Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Highlights & Show # 490

The following is a collection of some of my favourite albums, EPs, and local releases from 2013.  The podcast below has all of these bands plus a few others.  It can be downloaded in the link below the play list. 

Albums of 2013

1. The Mark Inside – Dark Hearts Can Radiate White Light

The sessions for Dark Hearts Can Radiate White Light began in January 2012. They took place at Chris Levoir’s loft space on College St. and were surrounded by a sense of urgency as stated on Mark Insides bandcamp page “Chris and his roommates were facing imminent eviction: the space was probably only semi-legal to begin with, and the landlord was planning major renovations”. Recording sessions for this album were initially dubbed Exile On College Street. The recordings were produced by the band themselves and they reportedly recorded eighteen tracks at the sessions, eight appear on this release. After years of dealing with record companies, and just one month after the passing of Chris’s roommate the band decided to record a collection of songs, many of which had been played amongst many of their ferocious live performances over the years. The album as stated once again on Mark Insides bandcamp page expanded on lyrical themes of “Fear mixed with bravery, victory after defeat, pain and pleasure, love”, all of which were themes that had developed further and further with each release over the band’s ten year run. Dark Hearts songs were mixed and ready to go for a July 2013 release date and a tour to support it, but in June 2013, Chris Levoir, The Mark Insides lead singer/guitarist passed away suddenly.

“Shark Attack (I Can See Them Circling)” starts off the album with the band’s brand of visceral Alternative/Garage sound, with lyrics conveying a sense of urgency and claustrophobia. “Don’t Wake Daniel” a song written about Levoir’s fallen roommate shows off the band’s melodic side along with “The Heat”, which also shows off the band’s slower and more soulful side. “Dead Heart” has been a part of the band’s live set for sometime and takes on a rather poignant note here, “Balloons” ends the album. A song initially that went by the name “Roman Candles” and it had been in and out of their live set for some time. I once described this song as a Pop song with grit, but here it has been more developed and more structured. It is haunting, yet uplifting and has all the power and momentum of the bands live performances. Dark Hearts Can Radiate White Light contains the band’s Garage Rock sound infused with elements of 90’s Alternative Rock, Punk and has more melody, hooks and lyrical prowess than their previous releases. It is the sound of complete artistic freedom and even amongst the dark subject matter and the tragic passing of Levoir, white light radiates bright on this one.

2. Papermaps – Darker Lights

Papermaps Darker Lights builds from the momentum and direction that was introduced on 2012’s Inferior Ghost EP. The band brings in an atmospheric and for the most part darker sound, compared to their first self titled album that was released in 2011. The album features songs such as the atmospheric “Shadow Theatre” featuring the mood setting universal lyrics “And when I find myself most of the feeling was gone” that starts the album off on a strong note. “The Hedonist” is a fuzzy, guitar driven song, filled with 90’s tinged angst, while “I’ve Closed A Door” features strong harmonies and backwards sound effects. The watery guitar sounding “Vanauley Walk” features the lyric “When you see me fall/you'll watch me turn around/you’ll see my body twist/my feet land on the ground". Parts of this lyric demonstrate the direction and change in the bands dynamics since 2011. Darker Lights shows us a new side of Papermaps and shows us albeit these changes that they face Papermaps will land on their feet.

3. Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin

With Floating Coffin Thee Oh Sees may have gotten heavier musically, but they also show off a dynamism which lyrically can bring us back to elements of the bands earlier Folk based work. Musically the album mixes in elements of Carrion Crawler/The Dream even drawing some comparisons to sounds on 2008's The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In. It also adds more of a jam element extending the songs and bringing more Psychedelic and Pop elements. With so many releases coming out, it would be easy for someone to say that this album sounds just like the others that Thee Oh Sees have been releasing, it is similar in some respects, but it also shows a new development in the bands dynamic. The band builds on their already established sounds while still sounding fresh. The title of the album may be Floating Coffin, but with this release Thee Oh Sees show that the end for this prolific band is not near, it’s not even close.

4. Ty Segall – Sleeper

After releasing three albums last year of Psychedelic, Garage and general loud proportions in 2012, the first release from Ty Segall in 2013 was the acoustic filled album entitled Sleeper. While many critics and fans mention Segall’s ability to write more melodic Pop songs on albums such as Goodbye Bread and even last years Hair that he recorded with White Fence, Sleeper takes that to another level. Sleeper is ten songs all acoustic, with the exception of electric guitar at the end of “The Man Man”, all of which reflects a stripped down approach to Segall’s sound. The songs all reflect the recent passing of his adopted father and the aftermath which included a fall out with his mother. This album serves as a sort of therapy for that time, as Segall has also stated in interviews. The words amongst the acoustic melodies are veiled in words that are more universal, but we do get brief glimpses into Segall’s frame of mind at different points throughout the album. Sleeper started off 2013 showing us a stripped down version of Ty Segall we haven’t heard before. The title of the album may be Sleeper, but is just as exciting as even the loudest Ty Segall album.

5. Dead Ghosts – Can’t Get No

Vancouver trio Dead Ghosts released their second full length album Can’t Get No in April of 2013. The album mixes elements of fuzzy Garage Rock, Surf, Psychedelic, Country styled Rock & Roll riffs and strong Pop hooks with a lo-fi aesthetic. Stand out tracks include the Psych-Surf of “Summer With Phil”, the shimmering Psychedelic strut of “Roky Said” and the title track. The second track “That Old Feeling” proves to be a point to focus on when looking at this album aesthetically. With its hyper Surf/Garage riffs, reverb drenched vocals and lyrics like ”Well it’s calling your name/That shit’s all the same/If you’re planning a west coast trip/Then I hope that the feeling remains”, this song emphasizes the comparison to Can’t Get No being another Garage album with nothing to say, hinting at quite the opposite. Can’t Get No sinks deep with a variety of influences, especially halfway through the album where we get some honky tonk piano, providing you with that gritty old Rock feeling of excitement.

