Saturday, July 28, 2018

La Luz Floating Features & Shows # 731 & 732

Since 2015’s Weirdo Shrine, La Luz has relocated to Los Angeles. The changing of their backdrop from Seattle to Los Angeles is embedded into their third full-length and latest album’s very core. Floating Features still levitates with the same surf noir dynamics that were first cast on 2013’s It’s Alive. Produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Floating Features adds a new shine to La Luz’s already established sound without being too obvious. The mood on Floating Features simmers as this all female quartet draws on the theme of dreams and its many variations.

“Floating Features” starts off the album of the same name with an instrumental track. This track begins with spiraling guitar lines, and drum, organ and bass stabs before launching the listener into an exotic, 60s reverb driven landscape. “Cicada” follows next with its rhythmic organ parts and garage/surf structures as vocalist and guitarist Shana Cleveland sings lyrics such as “In air so hot and sweet/We heard it in the breeze/Metallic shimmering/Of invisible things”. These words combined with La Luz’s layered breezy harmonies, creates an atmosphere, one that is filled with mystery and a desire for meaning. “Loose Teeth” attacks next with heavy waves of reverb as the band sails through the verses, while the lyrics describe a complex dream that is coupled with confusion and ambivalence. “Mean Dream” brings in 60s psychedelia influences as acoustic guitar mixes with the band’s laid back sounds that move back and forth in a dreamlike state. “California Finally” builds with tension as drummer Marian Li Pino digs deep into the songs soggy groove while bassist Lena Simon floats somewhere between the disorienting delightful keyboard parts by Alice Sandahl and the unflinching guitar/vocals from Shana Cleveland. Lyrically the song is weighed down by words inspired by La Luz’s journey out to California. This song sets the perfect songscape and is one of the strongest moments found on Floating Features.

“The Creature” slows the pace down a bit with nightmarish lyrics like “A creature stepped out of the wall and then/In the blackness it amassed above my head” and “Couldn't move enough to reach and find a light/Tell my heart that it was only in my mind”. This song reflects an uncertainty that can follow you around, not unlike a creature in the darkness. Musically, it is mellow and tense with an unnerving energy that is also strangely comforting. “My Golden One” digs deeper into a mellow groove with a bassline that will put you into a trance-like state with sparse instrumentation and lush surrounding harmonies. “Greed Machine” is the longest track on Floating Features clocking in at four minutes and twenty seconds. The sounds that make up this song could be what was described as a “Leone-on-LSD vibe” on La Luz’s website. Lyrically, this song questions several things such as the dilemma of being in a band and the conflicts and contradictions that can surround it. “Walking Into The Sun” was inspired by a dream that Cleveland had, one that was very vivid. This describes this song perfectly, with its smoggy 60s psychedelic/surf influenced textures that also have a 50s ballad/doo-wop inspired mood and lyrics that carry a weight with a touch of heartbreak.

“Don’t Leave Me On The Earth” is layered in metaphors and surf fuelled drums, guitar, bass and organ that swelter with fervor. With a title that sounds like something from a sci-fi film from decades long ago and words such as “Wild World/I Was high/I was all dead inside” and a chorus of “Juniper/Juniper/Don’t leave me on the earth” and “Take me with you when you go”, this song and the juniper plant reference could be representing the desire for a cleansing of old landscapes as a new dream breaks free from the confines of an old one. With Floating Features, La Luz creates a mood that is a bit hazy at times and sometimes abstract. Lyrically building on the theme of dreams and the different ways that they can be perceived, La Luz confronts whatever comes their way to readjust their sonic features and to create and strengthen their own musical landscape.

Show 732 Play List (Originally Aired On July 28th, 2018)(La Luz Floating Features, Ty Segall & White Fence, Rolling Blackouts C.F.):

1. The Epsilons - I Hate (Your Face)
2. The Routes - Peeling Face
3. King Creep - Creep Enough
4. Meat Puppets - Hot Pink
5. Baby Cages - Flowers
6. Rolling Blackouts C.F. - The Hammer
7. Running From Daylight - Elvis Ain't Dead Yet
8. Bo Diddley - Doing The Crawdaddy
9. Frankie & Jimmie - Spread The News Around
10. Wicked Weather - Bad Bad Heart
11. Cowboy Junkies - Missing Children
12. The Who - Please, Please, Please
13. La Luz - Greed Machine
14. La Luz - Walking Into The Sun
15. What Seas What Shores - Texas
16. Miles Davis - Frelon Brun
17. The Lounge Lizards - Fatty Walks
18. The Birthday Party - Cry
19. Ty Segall & White Fence - Good Boy
20. Shotgun Jimmie - Triple Letter Score
21. Gang of Four - It's Her Factory
22. Little Girls - Delaware
23. Not Of - Fix Don't Fix
24. Queens of the Stone Age - Monsters in the Parasol
25. Metz - Mule
26. Nirvana - Hairspray Queen
27. Talking Heads - Artists Only

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for July 28.

