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.