Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Cramps Human Fly & Show 428

In 1979 The Cramps released their Gravest Hits EP, which was a collection of re-worked covers and one original song “Human Fly”, but prior to this EP’s release the band put out two singles in 1978. “Human Fly” was released as the bands second single on Vengeance Records. The Cramps sound introduced elements of Rockabilly, Garage, Surf with a primitive Punk edge and “Human Fly” was the first original composition to display this sound. The song is a reference as were many early Cramps songs to 50’s Horror films, however The Human Fly was also a comic book superhero, what The Cramps did was take the B-Horror movie influence most likely from the 1958 film The Fly and this title “Human Fly” and put their own twisted primitive spin on it. "Human Fly" begins with creepy fly-like guitar rhythms as fuzzy Garage guitars distort in the background via both Poison Ivy Rorschach and Bryan Gregory before the drums of Nick Knox kick in, throughout the song Lux Interior buzzes in and out with his demented Elvis like vocals. The B-side to this track is the song “Domino” which is a Roy Orbison cover. For this song the band swings it into their own with heavy pounding drums and Lux Interior’s erratic vocal delivery.

The songs were recorded by Alex Chilton at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee in October of 1977, as would be the bands first full length release Songs The Lord Taught Us, which would be released in 1980. The sound of The Cramps has often been called Psychobilly and some fans disagree with this label, they are also listed as Garage Punk too. The bands sound was described in the linear notes to 1979’s Gravest Hits by Dr. J.H. Sasfy, Professor of Rockology, American Rock'n'Roll Institute, Washington D.C., U.S.A. as this: " It is one of first documents of the rockabilly revival genre, and the psychobilly genre. The term "Psychobilly" can actually be traced back to the Johnny Cash song "One Piece At A Time", which was released in 1976 and is the first recorded piece of music to use that term. The Cramps would also use this term on early show posters to advertise their sound, in the process they helped to coin the term and define a genre. This was done inadvertently, Lux Interior has been outspoken about this saying that The Cramps music was just Rock music.

With lyrics like “I got 96 tears and 96 eyes”, “Human Fly” not only conjures up retro Horror movie images, but also pays homage to ? and the Mysterians a Detroit based Garage band who had a hit song called “96 Tears”. In the very same song we find lyrics such as “I got a garbage brain/it’s drivin’ me insane/And I don’t like your ride/so push that pesticide” which can be seen as a metaphor for the time in which The Cramps were releasing this music in the midst of the 70s Punk scene in which they became a fixture in New York. It was something they also built upon in the song “Garbage Man”, although it tended to lean more towards the state of mainstream radio in that song. Compared to the other music at the time, The Cramps along with the 70s Punk scene represented a shift and The Cramps definitely took elements of Rocks past adding the edge of Punk to move forward in their own direction. Not unlike the story told in Johnny Cash's "One Piece At A Time" in which he tells us of putting together a Frankenstein-like car with different stolen parts from car different models, The Cramps pieced together their music from different parts of what makes Rock music great and exciting. Whether it was Surf, Garage, Country, Rockabilly or Punk, The Cramps did this one piece at a time in each song and "Human Fly" is one of the first examples of this.

This Week's Play List:

1. Big Vinny & The Cattle Thieves – Got Me A Monster
2. Queens of The Stone Age – Burn The Witch
3. Torn Down Units – Lost On Ghost Road
4. Unicorns - Tuff Ghost
5. Mudhoney - Halloween
6. Screaming Lord Sutch - She's Fallen In Love With A Monsterman
7. The Cramps - Human Fly
8. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Up Jumped The Devil
9. Siouxsie and the Banshees - Halloween
10. Rotten Tropics – Nightmare Index
11. Deja Voodoo – Phantom Skateboarder
12. Ramones - Pet Semetary (Live)
13. Black Belles – Honky Tonk Horror
14. Cold Warps – Don’t Haunt Me, Ok?
15. Metz - Knife in the Water
16. Indian Wars – Commanche Killer
17. Tom Waits - Temptation
18. Ghost Bikini – Spooks
19. Spooks – Koji Kondo
20. TEENANGER – Frights
21. Fuzztones - She's Wicked
22. The Misfits – 20 Eyes

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 30. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wire Map Ref 41°N 93°W & Show # 427

Wire’s 1979 single 'Map Ref 41°N 93°W' is perhaps one of the coolest songs written about geography. The song was inspired by travelling through the US and the music reflects that. With its spacious guitar and melodic repetitive bassline, the song sounds like driving or travelling, it has a certain mystical quality to it. As a result it stands out amongst the tracks on 154 which was the album that it was featured on. 154 reflects a more fleshed out Post Punk Pop sound that was first displayed on their 1978 release Chairs Missing on songs such as “Outdoor Miner” and “I Am The Fly”. The songs that make up 154 are different than their previous two albums.  If Pink Flag was barebones Punk with some Garage tendencies, Chairs Missing built upon that sound with more of a New Wave sound adding more melody to the songs, 154 was the culmination of all those releases building on the sparse catchy sounds that they began developing the year before. The bands experimentation with sound and song structure always added to what made their music so interesting, as would be the case with 154. 

