Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 Highlights...Show # 332

There were a lot of good new music releases in the year 2010. I will outline ten of my favourites. There are many that were played on my radio program today that I also love and encourage you to check out on your own time, but for now lets take a look at the top ten.

1. Young Rival – Young Rival






The last release from Hamilton’s Young Rival was their 2008 Young Rival EP, which featured six songs and was self-released. The bands first self titled full length album has been a highly anticipated release, and it does not disappoint. The album picks up where the EP left off adding more of a Pop element, while still retaining their live sound and Garage styled past. This definitely one album you do not want to skip over.

Favourite tracks:
Got What You Need
The Ocean
Can’t Just Stay Here


2. True Lovers – True Lovers













Put together by Dion Lunadon (previously of New Zealand Garage Rockers The D4), The True Lovers recorded their full length debut in 2009 in New York on analog equipment. The album is a mix of Soul and Blues inspiration for a Rock album with an undeniable groove. The album is still available via the bands website, but unfortunately The True Lovers are no longer together. Dion is currently playing bass in A Place to Bury Strangers. This is an album may not appear on a lot of top album lists of 2010, it seems to have slipped through the cracks, but it is yet another release that deserves your attention.

Favourite tracks:
Obsession
Guilty Pleasure # 9
Bang Bang


3. Harlem – Hippies













This sixteen track album is a gritty album from Austin, Texas band Harlem is the follow up to their 2008 release Free Drugs. The album mixes elements of Lo-Fi Garage Rock, Pop, and Surf Rock for a unique catchy album. Amongst the songs here to offer, (which there are plenty of) the band mixes in their quirky and sometimes strange humour to keep you captivated (“Gay Human Bones”, “Friendly Ghost”, “Faces”).

Favourite tracks:
Friendly Ghost
Gay Human Bones
Pissed


4. The Black Angels – Phosphene Dream














Starting in 2004, The Black Angels are a Psychedelic Rock band from Austin, Texas. Their name originates from the Velvet Underground song “The Black Angel Death Song”. They have had numerous releases (two full length albums, and two EPs), but in 2010 the band released their full length album Phosphene Dream on Blue Horizon Records (making it their third full length, but first full length on Blue Horizon). "Phosphenes" are flashes of light that are induced by sound or movement, therefore if you put "Phosphene" and "Dream" together you can get a good understanding behind the titles meaning. The album mixes elements of Garage Rock and Psychedelic Rock. It went to number 50 on the US Billboard Top 200 Charts.

Favourite tracks:
Bad Vibrations
Yellow Elevator # 2
Telephone

 5. The Locusts Have No King – Come One, Come All












This is the third release from Windsor, Ontario’s The Locusts Have No King. The album is a five song mix of Country fried Rock and Roll. Capturing the energy of the bands fantastic live shows, Come One, Come All does not disappoint. Recorded in Windsor by guitarist Leigh Wallace, this is an example of some of the great offerings that Windsor has to offer musically.

Favourite tracks:
Come One, Come All
On My Way
Song 6


6. The Mark Inside – False Flag













This EP is a sample of what Toronto’s Mark Inside will offer up on their upcoming full length album, which is set to be released in 2011. The songs were recorded in the UK, and have a Post Punk flavour to them. Songs such as “There is Nothing to Admit”, and “Lime Green Monkeys” display a new direction that this excellent Canadian band is going in. The EP has a lot more to offer musically drawing on some Alternative influences and Punk influences as well.

Favourite tracks:
House of Cards
There is Nothing to Admit
Shots from A Broken Bottle


7. The Black Keys – Brothers













Recorded at the famous Muscle Shoals, Brothers adds more Soul and bass to The Black Keys mix. The album is a step in a new direction in the bands catalogue and features a slicker production style while still retaining the Garage and Blues elements that has made the early Black Keys records so good.

Favourite tracks:
Everlasting Light
Tighten Up
Howlin' For You

8. Wavves - King of the Beach













King of the Beach is the third full length album from the American Noise Pop band Wavves formed by Nathan Williams. This album as opposed to the bands previous efforts features a full rhythm section (members from the late Jay Reatard's touring band) and had more of a cleaner production style. The bands previous full lengths (Wavves and Wavves) had more of a gritty and distorted production based style. This album was released in August 2010 on Fat Possum Records.

Favourite tracks:
King of the Beach
Post-Acid
Linus Spacehead


 
9. The Revolvers - Surfin' Apocalypse













The Revolvers who come from Toronto, Ontario independently released their debut album Surfin' Apocalypse in 2009. The album was re-issued on Optical Sounds this year. The albums title originates from the expression "fiddling while Rome burns" and this thrashy Rock and Roll album features a stripped back approach to Rock and Roll with strong harmonies, while at times mixes in other Rock elements. Influences can be compared to the likes of The Velvet Underground, The Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and T.Rex.

Favourite tracks:
Break it Loose
Shuffle
Rock y Roll


10. Square Root of Maragret - WYSIWYG


This band originates from Chatham, Ontario and has been around for over ten years and has released numerous full length albums. The band recorded and produced WYSIWYG (an acronym for "what you see is what you get") themselves and mixes elements of Psychedelic 60s Rock, featuring many long jam songs, but also several catchy Pop tracks.

Favourite tracks:
WYSIWYG
Hallucinate Your Holidays
Attack of the Giant Problem vs. The Creature from the Planet of the Incredible Shrinking Solution



Best of 2010 Play List:

1. Awesome Color - Transparent (Massa Hypnos, Ecstatic Peace 2010)
2. Johnny West - Intervals (My Hellhound Crooked Heart, Tosteestostas Music 2010)
3. Meligrove Band - Bones Attack!! (Shimmering Lights, Nevado Records 2010)
4. Vaselines - Ruined (Sex with an X, Sub-Pop 2010)
5. Jaill - Everyones Hip (That's How We Burn, Sub-Pop 2010)
6. Surf City - See How The Sun (Kudos, Morr Music 2010)
7. Vampire Weekend - Run (Contra, XL Recordings 2010)
8. Frankie Rose and the Outs - Candy (Frankie Rose and the Outs, Slumberland 2010)
9. Clinic - Lion Tamer (Bubblegum, Domino 2010)
10. Action Makes - Buddies (Action Makes, Optical Sounds 2010)
11. Neil Young - Walk With Me (Le Noise, Reprise 2010)
12. James OL & The Villains - Trainwreck of Thinking (Alive at the Colch!, Self-Released 2010)
13. What Seas What Shores - Islande (Cordyceps EP, Self-Released 2010)
14. Square Root of Maragret - Hallucinate Your Holidays (WYSIWYG, Self-Released 2010)
15. The Revolvers - Rock y Roll (Surfin' Apocalypse, Optical Sounds 2010)
16. Wavves - King of the Beach (King of the Beach, Fat Possum Records 2010)
17. The Black Keys - Sinister Kid (Brothers, Nonesuch 2010)
18. The Mark Inside - House of Cards (False Flag, MapleMusic 2010)
19. The Locusts Have No King - Song 6 (Come One, Come All, Self-Released 2010)
20. The Black Angels - Hauning at 1300 McKinley (Phosphene Dream, Blue Horizon Ventures 2010)
21. Harlem - Cloud Pleaser (Hippies, Matador 2010)
22. The True Lovers - Bang Bang (True Lovers, Altra Records 2010)
23. The True Lovers - Cougar (True Lovers, Altra Records 2010)
24. Young Rival - Break of Dawn (Young Rival, Sonic Unyon 2010)
25. Young Rival - Got What You Need (Young Rival, Sonic Unyon 2010)

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

Monday, December 27, 2010

Husker Du Book: The Story of the Noise Pop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock


Husker Du were one of the most influential bands to come from the indie underground in the 1980s. The band got their start in Hardcore, before the term was even used to designate that particular genre. Husker Du: The Story of the Noise Pop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock, covers the career of the band and also briefly describes the bands aftermath, it also includes a detailed discography of the bands musical outputs. There has not been many books written about Husker Du to this extent and it serves as a great source of information for the band. Author Andrew Earles starts the book by stating his intentions for the book. He does not intend to it to be a gossip filled book to add to irrelevant facts and information on the band that aren’t necessary to the story of Husker Du. He also tells us some of the people interviewed for the book which includes Grant Hart and Greg Norton of Husker Du, but not front man Bob Mould. At the time the book was being written it is mentioned that Bob Mould himself is writing an autobiography of his own with the help of Michael Azerrad. That is not to say that Bob does not have an inclusion in the book, there are several quotes from interviews provided that add great detail to this story. Earles states that he hopes that this book will serve as a supplement to Bob’s book, which is due sometime next year. Earles honest tone in the introduction of the book sets a good mood for the reader and at the same time displays his immense interest and passion for the bands music. Prior to writing the book Andrew Earles has had freelance writer experience writing for magazines such as SPIN, Magnet Magazine, Dusted Magazine, Harp, Sound Collector, Vice and Pitchfork Media to name a few. In fact Earles submitted a pitch for a book in the 33 1/3 series for Husker Du’s Flip Your Wig album. It wasn’t accepted, but as a result he was picked up by Voyageur Press to write a book spanning Husker Du’s fascinating career.

