Saturday, December 13, 2014

Motivational Jumpsuits and Cool Planets & Show # 537


The ever prolific Robert Pollard reformed Guided By Voices with their classic 1992-1996 line-up featuring Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell, Greg Demos, and Kevin Fennell in 2010 for a series of live shows beginning with Matador Records 21st anniversary. In 2012, they returned in recorded form with this line-up for three albums (Let’s Go Eat The Factory, Class Clown Spots A UFO and The Bears For Lunch), in 2013 they released the EP Down By The Racetrack and the album English Little League. This album was rumored to be their last, but 2014 saw the release of two more albums with this line-up Motivational Jumpsuit and Cool Planet (minus Kevin Fennell on drums). This myriad of releases rivals some of the prolific material that the band released during the 90s, but these albums mixed more modern recording techniques with the band’s lo-fi tendencies. After six albums and an EP, Robert Pollard with the reformed line-up announced announced that the band has finally called it quits.

Released in February 2014, Motivational Jumpsuit rivals some of Guided By Voices best material drawing comparisons to material found on 1994’s Bee Thousand, 1995’s Alien Lanes and Under The Bushes Under The Stars from 1996. As with these aforementioned albums, Motivational Jumpsuit features a collection of sometimes ramshackle, lo-fi sounding recordings alongside some more studio-produced sounding efforts. This album also features plenty of Tobin Sprout written songs in conjunction with material by the irreverent Robert Pollard. The album starts off with the echo filled drums and the guitar driven sound of “The Littlest League Possible”. As Pollard alludes to baseball and the music industry at the same time this song features catchy and witty lyrics in less than two minutes (one minute and 18 seconds to be exact). But this song exemplifies what Guided By Voices do best, which are short and straight to the point songs with strong melodic hooks.

“Writer’s Bloc (Psycho All The Time)” features garage rock and post punk jabs as Pollard sings tongue-in-cheek about a subject that we might not ever have thought Robert Pollard would utter. “Planet Score” has to be one of the top songs in the bands catalog as Robert Pollard sings of the haunting musical memories in the present tense with a melodic crunch. Tobin Sprout struts a psychedelic swing in “Jupiter Spin”, a candy coated Byrdsian sound in “Record Level Love”, while “Shine (Tomahawk Breath)” features a slow pop melody with fuzzy distorted Big Star nostalgia. Additionally, Sprout adds to to several of Robert Pollard sung/written tracks on Motivational Jumpsuit such as “I Am Columbus”. These songs in addition to “Vote For Me Dummy”, “Bulletin Borders”, the lo-fi tape flutter Who influenced “Evangeline Dandelion” and the gritty hook-filled “Alex and The Omegas” all count as highlights on this release. With Motivational Jumpsuit, Guided By Voices zip up all the loose ends, but not too tightly. Featuring twenty tracks under forty minutes, this album proves that they can still make a great album twenty-one albums into their career.

In May 2014, Guided By Voices released what is now said to be their last album, Cool Planet. This album differs from the previous five that were released during this 2010-2014 period of the band. It was recorded in a proper studio. While the hiss and fuzziness of their lo-fi style may be missing from this album, the scrappiness and ubiquitous nature of Guided By Voices remains strong here. This album also differs in the line-up, drummer Kevin Fennell is not behind the drum kit for Cool Planet, but Kevin March is. March originally played with GBV from 2002-2004 and was featured on what was labeled their last release in 2004, the psychedelic melancholic Half Smiles Of The Decomposed. Fittingly he returns here for what is said to be the band’s last album, again, but a decade later.

“Authoritarian Zoo” starts off Cool Planet with a gut punch of guitar riffs and drums with a sound somewhat reminiscent to 2004’s “Everybody Thinks I’m A Raincloud (When I’m Not Looking)”. This song sonically and lyrically provides something different from the opening moments of the softer dimensions of Half Smiles Of The Decomposed and even Motivational Jumpsuit’s “The Littlest League Possible”. Elements of the song “Motor Away” from 1995’s Alien Lanes pops up on “Hat Of Flames” where Pollard sings of a mysterious character with a “Magic code to the parading masses”. This song ignites with its spark inducing fuzz garage riffs amongst Robert Pollards pop hooks. Amongst the eighteen tracks on Cool Planet, we are also visited by more Tobin Sprout originals. “All American Boy” is a spiraling pop gem featuring vibrating guitar leads and pounding piano, “The Bone Church” shows Sprout spreading his wings on the heavier side of rock, tipping his hat to Black Sabbath and the piano induced “Narrated By Paul”. This song along with several of Sprout’s recent contributions to the reformed GBV have had Beatles references, whether musically or in song title variations. This influence/reference pops up again in the echo and acoustic driven “Ticket To Hide”.

