Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Steady, As They Go...The Raconteurs Story and Show # 189

The Raconteurs were formed in 2005 by Jack White and Brendan Benson in Detroit. Being friends White assisted Benson in a song that he was working on. The song would be known as "Steady, As She Goes". White and Benson recruited fellow musicians Jack Lawrence (Bass), and Patrick Keeler (drums); They are both from a band called The Greenhornes. White would become a vocalist, guitarist and Benson would be a vocalist, guitarist, and keyboardist. Since various members were already involved in other groups Jack White being in the White Stripes, Brendan Benson a solo artist, and Lawrence and Keeler in the Greenhornes, the band would record whenever they had the time to do so. The band would record their first album, which would be called Broken boy Soldiers over the course of the year of 2005 in Brendan Benson's East Grand Studio.

The band first released the single "Steady, As She Goes" with "Store Bought Bones" as the B-side on vinyl in January of 2006; It was released on CD in April of 2006. The band then unleashed Broken Boy Soldier onto the world in May of 2006. The album debuted at #7 on the US Charts and #2 in the UK. The album was not like a White Stripes album, which I'm sure some Jack White fans were expecting. Instead it was a mix of 60's rock and pop, that came off sounding like a classic rock album, it has the feel of Led Zeppelin III, but elements from so many other bands such as The Beatles (Rubber Soul-era/Revolver), The Rolling Stones (Aftermath), and The Kinks. The album mixed together the styles of Jack White and Brendan Benson, which created a unique and interesting record.

The album starts off with the bands first single and the song that brought the band together "Steady, As She Goes". A short stop and go song with roaring choruses. "Hands" is the next track. It is a song with heavy ringing rock chords, melodies, and a pop chorus sung by Mr. Brendan Benson. The title track "Broken Boy Soldier" sounds just as the title describes broken, the song sounds like something off of a Led Zeppelin album, it has a strange eerie vibe while Jack White howls over the strange descending chords. "Level" is another interesting song, it has loud choruses featuring odd sounding keyboards during the verses. "Store Bought Bones" is a jagged rocker, that actually started out as an outtake from the White Stripes album Get Behind Me Satan. "Yellow Sun" is a 60's style pop song sung by Benson. "Call it a Day" is another slow, but catchy Benson sung number that drags and scrapes its way through your head with slow verses and heavy attacking choruses. The album ends with "Blue Veins" a song featuring backwards guitar effects ala-The Beatles, while the song is a slow and blues drenched. The album is a short ten track album, that has qualities of, as mentioned earlier classic rock.

The bands second album Consolers of the Lonely was released everywhere in all formats (download, CD, Vinyl) on March 25th, 2008. Prior to the release of the album, the band released a press statement out of the blue that the album would be released to everyone on March 25th, 2008 so that everyone could get the album as quickly as possible. Some have compared this move similar to what Radiohead did with the release of their album In Rainbows. I personally love the fact that the band finished the album and just released it as soon as possible, leaving the fans to make up their minds of how it is, not the critics. Despite the statement the band was trying to make, the album leaked onto the Internet on March 19th, days before its official release from a most unlikely source, i-tunes.

The actual album Consolers of the Lonely contains 14 tracks. The album still has a classic rock feel, but also brings in more elements, at times its difficult to tell who's singing Jack White or Brendan Benson. The album is a mix of loud rock numbers, balanced out with slower pop ballads. The album opens with "Consoler of the Lonely" it is a loud crashing rock song with Benson and White Sharing vocal duties. The first single "Salute Your Solution" is a song that sounds like a sped up AC/DC track, featuring fuzzy bass, and a fuzzy garage rock style ending. "You Don't Understand Me" is a slow piano doused number, while "Old Enough" is an upbeat song featuring organ and and crunchy guitar parts. "Hold Up" shows the band turning up the volume even louder, the song sounds heavily influenced by 70's style Ramones punk. "Many Shades of Black" brings orchestral horn sections into the Raconteurs fold, in the chorus Brendan Benson sings similar to Paul McCartney. "Five on Five' is a dirty twisted rocker, with stop and start riffs, heavy hitting drums, while "Attention" is another loud rock number with catchy keyboards, an excellent track. The album ends with "Carolina Drama" a song that lyrically reflects Bob Dylan, musically it is an acoustic, bluesy song. Overall, the album rocks as much as it pops, it brings in horn sections, more keyboards, synths, and violins.