Show 731 Play List (Originally Aired On July 21st, 2018)(Mudhoney, Deja Voodoo, Lonely Parade):

1. Mudhoney - Paranoid Core
2. The Fall-Outs - The Jealous Kind
3. The Cheetahs - Circle Two
4. Dunes - Freezer Burn
5. Lesbo Vrouven - MMMMM
6. Dumb - Ripesnakes
7. Bob Dylan - Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
8. Chad VanGaalen - See-Thru-Skin
9. John Coltrane - Nature Boy
10. Bonny Doon - Try To Be Me
11. Father John Misty - Mr. Tillman
12. Courtney Barnett - City Looks Pretty
13. The Gruesomes - What's Your Problem
14. Zamboni Drivers - Skatin' Ghost
15. Deja Voodoo - Big Pile Of Mud
16. Deja Voodoo - Call Link Wray
17. Ray Condo & The Hard Rock Goners - High Voltage
18. Andy Pratt - Get Close To Me
19. The Fall - Couldn't Get Ahead
20. Lonely Parade - Chicken Wing
21. Lonely Parade - Johnny Utah
22. Prime Junk - Glacial
23. Stacey Green Jumps - In Other Words
24. Sonic Youth - I Dreamed I Dream
25. U.S. Girls - Sed Knife
26. Slim Twig - The Golden Rule
27. Kim Gray - Throwing Rocks
28. The Only Ones - Out There In The Night
29. The Saints - Lost and Found

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for July 21.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Strokes Is This It & Shows # 728, 729, 730

The Strokes debut album Is This It was originally released in 2001. It had different release dates in the UK and the US, July 30th in the UK and October 9th in the US. The album itself has received critical praise and also its share of criticism. Upon its release in the UK, John Robinson from NME stated that “Is This It was one of the best debut LPs by a guitar band during the past 20 years,” but the interest in The Strokes started prior to this album’s release. The Strokes recorded three-song demo with producer Gordon Raphael in 2000. The three songs that they recorded were never intended to be released, but were originally intended to help the band get better live gigs. The three-song demo caught the attention of someone in the UK and in January 2001, the three songs were released as The Modern Age EP on Rough Trade. At the time the general consensus was that guitar oriented rock bands were over, but that proved to be incorrect. It became NME’s single of the week. Still unsigned in the US, this created a rare situation that resulted in a bidding war from different record companies to sign the band. Something like this hadn’t happened since the 60s. The EP created a buzz around the band and an anticipation for the release of their debut album, Is This It.

The Strokes - Is This It (UK Album Cover)
Is This It starts off with the title track of the same name. A sound of what appears to be a tape winding down is the first thing that the listener hears before the song launches into what The Strokes called their attempt at a ballad. “Is This It” subtly brings The Strokes intertwining guitar interplay into focus as the bassline comes in dancing on different notes. All the while the vocals provided by Julian Casablancas display a distorted, lo-fi approach amongst Fab Moretti’s drumbeat that coasts slowly throughout the songs many parts. Lyrically, “Is This It” like many of the songs on this album, are an observational character study on happenings in New York City and relationships formed there. The songs can take on different meanings to different people, depending on how they are interpreted. With lyrics such as “Can’t you see I’m trying/I don’t even like it” and “I can’t think cause I’m just way too tired,” the song itself seems to display the complexities of an empty relationship. “The Modern Age” is next with its upbeat staccato guitar and almost marching drumbeat. This version of the song is different than the version that appeared in rougher form on The Modern Age EP. Lyrically the song reads as a disillusioned tale of modern life. “Soma” takes its name from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World novel. In the novel, soma is a drug used in a dystopian future to control people from speaking and thinking freely. Casablancas takes this theme from Huxley’s novel and applies it to the song in a modern context. With lyrics such as “Soma is what they would take when hard times opened their eyes” and a chorus of “I am stop and go/In your eyes/And I am stop/Oh darling let me go,” the song seems to tell a complex tale of drug use being used to fit in with the cool crowd. Musically the song hits hard with a tense energy. With spiraling guitar hooks and a simple, yet effective bassline, “Soma” strikes the listener like a epiphanic punch to the gut.

