Saturday, February 17, 2024

Systems Edge: An Interview with Dion Lunadon & Show # 1026


Uncompromising rock and roll is a good term to use when describing the music of Dion Lunadon. With his latest and third full-length album Systems Edge out on In The Red Records, he explores the intense and wild framework of rock music, revealing a sense of gritty rock and roll, garage and punk sounds. When describing the music, bands such as Raw Power-era Iggy & The Stooges, The MC5, Rowland S. Howard, David Bowie, Ramones come to mind, but these are only reference points. After creating music for many years in different groups, his solo efforts have been described as a voyage through self-discovery” and the listener is along for the ride. The first single for this album arrived near the end of 2023, less than a year after 2022’s Beyond Everything. “Secrets” delivers a new sonic space within the makeup of Dion’s music. Fuzzy guitar, basslines and catchy choruses delve into 70s punk and power pop aesthetics and opens Systems Edge with something you might not expect.

“Nikki” is a noisy punk edged track with driving bass, drums and chaotic guitars as lyrically it seems to tell a horror movie inspired story of a dark romantic fantasy, “Diamond Sea” is one of the standout tracks on Systems Edge. In a press release about the song Dion had this to say about the song: “Diamond Sea is about the first time I took acid when I was about 16 with my best friends. We were the only ones on a beautiful giant beach. It was about 5am and we watched the fog disappear as the sun came up. Half of those people are alive and half are not. This song is for them!” Moving into glam rock territory, the song starts off with guitar and drums, when the bass hits glam rock vibes echo elements of David Bowie and The Spiders From Mars mixed with New York Dolls styled rock. The lyrics in “Diamond Sea” cut deep with a sense of the idyllic being contrasted with the existential. “I Walk Away” simmers with gritty intensity that you wouldn’t think was possible after hearing some of the tracks that precede it. The lyrics such as “I see the view/Sweet retribution/With no one to defend you,” and “I wanna stay/But you know I won’t,” have Lunadon wading through a world surrounded by antagonistic negativity. A one-note organ part during the chorus adds further tenseness while drums crash and guitars build with climbing sinister riffs.

“Rocks On” is a combination of body shaking bass grooves and energetic guitar work that doesn’t follow a predictable song structure. As the chorus hits, its intoxicating melodies grab a hold of you as the song exposes the cracks of a cold society. “Shockwave” is a noisy, dirtier sounding punk song. Dating back to a recording from the first album that Dion released, this song fits at home here with its thrashing drums, lethal guitars and a penetrating, yet catchy chorus. “Grind Me Down” slows down the pace a bit with yet another groove heavy bass riff in between steady drums and wild frenzied sounding guitars as lyrics such as “You grind me down to nothing/You can’t I’m already dust/Serenade to someone/Lies shrouded in love/Shake it off” and “I Couldn’t see your love,” which repeat throughout the song in a fervent fashion. This song conjures up a danceable anarchy, as the lyrics search for meaning in the embers of a fragmented situation or relationship.

“I Don’t Mind” arrives as a deep cut on Systems Edge at track nine of ten. With fuzzy basslines, crunchy walls of guitar distortion and a catchy, mesmerizing bass and a drum heavy chorus of “I Don’t Mind/If I never see you again,” Lunadon sings of a corrosive toxic relationship that he avoids for his own well being. Further lyrics such as “Don’t wanna be a low life zero/I don’t wanna be an open cut,” “I walk across the street/To get away from you/I cut my mind so deep/And stitch it up real crude” in the verses add to the universe created in this character driven song as unrelenting, wild guitar licks and bends further stress the frustration and friction of the song’s dynamics. “Room With No View” ends Systems Edge. The longest track on this album at almost eight minutes, the live and spontaneous feel of this slow, heavy dirge of a song digs into darker lyrics as it delves into blues and psych rock elements, while also being a style of its own. Throughout Systems Edge, Dion Lunadon delivers ten songs that don’t always follow a standard formulaic song structure, providing an unpredictable collection of songs that reveals something else with each listen. Systems Edge breaks from the cycle of the bland and journeys through a universe of real, uncompromising rock and roll.

Listen the interview that Revolution Rock did with Dion Lunadon here:

Systems Edge Playlist (Originally Aired On February 17th, 2024):

1.  Dion Lunadon - Eliminator (Dion Lunadon - Agitated Records - 2017)
2.  Dion Lunadon - Negative Energy (Schreien EP - Discofridge - 2020)
3.  Dion Lunadon - It’s the Truth (Beyond Everything - In The Red Recordings - 2022)
4.  Dion Lunadon - Shockwave (Systems Edge - In The Red Recordings - 2023)
5.  Dion Lunadon - Diamond Sea (Systems Edge - In The Red Recordings - 2023)
6.  Dion Lunadon - I Don’t Mind (Systems Edge - In The Red Recordings - 2023)

DION LUNADON INTERVIEW PART I

7.  Dion Lunadon - Nothing But My Skull (Beyond Everything - In The Red Recordings - 2022)

DION LUNADON INTERVIEW PART II

8.  Dion Lunadon & Kate Clover - When Will I Hold You Again (When Will I Hold You Again - Single - 2020)
9.  The True Lovers - Obsession (The True Lovers - Altra Records - 2010)
10. A Place To Bury Strangers - Straight (Album Cut)
11. Nothing At All! - Busted (Nothing At All! - Zerophonic - 1995)
12. Nothing At All! - Get Some (Nothing At All! - Zerophonic - 1995)
13. The D4 - No Antidote (John Peel Session 2002) 
14. The D4 - Exit To the City (Original 4 Track Radio Single Version) (6Twenty One (Digital Version) - Flying Nun Records - 2022)
15. The D4 - Come On! (6Twenty - Flying Nun Records - 2001)
16. The D4 - Get Loose (6Twenty - Flying Nun Records - 2001)
17. The D4 - Do No Right (Out of My Head - Flying Nun Records - 2005)
18. The D4 - Stops Me Cold (Out of My Head - Flying Nun Records - 2005)
19. Dion Lunadon - Com/Broke (Dion Lunadon - Agitated Records - 2017)
20. Dion Lunadon - Goodbye Satan (Beyond Everything - In The Red Recordings - 2022)
21. Dion Lunadon - Room With No View (Systems Edge - In The Red Recordings - 2023)

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the February 17 file to download/stream the episode.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Ramblin' Rose: The Music of Wayne Kramer and His Influence & Show # 1025


Wayne Kramer was co-founder and guitarist in The MC5. Formed in 1963 in Lincoln Park, Michigan, with the MC5 Kramer’s explosive guitar playing was part of a dual guitar attack with Fred “Sonic” Smith, musically one of the early proto punk bands, MC5 pulled influences from early Motown, R&B with early rock and roll sounds of artists such as Chuck Berry and also had an interest in free jazz. Alongside the high-energy performances they were also politically charged lyrically, speaking to the counterculture and underground music scenes at the time. Releasing three albums, their first album was the live album Kick Out The Jams, which was recorded over two nights in October (30th & 31st) of 1968 at the legendary Grande Ballroom in Detroit. It also featured the title classic and highly influential title track "Kick Out the Jams." Their first album was decided to be a live album due to the band’s lack of studio experience at the time. All of their efforts were put into performing live at the time, so the idea to capture the band’s live energy on record made the most sense. Kick Out the Jams, featured songs such as “Ramblin’ Rose,” “Rocket Reducer No. 62,” “The Motor City is Burning,” among others such as MC5’s take on Sun Ra’s “Starship,” which ends the album in a mixture of free jazz, rock and roll and chaos. The album was also surrounded in controversy, due to the use of the words “Kick out the jams motherfucker!” which was uttered by vocalist Rob Tyner on the recording. The linear notes by manager John Sinclair also featured profanity, which nowadays probably wouldn’t bother anyone, but back in 1969 it caused a Detroit department store to stop selling any Elektra album. They were dropped from the label shortly after.

