Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pedestrian At Best, The Five Bucks & Show # 556

Courtney Barnett - Pedestrian At Best

“Pedestrian At Best” is the first single from Courtney Barnett’s 2015 release Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. The self-deprecating song showcases Barnnett’s hazy, rambling style lyrics in a song that sounds like a cross between something on Nirvana’s In Utero and something from The Kinks early recordings. This album is also Barnett’s debut full-length album and it follows a series of acclaimed EPs that were combined into one compilation entitled The Double EP: A Of Split Peas. You can find Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit Mom + Pop Music.



The Five Bucks - No Use In Trying/Now You're Mine

Based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, The Five Bucks were a garage band formed in 1965 from the Ann Arbor and University of Michigan campus. The group recorded their first single No Use In Trying b/w Now You’re Gone (mislabeled as “Now You’re Mine”) in May of 1966 on Afton Records. The single’s A-side is an organ driven garage punk track with a somewhat sneering message while it’s B-side is moody ballad and soulful organ. The single is an example of a lost gem in the realm of garage punk music. The band released two more singles I’ll Walk Alone/So Wrong in November of 1966 (as The Five Bucs) and Breath Of Time/Without You in 1967. The band changed their name to Byzantine Empire following in 1967.



Saturday Night Play List:

1. The Stones - Gunner Ho
2. The Five Bucks - No Use In Trying
3. Christian Bland & The Revelators - Alone In Deer Park
4. No Museums - Mosquitos
5. The Melvins & Hank Williams III - Ramblin' Man
6. Alex Chilton - Free Again
7. Roy Orbison - You’re My Baby
8. Ramones - The Return Of Jackie & Judy
9. The Viletones - Never Feel Sad
10. The Pack AD - Blackout
11. The Jam - David Watts
12. The Specials - The Dawning Of A New Era
13. Courtney Barnett- Pedestrian At Best
14. Pre-Nods - Dirtbag For Life
15. The Noble Savages - Music Will Kill You
16. Paul Jacobs - Never Alone
17. Dead Ghosts - I Want Your Love
18. Suuns - Metal
19. No Age - Neck Escapers
20. Spencer Davis Blues Explosion - R.L. Got Soul
21. The Mighty Swells - Shot In The Dark
22. Bob Vaught & The Renegades - Church Key Twist
23. Neil Young - Wonderin’ (Live)
24. Jerry Jerry & The Sons Of Rhythm Orchestra - The Drift
25. Mission Of Burma - The Enthusiast
26. Flying Squad - Godzilla
27. Nap Eyes - Tribal Thoughts
28. Pointed Sticks - New Ways
29. The Boys - First Time
30. Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers - Born To Lose

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for April 18. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The King Khan & BBQ Show Bad News Boys & Show # 555


Bad News Boys begins with the doo-wop, garage stomp of “Alone Again”, a song drenched in 50s rock ‘n’ roll influences. Sung by this duo’s drummer, rhythm guitarist and main vocalist Mark Sultan (aka BBQ), the song strikes a powerful, yet melodic chord that not only introduces us to King Khan & BBQ Show’s first album in six years, but it is also seeped in 50’s rock ballad drama. During the song’s three minute time frame, lead guitarist King Khan plays his own blend of arpeggio-drunk-a-billy guitar riffs amongst his doo-wop backing vocals and BBQ’s primal backbeat groove. While this song contains the obvious elements of a love song, it also is somewhat symbolic given The King Khan & BBQ Show’s chaotic history. In 2010, the band announced they were splitting up for good following the release and tour of 2009’s Invisible Girl. “Alone Again” evokes a togetherness in contrast to the songs surface message. The King Khan & BBQ Show are alone and together again creating their own brand of musical mayhem.