If you were to look up the songs actual co-ordinates Map Ref 41°N 93°W you would find Centerville, Iowa, something that was determined by Wire bassist Graham Lewis when writing the lyrics to this song. The song lyrically is a realization based on travelling through the US. Graham Lewis elaborates more in Wire … Everybody Loves A History:

"'Map Ref 41°N 93°W' - There's actually a place called something like Centretown, Iowa. The song is about travelling. I flew from L.A. to New York in 1978 and crossed the mid-west, and it went on and on and on and on. It was just incredible that this grid system was imposed on an enormous stretch of land. The other verse refers to travelling through Holland, by road, seeing all the dykes which is another grid system. 'Curtains undrawn' -- seeing these blocks of flats, like dolls houses with people sitting in them all day with curtains undrawn. It's a travelogue."

When 'Map Ref 41°N 93°W' was released as a single it did not chart. The b-side to this single was the song “Go Ahead” a song that was not featured on the 154 album, it has very foreign sounding guitar rhythms, having an overall almost industrial Joy Division sound.  The lyrics to the song bring up chart positions and media coverage, which could have been influenced by the prevented success of their “Outdoor Miner” single from 1978’s Chairs Missing, the song was prevented from having chart success due to a payola scandal at the time. But returning to the a-side, when listening to the track you can hear its transcendent quality as the chorus hits with the lyrics “Interrupting my train of thought/ Lines of longitude and latitude/ Define and refine my altitude”, one can’t help but think of the lines that intersect in this song. Wire’s longitude and latitudes may have taken many adventures musically and while this singe wasn’t a large success commercially, it displays Wire at their best at that point in time in their career in the centre of their own musical landscape.

This Week's Play List:

1. The Obits – Let Me Dream If I Want To
2. Modern Superstitions – Black Moon
3. Random Variables – High School of My Heart
4. Lou Reed - Romeo & Juliet
5. Built To Spill - Dystopian Dream Girl
6. The Stoves - Can't Slow Down
7. The Zellots - Soldiers
8. The Gruesomes - Leave My Kitten Alone
9. The Fall - Couldn't Get Ahead
10. The Pointed Sticks - The Witch
11. Papermaps – Break
12. Dum Dum Girls – Season In Hell
13. Laughing Clowns – Law of Nature
14. The Vaccines – Bad Mood
15. Wire – Map Ref. 41° N 93° W
16. Pere Ubu - Final Solution
17. Modest Mouse - Cowboy Dan
18. Neil Young - For The Turnstiles
19. Black Lips – The Ballad of Ray Marsh (Outtake)
20. Public Image Limited - Annalisa

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 23. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Iggy Pop Soldier & Show # 426

Iggy Pop’s 1980 album Soldier started off with good intentions, it was set up to be produced by Ex-Stooges guitarist James Williamson who produced Iggy’s 1979 album New Values, another Iggy Pop album that did well in the UK at the time but is still criminally overlooked. When David Bowie came in to assist on some of the production Williamson and Bowie both left the sessions following an argument leaving engineer Pat Moran to pick up where they left off, as a result Soldier is an album that fights hard and stands up to other Iggy Pop releases making a unique and different album from its predecessors. The backing band on this album was a collection of Punk/New Wave musicians they were as Glen Matlock stated in the 2000 re-issue linear notes "Kind of a weird wacky band", but the deck was stacked on this album. Ex-Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock signed up to play bass and also assisted in writing four of the tracks on this album, it also featured Ivan Kral of The Patti Smith Group on guitar/keys, Barry Andrews of XTC on Keyboards, Klaus Kruger on drums (who played on New Values) and Steve New who played with Rich Kids, Generation X and countless New Wave/Punk groups on guitar, and David Bowie and The Simple Minds on one track. The album was recorded in 1979 at Rockfield Studies in Wales.