The MC5 bounced back quickly, recording Back in the USA with future Bruce Springsteen producer Jon Landau at GM Studios in Detroit on Atlantic Records. Released in 1970, many felt Back in the USA failed to capture MC5 properly in the studio at the time, but lyrically and musically it is quite a strong album. With songs such as “Tonight,” “Call Me Animal,” “The American Ruse,” “Human Being Lawnmower,” the albums lyrics built upon the five’s political and social themes. Musically, the lean garage sounding tracks pre-dated punk and power pop musical movements that would happen within the next decade. One more album would follow in 1971, High Time before the band’s split. Produced by The MC5 and Atlantic Records engineer Geoffrey Haslam, High Time is definitely the best studio-sounding recording to be released by The MC5. Although lyrically it pulls back on the political themes a bit, musically the band is unstoppable on this record, with a strong rhythm section and dual guitar attack switching focus from track to track, this was also the first album of theirs to feature individual song writing credits. Featuring now classics such as “Sister Anne,” “Miss X, “ “Future/Now,” ”Over and Over,” and “(Skunk) Sonically Speaking,” MC5 cut loose showing the dynamics and versatility of their sound in addition to their evolution as musicians at that point in time, while never losing what made them so great in the first place. But, due to a variety of factors, such as poor album sales, heavy drug use, internal tensions and being bankrupt, the band split in 1972.

Following his time with The MC5, Kramer continued with music, however, in 1975 he was busted for dealing drugs and spent four years in prison. But, something was happening in the underground, the music of bands such as The MC5 and The Stooges were informing underground bands in the UK and all over. Kramer joined the funk rock group Was (Not Was) in 1979 and played in the New York underground music scenes throughout the 80s. He formed Gang War with guitarist Johnny Thunders also in 79. The band did not last long though, they did record some demos in the same year, as well as playing live shows for about a year, but they fizzled out shortly after that. In the 90s he began releasing solo music, signing to Epitaph Records. Despite putting out several albums and singles (including his excellent version of “The Harder They Come”), Kramer’s breakthrough solo effort came with 1995’s The Hard Stuff on Epitaph Records. Several followed, Kramer also worked as a producer and worked with other bands as well as doing some soundtrack work.

Wayne Kramer seemed to always be working on something. He even released a free jazz album titled Lexington with the Lexington Arts Ensemble. The music was put together for a PBS documentary The Narcotics Farm, about the Federal Narcotics Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. This free jazz album was inspired in part also by Kramer’s time in prison where he played in a prison band called Street Sounds with jazz trumpeter Red Rodney. Rodney is a jazz legend who played with the Charlie Parker Quintet, the two studied music together while incarcerated with Rodney giving Kramer music lessons. Also when the Lexington album was released in 2014, it charted at #6 on the Billboard Top Jazz Charts. The MC5 reformed in different incarnations several times (in 2001 and again in 2018).

In 2009, Kramer, along with his wife Margaret Saddi Kramer and British musician Billy Bragg, started Jail Guitar Doors, an organization that brought instruments to prison inmates in hopes of rehabilitating inmates through the transformative power of music. The non-profit organization was named after a song of the same name by The Clash, which references Kramer’s incarceration. Kramer published his memoir The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5 and My Life of Impossibilities in 2018 and was set to release a new MC5 album, featuring surviving MC5 member Dennis “Machine Gun” Thompson, alongside several other musicians prior to his passing in February 2024. Kramer and his music influenced generations of musicians and helped to lay the groundwork for what would become known as punk rock.

Ramblin' Rose Playlist (Originally Aired On February 10th, 2024):

1.  The MC5 - Ramblin’ Rose (Kick Out the Jams - Elektra - 1969)
2.  The MC5 - Human Being Lawnmower (Back in the USA - Atlantic - 1970)
3.  The MC5 - Miss X (High Time - 1971 - Atlantic)
4.  The MC5 - I Can Only Give You Everything (The Big Bang!: Best of The MC5 - Rhino Records - 2000)
5.  Wayne Kramer & The Pink Fairies - If You’re Going to the City (Cocaine Blues - Total Energy - 2000)
6.  Gang War - Crime of the Century (Demo) (Crime of the Century - Sonic Records - 1996)
7.  Gang War - Hey Thanks (Live) (Johnny Thunders & Wayne Kramer's Gang War! - Jungle Records/Skydog Records - 2020)
8.  The MC5 - Kick Out the Jams (Single Version) (Kick Out the Jams - Single - - Elektra - 1969)
9.  The MC5 - Tonight (Babes in Arms - ROIR - 1983)
10. The MC5 - Poison (High Time - 1971 - Atlantic)
11. The MC5 - Look What You’ve Done Done ('66 Breakout - Total Energy - 1999)
12. The MC5 - The Motor City is Burning (Thunder Express - Skydog International - 1992)
13. Wayne Kramer - Get Some (Ramblin' Rose - Single - - Stiffwick - 1978)
14. Wayne Kramer - The Harder They Come (The Harder They Come - Radar Records - 1979)
15. Wayne Kramer - Street Warfare (Negative Girls - Single - Pure and Easy Records - 1983)
16. Wayne Kramer - Junkie Romance (The Hard Stuff - Epitaph Records - 1995)
17. The MC5 - I Just Don’t Know (The Big Bang!: Best of The MC5 - Rhino Records - 2000)
18. The MC5 - Looking At You (Back in the USA - Atlantic - 1970)
19. The MC5 - Thunder Express (The Big Bang!: Best of The MC5 - Rhino Records - 2000)
20. The MC5 - Gold (Babes in Arms - ROIR - 1983)
21. The MC5 - Starship (Kick Out the Jams - Elektra - 1969)

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the February 10 file to download/stream the episode.

Saturday, February 03, 2024

King of Soul: The Music of Sam Cooke and other Soul and R&B Selections & Show # 1024

Article Written By Adam Peltier

Who was the real Sam Cooke? Its one of the many mysteries left after the artist’s premature death in 1964. Like any person, he was many things, so many that these facets often appear to be in contradiction. He was a schmaltzy crooner and a throat-rending RnB showman, a gospel-singing spiritualist and a licentious lothario, a shrewd businessperson and an influential Civil Rights activist. Sixty years after his murder, the pieces of this puzzle remain. Will we ever know whom exactly this golden-voiced “King of Soul” was or will we remain projecting our own notions onto the man, defining an identity of the “Sam Cooke” we want him to be? As Virginia Woolf wrote of the titular character in Jacob’s Room:

“It seems that a profound, impartial, and absolutely just opinion of our fellow-creatures is utterly unknown...life is but a procession of shadows, and God knows why it is that we embrace them so eagerly, and see them depart with such anguish, being shadows. And why, if this -- and much more than this is true -- why are we yet surprised in the window corner by a sudden vision that the young man in the chair is of all things in the world the most real, the most solid, the best known to us--why indeed? For the moment after we know nothing about him.”

Much like Jacob, whose inner-voice Woolf kept suppressed and unheard during the course of the novel, Cooke is a man we will never truly known beyond the shadows projected on him by history and our own hungry gazes.

Sam Cooke’s legacy tends to cast him as a social conscious activist-singer. This conception of the man is undoubtedly bolstered by his epochal hymn of humanism, the song that went on to be considered the unofficial anthem of the Civil Rights movement, “A Change is Gonna Come.” This is an incredible legacy to be associated with, but is one that overlooks the multifaceted career and character of the singer.

Cooke’s greatest commercial successes was not as an activist, but an entertainer. He longed for crossover success between coloured and white audiences, doing all he could to be considered a type of “Black Sinatra” (to borrow an idea from his friend and fellow activist, Muhammad Ali), a standard-bearer of feel-good anthems and dance tunes. This contradicts the legacy imposed on Cooke as a social justice songwriter; the majority his songs were not about political activism, but were pop ditties about falling in love, being in love, and having a good time. His 1962 Greatest Hits compilation is replete with such songs: “Cupid,” “Having a Party,” and “Twistin’ the Night Away” to name a few. So, is this the answer? Was Cooke simply a pop entertainer, one who longed for unparalleled success, but who saw the light and began making socially conscious music? No life is so simple and linear.

Cooke started as a spiritual singer with the gospel-group The Soul Stirrers. His initial career was not in secular, but spiritual music. The Soul Stirrers found success with Sam’s debut recording, “Jesus Gave Me Water.” Not only did this garner a major hit for the band, with its framework going on to influence a great deal of secular pop music like doo wop and Motown, it also gave Sam his first taste of success. Critic and biographer Peter Guralnick credits Sam and the Soul Stirrers for bringing gospel music to the attention of a wider and younger audience. Particularly, an audience of young women. In Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke, Guralnick writes that girls would rush to the stage when the Soul Stirrers performed, hoping to glimpse the charismatic and handsome singer. Already, lines were blurring; the pious gospel singer experienced the type of treatment normally received by pop idols. This may have been the catalyst for Sam to leave the group and pursue a career in pop music. Despite this shift, many aspects of his gospel background would remain implicit in his recordings, imbuing tracks like “Mean Old World” and “Summertime” with a sense of spiritual longing and hope. “A Change is Gonna Come” permeates with the fervor of faith and transcendence, even as Sam frets in the song over mortality and the uncertainly of what lays “beyond the sky.”