“Illuminations” follows next. Sung by King Khan, this song shines bright with a gritty 1978 punk groove, while King Khan sings of being a spark in the dark within a world of bright distractions as the chorus tells us “Illuminations/Don’t let them leave you behind”. The King Khan & BBQ Show then re-introduce their dark B-movie style and at times silly/ramshackle lyrics in a mix of salty tambourines and strong vocal melodies in “Kiss My Sister’s Fist”, an element that returns at several points on this album. On “Buy Bye Bhai” the band amps up their soul influences. Despite it’s lo-fi production, this song rises above it’s production techniques with its offbeat, soulful Otis Redding influenced vocal melodies and warped guitar dynamics. “D.F.O” shows The King Khan & BBQ Show flexing their hardcore punk twang in a toilet humoured track that lasts less than a minute and one that breaks up the filthy, but beautiful “Buy Bye Bhai” and the slow chugging melodies of “We Are The Champion”. This song was originally released as a single to prior to the album’s release in 2014.

“Ocean Of Love” brings back the band’s soulful influence, mixed with their brand of doo-wop and in this case, sand dusted, glassy rhythms. “Snacking After Midnight” brings rusty rhythms and cartoonish/B-horror movie lyrics, along with the murky “Killing The Wolfman”. This song treads through muddy swamp verses while the song’s paranoid lyrics conjure up images of “chemical werewolves, moons“ and ends with a howl. “Never Felt Like This” is a nostalgic love song, as with ‘’Buy Bye Bhai”, brings in a strong soulful influence. The song lyrically as with the opening number, could be seen as a reunion of sorts after a long hiatus. Bad News Boys ends with an odd curveball, as we are thrown into the noisy punk assault of “Zen Machines”. This song has obviously thrown off several reviewers, who claim the song is the weakest moment on this twelve-track release. This song is a barrage of fast punk riffs, which references late night talk show host Conan O’Brien and ends as if there is a CD or record skipping. The album ends on a riotous note, one that is perhaps unexpected. This could be a sign of things to come from The King Khan & BBQ Show. Sounds like this were last explored on 2006’s What’s For Dinner? This song shakes things up, making the album less predictable than what some people may predict, while at the same time hitting the notes on the sounds we might expect from The King Khan & BBQ Show.

Initially, The King Khan & BBQ Show stated that they would be changing their name to Bad News Boys, a name that they were going to go by many years ago prior to settling on The King Khan & BBQ Show. Fortunately they kept The King Khan & BBQ Show moniker and instead called the album Bad News Boys. Fittingly, this album treads in the band’s earlier musical territory, while at the same time not taking itself too seriously. Six years is sometimes the entire lifespan of a band, but with Bad News Boys, The King Khan & BBQ Show chime in with their primitive, melodic sounds and an undeniable chemistry together as musicians. The music found on this album is similar to the band’s previous releases, but there are small subtleties that make it different. However, that is not necessarily the point. The King Khan & BBQ Show are a raunchy, sloppy, raw rock ‘n' roll band. Bad News Boys proves that they still have what it takes to entertain the average listener. The bad news for some would be if you expected any different.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Jerry Lee Lewis - Wild One
2. Deja Voodoo - Gotta Have Money
3. Just Brothers - Sliced Tomatoes
4. Pere Ubu - Life Stinks
5. Jay Reatard - Screaming Hand
6. Summer Cannibals - Show Us Your Mind
7. C & C Surf Factory - Takeshiesque
8. Surf Kitties - Breaker
9. The Nomads - Bounty Hunter
10. The Dictators - California Sun
11. Pink Wine - Persistent Cops
12. Pow Wows - Surfin’ Dirge
13. Parquet Courts - Ducking & Dodging (Live)
14. The King Khan & BBQ Show - Ocean Of Love
15. The King Khan & BBQ Show - Killing The Wolfman
16. Painted Ship - Frustration (Alternate Version)
17. Pissed Jeans - Half Idiot
18. The Birthday Party - Nick The Stripper
19. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - I'm Gonna Kill That Woman
20. Titus Andronicus - Titus Anronicus
21. Sonic Youth - Burning Spear
22. Andrew Jackson Jihad - No One
23. Diamond Rugs - Motel Room
24. Bob Dylan & The Band - Edge Of The Ocean
25. The Rolling Stones - Complicated
26. The Normals - Almost Ready
27. Strange Attractor - Anything
28. The Cramps - Drug Train
29. The Black Lips - The Best Napkin I Ever Had
30. The Stooges - Down On The Street (Take 13)
31. The Strokes - Take It Or Leave It
32. The Replacements - If Only You Were Lonely

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for April 11. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

