Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Joe Strummer Day 2015 (Show # 592)

Every December 22nd, CJAM FM holds their annual Joe Strummer Day Marathon. CJAM FM broadcasts for 24 hours bringing awareness to poverty in the Windsor/Detroit area by surrounding it with the music of Joe Strummer and The Clash. This year I helped to kick off Joe Strummer day with my occasional co-host Adam Peltier. In addition to playing a selection of our favourite and rare Joe Strummer/Clash recordings, Adam also brought up some facts and potential places to seek assistance regarding poverty in Windsor/Detroit. You can re-listen to the broadcast below the playlist if you missed it.

Here are some of the highlights from the music that was featured on this program:

Joe Strummer & Jools Holland’s Big Band Rhythm & Blues Band Orchestra

In 2002, Jools Holland released an album entitled Jool’s Hollands’ Big Band Rhythm & Blues featuring a cast of musicians such as Sting, Van Morrison, Paul Weller, Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, John Cale and many others. The compilation is a celebration of rhythm & blues music and also features many original compositions. It also features “Horse To The Water” a song written by George Harrison and his son Dhani. This was also the last song recorded prior to Harrison’s passing in 2001. There is also a song written with Joe Strummer entitled “The Return Of The Blues Cowboy”. This energetic, piano driven track is one of the many songs that were recorded by Joe Strummer, but one that is often overlooked.

When Pigs Fly Soundtrack

As revealed in the documentary The Future Is Unwritten, Joe Strummer recorded for a variety of soundtracks following his work with The Clash. When Pigs Fly was a film directed by Sara Driver in 1993 and Joe Strummer recorded the music for it. Apparently nine hours of music were recorded/submitted for this soundtrack and it remains unreleased. Some of the tracks have been available in bootleg form for some time. The soundtrack showcases several musical styles such as country, folk and jazz. “Storm In A D-Cup” was an instrumental track featured on the program that has both avant-garde Jazz influences and raw early rock and roll surf/instrumental sounds.

Joe Strummer Day 2015 Playlist:

1. The Clash - Bank Robber (Live Concert For Kampuchea Dec 27, 1979)
2. The clash - Rebel Waltz (Sandinista! - 1980)
3. The Clash - Jail Guitar Doors (Super Black Market Clash - 1993)
4. The Clash - Ooh Baby Ooh (Give ’Em Enough Rope Demo)
5. The Clash - Heart & Mind (Demo) (London Calling: 25th Anniversary Legacy Edition - 2004)
6. 101ers - Keys To your Heart (Version 1) (Elgin Avenue Breakdown Revisited - 2005)
7. Joe Strummer - Shouting Street (Earthquake Weather - 1989)
8. Joe Strummer & Jools Hollands’ Big Band Rhythm & Blues - The Return Of The Blues Cowboy (Jool’s Hollands’ Big Band Rhythm & Blues - 2002)
9. Tymon Dogg - Pound Of Grain (Made Of Light - 2015)
10. Big Audio Dynamite - V. Thirteen (No. 10 Upping St. - 1988)
11. The Clash - Lost In The Supermarket (London Calling - 1979)
12. Joe Strummer - Storm In A D-Cup (When Pigs Fly - 1993)
13. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Johnny Appleseed (Global A Go-Go - 2001)
14. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Long Shadow (Streetcore - 2003)
15. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Get Down Moses (Streetcore - 2003)
16. The Clash - (White Man) IN Hammersmith Palais (The Clash (US Version) - 1979)
17. Joe Strummer & The Latino Rockabilly War - Nothin’ Bout Nothin’ (Permanent Record - Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - 1988)
18. Joe Strummer - Love Kills (Sid & Nancy Soundtrack - 1986)
19. The Clash - Janie Jones (The Clash (UK Version) - 1977)
20. The Pogues with Joe Strummer - If I Should Fall From The Grace Of God (Live) (The Pogues With Joe Strummer - Live In London - 2014)
21. The Clash - Complete Control (Live Bond’s International Casino, New York June 9th, 1981)

Download part one of Revolution Rock: Joe Strummer Day Kick Off 2015 here!
Download part two of Revolution Rock: Joe Strummer Day Kick Off 2015 here!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Young Rival Interior Light & Show # 591

Interior Light is the third full-length album by Hamilton’s Young Rival. Released on Toronto’s Paper Bag Records, the sounds on this album have been described as “Roy Orbison tripping on acid with Ray Davies and Bradford Cox.” Found on the back of the LP this description goes perfectly with the term that Young Rival coined to describe the music created during the recording of this album, croon-psych. Produced by Graham Walsh and Young Rival guitarist/vocalist Aron D’Alesio, the band took their time when creating the sounds for Interior Light. Even the album’s cover has an interesting backstory. It was adapted from an old stained glass window from 1987 by Benjamin Nelson in collaboration with Young Rival bassist John Smith. This design was mixed in with an array of colours that compliment the music found on Interior Light.

“Carry The Weight” starts off Interior Light in a manic fashion with swirling psychedelic textures. As the bass drum, clanging guitars and fuzzy bass move back and forth between the slow verses and frantic choruses the lyrics “I’m not prepared to turn around/My feet are firmly on the ground” and “Carry the weight/If you want to” convey a sense of wanting to move forward while considering the weight of the past. This song exemplifies the new explorations that Young Rival take on Interior Light sonically and aesthetically. “Throw It In The River” comes in with wavering 80s sounding effects before the song’s strong melodies kick in. The song’s stop and start dynamics, watery guitar effects, sobering basslines, drums and choruses pull you in like an unavoidable current. The album’s title track is more straightforward with jangly guitars, a circling drum pattern by Noah Fralick and a breakdown featuring the bass work of John Smith that sucks you into its orbit. The vocal harmonies in the chorus echo the words “Fall, fall, fall, fall, fall apart/It’s coming together again”. Lyrically “Interior Light” portrays a world of characters that seem lost, as the main character is unaffected and content with who they are. “Elevator”, first released as a teaser single in 2014, brings up the tempo on Interior Light with its energetic locomotive guitar riffs and subtle psychedelic vocal effects. The solo builds even more intensity in the back and forth momentum created by this track.

“Living Like You Should” is another example of the depth of harmony that Young Rival is capable of. The song adheres to elements from the songs of The Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison while at the same time blending guitar lines that at times sound like they could be from The Cure. Lyrically this song like many of the songs on this album, bring in a series of characters that act a certain way to evoke a certain dramatic effect. In this case, “Living Like You Should” features two low-key characters that move at their own pace, but as long as they “Swing low together” then it works for them. A message of slacker positivity is brought forth in between this song’s in the pocket drum grooves, dominating melodic bass and hazy harmonies.

“Bent Out Of Shape” a track that has been compared to Deerhunter in some reviews, returns with the psychedelic/80s new wave sounds that develop as Interior Light progresses, “Let’s Get Together” comes in with crunchy guitars and distorted bass, while “Scruples” is more upbeat. Based on an actual person that visits a bar where D’Alesio and bassist John Smith work, “Scruples” is an up-tempo track that features reverb saturated guitars, vocals and pulsating bass and drums. “That’s Chemistry” ends Interior Light. The drums on this track played by Noah Fralick sound like they could be from a slower paced Devo song. The guitars and vocals take on more aqueous textures while the bass plays at a steady smooth rate. This track operates at two levels. Lyrically it brings up thoughts of heartbreak, but on another level the title of this song alone is representative of what has been achieved on Interior Light. The chemistry of Young Rival is undeniable here.

