is told to get with the program, they refuse, self-release a 7” with two happy, healthy songs, and start the counter-revolution. The band is led by Leaf and Gail, a learning disabled couple. It's their songs that set the plot in motion. Their label wants a full album, so the band gets creative and records one. All hell breaks loose.

Creative, in this case, is how it is to create when you’re disabled in some way, and in this part of the script a whole bunch of stupid myths about the disabled get killed. We’re not stupid, and we don’t think we’re hip, trendy, cool, and fun just because we have problems. And just because we have a disability, it doesn't mean we are disabled at everything, and aren't good at anything. We want a fair chance to show what we can do.

My creative process? Despite never knowing what I’m going to process properly, I do try, all the while knowing it’s something I can’t fully control. Various types of media inspire me. I read The New York Times, The Washington Post, my mail, social media. I have the great fortune to live near a great public radio station, WXPN in Philadelphia. I can sit and think to them anytime, and to a select bunch of musicians whose songs are always there, including, in no particular order, the late Scott Miller, Pavement, The New Pornographers, Fugazi, Kelley Deal (all her bands), Jenny Lewis (all her  bands), The Pixies, Daws, Nirvana, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Dar Williams, and Jill Sobule.

Good art takes a stand. I stand for the rights of the disabled, for LGBT people, for all, and against bigotry. Trump and the alt-right can go to hell. They won’t win, not at all.

Andrea Weiss

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Kelley Deal and Friends

Part of a longer work, a song cycle, this piece features a bass clarinet, a recorded handball game, and Kelly Deal’s self-produced vocals, organs, and sewing machines. King Baby Nuxhall helped create this song, along with Evan Ziporyn on clarinet pieces. Matthew Ritchie and Kelley Deal co-wrote the lyrics. Matt Boynton at Vacation Island Recording mixed it.

The track is excellent for this type of music: nice, mellow, a meditation on Sunfire in the persona of a man. The parts fit together well, very atmospheric, as the song fades in, does its great thing, and fades out. Deal sings it very trancey, and well. Play this on headphones for the full experience.

For more on the piece, and a name your price download, go here

Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Voice Project pairs people like Johnny Depp, Peter Gabriel, and Tom Morello with artists, writers, and musicians who are political prisoners in their home countries. What they do with the pairings is combine the prisoners' mug shot information with photos of those who are championing them, and put the images on t-shirts, which they sell to raise funds. The goal is to raise awareness of free expression and free speech, and show that you can, and should, speak out if your government tries to take away your rights.

Tom Morello

 I find this project timely, welcome, and am fully aware that this could happen here like never before. We have right now a President-Elect who could take our rights away and make the US into something repulsive. We can’t let that happen. So if you like this project, like me, and buy one of the shirts, you’re doing more than buying a shirt. You’re speaking out against injustice at a time when we really need to.

Johnny Depp

Andrea Weiss

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Message To All

I don’t do traditional blog posts often, but felt it was time for one.  In the wake of the US election, I want to say that my blog, and I, will always be inclusive, diverse, and welcoming. As someone who is out, and disabled, how could I be anything less? I despise Trump and everything he and his ilk stand for. To those who are protesting, my physical health prevents me from marching for now, but I’m there with my words. Make the US ungovernable, paralyze the country, and don’t stop until the Bastards are gone. But be non-violent. Don’t give them a reason to throw you into G’itmo.

I don’t write a lot of reviews anymore, as writing scripts is a full time job now, but my audience is so widespread, from all over the world. To all of you, thank you for reading my reviews. It’s wonderful to look at my stats and see where people are from. Keep reading. I will be here, politically, socially, and musically.

Andrea Weiss

Friday, October 14, 2016


Game Theory
The Big Shot Chronicles
Omnivore Recordings

This is Game Theory at their most pop, which is to say, direct, streamlined, and concise. That goes for the lyrics, too, even when Scott Miller didn't give their meaning, allowing for interpretations, like on "Regenisraen," a made-up word that came to Miller in a dream, and could be about Christmas, losing a friend, or having a lonely middle of the night.

I remember seeing reviews of this album back in the day, that swore the title was a play on John Cheever’s The Wapshot Chronicles, but Big Shot was actually a photo lab where the band rehearsed.

BSC was my starting point with Scott. I heard the wonderful "Here It Is Tomorrow" on Princeton’s WPRB, ran to buy the album, and never looked back. It could be like that for you, too. If you want to hear a lost classic, or want to get to know Scott’s music, this album is for you.  This is pop in a way that should’ve been a hit, like the mighty "Erica’s Word," as close to a perfect pop song as you’re likely to find. To paraphrase a line about the Bangles album All Over the Place in Scott’s book of music criticism, Music: What Happened?, “If this had been the album that sold, what then?”