The book traces the very beginnings of the band from their formation to them connecting with SST and the LA Hardcore scene along with bands such as The Minute Men, and Black Flag. The book digs deep into the Twin Cities/Minnesota music scene that prior to the Huskers wasn’t as developed. We learn fascinating details and are provided with pictures of the band and old set lists. We are taken through the bands development and before you know it the book is halfway done and Husker Du has several full length albums available. Some interesting facts are provided such as the bands origin. Husker Du was the name of a popular Danish board game during Grant Hart’s childhood. The name Husker Du! was shouted out during one of the bands early practices while playing an improvisational section of a cover song. The name also means “Do you remember?” in English. It is also interesting to learn of the band starting their own label, Reflex Records in which they released some of their music and a few other bands before it dissolved and the band became an important seller on the SST label. After getting through the first few chapters, it is apparent that Husker Du is different. Even early on they were experimenting with several genres such as Post Punk, and there was always a Pop element that would be subtle in their early visceral, Noise driven Punk beginnings.

Throughout the book, the reader is plugged into the underground and conflicts as they arise. Every album is discussed in detail, we learn of all the recordings the band made during their time of existence and little tidbits of information spark through out the chapters of the book. For example, when we learn of the bands album Flip Your Wig, we find out the names origin. The albums title was actually taken from the name of a Beatles board game. It’s no surprise that that album would have Pop elements that made it their catchiest album at the time of its release. The album would eventually lead to their major label record deal, which would in the future help pave the way for other independent underground artists. The book doesn’t end there, Earle establishes the influence the band left after they stopped playing together and brings us right up to today. Reading Husker Du: The Story of the Noise Pop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock is a fascinating tale of a unique prolific band that is still being talked about and still influencing bands today.

The book can be purchased through Amazon.com:
 http://www.amazon.com/Husker-Du-Noise-Pop-Pioneers-Launched/dp/0760335044

the following is an excerpt from Husker Du: The Story of the Noise Pop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock:

Zen Arcade is the first Hüsker Dü release to feature a wide variety of songcraft. While each Hüsker Dü album boasts at least one innovation—a “first” that would be honed as the band tore along at its precocious pace— Zen Arcade is packed with more of these creative instances than any album in the trio’s career, before or after. Some succeed; some do not.

The world’s introduction to Zen Arcade, via Hart’s drums and five seconds of Norton’s bass, would become one of the more recognizable sound bites in the entire Hüsker Dü catalog. “Something I Learned Today” is signature Hüsker Dü post-hardcore noise-pop, but it’s also top-shelf, straight-up punk rock that bears more than a passing likeness to hardcore. Mould’s barnburner, “Broken Home, Broken Heart,” follows, applying some of the preceding song’s stylistic innovations but coming off as less catchy.

The song does serve as a quasi-introduction to the album’s loose narrative, though it was one of the future Zen songs debuted during the summer of 1983, several months before the probable invention of the narrative. As the double album is examined, it becomes obvious that its oft-claimed conceptual nature could easily have been concocted as the track order was sequenced. The familiar plot line revisits more than it follows a disenchanted teen escaping a tumultuous home life, experiencing the harsh realities of the world, then awakening to find that the whole affair was nothing but a dream. It seems entirely conceivable that Hart, Norton, and Mould were too busy creating music to notice that they’d composed a storyline that had a lot in common with an after-school special.

“My opinion is that it wasn’t envisioned as a concept in the ‘pre’ stage, but the ‘post’ stage,” says Katzman. “The other version is more romantic, but that’s what I think. Then there is the [fact] of it being a double album, but that’s just a long album. I doubt the Beatles even envisioned the White Album to be a double album; it just turned out that way. I think this is a similar metamorphosis for Hüsker Dü.”

Especially notable among Zen Arcade’s twenty-three tracks is Hart’s “Never Talking to You Again,” which appears three songs into the A-side and is the band’s first recorded use of an acoustic track. The style would never dominate Hüsker Dü’s subsequent albums, but it’s not the song’s acoustic nature that qualifies it as prescient; it’s the headlong dive into flagrantly melodic waters. The song’s lyrics supposedly detail a sentiment felt by the protagonist, one aimed squarely at his parents if one buys into the storyline. Bob’s moderately fast and forceful strumming takes the place of percussion, while Hart’s traditional construction and memorable vocal hook have made it one of the more popular songs on the album and even in the band’s entire predominately electric songbook. The song also did wonders to establish Hart as a melodic force. (For all practical purposes, “Diane” was Hart’s last time on record in the minds of most fans, who probably didn’t give the live version of “Masochism World” a second listen.

Grant’s soaring melodies are bolstered by another Hüsker Dü first: a guest musician. Backing vocals are courtesy of former Black Flag guitarist/vocalist Dez Cadena, then a fixture and occasional employee of SST. Departing the ranks of Black Flag earlier in the year, Cadena had tutored his vocal replacement, Henry Rollins, in 1981 before switching to guitar and adding an essential element to the Flag’s most powerful line up. Cadena had recently formed the trio DC3 with drummer Jeff Dahl and keyboardist/bassist Paul Roessler (brother of Kira, future Black Flag bassist).

As the final acoustic downstroke of “Never Talking . . .” is muted after reverberating for a split second, Mould’s Ibanez opens “Chartered Trips” with the type of melodic chord fans would come to know and love. The song is the noise pop of Metal Circus’ “First of the Last Calls” perfected: quintessential Mould-driven Hüsker Dü that helped to cement the band’s reputation. As a “type” of Hüsker Dü track, it would be heard later on Zen Arcade, on almost every New Day Rising track that Mould composed, and in future standouts like Flip Your Wig’s “Private Plane” and “Divide and Conquer.” Lyrically, the song’s wanderlust supposedly answers the separation anxiety of “Never Talking to You Again,” though it does nothing to quell the suspicion that most of Zen Arcade’s songs originated in a mental space removed from the album’s narrative.

The midsection of side one (“Never Talking to You Again,” “Chartered Trips,” and “Dreams Reocurring” [sic]) shows the band making as great a gain in three songs as they did when they followed Everything Falls Apart with Metal Circus—and none of the songs are within the realm of hardcore. At two minutes and seven seconds, “Indecision Time,” the song that follows “Dreams Reocurring,” is hardcore claustrophobia worthy of Everything Falls Apart. Mould incorporates pick slides and other string-torturing tricks into his flailing chaos, the lyrics screamed over this cacophony.

Side two of Zen Arcade is commonly considered the final resting place for whatever hardcore tendencies remained in the minds of Mould and, to a lesser extent, Hart. Calling this side “hardcore” has always been an easy out for critics and fans who save their superlatives for sides one and three. However, Mould’s four tracks are quite prescient, in retrospect. Mould’s four-song block of musical catharsis that kicks off side two is arresting, to say the least. If layers of terrifying release, aural violence, impenetrable density, and guitar pyrotechnics were shaved from “Beyond the Threshold,” “Pride,” “I’ll Never Forget You,” and “The Biggest Lie,” these four tracks would still annihilate any of the hardcore that dominated Everything Falls Apart, peppered Metal Circus, or defined Land Speed Record. In 1984, there was simply nothing on hardcore’s radar with a comparable wallop. More so than on the aforementioned releases, this is where the influence of Discharge on Mould truly shines through—if Discharge were more enamored with psychedelic noise than with metal, that is.

Lyrically, these songs yet again raise the question that may never be answered: how premeditated was the narrative concept allegedly driving Zen Arcade? Did the band really set out with a narrative in mind, or did they construct it after seeing the body of songs they’d assembled? If one were to swing a bat in a gymnasium filled with early- to mid-’80s hardcore bands, one would never fail to strike the author of several songs concerning teen alienation, frustration, and self-inflicted separation from a constricting family life. When considered in the context of Mould’s homosexuality, which was private throughout Hüsker Dü’s existence, “Pride” offers undiluted angst to a degree the guitarist had never before displayed, and never would again.

