Saturday, February 11, 2017

John Lee Hooker On Campus & Show # 644

John Lee Hooker has many albums. On Campus is one of many albums that Hooker has released. In fact this album was released under three different titles. There is the 1963 album On Campus, I Shout The Blues and Big Band Blues. All issued on different labels. So what makes this album so different from other Hooker albums? Selected at random for the purposes of this radio show, On Campus shows the record company at the time attempting to smooth out and modernize Hooker’s gritty blues sound. However, the music that is underneath the productions shines through. The album is filled with many soulful blues tracks which are, despite the album’s title, not live.

Born in Mississippi in 1912, John Lee Hooker was an American blues singer, guitarist and songwriter. After working a variety of factory jobs during World War II, John Lee Hooker moved to Detroit when he got a job at the Ford Motor Company. He became immersed in the Detroit music scene, playing bars and blues clubs. Hooker would record a large amount of music during his long career, often recording under different names for different labels and reworking his songs. With a song style based on the Delta blues, he incorporated elements of North Mississippi Hill country blues, talking blues and piano driven boogie-woogie music. As a result, Hooker came up with his own rhythmic style. Some of his early gritty blues songs that he’s known for are songs such as “Boogie Chillen”, “Crawling King Snake”, “Boom Boom”, and “It Serves You Right (To Suffer)”.

On Campus starts off with the blues song “I’m Leaving”, featuring sliding blues licks, piano, shuffling drums and scratchy guitars. Lyrically with words such as “I’m cutting out this morning” Hooker seems to be singing not only of a woman that he wants to get away from, but perhaps also his current situation. This record, as mentioned earlier, attempts to clean up Hooker’s early sound. However, while Hooker may be leaving an earlier production style, he is also venturing into another. On Campus added more soul with back up singers and horn sections that sweat with the music. Recorded in Chicago over two sessions, On Campus also featured more rough blues songs such as “I Want To Ramble”, “Half A Stranger”, “My Grinding Mill” and “Bottle Up and Go”. These songs are balanced with the other more soulful ballad-type songs throughout On Campus.

“Don’t Look Back” stands out amongst the other songs on this album. A song that has a slow, heavy groove, “Don’t Look Back” has a nostalgic feeling, while the lyrics convey something different. They dismiss the nostalgia and call for a need to keep moving forward. Ironically, this song was re-recorded again in 1998 with Van Morrison. Morrison also performed this song as a duet with Hooker, in addition to producing it. Prior to this, Van Morrison also covered “Don’t Look Back” with his first band, Them. In 1998, it won a Grammy Award.

John Lee Hooker has released many albums, but with On Campus, Hooker stepped out into the beginnings of a broader world of music. He would walk this path for quite sometime, often collaborating with other musicians. Hooker began to take steps forward with On Campus, not necessarily looking back, but not forgetting where he came from as he moved forward.

The Playlist:

1. Muddy Waters - I Got My Brand On You (Muddy Waters At Newport 1960 - 1960)
2. Chuck Berry - Reelin' And Rockin' (Takes 7 & 8) (Johnny B Goode (His Complete 50's Chess Recordings) - 2007)
3. The Contours - Can You Do It (Dance With The Contours - 2011)
4. Steve Mancha - Need To Be Needed (Detroit Soulman - 2000)
5. Gino Washington - Gino is a Coward (Out of This World - 1999)
6. R.L. Burnside - Jumper On The Line (The Rough Guide To Delta Blues - 2002)
7. The Unique Quartet - Mama's Black Baby Boy (American Pop: An Audio History - 2000)
8. Josh White - Uncle Sam Says (Let Freedom Sing! - 2009)
9. Elmore James - (My) Bleeding Heart (Bleeding Heart - 1965)
10. Ray Charles - Sinner's Prayer (Ray Charles - 1967)
11. John Lee Hooker - I'm Leaving (On Campus - 1963)
12. John Lee Hooker- Don't Look Back (On Campus - 1963)
13. Frankie "Sugar Chile" Robinson - Caldonia (Frankie "Sugar Chile" Robinson 1949-1952 - 2003)
14. Frankie "Sugar Chile" Robinson - I'll Eat My Spinach (Frankie "Sugar Chile" Robinson 1949-1953 - 2003)
15. Shorty Long - Here Comes The Judge (The Essential Collection - 2000)
16. The Contours - Whole Lotta Woman (The Sound of Detroit (Original Gems From The Motown Vaults) - 2012)
17. Nina Simone - Pirate Jenny (Nina Simone in Concert - 1964)
18. Ike & Tina Turner - Mojo Queen (It's Gonna Work Out Fine - 1963)
19. Eddie Bo - Hook & Sling (Hook & Sling - 1969)
20. Roy Ward - Horse With A Freeze (Horse With A Freeze - 1968)
21. Lucky Laws - I'm Not Teasing (Jerk Boom Bam! Vol 8 - 2013)
22. Booker T & The M.G.'s - It's Your Thing (The Booker T Set - 1969)
23. Booker T Jones - Rent Party (The Road From Memphis - 2011)
24. The Contours - He Couldn't Do The Cross Fire (Dance With The Contours - 2011)
25. The Fantastic Four - Don't Risk Your Happines On Foolishness (Alvin Stone (The Birth and Death Of A Gangster) - 1975)
26. John Lee Hooker - Birmingham Blues (On Campus - 1963)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 11.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Skip's Song: The music of Alexander Lee "Skip" Spence & Show # 643

There is a story about Skip Spence that in 1968, following his exit from Bellevue Hospital, where he was committed after some bad acid trips and an incident involving a fire axe. He was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, however following his six months in Bellevue he got on his motorcycle and drove down to Nashville to record his first and only solo album. The story also states that he exited Bellevue in his pajamas and then drove immediately to Nashville. Whether or not this is completely true or just a myth has never been completely confirmed. But, one thing is true Spence did record music in Nashville. It would eventually be released as Oar in 1969.

Alexander Lee “Skip” Spence was born in Windsor, Ontario on April 14th, 1946. In the late 1950s, Spence’s family relocated. In the 60s, Skip Spence became involved in the San Francisco psychedelic music scene. He was an early member of the Quicksilver Messenger Service and despite being a guitarist, was asked to be the drummer in pioneering psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane. Chosen because apparently he looked the part, Spence drummed on the band’s 1966 debut album Jefferson Airplane Takes Off and had a few writing credits with the band. However, he was not in the band long. Shortly after this, he returned to guitar and co-founded Moby Grape. The band would release two full-length albums with Spence and despite the attraction and interest in the three-guitar driven psychedelia that was Moby Grape, the band never really took off in the mainstream. While recording Moby Grape’s second album Wow, Spence showed up at the hotel room of Moby Grape drummer Don Stevenson with a fire axe. He chopped down the door, but Stevenson was at the recording studio. Spence with axe in hand went to the studio and the situation was diffused. But, Spence was never really the same.

Recorded in Nashville in December of 1968, Spence put down the tracks to his songs quickly and played all of the instruments on them. Musically, the album was a mix of folk, country and a bit of psychedelia. The songs were for the most part stories that dealt with many themes of the battle between angels and demons. They were crafted in a way that they serve as folktales, with the characters searching for a deeper meaning. And while it is obvious that the circumstances that preceded this recording were influential on the songs, they aren’t everything that the songs are about. “Cripple Creek” is an almost murder ballad type song. Sung in a lower register, the song tells the story of someone visited by an angel that embarks on a surrealistic journey, “Diana” is a bit haphazard, although it is filled with devotion and anticipation in the lyrics, while “Weighted Down (The Prison Song)" takes on an immediate, mellow country-folk influence. The song is most likely influenced by the isolation that Spence experienced in Bellevue, however, it is woven into a narrative that appears throughout this album.

