MoSS? Madness 2013. Hair Band Song Edition : Finals Results

moss mad 16The final results are in!!! After hundreds…well… dozens…well…almost double digit votes, the 2013 MoSS? Madness Champion is Guns N’ Roses, “Welcome to the Jungle.” We placed calls into the representatives of Axl Rose hoping for comment on this glorious victory. Unfortunately, Axl Rose was unavailable for comment due to a prior commitment. Apparently, he was entered into, and ultimately won, the 2013 San Luis Obispo County Pie Eating Contest. I guess that would explain his shapely figure of late.Axl

Check out the original “Welcome to the Jungle” video from a time when Axl and the rest of us were younger and thinner.

Thanks to you all for voting. I know this year’s competition was a bit rushed. Now it’s back to the daily grind. Just back to work with no silly competitions or brackets to distract us. You may be wondering,  “What will my bosses think when I’m all the sudden productive at work again?”. I have the solution. If you feel as though you are doing too much work or going above and beyond your normal work day tasks, stop what you are doing and watch this ridiculous YouTube clip of Kevin Bacon from the movie Quicksilver. He “bike dances” with his hot ballet dancer girlfriend. Someone thought that was a great idea. Here’s the pitch.

Movie Mogul Guy #1: You know that Footloose movie made a boat load of cash right?

Movie Mogul Guy #2: Yeah so what?

Movie Mogul Guy #1: Well I have an idea for a new movie. It’s like Footloose except there’s bikes.

Movie Mogul Guy #2: Let’s make a movie!


MoSS? Madness 2013. Hair Band Song Edition : The Finals

moss mad 16The moment you’ve all been waiting for is here. The MoSS? Madness 3013 Finals!!! With an unprecedented run to the finals, the Whitesnake song “Still of the Night” went from vote-in candidate to potential champion. #1 seed Guns N’ Roses rolled through all of their match-ups and are now poised for finals victory. Can Whitesnake do the unthinkable and survive one more round? Will the favorites Guns N’ Roses dominate yet another match-up? You, the readers, will decide. Voting is now open. If you need a hair band refresher, listen to the playlist and then make your selections below.

MoSS? Madness 2013. Hair Band Song Edition : The Final Four

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We are down to the Final Four songs in this year’s MoSS? Madness competition. Whitesnake’s “Still of the Night” pulled off yet another upset defeating Van Halen’s “Panama.”   This sets up an all Whitesnake battle for the finals on that side of the bracket. On the other side of the bracket we have a match-up between #1 seeds Guns N’ Roses and Bon Jovi. Final Four voting is now open. If you need a hair band refresher, listen to the playlist and then make your selections below.

MoSS? Madness 2013. Hair Band Song Edition : The Elite 8

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The votes are in and Whitesnake’s “Still of the Night” pulled off another upset defeating Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”  Quite handily I must add. I thought Def Lep  would cruise on to the finals. The Ratt song “Round and Round had the most impressive victory having only one vote go to Scorpions, “Rock You Like a Hurricane”.  Elite 8 voting is now open. If you need a hair band refresher, listen to the playlist and then make your selections below.

MoSS? Madness 2013. Hair Band Song Edition : The Sweet 16

moss mad 16

The votes are in and Whitesnake’s “Still of the Night” advances on to the Sweet 16 with a one vote victory over Def Leppard’s “Photograph.” Whitesnake was behind for quite awhile but a late comeback put them ahead just as the voting closed. Well done to the tie breaking voter. That song deserves to be in the competition just based on David Coverdale’s scream at the end of  the epic bridge. Now the entire Sweet 16 bracket is ready. If you need a hair band refresher, listen to the playlist and then make your selections below.

Also, be sure to check out today’s dispatch of “From the MoSS? Pit.” We made it to a couple of shows this week and Chris has some spot on analysis.

MoSS? Presents… The Undisputed Top Albums Ever, #90-81

Yep, we’re making a list. Two separate lists, actually, so the above graphic is a bit misleading. Accounting for the limited overlap in Todd’s and Chris’ lists, it’s more like the top 174 or something like that.