In 2012, Stay Young saw Young Rival expanding and building on their early garage beginnings by pulling in more textures. Stay Young added stronger melodies to the band’s dynamic mixing crunchy and watery sound guitar effects. Like the album’s cover, Interior Light adds more colour to Young Rival’s already established garage rock palette. With Interior Light, Young Rival gets more psychedelic allowing the guitars and melodies created to drift like the paint on a canvas.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Charles Bradley - Changes
2. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - Ain't No Chimney's In The Projects
3. Tymon Dogg - Time For Moving On
4. The Decemberists - The Mariners Revenge Song
5. Tea Leaves - Bipolar Skies
6. Paul Jacobs - Soul Catcher
7. Timmy’s Organism - Get Up, Get Out
8. Japandroids - For The Love Of Ivy
9. Library Voices - Zzyzx
10. Sleater-Kinney - You're No Rock 'n Roll Fun
11. Whatever Forever - Streets Ahead
12. Pistolrays - Rollin’ Dice
13. Bob Dylan - Tombstone Blues (Take 1)
14. Bob Dylan - Positively 4th Street (Take 5, Alternate Take)
15. Bob Dylan - Desolation Row (Take 5)
16. Bob Dylan - Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window (Take 6, Complete)
17. Cassie Ramone - Run Run Rudolph
18. Go For 3 - Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
19. Devo - Timing X
20. Devo - Wiggly World
21. The Government - Information
22. Young Rival - Scruples
23. Young Rival - That’s Chemistry

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for December 19. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Bob Dylan The Cutting Edge & Show # 590

In the span fourteen of months from January 1965 to roughly February 1966, Bob Dylan made a transition from the folk music scene that he was a part of starting in Greenwich Village into the wild spontaneous world of rock music. Already able to fill Carnegie Hall, Dylan looked for something new and did not want to be labeled as a protest songwriter. It is also fitting that his first album where he would experiment with what he would eventually call his “wild mercury sound” was produced by Tom Wilson. Wilson produced the three acoustic Dylan albums that preceded Bringing It All Back Home (The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963), The Times They Are A Changin’ (1964) and Another Side Of Bob Dylan (1964)) and Wilson would assist in bringing Dylan’s electric sound to a new audience.

The Cutting Edge begins with Dylan armed with an acoustic as we hear a quick run through of “Love Minus Zero/No Limit”, one of the many songs that would be found on the 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home. This song, like many Dylan songs are open to interpretation. This early track on The Cutting Edge could be seen as an introduction to the limitless possibilities of a world that Dylan was about to explore. Lyrically, Bringing It All Back Home brought together elements of Dylan’s acoustic beginnings with experimentations into electric rock music. The lyrics too took on more prowess and imagination than ever before. Songs during this period often brought together real life experiences with characters from literature and history while at the same time adding a surreal slant. The result was an effective, new mixture of music and lyrics unlike any other. The songs on The Cutting Edge progress from sketches, outtakes, fragments to full out alternate versions of songs that would wind up on Bringing It All Back Home in 1965, Highway 61 Revisited in 1965 and Blonde On Blonde in 1966.

In the middle of all of the sketches of songs, outtakes and raved up versions of songs such as “It Takes A Lot To Laugh It Takes A Train To Cry”, a version of “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Desolation Row” with a full band, alternate takes of singles such as “Positively 4th Street”, there is the evolution of the song “Like A Rolling Stone”. This song is pivotal when discussing Bob Dylan and music in general. Songs were at most three minutes back in the 60s. “Like A Rolling Stone” took that format and broke the time barrier, expanding it to over six minutes with lyrics telling a story like a great novel. The lyrics are sung with a certain cynicism and were captured in the fourth take that the band attempted during these sessions. You can hear the song change time signatures on The Cutting Edge and despite being attempted approximately 20 times, only two complete takes were ever finished of this song. This song helped to define Bob Dylan’s new sound and his style of writing. Often written about and discussed at length, The Cutting Edge sheds light on how it was created. This was also the last recording to be produced with Tom Wilson. After the recording of “Like A Rolling Stone”, which is the only recording that Wilson produced that would make Highway 61 Revisited, he was mysteriously replaced by Bob Johnston who took over producing Dylan records until New Morning in 1970.

For the sessions that would make up the double album Blonde On Blonde, it began with Dylan recording with his new backing band The Hawks, an early version of The Band. Several songs on The Cutting Edge feature an early incarnation of The Band with and without drummer Levon Helm. While Helm did play with The Hawks, he left the band during Dylan’s 1965 “electric” tour and is only featured on some recordings in this set. He was replaced by Bobby Gregg, who had played with Dylan and Co. on Bringing It All Back Home and who also played with Sun Ra in the 60s. You can hear early versions of songs such as “Visions Of Johanna” in a more erratic fashion, outtakes and alternate versions of songs “I Wanna Be Your Lover”, “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window”, “Lunatic Princess”, “Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat” and many others. The sessions for Blonde On Blonde took place in both New York and in Nashville and with these recordings the band line up shuffles frequently. The Blonde On Blonde sessions were augmented with session musicians from Nashville. When it was released in May of 1966, Blonde On Blonde was the first of its kind. It was the first double album of rock music ever to be released.

As “Like A Rolling Stone” did with single time barriers for radio singles, Blonde On Blonde pushed beyond the typical LP format. The Cutting Edge ends (on the shorter and 18 disc versions of it) with another lengthy composition. Rumoured to be about his then wife Sara, “Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands” is a song noted for a few things. It was the last song recorded for the sessions. It was written during an eight-hour span in the studio while many of the musicians played cards and smoked cigarettes waiting for its completion and finally, it took up an entire side of the album when released on vinyl. It clocked in at eleven minutes and twenty two seconds. Recorded around 4 AM on February 16th 1966, the song takes on a nocturnal, haunting quality while the song structure goes beyond the norm while the lyrics ask questions without providing answers, tying in once again into the literary comparisons of Dylan’s songs.

In 2014, The Basement Tapes Complete were released as part of Bob Dylan’s bootleg series. This set took us through Dylan’s next phase of music following his “Dylan goes electric” era. Those songs reached out to Dylan’s roots exploring folk music, roots rock and country, which led to the sounds that would produce both Music From Big Pink by The Band and 1967’s stripped down John Wesley Harding. The Cutting Edge rewinds the tape, going back to the time before any of that occurred. We see Dylan searching for a sound through rock music, which would put him in the public eye. The Cutting Edge shows the listener what it would be like to be a fly on the studio wall as Bob Dylan and a series of musicians create three very different highly influential albums that brought in a rock & roll sound with a new kind of lyric.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. The Evaporators - Waaa!
2. The Moderns - The Year of Today
3. Soupcans - Psychosomatic Rash
4. Runs With Kittens - Cut Of Your Jib
5. Mexican Knives - Beach Song
6. Mexican Knives - Nightmare
7. The Pyramids - Penetration
8. The Catamounts - Ride The Surf
9. The Famines - Fast Times
10. Ty Segall - The Slider
11. Tall Dwarfs - Mr. Broccoli
12. Bob Dylan - Subterranean Homesick Blues (Take 1, Alternate Take)
13. Bob Dylan - On The Road Again (Take 1 Remake, Complete)
14. Bob Dylan - Mr. Tambourine Man (Take 3 with Band, Incomplete)
15. Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone (Takes 1-3 Rehearsal)
16. Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone (Take 11)
17. Cass Mccombs - Catacombs Cow Cow Boogie
18. Ray Condo & The Hardrock Goners - I Don't Matter To Me
19. Father John Misty - The Ideal Husband
20. Ought - Meant For Miles
21. Sports - Saturday All Of Something
22. Teenage Head - Picture My Face (Live 1978)
23. The Red Squares - Transmitter
24. BB Gun - Curious
25. The Outcasts - Justa Nother Teenage Rebel

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for December 12. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Pointed Sticks Nick Jones Interview & Show # 589

In 2009, Pointed Sticks, a punk/power pop band from Vancouver, released their second full-length album Three Lefts Make A Right following a reunion that began with live shows in Japan in 2006. Originally part of Vancouver’s burgeoning punk scene alongside bands such as D.O.A, The Modernettes and The Dishrags in the late 70s/early 80s among others, the Pointed Sticks combined their razor sharp witty lyrics with songwriting hooks. While they were part of the punk scene, like many punk bands, they took from a variety influences and were not just a band that played music at 100 miles per hour. Following a series of singles, EPs and an album entitled Perfect Youth in 1980, Pointed Sticks initial split was in 1981. But, after 2009’s Three Lefts Make A Right, Pointed Sticks went on a hiatus of sorts. In July of 2015, they returned with a self-titled album. Recorded by the band themselves at keyboardist Gord Nicholl’s studio, Pointed Sticks spent approximately five years working on this material, crafting their songs to define the sound that would present itself on this album. Doused in organ/keyboards provided by Gord Nicohll, subtle, melodic basslines by Tony Bardach, fuzzy guitar from Bill-Napier Hemy, the solid drum grooves of Ian Tiles and sharp thought provoking vocals by Nick Jones, Pointed Sticks features ten new songs.