Some would label the group another "supergroup", but the truth is that The Raconteurs are just a group of friends and music lovers that came together and formed an excellent group. Another interesting fact is that the band called The Saboteurs in Australia. The reason for this is that the band named Raconteurs, in Queensland in Australia refused the offer that was proposed for the use of their name, in hopes of getting more money.

Once again I have to mention the Jammies. Voting is done on April 4th, 2008 so get your votes in by voting here (Hint: Revolution Rock is the name of my show).

Songs Played:

1. Carbon/Silicon - The Global War on Culture
2. Joe Strummer - Island Hopping
3. Marble Index - I Believe
4. Mark Inside - Lost Your Appetite (Demo)
5. Easy Targets - If You're a Planet
6. Misfits - Where Eagles Dare
7. Black Sabbath - Lord of this World
8. The Subways - Girls and Boys
9. Frustrations - Overrated
10. Velvet Underground - The Gift
11. Dead 60's - Last Train Home
12. Ride Theory - Reflecting on a Foggy Day
13. The Government - Flat Tire
14. Neil Young - Dirty Old Man
15. The Horrors - She is the New Thing
16. The Strollers - Let Me Come On In
17. The Wipers - Let's Go Away
18. Greenhornes - Pattern Skies
19. Hentchmen - Carry Me Home
20. White Stripes - Aluminum
21. Raconteurs - Hold Up
22. Raconteurs - Many Shades of Black

Related Raconteur Videos:

Steady, As She Goes (Jim Jarmusch Version)
Steady, As She Goes (Version 2)Broken Boy Soldier
Level (Live Music Video)
Salute Your Solution
Broken Boy Soldier (Live Jools Holland)
Store Bought Bones (Live Jools Holland)
Blue Veins (Live)
Five on the Five (Live)
Bang Bang (Live Nancy Sinatra Cover)
Crazy (Live Gnarls Barkley Cover)
It Ain't Easy (Live David Bowie Cover)
Teenage Kicks (Live Undertones Cover)
White Light/White Heat (Live With Lou Reed)
The Seeker (With Pete Townshend)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Traditionalists...The Devo Story and Show # 188

Devo had their beginnings in 1972 when they formed in Akron, Ohio. The name Devo came from a theory of De-evolution that Mark Mothersbaugh, Gerald Casale, and Bob Lewis came up with while in art school at Kent State University. The idea came after reading a book titled The Beginning was the End: Knowledge Can Be Eaten. This book claimed that mankind did not evolve, but devolved from mutant man eating apes, which in turn was responsible for all the problems and dysfunctions within societies. The group developed this idea first as a joke, but took it more seriously after shootings took place at Kent State University in May of 1970. Devo's original band consisted of Mark Mothersbaugh (vocals), Gerald Casale (bass), Bob Mothersbaugh (lead guitar), Jim Mothersbaugh (drums), Bob Casale would also be another guitarist; Alan Myers would take over as drummer in 1975. Devo played at the Kent State Arts Festival in 1973 and 1974, but for the most part spent the early years of the bands incarnation developing their sound.

After having the support of David Bowie and Iggy Pop from the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 1976, the group would get a record deal after their short film The Truth About De-Evolution was seen (and won an award). David Bowie was originally supposed to produce the bands first album, but Brian Eno ended up producing it. The album would be titled Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! While some did not understand Devo's sound and dismissed it, others loved it making it popular in the underground. The album contained songs such as a robotic sounding cover of Rolling Stones "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and songs such as the punk and new wave fueled "Uncontrollable Urge", and "Gut Feeling/(Slap Your Mammy)". The song "Come Back Jonee" is apparently about president John F. Kennedy, and the song "Too Much Paranoia's" actually contains phrases form 1970's Burger King commercials. Other interesting songs include "Mongoloid", and "Jocko Homo". The album definitely was unlike anything out at the the time. It was a mix of what some would call new wave or post punk, punk, and rock. The band used synthesized electronic instruments as well; Devo also released the Be Stiff EP which was self produced in 1977, it contained songs that could be found on the band first album, but were re-recorded.

Devo would crack the mainstream charts in 1979 with their album Duty Now For the Future. The album further developed their synthesized pop sounds from their first album as well as containing a cover of the song "Secret Agent Man'. The album also contained songs such as "Devo Corporate Anthem" (which showed off their earlier Devo theories) and "Clock Out" (a drum based, more rock oriented song). In 1980, The band released Freedom of Choice. The album would be their most successful album, it contained the hit single "Whip it!". The song would climb to #3 on the singles charts in Canada, #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts, and #8 in the UK. The song is also apparently based on a riff in the song "Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison. The album itself reached as high as #22 on the Pop Album charts in the US. The album also contained the song "Girl U Want" that has been covered by numerous bands, including Soundgarden.