The album is known for its raw production, but also for its lack of lead guitar featuring primarily acoustic guitars, bass, drums and keyboards on most tracks. Rumour has it that Iggy got along poorly with guitarist Steve New on this album because he apparently punched David Bowie in the face for hitting on his girlfriend, which resulted in most of his guitar parts being taken out in the final mix of the album, adding further to Matlocks statement in the 2000 re-issue linear notes of the band being "weird and wacky". Soldier starts of with the quirky circus sounding keyboard driven rhythm of “Loco Mosquito”. The song starts of with the line “My mommy told me that if I was goody that she would buy me a rubber dolly” an odd line to start off any album with, yet it is a line that reflects what we can come to expect on this album lyrically, lyrics that question. Obviously representing some sort of hope that could have been instilled in a person in their youth if you’re good you’ll get what you want, that one line is a hint of the introspective lyrics that we will find on Soldier. At the time everyone was claiming Iggy Pop was such a huge inspiration with this previous band The Stooges and even with his early solo releases (The Idiot, Lust For Life), but at that point in time Iggy was questioning his make up as an artist what made him, him and reflecting on his past. “Ambition” follows contrasting against what were introduced with from "Loco Mosquito" lyrically and musically. It is a song penned by Glenn Matlock this salty acoustic, bass, drum and keyboard track shows Iggy making a statement with lyrics such as “Ah but my associates/Why they're no more than opiates/Always dragging me down/Dash my hopes to the ground” and ending with the lyrics “So 'till then just press on/Don't lose your grip/Don't lose ambition” letting us know that despite all that has been happening with his music career he will soldier on. “Knocking ‘Em Down (In The City)” follows next with its upbeat electric guitars and lyrics that call for a move forward, another hidden gem on this album.

“Play It Safe” follows next, it is a song that is perhaps a bit darker lyrically and one that questions America’s youth with lyrics “I wanna be a criminal/play it safe”, the song sounds like it could have been on a Berlin-era David Bowie album, it also features David Bowie and The Simple Minds on backing vocals. "Play It Safe" is often stated as a standout track on Soldier. “Dog Food” is an unused Stooges outtake, it features aggressive guitar, hand claps and lyrics that were inspired by according the re-issue linear notes “big housing projects set up in the state where the shops sell lots of dog food - but nobody there was allowed to own a pet!”. “I Need More” follows with more electric guitar, but this is a song which questions the suburban lifestyle, a shopping list of items are listed off in the song, but the one line “I need more mustard/pickle and relish” seems to stand out representing the variety that one craves in the monotonous modern everyday world, but can’t seem to claim. “Take Care Of Me” amongst its soulful basslines and fuzzy electric riffs provides us with lyrics such as “An international garbage man/I've decided that's what I am” and "It's an old story I suppose/A heavy price for a heavy pose" which are further example of the introspective, yet reflective lyrics that are found on this album. The political satire of “I’m A Conservative” with lyrics such as “I like the small black marks on my hand” takes us to the second last song on this album. On this track Iggy questions Conservatism is a dark yet humorous way, not coming off as overtly political. The album ends on a high energy offensive snotty note with the song “I Snub You”. The album was reissued in 2000 with two additional bonus tracks the acoustic “Low Life” and the instrumental New Wave Rock track “Drop A Hook”.

While Soldier is often overlooked, the album (the second of three albums released on Arista Records) has many things going for it that make it different from other Iggy releases. Its lack of electric guitars for the most part, although it does still have plenty of them on the ending tracks are one thing, but it is also a poignant statement which features intelligent and raw imperfections. Taking a look at the albums cover we see a seemingly worn out Iggy Pop in white t-shirt and red covered eye lids, he looks like a tired, worn out zombie more than anything, but as anyone who listens to this album and has followed Iggy Pops career will know the title Soldier represents what Iggy Pop wanted to do amongst all of his difficulties, to soldier on and win his own way.

This week's play list:

1. Fun Things – Lipstick
2. Quinteto Acadademico – Train
3. New Kind of Mambo – Monkey Swing
4. Sonic Reverends – Have Some Mercy!
5. Paradise – Creatures of the Night
6. Cartoons – Vinyl Riot
7. Falklands – It’s Good To See You
8. Blank Generation – Reaction
9. Albert Hammond Jr. – Everyone Gets A Star
10. Divine Fits – What Gets You Alone
11. TV Smith’s Explorers – See Europe
12. The Gerry Alvarez Odyssey – In The Garden
13. Light Bulb Alley – Long Time Coming
14. Os Morgans – Opus
15. Bell Peppers – Rubber Bullets
16. Bell Peppers – Golf Shack
17. The Ghastly Ones - Mysterion
18. Actual Water –Brighton
19. Young Rival - Nothing You Know Too Well
20. Pow Wows – Killing Me
21. Iggy Pop – I Need More
22. Iggy Pop – Ambition

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 16. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Washing Machine Meets Revolution Rock & Show # 425

This Week's was hosted by Clara of CJAM's The Washing Machine, it was a fill-in and she played an interesting mix of Indie Rock and music that you might normally hear on Revolution Rock. Check out these videos and the play list below.

