Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Link Wray Big City After Dark & Show # 432


Link Wray has released a lot of singles, but in 1962/1963 he released a series of singles on the Mala record label that are relatively obscure in his catalogue and hard to come by nowadays. In 1962 Link Wray released the “Big City After Dark”/”Hold It” single. It was actually released under the name Ray Vernon & His Wraymen, which was a tribute to Link’s brother Vernon who played with his band, but was also an aspiring Pop star who would work behind the scenes with Link serving as a producer/recordist. “Big City After Dark” is a deep Blues cut with dirty raunchy guitar sounds, some of the dirtiest tones Link has captured on tape. The b-side to this single is a cover of Bill Doggett’s “Hold It”, Link and His Wray Men work up the song into a smoking panic serving as an excellent Garage Rock track that pre-dates early Beatles recordings. “Dance Party” was one of the other Link Wray songs released on the Mala Record label and it has been released under a few names. It was released under the “There’s A Hole In The Middle Of The Moon” single in 1963 with “Dancing Party” as it’s b-side. It has also gone under the name “Friday Night Dance Party”.

What do these singles have in common other than being rare and hard to find Link Wray singles? They were both reissued for the Black Friday edition of Record Store Day in 2012. When re-issued it came as a double single with “Big City After Dark”/”Hold It” on one single and “Dance Party” on the other, it features an extended version of the song listed as “Dance Party Parts 1 & 2” with part one on side A and part two on side B. What these singles serve as are rare glimpses into some raunchy obscure singles from Link Wray, ones that before Record Store Day were really hard to find other than on the odd compilation album. On the cover of the “Big City After Dark” single there is a picture of a young Link Wray with a smirk on his face and a certain look in his eyes, the look is somewhat ominous, but one of determination. The fact that these recordings pre-date Garage Rock further emphasises the importance of Link Wray’s sound on Rock music. Link’s look on the cover reflects the sounds we find on these singles and with his music. It has been said many, many times that Link Wray is an influential artist, these recordings prove that even on the deepest rarest cuts in Link’s catalogue he still had that unhinged raw Rock and Roll sound that that was not only original, but was bound to be influential. On this “Big City After Dark” re-issue, Link Wray’s sound is resurrected from the dusty grooves of the past, yet at the same time the music still sounds fresh. It is further evidence of his immediate influential and unrelenting Rock sound.

The Play List:

1. Holy Wave – Albuquerque Freakout
2. Davie Allan & The Arrows – Blues Theme
3. The Clique – You’ve Been Unfair
4. The Yardbirds – Mister You’re A Better Man Than I
5. Lowlands – Black Mask II
6. John Cale – I Wanna Talk 2 U
7. Drew Smith – Smoke & Mirrors
8. Neil Jarvis – What’s Done Is Done
9. Orphan Choir – Haunt The Highways
10. The Blue Squares – Time To Get Over You
11. The Checkerlads – Shake Yourself Down
12. The Skaliwags – Turn Him Down
13. The Zombies – Just Out of Reach
14. White Stripes – Stop Breaking Down (Live at BBC Studios, Maida Vale)
15. The Polymorphines – I Gotta Vibration
16. The Baracudas – (I Wish It Could Be) 1965 Again
17. Link Wray – Big City After Dark
18. Link Wray – Hold It
19. Pow Wows – Fire Song (Live WFMU September 15th, 2012)
20. The Zeros – What’s Wrong With A Pop Group
21. The Scabs – Amory Building
22. Lost Patrol – Dead or Alive
23. Long Weekends – Shame On You
24. Iggy Pop & James Williamson – Johanna

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 26. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Scenics Interview & Show # 431

The Scenics are a Toronto based Proto-Punk band that originally formed in 1976 and split up in 1982. Formed by Ken Badger and Andy Meyers who also served as the principle song writers, The Scenics were different from others in the Canadian Punk scene at the time.  They embraced the attitude and immediacy of the DIY late 70s Punk ethos and at the same time they had a style all their own. Mixing elements of Velvet Underground, The Byrds, Television, and other bands such as Pere Ubu, Roxy music, The Scenics built up a devout following during their formative years as a band. In 1979 they released their debut album Underneath The Door, they also appeared in the Punk documentary The Last Pogo and on its soundtrack. After playing for a few years and releasing one more single in 1982 entitled Karen, The Scenics called it a day.

In 2008, The Scenics returned with the album How Does It Feel To Be Loved? an album made up entirely of Velvet Underground covers recorded during the bands heyday. A DVD version of The Last Pogo film was issued the same year which included bonus vintage footage of The Scenics playing on Canadian cable television. A new interest was generated in the band and they even began playing some live shows together again. Another album featuring previously unreleased material was put out in 2009 entitled Sunshine World, an album made up of studio recordings from 1977-1978. The band embarked on a mini tour around this time playing in places such as Toronto, London, Montreal and Ottawa.  Around this time the band also began working on new recordings for a forthcoming full length album that would eventually be released in October of 2012.

