Tuesday, October 28, 2008

CJAM Pledge Drive, Halloween Theme Show # 220

This week is CJAM's annual pledge drive which runs once a year. This year it runs from October 24th-31st. The station relies on contributions from listeners, and without the support of people like you, we wouldn't be able to bring important news/spoken word/ cultural/ music programming not offered by mainstream radio to the area.

CJAM has an overall goal of raising $25,000 and is well on your way, but we need your support. If you feel compelled you could make a donation. You can pledge online securely using paypal at www.cjam.ca, or by calling 519-971-3630, or 313-963-6112 extension 3630. We've got some really nice incentives this year as well, which you can check out on the website.

Back to the show, as I did last year I gave my show a general theme during pledge drive. The theme was Halloween, so anything that could be seen as scary or relating to Halloween was played. I only played a small amount of songs due to CJAM's pledge drive, but next week I will return to my regular scheduled programming.

This Week's Play List:

1. Ramones - Chainsaw
2. The Damned - I Fall
3. The Horrors - Sheena is a Parasite
4. The Cramps - Zombie Dance
5. Gruesomes - Hip-No-Tyzed
6. Young Rival - The Haunt
7. The Misfits - Halloween
8. Sonic Youth - Death Valley 69
9. Devo - Race of Doom

To download this week's show visit the CJAM archives and select the files 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM on October 28th, 2008.

Some Videos to check out:

The Horrors - Sheena is a Parasite
Queens of the Stone Age - Burn the Witch
The Clash - Charlie Don't Surf (Live Tokyo 1982)
The Clash - Brand New Cadillac (Live Tokyo 1982)

Monday, October 20, 2008

What Went On...The Velvet Underground Story and Show # 219

The initial beginnings of The Velvet Underground are rooted in the meeting of two people Lou Reed and John Cale. In late 1964, Lour Reed then a song writer for Pickwick records met John Cale. Cale a Welshman who moved to New York to study classical music, developed an interest in rock music via Reed and the two formed a group called The Primitives. Cale and Reed had similar musical connections, both willing to experiment with music. Prior to meeting Reed, Cale worked with composers John Cage and LaMonte Young who were known for their experimental musical compositions. Two Lou Reed compositions were released via Pickwick Records as the band The Primitives. The band contained Lou Reed (guitar/vocals), John Cale (bass/viola/organ/vocals), Sterling Morrison (guitar), and Angus MacLise on drums. The two singles the band recorded were "The Ostrich", and "Sneaky Pete", both released in the fall of 1964; The group also went by the names The Warlocks and The Falling Spikes initially.

Before even playing their first gig drummer Angus MacLise left the group stating that accepting money for art was being a sellout, they quickly got a new drummer Maureen Tucker (who was a sister of a friend of Morrison). The group would settle on the name The Velvet Underground after John Cale found a book of the same name when moving into his New York City Apartment. The book itself was by Michael Leigh and about the sexual underground in the 1960s. In 1965, the group recorded a demo tape which Cale gave to Marianne Faithful so that she would give it to Mick Jagger. Nothing ever came of this exchange, but the demos did appear on the bands 1995 box set Peel Slowly and See.

The band were quite different for their times. First Reed's compositions lyrically and musically were like nothing anyone had ever heard before ranging from topics such as urban life, drug use, to sexual exploits. Musically the music reflected Reeds and Cale's love of experimentation drawing on influences of pop and garage rock; Reed also was a fan of Jazz. The bands early sound would later be known as an early incarnation of what to was become punk rock. While Cale and Reed would experiment with different tuning to develop droning sounds, drummer Maureen Tucker also had a style of her own, which is an important factor of the bands sound. Her drum kit was not the usual kit you would find a drummer playing. Her bass drum was upturned, she mostly played the toms, and hardly used cymbals. Tucker played drums not only with drums sticks, but also with mallets. Her style was influenced by early Bo Diddley and Babatunde Olatunji. It can be described as simple and enticing.

