Saturday, July 30, 2016

Young Rival Strange Light & Show # 624

Recorded during the same sessions as 2015’s Interior Light with Graham Walsh, Strange Light is a five-song EP that was released by Young Rival in May of 2016. The songs that make up Strange Light still feature some of the elements that made Interior Light so unique, but they also reflect a more straightforward sound. The EP is a balance of the garage sounds that Young Rival have been known for in the past, the sounds created on 2012’s Stay Young and on 2015’s Interior Light.

“Let Me Go On” starts off the EP with its stop and start guitar/bass riffs and kick drum. The lyrics are very character driven ala Ray Davies, as we hear about bottles, cans, licorice whips and the miracle cave. D’Alesio’s lyrical style uses vivid imagery and characterization in such a way that it never wavers throughout not only this release, but also in Young Rival’s music. The lyrics are layered amongst the strong melodies and powerful drums, bass and guitar combinations in a way that can operate on more than one level. John Smith drives the song “Lucky” with his fuzz bass guitar riffs. Along with sharp reverb drenched guitar stabs and a fuzzy driven chorus, “Lucky” features the lyrics “I don’t owe you nothing” that call out amongst the heavier chorus elements and instrumentation on this track. “Oh Nancy” is a more pop driven song, drawing on a mixture of 60s garage pop influences, descending guitar lines and the powerful drums provided by Noah Fralick. D’Alesio sings of Nancy, who slips through the cracks of convention towards contradiction. As the chorus hits with “Oh Nancy/I got your number”, these catchy words are loaded with double meaning.

“Heard It All Before” and the final track “Strange Light”, feature a more laid back vibe and slower tempos. “Heard It All Before” is thick with strong melodies drawing on influences such as The Everly Brothers and lyrics foretelling missed chances, empty promises and turning everything around. “Strange Light” is a jangly ballad, complete with harmonies, drowsy guitars and a lingering 50’s rock influence. Lyrically, this song is a haunting tale that borders between a love song and science fiction. One of the characters in the song disappears into a “strange light” at night in the park in an eerie glow.

When writing about 2015’s Interior Light, it was previously mentioned that like the album’s cover, Interior Light added more colour to Young Rival’s already established garage rock palette. With Interior Light, Young Rival got more psychedelic allowing the guitars and melodies created to drift like the paint on a canvas. With Strange Light, the songs are grittier and embedded with a melody that can serve as a companion piece of Interior Light. These five songs are more like dried up paint on a canvas hidden amongst the artwork for this EP, which resembles static waves on an analog TV set. Music like this is hidden within the static of modern technology and trends, while at the same time, it still sounds fresh. To find music of this kind you don’t have to look much further than Young Rival’s Strange Light.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. The Haunted - I Can Only Give You Everything
2. Film Jacket 35 - Waiting For A Way Out
3. The Busters - Bust Out
4. Teenanger - Alone On Acid
5. The Stems - Rosebud
6. The Barracudas - Somebody
7. The Wayouts - I Want To
8. Silent Movie Type - Cobwebs
9. Fugazi - Provisional
10. The Wipers - Up Front
11. Vision - What I Need
12. Phern - Crosswalk Talk
13. Mo-Dettes - Fandango
14. Joy Division - No Love Lost
15. Wire - New York City
16. Wire - After Midnight
17. Hi-Fis - I Don’t Know Why (You Love Me)
18. The Poles - Prime Time
19. Stiv Bator - Yesterdays
20. Chris Crossroads - You Can Get It
21. The Blueflowers - You Won't Like This Part
22. Sean Connery Supergroup - Dang Girl (2016 Dance Mix)
23. Actual Water - Brighton
24. Cub - Go Fish
25. The Scientists - Frantic Romantic
26. Huevos Rancheros - American Sunset
27. Young Rival - Let Me Go On
28. Young Rival - Heard It All Before
29. Beat Happening - Indian Summer

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for July 30.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Kid Congo And The Pink Monkey Birds La Arana Es La Vida & Show # 623

Kid Congo Powers first began his career as a musician being a guitarist in bands such as The Gun Club (who he helped form), The Cramps and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. That resume is enough to make people turn heads, but after playing with numerous bands as a guitarist, he ventured out on his own, forming his own band in 2005 with his first release being the album Solo Cholo. In 2009, Kid Congo And The Pink Monkey Birds released Dracula Boots, a critically acclaimed album that stomped with the sounds of garage rock, 50’s rock n’ roll, soul and Chicano rock. Released on In The Red Records, La Arana Es La Vida is the fourth album by Kid Congo And The Pink Monkey Birds.