The Bell Peppers "Shore Thing" is a new song by Manchesters Surf combo. They are currently working on new material and this song hasn't even been released yet.

The Adverts were a UK Punk band featuring the song writing talents of TV Smith. This is a performance the band did on Top of The Pops of the song "No Time To Be 21" a song also featured on this week's program.

This Week's Play List:

1. The XX – Chained
2. The Adverts – No Time To Be 21
3. Tame Impala – Lucidity
4. Turbo Fruits – Don’t Like To Fight
5. Teen – Sleep Is Noise
6. The Bell Peppers – Moonlight Heartache
7. Rah Rah – Art And A Wife
8. Bikini Kill – Rebel Girl
9. Stars – Lights Changing Colour
10. The Raveonettes – Downtown
11. DOA – War Hero
12. Classix Nouveau – Is It A Dream
13. Black Flag – Society’s Lease
14. Mystery Machine – Japanese Kids
15. Twin Shadow – At My Heels
16. The Avengers – The American In Me
17. Firehouse – More Famous Quotes
18. Two Hours Traffic – Feel Alright
19. The Stranglers – English Towns
20. Free Kitten – Oh Bondage Up Yours
21. Grizzly Bear – A Simple Answer
22. Animal Collective – Apple Sauce
23. Shonen Knife – Mr. J

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 9. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Cold Warps Slimer & Show # 424

In June 2012, Halifax/Ottawa's Cold Warps released their Silmer 7 inch on Fun Dog Records. Via this 7 inch Cold Warps deliver scuzzy catchy melodies in barely over four minutes. Previously the band released two cassettes in EP format, 2009’s Cold Warps and Endless Bummer in 2010, both of the cassettes were put together and released as an LP earlier this year. The bands sound has been described a number of ways but Weird Canada described their sound as: "Brilliant AM radio power-pop that is spot on in so many ways”, on this release the band builds on their already established sounds.

The title track “Slimer” attacks with its razor sharp guitar parts, as it mixes in catchy lo-fi garage pop hooks with an 90s alternative edge. When the chorus kicks in one can’t help but think of the early Halifax sounds of Thrush Hermit and Sloan, lyrically the words “I don’t know what it means” stick in your head like the lime green slime that is portrayed on the singles artwork. “Dream Creepin’” follows next building with its stop and start guitar riffs and deranged lyrics, displaying the bands catchy yet darker lyrics at the same time, but everything is executed in an upbeat fashion. The artwork to the single was brilliantly executed by Yorodeo in a silk screen styled design (available in three different colours). The bright neon colours and cut out eyes of a 70s photo of Mick Jagger are reminiscent of colours we might find in the 90s with their bright colours, yet like unlike the 90s this music and design has all the benefits of the modern age. While the single may be short the lyrics in the first verse of “Slimer” come back to mind “I got you in my head I don’t know what it means”, the songs are catchy, the music is familiar, but difficult to pin down, as this Canadian band mixes its own homebrew for us to taste, and it tastes good.

This Week's Play List:

1. The Oblivians – I’m Not A Sicko, There’s A Plate In My Head
2. Hot Panda – Negative Thinking Patterns
3. TEENANGER – Walking On Eggshells
4. The Action – Down Town Boy
5. Mutts – Half Mile
6. Davey Parker Radio Sound – I Paid For My Baby
7. The Resistors – Never On A Sunday
8. The Vox – Bored of The 80’s
9. Starvin Hungry – Contagious
10. Jesse Pipkin & Band – Work With It
11. Little Sam Davis – Goin’ To New Orleans
12. Johnny Cash – All Over Again
13. Diamond Rugs – 100 Sheets
14. The Strokes – Soma
15. Elk - Flowers
16. The Diodes – Behind Those Eyes
17. Vice Creems – 01-01-01-212
18. Radio Birdman – Burn My Eye 78
19. The Carbonas – Blackout
20. The Hives – My Time Is Coming
21. Magazine – Model Worker
22. The Piranhas - Green Don't Suit Me
23. The True Lovers - Guilty Pleasure #9
24. Ty Segall – Don’t Do It
25. Cold Warps – Slimer
26. Cold Warps – Dream Creepin’

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 2. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.