Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Weirdos We Got The Neutron Bomb Single & Show # 511

Released in 1978, the We Got The Neutron Bomb/Solitary Confinement single was the second single released by The Weirdos. Part of LA’s first wave of punk bands alongside bands such as The Germs and The Nerves, The Weirdos were started by lead vocalist John Denney and his brother Dix Denney who would play guitar. The rest of the band members would be in a state of flux from the band’s initial 1977-1981 run. Some of the band’s other personnel would be Dave Trout who would also play bass briefly and drummer Nickey Alexander on drums. Cliff Roman also played guitar and bass and wrote some material with the band. "We Got The Neutron Bomb" is often seen as a strong and classic single in the band’s catalog. The track itself seems to lend itself to proto punk influence such as Iggy & The Stooges, New York Dolls and Ramones while lyrically it taps into Cold War paranoia with lyrics such as “We don’t want it/Don’t blame me” and “We don’t want it/But we got it anyway” showcasing the band’s political leanings at the time. The B-side “Solitary Confinement” is a more aggressive rant. When hearing this song, one seems to think of the band’s preshow ritual, which was to cover themselves in paint and sometimes garbage.

While the band never did release a full-length album during their initial run as a band from 1977-1981, they did record a collection of demos, some with Kim Fowley. To further add to the band’s “weird” reputation, vocalist John Denney apparently delivered the band’s demos to their record label dressed in an astronaut suit, the label did not find it so humorous. After the band’s initial split in 1981, they did reform for several reunions throughout the 80s and even released a full-length album of new material in 1990 entitled Condor. A collection of the band’s early material and demos was put together on the Weird World: 1977-1981 Time Capsule compilation album and was originally released in 1991 on the Frontier record label. A second volume featuring early 1977 material and later post 1981 material was released in 2003. Both of these compilations were re-issued via Burger Records on cassette recently. Thirty-seven years after its initial release, fans can still feel the effects of The Weirdos music and second single, We Got The Neutron Bomb, minus the spacesuit or with it depending, which way you look at it.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. The Black Angels - Sunday Evening
2. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Running Meredith
3. The Sonics - It’s All Right
4. The Spits - 2018
5. Moondogs - Ya Don’t Do Ya?
6. Ian Rubbish & The Bizzaros - Living In The Gutter
7. No Fun - Fall For A Cliche
8. The Demics - The Least You Can Do
9. Dik Van Dykes - Road Warrior
10. Talking Heads - The Big Country (Live)
11. Twin Library - A Cruel Rodeo
12. Tire Swing Co - Forgive Me
13. James OL - Bastimentos
14. Salmon Breath - Cadillac
15. Alex Chilton - Waltz Across Texas
16. Iggy & The Stooges - Cry For Me (Pin Point Eyes)
17. Modern Lovers - I’m Straight
18. Public Image Limited - Albatross
19. Laughing Clowns - I Want To Scream
20. Spizzenergi - Where’s Captain Kirk?
21. Tanz Der Youth - Delay
22. The Soft Pack - Head On Ice
23. Tay Falco’s Panther Burns - Where The Rio De Rosa Flows
24. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Cream
25. The Weirdos - We Got The Neutron Bomb
26. Radio Birdman - Descent Into The Maelstrom

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

Saturday, May 24, 2014

XTC 3D EP & Show # 510

XTC released the 3D EP in 1977, this being the debut release from the new wave pop group. While often being lumped in with the new wave and punk scene of the late 70s in the UK, XTC are often considered a pop band first, drawing influences from artists such as The Beatles, The Kinks and The Beach Boys. The sound displayed on the bands early recordings and especially the 3D EP have an undeniable punk influence that seems to shake the bands early sound with a frenetic energy, despite their pop influences. XTC is fronted by two main songwriters, Andy Partridge on guitar/vocals and Colin Moulding on bass/vocals. It has been said that Partridge writes/performs two thirds of XTC material while Moulding writes/performs one third of the band’s material. The track listing on the 3D EP further emphasizes this, as it features two songs written by Partridge and one by Moulding. It should also be noted that prior to being issued as an EP, two songs, “Science Friction” and “She’s So Square,” were issued as a single briefly before being withdrawn in favour of the EP.

The band on the EP consisted of Andy Partridge (guitar/vocals), Colin Moulding (bass/vocals), Terry Chambers (drums) and Barry Andrews on keyboards/vocals. The songs found on the 3D EP were produced and engineered by John Leckie at Abbey Road in London, England and released in October of 1977 via Virgin Records. The EP starts with the quirky “Science Friction” apparently inspired by Partridge’s astrophobia, comic books and aliens. The song features a frenzied pace, slashing guitars and erratic, yet melodic keyboard parts supplied by Barry Andrews. With lyrics such as “Science friction burns my fingers/Electricity still lingers/Hey put that ray away/How do you Martians say I love you”, the listener is transported into a world of astronomy, aliens and a quirkiness that still seems to have an unnerving paranoid effect.