Other tracks worth of note on this album includes the windmill rush of “Pan Swimmer”, “Cream Of Lung”, which seems to compliment Sprout’s “The Bone Church”, and “Males Of Wormwood Mars” which proves to be Cool Planet’s strongest pop success. With its watery verses, and Keith Moon styled drums provided by Kevin March, this song tucks itself away near the end of the album. “Bad Love Is Easy To Do” starts off in a fashion similar to “Teenage FBI”, but showcases the songwriting abilities of Robert Pollard and Tobin Sprout as they sing of a love song in a way only they could. This song comes off with an effortless success as it balances jittery verses, pop choruses and calming breakdowns supplied by Tobin Sprout. The album ends with its title track, “Cool Planet”.

On 2004’s Half Smiles Of The Decomposed, “Huffman Flying Field” ended a chapter in the GBV discography as Bob & company sang of visiting mysterious fields and being “Closed and locked up for far too long”. In 2014, “Alex & The Omegas” ended Motivational Jumpsuit with the lyrics “Get out alright/Nothing’s on/Everything’s over/It’s the living end” drawing a gritty connection between the band and their status. Finally on the title track to Cool Planet, the band executes a ramped up fuzzy Who-like pattern in less than two minutes as Pollard sings the abstract lines of “Heroes do matter/Insects do scatter”. If these three songs can show us anything, they reveal a sense of wanting to travel down the same path, but at the same time a desire to stop and change course. Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices have achieved a rarity in music. While at times people identify sameness in the GBV sound there is also diversity in the band’s catchy, aggressive and at times lo-fi approach to music. Lyrically, GBV has ventured into all kinds of territories. We may be saying goodbye to Guided By Voices again, but after the hiss and fade out of another chapter in the Guided By Voices catalog ends, a few lines of “Littlest League Possible” from Motivation Jumpsuit provides us with an abstract clue for Robert Pollard’s approach to music and what GBV fans having been thinking for a long time. “And Meanwhile and after too much/You’d run out of gas/But that’s not possible”.

Guided By Voices Play List:

1. A Salty Salute (Live) (Hardcore UFOS - 2003)
2. Hot Freaks (Bee Thousand - 1994)
3. Everywhere With Helicopter (Universal Truths And Cycles - 2002)
4. Postal Blowfish (Brain Candy Soundtrack - 1996)
5. Draw(In)g To A (W)hole (God Save The Clean - 1997)
6. Cut-Out Witch (Under The Bushes Under The Stars - 1996)
7. Weed King (Propeller - 1992)
8. A Good Flying Bird (Alien Lanes - 1995)
9. The Unsinkable Fats Domino (Let's Go Eat the Factory - 2012)
10. Worm W/ 7 Broken Hearts (Class Clown Spots A UFO - 2012)
11. Liar’s Tale (Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia - 1989)
12. Demons Are Real (Bee Thousand - 1994)
13. Kicker of Elves (Bee Thousand - 1994)
14. Robert Pollard - Back To The Farm (Superman Was A Rocker - 2008)
15. The Other Place (Forever Since Breakfast - 1986)
16. Captains Dead (Devil Between My Toes - 1987)
17. Taco, Buffalo, Birddog and Jesus (Suitcase: Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft - 2000)
18. My Valuable Hunting Knife (7 Inch Version) (Tigerbomb EP - 1995)
19. Shocker In Gloomtown (The Grand Hour EP - 1993)
20. #2 in the Model Home Series (Vampire on Titus - 1993)
21. Drag Days (Under The Bushes Under The Stars - 1996)
22. Drinkers Peace (Same Place The Fly Got Smashed - 1990)
23. Little Whirl (Alien Lanes - 1995)
24. Shine (Tomahawk Breath) (Motivational Jumpsuit - 2014)
25. The Sudden Death Of Epstein’s Ways (English Little League - 2013)
26. Crybaby 4-Star Hotel (English Little League - 2013)
27. Surgical Focus - (Do The Collapse - 1999)
28. Sister, I Need Wine (Isolation Drills - 2001)
29. Girls Of Wild Strawberries (Half Smiles Of The Decomposed - 2004)
30. Can’t Stop (Sandbox - 1987)
31. Sensational Gravity Boy (Briefcase - Suitcase Abridged: Drinks And Deliveries - 2000)
32. I Am A Tree (Mag Earwig! - 1997)
33. I Am A Scientist (Live at X-Fest 1999) (X Fest 99 - 1999)
34. Smoggy Boy (The Bears For Lunch - 2012)
35. Males Of Wormwood Mars (Cool Planet - 2014)
36. Teenage FBI (Original Version) (Wish In One Hand EP - 1997)
37. Game Of Pricks (Alien Lanes - 1995)
38. The Ugly Vision (Alien Lanes - 1995)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for December 13. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