In 1981, New Traditionalists was released. The album was a perfect mix of rock oriented Devo, and synthesized pop Devo (it in fact contained more synthesized pop than any other Devo album). The album had some minor hits, but the bands popularity would fall to cult status. Some of the albums interesting songs included "Through Being Cool" which was a synthesized, funk oriented track which describes Devo in perfect lyrical sense, "Jerkin' Back N' Forth", "Beautiful World", and "Love Without Anger".

Devo were also known for their futuristic stage uniforms. Some of their outfits included yellow nuclear plastic protection suits, wearing plastic hair dos, and flower pot hats. During the New Traditionalists tour the band performed on treadmills while being surrounded in Greek Roman structures. Mark Mothersbaugh also created an alter ego called Booji Boy, which consisted of a strange baby looking mask. The character was used various times through out Devo's career and is supposed to represent the way in which culture was infantile in American societies. Devo also used to open their shows disguised as a band called Dove, The Band of Love. the band was actually Devo disguised as a Christian rock band. They would perform in suits with old fashioned green accountant visors.

The band is also known for their music videos. The "Whip It!" music video was a popular video in the early days of MTV. The group has made numerous creative music videos and videos pertaining to the band. The band has released several promotional videos such as the mockumentary The Men Who Make the Music and the previously mentioned The complete Truth About De-Evolution. Mark Mothersbaugh would be involved in TV and movie soundtracks after Devo, and Gerry Casale would direct TV commercials and music videos such as Foo Fighters "I'll Stick Around", and Soundgarden's "Blow Up the Outside World".

Devo's last full length album, Smooth Noodle Maps would come in 1990. The band has released numerous compilations and a boxed set in 2000 titled Pioneers that Got Scalped. The set was a collection of B-sides and rare Devo songs, serving like an anthology. Also in 2000, Devo released a double CD set of demos, alternate and unreleased versions of Devo songs titled Recombo DNA; It was a limited release of 5000 copies. In 2001, Devo formed a side project called the Wipeouters. They released an album of surf rock oriented music. In 2006, Devo 2.0. was released. It was a group of kids singing and recording versions of Devo songs for Disney. Gerry Casale also formed Jihad & The Evil Doers. Devo has reformed for numerous live shows and tours; In 1996 they played Lollapalooza, finding a new audience. The band also is also apparently making a documentary about the early days of the band, rumoured to be titled The Beginning of the End. It is to contain new music from the band. In 2007, the band released the single "Watch Us Work It" which was also used for a Dell TV commercial. They are also supposed to be currently working on a new albums worth of material. Devo is a band that developed a simple style of pop, New Wave-synthesized music by stripping music down to its essentials using not only guitar and traditional instruments, but also synthesizers, keyboards, and all sorts of electronic sounding instruments. The music also contained elements of rock too, but also strong messages. Devo are one of the most interesting and influential bands to come out during the late 70's and the 80's.

Also CJAM is still taking votes for the Jammies until April 4th, 2008. Visit CJAM's site to vote for your favourite shows.

Play List:

1. Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Walking on the Water
2. The Cure - I'm Cold (Demo)
3. Public Image Limited - Public Image
4. Diodes - Shapes of Things to Come
5. Young Canadians - Where Are You
6. Gang of Four - Natural's Not In
7. Teenage Head - Picture My Face
8. Bureaucrats - She's an American
9. Animal Kingdom - Tension
10. Devo - It Takes a Worried Man
11. Devo - Beautiful World
12. Devo - Watch Us Work It
13. The Wipeouters - Luna Goona Park
14. XTC - Towers of London
15. XTC - Respectable Street
16. Roxy Music - Mother of Pearl
17. Talking Heads - Crosseyed and Painless
18. Young Rival - Don't Make a Sound
19. Young Rival - Ghost in the Park (Demo)
20. The Pack A.D - Gold Rush
21. Dirtbombs- Indivisible
22. Sloan - People Think They Know Me
23. Police - Nothing Achieving
24. Police - Dead End Job
25. Wire - Feeling Called Love

Devo Videos:

Satisfaction (SNL)
Mongoloid (French TV 1978)
Devo - Friday's 1980 (Whip it! & Uncontrollable Urge)
I Saw Jesus & Through Being Cool (Live Friday's 1980)
Gut Feeling/Slap Your Mammy Down (Live 1980)
Jerkin' Back N' Forth
Jocko Homo (Original Version)
Through Being Cool (Video)
Whip It! (Video)
Girl U Want (Video)