Anyway, after months of scientific analysis, hours of listening and re-listening to albums from years gone by, we have arrived at a definitive list of the top albums ever recorded. Our research is not open to interpretation, but you’re more than welcome to complain about the fact that your favorite albums aren’t on this list; we’ll simply respond by telling you that your favorite records aren’t really all that good.

Here are some spoilers: you’re not going to find the typical hipster stuff like Neutral Milk Hotel or Slint or even stuff one/both of us actually likes such as DJ Shadow or Pavement. This isn’t Rolling Stone so you’re not going to find Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or Pet Sounds at the top. Wham’s Make It Big was snubbed.

We’re not going to roll it all out at once; no sense rushing through all this quality music! But Music or Space Shuttle? is gonna be pretty busy over the next two months.

That’s enough of an intro. Let’s get on with it…

Chris’ 90-81

(click play button below to sample these 10 albums)

90. Slayer, Reign in Blood

89. The Steve Miller Band, Fly Like an Eagle

88. Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out

87. Ramones, Ramones

86. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

85. Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy

84. Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend

83. The New Pornographers, Twin Cinema

82. Little Big Town, The Reason Why

81. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell


#90: Slayer, Reign in Blood

reign in blood coverHow did a seventh grader expand his vocabulary to include “postmortem” and “necrophobic” and learn about Josef Mengele to a blistering backbeat? His cousin slapped all 28 minutes of Slayer’s Reign in Blood on one side of a 90-minute Memorex cassette, that’s how.

(I honestly looked up postmortem and necrophobic in my parents’ dictionary. I wanted to know what those song titles meant! I was the nerdiest faux-Satanist ever.)

I was always very impressed by a number of things in the album opener, “Angel of Death”: the banshee scream unleashed by Tom Araya after the first few riffs, the guitar line that ran throughout the song (and would later be sampled by Public Enemy on “She Watch Channel Zero?!”), and the just-fucking-stupid-awesome bass drum assault toward song’s end. (Click on the sampler above the list, and skip to the 4:15 mark and let it play for about 15 seconds. Yowza.)

As someone who grew up listening to Duran Duran and Culture Club, I have to admit I was a little scared of this album…or at least felt like I was really doing something wrong by listening to it. (Look at that cover image! Funny now, scary then!) As I got older, I realized the lyrical content was pretty much a joke, but found the riffs an absolute go-to when I want to get my thrash on. Plus, nothing beats watching my friend Sam air guitar the shit out of Slayer songs. Kerry King would be impressed!

#82 Little Big Town, The Reason Why

the reason why coverVocal harmonies are great. I love hearing the Mamas and the Papas sing songs like “Creeque Alley.” The Beatles sang well together (and double tracked themselves aplenty). Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl had a nice thing going, and Layne’s and Jerry’s intertwined voices were as great a weapon in the Alice in Chains arsenal as Cantrell’s guitar work or Sean Kinney’s drumming.

Even the country genre can’t turn me off from good two-, three-, and four-part harmonies. And Little Big Town does it so well.

I read an interview with the band at the release of The Reason Why, and the members said they weren’t interested in putting out a two-single, 10-filler album. They set the standard high for inclusion, and it shows. The four voices soar together on “Why Oh Why” and the title track. “Shut Up Train” is a torch song of sorts for the smokin’ Karen Fairchild, and “All the Way Down” is essentially a great pop song with slight twang. And I have to admit that “Little White Church” is one of those songs that makes me smile.

I’ve seen these guys twice, and they were top-notch both times, so I’m sure that influences my thoughts on where this album ranks on my list. Also, a country album that sounds good to my ears is much rarer than being wowed by your typical dream pop or indie-rock or shoegaze or “boy-cry” (as my friend Brittany Jade described the Cure during one of our radio shows) album, so that also certainly provides a bump. But as I said at the beginning, great harmonies, great harmonies, great harmonies.