The Last Pogo Jumps Again Interview & Show # 536


The Last Pogo Jumps Again begins with images of fans jumping around to bands playing music while in the background we hear The Demics “New York City”. This song, when not taken at surface value reveals a message of independence and creativity within one’s environment. As we see fans jumping or pogoing in erratic fashion we are led into the beginnings of the documentary. Directors Colin Brunton and Kire Paputts show the building of a scene from nothing. The beginnings of the documentary are juxtaposed with the building of Toronto’s CN Tower and the events that led up to the Toronto punk/new wave scene in 1976. The uniqueness of a music scene like this is covered in great detail and depth. There were a lot of factors at play that resulted in the rise and fall of many of the bands that were involved in this scene that was truly DIY and alternative to the mainstream.

From what began at a theatre that used to show B-movies entitled the 99 Cent Roxy in conjunction with the Ramones playing a series of shows at a venue called The New Yorker, a chord was struck with aspiring musicians and artists alike. Both of these venues were run by who are referred to as the two Gary’s (Gary Topp and Gary Cormier), who both supported the scene and booked acts and many of the venues that they would run throughout the early parts of this scene. The Last Pogo Jumps Again leaps into coverage of several of the heavyweights in this early music scene such as The Diodes, who took their power pop influenced punk sounds to CBS Records Canada, becoming the first Canadian punk band signed to a major label and The Viletones. They took punk to new extremes, both literally and musically. In addition to the music factor of the scene, many of the artists also connected through other art related means such as fashion. Marion Lewis who was a local artist at the time describes the early parts of this scene adding further to the images supplied in the opening parts of this documentary:

“There was no culture here. There was just European based culture or American culture. So we were starting from scratch, you know. We had to start with a crumpled Twinkie wrapper on the side of the road, there’s no other place you can start. You got to start there and then you’ve got to use your intellect and your sense of yourself and your sense of your destiny to build .”

The Last Pogo Jumps Again executes the feelings of alienation and the searching for something new at the time with razor-sharp precision. Additionally, it showcases the growing of this music scene, while at the same time covering some of the bands that were perhaps not as well known to the general public back then. For example, The Scenics had their own unique sound, but were criticized by some for it. This including several other bands that had a different aesthetic such as The Government, Drastic Measures and The Curse, among others are contrasted with the conflicts of bands and situations within the scene, which caused a separation of sorts. At the beginning of the documentary the pogoing fans in the audience jump to the beat of a song at a different tempo. Throughout this documentary we see many artists moving to their own beat musically and artistically, even if there is a clash between them.

Brunton and Paputts started this project in 2006 and after six years of work the result is an informative and revealing documentary of epic proportions that clocks in at approximately three hours and twenty minutes. The Last Pogo Jumps Again burns bright with its coverage of a scene that has been grossly overlooked by many. This film searches for meaning in the spirit of the music and the scene as it moves, with every drop of sweat and every sobering grain of film.

The Last Pogo Jumps Again was recently released on DVD with an extensive amount of extras. Get your copy at www.thelastpogo.net.

