Saturday, April 25, 2015

X More Fun In the New World & Show # 557

“The New World” opens the album More Fun In The New World by the Los Angeles band X. The song attacks in a dizzying laidback rhythm that has drawn comparisons to The Clash’s “London Calling”. The song bounces with the melodic bass notes of John Doe, the chiming and stop and start guitar parts by Billy Zoom, the in the pocket groove of D.J. Bonebrake and the harmonizing vocal parts of John Doe and Exene Cervenka. The song tells the story in a cinematic, poetic nature as do a majority of the songs on this album. “The New World” probes with a political message wrapped around the narrative of a bum trying to get a drink on Election Day. The song addressed the times of a then recession in the 80s in the Ronald Regan era, but with a message that still can be relatable over thirty years later.

The pace picks up a bit with the second track “We’re Having Much More Fun”, a song that tells a tale of rambunctiousness in Los Angeles and “True Love” where singer Exene rants about love and the devil. “Poor Girl” brings in a subtle rockabilly groove while blending a Bo Diddley style influence. Sung by bassist John Doe, the lyrics build a character sketch of a drunken lover who holds all the cards with lyrics such as “Poor little girl/Run away for good/I try to explain/Why she won’t say a thing” that further adds embellishments to the outlines to this songs character sketch. “Make The Music Go Bang” attacks with a punk rock fury reminiscent of the band’s earlier recordings with Billy Zoom’s crunchy sliding guitar leads and a line that sets the tone for the time and mood of the album, “Bang, bang make the music go bang/Brilliant shining and nasty”. As the album’s fifth track the band cover the song “Breathless”, a song once performed and made a classic by Jerry Lee Lewis. On this track X takes their own off the rails aggressive sound, combined with Exene Cervenka’s passionately charged vocals and apply it to this song to make it their own. This song also made an appearance to the 1983 film of the same name starring Richard Gere. Coincidently, this movie about a French girl and an American criminal in Los Angeles was a remake of a film by French filmmaker Francois Truffant. X created their own “remake” so to speak of the song “Breathless” that ends out the film and it also finds a place on More Fun In The New World. This album was the first in a series of albums where they began to expand their musical borders beyond the scope of punk and this is a shining example of it.

“I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts” is a social commentary by X, which addresses everything from war to the state of punk and radio in America at the time. One of the lines in this song references bands at the time that did not get airplay, but one’s that were and still are highly influential today, the lines “I hear the radio is finally gonna play new music/You know, the British invasion/But what about The Minutemen, Flesh Eaters, DOA, Big Boys and The Black Flag?” filter in at one point in this song adding to its rant, yet also to the musical elements of the song which displays a cleaner sound. The state of finding music was vastly different to our current Internet age where information and songs can be looked up instantly, but at the same time this song brings to mind the parallels of the past and present. While it was most definitely a different time in 1983, there were still challenges being a band and having your voice heard. The same problems exist today, but in a different social construct.

“Devil Doll” attacks with a furious punk sound ala Los Angeles and features what many feel as guitarist one of Billy Zoom’s recording highlights with the band. “Paint The Town Blue’ chronicles a domestic abuse story amongst the same energy displayed on “Devil Doll”, “Hot House” is driven by a roots rock beat, venturing into blues rock territory, while the album ends with the punk funk of “True Love Pt. 2”. This song while it has been compared to “This Is Radio Clash” type funk, seems more influenced by the nervous punk funk concoctions created by Talking Heads. This song ends the album on a very different note addressing music from the 50s lyrically and in the construct of a new wave funk musical sound. The juxtaposition of both brings the past into the present then, which was 1983. But this also can perhaps be seen as the different directions the band would take and in their own solo expeditions as musicians.

With More Fun In The New World, X released their fourth album and their final album to feature Ray Manzarek of The Doors in the producer seat. His role on the first four X album’s including this one, added to their aggressive, wax poetic sound. On the other hand, this album infuses different lyrical observations in the spirit of folk and also features an exploration of sorts out of the confines of punk rock and into perhaps what some view as a drive towards a more commercial sound. The band first started exploring other musical avenues on 1982’s Under The Black Sun. However, More Fun In The New World is just as uncompromising as Los Angeles, Wild Gift and Under The Black Sun. The album’s cover features an 80s MTV look and linear notes that are cut and paste like an old DIY punk zine. This could also be seen as a representation of what to find on More Fun In The New World. There are many textures to the cover’s 80s styled MTV animation, just like some of the songs found on More Fun In The New World. But when you pull out the record sleeve on the inside it shows the band’s punk attitude and spirit.