“War In Peace” has been called a resurrection hymn that dips into psychedelia, with electric guitar and various sound effects, “All Come To Meet Her” is surrounded by a more laidback Moby Grape vibe, as “Books of Moses” reflects on past mistakes telling a tale of battles between angels and demons, complete with thunder, rain and hammering sound effects. “Dixie Peach Promenade” continues the same country-folk vibes as “Weighted Down (The Prison Song)”, but this song shows a sense of hopefulness in the lyrical content, as “Laurence of Euphoria” is a short bouncy track about overcoming troubled times. “Grey/Afro” ends the album, delving into psychedelia complete with off kilter drums and guitars and vocals loaded with effects.

Called “one of psychedelia’s brightest lights”, Alexander Lee “Skip” Spence has drawn comparisons to artists such as Syd Barrett and Roky Erikson, and although there are some similarities, Spence was different from them. Oar stands as an album that is rough around the edges and not over produced. It was apparently supposed to be a collection of demos initially with a full band arrangement to follow, but Columbia Records released Oar as is in May of 1969. It was not promoted by Columbia Records at the time of its release and within a year was deleted from their catalogue. It has since taken on a story of its own. It has its own myth that is surrounded in mystery that draws in listeners. Whether or not it was intended to be demos, Oar has taken on its own life as a result of the journey it took Spence to arrive to these songs. The songs, while some may say are not all that perfect, show that it is the journey and stories found within these songs that brings listeners to Oar.

Skip Spence Playlist:

1. Moby Grape - Indifference (Live) (Live (Historic Live Moby Grape Performances 1966-1969 - 2009)
2. Jefferson Airplane - Blues From An Airplane (Jefferson Airplane Takes Off - 1966)
3. Skip Spence - Books Of Moses (Oar - 1969)
4. Skip Spence - After Gene Autry (Demo For Columbia Records) (After Gene Autry/Motorcycle Irene - 2009)
5. Moby Grape - Skip's Song (Demo) (The Place and The Time - 2009)
6. Moby Grape - Omaha (Moby Grape - 1967)
7. Mudnoney - War In Peace (More Oar: A Tribute - 1999)
8. Outrageous Cherry - Keep Everything Under Your Hat (More Oar: A Tribute - 1999)
9. Moby Grape - Motorcycle Irene (Wow - 1968)
10. Skip Spence - Doodle (Oar Outtake) (Oar - 1969)
11. Skip Spence - Lawrence of Euphoria (Oar - 1969)
12. Skip Spence - Cripple Creek (Oar - 1969)
13. Skip Spence - All Come To Meet Her (Oar - 1969)
14. Skip Spence - Little Hands (Oar - 1969)
15. Skip Spence - Margaret - Tiger Rug (Oar - 1969)
16. Tom Waits - Books Of Moses (More Oar: A Tribute - 1999)
17. Beck - Halo of Gold (More Oar: A Tribute - 1999)
18. Greg Dulli - Dixie Peach Promenade (More Oar: A Tribute - 1999)
19. Mark Lanegan - Cripple Creek (More Oar: A Tribute - 1999)
20. Jefferson Airplane - It's No Secret (Jefferson Airplane Takes Off - 1966)
21. Moby Grape - The Lake (Grape Jam - 1968)
22. Moby Grape - Funky-Tunk (Wow - 1968)
23. Skip Spence - Land of the Sun (More Oar: A Tribute - 1999)
24. Skip Spence - War In Peace (Oar - 1969)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 4.

Coming Up On Revolution Rock in 2017!

It’s February which means that throughout this month Revolution Rock will devote each episode that airs in February to theme based programming. Dave and co-host Adam have special programming lined up ranging from folk to blues, soul, punk and surf. This year’s themed month programming starts off on February 4th with a program focusing on Windsor born artist, Skip Spence. Revolution Rock airs every Saturday from 7-9 PM on CJAM 99.1 FM in Windsor/Detroit. It can be streamed via and be downloaded via the very same website afterwards.

Here is the scheduled line up:

Skip’s Song: The Music of Alexander Lee “Skip” Spence
February 4th, 2016
7-9 PM
CJAM 99.1 FM (

Alexander Lee “Skip” Spence was born in Windsor, Ontario on April 14th, 1946. In the late 1950s, Spence’s family relocated to San Jose, California. In the 60s, Skip Spence became involved in the San Francisco psychedelic music scene. He was an early member of the Quicksilver Messenger Service and despite being a guitarist, was asked to be the drummer in pioneering psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane. Although he played on the band’s 1966 debut album Jefferson Airplane Takes Off and had a few writing credits with the band, he was not in the band long. Shortly after he returned to guitar and co-founded Moby Grape. Despite the attraction and interest in the three-guitar driven psychedelia that was Moby Grape, the band never really took off in the mainstream. Following a mix of drugs, bad trips and an incident with a fire ax, Skip Spence was committed to Bellevue. He was diagnosed as a Schizophrenic and six months later he drove to Nashville on his motorcycle to record what was to become his only solo album, Oar. On Oar he wrote and performed all of the music. This episode will focus on the music of Oar, which is primarily folk and country driven, along with outtakes, covers and selections from Moby Grape and Jefferson Airplane.

On Campus with John Lee Hooker: Revolution Rock Celebrates Black History Month
February 11th, 2016
7-9 PM
CJAM 99.1 FM (

Born in Mississippi in 1912, John Lee Hooker was an American blues singer, guitarist and songwriter. After working a variety of factory jobs during World War II, John Lee Hooker moved to Detroit when he got a job at the Ford Motor Company. He became immersed in the Detroit music scene, playing bars and blues clubs. Hooker would record a large amount of music during his long career, often recording under different names for different labels and reworking his songs. With a song style based on the Delta blues, he incorporated elements of North Mississippi Hill country blues, talking blues and piano driven boogie-woogie music. As a result, Hooker came up with his own rhythmic style. In 1963, he released On Campus. Recorded in Chicago over two sessions, the album was comprised of originals that were made to sound like a live recording. Also released under two other titles (I Want To Shout The Blues and Big Band Blues) on different labels, On Campus is an example of one of the perhaps lesser known recordings that John Lee Hooker produced. Revolution Rock will feature selections from this 1963 release along with selections from other artists to celebrate Black History Month. Also featured on the program will be guest host Graeme Sylvio of CJAM FM’s Sylvio & Soul program.

L.A.M.F.: Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers Radio Special
February 18th, 2016
7-9 PM
CJAM 99.1 FM (

Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers were formed following the demise of the New York Dolls by Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan. Originally a three-piece band with Richard Hell, the band became a four-piece when Hell left the band and they added guitarist Walter Lure and bassist Billy Rath. They released L.A.M.F. in October of 1977 on Track Records after taking part in the infamous Anarchy Tour in 1976. However, by the time the album was released, the band had broken up. The album itself was plagued by a muddy sound causing it to not receive the recognition it should have at the time. While some thought that maybe it could be the mixing of the album that caused this, it was later revealed that the mastering process of the album muddied up the sound. As a result drummer Jerry Nolan quit the band and for many years, the greatness of one of the most raw rock albums from this era lay hidden underneath waves of muddy sound. In 1994, after going through multiple mixes created on master reels, Jungle Records released L.A.M.F.: The Lost 77 Mixes, a version of the album that restored not only the sound of the album’s intent, but also one that matched up to the band’s live status. In 2012, Jungle Records released L.A.M.F.: The Definitive Edition, a box set compiling demos, the original mix of L.A.M.F. (with the muddiness removed) and alternate mixes. This episode will feature demos dating back to the Heartbreakers days when Richard Hell was still in the band, differing versions of the album, alternate mixes and other rarities focusing on the album that would be known as L.A.M.F.

