Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bob Dylan & The Band The Basement Tapes Unravelled & Show # 548


After the hectic and controversial live shows during his “Dylan goes electric” phase in which Bob Dylan switched from a one man acoustic folk artist to an artist with a full out rock and roll combo, everything came to a halt after an incident in 1966. In July 1966, Bob Dylan was said to be involved in a motorcycle accident, which in turn caused the cancelation of scheduled live shows and a step back from the public eye that seemed to be watching his every move.

Prior to the incident with his motorcycle, Dylan was playing a series of live dates with his backing band The Hawks, he was working on a manuscript for a book entitled Tarantula, he was assisting with the direction/editing of a documentary of his 1966 world tour entitled Eat The Document and there were recording contract/publishing issues that Dylan was dealing with. To add on top of that Dylan also welcomed the birth of his son, Jesse. Following his accident in July of 1966, Dylan sought solace in West Saugerties, New York and from roughly June-October 1967 The Basement Tapes Sessions were recorded.

The Hawks sans drummer Levon Helm, who was working on an oil rig, were recruited for the Basement Tapes Sessions. For inspiration, Dylan looked to music from the past, which would in turn influence the present in a time when the world of music was dominated by a kaleidoscope of psychedelic music. The sessions featured rearranged traditional folk songs, blues, country and several roots rock songs as starting points. In addition to covers, original material presented itself and those songs were also recording during these sessions. The sessions were recorded with no expectations. The recordings that were made during this time were not initially meant for release officially and for many decades they were not. Garth Hudson, The Band’s organist, recorded the sessions although at the time they were not yet referred to as The Band, they were still The Hawks. It was also during this time that the once raucous R&B driven Hawks began to develop the foundation for the music that would be created by The Band.

In October 1967, fourteen Basement Tapes songs and made available for so that other artists could cover them. The result was a series of successful covers of these songs by other artists, but it was during this time that the mythic quality of these songs grew in status. People wanted to hear the real thing. As copies were distributed, reports began appearing in a variety of music magazines, which added more of an awe and interest in the music that was created with Dylan and The Band during this time.

In October, Dylan began work on a new album featuring stripped down acoustic performances that would become known as John Wesley Harding. Around this time The Hawks drummer Levon Helm returned and joined the Basement Tapes Sessions. Additionally, It was also during this time that The Hawks began to really find their own voice and they would eventually settle on the name The Band. They would take their newfound style and release their album Music From Big Pink in 1968. An album named after the location where a large majority of the recordings during The Basement Tapes took place. It was also in 1969 when what is considered the first rock bootleg became available to the public. The Great White Wonder spearheaded the bootleg music industry and featured material from The Basement Tapes Sessions, material recorded by Dylan in 1961 and on The Johnny Cash Show.

In 1975, The Band culled sixteen tracks from The Basement Tapes reels and overdubs were added. Additionally, eight original Band recordings made specifically for this release were added to the mix. The Basement Tapes from 1975 featured a rough, yet more concise representation of the songs made in 1967 with Dylan. But even though a greater picture was presented, it still added to the desire to hear the original recordings from 1967 in a larger context. Bootlegs appeared in a variety of forms throughout 1969 up until about 2001 when the A Tree With Roots: The Genuine Basement Tapes appeared. Several songs also appeared on Dylan’s own official Bootleg Series releases. In 2014, all of the surviving and salvageable recordings from these much talked about months in 1967 were put together as The Bootleg Series Volume 11: The Complete Basement Tapes. The recordings were made available in a six CD box set and in other more abbreviated collections.

Despite withdrawing from the public and keeping a lower profile during this time period in his career, a mythic like quality was built up around Dylan at this time. It only helped to add to the ever-changing character of who Bob Dylan was. Never one to follow popular trends, Dylan always did his own thing and in 1967 his music changed again. Now even with the tapes being released officially, the songs created during this time, which “summon sea chanteys, drinking songs, tall tales, and early rock and roll” as stated by Greil Marcus in the 1975 Basement Tapes liner notes are like a ubiquitous musical text or document. However, that mythic quality that first presented itself decades ago still remains. This triumph led Bob Dylan down a different path in the road. It was a path that was not predictable to others, one that could change direction at any time and one that he is still riding.