Saturday Night Play List:

1. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - I Stand Accused
2. Electric Prunes - You Never Had It Better (Live Stockholm 67)
3. The Mummies - She Lied
4. Redline - IRA
5. The Prehistoric Cave Strokers - Stereotypical Blues Tune
6. Sex Pistols - (I”m Not Your) Stepping Stone
7. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Do The Get Down
8. The Saints - Miss Wonderful
9. The Elwins - So Down Low
10. Tough Age - NIcolas Bragg
11. Turbo Fruits - Show Me Something Real
12. The Pagans - Dream Lover
13. Death - The Times
14. Pow Wows - Going Dark
15. The King Khan & BBQ Show - Alone Again
16. The High Drops - Had To Go
17. Bloodshot Bill - Two-Timer
18. Pokey La Farge - Actin’ A Fool
19. The Ding Dongs - Don’t Ring, Come On In
20. The Razorbacks - Can’t Blame Me For Trying
21. The Sherwoods - El Scorpion
22. The Jesters - Peter Gunn Twist
23. Bob Dylan - Some Enchanted Evening
24. The Spooky But Nice - The Embassy
25. Nirvana - You Know You’re Right (Home Demo)
26. Cardboard Brains - Caesar Drives A Fast Car
27. Igenerents — Wrong Place Wrong Time
28. XS Energy - Imaginary
29. Jared Brown - My Shapeshifter
30. Nothing At All - Busted
31. X - The New World
32. X - We’re Having Much More Fun

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

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pedestrian At Best, The Five Bucks & Show # 556

Courtney Barnett - Pedestrian At Best

“Pedestrian At Best” is the first single from Courtney Barnett’s 2015 release Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. The self-deprecating song showcases Barnnett’s hazy, rambling style lyrics in a song that sounds like a cross between something on Nirvana’s In Utero and something from The Kinks early recordings. This album is also Barnett’s debut full-length album and it follows a series of acclaimed EPs that were combined into one compilation entitled The Double EP: A Of Split Peas. You can find Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit Mom + Pop Music.

The Five Bucks - No Use In Trying/Now You're Mine

Based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, The Five Bucks were a garage band formed in 1965 from the Ann Arbor and University of Michigan campus. The group recorded their first single No Use In Trying b/w Now You’re Gone (mislabeled as “Now You’re Mine”) in May of 1966 on Afton Records. The single’s A-side is an organ driven garage punk track with a somewhat sneering message while it’s B-side is moody ballad and soulful organ. The single is an example of a lost gem in the realm of garage punk music. The band released two more singles I’ll Walk Alone/So Wrong in November of 1966 (as The Five Bucs) and Breath Of Time/Without You in 1967. The band changed their name to Byzantine Empire following in 1967.

Saturday Night Play List:

1. The Stones - Gunner Ho
2. The Five Bucks - No Use In Trying
3. Christian Bland & The Revelators - Alone In Deer Park
4. No Museums - Mosquitos
5. The Melvins & Hank Williams III - Ramblin' Man
6. Alex Chilton - Free Again
7. Roy Orbison - You’re My Baby
8. Ramones - The Return Of Jackie & Judy
9. The Viletones - Never Feel Sad
10. The Pack AD - Blackout
11. The Jam - David Watts
12. The Specials - The Dawning Of A New Era
13. Courtney Barnett- Pedestrian At Best
14. Pre-Nods - Dirtbag For Life
15. The Noble Savages - Music Will Kill You
16. Paul Jacobs - Never Alone
17. Dead Ghosts - I Want Your Love
18. Suuns & Jerusalem In My Heart - Metal
19. No Age - Neck Escapers
20. Spencer Davis Blues Explosion - R.L. Got Soul
21. The Mighty Swells - Shot In The Dark
22. Bob Vaught & The Renegades - Church Key Twist
23. Neil Young - Wonderin’ (Live)
24. Jerry Jerry & The Sons Of Rhythm Orchestra - The Drift
25. Mission Of Burma - The Enthusiast
26. Flying Squad - Godzilla
27. Nap Eyes - Tribal Thoughts
28. Pointed Sticks - New Ways
29. The Boys - First Time
30. Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers - Born To Lose

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

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The King Khan & BBQ Show Bad News Boys & Show # 555

