Saturday, March 07, 2015
Pow Wows Broken Curses Interview & Show # 550
Pow Wows highly anticipated second full-length Broken Curses was released in February 2015 on Get Hip Recordings. This album follows the 2011 release Nightmare Soda, where Pow Wows first displayed their garage punk psych and R&B twang in a greased lightning fashion, and a series of recent singles in 2012/2013. Recorded and mixed by Steve Major in Toronto at Verge Music Lab and mastered by Jim Diamond at Ghetto Recorders in Detroit, this ten-track release contains the same intensity that was first displayed back in 2011. The press release for this album states that the songs are “tales of dystopia with a back beat. Party rock for end times” and that couldn’t be more accurate.
“Fire Song” starts off Broken Curses with a burning intensity. As the song progresses we are engulfed by fuzzy garage riffs, clanging guitar chords, steady, driving basslines and a shower of drums that attempt to cool the heat put forth in the opening moments of Broken Curses. “Rebel Stomp” first appeared on the limited edition live cassette Bent Out Of Shape in 2013, but comes in second on Broken Curses as we are taken through a series of guitar riffs that sound like the Yardbirds being assaulted by a gang of 60s garage nugget bands. As the chorus hits we hear lyrics that seem to rally a call for independent thought amongst the minutia of opinionated boring daily life. “Car Cemetery” attacks with a locomotive-like rhythm echoing elements of Davie Allan & The Arrows, The Cramps, The Gun Club and features a breakdown that fuzzes with the influence of the 13th Floor Elevators. To add to all this there are even motorcycle sounds added to the mix.
With “I Can See But You Don’t Know” Pow Wows take on a song by The Equals as The Clash did with their version of The Equals “Police On My Back” for their album Sandinista in 1980. This song is almost unrecognizable as an Equals song and it fits Pow Wows sound and style perfectly. It is a song that they have made their own. “You Haven’t Got Me Yet” is a hidden gem on track five on this ten-track album, this song is notable for its stop and start guitar and bass groove as subtle psychedelic reverb sounds reverberate in the background of the verses and choruses. Amongst these rhythms, reverb soaked guitar riffs hook you in as lyrically the song broadcasts a message for not giving up when the metaphorical deck of cards are stacked against you.
Other tracks on this album include the organ and fuzz driven “Surfin’ Dirge”, “Hidden Future” and “Going Dark”. This track has a cleaner guitar sound in the earlier parts of the song mixed with darker or dirtier sounding lyrics. The chorus seems to reflect 70s punk influences as elements of The Gun Club slide in throughout this track. The song’s lyrics seem to portray the struggle of being a musician in the modern age in this modern day garage punk blues romp. The last two tracks on Broken Curses bring in a different type of groove and feeling, but one that ties the record and its lyrical themes together. “Traces” is the longest song found on this album clocking in at over four minutes. It is a somber track with a slower groove and riotous eruptive choruses, while lyrically the song paints the picture of a modern dystopian world. “Lost Sunset” ends the album calling for understanding when you have gone past the point of no return. This hazy track juxtaposes with the opening track “Fire Song” as it smolders with the reverb drenched sounds of 60s surf.
In 2011, Pow Wows served up a potent fizzy cocktail with Nightmare Soda. In the mix we found the ingredients were made up of garage, punk, surf and R&B influences. 2012 and 2013 brought singles to quench our thirst, but with Broken Curses Pow Wows have shaken things up yet again. The fizzy cocktail that was once served to us in 2011 has now exploded in a ten-track blast. Like a dried up soda that has crusted over, this album offers a new grittiness in the spirit of the cyclic fuzz driven sounds of Davie Allan & The Arrows, garage, punk and surf music all in a modern context. With Broken Curses, Pow Wows provide us with their own unique garage noir lyrics and musical style in ten tracks that has a dizzying cohesiveness to it.
Listen to the interview I did with Pow Wows bassist/vocalist Ryan Rothwell here:
The Play List:
1. The Honeycombs - Can’t Get Through To You
2. The Angels - Get Away From Me
3. Demolition Doll Rods - Lil Darlin
4. Pearls Mahone - Blow Your Top
5. The Delmonas - I Did Him Wrong
6. The Z-Rays - Number Nine
7. The Cramps - Domino
8. Pow Wows - Fire Song
9. Pow Wows - Car Cemetery
Pow Wows Ryan Rothwell Interview
10. Pow Wows - Rebel Stomp
11. BA Johnston - You Can Love Someone And Hate The Things They Love
12. Dum Dum Girls - Yours Alone
13. X Ray Spex - Obsessed With You
14. Diamond Rugs - Voodoo Doll
15. Brat Kings - Good Drugs (Pinball Session)
16. Paul Jacobs - Pop Can Ashtray
17. The Curse - No More Ice Cream (Live)
18. The Dishrags - Can’t Wait
19. Colleen Green - I Want To Grow Up
20. Sleater-Kinney - A New Wave
21. A Place To Bury Strangers - Straight
22. Ricked Wicky - Guts
23. Alex Chilton - Just To See You
24. JD McMpherson - It Shook Me Up
25. Ty Segall Band - Slaughterhouse (Live In San Francisco)
26. Ty Segall Band - Skin (Live In San Francisco)
27. Ty Segall Band - Standing At The Station (Live In San Francisco)
28. The Replacements - Seen Your Video
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for March 7. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.