Pointed Sticks opens with “La La La”, the song features dominate organ provided by Gord-Nicholl, crunchy guitar and lyrics provided with conviction by Nick Jones. Pointed Sticks start off this album, with catchy hooks and a 60s garage aesthetic. “You’re Not The One” adds in keyboards and salty acoustic guitars, contrasted with electric guitar that sounds as if it could have been on “Five Foot One” from Iggy Pop’s 1979 album New Values. “Broke”, another strong point on Pointed Sticks, adds to the band’s classic pop formula. This song provides the listener with guitar lines ala David Bowie & The Spiders From Mars guitarist Mick Ronson or Mick Jones of The Clash, flooding organ sounds and lyrics that seem to recall a realization. With lyrics such as “I should have known that for all these years”, “I was pushed out of line/I was losing track of the time” and “I never should’ve trusted fate/But everybody makes mistakes”, Pointed Sticks take their strong pop melodies while at the same time displaying a message of duality, one of which sounds like the story of a worn down human being, but the other that could perhaps relate to the band’s own situation. In “Broke”, Jones also seems to be reflecting on Pointed Sticks own predicament, contrasting realistic views of the past and present with a new hope, giving the song another element that warrants repeat listens. As many tracks do on this album.

“Lovely Bird” comes off with a sound in the vein of the sounds found on Vic Goddard & The Subway Sect’s 1980 album What’s The Matter Boy, while “Tin Foil Hat” blends jazz with French pop music. When speaking with Jones back in 2009, he mentioned that the band would bring a little bit of experimentation to their sound, and this song written and sung by bassist Tony Bardach, does just that. Bringing in dusty acoustic melodies, and hazy accordion flourishes, the lyrics tell the story of a rogue who is both rambunctious and invincible when wearing his a tin foil hat that was discovered on the street. “Skerabap’, a short approximately 40 second acoustic instrumental written by guitarist Napier-Hemy serves, along with “Tin Foil Hat”, as not just the halfway point of this album but also part of what separates it from the rest. In addition to their already emphasized pop dynamics and strong hooks, it shows that Pointed Sticks are still willing to try new things and not be pigeonholed. And despite the contrast in musical styles, these songs only add to the depth and overall melodies found on this album.

“Impatient” musically sounds like it is part “Gloria” by Them mixed with keyboard parts from an early Doors song, as the chorus kicks in, its infectiousness drives home a story about a character that wants to move forward, but does things so quickly that she doesn’t give them time to develop. “Yesterday’s Girl” is a song sung by keyboardist Gord Nicholl and is the first Pointed Sticks song that he has sung lead vocals on, “Tsune’s Song” is a stop and start power pop song that was written in part with Tsuneglam Sam of the Tokyo glam pop band Young Parisienens. The album ends with the song “Simply Nothing”. Featuring primarily acoustic guitar and a Ray Davies Kinksian slant circa their Lola vs. Powerman period, this defy all odds love song can also be reflective of Pointed Sticks in 2015. With a new album out and hopes to tour Europe, Pointed Sticks don’t pretend to be something they’re not on this album. They aren’t trying to re-write their past. The music and lyrics has an honesty that looks forward based on the experiences of the past, while at the same time maintaining the band’s boy meets girl songwriting dynamic. With this album Pointed Sticks reach what seems like another new beginning.

Listen to the interview that I did with Nick Jones of Pointed Sticks here:

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Chips & Co. - Let The Winds Blow
2. Natives From Earth - How Can I Miss You (If You Won’t Go Away)
3. Archie & The Bunkers - Sally Lou
4. Bob Dylan I Want You (Take 4)
5. Chastity - Manning Hill
6. Hook And Eye - Poacher Of The King's Deer
7. Dirty Ghost - Cataract
8. The Milk Monitors - Drag You Down
9. The Victims - I Understand
10. Pointed Sticks - La La La

Nick Jones Pointed Sticks Interview

11. Pointed Sticks - You’re Not The One
12. Patti Smith - Wicked Messenger
13. Charlie Pickett & The Eggs - Overtown
14. Indian wars - Eight Feet High
15. George Jones - No Money In This Deal
16. Andre Williams - My Tears
17. Alex G - Bug
18. Pylon - Volume
19. X-Ray Spex - Germ Free Adolescents
20. Nervous Talk - Different Person
21. Young Rival - Living Like You Should

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for December 5. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Dead Ghosts Love And Death And All The Rest Interview & Show # 588

Love And Death And All The Rest is the third full-length album released by Vancouver’s Dead Ghosts. Dead Ghosts first formed in 2007 by guitarist/vocalist Bryan Nicol and guitarist Andrew Wilkinson. They then added Mike Wilkinson on drums and Maurizo “Moe” Chiumento on bass to complete the group’s line-up. The band drew influences of 60s garage rock, blues, country, 50’s rock and doo-wop, but blended those influences with a lo-fi aesthetic. Although you can break it down several different ways, when discussing their sound Bryan Nicol describes it just as “rock n’ roll music”. On Love And Death And All The Rest, Dead Ghosts take their lo-fi rock n’ roll sound adding psychedelic R&B frequencies and broadcast twelve songs with an organic groove. Despite being recorded in a barn with a non-traditional studio atmosphere, the production on this album is cleaner and the best that Dead Ghosts have sounded on record to date.

“Another Love” opens the album with sludgy basslines and guitar/vocals that could be described as The Gun Club meets Captain Beefheart. The song features trippy, watery sounding guitars and harmonica amongst a steady in the pocket drum groove. Lyrically the song has lines such as “Another love that could keep us together” and “You’d leave me in a trash bag baby for sure/And leave me black and blue” that seem to tell the tale of a toxic relationship, contrasting paranoia with reason. “Rat Race” comes in next with jangly garage, country rock and 60s R&B vibes that likens the fast paced 9-5 workday nausea to a race of rats. However, that running in place feeling is not lost here, the mid-tempo grooves of “Rat Race” moves along with a slow and steady wins the race conviction.

“Drink It Dry”, the first single released for this album, walks with a cloudy, swampy groove combining elements of psychedelia with haunting organ and garage/surf dynamics. Inspired by a trip to an off the grid bar when on tour in Italy and the sampling of a bizarre drink, the cloudy unknown, inebriated feeling is captured perfectly in this song like the mist that rises from the Dixie cups that the band drinks from the song’s music video. “It’s Up To You” is a more upbeat rock song in the fashion of “Hangin’ In The Alley” from 2013’s Can’t Get No. This positive minded song acts like a clear-headed vision following the hazy “Drink It Dry”. “Living In My Mind” slips into a paranoid psychedelic train of thought amongst thick-layered guitars. At times the song is reminiscent of The Electric Prunes “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night”. But, Dead Ghosts lyrics on “Living In My Mind” filters through in messages of the realities of worry and overthought, as opposed to The Electric Prunes love lost hangover plight.

Side two of Love And Death And All The Rest starts off with “Good Love (Is Not Free)" and a Stooges circa “I Got A Right” meets The Kinks intro before launching into an intoxicating bass and drum heavy groove. The guitars intertwine in a mix of clean, distortion and tremolo sounding guitar effects as the song tunes in lyrically with signals of love, heartbreak and reflection. “Waste My Time” and “Anything For You” jump in with 60s garage nugget waves, the former drawing from the well that The Seeds once drank from. With a marching drum beat “All In A Row” lines up as track ten on this album and wobbles with a catchy melody that echoes with a search for meaning. With lyrics such as “The less you know/The rest will follow” and “I don’t know if I’m lost/I don’t know if I’m found” Nicol taps into a feeling that reflects the effects expressed by the guitars found on this track.

“Around And Through” is a heavy hitting song with a one note piano part ala “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and early Little Richard recordings, as the intertwining guitars of Bryan Nicol and Andrew Wilkinson are a little behind the beat like a lackadaisical windmill, while “I Will Be Gone” ends the album. This song drips with reverb and 50’s rock influences and a waltz-like rhythm, making a connection with the lyrical content that first was brought to our attention in the album’s opening track, “Another Love”. This full circle message also ties into the album’s title Love And Death And All The Rest. The album ends, much like the character who leaves in the album’s closing track, without the other character knowing so.

The songs on Love And Death And All The Rest are like drinks at a party. As the party winds down there are all different kinds abandoned on the table, but when no one is looking Dead Ghosts mix all those together to create their own unique brew. Before people can notice, the drink much like the album is finished and we are left with the feeling much like the character in the album’s closing track. But, don’t let this metaphor fool you, this album isn’t like sucking back on some concoction of Grandpas old cough medicine. The songs that make up Love And Death And All The Rest are balanced with just the right musical influences and flavours. Drink up.