The Basement Tapes Play List:

1. 900 Miles From My Home (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
2. One Too Many Mornings (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
3. Bells Of Rhymney (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
4. Under Control (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
5. This Wheels On Fire l(The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
6. Open The Door Homer (Take 1) (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
7. Tears Of Rage (Take 1) (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
8. Tupelo (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
9. Kickin' My Dog Around (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
10. See You Later Allan Ginsberg (Take 1) (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
11. See You Later Allan Ginsberg (Take 2) (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
12. I'm Your Teenager Prayer (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
13. Song For Canada (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
14. Don't Ya Tell Henry (The Basement Tapes - 1975)
15. Don't Ya Tell Henry (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
16. Apple Suckling Tree (Take 2) (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
17. Lo And Behold! (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
18. Sign On The Cross (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
19. Belshazzar (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete – 2014)
20. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Take 2) (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
21. Bonnie Ship The Diamond (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
22. Million Dollar Bash (Take 2) (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
23. Odds & Ends (Take 2) (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
24. Instrumental Jam (Even A Tomato) (A Tree With Roots - The Genuine Basement Tapes – 2001)
25. I'm Not There (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)
26. I Shall Be Released (Take 1) (The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 - The Basement Tapes Complete - 2014)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 21. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Actual Water Calls 4 Fun & Show # 547


Toronto’s Actual Water released their most recent full-length album Call 4 Fun in the summer of 2014. Like the band’s previous efforts it offers something different, some say this is their most realized effort to date. On Call 4 Fun, Actual Water fills an album of nine tracks with power pop sounds from the 60’s, 70’s and also attaches elements of punk, garage rock and 90s Halifax oriented rock ala Thrush Hermit and Eric’s Trip. The album is not a carbon copy of the aforementioned influences, instead they serve as reference points throughout this twenty-three minute trip. Lyrically, the album operates on a completely different level at times, but more on that later.

“Take The Stairs” opens Call 4 Fun with its jagged power pop punk complete with smooth melodic rollicking basslines and strong vocal melodies. Lyrically the song is a witty comment on overweight North American societies as the lyrics state “When you go anywhere/I bet you never ever, ever take the stairs/You can be whatever you please/But you gotta workout you gotta bend your knees.” The album’s title track “647-445-1141 (Call 4 Fun)” draws melodies and riffs reminiscent of the sounds of 90s Halifax bands Thrush Hermit and Eric’s Trip, without the 90s sounding production, while a song like “Fire On George St” ignites the listener with a Jam meets Exploding Hearts-like pop mod glory. Lyrically the song portrays the anarchy of Toronto’s troubled George St amongst the stop and start riffs and guitar leads and solos. Another song found on Call 4 Fun, is equally short, under two minutes packing pop and punk influenced potency too, it is titled “Three O’ Clock Kids”. As the song develops we hear of disillusioned youths “eating McDonalds” and staying up all night amongst Paul Simonon sounding basslines and garage rhythms. “Power Pop Radio” features loud chunky windmill guitar riffs, while lyrically the song seems to be identifying with some form loneliness.

Elsewhere on Call 4 Fun, we find the songs “Latoya” and “Waldo Jackson”, two characters within the album’s lyrical and musical construct. “Latoya” first appeared in more frenetic form on the B-side of the 2012 She’s A Priest single, a song about Toronto’s The Burger’s Priest establishment. The theme of Toronto and different parts of it appear scattered throughout Call 4 Fun as well. “Latoya” appears here in a steadier, more refined groove. The song tells the story of summer love, driving and a sense of undefined freedom. Musically the song features tambourines, jangly guitar, power chords in a Big Star meets Guided By Voices fashion. “Waldo Jackson” seems to pull from the sounds that Actual Water experimented with musically on their previous album, The Paisley Orchard. The songs lyrics tell the story of Mr. Jackson who seems to be stubborn and so stuck in his own sense of self worth that he prevents himself from having any actual fun. The band does this with their own sense of reverb-drenched satire, as they do throughout the nine-track Call 4 Fun release. The music video for this song features a discussion between the band members Anthony Price and Gary Arthurs as they discuss rock n’ roll music in a different philosophical context.

On Call 4 Fun, Actual Water’s two chief collaborators Anthony Price and Gary Arthurs construct what some might call a power pop, party rock album. Musically there is a blurry, undefined line somewhere between Nick Lowe, Thrush Hermit and garage rock. The album’s cover provides even more clues as we see images of Ringo Starr, The Strokes, a Lou Reed 8-track cassette, Paul Weller, Bob Dylan and a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey, among other paraphernalia. On the surface the album’s lyrics seem to convey the simplicity of a party atmosphere, but there is also a certain mysteriousness that seeps into the songs found here. To coin a term from the “Waldo Jackson” video there are many different verbal arpeggios found on this album. Underneath the surface for those that listen a bit closer there could be another message entirely for listeners to discover under the album’s nine-song guise.