6. The Ketamines – You Can’t Serve Two Masters

The Ketamines released their second full length in 2013, You Can’t Serve Two Masters. The album features several rough around the edges sounding songs mixing elements of Garage, Bubblegum Pop, Punk and Psychedelic music. The title track is a ramshackle Garage track that is complete with catchy guitar hooks and vocals, “Spirit Rebellion Time” is a positive short and fuzzy, heavy track, “So Clean” addresses Bubblegum and Pop influences, “Don’t Stop (Go On)” channels early 60’s garage organ driven music, while “Double Elevens” attacks it fuzzy 60’s Garage mono style. You Can’t Serve Two Masters has the effect of a shaken up can of pop that has burst and has been left out in the sun too long. It is sticky, gritty and catchy as hell.

7. Teenanger – Singles Don’t $ell

Toronto’s Teenanger branch out on their 2013 LP entitled Singles Don’t $ell. They build from 2012’s heavy 70’s Punk influenced album Frights. This album pulls in new sounds from many New Wave grooves, starting off with the title track. A strong album opener and extremely catchy attacks with its buzz saw Punk Rock riffs and New Wave sounding guitar effects as the lead singer shouts “Singles don’t sell/ Yeah that’s a shame” calling out a past generation of music releases, the single. Songs such as “Teenanger” and “Surveillance” recall the bands early Garage Punk rumblings. “Zons” starts off with electronic sounding drums before launching into razor sharp guitar riffs, “Confident Idiocy” channels the spooky synthesizer sounds of Manchester’s Post Punk group Magazine, while the album’s final track “Time’s Up” sucks you in with its atmospheric keyboard sounds. Don’t let the synthesizers scare you, Singles Don’t $ell adds texture to Teenangers already established aggressive sound and there is still plenty of feedback to go around.

8. The Oblivians – Desperation

Desperation was released in June 2013 on In The Red Records. The best way to perhaps describe the band's sound of the past would be something like dried up alcohol that was spilled on the floor in some grimy bar, baked in the Memphis heat. The band's blend of Garage, Punk and Soul has not been lost here. The album starts off with the slow Soulful Garage burner “I’ll Be Gone” sung by Greg Cartwright, with lyrics such “Is it for real this time/I’ve seen the signs/your dreams ain’t got nothing to do with mine” addressing their return and getting older with lines such as “There ain’t no way to know/How life will treat you so/Let’s Rock and Roll as we get old”. The song is a thoughtful and reflective start to not only this album, but the band's return, this being their first new album in 16 years. “Loving Cup” follows next. It is a raucous cover of a song originally by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, done in a fashion to songs they’ve done in the past on previous albums such as “Vietnam War Blues” from Soul Food. While at times Desperation does draw from sounds that each of the respective band members have had with their other music projects, this album lets us know at the end of the album that The Oblivians feel remains.

9. The Black Angels – Indigo Meadow

Austin, Texas Psych Garage Rock band The Black Angels released their fourth full length album Indigo Meadow on April 2nd, 2013. On this album the band shows us their heavier Psychedelic side, adding more organ and Pop hooks, all mixed up in a sun baked Texas style haze. Many critics have claimed that this album isn’t really different from their previous releases, but this album slowly builds on the Psychedelic sounds of Phosphene Dream adding a new type of heaviness that some may classify as Grunge influenced, while at the same time reverting to catchy Garage Nuggets styled hooks. Overall, Indigo Meadow may have similarities to previous releases from the bands past, but it also gleams with its super production supplied by John Congleton (Explosions In The Sky, David Byrne & St. Vincent) emphasizing the growing development and journey that the band is to and has taken. While it may not be that obvious to some Indigo Meadow, blooms and burns slowly with profound insights, incandescent thoughts and Psychedelic goodness.

10. Obits – Bed & Bugs

Bed & Bugs is Obits third full length release on Sub Pop. The album leans towards Garage Rock, Post Punk, Surf and even some Blues. This band features members of Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes and Edsel and all of the members are well versed in the Rock game, but on this album they pull in new genres. Differing from 2009’s I Blame You and 2011’s Moody, Standard and Poor, Bed & Bugs seems to focus more on melodic elements while the dual guitar attack members of this band have been known for seems to be not as prominent as before. The album builds from the 2012 single “Let Me Dream If I Want To”, highlights include the Garage opener “Taste The Diff”, the Surf melodies of “Spun Out”, the angular “It’s Sick”, and “I’m Closing In”.

11. Guided By Voices – English Little League

Following a long absence Guided By Voices reunited their classic 1993-1996 line up and released three full length albums in 2012. In 2013, we saw just one GBV album, the seventeen track English Little League. The album picks up where The Bear’s For Lunch left off, featuring extremely catchy, sometimes short tracks and a few rough odds and ends. In July of 2013, Robert Pollard hinted that this could be GBV’s last album, but in September he announced there would be yet another coming in 2014. Several reviewers have stated how this album is hit or miss, but Guided By Voices are not an easy band to pin down. They are very prolific and while there may be a small backlash, English Little League does have some great moments such as “Know Me As Heavy”, “Crybaby 4 Star Hotel”, “Flunky Minnows”, “W/ Glass In Foot”. Several moments on the album seem to have a connection to the Robert Pollard solo album Honey Locust Honky Tonk, which is worth checking out as well. However ,for English Little League, there are also plenty of ballads such as the Tobin Sprout written track “The Death of Epstein’s Ways”, a catchy ramshackle Beatles influenced track, which is rather fitting considering the lyrics.