Check out the interview I did with Bryan of Dead Ghosts here:

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Newtown Neurotics - Hypocrite
2. Chris Knox - Honesty’s Not Enough
3. Beliefs - Colour Of Your Name
4. Sunwolf - Follow The Dreamers
5. Holy Ruth & The Grey Jays - Little One
6. The Locusts Have No King - This And That (CJAM Session January 2008)
7. Protomartyr - I Forgive You
8. W-X - The Lurk
9. Dead Ghosts - Another Love

Bryan Nicol of Dead Ghosts Interview

10. Dead Ghosts - Rat Race
11. The Kinks - Anytime (Lola vs. Powerman Outtake)
12. Plagues - I’ve Been Through It Before
13. The Iguanas - Again & Again
14. The Revels - Commanche
15. Jack Wood - Born To Wander
16. Johnny Cash - There You Go
17. Ray Condo & His Hardrock Goners - Greenback Dollar
18. Leonard Coen - Love Calls You By Your Name
19. The Scenics - Not Dead Yet
20. Fuzz - Pipe
21. Death - Where Do We Go From Here???
22. The Revs - Just Ask Why
23. Steph Copeland - Straight In A Heap
24. The Sylvia Platters - The Girl With Curious Hair
25. The Cramps - It’s Just That Song
26. The Gun Club - Carry Home

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 28. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

As a side note and for those keeping count, episode 587 of Revolution Rock was a repeat episode that originally aired back in September 2015. You can download that episode here and find the playlist in this post.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Scenics In The Summer Andy Meyers Interview & Show # 586

In 1976, Andy Meyers posted an ad in a Toronto music shop looking for musicians to form a band that was bold and risk taking. Only one person, future Scenics member Ken Badger, answered this ad. The two would become the main songwriters of the group, often alternating between bass, guitar and vocal duties depending on who wrote a particular composition. The band would play in the Toronto punk/new wave scene in the late 70s and were known for their experimental sound. The Scenics blended elements of bands such as Television, Pere Ubu, The Velvet Underground, Roxy Music, Big Star and The Byrds, among others. However, The Scenics sound was uniquely their own. During their initial run as a band from 1976-1982, The Scenics released one full-length album 1979’s Underneath The Door and a single “Karen/See Me Smile” in 1981. They were also featured in Colin Brunton’s 1978 documentary The Last Pogo, as well as being on the accompanying soundtrack. A collection of vintage recordings were released in 2008 (How Does It Feel To Be Loved), 2009 (Sunshine World) and in 2012 an album of new recordings was released as Dead Man Walks Down Bayview. In the fall of 2015, a remastered version of recordings made from 1977-1978 was released as In The Summer on Dream Tower Records via CD and Rave Up Records on vinyl.

In The Summer opens with the erratic grooves of “O Boy”. Musically the song blends elements of Pere Ubu and The Velvet Underground with a sense of up-tempo, nervous energy. Lyrically Ken Badger sings of what seems to be a series of disillusioned experiences by someone who is "A product of a college community”, while Andy Meyers lays down a heavy bass groove that digs deep. “Do The Wait” is a more straightforward song with vocal harmonies that sound as if they are from Velvet Underground’s Loaded album as buzzing guitars and melodic basslines dance in between the guitars, drums and vocals. “It’s just the sweetest thing that you have ever seen/Like you’re walking standstill in a dream” is a lyric that exemplifies the mood expressed in this song. It also features a section of silence before it ends which humorously makes the listener “wait”, while listening to “Do The Wait”.

The second track “Wild Trout” swims with exotic landscape inspired lyrics, guitar arpeggios and flooding basslines and crashing drums, while the next song “Great Piles Of Leaves” features basslines that drift in amongst the drums and vocals. “Great Piles Of Leaves” tells a fable involving a father and son. The son wants to be a great cellist like Pablo Casals, but it seems he is uncomfortable with his surroundings and takes solace in the simple things like playing in great piles of leaves, not really focusing on anything in particular. When the leaves are cleared he finds himself older and in a domesticated lifestyle. “I’m Hurt” features a catchy intense chorus that has a smooth funky bassline that juxtaposes with the guitar lines. The song also features a breakdown towards the end of the song with saxophone showcases The Scenics willingness to experiment with jazz textures. “Sunshine World” reflects the jagged rhythms of Gang Of Four and Devo, while the title track “In The Summer” reveals a Byrds influence. The songs “Gotta Come Back Here” and “So Fine” provide slower, more mid-tempo grooves. “Not Dead Yet” sucks you into a trance-like state. The sprawling, watery guitars filter in and out of the steady bass and drum grooves as the lyrics seem to deal with a lazy, yet sinister character that doesn’t know what they want.

In “Great Piles Of Leaves” Andy Meyers sings that “Perfection is not necessary as long as he gets things right”. Well it seems like The Scenics did get things right long ago when they were recording these tracks, but no one really heard them then. For The Scenics, when the leaves of the past are cleared we are left with recordings that many never knew existed. And while this album is an abbreviated version of 2009’s Sunshine World, these newly remastered recordings are exhilarating and a more powerful example of The Scenics vintage 1977/1978 period.

Check out the interview that I did with Andy Meyers of The Scenics here:

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Archie & The Bunkers - I’m Not Really Sure What I’m Gonna Do
2. Juice Box - Rat Therapy
3. Neil Young - The Losing End (When You're On)
4. Big Mama Thornton - Black Rat (Take Two)
5. Patti Smith - Gimme Shelter
6. Pointed Sticks - Broke
7. The Scenics - O Boy

The Scenics Andy Meyers Interview

8. The Scenics - Great Piles Of Leaves
9. Talking Heads - The Book I Read
10. Pere Ubu - Misery Goats
11. What Seas What Shores - Blank Of America
12. Gram Parsons - The Return Of The Grievous Angel
13. The Pogues - Jesse James
14. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding
15. Allen Toussaint - Brickyard Blues
16. Ought - Celebration
17. Deerhunter - Duplex Planet
18. Paul Jacobs - Still Waiting
19. The Velvet Underground - Satellite of Love (Demo)
20. The Velvet Underground - Sweet Jane (Early Version Remix)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 14. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

The Libertines, Young Rival & Show # 585

The Libertines - Barbarians

After The Libertines split up in 2004, no one thought that they would reform. Carl Barat and Pete Doherty have since then been active in many post Libertines musical projects, but in 2014 The Libertines announced that they would be reforming. In September 2015, the band released Anthems For Doomed Youth, their third full-length album. Being an album of new material from a band that stopped releasing music eleven years ago some may have been skeptical of the new album, but Anthems For Doomed Youth is a strong follow up to 2004’s The Libertines. This album does not lack any of the energy or allure that made the band interesting back then. Here is a live version of the song “Barbarians”, one of the many new songs on Anthems For Doomed Youth.

Young Rival - Bent Out Of Shape

In October 2015, Hamilton’s Young Rival released Interior Light. This is the follow up to 2012’s Stay Young, an album that saw the band expanding their sound pulling in more textures, adding stronger melodies and a mix of crunchy and watery guitar sound effects. On Interior Light, Young Rival gets more psychedelic allowing the guitars and melodies to drift like paint on a canvas. Interior Light adds more colour to Young Rival’s already established garage pop palette. Released via Paper Bag Records, several videos have been released from this album. Most recently, Young Rival released a video for the song “Bent Out Of Shape”. The video features a lone dancer clearly from the 80s or late 70s that dances along with song’s trance-like melodies.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. The Blind Doctors - Carousel Lovebird
2. The Libertines - Barbarians
3. Wavves - Heavy Metal Detox
4. Art Brut - My Little Brother
5. Stitch In Time - Point of View
6. Drive-By Truckers - Where The Devil Don't Stay (Live)
7. Library Voices - Oh Donna
8. John Grant - Down Here
9. David Bowie - Velvet Goldmine
10. Fembots - Up From The Ditches
11. Wylde Rattz - T.V. Eye (Mark Arm Version)
12. Empty Heads - Ethanol
13. TV Freaks - Love Fade
14. Fuzz - Jack The Maggot
15. Manaray - You Can Never Say No
16. Manaray - Love
17. Born Ruffians - When Things Get Pointless
18. Young Rival - Throw It In The River
19. Young Rival - Interior Light
20. The Shakers - Move On
21. Thee Mighty Caesars - It’s You I Hate To Lose
22. Dead Ghosts - It’s Up To You
23. Actual Water - Latoya
24. TV Freaks - Regular Guy
25. Fugazi - Full Disclosure
26. La Luz - I Wanna Be Alone (With You)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 7. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

CJAM FM Pledge Drive 2015 & Show # 584

Every year CJAM FM, a non-profit based campus/community radio station in the Windsor/Detroit area holds an annual pledge drive. One week during the year CJAM asks for support from the communities in which it serves on a daily basis. Over the most recent years due in part to help from the Windsor/Detroit communities, CJAM FM managed to secure a new frequency as 99.1 FM under protected status, something that during its run when it was on 91.5 on the FM dial it never had. Most recently the station increased their wattage from 500 watts to 2, 084 watts, reaching more people and branching out further than it ever has before.