Saturday Night Toronto Play List:

1. A Neon Rome - The Magical Summer Of 85 (New Heroin - 1987)
2. Cardboard Brains - Living Inside My Head (White EP - 1977)
3. Death From Above 1979 - Black History Month (You're A Woman, I'm A Machine - 2004)
4. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Get Pumped Up (Gates Of Hell - 2014)
5. Supreme Bagg Team - If You Could Read My Mind (The Supreme Bagg Team - 1989)
7. PONY - Somethin’ About You (Somethin' About You - 2013)
8. Mexican Slang - Double Trouble (Twerp EP - 2013)
9. The Secrets - Crying Over Her (Wyld Canada Volume 1: Crazy Things - 2005)
10. Canadian Squires - Leave Me Alone (Wyld Canada Volume 3: Endless Dream - 2005)
11. Bobby Kris & The Imperials - A Year From Today (She Belongs To Me/A Year From Today - 1966)
12. Buddy Burke & The Canadian Meteors - That Big Old Moon (That Big Old Moon/Street Of Sorrows - 1957)
13 Jay Sad - Noodle & Egg (Jay Sad Goes - 2009)
14. Papermaps - There Are Wolves (Interior Ghost EP - 2012)
15. Change Of Heart - There You Go (Smile - 1992)
16. Actual Water - Floorboard Speculation (Double Negatives - 2008)
17. Actual Water - Brighton (The Paisley Orchard - 2010)
18. Actual Water - Take The Stairs (Call 4 Fun - 2014)
18. Actual Water - 647-445-1141 (Call 4 Fun) (Call 4 Fun - 2014)
19. Actual Water - Waldo Jackson (Call 4 Fun - 2014)
20. The Viletones - Screaming Fist (Screaming Fist EP - 1977)
21. No Hands - Conquerors (Conquerors/Dirty Water - 2015)
22. Leather Uppers - Carne Mysterioso (Carne Mysterioso - 1993)
23. Arson - Coho Coho (Smash The State: Volume One - 1994)
24. The Government - Flat Tire (The 33 1/3 EP - 1979)
25. The Fits - Bored Of Education (Smash The State: Volume One - 1994)
26. The Diodes - Tennis (Again) (Tired Of Waking Up Tired: The Best Of The Diodes - 1998)
27. Teenanger - Frights (Frights - 2011)
28. Pow Wows - Hidden Future (Broken Curses - 2015)
29. The Ugly Ducklings - Hey Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut (Somewhere Outside - 1966)
30. The Underworld - Love 22 (Unreleased Single - 1968)
31. The Ardels - Piece Of Jewelery (Wyld Canada Volume 2: Shake Yourself Down - 2005)
32. Handsome Ned - One Hundred Miles Of Open Road (The Name Is Ned: Anthology - 2000)
33. Hooded Fang - Too Late Night (Album - 2010)
34. The Poles - CN Tower (CN Tower/Prime Time - 1977)
35. Zro4 - Gimme Attention (Punk History Canada Presents: Only In Canada, Eh 77-81 Volume 1 - 2005)
36. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Zombie Compromise (Savvy Show Stoppers - 1988)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 14. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Chuck Berry Maybellene & Show # 546


When Chuck Berry released his first single Maybellene on Chess Records in July of 1955, North America (and the rest of the world for that matter) was a very different place. Colour TV was still a relatively new thing and not many people owned one. The culture was also a very different place, there was no such thing as a Compact Disc, computers were large over-sized contraptions, the internet was not even in existence yet, America was dominated by fast car counterculture and it was in a state of transition.