Mould goes from angrily screaming a wounded, despondent plea in “Pride” to something else entirely in the song’s follow-up, “I’ll Never Forget You.” Lyrically and vocally unremarkable until after the one-minute mark, the latter song is then thrust into a netherworld of anguish by the repetition of the title, in which Mould assumes a genuinely threatening wail. As a pure communication of pain atop a bludgeoning dirge of down-stroked riffing and circulating noise, the song would have far more in common with the future of the American underground than with anything associated with the year 1984. The real inheritor of the song’s aggro-noise histrionics was Dinosaur Jr, a band that closed its 1988 album, Bug, with the similarly cathartic kiss-off “Don’t” in which bassist Lou Barlow repeatedly wails/roars the question “Why don’t you like me?!” over a plodding rhythm track and J Mascis’ psychedelia-drenched riffing and noodling. (Appropriately, Bug turned out to be Mascis’ kiss-offs to both Barlow and SST.)

Mould’s “The Biggest Lie” brings side two back around to more familiar territory. The song would never make it to the band’s live set, but “Pride” and “I’ll Never Forget You” were both debuted in the summer of 1983. Like “Broken Home. . .” and “Indecision Time,” however, neither lasted very long as live staples after being recorded in October.

The second half of side two (“What’s Going On,” “Masochism World,” and “Standing by the Sea”) best debunks the sometimes stated notion that this section of Zen Arcade was the band’s final stab at hardcore. Hart’s “What’s Going On” is a raging rocker, yes, but it’s not hardcore. The drummer’s more aggressive numbers tend to be longer, and this one is no exception at almost four and a half minutes. Following Mould’s four-song block of terror, “What’s Going On” still fits into side two’s relentless agenda. Cadena returns to provide vocals, a duty that Norton would fulfill in a live situation. “On ‘What’s Going On’ I let [Greg] take over singing duties live, so he’d have something to sing off of Zen Arcade, and also because I thought that he and Dez had similar vocals,” explains Hart.

Closing out side two, “Standing by the Sea” is a thick monster of ascending riffs and Hart’s from-the-edge-of-the-earth vocals, which strike a nice balance between melodic yelling and traditional singing. Used to propel the later claims that the album has a narrative, “Standing by the Sea” tells of the sensory overload suffered by the protagonist. As one of four outtakes from the Metal Circus sessions and a live staple from the same time period, it’s most likely the oldest track on Zen, further supporting the theory that Hart most likely did not originally envision a double album based on a runaway’s coming-of-age story.

On side three, “Somewhere,” “Newest Industry,” and “Whatever” feature Mould in peak form, continuing the sublime, hair-raising power of “Chartered Trips.” Again, along with that track, these songs are the first true examples of Mould songcraft that helped make Hüsker Dü such an influential band.

The drug death described in the lyrics of “Pink Turns to Blue” supposedly happens to a girlfriend the protagonist meets during his travels, the title referring to the hue of one’s lips when they suffer such demise. Situated amid Mould’s “Somewhere”–“Newest Industry”–“Whatever” trifecta, the song shows Hart matching Mould’s level of songcraft and laying the groundwork for his own future influence.

Interestingly, beginning with Zen Arcade, Mould made the declaration that every Hüsker album would have individual songwriting credits. Allegedly, the decision was based on Hart’s layout of a Man Size Action album, which excluded individual songwriting credits. It’s worth considering, however, that Mould’s decision followed the recording and release of Metal Circus, nearly half of which was written by Hart, and a strong half at that. “It never occurred to me or the guys in Man Sized Action to include individual songwriting credits,” Hart remembers. “It was never mentioned . . . it was never an issue with that band.”

Individual song credits aside, Zen Arcade Hüsker Dü operating as a peerless force, rarely looking over their shoulders at the mindset(s) behind Land Speed Record, In a Free Land, and Everything Falls Apart. The band’s music was reliably turned a notch to the left, cranked through the roof, and played with an intensity that surpassed most of what was happening in the rapidly stagnating hardcore scene. It seems appropriate that the “hardcore” songs on Zen Arcade either never made it into the live set or were scrapped very shortly after the release of the album. Most of them, penned by Mould and featured, were the kinds of expression that Mould would get down on record once and rarely acknowledge again. The progression away from hardcore becomes more obvious when looking at Metal Circus as being roughly half hardcore, then realizing that Zen’s follow-up, New Day Rising, was the first Hüsker Dü album to eschew the genre altogether.

In Steve Waksman’s fantastic revisionist history of post-1970 rock, This Ain’t the Summer of Love: Conflict and Crossover in Metal and Punk, the author writes:

Many performers who assumed a more open or eclectic approach to their music were compelled to announce a break with hardcore as their sound began to diversify. Hüsker Dü generated tension with their move to a more pop-oriented approach to melody in their songwriting and the increased prominence of the band’s neopsychedelic trappings, which also involved Bob Mould playing more extended solo breaks. Alongside the Minutemen’s Double Nickels on the Dime, Hüsker Dü’s Zen Arcade—both released at the same time by SST—marked the moment at which the most musically-exploratory elements of hardcore broke away from the form and were reconstituted into the more open-ended style that came to be labeled indie-rock.

Compare this to Michael Azerrad writing in Our Band Could Be Your Life: “Zen Arcade was Hüsker Dü’s most strenuous refutation of hardcore orthodoxy,” and it had “stretched the hardcore format to its most extreme limits; it was the final word on the genre, a scorching of musical earth.” To hear a “scorching of musical earth” in 1984, however, one would do better to seek out the then-current Septic Death, Siege, Corrosion of Conformity, or Deep Wound, rather than the album that has “Never Talking to You Again” and “Pink Turns to Blue” as standouts. Azerrad closes his sentiment with “any hardcore after Zen Arcade would be derivative, retrograde . . . formulaic.”

But Zen Arcade did not destroy the relevance of future hardcore or preclude it from evolving in other directions, nor did it create indie rock. The truth is, hardcore was simply arriving at a point that many genres reach once saturated with mediocrity or unintentional self-parody. In fact, it could be argued that hardcore enjoyed its first developmental heyday from 1980 until 1984, then had a creative heyday beginning in the late ’80s and lasting through the entire ’90s. The latter time period found one of several national home bases in Minneapolis with the Profane Existence and Havoc labels. Instead of negating hardcore—a nervy assessment, indeed—Zen Arcade instead influenced the next quarter-century of hardcore as well as indie rock.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Letsagetabitarockin'....The Joe Strummer Story & Joe Strummer Day CJAM Special


The years 1986 until 1999 are commonly referred to as The Wilderness Years in regards to former Clash front man Joe Strummers artistic output, musically and in film. In 1986, Joe Strummer contributed two songs to the soundtrack for the movie Sid & Nancy. The two songs featured on the soundtrack were “Love Kills” and “Dum Dum Club”. While these two songs were labelled under Joe Strummer he contributed further music to the project under a different name due to the fact that he was limited contractually for two songs only on the soundtrack album. The film was made by director Alex Cox, who met Strummer after part of Sid & Nancy had been filmed (the London scenes). This encounter would lead Joe Strummer to further soundtrack work and acting roles. In the same year Joe reconnected with former Clash band mate Mick Jones producing and co-writing several tracks on the Big Audio Dynamite album No.10 Upping Street, Jones’ post-Clash band. When 1987 hit, Joe Strummer had a small acting role as “Faucet” in the Alex Cox film Walker, he also wrote and performed the score/soundtrack to the film. The movie Straight to Hell was made in the very same year by Alex Cox. Joe played a character named “Simms”, the movie also featured members of The Pogues. Soundtrack work to this Western, which has often been called bizarre was done by Joe Strummer with contributions by The Pogues. Around this time The Pogues needed a fill in for their 1987/1988 tour. Joe filled that role bringing him back into the realm of touring with a band.

A band was put together in 1988 known as The Latino Rockabilly War. Consisting of Zander Schloss, Lonnie Marshall, Jack Irons and Willie MacNeil, this group contributed five songs (“Trash City”, “Theme From Permanent Record”, “Nothin’ Bout Nothin”, “Baby The Trans” and “Nefertiti Rock") to the soundtrack for the film Permanent Record, which featured Keanu Reeves. A full length album was also recorded in 1989. The album featured The Latino Rockabilly War as Joe’s backing band and was entitled Earthquake Weather. The album was a passionate fourteen track collection of songs drawing on a variety of influences such as Folk, World Music, Dub, Rock and there are even hints of Spanish guitar. The album featured songs such as “Gangsterville” and “King of the Bayou” which are quick Rock songs containing Dub elements. There are standout tracks such as the tropical charm of “Island Hopping”, and the soulful “Sleepwalk” which ends the album. Earthquake Weather was an eclectic mix of styles falling within the Rock realm that was a very unique artistic statement and still is. At the time of its release it was panned by critics. The album did not sell well and as a result Joe Strummer was dropped from his contract with Sony records.