The content that CJAM FM provides is an alternative to the mainstream. Artists local and independent find a voice throughout the station’s variety of programs and content. Musically, local and independent bands get exposure that they otherwise wouldn’t and CJAM’s spoken word programming provides differing points of view to issues amongst the Windsor/Detroit communities that would not get coverage if it were not for campus/community radio stations like CJAM. Weekly, DJs and volunteers put in their time to provide programs and content that is unique, different and provides the listener with something different from what you might find in the mainstream media. On many occasions, artists have been discovered through CJAM first and their DJs, volunteers and staff dig deep to provide valuable content. In a world that has streaming and the Internet at your fingertips, CJAM FM (which was one of the first stations to offer a live stream of its radio feed in 1996 and still does so online) continues to provide content that is relevant regardless of musical genre or background.

If you have ever tuned into the station, whether online or on 99.1 FM in the Windsor/Detroit area and have heard something that interested you or lead you to discovering something new, that is a great reason to show your support to CJAM FM. If you would like to support the station and help CJAM continue to grow, there are many options available and a variety of incentives available as a thank you for your support. This can be done by calling 519-971-3630 (in Windsor) or 1-855-344-2526 (in Detroit/out of town) or by donating online at www.cjam.ca or at https://grouprev.com/cjam-revolution-rock

Since this year's program fell on Halloween, all of the songs in my playlist this week were Halloween themed. You can view the play list below.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. The Moontrekkers - Night Of The Vampire
2. Deja Voodoo - Skeleton At My Party
3. 3-D Invisibles - Jump Off The Screen
4. Kip Tyler - She's My Witch
5. X-Ray Cat Trio - Wolf Cop
6. Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages - She’s Fallen In Love With A Monster Man
7. The Spooks - Now I'm Gonna Steal Your Soul
8. The Ordinaires - Virgo Intactica
9. The Bambi Molesters - Beach Murder Mystery
10. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Jack The Ripper
11. Indian Wars - Comanche Killer
12. The Brains - Train
13. Pow Wows - Car Cemetery
14. Bob Hafner - Surf Creature
15. The Deadly Ones - It’s Monster Surfing Time
16. The Mummies - The Fly
17. Los Salcos - (Fugitvo De) Alcatraz
18. The Misfits - Return Of The Fly
19. The Cramps - Sunglasses After Dark
20. The Stolen Minks - Black Widow
21. King Khan & BBQ Show - Killing The Wolfman
22. The Sonics - The Witch

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

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Mike Krol Turkey & Show # 583

Turkey is the newest release by Mike Krol. A musician that relocated to Los Angeles from Milwaukee, Krol left behind his graphic design career and in 2014 began recording his most focused effort to date, Turkey. This album is his third full-length release (I Hate Jazz and Trust Fund were released on Counter Counter Culture records), but his first release on Merge Records. The sound on the record blends elements of power pop with lo-fi garage and a punk rock edge. The sense of chaotic, shambolic energy from his first two releases are still present on Turkey. Krol dons the album cover for Turkey in a cop uniform, looking kind of like American actor Jason Schwartzman, but Krol showcases a sense of humour and doesn’t take himself too seriously on this album. Songs such as “Cactuses” and “Piano Shit” are examples of this as he blends his lo-fi sounds with elastic pop melodies.

There could be multiple metaphors relating to the album’s title, Turkey. A turkey is when you get three consecutive strikes in a row in bowling, but also turkey could be used in a derogatory fashion. Krol most likely used this title because this is his third album in the bowling game of music that he has been playing since I Hate Jazz was first released in 2011. But, on Turkey, Krol proves that he is no “turkey”. He may not be that well known, but on Turkey, Krol throws his ball towards the pins and gets his third strike in a row.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Coke Weed - New Jive
2. Cellos - The New Religion
3. KEN Mode - The Owl...
4. Shellac - Spoke
5. Protomatyr - Uncle Mother's
3. The Dead Weather - Lose The Right
6. Tommy Stinson - Not This Time
7. Deerhunter - Snakeskin
8. Meghan Hamilton - 4am
9. Long Distance Runners - Wolves
10. The Triffids - In The Pines
11. Snake River - I Saw You
12. The Deadly Hearts - Moon Walk
13. Fire Engines - Hungry Beat
14. Mick Futures - You Want It All
15. Titus Andronicus - Dimed Out
16. The Fits - Just Lust
17. The Scenics - Gotta Come Back Here
18. Public Image Limited - Selfish Rubbish
19. Joy Division - Colony (John Peel Session 1979)
20. The Pixies - Motorway To Roswell (John Peel Session 1991)
21. Elvis Costello - Mystery Dance (John Peel Session 1977)
22. The Undertones - Top 20 (John Peel Session 1977)
23. Ty Segall - Mr. Face
24. Link Wray - White Lightning
25. The Zils - Don't Ever Change
26. The Terminals - Do It Today
27. Mike Krol - La La La
28. The Damned - Stab Your Back

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

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Bops, Babes, Booze, The Nips & Show # 582

Many bands were formed and dissolved as a result of the UK punk scene of the late 70s. Several bands are well known such as Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Damned, but there are other bands that featured musicians that would later get recognition, surpassing their punk roots. One such band was The Nipple Erectors. Formed by female artist Shanne Bradley, the band also featured a young vocalist then known as Shane O’Hooligan, whose real name was Shane MacGowan. The initial line-up consisted of Shane MacGowan on vocals, Shanne Bradley on bass, guitarist Rodger Towndrow and Arcane Vendetta on drums. The band mixed the attitude of punk with the influence of rockabilly and 60s garage rock, which set them apart from many other contemporary bands at the time. The band’s first single was “King Of The Bop” backed with the song “Nervous Wreck” released in 1978 on Soho Records. The song merged scratchy garage guitar rhythms with rockabilly and reverb soaked vocals and some feel is the best example of the bands early and intriguing sound. It was coined in the press as punkabilly. The band released one more single under their original band name, “All The Time In The World” backed with “Private Eye” before changing their name to The Nips.

For the remainder for the band’s two singles they went by the name The Nips with an altered band line-up. Band line-up changes were something that occurred throughout the band’s recorded history. The band’s third single “Gabrielle”/”Vengeance” released in 1980 reflected more of a power pop influence, while the band’s 1981 single “Happy Song”/”Nobody To Love” produced by Paul Weller of The Jam, moved more towards a pop direction. While on tour with The Purple Hearts, The Nips recorded a live album that would be released as Only The End Of The Beginning. By the time the band’s last single was released, they were on the outs. Shane MacGowan was composing songs that were more in the vein of traditional Irish music and he would take this sound and form The Pogues. In 1984, Shanne Bradley co-founded the folk-punk oriented group The Men They Couldn't Hang. In 1987, Big Beat compiled many of the band’s recordings along with some outtakes and released the compilation album entitled Bops, Babes, Booze & Bovver under the name Nips ‘N’ Nipple Erectors. If anything, The Nips brief time as a band burned in a bright flash of influences with the attitude and energy of 70s punk rock. The Nips recorded output is yet another example of the range of influences that were brought into music of the late 70s punk scene and how diverse it actually could be sonically despite the traditional punk look and sound.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Pangea - Looked In Too
2. Kieran Douglas - Something To Bleed
3. Lime Spiders - Nine Miles High
4. Born Ruffians - Stupid Dreams
5. The Nips - All The Time In The World
6. The Standells - Why Did you Hurt Me
7. The Gruesomes - One Good Reason
8. The Chandelles - El Gato
9. Cold Country - A Letter To My Daughters
10. Holy Ruth & The Grey Jays - What More
11. The Deslondes - The Real Deal
12. The Sadies - Another Year Again
13. Indian Wars - George Ellis
14. Neil Young - It Might Have Been (Live)
15. Shannon & The Clams - Corvette
16. Teenanger - Alone On Acid
17. The Stooges - 1970 (Take 1)
18. The Wipers - Over The Edge
19. Mudhoney - Not Goin’ Down That Road Again
20. What Seas What Shores - The Ibex
21. Chris Crossroads - The Wolf
22. Tay Falco’s Panther Burns - Come On Little Mama
23. Thee Rum Coves - Nasty Evil Sickness
24. The D4 - Running On Empty
25. The Pointed Sticks - Real Thing (Alternate Version)
26. Buzzcocks - Lester Sands (A Drop In The Ocean)

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

Saturday, October 10, 2015

La Luz Weirdo Shrine & Show # 581

Recorded in an old surf shop by Ty Segall, La Luz’s second full-length album comes off with more of a hazier mood to it as opposed to this Seattle band’s first album, It’s Alive. In addition to the hazy feeling that glides across all of the tracks on Weirdo Shrine, the lyrical subject matter is also darker. Inspired by the Charles Burns graphic novel Black Hole, many of the themes that were found across its pages seep their way into Weirdo Shrine’s lyrics and overall mood. La Luz’s undeniable 60s surf rock influence from bands such as Dick Dale and The Ventures are still apparent, but the band combines this with their strong vocal harmonies ala The Shangri-Las or The Ronnettes, adding a bit of doo-wop and subtle soul influences in with their love of surf music for a sound that is uniquely their own.