Check out the interview I did with Colin Brunton:



Saturday Night Play List:

1. Drastic Measures - Flowers (Live 1978)
2. The Ugly - All Because Of You (Live 1978)
3. Brian Eno - Dead Finks Don't Talk
4. Acid Baby Jesus - Row By Row
5. Tyranna - Back Off Baby
6. The Curse - Killer Bees
7. The Viletones - Screaming Fist

COLIN BRUNTON: THE LAST POGO JUMPS AGAIN INTERVIEW

8. The Diodes - Red Rubber Ball
9. The Government - Acute Angle
10. The Scenics - Bubbles
11. Thee Oh Sees - Wait, Let’s Go
12. Bob Dylan & The Band - My Bucket's Got A Hole In It
13. Bob Dylan & The Band - I'm Not There
14. SQÜRL - Funnel Of Love
15. Damaged Bug - Photograph
16. Simply Saucer - Get My Thrills
17. The CADs - Do The Crabwalk
18. Sonny Vincent & Spite - Disinterested
19. Sleater-Kinney - I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone
20. Ramones - We're A Happy Family
21. Marching Girls - First In Line
22. Teenanger - Fly On The Wall

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for December 6. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Elvis Costello & The Attractions Pump It Up & Show # 535


In April of 1978, Elvis Costello & The Attractions released the single for the song "Pump It Up". Also a part of the 1978 album This Year’s Model, this single featured an album outtake entitled “Big Tears” as its B-side. The song “Pump It Up” begins with a bass and drum intro featuring Costello’s rhythm section of The Attractions, Bruce Thomas on bass and Pete Thomas on drums (there is no relation between the two). The song picks up with spiraling and dizzying organ from Steve Nieve as Elvis Costello supplies the quirky guitar parts and vocals that are both equally aggressive and have a sense of paranoia. Lyrically, the song has been described as being “underscored with sexual menace” as stated by Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic. In the linear notes to the 2002 Rhino reissue of This Year’s Model Costello says that this song along with “Little Triggers” and “Hand In Hand” are “more cynical” and have “a guilty edge” to them as a result of the temptations and distractions of touring. This song is an excellent example of The Attractions musical abilities. Additionally, the album that this comes from is the first proper album to feature Elvis Costello and The Attractions as his backing band.

The B-side to this single, “Big Tears” is even more interesting for a few reasons. Firstly, the song lyrically is darker than it’s A-side, although both songs have an edgier construction. This song features 60s organ sounds by Steve Nieve along with the rest of The Attractions rhythm section and lead guitar from The Clash’s Mick Jones. His guitar is not noticeable at first, but once the chorus hits you can hear his undeniable style adding to the songs overall make up. Once again in the linear notes to the 2002 reissue of This Year’s Model Costello says that this song is the only “genuine outtake song from the This Year’s Model sessions. “ he goes on to say that he is not sure why the song did not make the album and adds further details behind Mick Jones appearance on this track. Costello notes that Mick’s band mates did not really approve of him being on that track and that he was originally brought in to play guitar on “Pump It Up”. “There is a version [of “Pump It Up” with Mick Jones on guitar] lying around somewhere on which he plays. However, he made much more difference to “Big Tears” Costello adds, summing up the tracks history. These two songs showcase both the frenetic and amphetamine paced rhythm abilities of The Attractions within Elvis Costello’s song writing powers.



Saturday Night Play List:

1. Useless Eaters - Walking In Circles
2. The Poles - CN Tower
3. Dan Sartain - Baby’s Town
4. Neil Young - All Those Dreams
5. Jack-O & The Tennessee Tearjerkers - Ditch Road
6. The Small Faces - Long Agos And Worlds Apart
7. Chris Crossroads - Dreams
8. Christian Bland & The Revelators - CB160
9. Paul Westerberg - Let’s Not Belong Together
10. Alvvays - Adult Diversion
11. The Twilight Sad - Pills I Swallow
12. Invasions - Born On A Wave
13. Paul Jacobs - Bag Of Bones (Do It Again)
14. The Gun Club - Sleeping In Blood City
15. The Gun Club - Mother Of Earth
16. Alex Chilton - Come On Honey
17. Teenage Head - Get Of My Back
18. Deja Voodoo - Big Pile Of Mud
19. The Mods - You Use Me
20. Actual Water - Double Negatives
21. Thee Oh Sees - Devil Again
22. The Black Angels - Bloodhounds On My Trail
23. Wreckless Eric - Grown Ups
24. The Stimulators - Loud Fast Rules
25. The Saints - Messin’ With The Kid (Live At The Hope And Anchor London 1977)
26. Chelsea - Urban Kids
27. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Pump It Up
28. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Big Tears

