Saturday, November 28, 2015

Dead Ghosts Love And Death And All The Rest Interview & Show # 588

Love And Death And All The Rest is the third full-length album released by Vancouver’s Dead Ghosts. Dead Ghosts first formed in 2007 by guitarist/vocalist Bryan Nicol and guitarist Andrew Wilkinson. They then added Mike Wilkinson on drums and Maurizo “Moe” Chiumento on bass to complete the group’s line-up. The band drew influences of 60s garage rock, blues, country, 50’s rock and doo-wop, but blended those influences with a lo-fi aesthetic. Although you can break it down several different ways, when discussing their sound Bryan Nicol describes it just as “rock n’ roll music”. On Love And Death And All The Rest, Dead Ghosts take their lo-fi rock n’ roll sound adding psychedelic R&B frequencies and broadcast twelve songs with an organic groove. Despite being recorded in a barn with a non-traditional studio atmosphere, the production on this album is cleaner and the best that Dead Ghosts have sounded on record to date.

“Another Love” opens the album with sludgy basslines and guitar/vocals that could be described as The Gun Club meets Captain Beefheart. The song features trippy, watery sounding guitars and harmonica amongst a steady in the pocket drum groove. Lyrically the song has lines such as “Another love that could keep us together” and “You’d leave me in a trash bag baby for sure/And leave me black and blue” that seem to tell the tale of a toxic relationship, contrasting paranoia with reason. “Rat Race” comes in next with jangly garage, country rock and 60s R&B vibes that likens the fast paced 9-5 workday nausea to a race of rats. However, that running in place feeling is not lost here, the mid-tempo grooves of “Rat Race” moves along with a slow and steady wins the race conviction.

“Drink It Dry”, the first single released for this album, walks with a cloudy, swampy groove combining elements of psychedelia with haunting organ and garage/surf dynamics. Inspired by a trip to an off the grid bar when on tour in Italy and the sampling of a bizarre drink, the cloudy unknown, inebriated feeling is captured perfectly in this song like the mist that rises from the Dixie cups that the band drinks from the song’s music video. “It’s Up To You” is a more upbeat rock song in the fashion of “Hangin’ In The Alley” from 2013’s Can’t Get No. This positive minded song acts like a clear-headed vision following the hazy “Drink It Dry”. “Living In My Mind” slips into a paranoid psychedelic train of thought amongst thick-layered guitars. At times the song is reminiscent of The Electric Prunes “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night”. But, Dead Ghosts lyrics on “Living In My Mind” filters through in messages of the realities of worry and overthought, as opposed to The Electric Prunes love lost hangover plight.

Side two of Love And Death And All The Rest starts off with “Good Love (Is Not Free)" and a Stooges circa “I Got A Right” meets The Kinks intro before launching into an intoxicating bass and drum heavy groove. The guitars intertwine in a mix of clean, distortion and tremolo sounding guitar effects as the song tunes in lyrically with signals of love, heartbreak and reflection. “Waste My Time” and “Anything For You” jump in with 60s garage nugget waves, the former drawing from the well that The Seeds once drank from. With a marching drum beat “All In A Row” lines up as track ten on this album and wobbles with a catchy melody that echoes with a search for meaning. With lyrics such as “The less you know/The rest will follow” and “I don’t know if I’m lost/I don’t know if I’m found” Nicol taps into a feeling that reflects the effects expressed by the guitars found on this track.

“Around And Through” is a heavy hitting song with a one note piano part ala “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and early Little Richard recordings, as the intertwining guitars of Bryan Nicol and Andrew Wilkinson are a little behind the beat like a lackadaisical windmill, while “I Will Be Gone” ends the album. This song drips with reverb and 50’s rock influences and a waltz-like rhythm, making a connection with the lyrical content that first was brought to our attention in the album’s opening track, “Another Love”. This full circle message also ties into the album’s title Love And Death And All The Rest. The album ends, much like the character who leaves in the album’s closing track, without the other character knowing so.

The songs on Love And Death And All The Rest are like drinks at a party. As the party winds down there are all different kinds abandoned on the table, but when no one is looking Dead Ghosts mix all those together to create their own unique brew. Before people can notice, the drink much like the album is finished and we are left with the feeling much like the character in the album’s closing track. But, don’t let this metaphor fool you, this album isn’t like sucking back on some concoction of Grandpas old cough medicine. The songs that make up Love And Death And All The Rest are balanced with just the right musical influences and flavours. Drink up.

Check out the interview I did with Bryan of Dead Ghosts here:

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Newtown Neurotics - Hypocrite
2. Chris Knox - Honesty’s Not Enough
3. Beliefs - Colour Of Your Name
4. Sunwolf - Follow The Dreamers
5. Holy Ruth & The Grey Jays - Little One
6. The Locusts Have No King - This And That (CJAM Session January 2008)
7. Protomartyr - I Forgive You
8. W-X - The Lurk
9. Dead Ghosts - Another Love

Bryan Nicol of Dead Ghosts Interview

10. Dead Ghosts - Rat Race
11. The Kinks - Anytime (Lola vs. Powerman Outtake)
12. Plagues - I’ve Been Through It Before
13. The Iguanas - Again & Again
14. The Revels - Commanche
15. Jack Wood - Born To Wander
16. Johnny Cash - There You Go
17. Ray Condo & His Hardrock Goners - Greenback Dollar
18. Leonard Coen - Love Calls You By Your Name
19. The Scenics - Not Dead Yet
20. Fuzz - Pipe
21. Death - Where Do We Go From Here???
22. The Revs - Just Ask Why
23. Steph Copeland - Straight In A Heap
24. The Sylvia Platters - The Girl With Curious Hair
25. The Cramps - It’s Just That Song
26. The Gun Club - Carry Home

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

As a side note and for those keeping count, episode 587 of Revolution Rock was a repeat episode that originally aired back in September 2015. You can download that episode here and find the playlist in this post.

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