The album opens with the slow guitar arpeggios and layered vocal harmonies of “Sleep Till They Die”, a track that juxtaposes a feeling of unease lyrically, while “You Disappear” comes in with a more upbeat drum fill surrounded by hazy, humming organ parts mixed with clean guitars. The song also showcases La Luz’s use of guitar fuzz distortion for their solos. It appears in the middle of this song and subtly at the beginning of the album’s opening track. Mostly known for their cleaner guitar sounds, La Luz employ the distortion that they do use in small doses, not overloading songs with it. Lyrically, words such as “Lost in the city/So far from what you knew” and “No one can tell what direction you’ll go/Your eyes don’t show”, seem to come from the mutated characters of Burns’ Black Hole and come alive in the lyrics and in between the music. But the song also takes on several other meanings, such as one of loneliness or of a fleeting relationship. “With Davey” starts with the fuzzy ambient sounds of the surf shop in which this album was recorded in and a bouncy bassline. Amongst the organ, drum fills, clean guitars and reverb soaked vocals, the song’s distortion creeps in as it ends.

Surf noir is a term that could be used to describe the particular brand of surf music influences that La Luz brings forward on this album. “Don’t Wanna Be Anywhere”, was apparently inspired by the passing of a friend of La Luz guitarist Shana Cleveland and emphasizes an otherworldly feeling, one that would fit into the surf noir description. “Hey Papi” provides a short instrumental break in the album before “I Wanna Be Alone (With You)” comes in with its energetic drums, erratic maracas and an up-tempo groove. “I’ll Be True” showcases drummer Marian Li Pino and bassist Lena Simon’s ability to lock into the groove as the rest of the band plays a descending musical pattern that sounds like the song is drifting or floating. “Oohs and ahhs” along with the dominate lyric “I’ll be true to you/Just as long as you want me to” take on a hypnotizing effect throughout the song. “Black Hole, Weirdo Shrine” continues in the more up-tempo fashion of the later parts of this album. Digging in deep musically and lyrically, the song once again touches on themes from Charles Burns’ graphic novel Black Hole but also on themes of obsession. Keyboardist Alice Sandhal recently provided some insight on this song in an interview for Rookie Magazine:

I was thinking about things that people obsess about in life, like love or religion or spirituality. Things people build up with all this personal meaning, which nobody could understand the way they do. A lot of songs end up being love songs or songs about obsession, like you’re making this weird shrine, like it’s not even a person it’s just this idea of someone that you’ve created in your head that nobody could understand in the same way.

Along with the earlier track “You Disappear”, “Oranges” was inspired in part by the Washington poet Richard Brautigan. “Oranges” is the second instrumental track found on Weirdo Shrine and it provides a break, bringing down the tempo just before the album’s closing track, “True Love Knows”. With lyrics such as “True love knows when it’s left alone”, this song evokes a haunting melody by Cleveland and themes of escape seem to buoy their way throughout Weirdo Shrine’s last track.

When thinking of 60s surf rock, the image of being on a beach in the sun as surfers explore the ocean waves are often conjured up. For La Luz, they trade sunlight for dusk, as the band plays on Weirdo Shrine one could imagine the band playing as the sun is going down as opposed to it shining bright. La Luz bounces back and forth between cool nighttime vibes and beams of sunlight tackling and overcoming the sophomore slump that bands sometimes fall into with their second album. On Weirdo Shrine, La Luz builds their own sound and identity. This album takes on a smooth cinematic landscape, providing a layered, hazy, surf- influenced sound with a northwest twist.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Babysitter - Exploding Youth
2. Tough Age - Flying Carpet
3. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Living In Paradise
4. The Riptides - 77 Sunset Strip
5. Sunnyboys - Love To Rule
6. Alex G - Kicker
7. Kurt Vile - I'm An Outlaw
8. Tea Leaves - I Want To Live In The Dirt
9. The Hellbound Hepcats - Black Cats
10. X-Ray Cat Trio - Rockero Fantasma
11. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Exit From Vince Lombardi High School
12. U.S Girls - Sed Knife
13. Slim Twig - Live In, Live On Your Era
14. The Boys Next Door - The Night Watchmen
15. The Boys Next Door - The Voice
16. Courtney Barnett - Shivers
17. Mike Krol Cactuses
18. Blind Doctors - You've Got A Drinking Friend
19. Middle Sister Finer Things Cries Of The Wild
20. The 3-D Invisibles - The Blob
21. Ought - The Combo
22. The Famines - Attack Machine Blues
23. The Gories - Hidden Charms
24. The Leftovers - I Only Panic When There’s Nothing To Do
25. The Saints - (I’m) Stranded
26. The Saints - A Minor Aversion
27. La Luz - I Don’t Wanna Be Anywhere
28. La Luz - Black Hole, Weirdo Shrine

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

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Road Gore: The Band That Drank Too Much, Jerry Jerry & The Sons Of Rhythm Orchestra & Show # 580

Road Gore: The Band That Drank Too Much is the debut album released by Edmonton, Alberta’s Jerry Jerry & The Sons of Rhythm Orchestra. Although the album was released in 1985 on OG Records (and on CD in 1990), the band first got their start in 1982. Their first release was an EP in 1984 entitled Fighting Socialism put out on Rubber Records. Apparently the only release on this label, Rubber Records was an independent label put together by the band’s soundman, Barry Peters. However, it wasn’t until after opening for Deja Voodoo at the Edmonton Ski Club that Jerry Jerry & The Sons Of Rhythm Orchestra were signed to OG. Reportedly the band drank six cases of beer, smoked several packs of cigarettes and played for approximately 45 minutes, but something about the band’s uninhibited sound and energy drew in the members of Deja Voodoo. Road Gore emphasizes that alone in its title, but the music contained on the record is something else entirely. In thirteen tracks, the band blasts through rockabilly, country, surf, gospel, and garage musical styles with a feral energy that some might also call punk rock.

The album opens with a surf song called “Gospel Surf” a short ramshackle song adhering to the elements of the surf music genre, but at the same time adding elements of garage rock and rockabilly music, featuring sound effects and random hollering from lead vocalist Jerry Woods. This song in its reckless abandon is a calling card for what was to come from the band and on the album. “Rhythm Crazy” comes in as song number two on this album with a clean rockabilly tone and tongue-in-cheek lyrics telling the story of a partying dancer with “soul in her big fat feet”. A more upbeat tempo comes in for the third song on this album “Color TV”, a song that touches on the commercialism of TV culture at the time and a character that becomes so transfixed by television she doesn’t notice a burglary that takes place in her house. The choppy rhythms of “Baby’s On Fire” recalls scratchy garage rock burning with lyrics relating to jealousy, “Livin’ On Top” looks at the US culture through a Canadian lens and “Daddy Was A Peacock” is a sloppy R&B take on a story that recalls a fathers glory days.

Side of two of Road Gore starts with the song “Happy Nun” with fuzzy guitar riffs and lyrics that juxtapose a happy nuns demeanor vs. a more raucous lifestyle, “Bad Idea” echoes with sleazy roots rock and country influences with an anti-socialism message, as the ramped up country of “Rancher King” seems to question the traditions of the rancher lifestyle. Songs such as “You Make Me Blue” travels into bluesier pastures before “Judgment Date”, which after several songs dealing with mischievous drinking related activities, brings us to an Armageddon-gospel themed track that builds and burns with as much intensity as the album’s first track. Following two more songs featured on the It Came From Canada compilation albums on OG Records (“Radical Look” and “Yap Yap”), the band relocated to Montreal in 1986 and released their second full-length album, the critically acclaimed follow-up Battle Hymn of the Apartment in 1987.