So, does this straighten the narrative? Was Sam Cooke the once faithful gospel singer who discovered his voice in secular music, pursued success in the realm of pop, and then grew into a socially conscious activist? Again, the story is murkier than that. What of numbers like the empathetic ode to prisoners in “Chain Gang” or his touching rendition of “Deep River,” both released during his boom period of pop success? How do these contribute to this narrative? This adds another layer of complexity to the mystery of Sam Cooke.

Another aspect to consider is how sanitized Cooke made his music during this bid for pop success. Producers and agents forced the artist to chase trends, layering songs with syrupy string arrangements and encouraging him to write about flash-in-the-pan dance crazes (e.g. the twist, the cha-cha). How do we consolidate the boundary-breaking artist of social justice and radical declarations for Civil Rights with the man who frequently capitulated to trends of the music industry?

Then there was the intimate Sam Cooke, a side of the artist revealed in twofold during 1963. This year saw the release of the introspective Night Beat album. The parred down recording, lacking the studio embellishments and orchestrations of much of his discography, revealed a different aspect of the artist. As per the title, Night Beat features an eerie late night vibe, unlike the smooth trappings of his previous albums. It is a recording marked by melancholy, doubt, and longing. This album displayed a type of intimacy and maturity unprecedented in the singer’s previous work. This pensive and reflective Sam Cooke not only stood at odds against what came before, but what else he would record that year, a raucous live performance at the Harlem Square Club in Miami, Florida.

The Sam Cooke of Live at the Harlem Square Club is not the pop balladeer of “You Send Me” and “Wonderful World,” nor is it the contemplative singer from Night Beat. This Sam Cooke is energy incarnate, hard-hitting and raw. Standards like “Cupid” and “Having a Party” receive new life, as Cooke howls through his back catalog. Fiery passion and intensity replaces the slickness of the studio recordings. Gone are the saccharine trappings of “For Sentimental Reasons” and “Nothin’ Can Change This Love,” the words to these pop hits meaningless. It is all about the energy Cooke sings with, and that voice. That voice. Sam could sing nonsense and make it sound profound. The voice was all that mattered. This was as far from away from being a “Black Sinatra” as he would ever get. Perhaps this performance was too intense, as executives at Cooke’s label decided releasing the boisterous performance would jeopardize their star’s pop persona. The label canned this release in favour of the schmaltzy Sam Cooke Live at the Copa. The glitz and polish of that recording could not stand more in contrast to what was captured that night in Miami in 1963. Thankfully, the record saw a proper release in 1985 and has since been rightfully recognized as one of the greatest live rock/pop recordings ever released. We finally had a chance to hear that performance, and that voice. Indeed, that voice is all we have left of Sam Cooke. Yet, where does that leave us?

The landmark release of “A Change Is Gonna Come” in 1964 created another disruption to the identity of Sam Cooke. This is a song that no essay or critique can encapsulate the power of. It must be listened to, inhabited. It is a call to action, an existential reflection, and a plead for justice so profound and powerful that it has usurped almost all other aspects of Cooke’s legacy. The song turned the singer into “the civil rights singer,” despite the scarcity of political material in his catalog. It is that monumental of a song, its impact hardly deluded despite its 60 years of existence. Despite the legacy-defining power of this track, it may be surprising to learn the song was not initially released as a single. This epochal song saw release on the album Ain’t That Good News in February, and was only released on a single in December as the B-side to the track “Shake,” a return to the more feel-good dance music of Cooke’s past hits. The song would only see its official release as an A-side in 1967, three years after the singer’s passing. Despite this, it would wind up being the Sam Cooke song.

The album “Change” was released on, Ain’t That Good News, much like the artist himself, is full of seeming paradoxes. The first side of the record is a stream of hard soul and horn-laden RnB. Its sound has more in common with releases from contemporaries like Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett than the polished pop of Cooke’s past. Yet this is a juxtaposition to what comes on the second side. While it opens up thunderously with “A Change is Gonna Come,” the remainder of the side features a series of orchestral ballads and traditional numbers. This pairing may seem an odd choice, but it shows the complexity of Cooke’s character. He was not one thing, but many. Despite the comfort taken in calling the artist the “civil rights singer,” easily identifying and cataloging him, Sam Cooke was not so easy to pin down. He could extol the pleasures of life in “Good Times,” issue world-shaking profundity with “A Change is Gonna Come”, and croon hackneyed tripe about giving his love “a chicken that has no bone” on “The Riddle Song.” Sam was that complex, that human. As Woolf alluded, many have taken to embracing the shadows of only certain aspects of his legacy, yet people are more than the penumbra of how others chose to view them. As a Black American fighting for Civil Rights, Cooke knew all about the oppression that such aspersions cast by others could engender.

Cooke passed away in tragic fashion, murdered on December 11th, 1964 in a Los Angeles motel at the age of thirty-three. Many questions remain after his death, but one of them was what would have happened if tragedy had not struck that fateful day? Who would Sam Cooke have become and what other facets of his person would we have witnessed? Would he continue pursuing socially conscious topics in his music? Would he follow the path set by Night Beat, creating intimate and introspective songs? Would he revert to the type of accessible pop balladry he built his career on? Alternatively, would we have witnessed a completely new artist, inspired by the changes of popular music in the 1960s as heralded by the likes of The Beatles, Hendrix, and Cooke’s inspiration for “Change,” Bob Dylan? Ultimately, we will never know.

The question remains, not just for Sam Cooke, but also for the myriad of Black lives taken too young, unjustly robbed of their chance to live, breathe, and be free: who would they have become? We will never know the true Sam Cooke (who do we ever learn to know in a true sense?), but let this mystery stand as an emblem, a reminder of all the lives that we cannot know. When I think of Sam Cooke, I do not think of the man as an activist, entertainer, zealot, nor victim. People are more complex than that, impossible to distill down to a single idea. I choose instead to struggle, to make out details through the shadow cast by my own gaze, to take in the complex and often contradictory elements that made up this singular human being, gifted with a voice like none other and who inspired countless many with his charm, skill, style, and ideas. Sam Cooke was a man, and like all men, was prone to ambition, contradiction, tragedy, and triumph. When remembering Sam Cooke, it is crucial to remember not to let our perceptions, the shadows we cast, loom over who he was. Even if we will never truly grasp the entirety of this incredibly talented human being, the point is to try and embrace the unknowability and seemingly paradoxical nature of who Sam Cooke, who any of us, are.

So, who was the real Sam Cooke? Artist? Businessman? Trend-setter? Trend-follower? Lothario? Faithful? Faithless? Activist? Capitalist? Victim? Hero? Voice? Legend? Yes, but also no. Peer through the shadows, scrutinize, and be prepared for an obfuscated view. The act of looking is the point.

King of Soul Playlist (Originally Aired On February 3rd, 2024):

1.  Sam Cooke - Mean Old World 
2.  Sam Cooke - Meet Me at Mary’s 
3.  Sam Cooke - It’s All Right/For Sentimental Reasons (Live) 
4.  Sam Cooke - (Somebody) Ease My Troublin’ Mind 
5.  Eddie Spencer - Power of Love 
6.  Eddie Spencer - If This is Love I’d Rather Be Lonely 
7.  Eric Mercury - Everybody Has the Right to Love 
8.  Salome Bey - Paper Man 
9.  Jackie Shane - Send Me Some Lovin’ 
10. Jackie Shane - Chickadee
11. The Soul Stirrers - I’m So Glad (Trouble Don’t Last) 
12. Dale Cooke - Lovable
13. Sam Cooke - Introduction/Soul Twist (Live) 
14. Sam Cooke - Feel It (Don’t Fight It) (Live) 
15. Sam Cooke - Nothing Can Change This Love (Live) 
16. Sam Cooke - Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen
17. Jo-Jo and the Fugitives - Fugitive Song 
18. Lloyd Delpratt - Together 
19. The Sheiks - Eternal Love 
20. Jackie Mittoo - Grand Funk
21. Jackie Mittoo - Soul Bird 
22. Otis Redding - A Change Gonna Come 
23. Aretha Franklin - Good Times 
24. Jackie Wilson & Count Basie - Chain Gang 
25. The Supremes - Shake 
26. Gary U.S. Bonds - Quarter ‘Till Three 
27. Gary U.S. Bonds - Not Me 
28. The Equals - Police On My Back 

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the February 3 file to download/stream the episode.