“She’s So Square” is a different tempo, but still keyboard-driven and sounds influenced by the proto-punk sounds of Roxy Music. The song is rumoured to be lyrically about Kathy McGowan of the UK music television program Ready, Steady, Go! “Dance Band” and ends the EP with midi sounding synthesizers, staccato guitars, heavy bass and a catchy chorus featuring shouts of “Don’t step on my toes”. This song compliments the two prior tracks and ends the EP on a catchy, yet odd note. The 3D EP is the beginning of what would become a series of singles and albums released by the band. The music would develop on a deeper level on future releases such as Oranges & Lemons and Skylarking, but the 3D EP resembles its anaglyph-like 3D artwork made up of what looks like green and red razorblades. The songs are sharp and if you look at them right, they just might catch you off guard.

Saturday night play list:

1. The Bell Peppers - The Hokey Cokey
2. Pink Mountaintops - Wheels
3. Snake River - Hours I: Don’t Hide Things Anymore
4. Chad Vangaalen - Lila
5. Temples - Keep In The Dark
6. Holy Wave - Night Tripper
7. Magazine - Definitive Gaze
8. Iggy Pop - Dum Dum Boys
9. Big Audio Dynamite - Get It All From My TV
10. Klark Kent - Don’t Care
11. Damaged Bug - Gloves For Garbage
12. The Stone Roses - I Wanna Be Adored
13. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Clubland
14. Colour Me Psycho - Black Covair
15. The Hentchmen - Virginia Dare
16. Demon’s Claws - It’s Over (Roy Orbison Cover)
17. Ray Condo - Jumps, Giggles & Shouts
18. Takeshi Terauchi & The Bunnys - The Glamour Of The Sun
19. Indian Wars - Denny
20. Ramones - I'm Makin’ Monsters For My Friends
21. Teenanger - Teenanger
22. The Victims -TV Freak
23. The Pagans - Not Now, No Way
24. Deja Voodoo - I Wish That Cat Would Shut Up
25. Deja Voodoo - Rock Therapy
26. Thee Oh Sees - Camera (Queer Sound)
27. Lou Reed - Average Guy
28. Guided By Voices - Shine (Tomahawk Breath)
29. Guided By Voices - Hat of Flames
30. XTC - Science Friction

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

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Chessmen Time Machine & Show # 509

This week marked the last Tuesday episode of Revolution Rock to air on CJAM FM. From now on Revolution Rock can be heard every Saturday night from 7-9 PM. Join me this Saturday May 24th to hear the first Saturday edition of the program!

The Chessmen - Time Machine

The following video is for the song “Time Machine” by The Chessmen. The Chessmen were a garage rock band from Hamilton, Ontario (not to be confused with The Chessman from Texas in the 60s). The Hamilton band blended elements of R&B, garage and psychedelic sounds into their music. They only released one full length self titled album in 1989. They have since been featured on numerous garage rock compilations most notably Mister Garager’s Neighbourhood on Og Records, What’s All The Fuzz About through What Wave magazine and the Time Machine compilation out on Stomp! Records in 1996.

The play list:

1. The Chessmen - Time Machine
2. Huevos Rancheros - Raunchy
3. BBQ — I Wanna Be The Only One
4. The King Khan & BBQ Show - Hold Me Tight
5. Ex-Cult - Shattered Circle
6. The Coathangers - I Wait
7. Dum Dum Girls - Everybody’s Out
8. The Smiths - Bigmouth Strikes Again
9. The Horrors - I See You
10. The Delmonas - Comin’ Home Baby
11. The Howlin’ Brothers - Night And Day
12. Eels - Parallels
13. Neil Young - Journey Through The Past
14. Sloan - Dignified & Old
15. Exploding Hearts - Rumours In Town
16. Sonny Knight & The Lakers - Hey Girl
17. Jolly Green Giants - Caught You Red Handed
18. Gentlemen Of Horror - Overhead Projector
19. Lost Patrol - Dead Or Alive
20. Sex Pistols - Pretty Vacant (1976 Denmark Street Demo)
21. The Adverts - We Who Wait
22. The Undertones - Let's Talk About Girls
23. Beck - Say Goodbye

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 20. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Thee Oh Sees Drop & Show # 508

After announcing that the band will be taking a hiatus last year, Thee Oh Sees released their eighth full-length album at the end of April. Entitled Drop, the album brings in an intense focus to the band’s already established San Franciscan psychedelic garage sound. There’s gritty garage sounds with scruffy guitars, psychedelic solos, a bit of kraut rock and elements found on 2012’s Putrifiers II and 2013’s Floating Coffin.