Congo and crew create a deep groove, blending the primal sounds of rock n’ roll along with other related sub-genres and Chicano rock once again. This effort is equally as strong and features the addition of guitarist Mark Cisneros, who brings a fresh perspective to the Pink Monkey Birds sound. The sounds on this album definitely lend themselves to the garage and surf genres, but the album at times sounds soulful as if Andre Williams and Billy Childish are playing on the same track. The album has much more depth than that especially when you look closer into the title, which is a reference to Mexican folklore. La Arana is the Great Spider Goddess of Teotihuacan. Kid Congo Powers had this to say about the connection to this folk tale in an interview done with New Noise Magazine:

“She sprouts hallucinogenic morning glories and protects the underworld. I thought that is very much like our duty as a band, to have the most open mind to vivid psychedelic dreams to create and protect the world of underground music, the music of the soul. Protect it from unimaginative, unfeeling commercial music. No magic there. Plus, I like the associations The Kiss Of The Spiderwoman, Spider Baby, ‘the tangled webs we weave.”

It’s no surprise that this primitive folk tale lends itself to the sounds brought forth on La Arana Es La Vida. “Psychic Future” opens the album with its fuzzy garage blues grooves and slides. “Coyote Conundrum” drips with psychedelic and surf influences in both the music and lyrics, while “Nine Blubber Mile”, one of a few instrumental tracks found on this album, treads along with its rumbly bassline and staticy guitar lines. “Karate Monkey” jumps and kicks with its Elvis Presley and ? And The Mysterians-like licks, while “La Arana” blends Chicano rock with elements of garage and soul. As Powers sings in an Andre Williams drawl, he tells a story about a spider that crawls all over the characters in the song at a party. This is portrayed in the lyrics and musically throughout the guitar and basslines. On “Anything To Say”, Powers sings a love song comparing fallen, broken dishes to spilling guts, as the guitars weave the words together with their sharp-shard-like riffs.

“Chicano Studies” is a surf instrumental track. The track features mischievous speaking , on top of the music, but the ending track sets itself apart from the rest of the songs found on La Arana Es La Vida. “Five Points/Howards End/Nasty Hat” begins with two segments conjuring up 50s rock n roll influences and ambient country/blues slides before “Nasty Hat” takes the listener into one more intense groove. Recorded at the Harveyville High School Gym in Kansas, La Arana Es La Vida contains a rambunctious youthful atmosphere. La Arana Es La Vida oozes with a primal rock n’ roll aesthetic, as lyrically it creeps and crawls with reverb laden lyrics drawing on tales of Mexican folklore.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Mission Of Burma - Tremelo
2. Sonic Youth - Wolf
3. Vallens - Karen
4. Hot Hot Heat - Sad Sad Situation
5. Heaven For Real - Kill Your Memory
6. Suicide - Ghost Rider
7. Suicide - Mr. Ray
8. Allen Vega - Kung Foo Cowboy
10. Suicide -Jukebox Baby 96
11. Allen Vega - Ghost Rider
12. Nickel Eye - Hey That’s No Way To Say Goodbye
13. Beck - Suzanne
14. Nick Cave - I’m Your Man
15. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Avalanche
16. Leonard Cohen - Jazz Police
17. Leonard Cohen - Bird On A Wire
18. Weird Lines - There Are Never Too Many Matches
19. The Replacements - 20th Century Boy
20. Luau Or Die - Mojave Chaser
21. Atomic 7 - That Leftover Savior Faire
22. The Black Lips - Leroy Faster
23. The Cramps - Don't Eat Stuff Off The Sidewalk
24. The Gun Club - Eternity Is Here
25. Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds - Chicano Studies
26. Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds - La Arana

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for July 23.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Kim Gray Perfume Interview & Show # 622

Perhaps best known for playing with Vancouver garage band Skinny Kids, Trevor “Kim” Gray released his first EP as Kim Gray in 2014. His first release Backseat Bingo, was an EP dripping with 60s girl group and Beach Boys harmonies. Produced by Dead Ghosts Drew Wilkinson, Backseat Bingo featured catchy pop songs with a laid back vibe. Switching focus, Grey recorded his debut full-length release Perfume with Malcolm Biddle (Dada Plan), who apparently records albums in his shed out in Vancouver. The result is a catchy combination of songs swirling with new sunbaked harmonies.