Coming Up on Revolution Rock in February 2024 & Shows # 1023, 1022, 1021

It’s February and that means theme month has arrived for Revolution Rock. Every episode that airs in February will be devoted to a specific theme. Dave and Adam have some cool programming lined up ranging from our annual Black History Month program to our Revolution Surf episode. Revolution Rock can be streamed and downloaded from cjam.ca (and also after it airs on this website). Revolution Rock became a syndicated program back in 2020 and can now be heard on several different campus/community radio stations across Canada in addition to CJAM FM.

King of Soul: The Music of Sam Cooke and other Soul and R&B Selections
February 3rd, 2024
7-9 PM EST
CJAM 99.1 FM (www.cjam.ca)



Who was the real Sam Cooke? It is one of the many mysteries left after the artist’s premature death in 1964. Like any person, he was many things, so many that these facets often appear to be in contradiction. He was a schmaltzy crooner and a throat-rending RnB showman, a gospel-singing spiritualist and a licentious lothario, a shrewd businessperson and an influential Civil Rights activist. Sixty years after his murder, the pieces of this puzzle remain. Will we ever know who exactly this golden-voiced “King of Soul” was?

Live at the Harlem Square Club was originally recorded in 1963, the Sam Cooke of Live at the Harlem Square Club is not the pop balladeer of “You Send Me” and “Wonderful World,” nor is it the contemplative singer from Night Beat (released in 1963). This Sam Cooke is energy incarnate, hard-hitting and raw. Standards like “Cupid” and “Having a Party” receive new life, as Cooke howls through his back catalog. Fiery passion and intensity replaces the slickness of the studio recordings. Perhaps this performance was too intense, as executives at Cooke’s label decided releasing the boisterous performance would jeopardize their star’s pop persona. The label canned this release in favour of the schmaltzy Sam Cooke Live at the Copa, but thankfully, the record saw a proper release in 1985 and has since been rightfully recognized as one of the greatest live rock/pop recordings ever released.

On this episode we will be celebrating Black History Month by featuring a selection from Cooke’s discography, including several tracks from the Live at the Harlem Square Club in addition to music from other R&B and soul artists.

Ramblin' Rose: The Music of Wayne Kramer and His Influence
February 10th, 2024
7-9 PM EST
CJAM 99.1 FM (www.cjam.ca)



Wayne Kramer was co-founder and guitarist in The MC5. Formed in 1963 in Lincoln Park, Michigan, with the MC5 Kramer’s explosive guitar playing was part of a dual guitar attack with Fred “Sonic” Smith, musically one of the early proto punk bands, MC5 pulled influences from early Motown, R&B with early rock and roll sounds of artists such as Chuck Berry and also had an interest in free jazz. Alongside the high-energy performances they were also politically charged lyrically, speaking to the counterculture and underground music scenes at the time. Releasing three albums, their first album was the live album Kick Out The Jams, which was recorded over two nights at the legendary Grande Ballroom in Detroit. It also featured the title classic and highly influential title track. After two more albums (Back in the USA and High Time), the band split in 1972.

Following his time with MC5, Kramer continued with music, however, in 1975 he was busted for dealing drugs and spent four years in prison. But, something was happening in the underground, the music of bands such as The MC5 and The Stooges were informing underground bands in the UK and all over. Following his time in jail he started Jail Guitar Doors, an organization that brought instruments to prison inmates in hopes of rehabilitating inmates through the transformative power of music. The non-profit organization was named after a song of the same name by The Clash, which references Kramer’s incarceration. In the 90s he began releasing solo music, signing to Epitaph Records. The MC5 reformed in different incarnations several times (in 2001 and again in 2018). Kramer published his memoir The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5 and My Life of Impossibilities in 2018 and was set to release a new MC5 album, featuring surviving MC5 member Dennis “Machine Gun” Thompson, alongside several other musicians. Kramer and his music influenced generations of musicians and helped to lay the groundwork for what would become known as punk rock.

On this episode, Revolution Rock will devote an entire episode to the music of Wayne Kramer and his influence.

Systems Edge: A Dion Lunadon Radio Special
February 17th, 2024
7-9 PM EST
CJAM 99.1 FM (www.cjam.ca)

High-energy rock and roll music is something that has been present in everything that Dion Lunadon has been involved with. Starting out in New Zealand and performing with bands such as The Snitches, Nothing At All, The Rainy Days, he would form The D4 with fellow vocalist/guitarist Jimmy Christmas in the late 90s, along with drummer Rich Mixture and bassist English Jake. The band began to strike a chord as the early 2000s garage rock revival began to take off alongside bands such as The Hives, The Strokes and The White Stripes. The D4’s first release was the album 6Twenty. Released in 2001 and named after a guitar amplifier, the album featured six singles several of which charted in the UK. After touring the US and different parts of the world (in addition to being featured on US late night TV shows such as David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel) and two full-length albums, The D4 called it quits in 2006. Dion would go on to perform briefly with a new band after relocating to the US called The True Lovers in 2010 pulling in more soul and blues influences, following that he joined as bassist in the noise rock band A Place To Bury Strangers. In 2017, Dion released his first self-titled solo album, featuring intense and uncompromising rock and roll sounds. Leaving APTBS around 2020, Dion switched focus to his solo work releasing Beyond Everything in 2022 on In The Red Records and touring with a new live band. A third full-length followed also on In The Red in late 2023/2024 called Systems Edge.

On this episode we will dig deep into Dion Lunadon’s discography, playing selections from his solo work, The D4, Nothing At All and other bands he has been involved with in addition to an interview with Dion Lunadon. 

Revolution Surf 2024
February 24th, 2024
7-9 PM EST
CJAM 99.1 FM (www.cjam.ca)



Every February, Revolution Rock does theme month based episodes, but it all began with an annual surf rock episode in the early halcyon days of the program. The tradition continues this year at the end of February. The influence of surf music is everywhere. You can find it in movies, TV shows and it pops up in other genres as well. The crack of the reverb and twang is hard to miss, but there have also been several bands that you might not expect to have done surf songs. For example, Johnny Thunders covered The Chantays classic “Pipeline” on So Alone in 1978 (it was also a staple of his live set), The Replacements did “Buck Hill” on 1983’s Hootenanny, even members of Devo formed a band called The Wipeoutters and released their own unique take on the surf genre titled P’ Twaaangg!!! in 2001.

On this episode of Revolution Surf, we will feature several surf songs by bands you might not expect to have done a surf song, in addition to a selection of new and old international surf bands. This program will also feature friend of the show and graphic designer/illustrator extrrodinaire Greg Maxwell (also known as The Ugly Vision).

Check out the most recent episodes/playlists of Revolution Rock below:

Show 1023 (Originally Aired January 27th, 2024)(Positive People, Brian Eno, Big Star, Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, The Verlaines, Devo):

1.  Window Lamp - Screen Zombie 
2.  Private Lives - Get Loose 
3.  Positive People - Siren 
4.  Positive People - Another Self 
5.  Merin - A Place That Time Forgot 
6.  Packs - AmyW 
7.  Corridor - Mourir Demain
8.  Paul Jacobs - Expensive 
9.  Outta Controller - Gimme Nothin’ 
10. Hot Garbage - Mystery
11. Brian Eno - Baby’s On Fire 
12. Brian Eno - Blank Frank
13. Big Star - Mod Lang
14. Big Star - September Gurls
15. Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-Changin’ (Demo)
16. Bob Dylan - The Ballad of Hollis Brown 
17. Muddy Waters - My Home is in the Delta 
18. Muddy Waters - You Can’t Lose What You Never Had 
19. Weed - Puncture 
20. Cameronoise - Hillbilly Heroin 
21. The Sweet Kill - Forbidden 
22. Devo - Ton O’ Luv 
23. Victor Dimisch Band - It’s Cold Outside
24. The Verlaines - New Kind of Hero 
25. The Terminals - Batwing 
26. The Expendables - Head for the Hills

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the January 27 file to download/stream the episode.