Revolution Surf: The 11th Edition: An Interview with Don Pyle of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet
February 25th, 2016
7-9 PM
CJAM 99.1 FM (

This year marks the 11th edition of Revolution Surf, a program made up entirely of surf and instrumental music. This year’s episode will feature an exclusive interview with Don Pyle of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet. Beginning in 1984, this band released several DIY singles, were on several compilation albums, soundtracks and would provide their song “Having An Average Weekend” as the theme song to the Canadian sketch comedy show The Kids In The Hall. The band also provided music for each episode of the show and released three full-length albums before their split in 1996. Tune in for this very special episode of Revolution Rock, as we talk with Don Pyle and play a selection of surf and instrumental music from the past and present. Also, featured on this episode will be another guest segment from Derk of The Surfphony of Derstruction 2000, which airs on!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Oblivians, Compulsive Gamblers, Contours & Show # 642

After a 16-year gap in releases, Memphis, Tennessee band The Oblivians released Desperation. Known for mixing garage, punk and solo in a wild and chaotic fashion, The Oblivians featured two guitars, vocals and drums. No bass. Also, all of the band members were writers would switch instruments. The band is made up of Greg Cartwright, Jack Yarber and Eric Friedl. They have since 1997 all gone on to other bands. Greg plays with Reigning Sound, Jack with Jack-O & The Tennessee Tearjerkers and Eric has played with Dutch Masters, The Sons of Thunder in addition to forming/running Goner Records.

In between Desperation and the other projects that the members of The Oblivians have worked with, Greg and Jack reformed an early band they had been a part of, The Compulsive Gamblers. Originally forming in 1993, the band had quite a few changing lineups. They reformed as a three-piece band with Greg and Jack being the only constant members. They released Bluff City in 1999 and what is perhaps their best release, 2000’s Crystal Gazing Luck Amazing. The Compulsive Gamblers disbanded shortly after the release of Crystal Gazing Luck Amazing.

This week’s program featured two parallels. One track from Crystal Gazing Luck Amazing, the garage-blues track rendition of the 1961 Motown single by The Contours “Whole Lotta Woman” and two tracks (“You Better Behave” and “Pinstripe Willie”) from The Oblivians raucous 1996 release Popular Favorites.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. The Feelies - Fa Ce La (Ork Records Single Version)
2. Eraser - I Won't Give Up
3. Cherry Glazerr - Instantgratification
4. Flipper - Ever
5. Subverts - TV Personality
6. Can - Tango Whiskeyman
7. Ty Segall - Papers
8. Skye Wallace - Not Ready For This To Start
9. The Evaporators - Candy
10. Japandroids - No Known Drink Or Drug
11. Could Nothings - Sight Unseen
12. Priests - Appropriate
13. Husker Du - Love Is All Around (Mary Tyler Moore Theme)
14. Ritual Howls - Bound By Light
15. Cellos - Swan Song (Pinball Sessions)
16. Nirvana - Seasons In The Sun (Alt. Mix)
17. Heat - Rose De Lima
18. Litterbug - I Spy
19. The Sadies (Featuring Kurt Vile) - It's Easy (Like Walking)
20. Link Wray - Mustang
21. The Fallouts - Some Fun
22. Young Canadians - Hullabaloo Girls
23. Monomyth - Drinking In Bed In E
24. La Conversion Des Sauvages - Vieil Ivoire
25. Compulsive Gamblers - Whole Lotta Woman
26. The Oblivians - You Better Behave
27. The Oblivians - Pinstripe Willie

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for January 28.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

2016 Highlights & Shows # 638 & # 640

For my best of 2016, things were done a little differently this year. Both me and my co-host picked 20 albums that we liked from 2016 and played our selections across two episodes. You can download these episodes under the playlists below. I’ve included each of our top 20 lists in this post, followed by a little write-up from each of our top five albums that we liked from 2016.

Dave’s Top 20 of 2016:

1. Parquet Courts – Human Performance
2. David Bowie – Black Star
3. Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression
4. Thee Oh Sees – A Weird Exits/An Odd Entrances
5. Preoccupations – Preoccupations
6. Ty Segall – Emotional Mugger
7. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree
8. Shotgun Jimmie – Field Of Trampolines
9. Danny & The Darleans – Bug Out
10. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
11. Kid Congo Powers & The Pink Monkey Birds – La Arana Es La Vida
12. Paul Jacobs – Movies, Pictures & Apartments/I’m Into What You’re Into
13. Young Rival – Strange Light EP
14. Duotang – New Occupation
15. Monomyth – Happy Pop People
16. Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
17. Daniel Romano – King Of Mosey
18. Nap Eyes – Thought Rock Fish Scale
19. Kim Gray – Perfume
20. Snake River – Sun Will Rise

Adam’s Top 20 of 2016:

1. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
2. David Bowie – Blackstar
3. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree
4. Angel Olsen – My Woman
5. Parquet Courts – Human Performance
6. Car Seat Headrest – Destroyed by Hippie Powers
7. White Lung – Paradise
8. Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam – I Had a Dream That You Were Mine
9. Swans – The Glowing Man
10. Jeff Rosenstock – WORRY.
11. Preoccupations - Preoccupations
12. Case/Lang/Veirs - Atomic Number
13. Mitski – Puberty 2
14. Cass McCombs – Mangy Love
15. G.L.O.S.S. - Trans Day of Revenge
16. Kevin Morby – Destoyer
17. Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
18. PJ Harvey – The Hope Six Demolition Project
19. Frankie Cosmos – Next Thing
20. Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression

A few write-ups on a selection of or top 20’s of 2016:

Dave’s Top Five:

1. Parquet Courts – Human Performance

Throughout Human Performance, Parquet Courts draw their lyrical inspirations from urban decay, human emotion and critical thoughts of self-doubt. It is here where the band achieves what people love about them the most. Their highly critical and intellectual lyrics are on par with bands such as Wire, Swells Maps, Pere Ubu, The Modern Lovers, and The Fall, among others. The music found on Human Performance also makes connections to the songs and sounds found on 2013’s Light Up Gold. It is also the complete opposite of 2015’s Monastic Living. This noisy/experimental release featured only one song with lyrics. As Parquet Courts gaze away from their thoughts that reflect a look out in New York City, they make broader strokes, finding a larger scope within their lyrical and musical grasp. With Human Performance, Parquet Courts achieve their most realized effort to date.

2. David Bowie – Blackstar

On January 8th, 2016, Blackstar, Bowie’s 25th full-length album was released. For this album he experimented with elements of jazz and hip hop, among other influences. Blackstar was produced by long time producer Tony Visconti in secret, as was his previous album The Next Day. Many of the themes on Blackstar deal with a man battling his own mortality and fittingly the two music videos released for this album, “Blackstar” and “Lazarus” also reflect these themes. Two days following the release of Blackstar David Bowie passed away after a battle with cancer. Lyrics from “Blackstar”, “Lazarus” and different parts of the album took on different meanings. However, as stated more eloquently in Adam’s post below, “Blackstar is a powerful record and stands, regardless of its connection with the artist’s passing”. Musically, the album is just as fresh and innovative as any of his peak creative periods. With Blackstar, Bowie delivers a compelling album that sucks the listener into the black hole of the musical universe that Bowie has created throughout the 25 albums that he has created. It leaves just as much mystery to his recorded output as anything he has ever released.

3. Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression

Iggy Pop has recently stated that this may very well be his last album. And at 17 albums in and being now 68 years old that is understandable. As the music of the album’s last song “Paraguay” picks up pace with its ending rant, Post Pop-Depression ends with a middle finger, similarly to the way he started with The Stooges. Post-Pop Depression weaves in and out with lyrical content loaded with metaphors, double meanings and musical landscapes that drift between 1877’s The Idiot, Lust For Life and his early solo output. Post-Pop Depression was recorded in the desert in Joshua Tree, California. Perhaps Pop has entered the very same “burning sands” once described in The Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog” or maybe it’s just a mirage. With Post-Pop Depression, Iggy Pop engages the listener and redefines what it means to be a musician and an artist on his own terms.

4. Thee Oh Sees – A Weird Exits

A Weird Exits arrives as a double LP with longer songs that showcase a new range in dynamics for the band. This is the first album to capture Thee Oh Sees new line-up which features two drummers, Ryan Moutinho and Dan Rincon, along with bassist Tim Hellman, who joined Thee Oh Sees in 2014, A Weird Exits produces a new type of groove. Still led by the ever prolific and frontman John Dwyer, Thee Oh Sees vicious and manic live sound is captured here in top form. If 2015’s Mutilator Defeated At Last explored more medieval and folk-like imagery in the songs, A Weird Exits blasts off into outer space, lyrically and musically taking on a cosmic context. While many may say that the sound hasn’t changed that much, Thee Oh Sees music is both undeniably Thee Oh Sees and fresh sounding. With A Weird Exits, Thee Oh Sees focus on a new entry and exit point musically in a way that only they can.

5. Preoccupations – Preoccupations

Preoccupations is the first proper release by the band that previously went by the name Viet Cong. This Canadian band originally from Calgary, Alberta changed their name due to the criticism they received. Following a festival concert that was cancelled in Australia in 2015 and a cancelled date/protest in Oberlin due to their name, it began to affect their ability to play music as a band. The name they chose was a fitting one, Preoccupations. Described as labyrinthine post-punk, Preoccupations was made differently than its predecessor, Viet Cong. This album was made while the band was in a state of transition, changing their name, each of the band members moving to different cities. The songs were put together with no central theme in mind, but several themes did emerge. While the song titles are simple such as “Anxiety”, “Degraded”, “Stimulation” and “Memory”, the music on Preoccupations is an encompassing, complex layer of musical textures that is both unnerving and visceral. Lyrically, the album, as stated on their website, “bears the visceral, personal sound of holding onto some steadiness in the midst of changing everything.” The album art of Preoccupations is simple and basic, made up of lines, repetitive fonts and a simple colour scheme. However, between the lines of this simplicity lies a focused complexity.

Adam’s Top Five:

1. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

Radiohead’s ninth studio record could have ended up a simple clearinghouse for the band’s backlog of unrecorded songs, a slapped together collection of unrealized ideas dating back to their Kid A days. Instead, A Moon Shaped Pool proved itself to be one of the band’s best releases and an album all too reflective of the anxiety, heartbreak, and political uncertainty so many of us faced in 2016. The album evokes a mood of dread and skepticism, tackling issues of state surveillance, environment damage, and the dangers of political apathy. It is perhaps Radiohead’s darkest statement yet, the mournful feel of the record emphasized by its simple piano lines and Johnny Greenwood’s dominant string and choral arrangements. Listening to the percussive string motif on “Burn the Witch” or the moody somnambulist sounds of “Daydreaming,” it’s clear that this is the most baroque Radiohead has ever sounded. Beyond its sociopolitical concerns, the album’s other most recurring themes are love and heartbreak. While not new subjects to the diaspora of pop music, Thom Yorke lends a legitimacy and weight to these songs, no doubt inspired by the separation from his partner of 25 years, Rachel Owen. The sense of loss expressed in “Glass Eyes” and “True Love Waits” is beyond heartbreaking: its tectonic. Yet for all the album's heartbreak and skepticism, the album also offers a degree of hope. In the track “The Numbers,” a song inspired by Rachel Carson’s classic environmental book Silent Spring, Yorke sings that “the future is inside us/Its not somewhere else.” In a year racked with tragedy and the uncertainly for what the next few years will bring our world, Yorke offers a sobering reminder that it is us, individual people, who our the instigators of change. Rather than the labyrinthine rabbit holes and technocratic paranoia the band's efforts were heading towards (into particularly discomforting territory on 2011’s The King of Limbs) A Moon Shaped Pool is the sound of a band waking up and opening to the world around them. More so than being the best record of 2016, this is perhaps the most representative album of the year, and shows why Radiohead are still one of the most important bands out there today.

2. David Bowie – Blackstar

Blackstar is a difficult record in many ways. Its mutant fusion of avant-jazz, experimental rock, and arty electronic music is a clear challenge to fans who still associate Bowie as the guitar wielding androgynous “Ziggy Stardust.” Record producer Tony Viconti confirmed that he and Bowie attempted to avoid rock music’s influence while composing the album, citing a diverse range of electronic and hip-hop artists as principle influences, including Death Grips, Boards of Canada, and Kendrick Lamar. However, the hardest element to reconcile was Blackstar acting as the artist’s swan song, a rumination on his own impending death. It’s been widely publicized that Bowie wrote and recorded Blackstar after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, lending the songs on this record the certain gravity of a man grappling with his own mortality. The shadow of Bowie’s death looms over the entire record, with its seven songs containing imagery of sickbeds, hospital visits, and public executions, while the record’s centrepiece acts as a post-modern retelling of the Lazarus story. This is not to say the album is a complete gloom-and-doom affair: in the face of death, Bowie managed to craft an album that feels utterly alive. Bowie’s voice is strong and confident, the sound of an artist reaffirming their place as an art-rock legend. Donny McCaslin’s saxophone doesn’t bounce so much as ricochet throughout the record, creating alien abstract textures on tracks like “Tis a Pity She Was a Whore” and “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)”. The record is vibrant and hypnotic, the songs resounding with an urgency that hasn’t been heard from Bowie in years. While it’s impossible to listen to Blackstar while forgetting the singer’s death, Bowie’s passing shouldn’t dominate the listener’s thoughts. Rather than a resigned acceptance, this album is the sound of an artist fighting to create and live his life to the very last, proof that the man indeed did not “go gentle into that good night.” Blackstar is a powerful record and stands, regardless of its connection with the artist’s passing, as one of the greatest album’s of Bowie’s career.

3. Nick Cave & The Badseeds – Skeleton Tree

One of the misconceptions about Skeleton Tree is that it was written after the tragic death of Cave's teenage son, Arthur, in 2015. However, despite the album's recurring themes of loss and death, the majority of the record was written before the young man's passing. Certainly this loss did play an important role in the production of the Skeleton Tree, with the Bad Seed's tendency for sleazy alt rock and feral blues completely eschewed for a cascade of sound loops, minimalist electronics, and sparse piano. The album is imbued with the sound of mourning, a musical tone poem of loss. With that said, the melancholy permeating this record wouldn't be enough to make it as resounding as it was if not for truly great songwriting, and the eight songs of Skeleton Tree are among the best of Cave's career. Describing Cave's words as lyrics hardly do them justice; they are poetry. “Girl in Amber” explores memory and anxiety over its fleeting nature. The reference to W.G. Sebald on “Rings of Saturn” is justified with the song's evocation of the author's picturesque style and descriptive prose. “Anthrocene,” with Joycean wit, rebukes the theory of mankind's evolution, faced with the ecological destruction humans have caused to the planet. And then there is “I Need You,” arguably the album's crowning achievement, a prayer to discovering meaning in a world where “nothing really matters.” It would be hard to define Skeleton Tree as a rock record (it is far too sombre and pensive for that), but it instead transcends the idea of a simple collection of rock n roll songs. Skeleton Tree belongs among the likes of the Velvet Underground, Astral Weeks, and Horses, not as a great collection of rock songs, but as one of the most profound works of art committed to disc.