After playing in local bands in St. Louis, Missouri most notably the Johnnie Johnson Trio, Chuck Berry had a chance meeting with one of his musical influences when he took a trip to Chicago. Chuck met Muddy Waters who in turn suggested he go see Leonard Chess. After recording a demo tape, the song “Ida May” was seen as potential commercial hit at the time. The song was loosely based on the song “Ida Red” which was one of the many songs Berry had played prior to this and was best known at the time for being recorded by Bob Willis & His Texas Playboys in 1938. This song had roots in country as well as featuring Berry’s R&B dynamics. This was something that set Chuck Berry apart from others in those early days in the mid fifties, he mixed elements of country and western music with blues that appealed to audiences. The song’s lyrics were adjusted and its title was changed to “Maybellene”. Its title was rumoured to have come from either a discarded mascara box laying on the floor of Chess studios or from a cartoon cow that Berry remembered from a third grade reader. Regardless, “Maybellene” became a sensation being played across radio stations in the US and jukeboxes alike. It also charted on the rhythm & blues and pop charts of the day. Maybellene sold one million copies by the end of 1955.

The B-side of this single “Wee Wee Hours” was a blues track that showcased a slower blues groove with smooth vocals provided by Chuck Berry and piano work by Johnnie Johnson. It should also be noted that although this bluesier track was released on this single for Chess Records who were known for their blues recordings, Leonard Chess was more interested in the fast paced A-side “Maybellene”. The single tapped into the popular culture at the time as it moved along with a locomotive rhythm doused in country and western and blues influences. The lyrics told the story of a young man chasing his unfaithful girlfriend around in his V8 Ford. This song helped to lay the foundation of rock n’ roll music, Berry is one of the pioneers in this sound. Just as new technology was on the rise and would soon be featured in every living room in America, Chuck Berry helped to start and establish the wild beat of rock n’ roll music that would influence music for decades of the future generations to come.



Saturday Night Play List:

1. Chuck Berry - Reelin' And Rockin' (Alternate Version) (Five Classic Albums Plus Bonus Singles And Rare Tracks - 2012)
2. Chuck Berry - Thirty Days (To Come Back Home) (Thirty Days/Together - 1955)
3. Otis Redding - Satisfaction (Otis Blue - 1965)
3. T-Bone Walker - You’re My Best Poker Hand (Midnight Blues - 2014)
4. Robert Petway - Catfish Blues (Catfish Blues/Ride 'Em On Down - 1941)
5. Robert Johnson - Me And The Devil Blues (King Of The Delta Blues Singers - 1961)
6. Muddy Waters - Big Leg Woman (Folk Singer - 1965)
7. Andre Williams - I Still Love You (Jailhouse Blues/I Still Love You - 1958)
8. Joe Weaver & His Blue Note Orchestra - Cool As A Cucumber (Going Back To Chicago/Cool As A Cucumber - 1956)
9. Joe Tex - You Said A Bad Word (I Gotcha - 1972)
10. D'Angelo And His Vanguard - 1000 Deaths (Black Messiah - 2014)
11. Prince - Partyup (Dirty Mind - 1980)
12. Tricky - Black Steel (Maxinquaye - 1995)
13. Clancy Eccles - Bangarang Crash (Bangarang Crash/Deacon Don - 1968)
14. Charlie Parker - K.C. Blues (The Essential Charlie Parker - 1992)
15. Matana Roberts - Was The Sacred Day (Coin Coin Chapter Two:  Mississippi Moonchile - 2013)
16. Jelly Roll Morton - Winin' Boy Blues (Winin' Boy Blues/Honky Tonk Music - 1938)
17. The Marvelettes - Locking Up My Heart (Locking Up My Heart/Forever - 1963)
18. The Gories - Charm Bag (House Rockin' - 1989)
19. Death - You’re A Prisoner (... For The Whole World To See - 2009)
20. Staff Benda Bilili - Je T'aime (Tres Tres Fort - 2009)
21. Chuck Berry - Viva Viva Rock and Roll (San Francisco Dues - 1971)
22. Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode (Alternate Take 2 & 3) (Johnny B. Goode:  His Complete Chess Recordings - 2008)
23. Chuck Berry - I Wanna Be Your Driver (Chuck Berry In London - 1965)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 7. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Waterloo Persuasion & Show # 545

The Black Angels - Waterloo Waltz

“Waterloo Waltz” is a heavy psychedelic track recorded by the Austin, Texas band The Black Angels for inclusion on the Riley Hawk: Northwest Blow Out EP. Released for free download by Scion AV, the tracks on the EP will accompany an upcoming video series by skateboarder Riley Hawk. Titled Scion X Riley Hawk: Driven, the video series will feature Hawk and The Shep Dawgs visiting their favourite skate parks in the Pacific Northwest. Download the EP for free here.