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 22. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Looking For Johnny Review & Show # 534


Looking For Johnny: The Legend of Johnny Thunders is a documentary about the dangerous life and times of the New York Dolls and Heartbreakers guitarist. Written and directed by Danny Garcia, this film delves into the human condition as it relates to Johnny Thunders. To further add depth to this analysis there are interviews with a cast of characters who had a part in Thunders life such as Walter Lure, Billy Rath, New York Dolls manager Marty Thau, Sylvain Sylvain, to Lenny Kaye, Bob Gruen and Nina Antonia, among others. Born John Anthony Genzale Jr. in 1952, the film has a quote from Thunders where he describes his upbringing in its early moments which states, “I grew up with just my mother and sister and you know, you had to fight for every inch that you, every notch on your gun I guess you could say.” New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain also provides insight after we are informed of Thunders upbringing mentioning that there was always a void that Johnny carried with him. Johnny Thunders fought for every inch of his character and his career, with guns blazing so to speak, despite the excesses throughout his life.

In the early parts of this documentary, we learn of Johnny Thunders musical beginnings with his early bands The Reign, Johnny and The Jaywalkers and Actress, until he got connected with the members that were to become the New York Dolls. We see a young fresh faced, Johnny Thunders rise to popularity with the New York Dolls, but are also presented with the things that boiled beneath the surface of the band, as layers are peeled back we see the details behind the Dolls stage gimmick to how they were as people and how they operated as a band. We learn of the opinions of the band’s first album to their overlooked second album, Too Much Too Soon. The combination of the image presented of the band on their first album cover to the difficulties of the record label marketing the band and their introduction to drugs, all added to their eventual split. We also see how the songs on Too Much Too Soon particularly “Chatterbox” would lead to the sounds explored in Johnny Thunders next group, The Heartbreakers, who took their excesses to new extremes.

Another picture that Garcia paints throughout this film is the connection with people from Thunders past that pop up at various points throughout his career such as with drummer Jerry Nolan. The two had a musical connection that some might call familial and also Walter Lure, who would play sporadic live shows with Johnny in the 80s. But, with all this presented, Looking For Johnny is not all one sided. It does not just add to the myth that was Johnny Thunders of drugs and rock and roll, it probes deeper than that bringing to light the conflicted battles he had to deal with personally and as a musician. There is a great deal of coverage of Thunders post-Heartbreakers work such as his album In Cold Blood recorded with Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller, his life while living in Paris and Sweden, which also involved parts in several films to his time in Detroit as part of the group Gang War.

Bassist Adam Pearson of the English rock band Sisters Of Mercy provides a quote near the end of the film for more insight into Thunders character traits, “At the same time Johnny wanted significance, there was also this self-destructive pattern that would kick in when things were going too well.” Whether it be the early influence and popularity of the New York Dolls on what was to become punk rock, the conflicted mix on The Heartbreakers full-length album L.A.M.F. which caused drummer Jerry Nolan to quit the band, to his diverse solo career, this quote could be tied back to the beginnings of the film in conjunction with the later part of it. When we learn of the obstacles that Thunders dealt with prior to his death, we are presented with the facts and are not forced into one opinion. This method allows the viewer to contemplate and make up their own mind about Thunders controversial and tragic death.

Danny Garcia digs deep looking behind the haze of drugs that dominates the popular public opinion of who Johnny Thunders actually was. He looks behind the drugs to reveal the musician beneath, a prolific songwriter and at times a mystery. All sides are presented, the good, the bad in parts that make up the human condition in an unbiased way. Looking For Johnny helps to define the allure, but also adds to the influence of the career and life of Johnny Thunders.