12. Daniel Romano – Come Cry With Me

Daniel Romano’s Come Cry With Me once again continues his tradition of creating classic Country music. In the style of artists such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings, Come Cry With Me has all the grit and feeling of the old AM radio days bringing in themes of heartbreak, bad choices, alcohol consumption and the like. Highlights include such as “He Lets Her Memory Go (Wild)”, with its low baritone voices and vivid lyrical imagery, the upbeat honky tonk reverb guitar riffs of “Chicken Bill”, and the bitter “Just Before The Moment”. Daniel Romano has come a far way from his days in Attack In Black, but with Come Cry With Me, Romano proves why he is still seen as one of the best Country artists in Canada today.

13. Jay Sad – Disappears

On February 19th 2013, Jay Sad released his full length album entitled Disappears. The album is an eleven track construction of songs ranging from genres such as lo-fi Indie Pop to Alternative and a variety of atmospheric sounding concoctions. Jay Sad has released several recordings starting in 2002. The band for this album was primarily Dean Pomeroy (drums, vibraphone), Rob MacDonald (guitar) and Jay Sad on vocals, guitar and a variety of other instrumentation. The album also features guest musicians from The Elwins (Mathew Sweeney), Dilly Dally (Katie Monk), and Drew Smith (The Bicycles). Disappears first seven tracks were recorded live to analog tape by Dean Marino who also helped to produce those tracks at Chemical Sound in Toronto. The other four songs on the album were produced and recorded by Jay Sad. The songs on Disappears suggest a growing or building, if you will, towards a new beginning, something different. Even if it means you have to disappear for a while from parts of your past that have been built up in order to get there.


1. The Bell Peppers – Sizzling Hot Bell Peppers

Manchester’s Surf combo The Bell Peppers offered up two EPs this year. First up was the covers EP entitled Seeds of The Bell Peppers in March, then again with the seven track EP Sizzling Hot Bell Peppers in November 2013. Sizzling Hot Bell Peppers definitely added more spice to the mix of The Bell Peppers sound. “The Spray” opens the EP and moves along with all the speed of a classic 60’s Surf song. You can feel the sand and waves on this upbeat sun drenched opener. “Soda Pop” gallops along with the feel of an old Spaghetti Western film soundtrack, “Tanline” wears the mark of 60’s British Invasion Garage Rock, while “Whiskey & Cigarettes” adds Blues to the mix, featuring harmonica clocking in at five minutes. “Campfire Waltz” ends in a sound not unlike slow 50’s Rock and Roll ballads. In addition to these songs, there are also elements of Rockabilly, Country, Do Wop, and more Surf Rock throughout this seven track tantalizing offering.

2. Monomyth – King, Does This Not Please You? (Behold The Power)

Monomyth is a Halifax based group. This EP entitled King, Does This Not Please You? (Behold The Power) has drawn comparisons to Psychedelia, Shoegaze and Punk. Monomyth takes all of these genres, but also adds a 90’s Alternative slant in the vein of groups like Thrush Hermit and Eric’s Trip. Songs like “Cigarette” recall a 90’s nostalgia drawing in harmony comparisons with early Sloan and Thrush Hermit, but at the same time pulling in a fuzzy Garage guitar sound. “Vision” is a short track less than two minutes that has a heavy bassline and Shoe Gaze/Garage combination, while “10,000” recalls catchy jangly Pop sounds and harmonies.

3. The Replacements – Songs For Slim

In 2013, The Replacements reunited for a five track EP that was recorded to raise money for the band’s former guitarist Slim Dunlap, who suffered a stroke in 2012. The EP entitled Songs For Slim, featured mostly cover songs “Lost Highway” by Hank Williams, ”I’m Not Sayin’” by Gordon Lightfoot and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” from the Broadway musical Gypsy. It also featured two covers of Slim Dunlap songs, “Busted Up” and “Radio Hook Word Hit”, a song that only features former Replacements drummer Chris Mars on all instruments. The rest of the tracks featured Paul Westerberg (vocals/guitar), Tommy Stinson (bass) Peter Anderson (drums) and additional guitarist Kevin Rowe. This EP was executed in true Replacements fashion, sloppy, and as if they hadn’t missed a step. This was followed by a series of triumphant reunion concert dates as part of Riot Fest.

Local Releases (Releases from Windsor, Ontario)

1. Paul Jacobs – Drug Theaters

Drug Theaters album cover features a collection of different images, a hand with a cigarette, a dog, a skateboard, a snake and a head among other things. The cover can be seen as a hint as to what’s to come on this album, a collection of different elements that make up a unique whole. “Sharp Dress” is a catchy fast paced Garage/Punk track with lots of echo Thee Oh Sees style that will stick in your head for days. The breakdown is a theatre of noises including, but not limited to distortion, drums, reverb and echo. “Electric Dollar” ends off Drug Theatres with a longer track (over six minutes) which addresses the transfers of electronic funds and lack there of and a desire for something new. Overall, Drug Theaters brings Paul Jacobs songwriting abilities and style to the fore while portraying visceral thoughts of boredom, drug use, relationships, and differing views that blur what is and what is not reality. While Paul Jacobs may have released three albums this year, all of which have their own strong points, Drug Theaters encompasses a style and creates a theatre all its own.

