Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs Gates Of Hell Interview & Show # 531

Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs most recent full-length outing features a six-piece band and a larger production sound. Echoing elements of power pop mixed with garage rock, Coffey’s vocal style has been likened to Joe Strummer and at times the music resonates with the influence of the Ramones, Elvis Costello & The Attractions and The Replacements, among others. The album opens with the title track “Gates Of Hell”, while the imagery of some of the album’s song titles portray darker connotations, the slicker production style combined with catchy hooks proves to be a vicious combination. The opening moments of this song and the album begin with a bell ringing before a speeding car brings us into an attack of cleaner guitars, bass, drums and looming organ which boils underneath the song like an engine. The opening words of the song snarl with attitude reminiscent of Exploding Hearts vocalist Adam Cox mixed with a young Johnny Rotten. Lyrically the song uses its biblical imagery to portray a relationship gone wrong, this powerful opener introduces us to several of the sounds that we will find on Gates Of Hell. The song wavers with upbeat and slower tempos as it builds to a powerful close with rambunctious group vocals that echo the words “I’m alright somebody sing it with me.”

“Hold Me Close” features country styled guitar lines alongside power pop rhythms. Drawing comparisons to The Clash, The Jam and perhaps a bit of The Black Lips, the Iron Lungs mix this with their sleazy charm and lyrics “If you can dance/Hold me close/Hold me closer” projecting a simple, yet effective message. “Get Pumped Up” blends the 60s organ driven sounds of garage rock with the spirit of 70s punk, the faster tempos here are reminiscent of a fast paced Elvis Costello & The Attractions live recording. Sam Coffey sings this catchy track in an almost drunken drawl, while “Season Of The Witch” with driving drums and echo drenched vocals conjures up images and themes of the raved up sounds once brought forth by The Sonics “The Witch” and Lollipop Shoppe’s 1968’s garage punk nugget “You Must Be A Witch”. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs take these aforementioned sounds and adds echo, dizzying organ and guitar solos for raunchy effectiveness.

“Run and tell her what you’ve done/And I’m heavy on Queen St.” portrays drama that ensues on Toronto’s Queen Street in “Heavy On Queen St.”, the seventh track found on Gates Of Hell. This song, like the others found on this album, have something familiar to them, but they are difficult to pinpoint to a tee. “Heavy On Queen St.” features stop and start song structures that blends a power pop cocktail of Elvis Costello & The Attractions, The Nerves, with a dash of The Dentists for a smooth relaxed feeling. “Calgary Hill” is one of the popiest tracks found on Gates Of Hell. With lyrics that seem to look back on the past while fighting for the present, the lyrics sound like they surfaced from a drunken realization, an epiphany of sorts as the chorus rings with the words “Calgary Hill/All I wanted/All I wanted/I always will”. This song has an indefinable quality, but one that lends itself to the anthemic songs found on Gates Of Hell, this one being the top one on the list. “17” once again builds on the albums darker imagery, but it is sung in a Robin Zander drawl ala “Surrender”, the album’s final track pulls in heavier psych influences.

Four of the album’s tracks were recorded with Ben Cook of the band Fucked Up. Sam Coffey covered the rest of the production, recording in the band’s practice space and a variety of other locations adding to the album’s character, as he has done with previous Iron Lungs recordings. Gates Of Hell covers a lot of topics lyrically and musically adds to the Iron Lungs palate. Sam Coffey originally from Waterloo, Ontario, recently relocated to Toronto and expanded his band to a six piece group. More people in the band means there could be more complication in the overall sound of the group. The band does not fall into this trap here. The band’s sound may have expanded with more members and higher production values, but on Gates Of Hell, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs deliver an album that deals with many hellish complex subjects, whether metaphorically or bluntly throughout the album’s lyrical content. Musically they still keep the rowdy, pub-crawl spirit that drew us to them in the first place.