4. Angel Olsen – My Woman

My Woman is more than just a breakthrough record, it is the sound of an artist defining their self. Angel Olsen's fourth release defied critics wishing to pigeon-hole her as a tormented acoustic folk singer, instead showing her chops as a powerful indie rocker. The first half of the record sees Olsen unleashing her venom: after the atmospheric synths of the opener “Intern,” Olsen proceeds to take command with a series of vicious rockers. “Shut Up Kiss Me,” “Give It Up,” and “Never Be Mine” don't ask for, but demand the listener's attention, resounding with the fierceness of early PJ Harvey and the confidence of Courtney Barnett. The second half of the record returns to Olsen's more familiar folk style (a format that nods towards Bob Dylan's own snub at the music press with Bringing It All Back Home), but with newfound confidence and ambition. A pair of seven minute tracks are definitely the highlights of this side, with “Sister” and the haunting “Woman” among the best songs yet penned by the young artist. A powerful statement and an even more powerful record, with My Woman, Olsen proves she is one of the most promising and versatile talents in indie rock today.

5. Parquet Courts – Human Performance

For a band whose breakthrough album riffed through a track about being “Stoned and Starving,” its hard to believe Parquet Courts were able to make an record as focused as Human Performance. While the crackling guitars and hazy lo-fi sounds of the band's previous records remain, Human Performance sees the band reaching the peak of their abilities. The sound is powerful; the clashing guitars cut through with newfound energy and intensity. The performances are tight and the arrangements catchier than ever. As for the lyrics, they are the best yet to come from the group. While never coming across as dullards, the songs on this record demonstrate how critical and intelligent a band Parquet Courts are: “Berlin Got Blurry” examines self-realization and isolation, “I Was Just Here” uses the search for a Chinese Restaurant as a metaphor for the inevitability of change and aging, while “Dust” offers one of the jauntiest slices of existential dread I've ever heard. Then there is the title track, a sombre rumination about an individual dealing with depression and the affects it has on their ability to connect with others. This song is easily the most powerful, personal, and greatest track produced by the band. Human Performance is more than a great album, its a display of a band at their creative peak.

Playlist for Show # 640 (Best of 2016 Part Two):

1. Radiohead - Burn The Witch (A Moon Shaped Pool - XL Recordings - 2016)
2. Jeff Rosenstock - Perfect Sound Whatever (Worry. - SideOneDummy Records - 2016)
3. Danny & The Darleans - Girl (Bug Out - In The Red Records - 2016)
4. Swans - When Will I Return (The Glowing Man - Young God Records - 2016)
5. Art Bergmann - A Town Called Mean (The Apostate - Weewerk Records - 2016)
6. Shotgun Jimmie - Walkman Battery Bleed (Field of Trampolines - You've Changed Records - 2016)
7. Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam - The Morning Stars (I Had A Dream That You Were Mine - Glassnote Records - 2016)
8. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Rings Of Saturn (Skeleton Tree - Bad Seed Ltd. - 2016)
9. White Lung - Demented (Paradise - Domino - 2016)
10. Ty Segall - Mandy Cream (Manipulator - Drag City - 2016)
11. Car Seat Head Rest - Teens of Denial (Destroyed By Hippie Powers - Matador - 2016)
12. Preoccupations - Anxiety (Preoccupations - Flemish Eye/Jagjaguwar - 2016)
13. Parquet Courts - Human Performance (Human Performance - Rough Trade - 2016)
14. Thee Oh Sees - Gelatinous Cube (A Weird Exits - Castle Face Records - 2016)
15. Angel Olsen - Give It Up (My Woman - Jagjaguwar - 2016)
16. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Anthrocene (Skeleton Tree - Bad Seed Ltd. 2016)
17. Iggy Pop - Gardenia (Post Pop Depression - Loma Vista Recordings - 2016)
18. David Bowie -Lazarus (Blackstar - Columbia Records - 2016)
19. Radiohead - Identikit (A Moon Shaped Pool - XL Recordings - 2016)
20. Parquet Courts - Berlin Got Blurry (Human Performance - Rough Trade - 2016)

Download this episode here.

Playlist for Show # 638 (Best of 2016 Part One):

1. Lesbo Vrouven - LL (Griff Piff - P572 - 2016)
2. James O-L - Trouble At Nightmare Alley (Cancer In Treble City - Famous Last Records - 2016)
3. Trout - Burning Fire, The House (Lesser EP - Psychic Readings - 2016)
4. Tim Presley - Solitude Cola (The Wink - Drag City Records - 2016)
5. Snake River - I Was Very Drunk Jeanie (Sun Will Rise - Pigeon Row - 2016)
6. Kim Gray - Tropical Low Life (Perfume - Resurrection Records - 2016)
7. Nap Eyes - Trust (Thought Rock Fish Scale - You've Changed Records - 2016)
8. Daniel Romano - Toulouse (Mosey - New West Records - 2016)
9. Leonard Cohen - Steer Your Way (You Want It Darker - Columbia Records - 2016)
10. Iggy Pop - German Days (Post Pop Depression - Loma Vista Recordings - 2016)
11. Frankie Cosmos - What If (Next Thing - Bayonet Records - 2016)
12. PJ Harvey - A Line In The Sand (The Hope Six Demolition Project - Vagrant Records - 2016)
13. Leonard Cohen - It Seemed A Better Way (You Want It Darker - Columbia Records - 2016)
14. Kevin Morby - I Have Been To The Mountain (Singing Saw - Dead Oceans - 2016)
15. G.L.O.S.S - Trans Day Of Revenge (Trans Day of Revenge - Sabotage Records - 2016)
16. Monomyth - Go Somewhere (Happy Pop Family - Mint Records - 2016)
17. Cass McCombs - Bum Bum Bum (Mangy Love - Anti- Records - 2016)
18. Duotang - Karma Needs To Come Around (New Occupation - Stomp Records - 2016)
19. Mitski - Fireworks (Puberty 2 - Dead Oceans - 2016)
20. Young Rival - Heard It All Before (Strange Light EP - Paper Bag Records - 2016)
21. Case/Lang/Veirs - Atomic Number (Case/Lang/Veirs - Anti- Records - 2016)
22. Paul Jacobs Stages For You (I'm Into What You're Into - Danger Collective Records - 2016)
23. Paul Jacobs - Pics, Movs & Apts (Pictures, Movies & Apartments - 2016)
24. Preoccupations - Stimulation (Preoccupations - Jagjaguwar - 2016)
25. Kid Congo Powers & The Pink Monkey Birds - Coyote Conundrum (La Arana Es La Vida - In The Red Records - 2016)

Download this episode here.

And for those keeping track of the episode numbers on this site. Here is all you need to know:

To find out why episode # 639 is in the middle of the best of 2016 episodes, all is explained here.

Episode # 637 was a repeat of a previous episode (my Leonard Cohen radio special) that originally aired in October 2016. You can download that episode here and view the playlist here.