2. James OL – For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky

James O-L released his third solo album this year entitled For The World Is Hollow And I have Touched The Sky, an album of Folk based songs inspired by a backpacking trip to South America. The album’s title originates from the episode of Star Trek: The Original Series and all of the songs reflect a desire for searching and travelling. Musically the album touches on elements of Folk and lush and at times Orchestral based arrangements. The album was recorded and mixed by James himself and features an ensemble cast of musicians from Windsor, Ontario. “One Horse Town” starts off the album in a slow calming fashion, with slow galloping guitars, clarinet and violin and at times there are even exotic conga drums. The lyrics convey the searching desire that was mentioned as the album’s inspiration, lyrics such as “Oh, I dream of ocean waves/Blowing around in a haze of delays, distorted grains/A feedback loop sent to the brain” show this desire for something different from the norm of a one horse town. “Yellow Gold” follows next and is definitely one of the strongest songs on this album, with its lush arrangements and James soft vocals which build up when the chorus comes in with rich background harmonies. These lyrics display like crystallized imagery with words such as “The dock is a place you come and go/We blew through the night like yellow gold/Tasted the summer rain as the music played”. Other highlights include the upbeat and bouncy “San Juan Song” and “SK8 Or Die” a song with electric bass, guitar, horns and acoustic elements that sounds like it could be inspired by actual skateboarding events. James also plays in James O-L & The Villains, who have also recorded a full length album and plan on releasing it sometime in 2014.

The Play List:

1. Night Beats – Rat King
2. Wavves – Dog
3. Mudhoney - I Like It Small
4. The Strokes – 50/50
5. Deerhunter – Back To The Middle
6. Fuzz – Preacher
7. James OL – One Horse Town
8. Paul Jacobs – Sharp Dress
9. The Replacements – I’m Not Sayin’
10. Monomyth – Vision
11. The Bell Peppers – The Spray
12. Jay Sad – Three Floor’s/It’s Over
13. Daniel Romano – He Lets Her Memory Go (Wild)
14. Guided By Voices – Flunky Minnows
15. Obits – It’s Sick
16. The Black Angels - Indigo Meadow
17. The Oblivians – Pinball King
18. Teenanger – Time’s Up
19. Dead Ghosts – That Old Feeling
20. The Ketamines – Double Elevens
21. Ty Segall – The West
22. Thee Oh Sees – Toe Cutter- Thumb Buster
23. Papermaps - The Memory Song
24. The Mark Inside – Panegae (Before The Split)
25. The Mark Inside – Shark Attack (I Can See Them Circling)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for December 31. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Revolution Rock 2013 Holiday Special & Show # 489

This week was my annual holiday edition of Revolution Rock. We heard two tracks from Manchester’s Surf combo The Bell Peppers. “I Can’t Wait For Xmas”, is a new Christmas song released in 2013 (and can be purchased on iTunes), but they also recorded a version of John Lennon’s 1971 song “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”. That song was recorded for as stated online a “half planned Christmas EP” that was to be titled Jingle Bell Peppers. They did however put out a cool video to go along with “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”. The video was compiled from stock footage of a child on Christmas and of clips of the cult Christmas movie Santa Claus that was directed and filmed in Mexico in 1959 by Rene Cardona. Originally the film was produced in Mexico as well and featured primarily Spanish dialogue, but an English version was also produced under the direction of K. Gordon Murray and released in 1960. The films plot tells the story of a demon named Pitch sent by Lucifer to ruin Christmas by eliminating Santa and to make all of the children of Earth evil. Santa does team up with Merlin the Wizard to help save the day, oh, and did I mention that in this film Santa’s workshop is set in outer space?

This Week's Play List:

1. Impact - Punk Christmas
2. The Damned – There Ain’t No Sanity Clause
3. By Divine Right – Mall Santa
4. Little Joey Farr – Rock N’Roll Santa
5. Caribou – The Snow Capes
6. Bright Eyes – Blue Christmas
7. The Tom Fun Orchestra – Christmas Dinner On A Coleman Stove
8. Prarie Cat – Count The Thoughts
9. Les Breastfeeders – Noel Dans Le Vent
10. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – My Christmas Wish
11. The Wailers – Maybe This Year
12. The Walkmen – New Year’s Eve
13. Mojo Nixon – Christmas, Christmas
14. Psychic Ills – Run Rudolph Run
15. Iggy Pop – White Christmas
16. Lou Reed – Xmas In February
17. Los Straitjackets – Christmas Weekend
18. The Falcons - Deck The Halls
19. The Pygmies – Father Christmas
20. The Pygmies – Pygmy Parumpapumpum
21. Leadbelly – Christmas Is-A-Coming
22. Chuck Berry – Christmas
23. The Bell Peppers – I Can’t Wait For Xmas
24. The Bell Peppers – Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for December 24. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg Vs. Combat Rock - Joe Strummer Day 2013 (Show 488)

Following 1980’s triple LP Sandinista!, The Clash headed into the 1981 studio to record what was to eventually become their 1982 album Combat Rock. Before it became a single LP, it was initially a double album. Produced and mixed by Clash guitarist Mick Jones, Combat Rock was originally titled Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg and was intended to be a sixteen track double album release. Rat Patrol featured lengthier versions of songs and a multitude of sound effects on the songs. After much disagreement about the mix from band members, producer Glyn Johns, who had done work with The Who and The Beatles, was brought in to cut the album down to a single LP and strengthen up the songs. Several parts were re-recorded, mostly vocals, sound effects were removed and songs were edited down due to their length. Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg has been available in bootleg form for some time now, but was initially mixed down to acetates back in 1981. Combat Rock and Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg share many similarities, but also many differences.