Deadman Walks Down Bayview
was released to positive reviews and displayed the band in a mature, yet unique point of view. The songs that make up this album are somewhat reminiscent of music heard from the band’s past, but The Scenics were never a band to follow trends or to repeat themselves. Even when they were playing in the late 70s Punk scene in Toronto, The Scenics were different and had their own sound. They are often described as a Proto-Punk sounding group and on Deadman Walks Down Bayyview the band expands their song writing capabilities while still keeping their youthful edge lyrically.

The opening track “Dark Cave” musically is reminiscent of Velvet Underground as the lyrics emphasize the secluded atmosphere around working a full time monotonous job. “Fox”, “When You Come Around”, and “Oh Boy” all display different sounds referencing music from bands such as Velvet Underground to The Byrds, and Television. “No Sleep” arrives with a Rockabilly-like rhythm, “Miami” comes in at song six with its Guided By Voices sounding influence as the lyrics “I want my own camera” are repeated over and over again. Songs like “I Can’t Be Careful” displays the bands more slower melodic style and a song like “Farmer” goes into experimental Psychedelic directions.  It may have been thirty years since The Scenics have released new material, but Deadman Walks Down Bayview shows that The Scenics still have the chemistry and essence that made them so interesting in the first place.

Listen to an extended version of the interview that I did with Ken Badger of The Seenics on Revolution Rock here:

Music Video for Dark Cave:

This Week's Play List:

1. Chuck Berry – Let It Rock
2. Frankenstein 5 – It’s A Cryin’ Shame
3. Crystal Swells – Harsh Flux
4. Riff Raff – I Wanna Be A Cosmonaut
5. The Bloody Five – (I Wanna Go To) New York City
6. Alright Alright – Bingo Bango
7. Purple Hearts – Just To Please You – The Guy Who Made Her A Star
8. The Scenics – Dark Cave
9. The Scenics – Great Pile of Leaves


10. The Scenics – Miami
11. The Scenics – Do The Wait
12. Dot Dash – Lateral/Vertical
13. Tame Impala – Why Won’t They Talk To Me?
14. Andrew Bird – When That Helicopter Comes
15. Richard Hell & The Voidoids – Ignore That Door (Live August 17, 1978 Max’s Kansas City)
16. Indian Wars – Already Home

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 20. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

CJAM Pledge Drive 2012 & Show # 430

It's that time of year again, time for CJAM's annual pledge drive.  Revolution Rock has been broadcasting on CJAM FM for eight years now – each week I provide listeners with a collection of 60s Garage, 70s Punk/New Wave, Indie and alternative music that is not broadcast on mainstream radio. CJAM FM is a non-profit campus/community radio station that relies on donations to keep running and growing. This year we are raising money in hopes of increasing our signal strength to broadcast further and reach more people! Pledge drive runs from November 9-16 and we only ask for pledges once a year to make a donation. You can call 519-971-3630 (Windsor) or 1-855-344-2526 (1-855-DIG-CJAM) for Detroit or out of town listeners and can also make a pledge securely online via cjam.ca.

In 2009 CJAM nearly lost its protected status as a station and it was documented in Voice of The Underground, a documentary that I made about their signal change. You can watch the documentary in full below – raising money to increase our signal strength is the next step to bring CJAM’s quality program to a wider audience – watch the documentary and show your support for Revolution Rock and CJAM FM today!

This Week's Play List:

1. Bell Peppers – Drapes N’ Squares
2. Nick Lowe - Long Limbed Girl
3. The Action – Waiting For The Man
4. Rah Rah - Art And A Wife
5. Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Watch Your Step (Alternate Version)
6. The Zolas - In Heaven
7. Velvet Underground – One of These Days
8. Flowers 0f Hell – Atmosphere
9. Mark Lanegan - Gravedigger's Song
10. Thee Oh Sees - Flood's New Light
11. The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age Of The Understatement
12. Bloodshot Bill – Right Out The Door
13. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Coma Girl

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 13. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Young Rival Stays Young & Show # 429

The opening track on Young Rival’s Stay Young is the song “Black Popcorn” a song featuring Young Rival’s classic Garage/Surf riffs and a tambourine filled catchy chorus, however, the song's title is also a perfect way to describe this album. For those of you who don’t know, black popcorn is an actual thing, it grows naturally, is not genetically engineered and is not like average popcorn. Black popcorn is said to have a crunchy texture and rich flavour and this song is the first example of the bands crunchy Garage Rock texture and rich melodies. It is also something that is explored in greater detail as the album progresses. Stay Young is Young Rival’s follow up to their 2010 self-titled debut which was also released on Sonic Unyon. This album was produced by the award winning Jon Drew, who has worked with such artists as Fucked Up, Tokyo Police Club, Arkells, Magneta Lane and many others. It differs from their 2010 release in a few ways: It is the first album recorded by this Hamilton band as a three piece (guitarist Kyle Kuchmey left the group in 2010) and it's catchy as hell. In a recent press release for Stay Young, drummer Noah Fralick said that "With this record, we focused more on the melodic range of our sound while still retaining the grit and feel of our previous records," and that is exactly what this album achieves, the band takes on an almost Power Pop/60s Pop melody dynamic on this release.