Episode # 636 was a repeat of a previous episode that aired in October 2016. You can download that episode here and view the playlist here.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The O-L West Afterthoughts & Show # 639

This episode of Revolution Rock started out as it normally would have. It was also supposed to be part two of a best of 2016 episode. However, while playing the first song by The O-L West, a collaboration of local Windsor artist Johnny West and Steven Oltean-Lepp, the fire alarm went off. In my twelve odd years doing Revolution Rock, I don’t believe a fire alarm has ever affected an episode (and for the record it was a false alarm. There was no fire and no one was hurt). Regardless, I put the album on repeat and me and my co-host exited the building. Almost all of Afterthoughts, the album by The O-L West was played on the program.

Afterthoughts was born out of what began as a solo outing by Steven Oltean-Lepp called Tire Swing Co. Johnny West produced the music and accompanied O-L musically on the albums. While Tire Swing Co. is a folk based project by Steven Oltean-Lepp, The O-L West combines the musical stylings of the prolific Johnny West and O-L for something can be described as a dark alternative folk album. The songs take the textured style of Tire Swing Co. and go deeper. Several songs feature additional guest musicians, but the majority of this album is performed and written by O-L and West.

“Paint As You Like and Die Happy” starts off Afterthoughts setting a certain tone. With textured, deep vocals sung by Steven O-L, this song reflects on past memories from what seems to be pictures and an old letter. The title shows a desire to live as you want as the music features arpeggiated guitar, subtle basslines, and reverb drenched guitar that is halfway between country and surf. “UVB-76” emerges as track two on Afterthoughts, with dominant drums and Johnny West on lead vocals. The guitar and bass plunge below the drums and vocals on this track. UVB-76 is actually a shortwave radio station that broadcasts a short buzz tone. Its purpose has never been confirmed. Like the lyrics in this song, such as “Periodic waveform mysteries” and “Respect grows out of secrets/And so is built on nothing”, West combines the mysteries of this shortwave radio station with the tones of communication we all experience in our everyday life. This is something that is sometimes just as much a mystery as the UVB-76 shortwave radio station.

“Trespassing” is a more upbeat, but melancholic track. The song features vocals by Steven O-L with Johnny West backing/double and vocals by Natalie Westfall (Teenage Geese). With lyrics that compare a relationship that has seemingly ended to a property, this song is an effective and catchy addition to Afterthoughts. “West Coast Blues” is sung by Steven in his deep baritone voice. Lyrically it deals with the little complexities of a seemingly simple situation. This is a theme that pops up throughout this album, in different forms. Musically, the song plays on a folk/roots base with thick vocal harmonies in the choruses and melodies as piano trickles in and out of the song. The harmonica that drifts in on this track is reminiscent of something found on Neil Young’s Harvest. “Yuan Dynasty” is a song that travels quickly after “West Coast Blues”, which sounds as if lyrically it could be about the emotions that come with someone moving away. Featuring reverb drenched drums and guitar arpeggios, “Yuan Dynasty” is a song sung by Johnny West, that is about a character that was hidden. The character is revealed upon learning something about fourteenth century China, which in itself is a hidden history to some. The song is short, but compelling. As with many songs on Afterthoughts, there is a balance between the longer, more drawn out alt-folk material and the shorter material.

“Afterthought No. 4 (Waiting For Armageddon)“, is one of three separate “afterthought'” musical segments that appear on this album. This track bottles itself up with words and emotions that drift, as if spilt over. The song fades out before another track “Dying To Be Born”. Awash in a mixture of effects on a lap steel, guitar arpeggios and Johnny West’s voice, “Dying To Be Born” is not a song about the reverse aging disease in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Fortunately it is a tale about dealing with finding yourself. “Running Wild” is a piano driven dark folk coming of age tale, “Afterthought No.2 (Black Hole)” sucks you in with its floating melodies, as “Zebra Stripes” reveals something different. Featuring banjo, drums and dual vocals by Johnny West and Steven O-L, “Zebra Stripes” brings forward a character that finds an understanding and a deeper meaning from reminiscing about past memories. It is about a character that can't change, despite his mistakes.

“Pave Over It All” ends the album. Stretching out to over seven minutes, this track features four different vocalists. In addition to Johnny West and Steven O-L, Dave Dubois (The Locusts Have No King/Middle Sister), and Jim Meloche (Orphan Choir/Worry) join the song separately and all at once, coming together to tell a murder ballad story. The song centres on a different narrative point of view when sung by each singer. With lyrics such as “Billy walked with a limp and a bone tattoo”, “He was whiskey/He was shattered dreams/He was murder” and “Billy tired to cry/Not a sound came out of his dry crooked smile”, the vocalists of this song paint a picture that shows confusion, remorse, and how two crooked friends became this way. If that isn’t enough, this track also features violin/viola by Stu Kennedy and harmonica from “Mr. Chill” Kelly Hoppe. The combination of the harmonica, violin, words and music create an almost eerie cinematic feeling.

It’s strange that a fire alarm returned me to this album. I have played several tracks from this album when it was released near the end of 2016 on Revolution Rock, but by playing nearly all of the 15 tracks on the album, I went back and listened again, several times. I left the album to play and broadcast over the radio airwaves, ironically in an afterthought. However, when looking closer at the album and its contents, Afterthoughts reveals an album that is layered in stories, tales, musical textures and the questioning of what was stated in “UVB-76” as, many “Periodic shortwave mysteries”.

More info on this album and Johnny West can be found on Johnny West's website.

Saturday Night playlist:

1. The O-L West – West Coast Blues (Afterthoughts - Tosteestosta Music - 2016)
2. The O-L West - The Yuan Dynasty (Afterthoughts - Tosteestosta Music - 2016)
3. The O-L West - Dorsal Venous (Afterthoughts - Tosteestosta Music - 2016)
4. The O-L West - Afterthought No. 4 (Waiting For Armageddon) (Afterthoughts - Tosteestosta Music - 2016)
5. The O-L West - Dying To Be Born (Afterthoughts - Tosteestosta Music - 2016)
6. The O-L West - Running Wild (Afterthoughts - Tosteestosta Music - 2016)
7. The O-L West - Afterthought No. 2 (Black Hole) (Afterthoughts - Tosteestosta Music - 2016)
8. The O-L West - Zebra Stripes (Afterthoughts - Tosteestosta Music - 2016)
9. The O-L West - Pave Over It All (Afterthoughts - Tosteestosta Music - 2016)
10. The O-L West - Paint As You Like And Die Happy (Afterthoughts - Tosteestosta Music - 2016)
11. The O-L West - UVB-76 (Afterthoughts - Tosteestosta Music - 2016)
12. The O-L West - Trespassing (Afterthoughts - Tosteestosta Music - 2016)
13. The O-L West - Time Erodes (Afterthoughts - Tosteestosta Music - 2016)
14. The O-L West - Another Turn (Afterthoughts - Tosteestosta Music - 2016)
15. Daniel Romano - I Had To Hide Your Poem In A Song (Mosey - New West Records - 2016)
16. Radiohead - The Numbers (A Moon Shaped Pool - X-Recordings - 2016)
17. Kid Congo Powers & The Pink Monkey Birds - La Arana (La Arana Es La Vida - In The Red Records - 2016)
18. Paul Jacobs - I'm Into What You're Into (I'm Into What You're Into - Danger Collective Records - 2016)
19. Tire Swing Co. - I'd Name You Aubrey (Time Away EP - Famous Last Records - 2015)
20. Tire Swing Co. - Time Away (Time Away EP - Famous Last Records - 2015)
21. Slow Down Molasses - Burnt Black Cars (Burnt Black Cars - Culvert Music - 2015)
22. Whitehorse - Devil's Got A Gun (The Fate Of The World Depends On This Kiss - Six Shooter Records - 2012)
23. United Steelworkers of Montreal - Tracie Dean (Kerosene & Coal - Weeweek Records - 2007)
24. Stompin' Tom Connors - Bridge Came Tumbling Down (My Stompin' Grounds - Boot Records - 1971)
25. Leonard Cohen - Lullaby (Old Ideas - Columbia Records - 2012)
26. Elliot Brood - Garden River (Mountain Meadows - Six Shooter Records - 2008)
27. Blue Rodeo - So Far Away (Small Miracles - Warner Music Canada - 2007)
28. Cowboy Junkies - Lay Me Down (Rarities, B-Sides and Slow, Sad Waltzes - Valley Entertainment - 1999)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for January 14.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Joe Strummer Day 2016: Tymon Dogg Interview (Shows # 634 & 635)