Bad News Boys begins with the doo-wop, garage stomp of “Alone Again”, a song drenched in 50s rock ‘n’ roll influences. Sung by this duo’s drummer, rhythm guitarist and main vocalist Mark Sultan (aka BBQ), the song strikes a powerful, yet melodic chord that not only introduces us to King Khan & BBQ Show’s first album in six years, but it is also seeped in 50’s rock ballad drama. During the song’s three minute time frame, lead guitarist King Khan plays his own blend of arpeggio-drunk-a-billy guitar riffs amongst his doo-wop backing vocals and BBQ’s primal backbeat groove. While this song contains the obvious elements of a love song, it also is somewhat symbolic given The King Khan & BBQ Show’s chaotic history. In 2010, the band announced they were splitting up for good following the release and tour of 2009’s Invisible Girl. “Alone Again” evokes a togetherness in contrast to the songs surface message. The King Khan & BBQ Show are alone and together again creating their own brand of musical mayhem.

“Illuminations” follows next. Sung by King Khan, this song shines bright with a gritty 1978 punk groove, while King Khan sings of being a spark in the dark within a world of bright distractions as the chorus tells us “Illuminations/Don’t let them leave you behind”. The King Khan & BBQ Show then re-introduce their dark B-movie style and at times silly/ramshackle lyrics in a mix of salty tambourines and strong vocal melodies in “Kiss My Sister’s Fist”, an element that returns at several points on this album. On “Buy Bye Bhai” the band amps up their soul influences. Despite it’s lo-fi production, this song rises above it’s production techniques with its offbeat, soulful Otis Redding influenced vocal melodies and warped guitar dynamics. “D.F.O” shows The King Khan & BBQ Show flexing their hardcore punk twang in a toilet humoured track that lasts less than a minute and one that breaks up the filthy, but beautiful “Buy Bye Bhai” and the slow chugging melodies of “We Are The Champion”. This song was originally released as a single to prior to the album’s release in 2014.

“Ocean Of Love” brings back the band’s soulful influence, mixed with their brand of doo-wop and in this case, sand dusted, glassy rhythms. “Snacking After Midnight” brings rusty rhythms and cartoonish/B-horror movie lyrics, along with the murky “Killing The Wolfman”. This song treads through muddy swamp verses while the song’s paranoid lyrics conjure up images of “chemical werewolves, moons“ and ends with a howl. “Never Felt Like This” is a nostalgic love song, as with ‘’Buy Bye Bhai”, brings in a strong soulful influence. The song lyrically as with the opening number, could be seen as a reunion of sorts after a long hiatus. Bad News Boys ends with an odd curveball, as we are thrown into the noisy punk assault of “Zen Machines”. This song has obviously thrown off several reviewers, who claim the song is the weakest moment on this twelve-track release. This song is a barrage of fast punk riffs, which references late night talk show host Conan O’Brien and ends as if there is a CD or record skipping. The album ends on a riotous note, one that is perhaps unexpected. This could be a sign of things to come from The King Khan & BBQ Show. Sounds like this were last explored on 2006’s What’s For Dinner? This song shakes things up, making the album less predictable than what some people may predict, while at the same time hitting the notes on the sounds we might expect from The King Khan & BBQ Show.

Initially, The King Khan & BBQ Show stated that they would be changing their name to Bad News Boys, a name that they were going to go by many years ago prior to settling on The King Khan & BBQ Show. Fortunately they kept The King Khan & BBQ Show moniker and instead called the album Bad News Boys. Fittingly, this album treads in the band’s earlier musical territory, while at the same time not taking itself too seriously. Six years is sometimes the entire lifespan of a band, but with Bad News Boys, The King Khan & BBQ Show chime in with their primitive, melodic sounds and an undeniable chemistry together as musicians. The music found on this album is similar to the band’s previous releases, but there are small subtleties that make it different. However, that is not necessarily the point. The King Khan & BBQ Show are a raunchy, sloppy, raw rock ‘n' roll band. Bad News Boys proves that they still have what it takes to entertain the average listener. The bad news for some would be if you expected any different.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Jerry Lee Lewis - Wild One
2. Deja Voodoo - Gotta Have Money
3. Just Brothers - Sliced Tomatoes
4. Pere Ubu - Life Stinks
5. Jay Reatard - Screaming Hand
6. Summer Cannibals - Show Us Your Mind
7. C & C Surf Factory - Takeshiesque
8. Surf Kitties - Breaker
9. The Nomads - Bounty Hunter
10. The Dictators - California Sun
11. Pink Wine - Persistent Cops
12. Pow Wows - Surfin’ Dirge
13. Parquet Courts - Ducking & Dodging (Live)
14. The King Khan & BBQ Show - Ocean Of Love
15. The King Khan & BBQ Show - Killing The Wolfman
16. Painted Ship - Frustration (Alternate Version)
17. Pissed Jeans - Half Idiot
18. The Birthday Party - Nick The Stripper
19. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - I'm Gonna Kill That Woman
20. Titus Andronicus - Titus Anronicus
21. Sonic Youth - Burning Spear
22. Andrew Jackson Jihad - No One
23. Diamond Rugs - Motel Room
24. Bob Dylan & The Band - Edge Of The Ocean
25. The Rolling Stones - Complicated
26. The Normals - Almost Ready
27. Strange Attractor - Anything
28. The Cramps - Drug Train
29. The Black Lips - The Best Napkin I Ever Had
30. The Stooges - Down On The Street (Take 13)
31. The Strokes - Take It Or Leave It
32. The Replacements - If Only You Were Lonely