G Stands For Go-Betweens & Show # 554


Formed by Robert Forester and Grant McLennan while at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, in 1976, The Go-Betweens were a band featuring the two songwriters and a variety of other musicians that were augmented into the band’s line up at different points in the band’s career. “Cattle and Cane” was a song written by Grant McLennan in 1982. The song was composed on Nick Cave’s acoustic guitar in his London apartment by McLennan while Cave was reportedly comatose following substance use. In “Cattle and Cane”, often called a gentle ballad, McLennan created a story in song that he has called “three vignettes of a person, who's a lot like myself, growing up in Queensland, and just juxtaposing that against how I am now." Musically, the song is dominated by acoustic guitar riffs, strong melodic bassline and backing vocals. It is a very stripped down affair that is not plagued by the elements of 80s over production, however, the song does contain guitar and effects that place the song in an 80s indie rock construct. Following the writing of this song McLennan brought it to Robert Forester who also has a co-writing credit on the song and it was recorded in October of 1982 at I.B.C Studios in Eastbourne, UK. Released in February 1983 prior to the release of The Go-Betweens second album Before Hollywood, “Cattle and Cane” is also found on the album as well. A music video was filmed for the song in a barn, featuring dim lighting and a new bass player Robert Vickers. While Vickers was not on the actual recording of the song (McLennan plays bass and provides the main vocals on this track), he did appear in the video and on the single’s B-side “Man O’Sand To Girl O’Sea”. The song and video also features drums and backing vocals by Lindy Morrison, who joined the band as their drummer in 1980. The single went on to become number four on the UK independent charts in 1983 and has since been heralded as a classic. In 2015, G Stands For Go-Betweens – Volume 1, a boxed set that compiles the band’s recordings from 1976-1984 was released via the Domino records label.



Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Ty Segall & White Fence - Crybaby
2. JD McPherson - Head Over Heels
3. Frankie & Jimmy - Got My Mojo Workin’
4. Sonic Youth - Teen Age Riot (Live)
5. The Wipers - No Generation Gap
6. Destruction Unit - The World On Drugs (Live)
7. Silent Movie Type - Cap Guns
8. Young Guv - Dear Drew
9. Flight Of Niko - Depressing Feat
10. The Bureaucrats - Crush You In My Arms
11. The Ugly Beats - Can’t Cut Through
12. Max Pain And The Groovies - Drip
13. The Torquays - Stolen Moments
14. The Odds & Ends - Cause You Don’t Love Me
15. Chips & Co. - Let The Winds Blow
16. The Motions - Big Chief
17  The Mighty Swells - Stampede
18. Los Explosivos - Rocking Heart
19. Actual Water - The Wait
20. The Traditional Fools - Milkman
21. Gentlemen Of Horror - Rough Hike
22. Bonnie Prince Billy - No Match
23. The Byrds - Pretty Polly
24. The Plugz - Beserkertown
25. Chad Vangaalen — It Must Be Alright
26. X-Ray Spex - Warrior In Woolworths
27. The Go-Betweens - Hope
28. The Government - Fire Escape
27. Ricked Wicky - Death Metal
28. Mark Sultan - Livin' My Life
29. The Only Ones - Out There In The Night
30. Simply Saucer - Bullet Proof Nothing

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for April 4. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Diamond Rugs Cosmetics Interview & Show # 553


What do Deer Tick’s John McCauley, Robbie Crowell, Ian St. Pe (formerly of The Black Lips), Hardy Morris of Dead Confederate, Bryan Dufresne of Six Finger Satellite, Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and a trash bag used as an instrument all have in common? You can find all of this on Cosmetics, the sophomore album by the band Diamond Rugs. The term supergroup is tossed around in articles about this band that seems to focus on all the outside elements that make up this band and while that is important, it is the songs themselves and their content that make this album and band so striking. Building on 2012’s self-tiled fourteen-track release, Cosmetics adds more groove, soul and chemistry to Diamond Rugs aesthetic. The album opens with “Voodoo Doll” a song that starts with a lone raunchy guitar riff, drum count in and a sneaky laugh before brassy horn sections come in. Trying to explain the instrumentation of this song by itself could give you the wrong impression of what to expect on Cosmetics. The chorus of the song brings in organ and synthesizer, used in such a subtle way it adds to the song’s make up, not getting lost in the groove of the actual song. Drawing comparisons to The Replacements “I Don’t Know” from 1987’s Pleased To Meet Me, “Voodoo Doll” sucks you in with its inexplicable groove.