Dubbed the “King of Gypsy Punk”, Tymon Dogg is a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter that got his start in music at the age of 17. While he was later known for playing the violin in the alternative folk field, his first single “Bitter Thoughts of Little Jane” was recorded and released via Pye Records in 1968. These recordings on this psychedelic tinged pop track also featured then studio musicians Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. Shortly after this, Dogg made recordings for Apple records that featured Paul McCartney on piano and James Taylor on guitar, but other than the demo version of “Who Needs A King”, these recordings remain unreleased. Dogg, initially going by the name Timon, also played live with The Moody Blues for a brief period of time. His second single, the Justin Hayward produced “And Now She Says She’s Young/Travelling Man”, was released on the Threshold label. This was a record label created by The Moody Blues.

In the early 70’s, Dogg busked around and played folk clubs in London. It was also around this time that he met future Clash frontman Joe Strummer. Then known as Woody Mellor, the two became fast friends. The friends would later reconnect in 1980 in New York while The Clash were making their triple LP Sandinista! He contributed his song “Lose This Skin” to the album and then piano on the song “Death Is A Star” on 1982’s Combat Rock. Tymon Dogg was also a collaborator and member in Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros, one of Joe Srummer’s post-Clash bands. Dogg played live with the group and was featured on 2001’s Global A Go-Go and 2003’s Streetcore. Tymon has collaborated with many musicians and has even produced other musicians. In addition to all this, Tymon Dogg has also released several solo albums, starting with his self-titled album, Tymon Dogg in 1976, an album in which he played all of the instrumentation. Battle of Wills followed in 1982 and Relentless in 1989. In 2010, Cherry Red Records released a retrospective compilation of Tymon’s work entitled, The Irrepressible Tymon Dogg: A Collection 1968-2009 and in 2015, Dogg released his fourth solo album Made of Light.

Every December 22nd, CJAM FM raises awareness of poverty in the Windsor/Detroit area by surrounding it with the music of Joe Strummer and The Clash. For this year’s Joe Strummer Day Marathon on CJAM FM, I was fortunate enough to speak with Tymon Dogg. Below you can hear the interview and download/listen to the program I put tougher featuring the music of Tymon Dogg. In addition to this, I did a program featuring music from the catalogue of Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros and spoke with my co-host Adam about the resources that the Windsor Public Library has to help those who find themselves in poverty and homelessness during this time of year.

Check out my interview with Tymon Dogg:

Tymon Dogg Interview & Radio Special (Show 634):

1. Timon - Bitter Thoughts Of Little Jane (Bitter Thoughts Of Little Jane/Rambling Boy - 1968)
2. Timon - And Now She Says She’s Young (And Now She Says She's Young/I'm Just A Travelling Man - 1970)
3. Timon - Who Needs A King (1968 Apple Demo) (The Irrepressible Tymon Dogg: A Collection 1968-2009 - 2010)
4. Tymon Dogg - You Turned Your Back On The Sun (For A 40 Watt Light Bulb) ((Relentless - 1989)
5. Tymon Dogg - Velvet Stella (The Irrepressible Tymon Dogg: A Collection 1968-2009 - 2010)
6. Tymon Dogg - I Caught You Dancing (Tymon Dogg - 1976)
7. Tymon Dogg - Too Small To Lead Too Big To Follow (Tymon Dogg - 1976)


8. Tymon Dogg - Locks & Bolts & Hinges (Battle of Wills - 1982)
9. Tymon Dogg - Battle of Wills (Battle of Wills - 1982)
10. Tymon Dogg - Safeway People (Battle of Wills - 1982)


11. The Clash - Lose This Skin (Sandinista! - 1980)
12. The Clash - Once You Know (Combat Rock Outtake)
13. Frugivores - Beyond This Frontier (New Age Songs - 1987)
13. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Mondo Bongo (Global A Go-Go - 2001)
14. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Silver And Gold (Streetcore - 2003)
16. Tymon Dogg - Pound Of Grain (Made Of Light - 2015)
17. Tymon Dogg - That’s The Way It Is (Made Of Light - 2015)
18. Tymon Dogg - Conscience Money (Made Of Light - 2015)

Download this episode here!

Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros/WPL Resources (Show 635):

1. Minstrel Boy (Black Hawk Down Soundtrack - 2001)
2. Time and Tide (Yalla Yalla B-Side - 1999)
3. Nitcomb (Rock Art & The X-Ray Style - 1999)
4. Gamma Ray (Global A Go-Go - 2001)
5. Yalla Yalla (Rock Art & The X-Ray Style - 1999)


6. Ocean Of Dreams (With Steve Jones) (Unreleased song from the Rock Art & The X-Ray Style Sessions - 1999)
7. Redemption Song (With Johnny Cash) (Johnny Cash - Unearthed - 2003)
8. Johnny Appleseed (Live) (Generations - 2007)
9. (White Man) in Hammersmith (Live) (Acton Town Hall 2002)
10. Get Down Moses (Live) (Cambridge Folk Festival 2002)
11. Guitarslinger Man (Live Streetcore Outtake 2002)
12. Coma Girl (Streetcore - 2003)
13. Tony Adams (Rock Art & The X-Ray Style - 1999)
14. Bankrobber (Live) (Acton Town Hall 2002)
15. 1969 (Live) (Generations - 2007)
16. Long Shadow (Streetcore - 2003)

Download this episode here!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Sloan's One Chord To Another 20th Anniversary & Shows # 631, 632, 633

Following the release of 1994’s Twice Removed, which received little promotion due to a number of factors, Sloan broke up as a band. Sloan would still play shows periodically, but drummer Andrew Scott relocated to Toronto and the members of Sloan became involved in other music projects. Although Twice Removed has been critically acclaimed, due to artistic differences from Sloan’s label at the time, Twice Removed never received the promotion that it should have. Unlike 1992’s Smeared, Twice Removed did not have the “grunge sound” of that time period. Sloan wanted to move away from that and do something different. The idea came to record another Sloan album for their own label Murderecords with their own money and worry about the other details later. Without major label pressure, Sloan set about recording what would eventually become One Chord To Another in 1995. The album would be released on Sloan’s own label, Murderecords in June of 1996.

The album was recorded with Laurence Currie at Idea of East Recording Studio in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Since drummer Andrew Scott lived in Toronto, the band would send Scott demos so that he would be familiar with them. In December of 1995, he recorded his drum tracks in Sloan’s rehearsal space to save money and time in Halifax. The drums were recorded on a 4-track cassette recorder to make them sound tougher, as opposed to the bigger, more produced drum sound of Twice Removed. This was a bit unorthodox to do at the time, but wound up giving the album a certain “character”, as stated in the booklet that comes with the 20th anniversary vinyl box set of One Chord To Another. Two additional tracks for this release, the songs written and sung by drummer Andrew Scott, were recorded in Toronto with Brenndan McGuire. Recording also continued into January of 1996. The sound of One Chord To Another differed in the fact that it pulled in more influences such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and featured a more power pop oriented sound.

