Best Of 2016: Ronnie Barnett of The Muffs

Published on December 28th, 2016 in: Best Of Lists, Music, Reissues, Retrovirus |


Top Ten Reissues of 2016

1. Milk ‘N’ Cookies, Milk ‘N’ Cookies (Captured Tracks): They shoulda been contenders but their initial good luck turned bad quickly. This long-in-the-works compilation of their lone album, singles, demos, and rehearsal tapes finally does this overlooked band’s legacy right. The two-CD set is accompanied by an exhaustive booklet jammed with photos, ads, flyers, and liner notes. Sigh!!

2. Ramones, Ramones: 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Rhino): Obviously no introduction necessary for this band/album but the most special thing about this edition is the earthshaking news that the groundbreaking masterwork has finally been given an additional mono mix. The only thing wrong is that none of the boys are around anymore to hear it…

3. Crowded House, Deluxe Editions (Universal): Digitally remastered & expanded two-disc versions of all seven releases with tons of b-sides, outtakes & demos. Any morsel of Neil Finn is a true godsend.

4. Big Star, Complete Third (Omnivore): As the world borders on “Big Star overload,” Omnivore has he final word with this lavish three-disc set devoted to the tortured, beautiful Big Star’s Third. Exhilarating.

5. Scientists, A Place Called Bad (Numero Group): Wouldn’t be a year-end release without a Numero Group title, this time a four-disc set compiling the complete works of Australia’s hugely influential Scientists. Essential!

6. The Shaggs, Philosophy Of The World (Light In The Attic): No introduction necessary, Pat Thomas and LITA finally get this classic back in print & done right. I can’t believe I missed the in-store at Newberry Comics!

7. Game Theory, The Big Shot Chronicles and Lolita Nation (Omnivore): The GT reissue campaign continued this year with arguably their two most important works. I always thought the genius of Scott Miller would be appreciated by future generations, thanks to Omnivore my dream has come true.

8. Jack Lee, Bigger Than Life (Alive!): I hate to complain at all when discussing the long overdue reissue of both Jack Lee albums on one disc but… come on Alive! at an expensive list price should at least include some much needed liner notes about one of the most under-appreciated power pop icons of all time!

9. Public Image Limited, Metal Box: Super Deluxe Edition (Universal UK): If the newish trend of four-disc box sets devoted to one album made sense for one title only, this would be it.

10. Long Ryders, Final Wild Songs (Cherry Red): Compiling their complete works, B-sides, live tracks & demos… though I should say “complete minus one” as there is one key track mysteriously missing. Note to record companies: in this situation go ahead and put the song on and deal with the fallout and hurt feelings afterwards; they will get soon get over it and thank you later.

Another Ten:

Lush, Chorus (4AD)
MnMs, Melts In Your Ears (Burger)
King Crimson, On (And Off) The Road 1981-1984 (Panagyric)
David Bowie, Who Can I Be Now? (Parlophone)
Redd Kross, Teen Babes From Monsanto (Redd Kross Fashion)
Nymphs, S/T (Rock Candy)
Cluster, 1971-1981 (bureau b)
Ryan Adams, Heartbreaker (Pax-Am)
Plasticland, Wonder Wonderful Wonderland and Salon (Wounded Bird)

We reviewed the reissue of The Muffs’ Blonder and Blonder on July 22.

Music Review: The Muffs, Blonder and Blonder (Reissue)

Published on July 22nd, 2016 in: Feminism, Music, Music Reviews, Reissues, Retrovirus, Reviews, We Miss The Nineties |

By Less Lee Moore


For the first half of the 1990s, if Redd Kross was involved in something, I was interested. Any band they toured with or recorded with or even name-checked was a band that I would check out. I was rarely disappointed. Enter The Muffs, who I associated with Redd Kross originally because they were both from Southern California and had both punk rock and bubblegum pop cred. And there was the Bill Bartell connection. Plus, Kim Shattuck and Melanie Vammen were ex-Pandoras members, a band I was fond of after hearing them on WTUL New Orleans in the mid-’80s.

