Little Steven's Underground Garage column, produced exclusively for Billboard. The charts are a combination of airplay from the Underground Garage format and coolness.
We love celebrating Brian Wilson's birthday (June 20) because it means summer is here! OK, a day later. Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, Dick Dale, Palisades Park, reggae, "Tell Me," "Like a Rolling Stone," "Sgt. Pepper," Annette and Frankie, hot dogs and french fries, "Under the Boardwalk," "Up on the Roof," hot rods, surfboards, beach babes and sex, sex, sex!
Speaking of Pepperland, this summer's hottest attraction will be the Cirque du Soleil Beatles show at the Mirage in Las Vegas. It's called "Love," and rumor has it, it includes 130 Beatles song fragments, some radically reinterpreted and some never heard before.
The last time we saw Apple exec Neil Aspinall, he was genuinely enthusiastic about it and extremely impressed by the job Sir George Martin and his son Giles were doing with the music. He had a glimmer in his eye, and I could tell he was tickled by the fact that Martin could still surprise him after a lifelong friendship.
Primal Scream grabs the CSWTW spot with "Country Girl" joining Joan Jett and Cheap Trick in the cool-comeback-even-though-we-never-left department. Through the years, Bobby Gillespie has traveled, shall we say, a rather catholic music landscape—all right, schizophrenic might be more accurate. Alternative to rock to dance to whatever, "Riot City Blues" shows a return to the rock form of "Give Out but Don't Give Up" and "Rocks."
Maybe after helping start the entire alternative scene—from the Verve to Coldplay to Franz Ferdinand to Arcade Fire to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs—Gillespie feels the only true alternative left is garage rock! Welcome home, brother!
Happy beach blanket bingo, baby!
COOLEST GARAGE SONGS
1. "Country Girl," Primal Scream
2. "King of the Freaks," the Maggots
3."If It Takes a Lifetime," Cheap Trick
4. "After the Garden," Neil Young
5. "Everyone Knows," Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
6. "Are You Ready For It?" the Holograms
7. "Hands," the Raconteurs
8. "Nothing Terribly New," the Hellacopters
9. "World Wide Suicide," Pearl Jam
10. "Life Wasted," Pearl Jam
COOLEST GARAGE ALBUMS
1. "Broken Boy Soldiers," the Raconteurs
2. "Pearl Jam," Pearl Jam
3. "Sinner," Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
4. "Living With War," Neil Young
5. "Rockford," Cheap Trick
6. "First Impressions of Earth," the Strokes
7. "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not," Arctic Monkeys
8. "Flat-Pack Philosophy," Buzzcocks
9. "Monkey Time!" the Maggots
10. "Riot city Blues," Primal Scream