In 1989, Joe Strummer played a character named Johnny, alongside Steve Bushemi in the Jim Jarmusch film Mystery Train. The album Hell’s Ditch by The Pogues (which would be released in 1990) was produced by Strummer in the same year. In 1990, Joe Strummer had a small part in a movie by Aki Kaurismäki entitled I Hired A Contract Killer. In the film Joe plays a guitarist performing two songs in a pub. The two songs (“Burning Lights” and “Afro-Cuban Bebop”) were released on a promotional seven inch single. The songs are credited to Joe Strummer & The Astro Physicians, which were actually The Pogues. In 1991, Joe Strummer temporarily replaced Shawn McGowan (singer of The Pogues) for their tour that year. Doubling as vocalist and rhythm guitarist, the band played several Clash songs on that tour. One night of the tour was recorded professionally and three of the tracks (“London Calling”, “I Fought the Law”, and “Turkish Song of the Damned”) can be found on The Pogues 2008 box set. For much of the early years of the 90’s Joe Strummer went under the radar not really doing anything musically. In 1993, Joe Strummer wrote material for the film When Pigs Fly. He scored the entire film, but had issues with distribution resulting in the film and soundtrack being unreleased. He returned in 1994 to live music for a benefit concert known as “Rock For Refugees” for people that were left displaced by war in Bosnia. Taking place in Prague, Joe played a live set backed with Dirty Pictures, a Czech American band that featured many Clash songs that he had not played in a decade. In 1995, Joe Strummer played piano on the song “Just The One” by the UK band The Levellers and then made an appearance on the 1996 Black Grape single “England’s Ire”. Around this time a dispute occurred with Epic Records which lasted almost eight years. The label finally agreed to let Strummer record solo material with another label, but if The Clash were to reunite, they would have to record for Sony. In 1998, Joe Strummer contributed a song entitled “It’s A Rockin’ World” to Chef Aid: The South Park Album. This positive Rock song featured Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nick Hexum of 311, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, DJ Bonebreak and Benmont Tench.

In 1999, Joe Strummer began working with a trio for some short movie soundtracks, for Tunnel of Love and Question of Honor. These other musicians were Pablo Cook and Richard Norris which would lead Strummer to Antony Genn. Strummer would then begin recording a new album at the insistence of Genn, this album would become Rock Art and The X-Ray Style, the first album by Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros. The original band line up consisted of Joe Strummer on guitar/lead vocals, Scott Shields on bass, Antony Genn on guitar, Martin Slattery on keyboards, additional guitar/various instruments, Pablo Cook on percussion and Steve Banard on drums. Produced by Antony Genn and Richard Norris with Richard Flack doing some engineering and other effects in the studio, Rock Art and The X-Ray Style was Joe Strummer first full length album since 1989’s Earthquake Weather. The album mixed a variety of styles, but also this time adding in a various electronic elements. The album opens with the song “Tony Adams” a powerful song with reggae styled guitar riffs and saxophones that lyrically deals with a catastrophe hitting New York. The song was also named after English Football (or Soccer in the US) player Tony Adams, who Strummer thought should have been the captain of the England Football team. The song doesn’t necessarily deal with Adams directly, but its title can be seen as being more of a dedication to the athlete. There are also songs such as “Sandpaper Blues” which delves into African beats, “The Road to Rock and Roll” which features almost Hip Hop styled drumming and “Techno D-day” a high energy Rock song with electronic elements. The album also features the song “Yalla Yalla, a song that was actually written prior to the recording of Rock Art and the X-Ray Style. The song is richly layered and features synths, guitars, bass, and drums as well as sustain provided by an e-bow. The song was once described by Strummer himself as “An ancient British Folk song … written in the year 1999”. The album ends off with “Willesden to Cricklewood” a song that poignantly looks back at someone who is growing up. The song touches on London, being home, and watching your children grow.


Following the release of Rock Art and the X-Ray Style, Joe Strummer toured across Europe, England, and North America, the bands live sets featured many Clash fan favourites. In 2001, Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros signed to the California Punk label Hellcat Records. The bands follow up to Rock Art was Global A Go-Go, which was released in 2001. This album had contained more of the genre bending flavours that Joe had been experimenting with on the bands previous efforts. Notable influences are apparent on this album. There is a big World Music influence along with Folk, and other exotic rhythmic elements found here. Dominated by mostly acoustic guitars, Global A Go-Go is like no other album in Strummers catalogue. The album opens with Folk Rock of “Johnny Appleseed”. The song takes on an apparent Bob Dylan influence featuring thought provoking lyrics such as “If you’re after getting honey/then don’t go killing all the bees”, which can be read on many levels, relating to workers rights and ideas within the social contexts of the freedoms of society. The song is easily one of the strongest in Strummer’s catalogue and was used as the theme song to the HBO television series John from Cincinnati. Other interesting tracks include “Cool ‘n Out’, which has prominent electric guitar, the Folk and World Music mix of “Global A Go-Go”, “Mega Bottle Ride”, and “Mondo Bongo”. The album also features the almost eighteen minute epic track “Minstrel Boy”, which reflects an Irish Celtic Folk influence. While these are just some of the nuggets found on this album, there are some other facts that are worth mentioning in regards to Global A Go-Go. The album features guest vocals from Who front man Roger Daltrey, and fiddler Tymon Dogg, who was involved in The Clash’s album Sandinista!, and who has musical connections back to Joe Strummers 101’ers days. On Global A Go-Go Joe Strummer re-invented himself separate from his Clash past. While Joe had been experimenting with his unique blend of Folk and World Music from as far back as 1989’s Earthquake Weather, this album easily stood out from the rest and garnered Strummer with new recognition from his peers, fans and critics alike.

The Mescaleros embarked on a 21 date tour in support of Global A Go-Go, touring in North America, England and Ireland. The bands live set usually featured Clash material (as did his previous Mescaleros tour), along with a mix of covers such as “A Message To You Rudy”, “They Harder They Come”, and “Blitzkrieg Bop”. Around this point The Mesaleros were on their Bringing it All Back Home Tour, which was an extensive tour of the UK. It was also around this time where rumours of a Clash reunion started to take place. It was announced that The Clash were being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January 2003 and the band were talking again. Nothing was ever confirmed, but when Clash guitarist Mick Jones joined Joe Strummer on stage on November 15th, 2002 for a few live Clash songs at a Mescaleros show, hopes were raised high. Mick joined the Mescaleros for three Clash numbers on stage during that show (“Bankrobber”, “White Riot”, and “London’s Burning”), which was the first time that Mick Jones played on stage with Joe Strummer since 1983. The performance was unplanned. Afterwards Jones was quoted as saying that he felt compelled to join Joe on stage. This was one of the last gigs that Joe Strummer played with the Mescaleros, on December 22, 2002 Joe Strummer passed away due to an unknown congenial heart defect at the age of 50.


In 2003, Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros released Streetcore posthumously. The ten track album was a combination of the final studio sessions that Joe Strummer had done with the Mescaleros prior to his death. The album was critically acclaimed at the time of its release being called an album as accessible as some of Joe’s previous Clash efforts. Many of the songs on Streetcore feature a return to Rock basics that had not been found to a large degree on previous Mescaleros albums. At the time of the first recording session for the album, in February 2002 The Mescaleros band line up included Martin Slattery (guitar, keyboards, sax), Scott Shields (guitar, percussion), Luke Bullen (drums) and Simon Stafford on bass. While the band recorded several songs in preparation for the album, many of the songs did not have vocals recorded. One can’t be known for sure, but it has been said that vocals were never recorded for “Dakar Meantime”, and “Guitar Slingerman”, two songs that quickly began to be integrated in the Mescaleros live sets prior to Joe’s passing. Overall the album mixes elements of Folk, Blues, Reggae, Dub and Rock. The album kicks off with the almost Garage Rock “Coma Girl”, a song that has been said to have been the last studio recording to feature Joe Strummer on guitar. The second song on the album is the soulful Reggae Rock hybrid of “Get Down’ Moses”. Other high energy songs on the album include “All in a Day”, and “Arms Aloft”. In addition to the rocked up Mescaleros tracks there are also some ballads that can’t help but remind the listener of The Clash and influences. “Burning Streets” especially emphasizes this point, it seems to draw on a previous Clash based work ethic and at the same time step forward in a new direction with The Mescaleros. "Ramshackle Day Parade”, is the other ballad provided here. The song was recorded for the movie The Diving Bell and Butterfly. “Midnight Jam” is a song that has no lyrics, instead clips of Joe Strummer talking from his London Calling BBC radio show (which ran from 1998-2001) are inter-spliced between the notes of this moving piece.