“Penetrating Eye” opens with a dungeon-like synthesizer that sounds as if it was lifted from an 8-bit NES video game, before scuzzy, sludgy guitars, drums and vocals kick in. The lurking and spooky synthesizer sounds as if it came out of one of the dungeon levels found in the original Legend of Zelda video game for NES. Each song on this nine-track album is a battle, with a myriad of murky and delightful garage noises ranging from the psychedelic sounds of 60’s garage nuggets compilations, the sounds of early Pink Floyd, to the intensity of the solos once performed by The Stooges. “Penetrating Eye” is one of the heaviest songs in the bands catalog to date, featuring catchy “la la la la la la’s” throughout. There is also a pop element to this track and it starts the album in a somewhat symbolic way. The song seems to start off the album in a sound not unlike the noises explored on the track “Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster” from 2013’s Floating Coffin album. The penetrating eye discussed in this track lurks all over this album bringing along a spooky goodness, that only John Dwyer and Thee Oh Sees could deliver.

“Encrypted Bounce” the second track on Drop, is also the longest song found on this release. Musically the song sounds like a battle of Beatles sounding backwards guitars, early Syd Barrett Pink Floyd, and Thee Oh Sees unrelenting punk psych energy, one that was displayed in excellent form on 2011’s Carrion Crawler/The Dream. Lyrically the song seems to reference San Francisco, perhaps it is an ode to the city, as John Dwyer recently relocated to Los Angeles. “Savage Victory” begins with its prominent tension filled bassline and bouncy snare drum, before being flooded with synthesizer and ultra fuzzy guitars as sharp as a knife’s edge. The lyrics in this song which emphasize a victory by attack with words such as “I will wait for you someplace/Where you can’t see my face” this, in conjunction with the lyrics found in “Put Some Reverb On My Brother” “I can’t see you/you can’t see me/I can’t feel you/you can’t feel me” both contrast with a feeling of hiding in waiting. The later track could also reference Dwyer’s San Francisco garage rock brethren Ty Segall. The album’s title track “Drop” attacks with a garage punk romp, while lyrics such as “I don’t expect to see them again” in the opening verses of this song and “I expect to see them again” in last verse of this song, could perhaps indicate the current situation of Thee Oh Sees hiatus. It was however announced that Thee Oh Sees would perform live shows as a three piece in May 2014, minus Brigid Dawson and Petey Dammit.

The song “Camera (Queer Sound)” brings us to just about the half way point of Drop, which was for the most part recorded with John Dwyer on most of the instrumentation in a banana ripening warehouse. The catchy vocal dualities and harmonies of Brigid Dawson are absent here, as are the frenetic guitar stylings of Petey Dammit, but there are contributions from Chris Woodhouse on drums, Mikal Cronin on saxophone and others. It is at this point when “Camera (Queer Sound)” comes in that if we were really in a dungeon in the original Legend of Zelda for NES, that things would get more quiet and intense. As such, the lyrics in the pop fuzz chorus of this track seem to portray a search for an identity with words “I try to wear the faces of other men/But Life is a camera/And I cannot get near ya” and also have been said to be a comment on the infamous selfie. “Transparent World” is a song of building noises consisting of heavy synthesizers, bass and inaudible vocals sounds. It is like the final battle in the dungeon for our quest in this Legend of Zelda like comparison before we are taken to the conclusion that would be the song “The Lens”. This cello driven song is much indebted to The Beatles as the catchy chorus draws an undeniable influence. The lyrics such as “And then we both arrive/At the same time again/Then we’re both alive at the same time again” and ”You look through the lens today/All is cracked and hazy/here, there/hand in hand we will survive” emphasize a victory of sorts here. But John Dwyer may also be reflecting on Thee Oh Sees past and present. “The Lens” takes us to the end of our quest through the metaphorical dungeon from the depths of a world of psychedelic garage sounds provided by Thee Oh Sees. Drop is victorious in its savage, primitive and unrelenting garage psych riffs, while the pop elements sink in deeper amongst the synthesizers and crude album cover artwork. But as Drop ends, we know that at the end of this quest another begins.