“Nothing You Know Well” is the second track on Stay Young, with its climbing basslines and spacious reverb filled guitar riffs, this is a song like many on the album that displays a poignant sense of view at times combined with visual lyrics like “The fireflies are out tonight/and your eyes are burning above the cigarette light”. “Let It Go” starts with a heavy bassline from bassist John Smith, the song structure reflects a mid-period Clash influence not unlike their “Radio Clash” single. It is also layered with the catchy vocals that are a prominent feature of not only this song, but also Stay Young. “I Don’t Care” features intricate drum work from Noah Fralick and jangly Garage rhythms, while “Two Reasons” hits hard with Aron D’Alesio’s guitars and vocals. With its suburban juxtaposing lyrics such as “She came into my house/she broke the couch/she turned on the TV/and then she left the milk out” and “I kissed her on the steps/my hands on her hips/that’s when I found out she picked my pocket for a summer dress”, the song reflects a sharp yet mature point of view lyrically. The music video to this song has also become an internet sensation climbing at above 600,000 views in just ten days on reddit. The video features a variety of unique face paintings of James Kuhn from Michigan, which has gotten a big reaction out of people on the web. James was discovered by bassist John Smith and the rest of the band via his blog. The band collaborated with him for the video and after receiving about twenty five videos of James lip syncing to “Two Reasons”, the results were edited together by bassist John Smith.
“Black Is Good” is without a doubt one of the best tracks on Stay Young. It features a stop and start Strokes-like rhythm in the verses with haunting Beach Boys background vocals. The song kicks into high gear in the chorus when the tempo changes and the song takes on a Post-Punk structure not unlike early Iggy Pop. The lyrics to this song are very distinctive as Aron D’Alesio sings about love, as he searches for answers in a drunken epiphany he comes to the conclusion that “Black Is Good” and he’s content where he’s at as he sings in the songs chorus “You’ve always been my love girl/please don’t go/forever this will be the hand/knocking on your door” and the coda “Yes it’s true/I’d rather be in the dark with you/black is good”.

“Lost” is one of the most distinctively different songs found on Stay Young as it shows the band exploring a new creative experimental direction. It resembles The Beatles “Long, Long, Long” and music found on Radiohead’s OK Computer. It shows off Young Rival in top form branching out into a new and different direction. In the About Section of the band’s website, D’Alesio elaborates on the bands branching out on this album: “It opens the aperture as to what you think this band can do. It’s not just like: ‘Oh, they do this. And they do what they do well and that’s all they do,’” says D’Alesio. “It’s to let people know early on we can do a number of different styles within something that still feels like a cohesive effort.”

Other standout tracks on this album are the Rockabilly rhythms of “Better Things To Do”, the nuggets influenced “Valerie”, and “Night Song” which ends the album on mellow note. When the album is over, I can’t help but return to the its beginning track “Black Popcorn.” Like black popcorn, Young Rival grows naturally on Stay Young, not sounding genetically engineered or overproduced, they in essence harness the “Young Rival” sound in which they have become known for and at the same time have grown with a new sense flavour.

Young Rival play FM Lounge in Windsor on November 8th with The Elwins.

The Play List:

1. The Replacements – Raised In The City
2. Fang – The Money Will Roll Right In
3. Foo Fighters – For All The Cows
4. Vivian Girls – Tension
5. Hush Arbors – Fast Asleep 
6. Sonny Boy Williamson – Bring Another Half A Pint
7. The Stems – Rosebud
8. The Elwins – Only Friend
9. Brazilian Money – Aliens Will Arrive
10. Tranzmitors – Jimmy’s At The Mod Shop
11. The Adverts – The Great British Mistake (BBC Session)
12. The Modernettes – Barbra
13. Sex Pistols – Don’t Give Me No Lip Child
14. Gang of Four –Paralyzed
15. Actual Water – The Paisley Orchard
16. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Vibolux Deluxe
17. Link Wray – Creepy
18. Alex Chilton – I’ve Had It
19. Nirvana – Spank Thru (Live)
20. Ty Segall – Thank God For The Sinners
21. Simply Saucer – Dance The Mutation
22. Young Rival – Two Reasons
23. Young Rival – Nothing You Know Well
24. Young Rival - The Ocean

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 6. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.