Beautiful World (Video)

That's Good (Video)

Devo as Dove - It Takes a Worried Man

Watch Us Work It

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Make You Mine...The Stems Story and Show # 187

Coming from Perth, Australia, The Stems had their beginnings in the later part of 1983. The band started while Don Mariani was in a band called the Go-Starts. He was asked to give guitar lessons to Richard Lane, the lessons would then turn into more of a band situation. Gary Chambers would play drums and Julian Matthews would play bass. After a band was assembled the band recorded some demos and started playing live gigs. The bands first live gig was supporting The Saints and the Triffids. The band would be influenced by 60's garage rock bands such as The Standells, The Easybeats, and The Rolling Stones, they also had some R&B influences as well; The band falls under the categories of garage rock revival or garage punk. The band would continue playing live shows, securing a residency and in 1985 released their first single which was, "Make You Mine" with "She's A Monster" as the B-side. They would also record the song "Tears Me In Two" around this time as well.

The EP Love Will Grow came next in 1986. The EP was produced by Radio Birdman's Rob Younger and was released on Citadel Records. After touring to support the EP with the likes of the Flamin' Groovies, The Stems proceeded to record material that would make up their first full length album. After some complications in the studio and three months later At First Sight, Violets Are Blue came out in 1987. The album did quite well and went to number one on the Australian alternative charts, it even went to number 34 on the mainstream charts. The album was a mix of Mariani and Lane's garage rock and pop influences. The album was also on a different label Mushroom Records. There seemed to be interest in the band the song "At First Sight" was even featured on the soundtrack to the movie Young Einstein. After a tour to support the album and some TV appearances in 1987, they called it quits. The band did quite well for an Australian band that was only around for a short period of time, then released one full length album and a bunch of EP's; They have also been featured on numerous garage rock compilations.

After being in the Stems, Don Mariani would go on to form The Someloves, and DM3. Richard Lane would play with The Chevelles. In 2003, The Stems re-united for a tour and to promote the re-release of their first album. In 2007, The Stems recorded Head's Up, their second full length album.

CJAM is once again having voting take place for it's annual Jammy Awards. My Show (Revolution Rock) has been nominated for best punk/hard rock show. If you're a fan of the show and/or visit this website you can vote for my show (and your other favourite CJAM shows) at or by clicking this link Jammies 2008.

the Play List:

1. Collectors - We Can Make It
2. King Beez - Gloria
3. 409 - They Say
4. Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat
5. Rolling Stones - Around and Around
7. Standells - Medication
8. Foxboro Hot Tubs - Ruby Room
9. Love Me Nots - Come on Over
10. The Stems - Sad Girl
11. The Stems - Tears Me in Two
12. Pointed Sticks - The Witch
13. Neil Young - After the Garden
14. MC5 - Future/Now
15. The Clash - Stay Free (King Biscuit Flower Hour 1979)
16. The Clash - Janie Jones (King Biscuit Flower Hour 1979)
17. The Clash - Julie's Been Working for the Drug Squad (King Biscuit Flower Hour 1979)
18. Buzzcocks - Harmony in My Head
19. Saints - Run Down
20. The Dogs - Sleaze City (Live)
21. Modernettes - Barbra
22. Constantines - Easy Money
23. The Strokes - Fear of Sleep
24. Compulsive Gamblers - Rock and Roll Nurse
25. Black Keys - Wicked Messenger

Stems Videos:

At First Sight
Sad Girl

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Waterloo Sunset...The Story of the Kinks Part One...Show # 186

The Kinks formed in 1963 in the UK. The band is known for being one of the most influential bands that came out during the British invasion along with the likes of The Beatles, The Who, and The Rolling Stones. The band was comprised of the the brothers Ray (vocals/guitar/main songwriter) and Dave Davies (guitar), Mick Avory (drums), and Peter Quaife on bass. The Kinks were originally called The Ravens, but changed their name as they recorded their first single for Pye Records in 1964; They were named the Kinks due to their style of dress onstage which was called "kinky". The single was a cover of Little Richards "Long Tall Sally", it did not chart. The bands second single was "You Still Want Me", which also failed to chart. It wasn't until the bands third single "You Really Got Me" that others started to take notice. The song debuted at number one on the UK charts and helped define the bands early garage rock style. The song also features distortion and a power chord structure at a time when bands were using clean guitar amplifiers and playing songs differently. What happened was Dave Davies sliced the speaker of his amplifier with a razor blade giving his amplified guitar a distorted sound. The song also went to number one in the US. What followed next was a series of awesome hit UK singles and a ban in the USA.