R.E.M. - Pretty Persuasion

“Pretty Persuasion” is a song from the 1984 album Reckoning by Athens, Georgia band R.E.M. The song displays slow melodic post punk influenced basslines amongst Peter Buck’s jangly guitar rhythms and darker lyrical content from vocalist Michael Stipe, which seems to dominate this release. This album was recorded over the course of sixteen days in December 1983-January 1984 at Reflection Sound Studio in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mitch Easter and Don Dixon, who produced R.E.M.’s first album Murmur, produced this album in a way to capture the band’s live sound. Binaural recording techniques were also used during the recording process for this purpose. Additionally, a short film was made entitled Left Of Reckoning by Athens filmmaker James Herbert. The short film covers the first five songs on Reckoning in a non-traditional style featuring slow motion footage, close-ups and the use of rephotography that was utilized during the edition process of the film.



Saturday Night Play List:

1. The Raevins - The Edge Of Time
2. The Nocturnals - Detroit
3. The Black Angels - Waterloo Waltz
4. The Go-Betweens - Lee Remick
5. Reverend Horton Heat - Bales Of Cocaine
6. Run Coyote - Stranger (In My Own Home)
7. Peter Doherty - Broken Love Song
8. Muelkik - Savage Company
9. Energy Slime - Bustin’ Up
10. Nocturnal Projectors - Moving Forward
11. Five Pound Snap - I Tell Myself
12. Buzzcocks - Don’t Mess Me Around
13. Guided By Voices - Fly Into Ashes
14. REM - Pretty Persuasion
15. Reigning Sound - Falling Rain
16. The Prehistoric Cave Strokers - Make You Mine
17. The Velvet Underground - There She Goes Again (Live)
18. The Pointed Sticks - My Little Red Book (Live 1980)
19. The Gruesomes - Cry In The Night
20. Johnny & The Canadians - A Million Tears Ago
21. Light Bulb Alley - Roll Over Hang Over
22. The Bell Peppers - Rhinestone Rock
23. The Unusuals - Saving My Best
24. Jets - Original Terminal
25. The Dark - John Wayne
26. Subway Sect - Watching The Devil (BBC Session)
27. The Cramps - Beautiful Gardens
28. The Damned - Melody Lee
29. Richard Hell - You Gotta Lose (Live at CBGB 1978 with Elvis Costello)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for January 31. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Coming Up On Revolution Rock in February 2015!

February is theme month once again for Revolution Rock. I will be doing a different themed program for each of the four weeks in February 2015. Each program will air on a Saturday from 7-9 PM and can be streamed/listened to online via www.cjam.ca or on the FM dial at 99.1 FM in the Windsor/Detroit area.

Here is the scheduled line up:

Rock & Roll Music: Revolution Rock Celebrates Black History Month
February 7th, 2015
7-9 PM
CJAM 99.1 FM (www.cjam.ca)

As with every February, Revolution Rock celebrates Black History Month. This year the program will delve into genres that are not always played on the program such as jazz, reggae, funk, blues, R&B, as well as a mix of some garage and everything in between. Join Dave Konstantino and co-host Adam Peltier for this program that will also feature a focus on the music of Chuck Berry. Being a pioneer of rock music, the program will showcase a selection of Chuck Berry recordings from 1957-1979.

Toronto Then and Now
February 14th, 2015
7-9 PM
CJAM 99.1 FM (www.cjam.ca)

Toronto’s Actual Water has been releasing music of differing genres since 2008. Revolution Rock will feature a selection of recordings from this band’s catalog which spans the genres of noise pop, post punk, post-rock, paisley garage jangle pop and most recently the band's foray into power pop on their album Call 4 Fun. In addition to music from Actual Water, the show will also showcase music from Toronto, Ontario’s past and present with garage rock and punk as a main focus.


Unravelling The Basement Tapes
February 21st, 2015
7-9 PM
CJAM 99.1 FM (www.cjam.ca)

In 1967, Bob Dylan and a group of musicians that would eventually be known as The Band began recording what would be known as The Basement Tapes. The sessions, which ran from approximately May - October of 1967 occurred after Dylan had withdrawn himself from his Woodstock home and following his motorcycle accident in July 1966. Recorded in a house known as Big Pink, songs from these sessions would be bootlegged for decades. Join Dave Konstantino and co-host Adam Peltier as they dig deep into the recently released Bootleg Series volume 11, which compiles a plethora of previously unreleased and greatly sought after recordings from the legendary Basement Tapes Sessions that Bob Dylan recorded with The Band in 1967.