Check out the interview I did with Sam Coffey here:

Saturday Night Play List:

1. Link Wray - Hold It
2. The Vagrants - Oh Those Eyes
3. Personal & The Pizzas - Pepperoni Eyes
4. Carbonas - Trapped In Hell
5. Brazilian Money - Then You’ll Know
6. Cream - N.S.U.
7. Ausmuteants - Tunnel Vision
8. King Tuff - Black Moon Spell
9. The Shangri-Las - Give Him A Great Big Kiss
10. Television - Venus De Milo (Live)
11. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Gates Of Hell

Sam Coffey Interview

12. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Season Of The Witch
13. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Heavy On Queen Street
14. Demolition Doll Rods - Psycho Kitty
15. Paul Jacobs - Waiting For The Grave
16. Mekons - Abernant 1984/5
17. Stompin’ Tom Connors - Love’s Not The Only Thing
18. Bob Dylan & The Band - 900 Miles From My Home
19. Woody Guthrie - Pretty Boy Floyd
20. Tweedy - Low Key
21. Nap Eyes - No Man Needs To Care
22. The Ride Theory - I'm On Board
23. Japanese Treats - Color Glo
24. Bell Peppers - Batman
25. The Spitz - Ask Your Mother
26. The Cramps - Aloha From Hell
27. The MC5 - Motor City Is Burning

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 25. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dee Dee King The Crusher & Show # 530

“The Crusher” is a song that first appeared on the Standing In The Spotlight album by Dee Dee King. This was the first solo outing for Dee Dee Ramone in 1989, but it was a rap album created shortly after his departure from the Ramones. The album is infamous for its 80s styled rhymes about “Mashed Potato Time”, “Commotion In The Ocean” among other things. “The Crusher” is a song that deals with a wrestler attempting to become a champion or “king of the ring” as Dee Dee sings. The song features guitar not unlike the sounds heard on the Ramones Too Tough To Die album first released in 1984, with words rapped instead of sung. The chorus has even drawn comparisons to the song “Wart Hog”. This song is one of the standout tracks on Standing In The Spotlight, which is known for being a commercial flop. Dee Dee King released a single prior to this called "Funky Man", but shortly after this album’s release Dee Dee gravitated away from rap and formed a punk rock band called The Spikey Tops. “The Crusher” was re-recorded by Ramones for their 1995 album !Adios Amigos!

Saturday Night Play List:

1. Them - Go On Home Baby
2. Unrelated Segments - Story Of My Life
3. The Trashmen - Bird Dance Beat
4. Ronnie Spector - She Talks To Rainbows
5. The Dictators - Baby Let’s Twist
6. Generation X - Day By Day
7. Ex-Hex - Everywhere
8. Thurston Moore - The Best Day
9. Art Bergmann - Ballad Of A Crooked Man
10. Frankie & Jimmy - Down The Dirt Road Blues
11. The Wailers - Mashi
12. The Pistolrays - Night Drive
13. Legato Vipers - Talkback Mikhial
14. James O-L & The Villains - Kill The Devil
15. The Replacements - Customer
16. The Replacements - Hanging Downtown
17. Beach Boys - You’re So Good To Me
18. Creatures - Ugly Thing
19. Paul Revere & The Raiders - Just Like Me
20. Sunsets - The Hot Generation (Soundtrack Version)
21. King Cobb Steelie - Slump
22. The Young Canadians - Sharpshooter (Live 1979)
23. The Nelsons - Black Knight
24. The Dik Van Dykes - Garage Sale
25. White Fence - Raven On White Cadillac
26. The Misfits - Vampira
27. Dee Dee King - The Crusher
28. The Dirty Nil - Wrestle Yu To Husker Du
29. Coachwhips - Like Food, It Feeds
30. Allah-Las - Every Girl
31. Ty Segall - It’s Over
32. Young Rival - Black Popcorn

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 18. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Teenanger Chris Swimmings Interview & Show # 529

Toronto’s Teenanger released their fourth album EP LP on September 9th, 2014, featuring Chris Swimmings (vocals), Melissa Ball (bass), Jon Schouten (guitar) and Steve Sidol on drums.  EP LP comes shortly after 2013’s Singles Don’t $ell which featured the band exploring the deeper elements of the new wave and post punk genres of the late 70s/early 80s. The album’s title once again is a play on music release formats, this one being EP LP, a release in the middle of a full-length album and an EP perhaps. Its title could also be seen as the band’s sound on this release, which is a cross between 2012’s Frights & 2013’s Singles Don’t $ell.  Musically the album is aggressive and at times more relaxed, but it still has an undeniable sleazy grime to it.