“Thunk” comes in next echoing a similar raw garage-soul vibe as the album’s opener. Sung by Hardy Morris in between horns, piano and crunchy guitar riffs, as the lyrics evoke a story about someone that doesn’t quite know why they are involved in a certain situation, but still remain there. With lyrics such as “I never thought I’d be your problem/By the way/The way you talk I should be long, long gone” this point is proven more so. Additionally, there are some guitar lead lines that seem to reflect the influence of the Los Angeles punk band The Plugz, perhaps best known for providing the soundtrack to Alex Cox’s 1984 film Repo Man (but more on that later). “Thunk” and “Voodoo Doll” both share the same undefined charm. An interesting side note on The Plugz, Steve Berlin was also featured as a guest musician on the band’s second album Better Luck in 1981.

“I Couldn’t Help It” brings in a different type of vibe with pulsating basslines, acoustic guitars and McCauley’s vocals, which deliver a song with many melodic, mellow moments. “Meant To Be” brings in a laidback melody in a fuzzy, swampy, blues garage romp, “Live and Shout It” features vocals by both Ian St. Pe and John McCauley within its playful dynamics, loose jangly rhythms and a “believe it if you say it” message. “So What” attacks with a garage-punk aesthetic, walking basslines, swelling synthesizers and witty lyrics that state “I love you/So what”, while “Ain’t Religion” brings in smooth grooves and melodies. The acoustic guitars, drums and subtle basslines dominate the verses of this song. Lyrically, the song is as guitarist Ian St. Pe said in a recent track-by-track article with Relix “not all set in stone. But it is love that two people share and perhaps that does come from above.”

The chorus of “Ain’t Religion” provides a guitar line to the song, soaked in reverb, one that is reminiscent slightly to the song “Reel Ten” by The Plugz. This song was used as part of the soundtrack and score to Alex Cox’s 1984 film Repo Man. In the film the main character Otto finds himself amongst a collection of troublesome characters in a world that involves car repossession, aliens and punk teenagers. There is also a search for a car that has a high reward attached to it. In the film the car floats supernaturally away at one point, just like the guitar lines played here in this song’s chorus. “Ain’t Religion” searches and floats with a hard to define, unexplained, yet effective melody. This song’s lyrical and musical content ride to a degree in a Repo Man-like spirit, as it cruises its way in at track number seven on Cosmetics.

“Blame” bounces with a countrified rhythm, drawing comparisons to Gram Parsons musically in some reviews. Lyrically the song with its sharp witty lyrics such as “Say what you will/But I blame me on you” also help to drive this song in a be careful what you wish for type tale. “Motel Room” sung by John McCauley, ends the album in a collection of soulful horns, distorted guitars, murky bass rhythms and sleazy tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Some say it is the best of the eleven tracks found here, but this song along with the other ten tracks all add to Cosmetics, well sequenced, no frills approach.

While many may have thought that Diamond Rugs were a one-time thing made up of musicians from other successful bands in their own right, they are not wearing anything to cover up themselves on Cosmetics. Diamond Rugs mix all the right musical chemical compounds and a boozy six-pack charm to construct a sound and album that can make you feel good. There are many different kinds of cosmetics out there, but Diamond Rugs Cosmetics are the kind we should all get behind.

Check out the interview I did with Diamond Rugs bassist Robbie Crowell here:



Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Bipolaroid - Supernatural Beauty
2. Threads Of Fybre - Believe Me
3. Prefab Messiahs - Bobb’s Psychedelic Car
4. Of Montreal - Virgilian Lots
5. Feral Trash - Dead Weight
6. Pink Wine - Can’t Get Out
7. Paul Jacobs - That Feeling
8. The Cynics - Born To Lose (Live)
9. George Jones - If I Don’t Love You Baby (Grits And Groceries)
10. Deer Tick - Main Street
11. Diamond Rugs - Thunk