(And to answer your question: yes, I’m serious about this one.)

Todd’s 90-81

(click play button below to sample these 10 albums)

90. Dinosaur Jr, Green Mind

89. Camper Van Beethoven, Key Lime Pie

88. Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine

87. Tricky, Maxinquaye

86. Bon Jovi, Slippery When Wet

85. Neon Indian, Era Extraña

84. Jeff Buckley, Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk

83. Frank Black, Teenager of the Year

82. George Michael, Faith

81. Dave Matthews Band, Crash


#85 Neon Indian, Era Extraña

Many of our more dedicated MoSS? readers may remember that this was my #2 favorite album of 2011. My #1 choice was M83, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. What a year in music when these two great records are at the top. So I imagine all you superfans out there must be wondering, “Where is Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming going to show up on this list?”

Get ready for a spoiler: It’s not on the list!

That’s right, I may have jumped the gun a bit on crowning M83 #1. Honestly, these year end lists should probably be done three years after the fact so the new album honeymoon period has worn off. Don’t get me wrong. Hurry Up is a great freaking record, but I rarely listen to it in its entirety anymore. I still listen to Era Extraña every couple weeks. If I was judging solely on the artists live shows from last year, then M83 would win hands down. Although, I would have liked to have seen Neon Indian in a proper venue like M83 at The Pageant. What a show! So based on that information (and several very complex algorithms only understood by Matt Damon Good Will Hunting-type mathletes) Era Extraña in… Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming out.

Don’t let these recent findings shake your confidence in this particular list. As Chris stated before, the list is definitive and NOT open to interpretation.

#83 Frank Black, Teenager of the Year

Today, I’m not going to bore you readers with any stories about how much I love The Pixies and Frank Black/ Black Francis. Those stories are coming later. Lucky you. The fact is, Teenager of the Year is widely regarded as his strongest post-Pixies solo effort and would have been way higher on my list had it been half as long. There’s 22 songs on it and about half are great. The other half? Well…they’re songs.

I would like to share this small “fun fact” about Mr. Black’s lyrics. He often uses acrostics to hide messages in his songs. If you are unfamiliar with the term, this is the definition: Acrostic – a number of lines of writing, such as a poem, certain letters of which form a word, proverb, etc.

Here is a sampling of lyrics from the song “Speedy Marie”, it’s also my sample song from the record. Check it out.

Juxtaposed in each moment’s sight
Everything that I ever saw
And my one delight
Nothing can strike me in such awe
Mouth intricate shapes the voice that speaks
Always it will soothe
Rarer none are the precious cheeks
Is the size of each sculpted tooth
Each lip and each eye

Wise is the tongue, wet of perfect thought
And softest neck where always do i
Lay my clumsy thoughts
She is that most lovely art
Happy are my mind and my soul and my heart

Each line describes a trait about a woman he clearly likes. The first letter of each line spells out the girl’s name, Jean Marie Walsh. If that didn’t get him laid, I don’t know what could.

Previous installments:


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Today’s Random Song in My Head, “Wanted Dead or Alive”

We’ve all had the common experience of having a song stuck in our heads. Sometimes this can be a perfectly pleasant song that becomes the soundtrack to a perfectly pleasant day. Other times it can be a repetitive annoyance that comes close to driving you crazy. (There is an episode of Seinfeld where George is screening his phone calls. His answering machine message is him singing along to the theme from The Greatest American Hero. This song delights me for awhile but then slowly drives me insane.)

Today at work, I realized that I had been singing the same lyric over and over again.

I’m a cowboy, I got the night on my side
I’m wanted dead or alive

I had no idea how this song had gotten in my head so I decided to try and retrace my steps. What had I been thinking about lately? I remembered thinking that I needed to call my co-worker John about a project. This is the series of thoughts that ran through my head after that moment.