Not long after the band’s eponymous debut, Melanie left and former Redd Kross drummer Roy McDonald replaced original drummer Criss Crass. So I was extremely interested in hearing Blonder and Blonder, The Muffs’ 1995 release from Warner Bros./Reprise Records.


Music Review: TV Eyes, TV Eyes (Reissue)

Published on November 21st, 2014 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reissues, Retrovirus, Reviews |

By Less Lee Moore


Fans of Jellyfish and Redd Kross will already know about TV Eyes but what about the uninitiated? That’s who really needs to read this review.

The storied history and devoted fanbase of both groups would take at least two books to describe fully (someone get on that please, by the way), but you may be familiar with three names from those bands: Roger Joseph Manning, Jr.; Jason Falkner; and Brian Reitzell.


Music Review: Brian Reitzell, Auto Music

Published on August 1st, 2014 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Less Lee Moore


While Fannibals will know about Brian Reitzell because of his spectacular and spooky music for NBC’s Hannibal, he’s so much more than that. Besides serving as the music supervisor on several Sofia Coppola films (Lost In Translation, Marie Antoinette), scoring film and television (30 Days of Night, Peacock, Red Riding Hood, Friday Night Lights, Boss), and video games (Watch Dogs), Reitzell also recorded and performed with both Redd Kross and Air and was a member of terrific one-off projects like TV Eyes and Logan’s Sanctuary.

The genesis for this album was literally just Brian Reitzell messing around in the studio, exploring ideas for his soundtrack work. Even though Auto Music was about a decade in the making, it doesn’t sound either too studied or haphazardly slapped together. It’s subtle yet self-assured, even on the more bombastic tracks. Despite what you might think about instrumental albums, it’s anything but boring. Inspired by films and filmmakers themselves, it creates a perhaps unsurprising visual world.


In Memory Of: Bill Bartell, a.k.a. Pat Fear of White Flag

Published on September 26th, 2013 in: Eulogy, Music |

By Less Lee Moore

Photo by Patrick Houdek

When I heard the news that Bill Bartell had died, I felt like I’d been kicked in the guts. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to a world without him in it.

I first met Bill in 1994, when White Flag played a show in New Orleans. The exact date and location escapes me (but no doubt, Bill, with his insanely proficient memory would remember). I went with a friend and we both wore Redd Kross T-shirts in an attempt to “impress” him. Haha, if only I had known.


It’s White Flag’s World, We Just Live In It: An Interview With Pat Fear

Published on September 26th, 2013 in: Interviews, Music |

By Less Lee Moore

Note: this interview was originally published in May 2010.

benefit for cats

Recently we’ve been treated to new music from the venerable White Flag, an excellent EP called Keepers Of The Purple Twilight. Released on Target Earth in March of this year, all five songs are fantastic, featuring the White Flag hallmarks of clever, witty lyrics, which are often belied by hooky, but rocking tuneage.

One intriguing factor is that lyrically, the tunes are pretty introspective, perhaps pondering where a band like White Flag, who has been consistently making music but continually underrated over the years, fits into this weird world of American Idols and Justin Biebers.

If you haven’t been paying attention to White Flag, we’re here to help fill in those gaps for you. What follows is a conversation with singer, guitarist, songwriter, and main Flag-waver Pat Fear about the history of the band, including just a few of the “28 years of stories” he’s accumulated about punk rock, playing Greenland, The Shaggs, Os Mutantes, Gasatanka Records, and being the most connected band in the universe.


New Video: Redd Kross, “Uglier”

Published on March 21st, 2013 in: Current Faves, Music, New Video, Video |

By Less Lee Moore

Photo © Arlie Carstens/Incase

Redd Kross has never followed fashion (that’d be a joke). Instead, they’ve always existed in some parallel, alternate universe, doing their own thang.

For proof of this phenomenon, check out this new video of them looking natty and rocking in Room 205, performing “Uglier” from their incandescent 2012 release, Researching The Blues (review).

For more Redd Kross, check out their website and go see them on tour! If you missed out on your chance to get Researching The Blues on vinyl, it’s back for a limited time from Merge Records.