Saturday Night Play List:

1. The Flaming Lips - Good Morning, Good Morning
2. The 13th Floor Elevators - Don’t Fall Down
3. Ariel Pink - White Freckles
4. Wampire - Bad Attitude
5. Drums Along The Gardiner - Fish
6. Huevos Rancheros - Raunchy
7. Cellos - Pilgrimage
8. The Francs - Situation
9. The Demics - Blueboy
10. Ex-Hex - How You Got That Girl
11. Neil Young - Payola Blues
12. Neil Young - Wonderin’
13. Bob Dylan & the Band - This Wheel's On Fire
14. The Band - Katie's Gone
15. Marianne Faithful - True Lies
16. Frankie & Jimmy - Let It Rock
17. Indian Wars - Wastin’ Time
18. Pow Wows - I Can See But You Don’t Know
19. The Prime Movers - I’m A Man
20. Hookworms - The Impasse
21. Johnny Thunders - Just Another Girl (Live August 6, 1982, Cambridge)
22. Johnny Thunders - In Cold Blood
23. Johnny Thunders - Sad Vacation
24. New York Dolls - Stranded In The Jungle
25. Wire - Lowdown

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 15. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Ritual Howls Turkish Leather & Show # 533


Turkish Leather, the newest full-length release by Ritual Howls is an eight-track trip through the dark post-punk and new wave sounds of yesterday reintegrated into a modern context. Consisting of Paul Bancell on vocals and guitars, Chris Samuels on synthesizers, samples and drum machine, and Ben Saginaw on bass, this three piece draws their influences from bands such as Nick Cave, Joy Division, The Horrors, The Gun Club, The Cure as well as some industrial music. Detroit’s Ritual Howls take these sounds and create their own danceable macabre groove.

“Zemmoa” starts off this album with its creepy horror movie cinematic sounds before the drum machine kicks in and we are introduced to Paul Bancell’s low register voice, while “The Taste Of You” grumbles with industrial sounding drum effects, fuzz bass and creepy dark sounding surf guitar. “Helm” builds on the sounds of “The Taste Of You” with its low-key vocals, catchy watery sounding guitars, fuzzy bass and synthetic drum sounds. “No Witnesses” sounds as if it could have come from the 1984 Nightmare On Elm Street soundtrack. With its creepy crawly bass, drums and synthesizers “No Witnesses” leads us through a sound that does not feature standard vocals, apart from what sounds like a paranoid protagonist from a horror film long ago, until halfway through the song when it changes. “Turkish Leather”, the album’s final and title track ends the album with the same spooky sounds that lurched their way forward from the album’s opening track, but this song features more depth than the earlier seven tracks. The cover of this album features a person wearing what looks like a golden curtain, appearing as a ghost-like figure. Underneath the golden curtain, Ritual Howls bend and crease their sound as it drifts into different and eerie post punk directions.

Saturday Night Play List:

1. The Music Machine - Talk Talk
2. Paul Revere & The Radiers - Stepping Out
3. The Detroit Cobras - Ya Ya Ya (Looking For My Baby)
4. Scott Morgan - Stick To Your Guns
5. Guitar Army - Going To Detroit
6. Razorhouse - Girl Like A Hand Grenade
7. Vietcong - Static Wall
8. No Age - Circling With Dizzy
9. Chad VanGaalen - I Want You Back
10. The Dead Milkmen - I’ve Got To Get My Numbers Up
11. Dean Drouillard - Lost City
12. Legato Vipers - Penetang Hips
13. Outrageous Cherry - The Digital Age
14. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Calgary Hill
15. Sloan - You Don’t Need Excuses To Be Good
16. Nickel Eye - You And Everyone Else
17. The Electric Prunes - I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night
18. Foxygen - Cosmic Vibrations
19. The International Submarine Band - Sum Up Broke
20. Jakob Dylan - Ain’t No Fair (In A Rock ’N’ Roll Love Affair)
21. John Doe - Just For The Hell Of It
22. Tara Watts - Pack My Bags
23. Carl Perkins - Matchbox
24. Jimmi Quinn - Sweet Home Chicago
25. Dead Ghosts - What To Do
26. Flesh Rag - Bad Attitude
27. Death - North St.
28. Ritual Howls - Final Service
29. Ritual Howls - Helm
30. The Stranglers - Nice N’ Sleazy

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 8. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

CJAM FM 2014 Pledge Drive & Show # 532

This week marks CJAM FM’s annual pledge drive. It is the one time a year that this non-profit campus/community radio station asks for donations in order to keep providing quality programming for the Windsor/Detroit area and anyone that is streaming it online. Since CJAM is non-profit based, we are limited in our capacity to raise money through advertising and rely heavily on listener-supported dollars. The annual funding or “pledge drive” is to help pay for everyday items, equipment and general operations that take place at the station. CJAM has been operating at 500 watts for over 25 years and recently the station increased its signal 2,084 watts.