The Play List:

1. Thee Mighty Caesars - I Was Led To Believe
2. The Castaways - Liar, Liar
3. Guitar Army - Let’s Go To The Beach
4. The Hellacopters - Born Broke
5. Sonic Avenues - Waiting For A Change
6. The Challengers - Asphalt Spinner
7. Nick Lowe - 36 Inches High
8. Katlina Cowan - Cocaine
8. The Zellots - Soldier
9. Sheep Look Up - Civil Disobedience
10. The Legend Killers - Strychnine
11. Paul Jacobs - Drug Theaters
12. Paul Jacobs - Morphine Daydream
13. Survival Knife - Fell Runner
14. Pink Mountaintops - Ambulance City
15. Lou Reed - Sally Can’t Dance
16. Andre Williams - Pass The Biscuits, Please
17. The Who - Don’t Look Away
18. The Meltones - You’ll Never Surf In This Town Again
19. Black Lips - Smiling
20. The Bears - Frank Nitty
21. Thee Oh Sees - Savage Victory
22. Thee Oh Sees - Drop

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

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Chad Vangaalen Shrink Dust & Show # 507

Shrink Dust is the follow up to 2011’s Diaper Island by Chad Vangaalen, an artist from Calgary, Alberta. The songs that make up Shrink Dust are difficult to pin down, as are a majority of the songs by Chad Vangaalen. He calls this album his “country album” and although it isn’t a standard country album per se, you can hear the underlying influences of artists such as The Flying Burritos Brothers, as Vangaalen has stated in interviews for this album. There is also pedal steel work throughout this album that pops up, Vangaalen recently acquired and taught himself how to play this instrument recently. Recorded entirely in his home studio in Alberta, Shrink Dust seems to come off with a mood or feeling resembling that feeling just before you fall asleep, crossed with a nightmare.

Vangaalen has his own unique style of songwriting. When he sings, it comes off in a way with haunting vocals that have been compared to the likes of Thom Yorke and Daniel Johnston. Shrink Dust is also loosely based on a feature length sci-fi animation styled film that Chad has been working on to be titled Translated Log Of Inhabitants. Apparently it will be released later this year and it is a cross between 2001: A Space Odyssey and Strange Brew, in terms of subject matter.

The album begins with the song “Cut Off My Hands”, a song that sets the tone for this album, music and lyric wise it will be dark at times. “Doused in waves of static haze” is sung at one point during this acoustic folk track, but then a weird synthesizer effect, sounding like garbled ocean noises comes in. Throughout the song there are strange instruments adding to its esoteric textures, the pedal steel comes in near the end of the song with a haunting echo. “Where Are You?” was the first single released for this album. It features an eerie sounding synthesizer, fuzz bass sounds, an almost hip hop drum beat and other texturizing sound effects that add to its soundscape, while a song like “Frozen Palace” features many elements in addition to Vangaalen’s psychedelic folk sound. Including some electronic and hip hop elements, “Frozen Place” sounds like it could have been recorded in an arctic snowstorm. “Lila” once again displays Vangaalen’s own folk influenced sound, but features a highly catchy layered chorus. “Monster” has a shuffle-like beat and tells the story of transforming into another life form. I would imagine this could be the basis of the artwork found on the album cover for Shrink Dust, but once again is extremely catchy and creepy at the same time.

Songs such as “Weighted Sin” and “Hangman’s Son” both cater to Chad Vangaalen’s country sound as he would call it, but they come off here with their dark imagery and sonic dynamics as psychedelic country. “Hangman’s Son” in particular seems to draw from the well that Neil Young once drank from on Harvest Moon. The imaginary sounds kick in on the drone-like “Evil”, while “Leaning On Bells” picks up the pace in a groove that was once explored on the more psych garage sounds found on 2011’s Diaper Island. “Cosmic Destroyer” ends the album, bringing in a relaxed vibe, with pedal steel, with Chad Vangaalen’s layered expansive sound. The lyrics to this track “When the world in your head/is the world where you live/the people seem stranger there/paranoid dreams it goes on and on” seem to stick out as a relevant point of interest when discussing Shrink Dust. This album, while loosely based as a score for his forthcoming animation feature that is to feature 150 characters, takes us on a weird journey with lush psychedelic sounds with dominant acoustic guitars, pedal steel and layered vocals. Shrink Dust is a strange and beautiful look into the world of music and characters in which Chad Vangaalen creates that goes on and on like a paranoid dream.

The Play List:

1. Ramones - Do You Remember Rock n' Roll Radio?
2. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - White Palms
3. The Black Angels - The Flop
4. The Sunsets - I Want Love
5. Hot Snakes - Kreative Kontrol
6. Lame Brain - Sleeping King
7. Ty Segall - Son Of Same (Chain Gang)
8. The Modernettes - Red Nails
9. Hot Nasties - I Am A Confused Teenager
10. Pointed Sticks - No Use For U
11. Twin Library - Kick It Apart
12. Sun Parlour Players - By Your Side
13. Denney & The Jets - Water To Wine
14. Chad Vangaalen -Evil
15. Chad Vangaalen - Leaning On Bells
16. Death - North Street
17. Japandroids - For The Love Of Ivy
18. Young Rival - Too Hip
19. Shotgun Jimmie - Onomatopeia
20. Dee Dee Ramone & The Chinese Dragons - Chatterbox
21. The Weirdos - Life Of Crime
22. The Replacements - Hootenanny

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