“Fly On The Wall” starts off this release from Teenanger. The song displays the band’s wiry post punk influenced garage sound, while lyrically it conveys something else. With words such as “You’re just a fly on the wall/You eavesdrop” and other themes that pop up in the verses of this track, it seems to be a comment on our social media dominated society. “Sky Saxon” attacks with its synthesizer-like riffs and lyrics that seem to be homage to The Seeds front man Sky Saxon lyrically, as it addresses his popularity as opposed to Michael Jackson. “Twisted” bends with its deep bass groove that locks in with the drums as the guitar fills in the gaps, while vocalist Chris Swimmings sings in a lower register. The song is also notable for its saxophone solo, which clocks in around the one minute and 30 second mark. The solo sounds eerily reminiscent of the saxophone in post punk band Magazine’s early song “My Mind Ain’t So Open”.

“Mild Survival” is the first song to be sung by Teenanger bassist Melissa Ball and features a sludgy bassline with sugarcoated vocals, while “Think About It” follows next as one of the album’s first singles. The song sneaks in like a monster jumping out from the primordial ooze of a late 80s Horror B-movie. It lyrically seems to tell the story of impatience and indecision amongst the scratchy guitars and distorted vocals. “The Sequel” is one of the longer tracks found on this album. It sounds at times like it could have come from 2010’s Give Me Pink as it bounces back and forth between up-tempo walls of guitar riff fury, mid-tempo driving bass and solid steady drums as vocals are executed in a creepy drawl. “Negative Zeros” is a rant about minimum wage and drinking in sub zero degree weather. Guitar work by Jon Schouten on this track sounds like it could have been played by Keith Levene while sliding on ice.

The final track on EP LP is the slow and sludgy “Hot Rods At The Loser Convention”. As the primal bass and drums pound away and the guitars slice and stab in the background, Swimmings sings of cliques, jocks and so called “cool” kids in a sneering satirical tone. Some are calling this track a loser anthem. The sound on this album is one that is difficult to describe specifically, it is the sound of a band in their element. On EP LP the new wave/post punk influence from previous albums is still apparent, but there seems to be more voluminous guitar riffs that are like shards of shrapnel. Basslines sound thick and at times fuzz addled, as analog sounding drums, snotty vocals by Chris Swimmings and backing vocals provided by Melissa Ball add to the overall battlefield of dynamics found here. With EP LP Teenanger does not misfire. Throughout this nine-track launch the band hones their sound and are right on target.

Listen to the interview that I did with Teenanger vocalist Chris Swimmings here:

Note: The album review in this post was previously posted here.

Saturday Night Play List:

1. The Seeds - Try To Understand
2. The Arrogants - Drunky Blues
3. Motel Beds - These Are The Days Gone By
4. The Gruesomes - Hypnotized
5. Crazy Rhythm Daddies - Deep Ellum Blues
6. The Nature Boys - Can’t Think
7. The Rural Alberta Advantage - This City
8. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Communication
9. Iceage - The Lord's Favorite
10. White Lung - Just For You
11. Metz - Rats
12. Teenanger - Fly On The Wall
13. Teenanger - Sky Saxon

Teenanger Chris Swimmings Interview

14. Teenanger - Power Trip
15. King Tuff - Sick Mind
16. DOA -New Age
17. Verdix - Lookin’ Around You
18. Female Hands - Annarea
19. Cellos - Mass Production Scheme
20. King Khan & The Shrines - Darkness
21. The Sonics - Don’t You Just Know It
22. Ex-Hex - Hot And Cold
23. Tweedy - World Away
24. The Oblivians - Call The Police
25. The Adverts - Quick Step
26. The Ruts -Bablylon’s Burning

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 4. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.