Surfbeat: Revolution Surf (The 9th Edition)
February 28th, 2015
7-9 PM
CJAM 99.1 FM (www.cjam.ca)

The February 28th edition of Revolution Rock continues its tradition featuring a program composed entirely of surf music. This year’s program will feature another guest segment from Derk Brigante of The Surfphony Of Derstruction 2000 as we feature selections of sleazy surf tracks. The 9th edition of Revolution Surf will also feature a focus on the album Surfbeat by LA’s The Challengers. Recorded in a whirlwind 3 ½ hour session, Surfbeat was originally released in January of 1963. This album is notable for its historical importance of helping to bring surf music from the west coast into the mainstream subconscious. It is known as the best-selling instrumental surf album of all time.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Viet Cong & Show # 544


Viet Cong’s debut self-titled album starts off with “Newspaper Spoons” featuring distorted pounding drums, while reverb vocals penetrate the listener’s subconscious. As the song picks up we hear an icy fuzz pedal that provides a stinging intensity to the song. Towards the end of this track, a synthesizer creeps in and ends the song on a beautiful, somewhat celestial note. The band’s sound has been described as having a post-punk influence and while that is obvious, the remnants of the sounds of Gang Of Four, The Jesus & The Mary Chain, Wire, The Pop Group, This Heat, Joy Division and New Order creep in among this album’s seven-song landscape. Cited as a “winter” album, Viet Cong also takes on an almost industrial aesthetic.

“March of Progress" starts off with an electronic sounding drum pattern, echoing the distorted rhythms of the album’s opening track before a strong melody creeps in with stereo bouncing guitar arpeggios that sound as if they are being played on unplugged instruments. The song shows glimpses of melodies that until this point seem lost amongst the jagged, iced rhythms. Vocalist/bassist Matt Fiegel pours out an impassioned vocal melody near the song's end in between a propelling bassline with lyrics that state “What is the difference between love and hate/We build the buildings and they’re built to break”. This is somewhat appropriate because with each track found here, Viet Cong literally builds and then deconstructs their sound.

“Bunker Buster” appears here in an array of jagged post-punk guitar riffs that bounce back and forth between your speakers in stereoscope. The sounds on this track could be described as Gang Of Four meets Station To Station-era David Bowie. “Continental Shelf” was the first single released for this album back in October 2014. This menacing track could perhaps be best described by the visuals provided by the music video created for this song. In the video a man in a space suit travels through a building as a silver suitcase looms with mysterious smoke pillowing out of it. 80s styled navigation graphics cut in and out, as the character gets closer, the suitcase reveals itself to be rather like a more extreme version of what was found at the end the film noir Kiss Me Deadly. On the surface, some may see Viet Cong’s self-titled album as just that, another album by a band that delves deep into their influences. But when you look closer the contents of this album prove to be mysterious, alluring, dark and at times explosive.

“Silhouettes” attacks with up-tempo venom, downplayed with darker sounding bass and vocals as the lyrics “There is no connection left in your head” reverberate within the song's instrumentation. “Death” ends the album appropriately, but in epic proportions. This song is fitting in terms of the subject matter found throughout this release, but it is also notable for melding a series of the band’s influences. This song progresses like an automobile moving through a tunnel on grainy film. It combines the band’s post punk, industrial soundscapes and pop influences all in one. The song ends in a series of aggressive attacks, smooth melodies and dissonance.

Viet Cong is different than its predecessor. The seven song EP entitled Cassette released in 2013, displayed elements of the sounds that would be found on Viet Cong, but on a smaller scale. This album also sets Viet Cong apart from their past. Prior to this album, two of Viet Cong’s members (Matt Fiegel, Mike Wallace) were a part of the band known as Woman. After releasing two albums, Woman split in 2010 and the band ended ultimately with the untimely death of guitarist Christopher Reimer in 2012. When looking at the image on the cover of Viet Cong, we see what appears to be scissors cutting a wrapped up bandaged hand. With seven songs, Calgary’s Viet Cong exposes us to something new as the other hand is revealed.