Since each member of Sloan was a songwriter, One Chord To Another featured four different vocalists and different styles to make up its overall aesthetic. The album opens with crowd noise that was lifted from a videotape recording that was made at the band’s last show at the time at Edgefest in August of 1995. The song “The Good In Everyone” then kicks in. Penned by guitarist Patrick Pentland, it was inspired by bands such as the Sex Pistols and The Damned’s “New Rose” musically. The song, which has a certain anthemic quality, has since become a Sloan standard. “The Good In Everyone” is also notable for its music video, which features an extended intro that is a spoof of the 1969 film, Easy Rider. “Autobiography” is one of many Chris Murphy originals, filled with words loaded with double meaning and a sound that is very Beatles influenced. Lyrically, this song like many on this album, reference Sloan’s own history and struggles with being on a major label. “Junior Panthers” is a Jay Fergusson penned track that lends itself to a more mellow sound with harmonies reminiscent of The Beach Boys. “The Lines You Amend” is melancholic track reminiscent of CCR, with lyrics that reference a friend’s suicide and The Beatles’ Ringo Starr. This is another track on this album that is one of the standouts, not only by Jay Fergusson, but on the album as a whole.

“G Turns To D” is an up-tempo garage song sung and written by bassist Chris Murphy. Lyrically the song is about someone using the skills you helped them learn to put you down. This song was inspired by real life events featuring Chris Murphy and Laura Borealis/Chapo. “Everything You’ve Done Wrong” was another Patrick Pentland song that the band has been known for. The song was one of the first Sloan songs to feature trumpet/horn sections and is more on the pop/ballad side of things. Lyrically, the song seems to be about finding success on your own terms and not being put down by past mistakes. “Take The Bench” is a slower, T.Rex inspired song by Chris Murphy. Filled with puns and double meanings, the song tells a story of a woman who sits on the same piano “bench” in her childhood and as her parents get a divorce. “A Sides Win” and “400 Metres” each end one side of this album. In addition to this, both songs are written and sung by drummer Andrew Scott.

“A Sides Win’ features saloon-styled piano and strong Beach Boys vocal harmonies, along with dirty sounding electric guitar. “400 Metres” ends the album complete with woozy piano and 60s sound guitar licks. Musically the song is pretty much a one-chord jam with a few surprises. The theme of the band’s past, present and potential future situations seems to be referenced in this song. The words used in the lyrics such as “I know I said I had a good time/But now I’m sprawled across the finish line” and “The situation’s heavy and the competition’s thin/Now I’ve got to wake up so I can get back on my feet again” seem to serve as evidence of this. These themes pop up throughout all the songs on One Chord To Another, usually in subtle ways. But, after repeat listens the little details pop out at the listener.

One Chord To Another won a Juno award in 1997 for best Alternative album. It serves as a period in the band’s career where they could have stopped being a band altogether, but instead they found success without major label pressure and started to do things their own way, from the music right down to the artwork. As stated in the lyrics to “G Turns To D”, on this album Sloan really could “go from one chord to another” in terms of music and style for something that was retro-influenced, but completely their own. This was the beginning of the future of Sloan’s long career, which with eleven albums in their discography, still resonates to this day.

Sloan's 20th anniversary vinyl box set edition of One Chord To Another has now sold out. A single LP edition of One Chord To Another is currently available via the Sloan Store.

Playlist For Show 633 (Originally aired on December 17th, 2016):

1. The Black Angels - Watch Out Boy
2. Pink Floyd - Flaming (BBC Session 1967)
3. South River Slim - Dirty Pool
4. Lost Patrol - So Strange (The 1991 Sessions)
5. Tea With Lincoln - Space Between The Defect
6. Pissed Jeans - Romanticize Me
7. Hot Snakes - Audit In Progress
8. The Ripps - Loco
9. Propagandhi - This Is Your Life
10. Mystics - Can't Be Happy
11. The Rationals - Feelin' Lost
12. Pet Sun - Web Of Man
13. Paul Jacobs - Born In A Zoo
14. Tea Leaves - I Want To Live In The Dirt
15. Merle Haggard - California Blues
16. Neil Young - Can't Stop Workin'
17. Cass Mccombs - Cry
18. Headache24 - Big Star
19. The Feelies - The Boy With The Perpetual Nervousness
20. The Gories - Queenie (LIVE At CJAM 1989)
21. The Gories - Hidden Charms (LIVE At CJAM 1989)
22. The Dirtbombs - Chains Of Love
23. Danny & The Darleans - Soul On Ice
24. Danny Kroha - Cannonball Blues (CJAM Session 2016)
25. Jeff Rosenstock - To Be A Ghost…
26. Oromocto Diamond - Gold
27. The Nature Boys - Can't Think
28. Tim Presley - Underwater Rain
29. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Ain't No Chimneys In The Projects

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for December 17.

Playlist For Show 632 (Originally aired on December 10th, 2016):

1. Tuns - Mixed Messages
2. Sloan - Nothing Left To Make Me Want To Stay
3. Sloan - 400 Metres
4. Gloria - Shelter
5. Permanent Mistake - Device
6. Holy Void - Climb
7. James O-L - The Pollution Is Killing Me
8. Colleen Brown - Try It Again
9. Toy - Another Dimension
10. Wolves From Dogs - Disappear Completely
11. Kestrels - Suspect
12. Thee Rum Coves - Over And Over
13. Wreckless Eric - Grown Ups
14. The Pandoras - It’s About Time
15. Cheetahs - Dynamite
16. The Future Primitives - Have You Been To Mars (Bo-Weevles Cover)
17. The King Khan & BBQ Show - What’s For Dinner?
18. The Iguanas - Walk Don’t Run
19. The Black Lips - Cruising
20. The Cramps - Can't Find My Mind
21. The Evaporators - I Can’t Be Shaved
22. Public Image Limited - Fodderstompf
23. Mission Of Burma - Fame And Fortune
24. Fugazi - Target
25. The Black Angels - Bad Vibrations
26. Knots - Rhythm and Motion
27. King Khan - Strange Ways
28. Danny & The Darleans - Bug Out Bag
29. Danny & The Darleans - Let’s Stomp

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for December 10.

Playlist For Show 631 (Originally aired on December 3rd, 2016):

1. Lost Patrol - Mister, You're A Better Man Than I
2. The Only Ones - Lovers Of Today
3. Fire Engines - Plastic Gift
4. The Haig Trading - In My Dynamite
5. Lesbo Vrouven - LL
6. The Pixies - Plaster Of Paris
7. The Seams - Hung Up
8. Sloan - Imagine All The Songs
9. Sloan - Flexible Flyer
10. Howlin' Wolf - Just Like I Treat You
11. The Rolling Stones - Hate To See You Go
12. The Rolling Stones - I Gotta Go
13. The Rolling Stones - The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man
14. Chuck Berry - Louis To Frisco
15. The Gories - Give Me Some Money
16. The Monkeywrench - Bottle Up & Go
17. Bralizian Money - In The Real Worldl
18. Foxhart Fishman - Hwy 26
19. Women - Shaking Hand
20. Tim Presley - Solitude Cola
21. Thee Oh Sees - Gelatinous Cube
22. Thee Oh Sees - You Will Find It Here
23. Pistol Rays - Enforcer
24. Nevegans - Downey Surf
25. Jimmy Reed - Little Rain
26. Magic Sam - All Your Love
27. The Rolling Stones - Dandelion
28. Mark Sultan - If I Had A Polaroid
29. Mark Sultan - Blodd On Your Hands

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for December 3.