“Gotta call John and ask him about that project.”…  “Call…John…John…Johnny”… (this leads to quoting The Outsiders) “Let’s do it for Johnny man!  Let’s do it for Johnny!”… Johnny… Johnny… “Who’s Johnny?” (this leads to the internal singing of the song “Who’s Johnny”)

“Who’s Johnny? ” she said
And smiled in her special way
“Johnny” she said
“You know I love you”

“Who sang that? … Oh yeah, El Debarge.”…”Barge, Barge, Barge… It’d be cool to drive a big boat like that”… “Boat, Boat, Boat … “I’m On a Boat” (this leads to the internal singing of Andy Samberg/Lonely Island, “I’m On a Boat”)

I’m on a boat, I’m on a boat
Everybody look at me
‘Cause I’m sailing on a boat
I’m on a boat, I’m on a boat
Take a good hard look
At the motherfucking boat

“That Andy Samberg sure is funny”… “I bet it got confusing on the set of the movie That’s My Boy…Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler are such similar names”…”What happened to Adam Sandler? His movies used to be funny”…”The Wedding Singer was really funny”…”I love the beginning of The Wedding Singer when he sings … (this leads to the internal singing of “You Spin Me Round” )

All I know is that to me
You look like you’re havin’ fun
Open up your lovin’ arms
Watch out, here I come

You spin me right ’round, baby
Right ’round like a record, baby
Right ’round, ’round, ’round,

“Grandma Molly I’m talkin’ to you!”…“Who sang that? … Oh yeah, Dead or Alive”…”Dead or Alive, Dead or Alive… (this leads to the internal singing of Bon Jovi, “Wanted Dead or Alive”)

So I went from “I have to call this co-worker” to having “a loaded 6 string on my back” in a series of roughly 12 random thoughts. Some people come up with world changing ideas at times like these. I get Bon Jovi. Oh well, could be worse.

I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride
I’m wanted dead or alive
I’m a cowboy, I got the night on my side
I’m wanted dead or alive

Bon Jovi + Bon Iver = Bon Joviver

Mainly unknown weird guy rock band, Miracles of Modern Science, released a video this week that finally answers the question on all music lover’s minds. What would you get if you took 80’s hair band Bon Jovi,  2011 indie rock darlings Bon Iver, and mixed them together into some sort of cross generational pop music stew?  To get the answer the MoMS gang take  Bon Jovi’s  “You Give Love a Bad Name” and sing it in the Bon Iver higher than high register. Then they deliver it to us in an overly dramatic Bon Iver-esque music video.

For those of you that haven’t heard of Bon Iver, the video for their song  “Calgary” is below.

For those of you that have lived in a cave for the last 25 years, here is the video for Bon Jovi’s  “You Give Love a Bad Name”.

And finally, the Bon Joviver stew.

More Eddie! More Alex! More David! More of that other guy!

While Todd is busy listening to a new song by the Wusses, er, the Shins, yours truly was rockin’ out with his cock out (well, not really, fortunately for my work colleagues) to “Tattoo,” the new ditty from VAN FUCKING HALEN. If you dare, click the video below…


Um…well, I never said it was great.

“Tattoo” (which makes the bold move of including the word “dragon” within its chorus) is a bit benign. The video is sorta odd and boring at once. Odd because at times the vocals don’t sync with Diamond Dave’s mouth movements. Odd because Wolfgang is holding Michael Anthony’s place as the stocky guy on bass, but without the solid backing vocals. Odd because DLR dances around like he’s trapped in an old Jamiroquai video. And boring because the song just doesn’t blister like VH did during the heyday.

All the same, if Van Halen is going to try some new tunes with three classic members, it might as well be Dave, Eddie, and Alex (and the latter’s thousands of cymbals). Dave might not be able to bring the vocals like he used to, but his singing was never the main asset; being a frontman is in his DNA, and he still has charisma. And if nothing else, this new song brought back some fond memories that involve the Halen.