According to an interview with Exclaim in 2000, the album’s title was inspired by a road trip to Saskatoon with another band featuring Moe Berg (later of The Pursuit Of Happiness), but it was also around this time that the band made the connection with Deja Voodoo and OG Records and were put on the path towards their sound and ethos. Jerry Woods has often said that when The Sons Of Rhythm Orchestra started he didn’t take them that seriously, but on Road Gore: The Band That Drank Too Much, there are a multitude of different things growing beneath the surface. Whether it is the cow-punk dynamics of the music that also featured elements of garage, surf and blues or the lyrics, on Road Gore: The Band Who Drank Too Much, Jerry Jerry & The Sons Of Rhythm Orchestra started on a road less travelled with something different to say and to spread their own gospel.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1.  Jerry Jerry & The Sons Of Rhythm Orchestra - Gospel Surfer
2.  Jerry Jerry & The Sons Of Rhythm Orchestra -  Rhythm Crazy
3.  The Syndicats - Crawdaddy Simone
4.  The Dirty Pretty Things - Don’t Bring Me Down
5.  Monomyth - Transmission
6.  Telstar Drugs - Pulley
7.  Ought - Celebration
8.  The Buttons - I’ve Been Lookin’
9.  The Colonials - Crawdad
10. The Sadies - The First 5 Minutes
11. The Sadies - Leave This World Behind
12. Johnny Cash - Train Of Love
13. Richard “Rabbit” Brown - James Alley Blues
14. The Space Plan - Tread Lightly
15. The New Dimensions - Chicky Run
16. The Sentinals - Exotic
17. The Libertines - Heart Of The Matter
18. The Intelligence - Refuse To Pay The Dues
19. Shannon & The Clams - It’s Too Late
20. Rock “N’ Roll Monkey & The Robots - Love Is Chemical
21. Neon Boys - High Heeled Wheels
22. Simply Saucer - I Take It (Demo)
23. The Verlaines - You Say You
24. David Kilgour - Living In Space
25. The Slit Plasters - The Dung Fly
26. Fake Tears - Heart Break Loud
27. MC5 - Baby Won’t Ya

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

As a side note and for those keeping count, episode 579 of Revolution Rock was a repeat episode that originally aired back in August 2015. You can download that episode here and find the playlist in this post.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Sadies & Show # 578

Toronto’s The Sadies have been captivating audiences with their wildly entertaining live shows since they first began in 1994. Since then, The Sadies have taken their sound which mixes elements of country, bluegrass, garage rock, punk, blues and instrumental surf music for a sound that is all their own. Fronted by brothers Dallas and Travis Good, this four-piece band has received critical acclaim for many of their albums including 2002’s The Story’s Often Told, 2004’s Favourite Colours and 2007’s New Seasons, which was also nominated for a Juno award. In addition to their own merits, The Sadies have collaborated with many other artists both live, backing up several artists and on record. They have collaborated with Andre Williams, Gord Downie, Garth Hudson, Neko Case and John Doe to name a few. In 2013, The Sadies released Internal Sounds. The Sadies ramped up their punk and psych-rock influences, while also balancing it with the more subtle nuances in their already established sound. Internal Sounds also marks the first album in which Sadies member Dallas Good took on the producer role.

The Sadies were part of the line-up for this year's Phog Phest in Windsor, Ontario.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Pony - Somethin’ About You
2. Ponyshow - Folks
3. Itzjunk - Lip Service
4. Sonic Youth - Death Valley 69
5. Japandroids - To Hell With Good Intentions
6. Built To Spill - The Plan
7. The Clean - Thumbs Off
8. The Fresh & Onlys - Summer Wheels
9. Ariel Pink - Jell-O
10. The Users - Kicks In Style
11. The Twistin' Tarantulas - The Flight Of The Super Bee
12. La Luz - With Davey
13. The Bell Peppers - The Hoofstomp
14. Daniel Romano - I”m Gonna Teach You
15. Destroyer - Midnight Meets The Rain
16. Middle Sister - Tongue of Silver
17. Ray Condo & The Hard Knock Goners - This Is The Night
18. The Sadies - Cheat (Live)
19. The Sadies - The Story's Often Told (Live)
20. Wintersleep - Martyr
21. Ought - The Weather Song
22. Paul Simon - I Know What I Know
23. REM - Radio Free Europe (Live)
24. The Skids - Sweet Suburbia
25. The Black Lips - Drugs
26. The Velvet Underground - Coney Island Steeplechase
27. Television - Fire Engine (Demo)
28. The Castaways - Liar, Liar
29. The Flaming Lips - Strychnine/Peace Love And Understanding
30. Iggy & The Stooges - Wild Love (Detroit Rehearsals 1973)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for September 19. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Thee Tsunamis & Show # 577

Thee Tsunamis first stormed out of Bloomington, Indiana in 2013 with their now sold out demo tape, A Goodbad Man Is Hard To Find. Released on Magnetic South, a record label and analog recording studio, the demo tape showcased this three-piece girl garage group’s sound. The band blended elements of surf, 60s bubblegum pop, doo-wop, and garage with a punk edge. An EP entitled Delirium And Dark Waters followed in 2014, which featured four monster B-Movie, retro sci-fi inspired songs. 2015 saw the release of Thee Tsunamis first full-length release Saturday Night Sweetheart. The album cover brings to mind B-movie horror posters, art in the spirit of The Cramps, Ramones and 60s female R&B soul groups. The album’s cover also features a simple colour scheme and each member of the band members having what appears to be their eyes cut out. It is minimalist, campy, yet menacing. This twelve-track album mixes elements of 70s punk, 50s rock, doo-wop, 60s garage and bubblegum pop in an infectious fashion. With song titles such as “Female Trouble”, “Kill Kill Kill”, “Teenage Dreams” and “Un Psycho”, It wouldn’t be hard to imagine this band wreaking havoc at a drive-in movie theatre in a long lost low budget B-movie from the late 50s or early 60s. Saturday Night Sweetheart is out on Magnetic South as an LP/CD and Burger Records as a cassette.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Young Rival - Interior Light
2. Thee Tsunamis - Drag
3. Fidlar - Why Generation
4. Courtney Barnett - Elevator Operator
5. Tobias Jesso Jr. - Crocodile Tears
6. Magic Christian - Tomorrow Never Comes
7. It’s All Meat - You Don’t Notice The Time You Waste
8. Frog Eyes - Joe With The Jam
9. The Rolling Stones - Ride On, Baby
10. Wolf Parade - You Are A Runner I Am My Fathers Son
11. Shuhari - Takamanohara
12. What Seas What Shores - Gugelhupf
13. Joy Division - Walked In Line
14. The Rage - I’ve Got Your Number
15. The Wayouts - No Time
16. The Nipple Erectors - King Of The Bop
17. Guided By Voices - The Queen Of Cans And Jars
18. Babysitter - Candy
19. Dead Ghosts - Drink It Dry
20. Thee Oh Sees - Wait, Let’s Go
21. David Bowie - I've Been Waiting For You
22. Morrissey - I Don't Mind If You Forget Me
23. The Locusts Have No King - Still Fed
24. Squeeze - Pulling Muscles (From The Shell)
25. Ian Dury - I'm Partial To Your Abracadabra

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for September 12. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Middle Sister Cries Of The Wild & Show # 576

Cries Of The Wild is the new album made by Windsor’s Middle Sister. As each song progresses something different reveals itself within its construct. Their 2014 EP was described as “mid-century folk rock and chamber pop, whose sounds are flush with Canadiana,” Cries Of The Wild isn’t far off from that description. The line-up on this recording consists of singer/guitarist Colin Wysman, Kaitlyn Kelly (piano/mandolin/vocals), James Oltean-Lepp (bass), Stu Kennedy (violin/guitar) and Nate Gelinas on drums. Dave Dubois plays bass in the band’s current line-up. Recorded by Mark Plankce at Sharktank Studios on analog tape, the sounds found here strike a chord with the influences of Bonnie Prince Billy, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Simon & Garfunkel and the sounds of post rock.