Rat Patrol initially started off with two tracks that never made the final cut on Combat Rock “The Beautiful People Are Ugly Too” and “Idle In Kangaroo Court (Kill Time)”. The first track featured pre-dominantly synthesizers and funky rhythms, while lyrically it conveyed an anti-drug message about a rock and roll singer that plays out like a scene in a movie. The lyrics “You thought you were the hero/Of "The Fulham Connection 2"/Yeah, the flashing strip/You flashed your jewels/But now: the credits/It must roll through” and “Oh, the beautiful people are ugly too/There's going to be a lot of washing when the dance is through” emphasize these points. “Idle In Kangaroo Court (Kill Time)” brings in Caribbean sounding drums and flavours, while short stabbing guitars filter in and out through this Funk driven track. It then leads into what was to become a chart topping hit for the band much later on after its release “Should I Stay Or Should I Go”. This was as Mick Jones has stated in interviews not to have any specific meaning behind it, but just an attempt at writing a classic song. The original version found on Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg, featured a different vocal take and a saxophone solo. The Combat Rock Version featured different vocals, added fuzz bass to the mix and shortened up Strummer’s Spanish vocal parts, which are more prevalent on the original version.

“Know Your Rights” started off the 1982 album Combat Rock in a pseudo-Rockabilly style as Joe Strummer ranted and raved, starting off with the lyrics ”This is a public service announcement with guitars”. It was said to be a sarcastic take on three essential rights. The Combat Rock version is a much stronger lean version than the original Rat Patrol version, which was more laid back, longer and featured different lyrics. “Car Jamming” was the second song on Combat Rock, but also made a slightly different appearance on Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg, featuring several car sound effects. This song featured a Bo Diddley style drum beat, while combining with The Clash’s stop and start guitar riffing, lyrically the song, like many on the album address the reactions to the Vietnam War. This song tells the story a soldier that returns home after the war and has a hard time adjusting to home life.

The songs that make up Combat Rock, and even on Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg often times play out like movies, lyrically and musically. The music was very influenced by the films Apocalypse Now and Taxi Driver. In 2004’s Passion Is A Fashion, author Pat Gilbert had this to say of Combat Rock, commenting on its anti-war stance saying that it was “The Clash’s last great statement, and maybe their most important. …Its two fixations, New York and Vietnam, conjoin to produce a damning indictment of American foreign policy and an exuberant celebration of American street culture.”

Songs such as “Red Angel Dragnet” featured bassist Paul Simonon on vocals and Kosmo Vinyl, the bands associate and road manager in a few instances. It was also definitely influenced by New York street culture and also by the film Taxi Driver, Kosmo even reads a monologue for Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle character. “Ghetto Defendant” is a heavy and spooky dub reggae styled track with harmonica and also features American beat poet Allan Ginsberg. The song once again addresses street culture in particular drawing in apocalyptic imagery and lyrics about drug addiction. These two tracks are not too much different on Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg from Combat Rock. The Combat Rock versions of these tracks just shorten them up so they are not as long.

“Rock The Casbah” would be one of the big hit singles from this album, one that earned them more recognition from mainstream audiences. The song was written by Clash drummer Topper Headon, who plays bass, drums and piano on this track. The songs lyrics were written by Joe Strummer, who wrote the opening line The King told the boogie-men 'you have to let that raga drop”, after their manger Bernie Rhodes said “Does everything have to be as long as a raga? The rest of the lyrics soon followed. Ironically, this song that was written by the drummer was one of their biggest hits at the time, but he was soon sacked for drug related issues as the single was beginning to pick up. It was the beginning of the end for The Clash. Another song of note that is important to mention is “Straight To Hell” a song that specifically addressed numerous issues including the “Amerasian Blues”, which was the abandonment of children fathered by American soldiers in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The song musically had ties to the Boss Nova beat supplied by drummer Topper Headon and is often viewed as a strong point in the band’s catalogue.

As a whole, Combat Rock stands up as a lean and for the most part straight to the point album musically and lyrically, it also showcased The Clash's ability to reach a wider audience.  Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg is looser and draws in more instrumental aspects. Like all Clash albums, they all had something different to offer than the previous release. The influences such as Punk, Funk, Reggae, Dub, Hip Hop and elements of Jazz are all over this album and come off in an aggressive nature. In 1991, approximately a decade after its 1982 release “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” became a number one hit single in the UK, proving its sustainability. Combat Rock lived up to its title, the conflicts amongst the band members and the songs would both result in their success and eventual split. Rat Patrol From Fort Brag seems to travel greater lengths to get its point across, featuring more songs, while Combat Rock arrives quicker creating more of a sense of immediacy.

The Play List:

1. The Beautiful People Are Ugly Too (Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg)
2. Idle In Kangaroo Court (Kill Time) (Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg)
3. Know Your Rights (Combat Rock)
4. Know Your Rights (Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg)
5. Car Jamming (Combat Rock)
6. Over Powered By Funk (Combat Rock)
7. Should I Stay Or Should I Go (Alternate Version) (Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg)
8. Rock The Casbah (w/Rankin Rodger) (Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg)
9. Red Angel Dragnet (Instrumental Version) (Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg)
10. Red Angel Dragnet (w/Rankin Rodger) (Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg)
11. Red Angel Dragnet (Combat Rock)
12. Ghetto Defendant (Extended Version) (Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg)
13. Walk Evil Talk (Instrumental)(Outtake) (Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg)
14. Death Is A Star (Combat Rock)
15. Atom Tan (Combat Rock)
16. Innoculated City (Combat Rock)
17. Sean Flynn (Extended Version) (Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg)
18. Innoculated City (Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg)
19. Cool Confusion (Instrumental 2) (Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg)
20. Cool Confusion (Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg/Should I Stay Or Should I Go 1983 single)
21. First Night Back In London (Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg/Know Your Rights 1982 single)
22. Straight To Hell (Extended Version) (Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg)