After witnessing Velvet Underground perform live, artist Andy Warhol became the groups manager. Warhol assisted the group in getting a recording contract with MGM and also used them in his travelling arts and music ensemble known as the Exploding Plastic inevitable. Andy also encouraged the group to let Nico (female model/singer/actress) join. She appeared on the group first album singing on three tracks ("All Tomorrow's Parties, I'll Be Your Mirror", and "Femme Fatal"). The album, which would be titled Velvet Underground & Nico was recorded in April of 1966. Three songs were later re-recorded when the band signed to a subsidiary of MGM Records, Verve Records ("I'm Waiting For the Man, "Venus in Furs", and "Heroin"). The album was officially released n March of 1967. The album contained eleven tracks such as "I'm Waiting for the Man", "Sunday Morning", "Venus in Furs", "Run, Run, Run", and "There She Goes Again", all showcasing the bands new and experimental rock form. The albums artwork was done by Warhol, it was a yellow banana with a peel slowly and see tab on it. When peeled a pink banana lay underneath. The album did not do well commercially due to its unconventional sound and a legal dispute with artwork on the back cover of the album. A lawsuit was filed when a picture from film maker/Cinematographer Eric Emerson sued the band stating that he did not give permission for them to use a still from his film Chelsea Girls. Eventually the case was settled, but the result was the album being pulled off of the shelves ruining any chance at commercial success for the group. The Velvet Underground & Nico is often known as "the banana album".

After the bands first album, Velvet Underground's relationship with Andy Warhol and Nico worsened. As a result after their 1967 tour the group fired both Warhol and Nico. During live performances the band experimented with jams which would have a large influence on their next album. White Light/White Heat was recorded in two days in 1968 and was noticeably different compared to the bands debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico. The album sold poorly, but did manage to make it into the Billboard 200, at #199. The album musically was a distorted, rough, and dirty sounding album. The album featured songs such as "White Light/White Heat", a song about amphetamines, "The Gift" an eight minute distorted jam, with a short story recited over top by Cale in a Welsh accent, "Here She Comes Now" was an avant-garde pop song, "I Heard Her Call My Name" is a distorted song that sounds not unlike the Stooges, and the sixth and final track on the album was "Sister Ray", a 17 minute jam.

Both Covers for White Light/White Heat released in 1968

The albums cover featured a faintly visible skull in the background, the rest of the album was covered in black. The background was actually a picture of a tattoo of a skull on someones arm. The photo was taken and distorted by Billy Name, a friend of Warhol's. An alternate cover was made for the UK featuring abstract toy soldiers on a white background. Around this time tensions were growing amongst the bands two key song writers Lou Reed and John Cale. It was not just their lack of commercial success, but also the different directions that both Cale and Reed wanted to go in. After one more recording session in 1968, Cale was fired and the group continued without him. The bands third album would be titled The Velvet Underground and was released in 1969. It would feature Doug Yule as replacement for John Cale. The albums sound differed. Without Cale the experimental element of the band was not as dominant and it came off with more of a pop sound. Another reason for the albums change in sound could be related to the fact that all of the bands Vox amplifiers and guitar fuzz box pedals were stolen while they were on tour, resulting in them having to buy new equipment. The album is viewed by some to contain Lou Reed's best compositions. Songs such as "Candy Says", "Pale Blue Eyes", and the rocking "What Goes On". Other interesting tracks include "Murder Mystery" an almost nine minute song with a story read over top, similar to "The Gift".

The album also had two mixes since the album was produced by the band themselves and an engineer, Val Valentin. The first mix was done by Reed and called "The Closet Mix" by guitarist Sterling Morrison, the other mix was done by engineer Val Valentin. Reed's mix of the album was used for initial US releases of the album and Valentin's mix was used for the UK releases. After the albums initial pressings all other issues of White Light/White Heat used Valentin's mix. The complete "Closet Mix" can be found on the Peel Slowly and See box set. The albums artwork was a picture of the group, taken once again by Billy Name. The album failed to chart, it would also be The Velvet's last album for MGM.

The band spent a large amount of 1969 touring, and going in and out of the studio. These recordings would later be issued on outtake compilations (VU (1985) and Another View (1986)), and on the Peel Slowly and See box set. It should also be noted that the majority of the recordings on the outtake compilations VU and Another View, were recorded while the band were still on MGM Records and were originally intended for a fourth Velvet Underground album that was to be released in 1969. When the band switched record labels, the tracks were forgotten about. These recordings feature John Cale on some tracks and Dog Yule on some tracks. Also some of these songs were later re-recorded by Lou Reed for some solo albums. The band also recorded a live album titled 1969: The Velvet Underground Live, but it wasn't released until 1974. The bands next album would be titled Loaded.