Show 1022 (Originally Aired On January 20th, 2024)(Shangri-Las, Packs, Ty Segall, Ducks Ltd.):

1.  The Shangri-Las - Dressed in Black
2.  The Shangri-Las - Dum Dum Ditty
3.  Packs - Missy
4.  Packs - HFCS
5.  Dana Gavanski - How to Feel Uncomfortable
6.  Sleater-Kinney - Untidy Creature
7.  Shadow Show - Aunt Maizy
8.  It’s All Meat - Feel It
9.  Ducks Ltd. - Train Full of Gasoline
10. Ty Segall - Egg Man
11. Sprints Shaking - Their Hands
12. Sprints - Adore Adore Adore
13. Spectres - AM Gold
14. Pissed Jeans - Moving On
15. Look Blue Go Purple - Safety in Crossword
16. The Great Unwashed - Born in the Wrong Time
17. The Axemen - Rocks in My Heart
18. The Fall - Room to Live
19. The Exploding Budgies - Hank Marvin
20. Fever Feel - Running Through An Open Door
21. Breeze - Disposable
22. Folly Group - Strange Neighbour
23. The Bug Club - Four Sisters
24. Rick White - Big Mess
25. Rick White - My Cage
26. Klark Kent - Thrills (Demo)
27. Women - Untogether

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the January 20 file to download/stream the episode.

Show 1021 (Originally Aired On January 13th, 2024) (Shadow Show, Dog Day, Joni Mitchell, Two Dollar Bill, Gram Parsons):

1.  Shadow Show - Mystic Spiral
2.  Daniel Romano’s Outfit - Field of Ruins
3.  Dog Day - Suffer Surfer
4.  Dog Day - Wasn’t It Nice
5.  Angel Face - You’re No Angel
6.  Imploders - What Do You Want?
7.  Psychic Void - Something Sweet
8.  Neil Young & the Santa Monica Flyers ft. Joni Mitchell - Raised On Robbery
9.  Joni Mitchell - People’s Parties
10. Gram Parsons - Return of the Grevious Angel
11. Two Dollar Bill & His Bad Pennies - Newfoundland Bullet (Live)
12. Bob Dylan - Can’t Wait (Version 2)
13. The DoubleHappys - Needles & Plastic
14. The Sneaky Feelings - Someone Else’s Eyes
15. Jean-Paul Sartre Experience - Jabberwocky
16. The Bats - Had to be You
17. The Gordons - I Just Can’t Stop
18. Tall Dwarfs - Shade for Today
19. Mo Troper - Citgo Sign
20. Diners - So What
21. Wetface - Man in Love
22. Aversions - New Whip
23. Ghost Woman - Highly Unlikely
24. Bog Moss - Dayglow Tree
25. Bloodshot Bill - You Gotta

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the January 13 file to download/stream the episode.

Sunday, January 07, 2024

Revolution Rock: The 2023 Interviews & Show # 1020


In 2023, Revolution had seven interviews featured on the program. Five audio interviews were done and two email based interviews specifically for this website. As we have done in recent years, we did an episode containing highlights (or clips) from each of the audio interviews that we did and played some music/music relating to each of those artists. Below you will find some info about these interviews in addition to the playlist and download/streaming links to the episode.

An Interview with Jose Contreras (of By Divine Right) (February 2023):



Otto Motto is the latest album released by Toronto’s By Divine Right. A now legendary proto-indie rock band, By Divine Right is fronted by Jose Contreras and the band has seen many lineup changes throughout the years, in their previous lineups they featured Feist, Brendan Canning (of Broken Social Scene) and Brian Borcherdt (of Holy Fuck). The lineup of Jose Contreras (guitar/vocals), Geordie Dynes (drums) and Alysha Haugen (bass) had been together since 2010 (the lineup changed slightly in mid 2023). In 2016, the band recorded a full album cover of Depeche Mode’s Speak & Spell album in their rehearsal space, calling it Speak & Spell U.S. Otto Motto is a sprawling double album containing 14 tracks and features haunting psychedelic pop textures to the songs as the lyrics dig deep and are contemplative. We spoke with Jose covering the making of Otto Motto and a bit of the band’s history for Revolution Rock’s theme month based programming in February.

Listen to the full interview here:


An Interview with Chris Jack (of The Routes) (February 2023):



The Routes have been releasing music since 2007, but lately they have been putting out two, or sometimes more releases a year. The band is lead by multi-instrumentalist/main songwriter Christopher Jack and currently features drummer Bryan Styles. In 2022, they released The Twang Machine, a surf tribute to Kraftwerk that works so well, in 2021 two instrumental albums (Instrumentals II and Shake Five) were released in addition to Mesmerised, a psych, reverb doused collection of tracks with vocals. While they are a garage punk band, they often blur the lines of that title pulling other influences creating something different each time. At the end of 2022, the instrumental album Get Past Go! was released and in February 2023, the garage-psych album that pulls in post-punk influences titled Lead Lined Clouds was released. Later in 2023 they released the all surf tribute to Buzzcocks titled Reverberation Addict. We spoke with Chris about The Routes history and making their recent albums as part of Revolution Rock’s annual theme month based programming in February.

Listen to the full interview here:

Read the original post here.

An Interview with Evan Uschenko (of Ghost Woman) (May 2023):



Ghost Woman’s Anne, If was released in January 2023 on the Full Time Hobby label. Following 2022’s critically acclaimed self-titled debut, Anne, If picks up where that album left off. The music was written/recorded/performed by multi-instrumentalist Evan Uschenko on a Tascam 388 tape recorder in a large, expansive house. The press release states that when recording the album there was not much to do “except record music, watch old VHS movies, and cook meals over an open fire in the backyard.” Recording songs at different times of day also influenced the sounds and nuances present on Anne, If. Influences such as songs from 60s garage Nuggets compilation, The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Love, Safe As Milk-era Captain Beefheart, Can, Neu!, and 60s Kinks/The Creation all float around in the musical atmosphere of these songs, however, these all add to the chemistry of the songs to expand Ghost Woman’s sound. In November 2023, Ghost Woman released Hindsight is 50/50. This album was recorded in a studio in France adding a moodier live feel, this time in collaboration with drummer for the group Ille van Dessel. We did a short interview with Evan for the website about Anne, If.

Read the interview here.


An Interview with Mononegatives (June 2023):


Crossing Visual Field is the second full-length album by London, Ontario’s Mononegatives. Their sound has been described as “raw punk meets new wave” and with 2021’s fast selling and critically acclaimed Apparatus Division, Mononegatives set themselves apart as a band experimenting with the punk meets new wave genre. Featuring Rob Brake on guitar/synth/vocals, Aaron Wallis bass and David Cereghini on drums, Crossing Visual Field was recorded once again with producer Preston Lobzun, but this time at a home studio in Scarborough. The band spent two years writing, recording and preparing for this record. With extra sonic details this time around, Crossing Visual Field brings a new atmosphere and broader scope to Mononegatives previous anxious nervous energy dynamic. We spoke with the members of Mononegatives for this website and covered the making of the album and a bit of the band’s history.

Read the full interview here.

An Interview with Don Pyle (of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet) (July 2023):


In 1993, Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet released their third full-length album titled Sport Fishin’: The Lure of the Bait, The Luck of the Hook. Prior to recording the album the band was quite busy. Whether it was touring, rehearsing, recording music for the Kids In The Hall TV Series or recording singles, it was a whirlwind of activity for the band. Before the recording of Sport Fishin’, SMOASP recorded some singles with Steve Albini at his home studio. Some of these tracks would wind up on a few different releases such as the Dog & Squeegie single released in 1992 on the Estrus label and the Take Outs single released on the Derivative label in August of 1993. Just before Christmas of 1992 however, they recorded and mixed over a five-day period with Steve Albini at the Chicago Recording Company studio. The results would be the Sport Fishin’ album. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the album’s release we played the album in full on the program (in July) and also spoke with drummer Don Pyle about recording the album during that time period.

Listen to the full interview here:

Read the original post here.

An Interview with Bry Webb (September 2023):



“Thunder Bay” was the first single released by Canadian singer/songwriter Bry Webb from his album Run With Me. Inspired by a desire to sing and play music again after not releasing music for quite a few years, the songs that make up Run With Me are made up with inspiration to play again and the connections/contributions from different musicians over Webb’s career. Also known for being the lead vocalist in Constantines, Webb’s album Run With Me is his third full-length release and his first new album since 2014’s Free Will (there was also a live album, Live at Massey Hall in 2015). We spoke with Bry Webb about making the album Run With Me and the challenges that came along with it, we spoke of The Constantines, his early bands, and Webb’s earlier solo albums.