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for April 11. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

G Stands For Go-Betweens & Show # 554

Formed by Robert Forester and Grant McLennan while at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, in 1976, The Go-Betweens were a band featuring the two songwriters and a variety of other musicians that were augmented into the band’s line up at different points in the band’s career. “Cattle and Cane” was a song written by Grant McLennan in 1982. The song was composed on Nick Cave’s acoustic guitar in his London apartment by McLennan while Cave was reportedly comatose following substance use. In “Cattle and Cane”, often called a gentle ballad, McLennan created a story in song that he has called “three vignettes of a person, who's a lot like myself, growing up in Queensland, and just juxtaposing that against how I am now." Musically, the song is dominated by acoustic guitar riffs, strong melodic bassline and backing vocals. It is a very stripped down affair that is not plagued by the elements of 80s over production, however, the song does contain guitar and effects that place the song in an 80s indie rock construct. Following the writing of this song McLennan brought it to Robert Forester who also has a co-writing credit on the song and it was recorded in October of 1982 at I.B.C Studios in Eastbourne, UK. Released in February 1983 prior to the release of The Go-Betweens second album Before Hollywood, “Cattle and Cane” is also found on the album as well. A music video was filmed for the song in a barn, featuring dim lighting and a new bass player Robert Vickers. While Vickers was not on the actual recording of the song (McLennan plays bass and provides the main vocals on this track), he did appear in the video and on the single’s B-side “Man O’Sand To Girl O’Sea”. The song and video also features drums and backing vocals by Lindy Morrison, who joined the band as their drummer in 1980. The single went on to become number four on the UK independent charts in 1983 and has since been heralded as a classic. In 2015, G Stands For Go-Betweens – Volume 1, a boxed set that compiles the band’s recordings from 1976-1984 was released via the Domino records label.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Ty Segall & White Fence - Crybaby
2. JD McPherson - Head Over Heels
3. Frankie & Jimmy - Got My Mojo Workin’
4. Sonic Youth - Teen Age Riot (Live)
5. The Wipers - No Generation Gap
6. Destruction Unit - The World On Drugs (Live)
7. Silent Movie Type - Cap Guns
8. Young Guv - Dear Drew
9. Flight Of Niko - Depressing Feat
10. The Bureaucrats - Crush You In My Arms
11. The Ugly Beats - Can’t Cut Through
12. Max Pain And The Groovies - Drip
13. The Torquays - Stolen Moments
14. The Odds & Ends - Cause You Don’t Love Me
15. Chips & Co. - Let The Winds Blow
16. The Motions - Big Chief
17  The Mighty Swells - Stampede
18. Los Explosivos - Rocking Heart
19. Actual Water - The Wait
20. The Traditional Fools - Milkman
21. Gentlemen Of Horror - Rough Hike
22. Bonnie Prince Billy - No Match
23. The Byrds - Pretty Polly
24. The Plugz - Beserkertown
25. Chad Vangaalen — It Must Be Alright
26. X-Ray Spex - Warrior In Woolworths
27. The Go-Betweens - Hope
28. The Government - Fire Escape
27. Ricked Wicky - Death Metal
28. Mark Sultan - Livin' My Life
29. The Only Ones - Out There In The Night
30. Simply Saucer - Bullet Proof Nothing

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