MGM Records president Mike Curb wanted the label to be rid of any bands that had references to drugs so he dropped Velvet Underground and some other groups too. As a result the band signed to Atlantic Records. The album was titled Loaded because the label said that they wanted an album loaded with hits. So the band attempted to do so. The album was not a commercial success, but like the other three Velvet Underground albums, it was unique and original. The album contained songs such as "Rock & Roll", "Sweet Jane", "Head Held High", and "Oh, Sweet Nuthin". The album would not feature Velvet Underground drummer Maureen Tucker because she was pregnant. Instead the group used Doug Yule, Billy Yule (his brother) and a variety of session musicians for the albums drum tracks; Tucker is credited on the album despite her absence. Like all of The Velvet's albums, the artwork for Loaded was another interesting aspect of their album. The artwork was done by Stainslaw Zagorski. The cover was a picture of pink and green smoke rising from a subway entrance. Some have said that the change in artwork featuring pink smoke instead of a banana or a faint skull in the background, also represented the bands change in musical direction. Whatever was said about the album it is still a unique Velvet Underground album that shows the world that they had commercial capabilities without straying far from their original vision.

Reed quit the band just before the albums release. This was due to a number of factors, one being the lack of development within the band, the other being pressure put on by the bands manager Steve Sesnick. Reed has also stated that he was unhappy with the way the album was edited. The album was reissued in 1997 with several bonus tracks and outtakes. In 1995 the band released a comprehensive box set titled Peel Slowly and See. Reed would pursue a more successful solo career and The Velvet Underground would continue shortly with Doug Yule fronting the group, they would last until 1973.

In 1993 the original line-up reformed (including Cale) for a European tour and live album. The band would quickly disband due to Reed and Cale disagreements/arguments. In 1995 guitarist Sterling Morrison passed away and the band reformed once more for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. At their induction the group performed a song written for Morrison titled "Last Night I Said Goodbye to my Friend".

While The Velvet Underground did not achieve commercial success during their time as a band, the effect that they have left on the world cannot go unnoticed. They have been said to have influenced more people to start up bands of their own than sell their albums. Since they have disbanded they have gone on to influence rock music greatly, not only with their music, but lyrics too. The band have been cited as a major influence on the 70's punk and new wave movement and were a band that were definitely ahead of their time.

To view a post that I did on Lou Reed, you can visit my Rock n' Roll Animal post.

Songs played this week:

1. Iggy & The Stooges - Search and Destroy
2. Neon Boys - That's All I Know
3. The Sonics - Boss Hoss
4. Ugly Ducklings - Nothin'
5. The Jury - Who Dat?
6. Those Rogues - Girl
7. Underworld - Go Away
8. Gruesomes - Dementia 13
9. Minisnap - Crooked Mile
10. The Velvet Underground - I"m Waiting For the Man
11. The Velvet Underground - One of These Days
12. The Velvet Underground - Head Held High (Early Version)
13. The Who - Circles
14. Billy Bragg - A New England
15. 101ers - Keys to Your Heart (Version 2)
16. The MC5 - Looking At You
17. Compulsive Gamblers - Don't Haunt Me
18. The Mark Inside - You Can't Take Her With You
19. The Hoa Hoa's - Mixed
20. The Organs - Let the Bell's Ring
21. The Pretenders - Boots of Chinese Plastic
22. The Clash - Police on my Back (Live at Shea)
23. Pointed Sticks - The Witch
24. The Pixies - Here Comes Your Man
25. Nirvana - Son of a Gun

To download this week's show visit the CJAM archives and select the files 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM on October 21, 2008.