When on tour in the USA in 1965, following an incident the Kinks were banned for four years in the US of A. The band focused on songwriting, touring, and releasing songs at an incredibly fast pace. The songs mostly came from the brain of Ray Davies, but there were some songs written and sung by Dave Davies. The bands singles after "You Really got Me" were "All Day and All of the Night", "Set Me Free", "Tired of Waiting for You", "Everybody's Gonna Be Happy", "See My Friends", "Till the End of the Day", "Dedicated Follower of Fashion", "Dead End Street" and "Waterloo Sunset", to name a few. It's simply amazing at the quality of the singles that the band released in such a short time. While being banned in the US did have a negative impact on the band, they would not get the proper recognition and fame they deserved until later on, they thrived in the UK, influencing thousands of bands. The Who's Pete Townshend cites "I Can't Explain" as his attempt at writing a Kinks song. During this time The Kinks also released several albums and EP's.

The Kinks weren't just a loud rock band they had varying styles, which included pop, and acoustic numbers as well. Some of their most interesting albums include Kink Kontroversy (1965), which drew on heavy blues influences while still building on their early sound. Face to Face (1966) which came next, is an album that contains compositions written entirely by Ray Davies. Prior to the recording of this album Ray Davies had a nervous breakdown and seemed to escape within his song writing and story telling abilities within the lyrics of the songs. The album advanced the bands style with songs such as "Party Line", "Dandy" and most notably the excellently crafted song "Sunny Afternoon". The singles released to promote the album were "I'm Not Like Everybody Else", and "Mister Pleasant" (they were later included on CD re-issues of the album).

In 1967 Something Else by the Kinks was released. The album is considered the best album by some Kinks fanatics and critics, despite the fact that when it came out it did poorly. This album contained more Dave Davies compositions than the bands previous albums. "Death of a Clown" was a song sung by Dave Davies, but one that was written with the help of Ray Davies. "Love Me Till the Sun Shines", and "Funny Face" were the other Dave Davies Credited and sung songs. The album also contained the excellent Ray Davies compositions "David Watts", "Harry Rag", "Situation Vacant" and "Waterloo Sunset". The album was produced by American producer Shel Talmy, but the subject matter of the album is heavily English laced. The singles released during this album were "Autumn Almanac", and "Susannah's Still Alive" (an excellent Dave Davies composition). After the release of Something Else, the band explored different types of song writing and lyrical structures with The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society (1968).

The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, was a concept album. It contained songs such as "Picture Book" (eerily similar to Green Day's "Warning" song), and "Johnny Thunder" which showed off their new style. There was also a single "Days" which did quite well on the charts. In 1969, King Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) was released. It was a rock opera, one of the first. The album is often compared the the rock opera Tommy by The Who, which was composed by The Who's Pete Townshend.

The ban from the USA was also lifted and in 1969, the band would release the song "Lola" which would be a huge hit in the US. The song itself was about an encounter with a transvestite written into a cleverly worded song. The song would be included on the album Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneyground Part One, which was released in 1970.

To read part two of my Kinks history and to see a show I did of all Kinks songs click Here.

Song Played:

1. Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers - One Track Mind
2. Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers - Let Go
3. Count Five - Double-Decker Bus
4. Count Five - Psychotic Reaction
5. The Sonics - The Witch
6. The Sonics - He's Waitin'
7. Gruesomes - No More Lies
8. Gruesomes - Why Me?
9. Ugly Ducklings - Just in Case You Wonder
10. Ugly Ducklings - I Wish You Would
11. Stooges - Loose
12. Stooges - Dirt
13. The Damned - 1 of the 2
14. The Damned - So Messed Up
15. Kinks - Situation Vacant
16. Kinks - I Need You
17. 101ers - Silent Telephone
18. 101ers - Keys to Your Heart (Version 1)
19. Ramones - Beat on the Brat
20. Ramones - I Can't Be (Demo)
21. Teenage Head - Disgusteen (Alternate Version)
22. Teenage Head - Top Down (New Alternate Version)
23. Undertones - There Goes Norman
24. Undertones - Hypnotised
25. The D4 - Running on Empty
26. The D4 - John Rock

Kinks Videos:

You Really Got Me
All Day and All of the Night
Tired of Waiting For You
It's Alright
Everybody's Gonna Be Happy
Set Me Free
A Well Respected Man
Waterloo Sunset
Dead End Street (Video)
Sunny Afternoon
Death of a Clown
The Village Green Preservation Society