Download this podcast here. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Drug Theaters With Paul Jacobs & Show # 487

Paul Jacobs, a one man Garage band from Windsor, Ontario released his third full length album this year entitled Drug Theaters. Each of the albums released this year all prove to be three degrees of separation with Paul Jacobs’ musical make up which includes Garage Rock, Punk Rock and Psychedelic music. Drug Theaters encompasses elements from the first two albums that were released this year, March’s self titled album Paul Jacobs, and June’s Coffin Ride, while at the same time moving in a slightly different direction. The brand of wild Rock and Roll music contained on Drug Theaters is the most concise yet, the songs are stronger and even the production is superior. Recorded in conjunction with Josh Kaiser at Kaiser Sound Productions, Drug Theaters is the third album produced with Kaiser Sound. It was also released through Ah Some Records, as were the previous two albums.

But lets backtrack a bit first. Back in March of 2013, about a year and a few months after being in the three piece band Raised By Weeds, Paul Jacobs released his first full length album. The album’s cover featured a purple three eyed creature with its hands over its head. Paul also does all his own artwork by the way, both for his music and separately. This album featured faster paced Punk and Garage tracks and had more echo and reverb filled vocals than on Drug Theaters. Highlights of this album include the opening track “You Got Soul” a fast driving Garage Rock song with lyrics “Know its in my head/That what they're telling me/Even when I'm dead/And I know you got friends/But it don't matter/Cuz you got soul” that seems to convey that it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you got soul, you can do it your way. The album also featured other tracks such as “Spirit Folks” and the slow and wobbly “Wrong Medication”. Then in June we had Coffin Ride, an album that featured a man lying down on a skateboard apparently doing the “coffin ride” on its cover. This cover and its context could also take on quite a few other meanings depending on how you look at it. Coffin Ride seemed to bring in more Punk and Psychedelic sounds than the first self titled album did in March. It starts off with the slacker themed opener “Bad Habits”, while a song like “Sara’s Party” showcases more Psychedelic elements, cloaked in delay and reverb while still retaining a catchy Garage element. “Broken Pencils” and “Fuck School” play into the Punk side of things, as the title track brings in an interesting dynamic. It builds with slow dredging riffs, symbol crashes and distant sounding vocals. It proves to be one of the strongest songs on this album as it slows things down enough, but packs enough intensity and Psych goodness to keep the listener transfixed.

Drug Theaters album cover features a collection of different images, a hand with a cigarette, a dog, a skateboard, a snake and a head among other things. The cover can be seen as a hint as to what’s to come on this album, a collection of different elements that make up a unique whole. The album starts off with the title track itself that builds with reverb drenched vocals and slow stop and start guitar and drums, while lyrics “This time/I know it'll be the last/Time slips away/So won't you come and take me with you?” portray thoughts of boredom and loneliness. “You Got It” picks up the pace with a desire to move on lyrically. “Ghost Noises” features echo and reverb filled vocals emphasizing more Psychedelic elements, “Basement Corner” is a more fast paced track showcasing Punk elements with Psychedelic styled vocals, while a song like “Sharp Dress” proves to be one of the strongest found on this release.

“Sharp Dress” is a catchy fast paced Garage/Punk track with lots of echo Thee Oh Sees style that will stick in your head for days. The breakdown is a theatre of noises including, but not limited to distortion, drums, reverb and echo. “Underwater” is a slow and sludgy track which has a guitar sound that is reminiscent of its title, while lyrically seems to address a line between fantasy and reality. “Electric Dollar” ends off Drug Theatres with a longer track (over six minutes) which addresses the transfers of electronic funds and lack there of and a desire for something new. Overall, Drug Theaters brings Paul Jacobs songwriting abilities and style to the fore while portraying visceral thoughts of boredom, drug use, relationships, and differing views that blur what is and what is not reality. While Paul Jacobs may have released three albums this year, all of which have their own strong points, Drug Theaters encompasses a style and creates a theatre all its own.

The following questions were done between myself (Dave Konstantino of Revolution Rock) and Paul Jacobs. We talk of recording, skateboarding and the making of Drug Theaters.

RR: You released three full length albums this year. How would you describe each album, would you say they differ from each other and did you plan on putting out three releases this year?

PJ: All three albums are somewhat similar, they are all done with guitar, foot drums and vocals. The sounds have changed a bit by what I've been listening to during the writing period. I try to keep them all somewhat garagey and punk and psychedelic. I couldn't describe how the sound changes from album to album, I just try to make them a bit different. I didn't plan on releasing any certain amount this year, just had a really good time jamming in my room and came up with more than enough material.

RR: When and where did you record Drug Theaters and did the process differ from the other two albums that you have recorded?

PJ: All the albums were recorded in my bedroom.

RR: What is it like working with Kaiser Sound Productions?

PJ: Working with Kaiser is great because he knows what he's doing, he cares about how the album is going to turn out and wants it to sound good. He's a good friend so he helps me out when I'm too broke to pay for the recordings. We'll work out trades like art or some design work for him recording my albums. Also he's always open to my suggestions during the mixing process, but it’s nice having two opinions on the sound before the release.

RR: You also do you own artwork, both on its own and for your music. Could you describe the art you make and what has inspired you to do both?

PJ: I just enjoy drawing, I've been doing it all my life. I figure my drawing go hand in hand with my music. I like to make people laugh so I try and make my stuff somewhat funny. I also like to trip out so I like making trippy drawings. I pretty much just do it for myself.