Velvet Videos:

I'm Waiting For The Man
Sunday Morning
Venus In Furs
White Light/White Heat
Sweet Jane (Live 1993)
Last Night, I Said Goodbye to my Friend

Also Next week CJAM will be having it's annual pledge drive. CJAM is a non-profit campus and community based radio station, if you would like to show your support for CJAM you can make a pledge by visiting CJAM's home page.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wondering...The Dirty Pretty Things Story and Show # 218

In September of 2005 Carl Barat (former guitarist/singer/song writer in the UK band The Libertines) formed the group known as Dirty Pretty Things. Signing to a UK label (Vertigo Records) Barat assembled a band with Gary Powell (ex-Libertines drummer) on drums, Anthony Rossamando on guitar (who was a fill-in for ex-Libertine Pete Doherty on some of the bands last tour dates), and Didz Hammond on bass (he left the group Cooper Temple Clause to join). Originally Barat's new group went by the name The Bearded Clam Lovers Experience, but changed names to Dirty Pretty Things. In October of 2005 Dirty Pretty Things began playing live gigs in France and Italy. The bands sound was not like the Libertines, it had much more of a punk edge/influence.

The band then entered a studio in Los Angeles, California with producer Dave Sardy to begin recording material; They also recorded material with producer Tony Doogan in Glasgow, Scotland. The first evidence of DPT material was the song "You Fucking Love It". The song was made available on a CD that came with the UK magazine NME in April of 2006. The song itself was a fast-paced raging punk song. Shortly after in April, DPT released their first official single "Bang Bang You're Dead". The song begins with a trumpet intro and then launches into dirty guitar riffs and travelling basslines. Initially people thought that because of the lyrics that this song was about former Libertine Pete Doherty, but this was later proven wrong by Carl Barat in an interview; It went to #4 on the UK singles charts. The album itself came out in May of 2006 in the UK and did very well on the British album charts reaching #3; It was titled Waterloo To Anywhere.

The album contained twelve tracks. It starts of with the song "Deadwood", which would also be the bands second single; It reached #20 on the UK singles charts. Other great tracks included "Blood Thirsty Bastards", "Doctors and Dealers", "Gin & Milk", "The Gentry Cove", and "Last of The Small Town Playboys". One of my favourite tracks is the song "Enemy". The song itself is dominated by chunky basslines in the verses and in the choruses the guitars come in roaring with energy. It also contains the brilliant lyric "Isn't it time you washed your face/It looks like a burnt out fireplace", while the chorus states that "The enemy as I know it is right inside my head". Lyrically the album is dark and witty, while the music blares with the energy of 70's British punk. Waterloo To Anywhere was released in the US in August of 2006; It charted at #200 on the US albums charts. The third single from the album was the song "Wondering"; It went to #34 on the UK singles charts.

The band toured intensively behind this album playing the South By Southwest Festival, Isle of Wight Festival, and T in the Park to name a few. They also toured with the likes of Muse, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Hurricanes, and The Paddingtons. In the summer of 2006, Barat broke his collarbone due to a fall from a motorbike. To continue touring Barat put his arm in a sling and got Paddingtons guitarist Josh Hubbard to play his guitar parts, while Barat sang. A DVD release came next in October of 2006. Puffing on A Coffin Nail which was a live performance plus documentaries of the band and bonus live material. In September of 2007, DPT contributed the song "Radio Song" for the film soundtrack Run Fatboy Run. The song was a more pop influenced track that came off sounding heavily Clash influenced. They also contributed the acoustic-dreary song "9 Lives" to the Love Music Hate Racism compilation.

In June of 2008 Romance At Short Notice, Dirty Pretty Things second full length album was released in the UK. The title of the album is believed to be a reference from the short story The Open Window by British writer Saki. Originally the album was rumoured to be titled This is Where the Truth Begins. The first single from the album was the nostalgic pop song "Tired of England". The song itself is said to have a chorus similar to the Smiths song "Panic"; It went to #54 on the UK album charts. The album reached #35 on the UK album charts. Despite the fact that the album did not do as well chart wise in the UK as did Waterloo To Anywhere in no way takes away from the quality of DPT's second album. It is uniquely crafted album mixing styles of British Pop, Garage Rock, Mod and 70's Punk; It sounds heavily influenced by early Pink Floyd in my opinion. It starts off with the song "Buzzards and the Crows" which is twisting rock song that sounds like it is being played at a carnival. "Hippy's Son" comes next it is a heavy dragging rock song. Other great rockers include "Kicks Or Consumption", and "Best Face". The album isn't all rock, it also features songs such as "Plastic Hearts" one of the catchiest songs every written by DPT. Acoustic numbers such as "Come Closer", "The North" (written with and featuring vocals from guitarist Rossamando, and bassist Hammond), "Truth Begins" and "Blood on My Shoes". Currently Romance At Short Notice is not available in the US and it is unlikely that it will be.