Robbie Crowell Diamond Rugs Interview

12. Diamond Rugs -Blame
13. Los Lobos - Kiko And The Lavender Moon
14. Matt Mays & El Torpedo - Rock Ranger Record
15. What Seas What Shores - Twice, Twice, Twice
16. The Nervebreakers - Why Am I So Flipped?
17. Average Times - Popsicle
18. King Creep - I’m No Good
19. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - East Side
20. The Paupers - If I Told My Baby
21. Indian Wars - Windshield Wiper Blues
22. Bloodshot Bill - Gee Whiz
23. Blimp Rock - Let’s All Stay In Tonight
24. Active Dog - Nothing Holding You
25. The Scissors - Mystery Movie
26. The Pointed Sticks - Real Thing
27. Nick Lowe - Burning
28. Television - Friction (Alternate Version)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for March 28. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mystery Train: The Song, The Book, The Film And The Myth & Show # 552


When referring to Mystery Train, it can be looked at in three ways. There is the song covered by Elvis Presley that was first recorded by American Blues musician Junior Parker in 1953, The 1975 book by Greil Marcus often cited as one of the best books written about pop music and finally the 1989 film by Jim Jarmusch. The film delves into the myth of Elvis and early American music through three stories and characters.

The song “Mystery Train” first appeared under this title in 1953. It was recorded by Sun Records American blues recording artist Junior Parker as a follow up to his single “Feelin’ Good” which charted on the Billboard R&B charts at number five. The genesis of the song itself has been said to come from a few sources. “Mystery Train” was based on The Carter Family’s “Worried Man Blues” released in 1930, which itself was based on an old Irish Celtic folk ballad. The song has since been covered by numerous artists and there are many versions of the song that exist, but it is perhaps best known as being performed by Elvis Presley.

In August of 1955, “Mystery Train” was covered and reworked as the B-side to the Elvis Presley single “I Forgot To Remember To Forget”. For this version of the song Presley changed some of the lyrics, which in turn changed the song’s original somber tone put forth by Junior Parker to a more confident mood and feeling. Musically, guitarist Scotty Moore blended country and blues elements to create a galloping locomotive rockabilly rhythm that echoes the influence of the Merle Travis song “Sixteen Tons” from 1946 and also features a guitar riff from Junior Parker’s 1953 song “Love My Baby”. The changes made to this song also continues the folk tradition and trend in which Junior Parker originally used to create his version of the song in 1953. Despite all the versions recorded of this song, Presley’s version still is consistently considered one of the best versions released.

In 1975, the book Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music written by American author and music journalist Greil Marcus was released. This book, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2015, contextualizes and explores the image of America used in rock music, it’s evolution and impact on our culture. The book as previously mentioned is considered one of the most provocative books written about rock music. Marcus places eight songs by American musicians in comparison to the literary models of Moby Dick, The Great Gatsby and Stagger Lee.

In 1989 Jim Jarmusch released the movie Mystery Train. The film separated in three parts, explores the myth of Elvis and its impact on the characters in the film and their lives, taking the myth analyzed by Marcus and the aura created by the song itself to another level. The movie features several musicians placed within acting roles in the film’s narrative construct. Musicians Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Joe Strummer and the voice of Tom Waits all appear in the film. While there are many ways to look at this song and its influence on American culture, the song, the book and the 1989 movie by Jim Jarsmusch all add to the many factors surrounding the Mystery Train title. The title itself in the context of the song has never really been explained and is mentioned nowhere in the song’s lyrics. This is perhaps representative of the myth that it creates. It has been analyzed, discussed and been used to create different art forms, but there still is for lack of a better term a “mystery” surrounding it. The ideas put forth by Mystery Train may be forever “coming around the bend” as it still draws us in no matter which track it takes to get to us.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. The Slit Plasters - The Dung Fly
2. Moon Duo - Zero
3. Vietcong - Continental Shelf
4. BA Johnston - What A Wonderful Mediocre Day
5. Wavves - King Of The Beach
6. Dave Arcari - Devil's Left Hand
7. The Locusts Have No King - Last Night In My Favourite Bar
8. Tom Waits - Bad As Me
9. Junior Parker - Mystery Train
10. Harmonica Frank - Rocking Chair Daddy
11. Robert Johnson - If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day
12. Daniel Romano - Helen’s Restaurant
14. The Hives - Blood Red Moon
15. Joel Plaskett - Broken Heart Songs
16. James O-L & The Villains - Cross Country Canada
17. Chris Crossroads - Lost In The 13th Dimension
18. Sly & The Family Stone - Time
19. Randy Newman - God's Song
20. Elvis Presley - Mystery Train
21. Unrelated Segments - Cry Cry Cry
22. Pow Wows - You Haven’t Got Me Yet
23. Teenanger - Singles Don’t $ell
24. Ramblin' Ambassadors - Lungbucket
25. Nirvana - Hairspray Queen
26. Pluto - Million And Two
27. The Lurkers - Hey You