In no particular order, my favorite Van Halen moments from my life:

Finding a casette of 1984 and keeping it. Someone at St. Patrick’s Grade School must have dropped it on the playground. I spotted the white plastic rectangle, approached it hoping it was something like “People Are People” by Depeche Mode, saw it was that album with “Panama” (the greatest American rock song EVER), surveyed the area for any nosy nuns, and stuck the tape in my Super Denim pocket. (And I never said anything about it at confession. Ha!) And it was on. Phrases such as “I don’t feel tardy” and “Got an on-ramp going through my bedroom” entered that vast wasteland in my brain reserved for AWESOME SONG LYRICS. I played air guitar (behind my head, no less!) in my bedroom while “House of Pain” flew out of my JCPenney stereo speakers. I flaunted the air drums during the “Hot for Teacher” intro and the “Girl Gone Bad” outro. But even then I was a bit of a hipster snob: I never thought “Jump” was that great of a song.

A Microsoft Paint rendering of what The Cool Guys' Club sign looked like in 1986.

Painting the VH logo on our neighborhood clubhouse sign. A few “toughs” residing in northeast Waukon banded together to form a neighborhood gang called, fittingly, “The Cool Guys’ Club.” This was done without irony—it was 1986 and the gang’s members ranged in age of 8 to 12. We had a “clubhouse,” which was actually random planks of wood nailed haphazardly across some low-hanging tree branches. And we nailed a sign to the tree. The sign announced our group’s moniker. The word “The” started in the upper-left corner, and each word descended gradually toward the lower-right, where “Club” landed. I thought the sign was cool, but not cool enough. So I painted the legendary “VH” logo in the upper-right corner. Within days the sign was vandalized and The Cool Guys’ Club’s mojo never really returned. But for those 96 hours or whatever, it was the coolest thing going in the 200 block of Sixth Avenue NE.

Playing air guitar to the intro of “Panama” while driving, annoying the Brothers Schneden. On the way home from visiting Platteville, Wis., to see the Chicago Bears work out at training camp, my friends Travis and Corey Schneden and I listened to one of my infamous “This CD-R Sucks!” mixes. “Panama” was one of the standout tracks on Volume Three. The best part about air guitaring this song? The part where Eddie slides his fingers across the fretboard after the initial few notes, because you can extend that slide right out the driver’s side window if you’re REALLY into it. Which I was, although the Schnedens were not, based on their eye rolls and utterances of “God, you’re dumb.” They were not in The Cool Guys’ Club.

Joining BMG and getting the eponymous debut album as one of my introductory cassettes. Arriving along with stuff like Vixen’s self-titled debut and Bon Jovi’s New Jersey was this awesome collections of tunes, highlighted by “Atomic Punk,” “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love,” and “I’m the One,” songs I like quite a bit today, truth be told. (The same can’t be said about Vixen or Bon Jovi.) And the aforementioned Brothers Schneden and I would endless annoy their sister Jami by singing the song “Jamie’s Cryin'” to the point where she wanted to settle things with fisticuffs. The tale of the tape showed that I had all the advantages (age, height, weight, reach) but I knew I was deficient in the intangibles (the blind rage of someone teased mercilessly by her older brothers and their even older friend) so I gave it a rest and probably went back to playing Travis (a.k.a. “The Beast”) in some Nintendo game.

Blaring the opening of “Good Enough” (HELLO, BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABY! [guitar screech]) on my boom box. Always a crowd pleaser when you and your friends are 12.

Realizing the acronym of For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Huh-huh! Huh-huh! (And feeling good about the decision made at OU812 not to buy any more new material by the band.)

And most recently, seeing Episode 9 of the show Yacht Rock. The story of how Doobies producer Ted Templeman decided to produce Van Halen albums. What they did with the doo-wop breakdown of “I’m the One” and the incorporation of Kenny Loggins’ keys are priceless comedy ingredients. (Big ups to Timothy Davis for bringing this to my attention.) Watch the episode below (you could skip to the 0:38 mark and not miss anything).


I’ve lived a good life, no? Thanks for random moments of joy, Dave, Eddie, Alex, and that other guy…and even Sammy.