There are also several acoustic songs on the album one of them being “Long Shadow”. This passionate acoustic number was recorded by Rick Rubin in consideration for Johnny Cash, but wasn’t recorded by Cash. It was recorded by Ruben with Strummer and Smokey Hormel on guitar. Another acoustic song recorded by Rubin was “Redemption Song”. This cover of a song originally done by Bob Marley features Joe’s passionate vocals and a lone acoustic guitar, it was also recorded as a duet with Johnny Cash on vocals (it can be found on Cash’s Unearthed Box Set). The final track on the album is a joyous cover of the Bobby Charles song “Before I Grow Too Old”, renamed “Silver and Gold” on Streetcore. With lyrics emphasizing that one should live their life before they’re too old and it’s too late, leaves Streetcore to end the album on a rather poignant note.


Joe Strummer left behind detailed notes about Streetcore and how it should be organized prior to his passing. The cover art can be best described by strummer himself as: "A distillation thru the mind bending coil..." created by Joe himself, the album is juxtaposed with a bright orange background and on the back features a picture of Strummer sitting cross-legged playing his trademark Telecaster. While the album was released posthumously, it is unknown what was originally intended for the album and what was left out off this album due to Joe’s untimely passing. The album stands as a strong document of his musical efforts, regardless of whether or not it was the bands last album. In 2007 a documentary was made about Joe Strummer entitled The Future is Unwritten by Julian Temple, which further documented the music of Joe Strummer, alongside the Dick Rude documentary Let’s Rock Again!, and Don Letts’ Westway to The World. The music created by Joe Strummer, both in his Clash days and his post-Clash days has gone on to influence and inspire many people to create music that is passionate, meaningful and full of feeling.

If you liked this post check out my Joe Strummer 2011 special, where I did two programs, one program focusing on harder to find recordings from Joe Strummer & The Clash and a second program I did on the album Sandinista!

Joe Strummer Day Play List:

1. Joe Strummer - It's A Rockin' World (Chef Aid: The South Park Album 1998)
2. Joe Strummer – Gangsterville (Earthquake Weather 1989)
3. The Clash - Tommy Gun (Give ‘Em Enough Rope 1978)
4. The Clash - Clash City Rockers (Original Version) (Essential Clash 2003)
5. 101'ers - Letsagetabitarockin' (Elgin Avenue Revisited 2005)
6. 101'ers - Keys To Your Heart (Version 2) (Elgin Avenue Revisited 2005)
7. Joe Strummer - Love Kills (Sid & Nancy Soundtrack 1986)
8. Joe Strummer - Dum Dum Club (Sid & Nancy Soundtrack 1986)
9. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Global A Go-Go (Global A Go-Go 2001)
10. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Bhindi Bhagee (Global A Go-Go 2001)
11. Joe Strummer - Island Hopping (Earthquake Weather 1989)
12. Joe Strummer - Sleepwalk (Earthquake Weather 1989)
13. Joe Strummer - Tennessee Rain (Walker 1987)
14. Joe Strummer - Pouring Rain (When Pigs Fly 1993)
15. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Yalla Yalla (Rock Art & The X-Ray Style 1999)
16. The Clash - The Leader (Sandinista! 1980)
17. The Clash - Jimmy Jazz (London Calling 1979)
19. The Clash - (Whiteman) In Hammersmith Palais (The Clash (US Version) 1979)
20. The Clash - Hateful (London Calling 1979)
21. The Clash - London Calling (Live Amsterdam 1981)
22. The Clash - Bankrobber (From Here to Eternity II)
23. The Clash - This Is England (Cut the Crap 1985)
24. Joe Strummer & The Pogues - Turkish Song of the Damned (Live (Pogues Box Set 2008)
25. Joe Strummer & The Astro Physicians - Burning Lights (I Hired A Contract Killer 1990)
26. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Road to Rock and Roll (Rock Art & The X-Ray Style 1999)
27. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Techno D-Day (Rock Art & The X-Ray Style 1999)
28. Joe Strummer - Passport To Detroit (Earthquake Weather 1989)
29. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Cool 'n' Out (Global A Go-Go 2001)
30. The Clash - Safe European Home (Give ‘Em Enough Rope 1978)
31. The Clash - Rock The Casbah (Live at the US Festival 1983)
32. The Clash - Police & Thieves/Blitzkrieg Bop (Rockers Galore Promo 1999)
33. The Clash - Garageland (Demo) (Rude Boy: The Directors Cut 1980)
34. The Clash - White Riot (The Clash (US Version) 1979)
35. The Clash - Know Your Rights (Combat Rock 1982)
36. The Clash – Magnificent Seven (Live From Here to Eternity 1999)
37. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Johnny Appleseed (Global A Go-Go 2001)
38. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Coma Girl (Streetcore 2003)
39. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Get Down Moses (Streetcore 2003)
40. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Dakar Meantime (Live Streetcore Outtake 2002)
41. Latino Rockabilly War - Trash City (Permanent Record Original Soundtrack 1988)
42. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Long Shadow (Streetcore 2003)
43. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Redemption Song (Streetcore 2003)

To download this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Joe Strummer Day and download the files for 12 AM & 3 AM.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reind Dears Christmas...Show # 331


In the year 1978, a one off Christmas single was recorded by The Reind Dears. The band consisted of members of The Shirkers, Pin-Ups, Urban Verbs, and Nurses, who were all bands from the Washington, D.C. area. The band featured Howard Wuelfing on bass/vocals, Danny Frankel on drums, Tommy Kane on guitar, Martha Hull on vocals, Amy Tract on vocals and Marc Halpern on lead guitar. Being a fans of Christmas records this group of musicians decided to record a Punk Christmas single. Recorded in Don Zientara's basement studio during a seven hour session that included mixing, The Reind Dears released "Xmas (Is Going To Bring Me…)" backed with White Christmas on Limp in 1978. Being a few years before Ramones recorded their own Christmas song "(Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)", which was released on their 1989 album Brain Drain, the sleeve of the single featured a dedication to the band which can best be described by Howard Wuelfing:

"As I remember it, I was a fan of Xmas records and decided their should be a punk one. The sleeves said - "dedicated to the Ramones who should've thought of this first" and thereafter I did hand them copies."

As a bonus, here is a free download of the 1978 single by The Reind
Dears:

"Xmas...Is Going To Bring Me Down"
"White Xmas"

The Christmas Play List:

1. Ramones - Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)
2. The Smithereens - Rudoplh, The Red Nosed Reindeer
3. The Dickies - Silent Night
4. The Celebate Rifles - Merry Xmas Blues
5. The Yobs - Another Christmas (Single Version)
6. Ten Million Lights - On A Holiday
7. By Divine Right - Mall Santa
8. Ox - Xmas in the Jailhouse
9. Arcade Fire - Jinglebell, Rock
10. Boxer The Horse - Material Christmas
11. The Zolas - Snow
12. The Details - Strings & Ribbons
13. Pearl Jam - Let Me Sleep (Its Christmas Time)
14. James Brown - Soulful Christmas
15. The Wailers - She's Coming Home
16. The Galaxies - Christmas Eve
17. The Sonics - The Village Idiot
18. The Pogues - Fairytale of New York City
19. Blondie - We Three Kings
20. Matt Black & The Doodlebugs - Punky Xmas
21. Husker Du - We Wish You A Merry Christmas
22. The Fall - No Xmas for John Quays
23. Stiff Little Fingers - White Christmas
24. The Ravers - Punk Rock Xmas
25. The Reind Dears - Xmas Is Going to Bring Me Down
26. The Greedies - A Merry Jingle

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

Monday, December 20, 2010

Joe Strummer Day on CJAM FM December 22nd!


On Wednesday December 22nd, 2010 CJAM will air 24 hours of Joe Strummer related music and wrap it around issues relating to poverty. They're calling it Joe Strummer Day. I will kick off the marathon Tuesday December 21st at midnight and host a three hour radio program featuring an eclectic mix of Joe Strummer solo and Clash material. The show will lean heavier on Joe Strummer based material, but there will also be a variety of Clash songs and rarities played. As per usual this blog will feature a profile on the artist that I play.  I will be posting a profile on Joe Strummer and his Post-Clash efforts following my show on the 21st at Midnight, so check this blog later this week for some additional info on Strummer.  The rest of the 22nd will feature special prgramming, more information can be found at http://www.cjam.ca/

There have already been numerous posts about online Joe Strummer Day on CJAM FM. Here is a collection of them:

The Clash Blog
Strummerville.com
Anit-Label Blog

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let's Id!...The Story of The Prehistoric Cave Stokers & Show # 330


The Prehistoric Cave Strokers formed in March of 1985 and originate from Windsor, Ontario. The original band consisted of Jono Fiddler on snare drum and two cymbals (which served as drums for the band), Lyndon Way on bass, backing vocals/occasional lead vocals, Dan Moriarty on lead vocals/tambourine, and Marc Fedak on rhythm guitar, backing/occasional lead vocals. All of the bands original members were in the University of Windsor’s Communication Studies program and were also affiliated with their campus/community radio station CJAM FM. The band took their influences from a variety of places. Musically their influences came from a shared interest in Garage Rock, Punk, Post-Punk, and Lo-Fi non-commercial based music. Bands such as The Dead Kennedies, Ramones, early Joy Division, Wire, Gang of Four, Billy Childish and his various bands (Thee Mighty Caesars, Thee Milkshakes, The Delmonas), Iggy and The Stooges, The MC5, and 60s Psychedelic and Garage Rock that appeared on the Nuggets and Boulders compilation series. Lyrically, the Prehistoric Cave Strokers were influenced by Sigmund Freud, the absurd lyrics of The Ramones, and courses that they were taking at the University in the Communications and Sociology field.