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

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Rocket Trash & Show # 551


Rock ‘n’ Roll Monkey & The Robots first album Detroit Trauma was released in 2005. This three-piece band from Detroit, Michigan, was started by bassist/vocalist Craig Campbell originally to finish some unreleased material at the time. The result was a band that blended elements of garage, R&B, punk/new wave and well crafted songwriting skills. In January 2014 the band released their fifth album Rocket Trash/Strings & Traps, which is an LP comprised of two 45-RPM EPs. This vinyl only released also displayed elements of what could described as trashy new wave-meets-surf with a dash of folk, Mersey beat and pop. The following two videos are animations done by Sam C. You can pick up a copy of Rock ‘n’ Roll Monkey & The Robots 12 inch record Rocket Trash/Strings & Traps over at their bandcamp page.





Saturday Night Play List:

1. The Rezillos - I Like It
2. Private School - Science Fiction
3. UJ3RKS - Eisenhower and The Hippies
4. Gang Of Four - Broken Talk
5. Ex-Cult - Dripping Mouth
6. Silent Movie Type - Mannequins
7. The Secret V’s - Waiting For The Drugs To Take Hold
8. The Breakaways - One Way Ticket
9. Flamin’ Groovies - Him Or Me
10. Twerps - White As Snow
11. The Missing Links - Where Were You Last Night
12. King Beezz - Found & Lost
13. The Stray Cats - Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie
14. Paul Westerberg - High Time
15. Kim Gray - On Top
16. Fil Spectre - Homesick Party Kids
17. Apollo’s Apaches - Cry Me A Lie
18. The Illusions - Wait Till The Summer
19. The Roots - It’s Been A Long Journey
20. The Gories - There But For The Grace Of God
21. Rock ’n’ Roll Monkey & The Robots - I Really Like You
22. Rock ’n’ Roll Monkey & The Robots - Checkpoint Charlie
23. Lost Patrol - Rescue Me
24. The Squires - Aurora
25. The Sons of Hercules - Bad Time
26. The Diodes - Lost In The Dark
27. The Zeros - Hungry
28. The Dils - Class War
29. Elliot Smith - Needle In The Hay
30. Parquet Courts - Vienna II (Live At Third Man Records)
31. Parquet Courts - Always Back In Town (Live At Third Man Records)
32. The Black Lips - O Katrina!
33. The Damned - Neat, Neat, Neat

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

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Pow Wows Broken Curses Interview & Show # 550


Pow Wows highly anticipated second full-length Broken Curses was released in February 2015 on Get Hip Recordings. This album follows the 2011 release Nightmare Soda, where Pow Wows first displayed their garage punk psych and R&B twang in a greased lightning fashion, and a series of recent singles in 2012/2013. Recorded and mixed by Steve Major in Toronto at Verge Music Lab and mastered by Jim Diamond at Ghetto Recorders in Detroit, this ten-track release contains the same intensity that was first displayed back in 2011. The press release for this album states that the songs are “tales of dystopia with a back beat. Party rock for end times” and that couldn’t be more accurate.

“Fire Song” starts off Broken Curses with a burning intensity. As the song progresses we are engulfed by fuzzy garage riffs, clanging guitar chords, steady, driving basslines and a shower of drums that attempt to cool the heat put forth in the opening moments of Broken Curses. “Rebel Stomp” first appeared on the limited edition live cassette Bent Out Of Shape in 2013, but comes in second on Broken Curses as we are taken through a series of guitar riffs that sound like the Yardbirds being assaulted by a gang of 60s garage nugget bands. As the chorus hits we hear lyrics that seem to rally a call for independent thought amongst the minutia of opinionated boring daily life. “Car Cemetery” attacks with a locomotive-like rhythm echoing elements of Davie Allan & The Arrows, The Cramps, The Gun Club and features a breakdown that fuzzes with the influence of the 13th Floor Elevators. To add to all this there are even motorcycle sounds added to the mix.