“There’s something to be said about the energy that can be captured when you’ve got five musicians playing together in the same room. There was still a considerable amount of time devoted to overdubs, but they were used mostly to add some depth to the record rather than for core instrumentation. We did a lot more preproduction for Cries of the Wild too, with Nate planning out all of the auxiliary percussion that appears on almost every track, Stu working out layered string arrangements and Kaitlyn planning the vocal harmonies for the record.” Says Wysman.

The album opens with “Devil In The Song”, a dramatic opening thick with strong vocal harmonies that builds with intensity preparing listeners for the music that is to come. “I Want To Be The Man” is a mid-tempo number with electric guitars, underlying organ and lyrics that seem to convey a message of determination and accomplishment on your own terms. The album’s title track floats with layered vocals, percussion, guitar, chillingly haunting vocal harmonies and violin in contrast to the warm analog sounds found on this album. It is also an example of the band’s innate chemistry.

“… during my time as a grad student in the History MA program at the University of Windsor. My research steered me towards early Canadian folk tales and the romanticization of nature in early 20th century hunting culture. I guess that this kind of fixation and emphasis on Canadiana found its way into the lyrics with a lot of the tunes referencing Canadian history’s folk heroes and figures.” Adds Wysman.

“Rosasharn” another song with organ and mandolin accompaniments was inspired by a live performance of the play The Grapes Of Wrath and the Steinbeck novel of the same name. This song and “One For The Road” sung by Kaitlyn Kelly, fits into a theme of travel and solitude that presents itself at different moments throughout this album. “Tongue Of Silver”, another album highlight, features folk elements combined with prominent violin parts and instrumental breakdowns that convey a Celtic atmosphere. Drums crash in between the violin and the song’s melodies like a wooden ship making its way through a heavy storm, while the lyrics tell the tale of a man weathered by his own actions, but one who is also oblivious to this fact. As Cries Of The Wild ends with an instrumental reprise, it’s the little details that make it unique. Between the louder and subtler moments, Middle Sister delivers ten songs that at times feels like a journey. One told through music and song.

The following interview was done between myself (Dave Konstantino of Revolution Rock) and Colin Wysman of Middle Sister. We talk of recording, the band's influences and formation.

RR: How would you compare Middle Sister’s progression musically from your first EP to your new album Cries Of The Wild?

CW: The first EP was very much a solitary songwriting process. I had this reserve of completed ideas and songs that I had been sitting on for months, some of them years. I tracked them with Nate and Kyle playing drums and bass, and then overdubbed guitars, piano, mandolin and multiple layers of vocals myself. After most of the album was complete, Kaitlyn and Stu joined the process, tracking vocals and violin and eventually joining the band. By contrast, most of the songs on Cries of the Wild were written after the full scope of the group was established and so they have a much stronger collaborative feel. For this album, I would generally bring more loosely arranged songs to the table and we would work collectively on developing the instrumentation and arrangements. As a result, I find the songs on the new album to revolve much more closely around vocals, strings, and percussion, instead of the acoustic guitar, and to be more the product of the diversity of our musical influences.

RR: How did the recording process differ this time around? Do you feel that working in a different environment than when your EP was recorded affected the overall sound of the album?

CW: The main difference with the recording of Cries of the Wild was that the band had a complete lineup and that allowed us to record the bed tracks live. I think the result is that the album has a bit of a tighter feel to it since we were all in the same room recording together. There’s something to be said about the energy that can be captured when you’ve got 5 musicians playing together in the same room. There was still a considerable amount of time devoted to overdubs, but they were used mostly to add some depth to the record rather than for core instrumentation. We did a lot more preproduction for Cries of the Wild too, with Nate planning out all of the auxiliary percussion that appears on almost every track, Stu working out layered string arrangements and Kaitlyn planning the vocal harmonies for the record. Mark has an intense collection of vintage gear and amps and so it was nice to be able to experiment a bit more in the studio. One of the highlights for me was getting to record with his 1954 Hammond organ. It has such a unique sound, and I think brought a lot to the tracks on which we used it. The whole thing was also recorded to analog tape, which gives an amazing warmth to the overall sound. I think these little differences contributed in large ways to the final product.

RR: Lyrically the album is rich with folk-like imagery at times. Where did you draw inspiration from for the songs lyrically and musically?

CW: Most of the songs for the EP and Cries of the Wild were written during my time as a grad student in the History MA program at the University of Windsor. My research at the time had steered me towards early Canadian folk tales and the romanticization of nature in early 20th century hunting culture. I guess that this kind of fixation and emphasis on Canadiana found its way into the lyrics with a lot of the tunes referencing Canadian history’s folk heroes and figures. It was never a conscious effort to keep returning to these themes though; just kind of the things that were on my mind while these songs were taking shape. There are a few songs on the record that don’t reflect this at all. “Rosasharn” for example was written after Kaitlyn and I saw a performance of the play The Grapes of Wrath and inspired me to go back and revisit the Steinbeck novel. That story is almost the complete antithesis of Canadiana, but in a way the themes fit with the other songs that we were writing. “One for the Road” is one of Kaitlyn’s songs that fits the overall themes of travel and solitude that are present on the album, but comes from a very different place.

RR: How and when did Middle Sister form as a band? Middle Sister is different from other musical projects/bands that you have been involved with in the past. Is this band and sound always something you were interested in exploring and if so why?

CW: Middle Sister came about at a time when I was really trying to develop my fingerpicking technique. I had written a bunch of progressions and parts that didn’t really fit with what What Seas What Shores (another band Colin plays with) was doing at the time. I grew up listening to a lot Neil Young, Simon and Garfunkel and CS&N, mainly because that’s what my parents played around the house, so I’ve always had an affinity for folk-rock type music. I spent a bit of time writing lyrics and trying to flesh the ideas out as folk songs and started jamming with Nate and Kyle in the basement of the Mansion. Shortly thereafter Kaitlyn and I started working together on vocal arrangements and I think that’s where the Fleetwood Mac influence on her singing becomes really apparent. After most of the first EP was tracked, Stu joined the group and overdubbed violin on the songs, bringing his own influences and style to the material. He’s a big fan of prog and krautrock, bands like King Crimson and Stereolab, but also grew up on classical music. I should note that in spite of all the artists of the 60s and 70s that I’m citing as influences, I really tried to retain some of the elements of noisiness that I had been using in other projects for so long. To be honest, I don’t see my playing in Middle Sister as a huge departure from my playing in What Seas What Shores. I use a lot of fingerpicking and delay/reverb effects in both bands. I guess it’s a matter of the other people in each group that influences the direction that the songs go. I’ve obviously made an effort to write more folky stuff for Middle Sister, but to me, the style of my playing is similar for both groups.

RR: What’s next for Middle Sister?

CW: We’ve already had a pretty busy spring with a few trips up to Toronto to play CMW and NXNE. We’re hoping to get out of town a little more often once the album is released. Kaitlyn recently moved back home to Windsor after spending the better part of the last year living in New York and Dave started playing bass in the band shortly after Cries of the Wild was completed so it will be nice to continue to work on new material with this current lineup. We’re about two-thirds of the way through writing a new album and it’s already moving in a little bit of a new direction. I expect that it will be a busy and exciting fall and winter trying to solidify the arrangements of the new tunes.

Another version of this article first appeared in The Windsor Independent.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. X-Ray Cat Trio - Surfin’ Sasquatch
2. B-Girls - Fun At The Beach
3. The Pixies - Cecelia Ann
4. The Twistin' Tarantulas - Ridin' In The Mighty Dodge
5. The Bellfuries - Baltimore
6. Yo La Tengo - I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
7. Hank Williams - Honky Tonkin’
8. Elvis Costello - I'm Not Angry
9. Mac DeMarco - No Other Heart
10. The Pretenders - The Phone Call
11. Martha & The Muffins - Paint By Number Heart
12. Pulp - Babies
13. Destroyer - Dream Lover
14. Middle Sister - Devil In The Song
15. Middle Sister - I Want To Be The Man
16. Leonard Coen - Story Of Isaac
17. Slim Twig - Textiles On Mainstreet
18. The Blasters - I'm Shakin' (Live)
19. The Verbal Teabags - We Could Be Stars
20. Cellos - White Swans
21. The Famines - Hail To The Taxman
22. The Existers - Telex Love
23. Alice Cooper - Long Way To Go
24. Modest Mouse - Sugar Boats
25. Fake Palms - YTMATLDPH
26. Captain Beefheart - Dropout Boogie
27. Captain Beefheart - I'm Glad

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for September 5. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

As a side note and for those keeping count, episode 575 of Revolution Rock was a repeat episode that originally aired back in June 2015. You can download that episode here and find the playlist in this post.