Prior to the bands formation, only Marc Fedak had previous musical experience. The band played their first gig on guitarist Marc Fedak's 22nd birthday at a gong show located at the University of Windsor Pub just three days after forming. The band was gonged twice for their performance, but this did not deter them. The band rehearsed for six months, which would have a greater impact on their future live shows. They would play their live gigs in places around Windsor such as The Coach & Horses, The Spotted Dog, Stanleys, Changez, Faces, The Whispers, house parties and even the Freedom Festival two times. In Detroit the band played occasionally at places such as The Old Miami.

Around 1985, The Prehistoric Cave Strokers made their first studio recordings at a studio owned by an experimental musician (Frank Pahl) from Wyandotte, Michigan. The recordings remain unreleased. Around the same time as this studio session the band had another recording session. This time it was at Len Puch’s Wanghead with Lips studio in Detroit for inclusion on a Garage Rock compilation entitled It Came From the Garage Volume One, which would be released in 1986. The band recorded a few tracks during the sessions, but the only song that would emerge for inclusion on the Garage Rock compilation was a song entitled “Urine You're Out”. This catchy song had a Garage Rock feel reminiscent of Billy Childish Garage Rock. Lyrically the song addressed experiencing a shy bladder when having to give a urine test while applying for a job at a local factory. In the late 80s the band would also have some recordings released on further Garage Rock compilations such as the Tunes from the Crypt compilation and were featured in a few articles of What Wave magazine.


In addition to making these recordings and their inclusion on several compilations, The Prehistoric Cave Strokers also made their own recordings at a Warehouse in Windsor, Ontario from 1985-1986 on a rented four track Tanscam cassette recorder. A complete DIY ethic was applied during these recordings, the manual for the four track recorder didn’t even have English instructions. There were seventeen songs recorded during the dead of winter in an unheated warehouse, to keep warm the band drank plenty of beer. The songs were mixed by lead singer Dan Moriarty on his home stereo and have a Lo-Fi quality to them. The recordings made during these sessions weren’t publicly released. The collection of songs is known as Don’t Forget About Us When You’re Famous, but also goes by the name Let’s Id!

It should also be noted that the band line up would alter when bassist Lyndon Way moved to Montreal in 1988 and drummer Jono Fiddler relocated to Peterborough in 1990. James Nemeth would take over on bass/backing vocals, and occasional lead vocals from 1988-1991, and Jerry Rozon would become the groups new drummer (playing a full kit) from 1990-1991. The Prehistoric Cave Strokers continued to play as a band until their dissolution in August of 1991. While the band had a variety of influences from a variety of sources and were known locally for their unique/absurd lyrics and songs, they always retained a Garage Rock element. Since then some of the band members have relocated to other places, James Nemeth and Dan Moriarty live in Windsor, James performs occasionally. Marc Fedak has relocated to Toronto and is playing in a band called Spacecraft 7, and Jono Fiddler is playing in a Garage Rock band called Hundred Year Champions. In December of 1999, The Prehistoric Cave Strokers had a 15th anniversary show at The Coach & Horses in Windsor, Ontario that was well attended. The Prehistoric Cave Strokers will be holding a 25th anniversary show on Thursday, December 30th at the FM Lounge in Windsor, Ontario. Opening sets will be performed by Marc Fedak Jono Fiddler acoustically.

More information on the band and some of their songs can be heard on The Prehistoric Cave Strokers Myspace page.

This Week's Play List:

1. Floored By Four - Watt
2. The Duke Spirit - Everybody's Under Your Spell
3. 96 Tears - Know What You Mean
4. Headaches - No Reason For Your Call
5. Headaches - Can't Stand Still
6. Active Dog - Good Filthy Fun
7. Captain Scarlett & the Mysterons - In The Midnight Hour
8. Action Makes - Berlin
9. Prehistoric Cave Strokers - Story of My Life
10. Prehistoric Cave Strokers - Cavebangin' (Live)
11. Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans - Fell Off the Dock
12. Sloan - Autobiography
13. The Crocodiles - Outlaw Blues
14. Husker Du - Statues
15. Husker Du - Makes No Sense At All
16. Alex Chilton - Bangkok
17. The Long Ryders - Looking For Lewis & Clark
18. Rich Kids - Rich Kids
19. Ultravox! - ROckWrok
20. Buzzcocks - What Do I Get (Demo)
21. John Lennon - Do the Oz

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

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Wreckless Eric...A Popsong & Show # 329



Wreckless Eric (real name Eric Goulden) is known for his New Wave/Power Pop song writing abilities and was at one time on the Stiff Records label alongside Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Nick Lowe, Ian Dury & The Blockheads and The Damned. While he is perhaps best known for his wonderful Pop concoction known as "The Whole Wide World", Eric wrote numerous catchy songs attributing to the same Power Pop/Punk/New Wave vein. One of those songs was the song entitled "A Popsong". The song itself opens Wreckless Eric's third album Big Smash! and was released as his sixth single on Stiff Records in January of 1980. The song itself lyrically is about a record company asking for a hit, and is undeniably catchy while at the same time ironic. The album on which it is contained, was a catchy album with comparisons often being made to his fellow label mates Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe, but it has a style all it's own. When released in 1980, Big Smash! was packaged with a bonus compilation album of B-sides and early singles. The compilation on its own was known as The Whole Wide World in the US when it was released there in 1979 in hopes of Wreckless Eric breaking into the American Market. When Big Smash! was released on the Stiff Records label, it was created in a way that should have ensured success, but the album was overlooked. As a result Eric left Stiff and music for a few years. He returned to music in 1985 where he continued to pursue his career through other avenues.




This Week's Play List:

1. Lost Patrol - My Soul
2. UIC - What I Want
3. Deja Voodoo - 48 Bucks
4. The Haunted - Come On Home
5. The Mongrels - The Wreck of Ol' 97
6. Howlin' Wolf - Baby How Long?
7. Gene Vincent - Pink Thunderbird
8. John Lee Hooker - Dimples
9. Bob Dylan - Tombstone Blues (2010 Mono Version)
10. Elvis Costello - The Spell You Cast
11. Hands & Teeth - Race to the End
12. The Chords - Maybe Tomorrow
13. The Meteors - You're Out Of Time
14. Exploding Hearts - I'm A Pretender
15. Orphan Choir - Broken Strings
16. Burnt Ones - Real Gone
17. Revolvers - Break It Loose
18. The Spys - Underground
19. Wreckless Eric - A Popsong
20. The Police - Be My Girl Sally
21. Pere Ubu - Non-Alignment Pact
22. The Gun Club - Texas Serenade
23. True Lovers - Fade Away

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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

XTC Ten Feet Tall & Show # 328


In January of 1980, the UK band XTC released a single in the US for the song "Ten Feet Tall". The song was originally found on the bands third full length album Drums and Wires, but the single version that was released in the USA in January of 1980 was completely different than the album version, it was re-recorded. This single was also the bands first single to be released in the US, it was done so to coincide with their first US tour. The song itself was a catchy New Wave Pop song, the album version featured acoustic guitar while the US single version featured electric and was a bit faster. The album Drums and Wires itself reached number 34 on the UK album charts and number 176 on the US album charts. The album is notable for containing the song "Making Plans for Nigel", a song that reached number 17 on the UK Singles charts and number 12 on the Canadian Singles Charts. The album also produced the single "Life Begins At The Hop", which was included on some versions of the album. The album was originally released with six different track listings in different parts of the world.

