Thursday, April 17, 2008

TVD's Daily Wax | The Motors "Tenement Steps"

My buddy Shark owned the Trouser Press Guide to New Wave Records (pictured below, bottom left) which ostensibly became our go-to Bible regarding all sorts of Punk/Post Punk and New Wave band and record release ephemera. This handy reference guide put to rest many an argument back in the day. Once "slippery fingers" Ben "borrowed" the Guide and man, there was hell to pay in the house. After several tense phone calls, Ben admitted he had "borrowed" the book (without asking, natch) and it was returned to me in a nondescript brown bag ala contraband. The thing was GOLD.

So, it cracks me up to think that Ira Robbins--editor of the Guide and one of the founders of Trouser Press Magazine--and I probably wouldn't...get along. In polite company, we'd be hurling insults and trash-talking each other's taste in music for certain. (And I'd welcome it, because well, I'm a reluctant fan.) Now, after yesterday's rebuke of Spacehog (a band admittedly I wouldn't go to the mat for) he offers this take on today's LP:

"The Motors effectively disbanded after (their) second album. Garvey and McMaster continued working together using the group name, eventually engaging Jimmy Iovine to produce their next album in New York. Tenement Steps, the unfortunate result of far too much time spent in the studio, is an appalling, overblown mess, reeking of self-indulgence and artistic confusion. The chorus of the best-known track, "Love and Loneliness," sounds exactly like Steve Stills' "Love the One You're With" — and that's as good as the record gets."

Well, it ain't that bad. Sure, the keyboards on "Love and Loneliness" are a bit much...yet all these years on, I'm still singing the song in the shower. And that says something, yes? (Just don't say it to Mr. Robbins.)

The Motors - Love and Loneliness (Mp3)
The Motors - Metropolis (Mp3)
The Motors - Tenement Steps (Mp3)
The Motors - Here Comes the Hustler (Mp3)
The Motors - That's What John Said (Mp3)


Anonymous said...

All these years later, "Love and Loneliness" does indeed sound badly overproduced to me, but when it was first on the radio, damn, it sounded just enormous--great big portentious pronouncements about, well, love and loneliness, matched to a great big portentious production.

I still sing along to it myself.

Jon said...

Man, do I ever miss the time when this was actually played on the radio...that's where I first heard it myself...