On October 1st, 2008 Dirty Pretty Things announced that after their current tour commitments, they would be splitting up. The statement was as follows on the bands official website:

It is with some sadness we announce the farewell of the Dirty Pretty Things. It's been a glorious three years which we all would gladly live out again, but it is time for us to try new things. (not The Libertines). We are reluctant to give up touring but will give the last waltz everything. We have and are determined to go out as we came in, after which we all have other ventures to be getting on with and splendid future plans. Heartfelt thanks to all who made it what it was, much love and we'll see you on the road.

While Dirty Pretty Things seem to be ending I urge you all to check out the two albums that they have released. They were an interesting British rock band. While some critics and fans refuse to let Carl free from the shackles of his days with the Libertines, he has provided the world with music (in my opinion) that is just as interesting, exciting, and amazing as his previous efforts.

For more information on the band you can visit:

Dirty Pretty Things Official Website
Dirty Pretty Things Myspace Page

This Week's Play List:

1. Dirty Pretty Things - Buzzards & Crows
2. Dirty Pretty Things - The Weekenders
3. Dirty Pretty Things - 9 Lives
4. Dirty Pretty Things - The Enemy
5. Pastels - Ditch the Fool
6. Pavement - Date With Ikea
7. Arctic Monkeys - From the Ritz to the Rubble
8. Franz Ferdinand - Shopping For Blood
9. The Rapture - Coming of Spring
10. Radio 4 - Caroline
11. Slander - Peticoat Junction
12. Gentlemen of Horror - Overhead Projector
13. The Smugglers - Luau!
14. The Cinch - She's Cracked
15. Guided By Voices - Teenage FBI
16. The Libertines - Last Post On The Bugle
17. Marble Index - I Believe
18. Young Rival - Another Nobody
19. The Nines - Take What You Want
20. The Subways - All or Nothing
21. Raconteurs - Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)(Live Austin City Limits)
22. The D4 - Baby in a Box (John Peel Session)
23. Sloan - Ana Lucia
24. Supergrass - Rush Hour Soul

To download this week's show visit the CJAM archives and select the files 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM on October 14th, 2008.

Dirty Pretty Videos:

You Fucking Love It
Bang Bang You're Dead
Tired of England
Gentry Cove (Live Jools Holland)
Plastic Hearts (Live At the Wireless 2008)
Bang Bang You're Dead (Live on Letterman)
The Enemy (Live)

As a bonus I found this wonderful mini-concert The Raconteurs did in September that is really cool.

The Raconteurs - Live Austin City Limits September 17, 2006:

1. Level
2. Together
3. Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)
4. Blue Veins
5. Headin' For the Texas Border

Show # 217

Revolution Rock Play List for Show # 217:

1. Subway Sect - Ambition
2. Siouxsie & The Banshees - Hong Kong Garden
3. The Government - Fire Escape
4. Private School - Sci-Fi
5. Lowlife - Leaders
6. Silicone Injections - Agro
7. Spys - Underground
8. Talking Heads - Warning Sign (1975 CBS Demo)
9. Modern Lovers - Girlfriend
10. Only Ones - Language Problem
11. Rezillos - I Can't Stand My Baby
12. Ultravox! - Sat'day Night in the City of The Dead
13. Gang of Four - Armalite Rifle
14. The Clash - English Civil War (Live at Shea Stadium)
15. The Clash - (Whiteman) In Hammersmith Palais
16. The Poles - Prime Time
17. The Action - Do the Strangle
18. XX Teens - Only You
19. Wire - One of Us
20. Public Image Limited - 1981
21. Roxy Music - Street Life
22. The Cure - Fire in Cairo (Chestnut Studio Demo)
23. Klark Kent - Too Kool To Kalypso
24. Devo - Gut Feeling/(Slap Your Mammy)
25. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Lipstick Vogue