The album’s opening track “Perfume Ghost” starts off the album with drowsy synthesizers, staccato guitar chords and a drum machine in place of real drums. The song with its catchy melodies and vicious guitar solo leaves the listener with an eerie sense of déjà vu. Perfume is blanketed with thick melodies that differ from Backseat Bingo. Instead of 60s girl group and Beach Boys inspired dynamics the songs are covered with drum machines and synthesizers that float in-between pop melodies. “Yesterday’s Smoke” drifts with surf guitar sounds, smoggy melodies and heavy synthesizers, while “Tropical Low Life” is driven primarily by the back and forth bassline that sounds as if could be from an old soul record. With lyrics such as “Hand’s in the sand/But my head’s out of line” Gray paints the picture of someone who may seem to be standing still and ignoring the situations going on around them, but the character in this song is actually very aware of what is happening around them. This message floats in-between the song’s breezy atmosphere and during several points in different forms on this album.

“I Saw It All” features distant harmonies, harmonica and fluid guitar lines, “Little Saigon” slows down the laid back grooves that are present on Perfume, on “When Tomorrow’s Today” the pace picks up sounding like a 60s garage track with a drum machine. The song’s lyrics contrast with the tempo as it tells of hair dye, uncertainty and drying out emotional wounds in the sun. “Pick My Brain” ends Perfume, with another deep bass groove, a haunting melody, but no synthesizer. With Backseat Bingo, Kim Gray brought forth catchy pop songs that differed from the Skinny Kids format. The songs on Perfume contain the same garage mentality and essence that runs through the music that Gray creates. At just eight songs and clocking in around 25 minutes, Perfume fills the air with a certain feeling. Described by some as psychedelic electronic pop, Perfume is the product of Kim Gray extracting the right influences and mixing them with drum machines, synthesizers and songwriting skills for an effective combination of songs.

Perfume is currently available on cassette via Lolipop Records and will be available on vinyl via Resurrection Records soon.

Check out the interview that I did with Trevor Gray here:

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. The Space Merchants - One Cut Like The Moon
2. The Ketamines - You Can’t Serve Two Masters
3. The Howlies - Dirty Woman
4. The Velvet Underground - Some Kinda Love
5. The Scenics - Waiting For My Man
6. Beck - Run Run Run
7. Skinny Kids - Psychic Down The Road
8. Kim Gray - Perfume Ghost

Kim Gray Interview

9. Kim Gray - Tropical Low Life
10. Joy Division - Digital
11. The Outcasts - Programme Love
12. Buzzcocks - Whatever Happened To ...?
13. Eric Welton - Kill Them With Kindness
14. Tom Waits - On A Foggy Night
15. Papa Ghostface - Winter Porch
16. Monomyth - Feeling
17. Radiohead - Climbing Up The Walls
18. Neil Young - See The Sky About To Rain
19. Demolition Doll Rods - Come Out Of The Rain
20. Paul Jacobs - Human Emotion
21. Beastie Boys - Heart Attack Man
22. Country Mike - Sloppy Drunks
23. Bob Dylan - I Dreamed of St Augustine

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for July 16.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

The Holy Gasp Interview & Show # 621

This week’s episode of Revolution Rock featured an interview with Benjamin Hackman of the Toronto band The Holy Gasp. The band while their sound is difficult to pinpoint, sounds as if Nick Cave is singing with a jazz band that mixes in elements of Afro-Cuban rhythms and beatnik poetry. The band released their first full-length album The Last Generation Of Love in 2015 and are currently working on material for a follow up release by road testing the material.

Check out my interview with Benjamin Hackman here:

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Elvis Presley - Hound Dog (Live On Milton Berle June 5th, 1956)
2. Elvis Presley - Ready Teddy
3. The Scotty Moore Trio - Have Guitar, Will Travel
4. Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds - Nine Blubber Mile
5. Violent Femmes - Promise
6. Violent Femmes - Country Death Song
7. Tara Watts - SOS
8. Roy Orbison - Rock House
9. The Holy Gasp - The Man Ain't Groovy