With “I Can See But You Don’t Know” Pow Wows take on a song by The Equals as The Clash did with their version of The Equals “Police On My Back” for their album Sandinista in 1980. This song is almost unrecognizable as an Equals song and it fits Pow Wows sound and style perfectly. It is a song that they have made their own. “You Haven’t Got Me Yet” is a hidden gem on track five on this ten-track album, this song is notable for its stop and start guitar and bass groove as subtle psychedelic reverb sounds reverberate in the background of the verses and choruses. Amongst these rhythms, reverb soaked guitar riffs hook you in as lyrically the song broadcasts a message for not giving up when the metaphorical deck of cards are stacked against you.

Other tracks on this album include the organ and fuzz driven “Surfin’ Dirge”, “Hidden Future” and “Going Dark”. This track has a cleaner guitar sound in the earlier parts of the song mixed with darker or dirtier sounding lyrics. The chorus seems to reflect 70s punk influences as elements of The Gun Club slide in throughout this track. The song’s lyrics seem to portray the struggle of being a musician in the modern age in this modern day garage punk blues romp. The last two tracks on Broken Curses bring in a different type of groove and feeling, but one that ties the record and its lyrical themes together. “Traces” is the longest song found on this album clocking in at over four minutes. It is a somber track with a slower groove and riotous eruptive choruses, while lyrically the song paints the picture of a modern dystopian world. “Lost Sunset” ends the album calling for understanding when you have gone past the point of no return. This hazy track juxtaposes with the opening track “Fire Song” as it smolders with the reverb drenched sounds of 60s surf.

In 2011, Pow Wows served up a potent fizzy cocktail with Nightmare Soda. In the mix we found the ingredients were made up of garage, punk, surf and R&B influences. 2012 and 2013 brought singles to quench our thirst, but with Broken Curses Pow Wows have shaken things up yet again. The fizzy cocktail that was once served to us in 2011 has now exploded in a ten-track blast. Like a dried up soda that has crusted over, this album offers a new grittiness in the spirit of the cyclic fuzz driven sounds of Davie Allan & The Arrows, garage, punk and surf music all in a modern context. With Broken Curses, Pow Wows provide us with their own unique garage noir lyrics and musical style in ten tracks that has a dizzying cohesiveness to it.

Listen to the interview I did with Pow Wows bassist/vocalist Ryan Rothwell here:



The Play List:

1. The Honeycombs - Can’t Get Through To You
2. The Angels - Get Away From Me
3. Demolition Doll Rods - Lil Darlin
4. Pearls Mahone - Blow Your Top
5. The Delmonas - I Did Him Wrong
6. The Z-Rays - Number Nine
7. The Cramps - Domino
8. Pow Wows - Fire Song
9. Pow Wows - Car Cemetery

Pow Wows Ryan Rothwell Interview

10. Pow Wows - Rebel Stomp
11. BA Johnston - You Can Love Someone And Hate The Things They Love
12. Dum Dum Girls - Yours Alone
13. X Ray Spex - Obsessed With You
14. Diamond Rugs - Voodoo Doll
15. Brat Kings - Good Drugs (Pinball Session)
16. Paul Jacobs - Pop Can Ashtray
17. The Curse - No More Ice Cream (Live)
18. The Dishrags - Can’t Wait
19. Colleen Green - I Want To Grow Up
20. Sleater-Kinney - A New Wave
21. A Place To Bury Strangers - Straight
22. Ricked Wicky - Guts
23. Alex Chilton - Just To See You
24. JD McMpherson - It Shook Me Up
25. Ty Segall Band - Slaughterhouse (Live In San Francisco)
26. Ty Segall Band - Skin (Live In San Francisco)
27. Ty Segall Band - Standing At The Station (Live In San Francisco)
28. The Replacements - Seen Your Video

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