Find the original post here.

Listen to the full interview here:

An Interview with Tommy Stinson (October 2023):



Tommy Stinson’s Cowboys in the Campfire released their debut album Wronger in June 2023. The album collects a mix of alt-country, rockabilly, folk songs and features musicians Tommy Stinson and Chip Roberts. Stinson and Roberts’ history goes back many years, he even helped co-write a song on Stinson’s Bash & Pop album Anything Could Happen in 2007. But, for those of you who don’t know Tommy got his start playing bass in the Minneapolis band The Replacements, then went on to play in numerous groups such as Perfect, Guns n’ Roses, Soul Asylum, Bash & Pop. Wronger got its start with some sessions recorded in Texas with Christine Smith around 2016/2017 with John Doe on bass, the rest were recorded in Stinson’s New York studio. There are several different musicians on this album that all add to its makeup, but overall it comes off as a stripped down collection of songs that flows together so naturally. Revolution Rock spoke with Tommy Stinson about Wronger's creation, a bit of his musical history with Perfect, The Replacements Let It Be reissue and more.

Listen to the full interview here:


Show 1020 (Originally Aired On January 6th, 2023)(The 2023 Interviews Playlist):

1.  By Divine Right - I Climb (Demo) (OTTO MOTTO DEMO - 2023)
2.  By Divine Right - East Side Anthem (OTTO MOTTO - Fortune Stellar Records - 2022)

JOSE CONTRERAS (OF BY DIVINE RIGHT) INTERVIEW CLIP
 
3.  By Divine Right - It's Not Over (OTTO MOTTO - Fortune Stellar Records - 2022)
4.  The Routes - Opinions (Lead Lined Clouds - Ottis Media Records - 2023)
5.  The Routes - In A Rut (Get Past Go! - Ottis Media Records - 2022)

CHRIS JACK (OF THE ROUTES) INTERVIEW CLIP
 
6.  The Routes - Fast Cars (Reverberation Addict - Topsy Turvy Records - 2023)
7.  Ghost Woman - Street Meet (Anne, If - Full-Time Hobby - 2023)
8.  Ghost Woman - Broke (Anne, If - Full-Time Hobby - 2023)
9.  Mononegatives - Living in the Future  (Crossing Visual Field - Dowd Records - 2023)
10. Mononegatives - Disappearing Architecture (Crossing Visual Field - Dowd Records - 2023)
11. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - (Relax) You Will Think You Are A Chicken (Sport Fishin': The Lure of the Bait, The Luck of the Hook - Cargo Records - 1993)
12. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Peas Porridge Rock (Sport Fishin': The Lure of the Bait, The Luck of the Hook - Cargo Records - 1993)

DON PYLE (OF SHADOWY MEN ON A SHADOWY PLANET) INTERVIEW CLIP
 
13. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Plastic for 500, Bob (Sport Fishin': The Lure of the Bait, The Luck of the Hook - Cargo Records - 1993)
14. Bry Webb - AM Blues (Free Will - Idee Fix Records - 2014)

BRY WEBB INTERVIEW CLIP

15. Bry Webb - Outbound Only, No Return (Run With Me - Indee Fix Records - 2023)
16. Bry Webb - Modern Mind (Run With Me - Idee Fix Records - 2023)
17. Tommy Stinson's Cowboys in the Campfire - We Ain't (Wronger - Done To Death Music, Inc. - 2023)

TOMMY STINSON INTERVIEW CLIP
 
18. Tommy Stinson's Cowboys in the Campfire - Mr. Wrong (Wronger - Done To Death Music, Inc. - 2023)
19. The Replacements - Kiss Me on the Bus (Demo) (Tim: Let It Bleed Edition - Rhino Records - 2023)

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the January 6 file to download/stream the episode. 

For those keeping track episode 1019 (which aired on December 30th) was a repeat of Revolution Rock's Shane MacGowan special for Joe Strummer day.  You can hear that episode here and the playlist here.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Joe Strummer Day 2023: The Music of Shane MacGowan & The Pogues (Show # 1018)



On November 30th, 2023, Irish singer/songwriter Shane MacGowan passed. Known as the lead vocalist and primary songwriter in The Pogues, the music they made drew on traditional Irish Celtic music that when combined with the energy and attitude of punk became its own thing. Some call it Celtic punk, but if anything it was a fresh take that took from the influences of Irish music of the past and when combined with MacGowan’s lyrical prowess created something new.

Born on Christmas Day 1957 in Kent, England to Irish parents, MacGowan began reading literature at a young age. He spent the early days of his childhood in Tipperary, Ireland being surrounded by family and Irish culture. By age eleven he was devouring works by authors such as James Joyce, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Samuel Beckett, Brendan Behan, to name a few. He won the Daily Mirror children’s literary award at age 13. He was also deeply fascinated by music. Music and literature would be forever linked for MacGowan. He arrived back in London just as the punk scene was starting as a teen, becoming a regular of shows by bands such as Sex Pistols and The Clash. He also started his own fanzine called Bondage published in 1976. Shortly after this he was in his own punk band that went by the name The Nipple Erectors and later The Nips with Shanne Bradley. He went under the alias Shane O’Hooligan. Despite being in this band and having some good songs, he quickly developed an interest in a band drawing on traditional Irish music upon seeing an early group that featured future Pogues members Spider Stacy and Jem Finer.

As the band’s popularity grew in London, it was apparent that MacGowan had a gift for lyrics, which are often called poetic. The way that some songs evoke feeling and meaning whether it’s the anti-war song that is also tied in with themes of regret and lost love “A Pair of Brown Eyes,” to songs such as “Dark Streets of London,” “A Rainy Night in Soho,” “Sally MacLennane” “Turkish Song of the Damned,” “Summer in Siam” or covers such as the vivid, yet dusty and grimy vignettes in “Dirty Old Town,” to name a few, showcase a range of depth that is not present in a lot of music. After the release of Red Roses For Me in 1984, Rum, Sodomy & The Lash followed in 1985. Produced by Elvis Costello, this is often viewed as an album where MacGowan’s songs really came into their own.

If I Should Fall From Grace With God from 1988 was their third full-length that featured their best-known song “Fairytale of New York.” The song itself took two years to complete, but was written by MacGowan and Jem Finer. This gritty, festive Christmas classic is unconventional and melancholic, but honest. Written as a duet, the song didn’t really click until Kristy MacColl was added as the guest vocalist on the track. The song reached number two on the UK Singles Charts in 1987 and number one in Ireland, but has climbed the charts every year since 2005 around the holidays. Many view this song as a masterpiece and it is hard to argue with its uncompromising, yet heart-warming spirit. MacGowan and The Pogues parted ways after the Joe Strummer produced album Hell’s Ditch in 1990. Shane would go on to play with Shane MacGowan & The Popes, releasing two albums (The Snake (1994) and Crock of Gold (1997)). MacGowan and The Pogues did reunite for live shows at different times between 2001-2014.

The music MacGowan created with The Pogues and afterwards, spoke to outsiders, marginalized people and those that felt left behind. It has a complexity and depth that yearned for something simpler, despite the complications of the present. The songs still do this and will many years from now when people will still sing songs of times long gone.

JSD 2023 Playlist: The Music of Shane MacGowan & The Pogues (Originally Aired December 22nd, 2023):

1.  The Nipple Erectors - King of the Bop (Bops, Babes, Booze & Bovver - Big Beat Records/Soho Records - 1987)
2.  The Pogues - Streams of Whiskey (Red Roses for Me - Stiff Records - 1984)
3.  The Pogues - A Pair of Brown Eyes (Rum, Sodomy & The Lash - Stiff Records - 1985)
4.  The Pogues - Body of an American (Poguetry in Motion EP - Stiff Records - 1986)
5.  The Pogues - Turkish Song of the Damned (If I Should Fall From Grace with God - Pogue Mahone Records/Island Records - 1988)
6.  The Pogues - White City (Peace and Love - Island Records - 1989)
7.  The Pogues - Lorca's Novena (Hell's Ditch - Island Records - 1990)
8.  Shane MacGowan & The Popes-  Come to Bower (Crock of Gold - ZTT - 1997)
9.  The Pogues - Dirty Old Town (Rum, Sodomy & The Lash - Stiff Records - 1985)
10. The Pogues - Boys from the County Hell (BBC Session) (The BBC Sessions 1984-1986
11. The Pogues - Rake at the Gates of Hell (Straight to Hell Soundtrack
12. The Pogues - Fairy Tale of New York (2nd Demo) (Just Look Them Straight in the Eye and Say... Poguemahone! - Rhino Records - 2008)
13. The Pogues - Waxie's Dargle (Red Roses for Me - Stiff Records - 1984)
14. The Pogues - If I Should Fall Grace with God (If I Should Fall From Grace with God - Pogue Mahone Records/Island Records - 1988)
15. The Pogues (With Joe Strummer) - Rain Street (Live) (The Pogues with Joe Strummer - Live in London - Rhino Records - 2014)
16. Shane MacGowan & the Popes - Haunted (featuring Sinead O'Connor) (The Snake - ZTT - 1994)
17. The Dubliners (with The Pogues) - The Irish Rover (25 Years Celebration - Harmac - 1987)
18. Ronnie Drew - The Dunes The Humour is On Me Now
19. The Pogues - The Auld Triangle (Red Roses for Me - Stiff Records - 1984)
20. The Pogues - A Rainy Night in Soho (Poguetry in Motion EP - Stiff Records - 1986)
21. The Pogues - Sally MacLennane (Rum, Sodomy & The Lash - Stiff Records - 1985)

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the December 23 file to download/stream the episode. 