CJAM has come a long way since they first began as a carrier current station in 1974. Initially the station was only heard on the University of Windsor campus and close-surrounding areas with its 20 watts of power located at 660 AM. In 1977, CJAM was established, previously it had been known as CSRW (Canada Student Radio Windsor). With the name in place CJAM broadcasted on the AM radio band until November of 1983, where it was established as an FM station located at 9.15 FM in the Windsor/Detroit area. CJAM’s first power increase occurred in 1996, where it grew in strength from 50 watts to 500 watts allowing the station to be heard on a greater scale in Windsor and Detroit surrounding areas. In 2009, CJAM FM switched radio frequencies to 99.1 FM, establishing themselves as a campus/community station with “protected status” from the CRTC.

In terms of programming, CJAM provides a wide variety of programming that is just not heard on mainstream radio. In addition to the music programs, which cover everything from jazz to punk and beyond, there are also spoken word programs and ethno-cultural programs that provide views from all perspectives in different languages. Without a station like CJAM, many different community groups, artists and musicians would not be heard and would get lost in the mainstream shuffle of media coverage. Although the Internet has greatly improved awareness of underground artists, bands and differing points of view, whether political or otherwise, there is still a disconnect that is similar to the maligning mainstream media. Despite all of this, CJAM continues to thrive and grow with the content it covers. The station’s mandate still stands, which is to provide the community with information and music programming ignored by the mainstream media in the Windsor/Detroit area. CJAM provides you with real music by real people who are volunteer based programmers who love and want to share the music and content with the listeners and community.

CJAM is now at 2,084 watts and broadcasts in a greater radius because of the support it has received from the Windsor/Detroit communities. This year’s pledge drive is no different, CJAM is asking for your continued support. To assist CJAM reach their $30,000 dollar goal and to help CJAM to continue to grow, you can donate and show your support today. CJAM offers a wide variety of incentives as a thank you for your donation, which can be viewed on their website. This can be done by calling 519-971-3630 (in Windsor) or 1-855-DIG-CJAM (1-855-344-2526 in Detroit and out of town) or by donating securely via PayPal on cjam’s website at www.cjam.ca.

Play List:

1. Nick Lowe - Shake And Pop
2. Iceage - Simony
3. Teenanger - The Sequel
4. Thirsty Souls - Don’t Know What I Don’t Know (Yeah!)
5. James O-L & The Villains - One Horse Town (CJAM Session)
6. Monomyth - Pac Ambition
7. Chad Vangaalen - Evil
8. Chris Crossroads - Monster In The Cradle (Live CJAM Session)
9. Chris Crossroads - 20 Eyes (Live CJAM Session)
10. Chris Crossroads - Jian GhoPesci (Live CJAM Session)
11. The Black Angels - Call To Arms
12. The Stooges - 1969 (John Cale Mix)
13. Neil Jarvis - Last Song

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 1. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs Gates Of Hell Interview & Show # 531


Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs most recent full-length outing features a six-piece band and a larger production sound. Echoing elements of power pop mixed with garage rock, Coffey’s vocal style has been likened to Joe Strummer and at times the music resonates with the influence of the Ramones, Elvis Costello & The Attractions and The Replacements, among others. The album opens with the title track “Gates Of Hell”, while the imagery of some of the album’s song titles portray darker connotations, the slicker production style combined with catchy hooks proves to be a vicious combination. The opening moments of this song and the album begin with a bell ringing before a speeding car brings us into an attack of cleaner guitars, bass, drums and looming organ which boils underneath the song like an engine. The opening words of the song snarl with attitude reminiscent of Exploding Hearts vocalist Adam Cox mixed with a young Johnny Rotten. Lyrically the song uses its biblical imagery to portray a relationship gone wrong, this powerful opener introduces us to several of the sounds that we will find on Gates Of Hell. The song wavers with upbeat and slower tempos as it builds to a powerful close with rambunctious group vocals that echo the words “I’m alright somebody sing it with me.”

