Bash & Pop: Anything Could Happen

Tommy’s question, “How long can we take it before we break it?” is a perfect summary of the Replacements. And if that isn’t what the line is about, well, I'd prefer to think it is.

Bash & Pop

Anything Could Happen

Label: Fat Possum
US Release Date: 2017-01-10

Like most Replacements fans, I recently finished Trouble Boys by Bob Mehr. It is the best band biography of all time. Want to know why? First, underdog stories are an American tradition going back to our underdog story in the Revolutionary War. Second, the Replacements is the most commercially underrated band in the last 30 years. If you disagree, I challenge you to name one band that has a better album than Let It Be that sold less. Third, there are more incredible moments here (that are too crazy to be fictional accounts) than any band ever, period.

Each page was filled with chapter-length stories made to be a paragraph or two long because of the sheer volume. Burning per diems, tearing apart vans, heckling audiences (rather than audiences heckling them), and intentionally botched label showcases: it is the truest picture of American post-'70s rock and roll that could exist. Throughout, Tommy Stinson is described as a rock star, a man who gives the vibe of a rock star, lives out the rock star mythology, and is a perfect successor to the classic Jimmy Page/Mick Jagger genealogy. After being in the most underrated band of the '80s, he was in what many would call (myself excluded) the most overrated band of the '80s, Guns n’ Roses.

Having lived both extremes of rock stardom -- the unknown and the well-known, the touring van and the touring mansion bus -- he has a rich history of rock and roll to draw from in his only band where he is the frontman, Bash & Pop. Their new record, Anything Could Happen, is a breezy pop/rock collection. Initial listens will lead to Oasis comparisons, as well as mid-period Guided by Voices, Nada Surf, of course, the Replacements. The record is strongly rooted in early '90s pop rock throughout so that it will appeal to people born in the late '70s and early '80s, plus anyone in love with reminiscence. After all, '90s nostalgia is in right now, isn’t it?

The record opens with its three best songs. “Not This Time” is a pop/rock gem that succeeds on pure energy and overcomes its lack of originality with Stinson's charm. The pre-chorus begs for the chorus to hit and when it does, it’s not a disappointment. It's a solid refrain that packs enough catchiness to warrant repeated listens. At only 2:36 in length, it would have been a good leader for the rest of the tracks. Likewise, “On the Rocks” even starts with the first three seconds of the “Bastards of Young” melody, which is a gutsy play. Also, the chorus has a clever play on words and feels lighter than air. Tommy’s question, “How long can we take it before we break it?” is a perfect summary of the Replacements. And if that isn’t what the line is about, well, I’d prefer to think it is. As for the third track, “Anything Can Happen”, it continues the Tim ripping with a classic Bob Stinson guitar tone, but the Gallagher brothers chorus is the winner of the bunch. If mixtapes were still a thing, this title track would be the easy choice.

The rest of the record is a mixed bag of semi-painful crass jokes and country rockers. For instance, the first 15 seconds of “Bad News” sound so painfully derivative of even the blandest country rock piece, with the kind of production that'd be used as background music on The Bachelor to simulate some vague cowboy undertone. It's worse than a bad song; it's a painfully average song. When Tommy jumps octaves on verse two, well, he just can’t do it like Westerberg used to.

Truth be told, I can’t imagine anyone listening to this record who isn’t a Replacements fan, so your enjoyment of it will be entirely based on your ability to like a Replacements side project. The record altogether is too bland to inspire any new fans or re-engage a fan base that mostly hasn’t purchased a new record since the Bush era. "Which Bush era", you may be wondering? Exactly.


Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.