RR: This album along with your previous two albums, have been released with Ah Some Records. How did you get connected with Ah Some Records and what made them want to put out your music?

PJ: James [of Ah Some Records] has just been down with my music since Raised by Weeds. He's a good dude and is down to help me out. It’s still self released but he does help out. I do all the duplicating and packaging in my bedroom.

RR: Your music also has a connection to skateboarding. Can you describe that connection?

PJ: Well if you’re a skateboarder then you know how much it affects your life and your way of living. I have a love for skateboarding that I will never let die. Most of my inspiration for music has come from skate videos as a kid. If it weren't for skateboarding I wouldn't be the person I am today.

RR: Your last album was called Coffin Ride, could you explain the significance of that title?

PJ: Well I thought it sounded cool, I drew the picture and decided to make it the album title. I figure life is just a coffin ride, we all end up in the same place no matter what we do. A coffin ride is just a skateboard trick though. There’s different meaning behind it I guess, but whatever people get out of it is cool with me.

RR: You play as a one man band covering guitar, vocals and drums. Could you describe your set up and how you play live shows? Also how did you come up with the design for your foot drums set up?

PJ: It’s a basic bass drum and snare set up, but I added a cymbal attached to the bass drum with a converted double kick pedal. Somebody sent me a blog video and I noticed he used a cymbal with a pedal that hit down. I was just lying in bed trying to fall asleep and I realized I could rig up something that could hit a bass drum and cymbal at the same time. The live sound is the same as the recording pretty much. I used to make music with a bunch of different instruments, but just wanted to put out something I could still do live by myself, it’s a good time.

RR: You got some good press recently for playing a CKCU FM fundraiser show in Ottawa – what was the response like to your music in Ottawa and do you think its different than in Windsor or other places that you have played live?

PJ: Ottawa is awesome, they have a cool garage scene and a bunch of that scene also skates. They like to dance and enjoy the live show experience. Windsor is tough because there isn't really a garage scene, so I need to leave town to get on shows that suit my style of music. I like Windsor though because it’s cheap and somewhat depressing, it gives you the motivation to do something with yourself and get out of town. I’m not too sure how long I'll stay in this city though.

RR: What do you plan to do next musically?

PJ: I plan on putting out another album before spring, it’s already over half written and it is a bit more punk and raw. I might try and self record if I can, but if it doesn't turn out ill be recording with Kaiser again.

This Week's Play List:

1. Jaill – I’m Home
2. Babyshambles – French Dog Blues
3. White Fence – Pink Gorilla (Live In San Fransisco)
4. The Black Angels – Manipulation
5. The New Strychnines – Dirty Robber
6. Iggy Pop & James Williamson – Sell Your Love
7. Jack Scott – Cruel World
8. Hank Williams – Mind Your Own Business
9. The Saints – Untitled
10. Talking Heads – Heaven
11. The Only Ones – Lovers Of Today
12. William Steffey – Belfast
13. Sam Coffey and The Iron Lungs – Sick of Love
14. Jung People – Releasing Fear Of The Colour Blue
15. Sloan – Torn
16. Indian Wars – Simple Mistake
17. Legato Vipers – Sweet 16
18. Centuries – 4th Dimension
19. Paul Jacobs – Sharp Dress
20. Paul Jacobs – Underwater
21. Fuzz – Now I've Got A Reason (Live In San Fransisco)
22. The Adverts – The Adverts (Cast Of Thousands Outtake)
23. The Replacements – Beer For Breakfast

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for December 17. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dick Dodd of The Standells (1945-2013) & Show # 486

Dick Dodd was the drummer and a vocalist in the LA California based band The Standells. He passed away at the end of November in 2013. Dodd is perhaps best known for being the drummer and lead vocalist on The Standells 1966 hit song “Dirty Water”. The song was written by producer Ed Cobb after a visit to Boston in which he was mugged, and it makes many references to the city. Although at the time the members of The Standells had never been to the city, the song reached number eleven on the Billboard hot 100 charts in 1966. It has since gone on to be covered by numerous bands, and is even played at Boston Red Sox games. Other Boston sports teams have now adopted this song as well. While this song is perhaps their best known, The Standells are often seen as not only a Garage Rock band, but also seen as a preliminary influence on what was to become 70s Punk Rock. Other notable songs include “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White” (which was later covered by Minor Threat), “Try It”, and “Riot On The Sunset Strip”, which was not only a song in the movie of the same name, but the band appears in the opening credits. The Standells also appeared on the TV show The Munsters.

Dick Dodd was also a Mousketeer as a child and a member of two Surf bands, The Bel-Airs and Eddie & The Showmen. He would later go on to play another band entitled The Dodd Squad and was involved in numerous Standells reunions. While people often identify with Dodds Mick Jagger-esque sneerful voice on “Dirty Water”, the band’s impact on Punk Rock has not gone unnoticed. Their raw and unpolished sound has helped them sustain a following even into our modern times and can be heard on many of their songs such as “Mr. Nobody”, “Rari”, “Why Pick On Me?” and countless others.