The artwork for the single featured a stacked up tape measure. The design was simple and straight to the point, but it was also a visual pun of sorts. If you look carefully there are ten tape measures stacked up, it was also designed by Andy Partridge of XTC.  The bands previous album cover for their album Go2, was an anti-album cover of sorts featuring just text, poking fun at usual album covers. Regardless the catchy song featured attractive artwork and stayed true to the bands interesting album art covers that they always seemed to have. The single version of "Ten Feet Tall" can now be found on the two disc singles collection Fossil Fuel

The Play List:

1. The Ruts - Babylon's Burning
2. The Specials - You're Wondering Now
3. The Nefidovs - Absent Jackets
4. Weekend - Coma Summer
5. Construction & Destruction - The Oracle
6. Disco Zombies - Drums Over London
7. The Worst - Can't Stand This Love
8. The Smugglers - 5-4-3-2-1
9. Raptors - Kids All Want Something
10. Red Red Meat - Braindead
11. No Age - Eraser
12. Pluto - Pretty Little Jacket
13. The Wipers - Rebel With A Cause
14. The Soft Boys - Hear My Brane
15. What Seas What Shores - Pave The Oceans
16. Magazine - Give Me Everything
17. XTC - Ten Feet Tall
18. X-Ray Spex - Oh Bondage Up Yours!
19. Siouxise and the Banshees - Mirage
20. The Mark Inside - Shots From A Broken Bottle
21. The D4 - Stops Me Cold
22. Ramones - It's A Long Way Back

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 30th. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Can't Wait...The Story of The Jolt & Show # 327



Originating from Glasgow, Scotland, The Jolt consisted of guitarist/songwriter Robbie Collins, Jim Doaks on bass, and Ian Sheddon on drums. After playing around Scotland for awhile, the band decided to relocate. The band relocated to London in 1977 to join to music scene there, opening for bands such as X-Ray Spex and The Jam. By August 1977 the band was signed to Polydor Records. When the band signed to Polydor it was not looked upon too kindly from their fans back in their hometown. The bands first single You’re Cold b/w All I Can Do was released in 1977. The single has been called a single with a major label release and a small label sound. According to guitarist Robbie Collins the producer for the songs wanted a rough cheap sound, the result was their most Punk sounding release. The bands next release would be closer to the bands Mod revival sound. The band would release their next single in 1978 being a cover of The Faces “What ‘cha Gonna Do About It? backed with “Again & Again”. Their third single was “I Can’t Wait” backed with “Route 66” and their fourth single was released in 1979 featured four songs (“Maybe Tonight”, “I’m In Tears”, See Saw”, “Stop Look”).  Following the bands 1977 single "You're Cold" all of the bands songs reflected a Mod/Power Pop sound, they would sometimes be referred to as Glasgow's answer to the Jam.  The band was not a Jam clone, but were on the same label, were a three piece, and their name even started with a "J". 

The band released a self titled album in 1978 that has often been described as Power Pop with New Wave and Punk hooks. The album features tracks such as “Decoyed”, “Mr. Radio Man”, “No Excuses” and “Chains” all falling into a catchy rhythm. In 1978 the band became a four piece adding keyboards to their sound. The underrated album was followed by the Maybe Tonight single/EP in 1979, following this the band split. The bands album has since been re-released on CD featuring several bonus tracks.

The Play List:

1. The Kills - Pull At U
2. Pigeons - Tresor
3. The Details - The Original Mark
4. The High Dials - I'm Over You (I Hope its True)
5. Elliot Smith - The Biggest Lie
6. The Shakers - Give It Back
7. The Collectors - Don't Feel Bad
8. The Nocturnals - If This Ain't Love
9. King Khan & BBQ Show - Hold Me Tight
10. The Dundrells - Nothin'
11. The Isley Brothers - Testify
12. The Jolt - You're Cold
13. Transmitters - High Rise
14. The Autographs - While I'm Still Young
15. Cane - Suburban Gorilla
16. Ex-Boyfriends - Chinese New Year In Vancouver
17. Brian Eno - Bone Jump
18. Gang of Four - Sleeper
19. Magic Hall of Mirrors - Coke Mountain
20. The Clocks - Tick Tock Man
21. The Vamps - Love Letters
22. Wire - French Film Blurred
23. Iggy Pop - Angel
24. Ramones - You're Gonna Kill That Girl
25. Hot Panda - Fools
26. Stone Temple Pilots - Art School Girl

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 23rd. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cool, Calm, Collected...The Rolling Stones Between The Buttons & Show # 326



In 1967, The Rolling Stones released their fifth full length studio album Between The Buttons. In 1966, albums were being released such as Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys, Revolver by The Beatles and Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan all highly influential records, but also records that expanded and challenged the boundaries of Rock music. While the Stones released Aftermath the year before, Between the Buttons has often been over looked not only given the variety of high quality albums being released at the time, but also in comparison to many great albums that The Rolling Stones have in their catalogue. The album has been said to have been an album where the band began to experiment with elements Psychedelic music. The band would further their psychedelic experimentation on their album Their Satanic Majesties Request. The album featured songs that differed from the Garage Rock and Blues based ethics that the band had been known for. The songs were catchy, but they still had a unique grittiness that the Stones have been associated with.


The only single released from the album was "Let's Spend the Night Together" backed with "Ruby Tuesday”. On the UK edition of Between the Buttons, those two songs did not appear. The album would reach #3 on the UK album charts despite its differentiation from the bands previous albums. The US version of the album would feature "Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Ruby Tuesday" cutting the tracks for "Back Street Girl" and "Please Go Home".  Those two songs would later appear on a compilation album Flowers. It should also be noted that in the US "Ruby Tuesday" reached number one on the singles charts, while the album Between the Button went to # 2 on the top album charts. The album was produced by Andrew Long Oldham and was recorded in two parts. The first recordings began in 1966 in Los Angeles and later that same year in London, England. Oldham's influence is prevalent on this album more than any of the bands previous albums, it would also be The Rolling Stones last album with him, they would have a falling out after this album. He employs a Phil Spector layered production style on certain tracks such as "Yesterday's Papers", "My Obsession", and "Complicated".


The first track on the album is "Yesterday's Papers". The song was written by Mick Jagger himself (usually he wrote the majority of Rolling Stones songs with his writing partner and Stones guitarist Keith Richards). The song is aimed at a sour relationship that Mick Jagger had at the time with Chrissie Shrimpton. Brian Jones plays a variety of exotic musical instruments on this song (and on the album for that matter). He played the Harpsichord and Marimba, Keith Richards supplies the distorted guitar. From the very beginning the song is different and it is obvious that the Stones were expanding their song writing abilities within the realm of Psychedelic Rock music. "My Obsession" is a rumbling track. Featuring heavy bass and guitar distortion along with a steady hard hitting drum pattern from Charlie Watts, this song is an interesting feature on the album. With its start and stop rhythm and rapid piano parts it's an example of a great track found on Between the Buttons. Another interesting track found on the album is "Connection". With heavy piano, stabbing Chuck Berry influenced guitar parts it is sung by both Richards and Jagger, but primarily Keith Richards sings this one. Keith himself has said that this is one of his favourite obscure Rolling Stones songs. Lyrically the song deals with the long hours spent waiting at airports and the pressures that the band were going through at the time. Both Richards and Jones were arrested on drug charges prior to the song being recorded, the song is also a popular live track.

"She Smiled Sweetly" is one of the slower songs found on Between the Buttons. Taking on a Bob Dylan inflection, It features heavy plodding bass and prominent Organ, it was also featured in the movie The Royal Tennanbaums in 2001. "Cool, Calm, Collected" is definitely a song with Psychedelic connotations, it has honky tonk styled piano, and Kazoo. It is also undeniably catchy. Other interesting tracks include the Raucous "All Sold Out", the electric Bo Diddley Rhythm of "Please Go Home", and the strange and seemingly Music Hall influenced "Something Happened To Me Yesterday", which lyrically addresses taking Psychedelic drugs. Overall, Between the Buttons fits its title. The band was in a creative, innovative period in their career, they were writing in between their earlier Garage R&B sound mixing it with Psychedelics. Following this album the band went full out Psychedelic on Their Satanic Majesties Request, thus ending their Psychedelic period. Between the Buttons itself is a great look into a small period of time in the Rolling Stones career that is often overlooked.