Please note an encore edition of this episode aired on December 23rd, 2023.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

2023 Album Highlights & Shows 1017, 1016, 1014

For our annual albums of the year episodes, Revolution Rock once again did not rank any of the albums with any specific number. The following selections for the two episodes posted here feature a mix of albums from 2023 in no specific order, but all of them were albums that we enjoyed. Below you will also find four write-ups from albums that were released in 2023. Following these words are playlists and download/listening links to two episodes featuring music released in 2023.

Psychic Void – Cemetery Eyes


Described as psych punk, mixing in elements of 80s hardcore, punk and psychedelia, Cemetery Eyes is the third full-length album from Windsor, Ontario’s Psychic Void. Picking up where 2019’s Skeleton Paradise left off, guitarist Josh Kaiser, bassist Matt Menard and drummer Sean Carpenter add more grit to their sound as Jesse Knight’s vocals bring another element to the music tapping into themes of paranoia, the surreal, authority, brat boys and existential emptiness. Recorded and produced by guitarist Josh Kaiser, Cemetery Eyes is just eight tracks long and was self-released on cassette/digitally. 

“In My Head” starts Cemetery Eyes off with fuzzy guitar and bass that sound both like hardcore punk and the burnt out sounds of Goggs. Driving drums and bass propel this track as vocalist Jesse Knight howls throughout adding even more atmosphere to this opening scuzzy track before “Wash It Down” begins. Psych driven garage riffs drift overtop of floating drums and deep cutting baselines as lyrics “This very strange world’s got you feeling like you’re stuck in a rut/Rock in your head/ They keep coming for you, man” taps into a world of paranoia and lack of thought. “Something Sweet” features lyrics such as “I’m dancing every night while I laugh in the dark/be better to yourself/ That’s a good place to start” and the chorus of “So let the poison hit my tongue/It’s what I need to have some fun” that conjures euphoric existential themes in between an overall grimy psych punk groove, “Back 2 Reality” is a faster track featuring intense guitar and bass riffs, punk drums that brings scuzzy hardcore punk influences, “Brat Boy” ignites punk and fiery psych vibes with character driven lyrics about a bratty kid that can’t seem to break bad habits, “The Man” features venomous socially critical lyrics and punk saturated tempos, while synth wave and horror punk dominate “Hear Me Out” and the haunting title track. Cemetery Eyes delivers grittier psych punk sounds and an introspective look that reveals the cracks in our modern world of malaise that is hard to escape.

Mononegatives – Crossing Visual Field


Crossing Visual Field is the second full-length album by London, Ontario’s Mononegatives. Their sound has been described as “raw punk meets new wave” and with 2021’s fast selling and critically acclaimed Apparatus Division, Mononegatives set themselves apart as a band experimenting with the punk meets new wave genre. Featuring Rob Brake on guitar/synth/vocals, Aaron Wallis bass and David Cereghini on drums, Crossing Visual Field was recorded once again with producer Preston Lobzun, but this time at a home studio in Scarborough. The band spent two years writing, recording and preparing for this record. With extra sonic details this time around, Crossing Visual Field brings a new atmosphere and broader scope to Mononegatives previous anxious nervous energy dynamic.

“North Carolina Atomic Bomb” was the lead off single for this album. Described as an atmospheric dark synth-wave track, this song features what sounds like a malfunctioning synthesizer, buzzing bass and crunchy guitar sounds tuning into an almost post punk electronic frequency as Brake sings lines such as “Splitting an atom/Flicking a switch,” “Frequencies shifting frequently” and “A clock moving backwards/The world spins in reverse/Never a moment/You can afford to waste” describing a wasteland of the future and technological ruin. The way the song is executed here is tense, restless and sounds like it is about to implode at any minute. Living in the Future” is a bass and midi-sounding synthesizer driving track with lyrics that convey a post-apocalyptic world, while “Deficit” ends Crossing Visual Field. The post punk/garage track with a thought provoking chorus of “Tomorrow is hand to mouth” leaves open a bleak, yet fragmented outcome between the apocalyptic worlds described throughout this album and our modern day dystopia. With Crossing Visual Field, Mononegatives combine elements of post punk, synth rock, punk, garage and the lo-fi genre into its own thing. With a deeper sense of complexity and experimentation, themes of distant and not so distant dystopias, nuclear paranoia and the apocalypse, all wrap around a new sense of atmosphere and musical structure. The songs found here are not just one thing, but many things at once. They are a bit cryptic and can elicit different meanings on repeat listens. Crossing Visual Field brings Mononegatives into a new focus as they travel across different sonic landscapes.

Ghost Woman – Anne, If


Ghost Woman’s Anne, If was released in January 2023 on the Full Time Hobby label. Following 2022’s critically acclaimed self-titled debut, Anne, If picks up where that album left off. The music was written/recorded/performed by multi-instrumentalist Evan Uschenko on a Tascam 388 tape recorder in a large, expansive house. The press release states that when recording the album there was not much to do “except record music, watch old VHS movies, and cook meals over an open fire in the backyard.” Recording songs at different times of day also influenced the sounds and nuances present on Anne, If. Influences such as songs from 60s garage Nuggets compilation, The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Love, Safe As Milk-era Captain Beefheart, Can, Neu!, and 60s Kinks/The Creation all float around in the musical atmosphere of these songs, however, these all add to the chemistry of the songs to expand Ghost Woman’s sound.

“3 Weeks Straight” features 60s sounding guitars, heavy drums and deep bass grooves hold down the beat, while lyrically the song searches for meaning in the complex glow of the light and darkness of a relationship. The chorus of “I can feel you under my skin” creeps and crawls with an eeriness emphasizing a presence that is omnipresent. “Anne, If” pulls from the large pool of garage psych sounds of the Nuggets compilation with a touch of The Yardbirds as lyrically, “Anne, if you're lonely/Listen to your words/There's nothing I can say/Living yesterday” deals with nostalgic complications that are hard to break free of, while the chorus juxtaposes this with the words “I am yours/I am yours too.” “Tripped” features vocals by Nick Hay (the bassist from the Ghost Woman live band) that evoke a Mark Lanegan howl as the bass, guitar, drums and background harmonies (all supplied by Evan Uschenko) offer a hypnotic psychedelia groove. The lyrics conjure up themes of haunting isolation and contemplation. On Anne, If we are presented with music that was described as being created during a “strange new chapter” in Uschenko’s life. The songs that we gravitate towards on this album feature lyrics that are sometimes cryptic and open ended. It is something that travels with you after and during each listen. If this was a strange new chapter for Uschenko, then we are also a part of it by extension of this album. With Anne, If the music is saturated with an analog warmth and feel that provides nuanced musical moments that pull you into the world that it creates.

Ghost Woman - Hindsight is 50/50


At the end of November 2023, Ghost Woman released their 3rd full-length album and second release in 2023. Hindsight is 50/50 changes up the dynamics of the first two Ghost Woman albums, which were recorded on 4 tracks by Evan Uschenko, who also performed all the instrumentation with the exception of a few tracks. This album as Uschenko stated in press releases “is meant to be played live.” Ghost Woman seems to have had a relentless touring schedule, but that seems to have benefited this album greatly. Adding drummer and co-songwriter Ille van Dessel into the mix, the songs take on a more live spontaneous direction. There are heavy guitar tones and drums throughout the record with bass looming in the background and lyrics that are a bit cryptic once again, but the mood and atmosphere of these tracks cut deep with reverb and heavier psychedelic grooves. 