Benjamin Hackman Of The Holy Gasp Interview

10. The Holy Gasp - The Mating Song
11. The Ergs! - Hey Jealousy
12. Sloan - I Hate My Generation
13. Sloan - G Turns To D
14. James O-L & The Villains - Collective Ignorance (CJAM Session)
15. Teenage Geese - Strange
16. The Velveteins - Monica Louise
17. The Miracle Workers - That Ain't Me
18. Young Rival - Lucky
19. Andrian Teacher & The Subs - Emily Carr Punks
20. Vision - You Should Know
21. The White Stripes - Little Acorns
22. Beat Happening - Zombie Limbo Time
23. Mitski - A Loving Feeling
24. Brave Radar - Earth Control
25. The Illusions - Wait Till The Summer
26. The Minutemen - Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for July 9.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Daniel Romano Mosey & Show # 620

Daniel Romano has stated that he is the “King Of Mosey”, which until last year’s If I’ve Only One Time Askin’ seemed to be his own particular brand of country/folk music coupled with gloomy, syrupy ballads. But on Mosey, his most recent release, Daniel Romano dances with the sound of 60s experimental pop, country, piano ballads and songs with string and brass horn sections. Produced and recorded in mono by Romano in Fenwick, Ontario at his own studio The Navy in 2015, these songs originally started out as poems. “Valerie Leon” is a song that is part spaghetti western and 60s pop that is awash in horn sections. Also drawing comparisons to American country/pop artist Lee Hazelwood, this song tells the story of a forbidden romance that falls apart once other people in town find out about it. The songs “Mr. E Me” and “Sorrow (For Leonard And William)”, which appear at later points on Mosey, both feature dominant horn sections in the style of “Valerie Leon”.

The punny “Toulouse” features guest vocals from actress Rachel McAdams and drifts in 60s garage/mid 60s Bob Dylan territory, “Hunger Is A Dream You Die In” and “(Gone Is) All But A Quarry Of A Stone” are tinged with shades of Romano’s previous work. “(Gone Is) All But A Quarry Of A Stone” was also released as the first single for Mosey. The music video features a different version of this song, titled a “premix”. It trades in more standard drums and different guitar parts for a different feel than the album version. The music video features a disheveled Romano with a Bob Dylan Afro eating a cheeseburger in a junkyard while wearing a silver Adidas tracksuit. During the video there is also a female character that hangs off of railings and does some sort of bizarre exercise routine amongst the garbage and in front of the track suited Romano. Overall, the video and song provide the listener with an uneasy feeling. A feeling that is prevalent throughout Romano’s music, but one that is also captivating. This uneasy feeling travels through the songs on Mosey, addressing issues that surround our current culture.

“The Collector” is an obscure cover of a song first recorded by The Everly Brothers in 1966, but written by Sonny Curtis. This song fittingly described as a psychedelic waltz does not seem out of place on Mosey and is executed in a haunting fashion. “Dead Medium”, the final track, addresses current trends while leaning towards the sounds of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue. On 2015’s If I’ve Only One Time Askin’, Romano explored a sound that drew influence from a 70s Countrypolitan sound. It is obvious that Romano gravitates towards country influences, but with these last two releases he has combined a myriad of styles for something that is difficult to define at times. With Mosey, Daniel Romano exercises steps in new musical directions. Lyrically, he circles around the theme of a lack of identity that exists in our current culture.

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

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. The Frights - All I Need
2. The Kills - Impossible Tracks
3. Terminal Licks - Come Over Tonight
4. Tin Machine - If There Is Something
5. Tin Machine - Bus Stop
6. David Bowie - Bombers
7. Jaill - Got An F
8. Twin River - Knife
9. Jay Arner - Like A Dracula
10. Counterfeit Jeans - Gemini
11. Elvis Depressedly - Slip
12. Levitation Room - Crystal Ball
13. What Seas What Shores - Texas
14. Dot Dash - Daddy Long Legs
15. VHS - Fully Realized
16. CFM - You Can't Kill Time
17. The True Lovers - Lady Of The Manor
18. Pavement - Conduit For Sale!
19. Mudhoney - Between Me & You Kid
20. Suuns - Fall
21. Xiu Xiu - Packard's Vibration
22. Case/Lang/Veirs - Delirium
23. Daniel Romano - Toulouse
24. Daniel Romano - (Gone Is) All But A Quarry Of A Stone
25. C.W. Stoneking - The Zombie
26. Neil Young - Journey Through The Past
27. Neil Young - Comes A Time
28. Neil Young - Motor City

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for July 2.