The Play List:

1. The Black Angels - Telephone
2. Elvis Costello & The Imposters - Go Away
3. The Mods - Wasting My Time
4. The Worst - I Don't Want You
5. The Chessmen - Time Machine
6. Huevos Rancheros - Raunchy
7. The Bayonets - Stuck In This Rut
8. The Corn Dogs - You Tell Me
9. The Modernettes - Celebrity Crack Up
10. Amber Squad - Tell You A Lie
11. Armed Forces - Pop Star
12. Lightning Raiders - Psychedelic Music
13. The Valves - Ain't No Surf in Portobello
14. Joe Strummer - Ambush At Mystery Rock
15. The Black Lips - Can't Bring Me Down
16. The Prehistoric Cave Strokers - Baby And Me (Fast Version)
17. Johnny West - Wine In A Water Glass
18. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Mystery Girl
19. The Rolling Stones - Please Go Home
20. The Rolling Stones - She Smiled Sweetly
21. The Rebel Set - Poison Arrow
22. The Dirtbombs - Sherlock Holmes
23. White Stripes - I Can't Wait
24. Bob Dylan - Isis

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 16th. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Modern World...The Story of The Modern Lovers & Show # 325


Originally from a suburb in Boston, Natick, Massachusetts, Jonathan Richman moved to New York following his graduation in 1969. While there he was became closely associated with The Velvet Underground, even opening for them on one occasion. Richman spent several weeks sleeping on the couch of Steve Sesnick, the Velvet Underground’s manager. He then relocated to a hotel in New York known for its rodent infestation and poor conditions, the Hotel Albert. After nine months in New York, Jonathan Richman moved back to Boston and formed a band of his own. The band that would be known as The Modern Lovers had originally consisted of Jonathan Richman (vocals/guitar), John Felice (guitar), Rolfe Anderson (bass), and David Robinson on drums. The band’s first live gig was in September of 1970. In early 1971, the band had some line up changes. Rolfe Anderson and John Felice exited the group, being replaced by Ernie Brooks on bass, and Jerry Harrison would join the group as a keyboardist. With these new members in the band, the classic line up of The Modern Lovers was now in place.

The band began playing live shows and building up quite a reputation through word of mouth. By the fall of 1971, major label attention came the bands way, first in the form of Warner Brothers Records. The band recorded their first multi-track demo session in Boston. The demo created further interest in the band, more industry label interest came to the band from A&M Records as well. In April of 1972, the band went to Los Angeles to record two demo sessions. The first demo session the band recorded was with John Cale in the producer seat for Warner Brothers Records, the second for A&M Records with Alan Mason producing. Bootleg copies of the John Cale sessions began circulating all over, including the UK. As a result even more interest in the band generated.

The band continued to play live and build up a stronger following and by 1973 they had signed to Warner Brothers Records, but the band was on different wavelengths. Jonathan Richman agreed to record the bands earlier material, but wanted to depart from the bands early Rock/Velvet Underground inspired sound to a more mellow based sound. The band intended to record more sessions with John Cale producing, but the sessions never occurred (they also coincided with the death of friend Gram Parsons). Kim Fowley produced material with the band following this at Gold Star Studios. Since the band failed to deliver a completed album, The Modern Lovers were dropped from their label. They continued to perform live with a new drummer, Bob Turner. Disagreements amongst the remaining band members ensued. Richman had no interest in performing the bands older, still unreleased material preferring to go in a new direction. In 1974, after a final disagreement about the bands musical direction with Jerry Harrison, the band split. Jerry Harrison would join Talking Heads, drummer David Robinson would join and help form The Cars, John Felice would form The Real Kids, and Ernie Brooks joined up with David Johansen.

Jonathan Richman relocated to California in 1975 and began working at Beserkley Records. While Jonathan continued working in his new direction, Beserkley Records compiled material from the earlier sessions done by The Modern Lovers and put together an album from the sessions that the band did with John Cale and Alan Mason in 1972. The album was simply titled The Modern Lovers. When it was released the album received attention even being hailed as “One of the truly great art rock albums of our time” by critic Ira Robbins. The album featured nine tracks initially. The tracks “Roadrunner”, “Astral Plane”, “Old World”, “Pablo Picasso”, “She’s Cracked” and “Someone I Care About” all originated from the sessions that the band did with John Cale in 1972. The remainder of the albums tracks came from the sessions done with Alan Mason “Girl Friend”, “Modern World” and the song “Hospital” was taken from the bands first demo session in 1971.


“Roadrunner”, the first track on the album has been described as “the most obvious song in the world, and the strangest” by Rolling Stone magazine. It was written when Jonathan was 19, and drew influence from The Velvet Underground song “Sister Ray”, modifying the Velvet’s three chord structure to a two chord sequence for the most part of the song. Lyrically the song references the modern urban environment of Boston, Massachusetts while driving alone with the radio on. The song is magically passionate and was eventually covered by Sex Pistols. It was also recorded several times by Richman. It would appear on the Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers album in 1976. The song “Pablo Picasso” was another unique track on the album. Credited to John Cale and Jonathan Richman, the song featured lyrics such as “Pablo Picasso never got called an asshole”. The instrumentation on the song was Jonathan Richman on guitar/vocals, Ernie Brooks on second guitar, Jerry Harrison on bass, David Robinson on drums, and John Cale on piano. The album was released in 1976 and had a big impact on the future of what would become Punk Rock and New Wave, often being called Proto-Punk. While musically stylistic with elements of The Velvet Underground and Rock and Roll, The Modern Lovers lyrically harnessed a feeling that people could related to with songs about awkwardness, dating, growing up in Massachusetts, the love of life and the USA.

During the release of this album Jonathan Richman released another album titled Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers. The Modern Lovers became the moniker for his backing band and was not the same musicians as previously stated. The music on this album was in a different direction, a mellower more Acoustic based sound with Doo-Wop flavour and Pop elements. This line up of the band included Leroy Radcliffe on guitar, Greg Keranan on bass, and David Robinson on drums. Robinson would exit the group following Richman’s insistence that he reduce the size of his drum kit. D. Sharpe would replace Robinson and bassist Greg Keranan would exit the group as well, being replaced by Asa Brebner. This line up would record the album Rock and Roll with the Modern Lovers which was released in 1977. This album produced a top five European hit for the band with the song “Egyptian Reggae”. The song itself was an instrumental track, with a haunting melody. While the songs on the album explored different song writing styles, a highlight of the album is the song “Dodge Veg-O-Matic”, which is an acoustic Rock song about a totaled car. Jon went solo in 1979 with the album Back in Your Life, but returned with a new version of The Modern Lovers backing him in 1983 with the album Jonathan Sings! This album which is now out of print features a strong romantic outlook on many of the songs. This album has been cited as one of his best, with songs such as “Give Paris One More Chance” and “That Summer Feeling”.


In 1981, another compilation album was released featuring recordings that the band did with Kim Fowley in 1972 as The Original Modern Lovers. The title was a little bit misleading, since the recordings did not feature the “classic” line up of The Modern Lovers. Released on Bomp Records, the songs serve as a document of early incarnations of Modern Lovers songs featuring two takes of “Roadrunner”, and several previously unreleased songs. Songs such as “Walk Up The Street”, “Sleep In Your Arms”, “Don’t Let Our Youth Go To Waste”, and “Dance With Me”. Jonathan continued to release records with the Modern Lovers backing him until the 1988 album Modern Lovers 88. He continues to perform solo, usually acoustically. While he never did return to the early Modern Lovers Rock sound, Jonathan Richman has gone down in music history as one of the most unique, eccentric and unpredictable musicians to come out of Boston.

This Week's Play List:

1. Modern Lovers - Pablo Picasso
2. Square Root of Margret - WYSIWYG
3. Thee Dueces - You Gotta Try
4. Tom Northcott Trio - Just Don't
5. Ritchie Knight & The Mid-Nights - Work Song
6. Thee Mighty Caesars - Now I Know
7. Modern Lovers - Government Center
8. Ray Charles - Isn't It Wonderful
9. Otis Redding - Nobody Knows When You're Down and Out
10. Them - One More Time (Single Version)
11. The Plimsouls - I Can't Turn You Loose
12. Mike Jones Group - Funny Feeling
13. Micronite Filters - Let's Get Drunk
14. Micronite Filters - One-Eyed Stew
15. Sunbear - Living Dead
16. Guided By Voices - Cut-Out Witch
17. The Visitors - Sad TV
18. Dee Dee Ramone & The Chinese Dragons - Bad Little Go Go Girl
19. The Mark Inside - There Is Nothing To Admit
20. Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers - Dodge Veg-O-Matic
21. Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers - Egyptian Reggae
22. Modern Lovers - Road Runner (Alternate Version)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 9th. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

CJAM Pledge Drive 2010 & Show 324



Today was my annual pledge drive show. Some money was raised for pledge drive this year on my show, but pledge drive runs until November 5th. Tonight there is a film screening at Phog Lounge in Windsor at 9 PM of a documentary about CJAM FM's frequency change that occurred last October, entitled Voice of the Underground. The event is FREE, but any donations received during the night’s activities will go towards CJAM and their pledge drive to increase their signal strength. Also being screened is Neil Young's Le Noise documentary. If you would like to donate to CJAM you can visit cjam.ca to make a pledge and support campus community radio.

1. Nick Lowe - Shake That Rat
2. New Town Animals - Fashion Fall Out
3. Money Brother - Just Another Summer
4. The Detentions - Ain't So Bad
5. Hot Nasties - I Am A Confused Teenager
6. The Clash - Pressure Drop

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 2nd. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.