Although Uschenko has stated “Vocals are not important. We prefer to not be understood. If you’re looking for meaning in these lyrics, might I suggest buying a Lenny Bruce record instead?” the lyrics and songs evoke a meaning and arrive on edge with the music found here. “Alright, Alright” features psych guitar lines loaded with reverb as drums and tambourine add to the groove and twang while hazy lyrics such as “Take a little walk with me/Just a look inside/It might even set you free/I won't lie” that seem to either be searching for something in the dark sonic tones here, or just emphasizing a feeling, “Highly Unlikely” is intense and arrives with some blues textures as lyrics tangle in another layer of subtle complexity, “Otessa” is a faster track featuring heavy drums and abstract vocals from van Dessel and Uschenko’s tense, psychedelic guitar work, “Yoko” swaggers as it builds up to an erupting moment of blistering guitars and drums, “Juan” with its atmospheric guitar parts, solid yet characterized drumbeats and cryptic catchy choruses captures the essence of the band, while the title track simmers in the darker noisier textures. On Hindsight is 50/50, Ghost Woman develop a sound that is complex, yet simple that is layered in different psychedelic and garage inspired tones with no need for evaluation of past efforts. In this new band dynamic, Ghost Woman find themselves. 
  
Show 1017 Playlist (Originally Aired On December 16th, 2023) (Albums of 2023 Part Two):

1.  Spiderbite - Human Body Human Brain (The Rainbow and The Dove - You've Changed Records - 2023)
2.  Golden Shitters - I Don’t Wanna Go to the Mall (Golden Shitters - Memorable But Not Honorable Records - 2023)
3.  The Hives - Countdown to Shutdown (The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons - Disques Hives - 2023)
4.  Dion Lunadon - I Don’t Mind (Systems Edge - In the Red Records - 2023)
5.  Protomartyr - Make Way (Formal Growth in the Desert - Domino Records - 2023)
6.  Joanna Sternberg - People Are Toys to You (I've Got Me - Fat Possum Records - 2023)
7.  Shana Cleveland - Bonanza Freeze (Manzanita - Hardly Art - 2023)
8.  PJ Harvey - Autumn Term (I Inside the Old Year Dying - Partisan Records - 2023)
9.  Mitski - The Frost (The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We - Dead Oceans - 2023)
10. The Clientele - Lady Grey (I Am Not There Anymore - Merge Records - 2023)
11. Autogramm - Plastic Punks (Music That Humans Can Play - Stomp Records - 2023)
12. La Securite - Hot Topic (Stay Safe! - Mothland - 2023)
13. Priors - Daffodil (Daffodil - Mothland - 2023)
14. Mononegatives - North Carolina Atomic Bomb (Crossing Visual Field - Dowd Records - 2023)
15. Osees - Blank Chems (Intercepted Message - In the Red Records - 2023)
16. Teke::Teke - Gotoku Lemon (Hagata - Kill Rock Stars - 2023)
17. Water From Your Eyes - True Life (Everyone's Crushed - Matador Records - 2023)
18. feeble little horse - Steamroller (Girl With Fish - Saddle Creek - 2023)
19. Horse Chops - Comely Girl, Machine Operator (Horse Chops EP - 2023)
20. Sonny & The Sunsets - Waiting (Self Awareness Through Macrame - Rocks In Your Head Records - 2023)
21. Wilco - Cousin (Cousin - dBpm - 2023)
22. Cat Clyde - Mystic Light (Down Rounder - SecondPrize Records - 2023)
23. Colter Wall - Little Songs (Little Songs - La Honda/RCA - 2023)
24. A.Savage - Out of Focus (Several Songs About Fire - Rough Trade - 2023)
25. Galen & Paul - Lonely Town (Can We Do Tomorrow Another Day? - Sony Music - 2023)
26. Ghost Woman - 3 Weeks Straight (Anne, If - Full Time Hobby - 2023)
27. Ghost Woman - Juan (Hindsight is 50/50 - Full Time Hobby - 2023)
28. Galen & Paul - Room at the Top (Can We Do Tomorrow Another Day? - Sony Music - 2023)

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the December 16 file to download/stream the episode. 

Show 1016 Playlist (Originally Aired On December 9th, 2023) (Albums of 2023 Part One):

1.  Tough Age - Scattered (Waiting Here - We Are Time - 2023)
2.  Sweeping Promises - Shadow Me (Good Living is Coming For You - Feel It Records - 2023)
3.  Hotline TNT - Stump (Cartwheel - Third Man Records - 2023)
4.  Yo La Tengo - Until It Happens (This Stupid World - Matador Records - 2023)
5.  Private Lives - Anything For Love (Hit Record - Feel It Records - 2023)
6.  The Routes - Lipstick (Reverberation Addict - Topsy Turvy Records - 2023
7.  Bloodshot Bill - Guess What (Psyche-O-Billy - Goner Records - 2023)
8.  Mudhoney - Little Dogs (Plastic Eternity - Sub Pop Records - 2023)
9.  King Khan - Sliver of Silver (The Nature of Things - Khannibalism/Ernest Jenning Record Co. - 2023)
10. Uh Uh - Citrus Song (Uh Huh - Telephone Explosion - 2023)
11. Marnie Stern - Plain Speak (The Comeback Kid - Joyful Noise - 2023)
12. Boygenius - $20 (The Record - Interscope - 2023)
13. Wednesday - Quarry (Rat Saw God - Dead Oceans - 2023)
14. Packs - Abalone (Crispy Crunchy Nothing - Fire Talk - 2023)
15. Moonwalks - Cherry Shade (Western Mystery Tradition - Fuzz Club Records - 2023)
16. The CIA - Inhale Exhale (Surgery Channel - In the Red Records - 2023)
17. Model/Actriz - Mosquito (Dogsbody - True Panther Sounds - 2023)
18. Ron Gallo - At Least I’m Dancing (Foreground Music - Kill Rock Stars - 2023)
19. Sparklehorse - It Will Never Stop (Bird Machine - Anti- - 2023)
20. Jeff Rosenstock - 3 Summers (Hellmode - Polyvinyl Record Co. - 2023)
21. Tommy Stinson’s Cowboys in the Campfire - Dream (Tommy Stinson's Cowboys in the Campfire - Done To Death Music, Inc. - 2023)
22. Tea Leaves - Fare Thee Well (Whistlin' Past the Graveyard - 2023)
23. Bry Webb - I Can’t See You (Run With Me - Indee Fix - 2023)
24. Tunic - Sounds Repeat (Wrong Dream - Artofact Records - 2023)
25. Psychic Void - The Man  (Cemetery Eyes - 2023)

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the December 9 file to download/stream the episode. 

Show 1014 Playlist (Originally Aired On November 25th, 2023) (The Minutemen, The Falls, The Chills, The Beatles, Bog Moss, The Bug Club, James Brown):

1.  The Minutemen - Little Man with a Gun in His Hand 
2.  The Fall - I Feel Voxish 
3.  Ghost Woman - Ottessa 
4.  U.S. Girls - 28 Days (Live) 
5.  The Routes - What Do I Get 
6.  The Bug Club - Marriage 
7.  Susans - Hands 
8.  Bog Moss - Candle Magick 
9.  Dion Lunadon - Rocks On 
10.  The Beatles - Not A Second Time 
11. The Beatles - All I’ve Got to Do 
12. Bentwood Rock - It Won’t Be Long 
13. Jaime Vernon - I Saw Her Standing There 
14. Guided By Voices - The Race is On, The King Is Dead 
15. Paige Drobot - Alright 
16. Hippie Hourrah - Les Murs 
17. The Chills - Wet Blanket 
18. The Chills - I Think I’d Thought I’d Nothing Else To Think About 
19. Dear Vandal - A Ripple in the Pond 
20. Brainrust - Schizoid Embolism 
21. Autogramm - Born Losers 
22. Native Cats - My Risks is My Art 
23. The Fruit Tones - MSG 
24. Bloodshot Bill - Tell Me To Go 
25. James Brown - Stone to the Bone 

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the November 25 file to download/stream the episode. 

For those keeping track, Show 1015, which aired on December 2nd was a rerun of episode 1014 from the week before. You can find that playlist and download/stream link to the episode in this post.