This Week's Play List:

1. Les Hou-Lops – Un Mauvais Farceur
2. The Black Hollies – No Illusion
3. Pkew Pkew Pkew – Mon Cherie Marie
4. Swollen Eyes – Work It Out
5. Monomyth – Honey Slide
7. Human Eye – Immortal Soldier
8. Dog Day – Wasted
9. Duck Tails – Jazz
10. James Chance & The Contortions – Flip Your Face
11. The Boys – Turning Grey
12. Bloodshot Bill – Hot Hot Mama
13. Marvin Rainwater – Hot And Cold
14. Slip and The Spinouts – Crazy Lil’ Baby
15. Radio Birdman – Hit Them Again
16. Awesome Color – It’s Your Time
17. The Ride Theory – All My Love
18. The Standells - Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White
19. The Standells - Why Pick On Me?
20. Brian Jonestown Masacre – Please Mary
21. The Sonics – You Got Your Head On Backwards
21. The Troggs – Ride Your Pony
22. The Count Five – Peace Of Mind
23. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – Mega Bottle Ride

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for December 10. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The White Stripes De Stijl & Show # 485

De Stijl [duh stahyl]

Noun Dutch

1. A Dutch phrase meaning “The Style”

2. A school of art that was founded in the Netherlands in 1917, embraced painting, sculpture, architecture, furniture, and the decorative arts, and was marked especially by the use of black and white with the primary colors, rectangular forms, and asymmetry.

3. An album released in 2000 by The White Stripes.

In the year 2000, The White Stripes released their second full length album entitled De Stijl. The album’s title has its origins in the early 1900’s, but was most likely brought to Jack White’s attention during his work as an upholsterer, which he continued to do during the making of De Stijl. The architecture and format of the school of art and style couldn’t be more relevant when looking at The White Stripes second album. Following some early singles and their first full length album released in 1999, De Stijl set out to offer more than just the Garage and Punk sounds emphasized on the early White Stripes recordings. This album brought in more elements of Pop and predominately Blues, while at the same time incorporating the Garage and Punk dynamic that this Detroit duo had been producing at the time. De Stijl was also recorded primarily in Jack White’s living room in Detroit, Michigan on an eight track tape recorder. Additional mixing/engineering was done by Jim Diamond, who produced the first White Stripes album at Ghetto Recorders in Detroit.
The album starts off with the “You’re Pretty Good Looking”, a song that displays a Power Pop/Garage dynamic. It also displays satirical lyrics such as “And your thoughts have been stolen by the boys/Who took you out and bought you everything you want now “, which lyrically comments on a relationship built upon vanity. “Hello Operator” comes in next, a catchy and raunchy Garage track infused with Blues elements, this song was also the first single to be released from this album. It was backed with a cover of Dolly Parton’s :”Jolene”. This song is a strong song and an indication where the band would go with songs such as “Fell In Love With A Girl” and songs that would formulate on 2003’s Elephant. “Apple Blossom” showcases the bands more Pop sensibilities sounding heavily influenced by The Kinks Village Green Preservation Society album. The song also brings in the theme of childhood and school which is prevalent in a few songs on this album and in future White Stripes songs like “I Can Tell That We’re Gonna Be Friends”. “I’m Bound To Pack It Up” pulls in Folk and Blues and lyrically addresses a relationship gone sour. “Sister, Do You Know My Name?” is steeped deep in the Delta Blues, and “Truth Doesn’t Make A Noise” is a piano driven ballad. “Truth Doesn’t Make A Noise” features lyrics such as “I cant explain it/I feel it often/Every time I see her face/But the way you treat her fills me with rage and I want to tear apart the place”. These conflicting lyrics, when combined with the piano driven accompaniment, prove to be very powerful songwriting.

Other notable tracks on this album include, “Why Can’t You Be Nicer To Me?” which features a heavy Blues influences mixed with elements of Classic Rock, “Let’s Build A Home” is a furious fast paced start and stop Detroit styled Garage Rock song with a slow Blues sliding breakdown, while “Jumble, Jumble” is another song adhering to the Garage format with Punk and Blues overtones. De Stijl features covers of two Blues songs one called “Death Letter” originally by Son House which is an epiphany oriented tale about love and death and “Your Southern Can Is Mine” originally by Blind Willie McTell, which ends the album on a light hearted Country flavoured note musically, and weighs in heavier lyrically.

There is a line in the song “Sister, Do You Know My Name?” that goes “And I don’t want to break the rules/Cause I’ve broken them all before” that can be rather fitting here. Some fans argue that De Stijl is the strongest album to be released by the band. This album redefined The White Stripes style bringing in different elements such as Blues and showcasing the future songwriting abilities of Jack White that would bring them greater acclaim on albums such as White Blood Cells and Elephant. This album is dedicated to bluesman Blind Willie McTell and Dutch artist Gerrit Rietveld from the above aforementioned De Stijl school of art. De Stijl took from both those elements the Blues, and the De Stijl school of art. Both the school of art and the Blues involved a highly simplistic aesthetic, which resulted in a dramatic effect.

This Week's Play List:

1. The Fruit Tones – Chicken Lollipop
2. The Chants R&B – I’m Your Witchdoctor
3. The Milkshakes – Let’s Stomp
4. Stegosaurus – Eleven Forty Eight
5. The Sundelles – Fight For My Time
6. Teenanger – Very Ape
7. Gringo Star – Want Some Fun
8. Cults – I Can Hardly Make You Mine
9. Harlan Pepper - Secret Spy Decoder Ring
10. Animal Parts – Big Bird
11. Beverley’s All Stars – Smoke Screen
12. Jimmy Cliff – You Can Get It If You Really Want
13. The Munks – Marie Please Come Back to Me
14. The Scenics – Wild Trout
15. Actual Water – Fire On George St.
16. Light Bulb Alley – Jemon Jaws
17. Avengers – I Told You So
18. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – 78 Style
19. Pell Mell – Spy Vs. Spy
20. The Traditional Fools – Party At My House
21. The White Stripes – Hello Operator
22. The White Stripes – Apple Blossom
23. The White Stripes - I'm Bound To Pack It Up
24. The White Stripes – Jumble, Jumble

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for December 3. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.