Tour Dates:
Apr 3: The Earl; Atlanta GA
Apr 4: Kings Barcade; Raleigh NC
Apr 5: Black Cat; Washington DC
Apr 6: Santo’s Party House (early show) ; New York NY
Apr 7: Kung Fu Necktie; Philadelphia PA
Apr 10: Il Motore; Montreal QC
Apr 11: Horseshoe Tavern; Toronto ON
Apr 12: Lager House; Detroit, MI on sale March 20
Apr 13: Empty Bottle; Chicago IL
Apr 14: Cactus Club; Milwaukee WI

Best Of 2012: Megashaun

Published on December 31st, 2012 in: Best Of Lists, Gaming, Movies, Music |


These days it’s not uncommon to hear the reply “busy” when asking someone you’ve not seen for a while, “how are you?” Having attended numerous events throughout the year, I’ve come to realize just how universal and vague a reply this is, and have therefore stopped using it. While it is nice to relax every now and then, being occupied with work and various other projects keeps the mind healthy and the creativity flowing. Best of all it completely destroys boredom—and looking back at 2012 I can honestly say this has been the most exciting year I’ve experienced.

Given my “day job” as a host and reporter for EP Daily, I’m in a position to experience more than most people, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities this job has afforded me. These include meeting and interviewing people behind some of my favorite games, TV shows, and movies. Some of my interview highlights this year include Mark Ruffalo and Cobie Smulders for The Avengers, Brad Bird for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, the incomparable Radioman, and super stylish game designer Suda51. I have a personal rule to not “fan out” over people I meet but I disregarded this entirely while interviewing Suda51 and even went so far as to ask for a photo (which turned out amazing as you can see).


Best Of 2012: Less Lee Moore

Published on December 31st, 2012 in: Best Of Lists, Feminism, Movies, Music, TV |

Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander

2012 was the year of the woman. Women dominated the best of music, film, and TV.

The most significant figure for me in 2012 was Lisbeth Salander, the Steig Larsson-created character of the Millennium trilogy of novels, who also appears in the original Swedish film series and David Fincher’s newest film incarnation. Critics and fans may fight over who was better, Noomi Rapace or Rooney Mara, but both were outstanding at portraying my personal favorite female character of the last couple of decades. (Ms. Rapace had the added distinction of playing the more than worthy successor to Ellen Ripley when she inhabited the role of Dr. Elizabeth Shaw in Ridley Scott’s misunderstood but brilliant Prometheus.)


Redd Kross, Researching The Blues

Published on August 7th, 2012 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, New Music Tuesday, Reviews |

By Less Lee Moore

” . . . there’s nothing more comforting than being in a room with my brother where him and our drummer are just talking endlessly about Bob Dylan bootlegs and we have stupid inside jokes about public access shows from 1984. With them I can just turn my brain off and I don’t need to worry about the social aspect of this environment—that’s sorted.”
—Steven McDonald, interviewed in Stereogum, July 30, 2012

Disclaimer: Redd Kross has been an integral part of my life for almost 20 years, so I can’t promise that this review will be 100% objective. I can, however, promise that it will be 100% sincere.

redd kross researching the blues

Redd Kross. Oh, where to start? So much history that I can’t cram it all into one review, but chew on this: The band has been around for more than 30 years. Despite various lineup changes, two members have remained steadfast—brothers Jeff and Steven McDonald, now both in their 40s. (Your math is correct; Jeff and Steven started the band at ages 15 and 11, respectively.) And yes, they have been integral to my life, something that can’t be overstated; after all, the name of this website was inspired by the name of one of their albums.

Throughout the band’s existence, Redd Kross may not have released as many “proper” albums as other bands, but they’ve been no less prolific, participating in various soundtracks, tribute albums, singles, EPs, and at least two alter egos (how else do you describe Anarchy Sixx or Tater Totz?). Although their sound has never been what purists might consider punk rock, their attitude has always been. Even the bubblegum pop of 1990’s Third Eye contains a metal tribute to Japanese girl group Shonen Knife. Thus, answering the question, “so what does Redd Kross sound like?” has always been tricky.