“Hold Me Close” features country styled guitar lines alongside power pop rhythms. Drawing comparisons to The Clash, The Jam and perhaps a bit of The Black Lips, the Iron Lungs mix this with their sleazy charm and lyrics “If you can dance/Hold me close/Hold me closer” projecting a simple, yet effective message. “Get Pumped Up” blends the 60s organ driven sounds of garage rock with the spirit of 70s punk, the faster tempos here are reminiscent of a fast paced Elvis Costello & The Attractions live recording. Sam Coffey sings this catchy track in an almost drunken drawl, while “Season Of The Witch” with driving drums and echo drenched vocals conjures up images and themes of the raved up sounds once brought forth by The Sonics “The Witch” and Lollipop Shoppe’s 1968’s garage punk nugget “You Must Be A Witch”. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs take these aforementioned sounds and adds echo, dizzying organ and guitar solos for raunchy effectiveness.

“Run and tell her what you’ve done/And I’m heavy on Queen St.” portrays drama that ensues on Toronto’s Queen Street in “Heavy On Queen St.”, the seventh track found on Gates Of Hell. This song, like the others found on this album, have something familiar to them, but they are difficult to pinpoint to a tee. “Heavy On Queen St.” features stop and start song structures that blends a power pop cocktail of Elvis Costello & The Attractions, The Nerves, with a dash of The Dentists for a smooth relaxed feeling. “Calgary Hill” is one of the popiest tracks found on Gates Of Hell. With lyrics that seem to look back on the past while fighting for the present, the lyrics sound like they surfaced from a drunken realization, an epiphany of sorts as the chorus rings with the words “Calgary Hill/All I wanted/All I wanted/I always will”. This song has an indefinable quality, but one that lends itself to the anthemic songs found on Gates Of Hell, this one being the top one on the list. “17” once again builds on the albums darker imagery, but it is sung in a Robin Zander drawl ala “Surrender”, the album’s final track pulls in heavier psych influences.

Four of the album’s tracks were recorded with Ben Cook of the band Fucked Up. Sam Coffey covered the rest of the production, recording in the band’s practice space and a variety of other locations adding to the album’s character, as he has done with previous Iron Lungs recordings. Gates Of Hell covers a lot of topics lyrically and musically adds to the Iron Lungs palate. Sam Coffey originally from Waterloo, Ontario, recently relocated to Toronto and expanded his band to a six piece group. More people in the band means there could be more complication in the overall sound of the group. The band does not fall into this trap here. The band’s sound may have expanded with more members and higher production values, but on Gates Of Hell, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs deliver an album that deals with many hellish complex subjects, whether metaphorically or bluntly throughout the album’s lyrical content. Musically they still keep the rowdy, pub-crawl spirit that drew us to them in the first place.

Check out the interview I did with Sam Coffey here:



Saturday Night Play List:

1. Link Wray - Hold It
2. The Vagrants - Oh Those Eyes
3. Personal & The Pizzas - Pepperoni Eyes
4. Carbonas - Trapped In Hell
5. Brazilian Money - Then You’ll Know
6. Cream - N.S.U.
7. Ausmuteants - Tunnel Vision
8. King Tuff - Black Moon Spell
9. The Shangri-Las - Give Him A Great Big Kiss
10. Television - Venus De Milo (Live)
11. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Gates Of Hell

Sam Coffey Interview

12. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Season Of The Witch
13. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Heavy On Queen Street
14. Demolition Doll Rods - Psycho Kitty
15. Paul Jacobs - Waiting For The Grave
16. Mekons - Abernant 1984/5
17. Stompin’ Tom Connors - Love’s Not The Only Thing
18. Bob Dylan & The Band - 900 Miles From My Home
19. Woody Guthrie - Pretty Boy Floyd
20. Tweedy - Low Key
21. Nap Eyes - No Man Needs To Care
22. The Ride Theory - I'm On Board
23. Japanese Treats - Color Glo
24. Bell Peppers - Batman
25. The Spitz - Ask Your Mother
26. The Cramps - Aloha From Hell
27. The MC5 - Motor City Is Burning

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 25. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.