The bonus tracks could be their own album of covers, alternate mixes, and demos. I’m partial to the live version of the stinging "Make Any Vows," the rough mix of "Erica’s Word," their take on Todd Rundgren’s "Couldn’t I Just Tell You," and the band’s lovely cover of "Sweet Jane."

Now, a word about everyone who made the music with Scott: the great Gil Ray, alternating between thunder drumming and laying back, Suzi Ziegler the master bass player. Shelley LaFreniere, one of the best keyboardists I’ve ever heard. Mitch Easter was the perfect producer; he knew exactly what to do to make this album so great.

Kudos to Omnivore for putting this album back in play. It’s been MIA for too long, and hasn’t dated one iota during that time. It still sounds fresh, modern, and is a tribute to how wonderful and underrated the late Scott Miller was.
Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I belong to a Facebook group called Screenwriters With Disabilities. What’s mine? A learning disability severe enough that I can't drive or work a regular job. I was very glad to be invited to this group for that reason, as I can write. If I can’t work a regular job, I can at least have a writing career.

The backdrop for this group is how marginalized we are. For example, amid all the uproar over Straight Outta Compton being all but ignored at the Oscars earlier this year, all the allegations of discrimination, the disabled were not mentioned at all. It is too obvious to point out that we exist, but we don’t get a lot of work, from actors to screenwriters to other behind the scenes jobs, because yes, Hollywood is ableist. And when a film about the disabled is made, it might ring true to a point, like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, or have a believable character like Sean Penn in Sam I Am, but with an unrealistic plot.

I mostly write indie scripts. It’s what I write best, and I hope things are better in the indie world. To whomever is reading this, the next time a Compton-like furor erupts, and it will so long as Hollywood is Hollywood, make sure to make a place for the disabled.

Andrea Weiss


Keith Emerson/Greg Lake
Keswick Theater
Glenside, PA 2010

I met Keith Emerson in 2010. He and Greg Lake did a duo tour. I was lucky enough to see the show at the Keswick with my friend, Jen Grover, who had come from WV to see them too. Jen had a blast along with her new friends Sharon and Eileen, who she met in line for the meet and greet. I couldn’t afford that, but I had a great time seeing the show. It was part Q&A, mostly music, a little back story on the songs. For example, Greg Lake wrote Lucky Man when he was 12.

We had heard they were coming out to the barricade after shows to say hello and sign a few things, so we waited, and they did. It was then I met Greg and had him sign my Tarkus shirt. He is a big, tall man, and I was a little starstruck. He picked up on my vibe, clamped an arm around my shoulders for Jen to take our picture, and said, “Relax.” He held me tight for what seemed like minutes.

Keith and I barely spoke, we said hello, he signed my shirt, and I managed to tell him how much I love his music, which he thanked me for. Jen took this wonderful photo, my cover photo for Facebook and Twitter. I was lucky to have had even that moment with him. A rowdy pack of guys behind me were screaming his name and waving things for him to sign. Greg was on his way back to the bus. Keith followed him moments later.


Keith took his own life on March 10th, 2016. I wasn’t depressed so much as very sad. It took a while before I could listen to him again. I feel better now. But this is his legacy, what he means to me. I’ll be forever grateful that I got to meet him. That we exchanged a few words. And this wonderful photo.

Andrea Weiss

Monday, March 21, 2016

Game Theory
Lolita Nation
Omnivore Recordings

One of the greatest albums ever made, and a true lost classic. I don’t want to belabor the comparison, but the only album Lolita Nation can be compared to is Sgt. Pepper. If that album had been made in 1987, with all the advances in recording studio technology, it might have sounded like Lolita Nation.

From the first piece of music, the sound collage “Kenneth, What’s The Frequency?” comes words to live by: “You can pick the game, you can, when you know what it is you’re doing. But when you know what it is you’re doing, then you despise it.” More proof that Scott Miller, and yes, all of Game Theory, were geniuses. Because after that opening, a headspinning, yet very sensible album goes forth, influenced by James Joyce, TS Elliot, and the band’s own pop sense, making for wondrous moments in every song on the album. And also for the sound collages, including one with a title in computer code, that is just tremendous.

The newly added second disk is outtakes, rarities, demos, and live versions of selections from Lolita Nation, a disk that can stand on its own, but that also succeeds in making Lolita Nation essential for not only fans, but anyone who is curious about college rock at its peak.

For me it means even more than that. When I first bought the tape of this album in 1987, I sat down with it, wrote out what I thought the songs were about, and while I was wrong about their meanings, I did have a plot for a novel. So yes, I found I could write. Which is one of the things I love most of all about this album.

Maybe you will love this album too.

Andrea Weiss


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