Saturday's Play List:

1. Dee Dee Ramone - Bad Little Go-Go Girl
2. The Jam - Set The House Ablaze
3. The Fall - Mr.Pharmacist
4. Blitzen Trapper - To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)
5. The New Pornographers - Another Drug Deal Of The Heart
6. Mike Watt & The Missingmen - Up To My Neck In This
7. Manic Street Preachers - Revol
8. Paul Jacobs - Sharp Dress
9. The Missing Lynx With Lloyd J - 13 Reasons
10. Crododiles - Picture My Face
11. James O-L & The Villains - The Old And The New
12. Silent Movie Type - Souvenirs
13. Orphan Choir - Gene Tierney
14. The Lemonheads - Pittsburgh
16. Viet Cong - Silhouettes
17. Women - Locust Valley
18. Chad Vangaalen - Leaning On Bells
19. Viet Cong - Newspaper Spoons
20. The Government - Portrait
21. The Radiators - Contact
22. The Adverts - My Place
23. Sleater-Kinney - No Anthems
24. Iggy & The Stooges - Till The End Of The Night (Detroit Rehearsals Spring 1973)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for January 24. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Unseen Green Obscene & Show # 543


Christian Bland & The Revelators released their third album, The Unseen Green Obscene in the summer of 2014. The album continues Bland’s trend of digging into mid 60s garage and psychedelia nugget styled sounds. On this release he pays tribute to many of his influences, wearing them on his sleeve. “Syd Barrett Blues”, “Diddley Stomp” and “Brian Wilson” all echo Bland’s influences through his own psychedelic filter. Elements of The Black Angels, Bland’s main band are heard sporadically throughout this release, but The Unseen Green Obscene shows Christian Bland & The Revelators standing on their own. Songs such as “The Last Summer” drip with echoes of reverb, the sounds of 13th Floor Elevators and The Beach Boys, “Daughters Of The Sun” is a six minute drone featuring reverberations blurring the lines of psychedelia and The Cramps, and “Gnostic Blues” features crunchy guitar fuzz and sliding basslines. Bland pays homage to his love of reverb literally, with the sounds explored on “The Reverberation Appreciation Society” with the lyrics and its title. It is also the name of his own label. In a fuzzed out fashion, The Revelators pay tribute to their love of motorcycles on the track “CB160”.

“Alone In Deer Park” is a lethargic trip, which reveals a haunting melody amongst the guitar lines that sound like they are from a 60s horror film, just before the enemy attacks. “Lifeboat” ends the album in a psychedelic folk fashion. At times the vocals on this track and on several others reflect a distance or disconnect from the songs. This is something that is noticeable on The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, but on this album Christian Bland & The Revelators combine this with sunnier sounding rhythms and dark lyrics for dramatic effect. The album’s artwork features a combination of white, red and green colours, which look like they could be abstract sound waves or birds, The Unseen Green Obscene takes flight in a wave of sounds. The sounds on this album separate this band from Bland’s other projects, most notably The Black Angels who do incorporate all the elements mentioned here, but they also seem to a attach a different type of heaviness to their music. The Unseen Green Obscene shows Bland taking his songwriting to a different place. The songs found here take us to a place that blurs the lines that we have known, a rearranging if you will. The Unseen Green Obscene takes us somewhere in between.


Saturday Night Play List:

1. Christian Bland & The Revelators - Gnostic Blues
2. UFO Club - Wolfman
3. Kid Congo Powers - Haunted Head
4. The Echo Bombs - King Of Uncool
5. Run Coyote - Only Human
6. Guitar Army - Cruel World
7. The Stray Cats - Built For Speed
8. Paul Camplain - Nicotine
9. The Pretty Things - Get Yourself Home
10. The Black Delta Movement - Ivory Shakes
11. The Aquadolls - Tweaker Kidz
12. The Ketamines - Stay Awake
13. Modern Vices - Keep Me Under Your Arms
14. The Mandates - Wastin’ Time
15. Butthole Surfers - Sea Ferring
16. Scratch Acid - The Greatest Gift
17. The Dirty Nil - Cinnamon
18. Viet Cong - Pointless Experience
19. The Nelsons - Never Hated Fun
20. Those Rogues - Wish I Could See You Again
21. Bradfords - Together We Have Stayed
22. Dum Dum Girls - Bhang Bhang, I”m A Burnout
23. Tire Swing Co. - Happy Valentines Day
24. Beastie Boys - Something’s Got To Give
25. Generation X - Stars Look Down
26. The Hot Nasties - This Is Unlove
27. The Dirty Pretty Things - Deadwood
28. The Libertines - The Delaney
29. The Libertines - The Boys In The Band
30. The Velvet Underground - European Son (Alternate Version)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for January 17. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.