“Barely Legal” features a steady guitar and bass pattern with intertwining guitar lines from guitarists Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond Jr. that sound inspired by Britpop. Lyrically the song concerns itself with the story of a girl who arrives in New York when she is the age of consent and the entanglements that she and another find themselves in. “Someday” attacks with more interlocking guitars and cutting bass from bassist Nikolai Fraiture. With lyrics such as “In many ways I miss the good old days,” “Alone we stand, together we fall apart” and “I’m working so I don’t have to try so hard/Tables they turn sometimes,” this song acts as a coming of age tale of sorts. It shows a longing for the past, but having to adjust to the change of the present.

“Last Nite” was the album’s second single. The opening guitar part was loosely based on Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers “American Girl” and the guitar solo was apparently inspired by blues guitarist Freddie King. Throughout the song the guitar attacks in an almost reggae-like rhythm at times, as Motown-inspired bass adds a gritty soul flavour, the drums are laidback, but on point and distorted vocals are sung in a Lou Reed styled talk-sing fashion. The song itself lyrically seems to deal with angst, alienation and a certain feeling of unrest. The song calls for understanding, even if it isn’t that clear. “Hard To Explain” was the first single released from Is This It. The song features distorted drum kits sounds, new wave inspired bass sounds and tense fuzzy guitars as Casablancas sings in his passionate, yet at times slacker approach.

Feedback brings in the next track on Is This It, “New York City Cops.” The song tells the tale of a problematic relationship amongst seedy New York life and was a popular live favourite. It was removed from the US version of Is This It following the 9/11 attacks on New York and replaced with the song “When It Started.” It did, however remain on the vinyl versions of the release. Due to the changing of the track listing on the US release, the album cover also differs on the US release of Is This It. Instead of the controversial image some viewed as explicit that appeared on the UK version of the album, the US version of the album features an abstract picture of subatomic particles in a bubble chamber. “Take It Or Leave It” ends Is This It. This aggressive track with its sleazy guitar solo break transmits multiple meanings. It however takes on even more context, considering the amplified amount of hype that surrounded The Strokes during this time.

Recorded in the spring of 2001 with producer Gordon Raphael at Transporterraum Studios located in a basement in New York, Is This It was recorded in six weeks. The songs employed a method of using as few takes as possible to achieve what Julian Casablanacas called “A raw efficiency.” The Strokes helped to usher in a garage rock revival in the early 2000’s that also included bands such as The White Stripes and The Hives, but due to the amount of hype and press the band received at the time it created groups of people that either really loved the band and their music or people that didn’t. The music was influenced by bands from New York and past music scenes. Bands from CBGB’s punk/new wave scene such as The Ramones, Talking Heads and Television are often referenced, as well as The Velvet Underground as influences. Guided By Voices are another band that they draw an influence from. Julian Casablancas said he wanted Is This It to sound like "a band from the past that took a time trip into the future to make their record." However, The Strokes sound is a lot of things at once.

Is This It was recorded and released at a time that causes it to be frozen in time. It sounds like something familiar, yet it doesn’t. The lyrics take on context like a novel, without sounding too articulate. The song “Is This It” and the album as a whole can apply to my earlier description, but it is also an example of the duality that can be expressed here. When looking at the band and this time period, the album's title can also be seen as a self-deprecating jab at the hype the band was receiving around this time in the press. Additionally, it can be seen as a comment on life in general. The songs speak for themselves. You either love it or hate it. Is This It is an album that has no tricks or gimmicks, but it packs one hell of a punch.

Show 730 Play List (Originally Aired On July 14th, 2018)(The Strokes Modern Age EP, The Feelies, Public Image Limited):

1. Farewell Mourners - Partial Prints
2. Cowboy Junkies - When We Arrive
3. Townes Van Zandt - Two Girls (Live At The Old Quarter, Houston, Texas)
4. Peter & the Wolves - Sundae Monday Blues
5. Bloodshot Bill - Rattle My Brain
6. The 427's - Bikini Thief
7. Carlo - Carlo's Crush
8. Carlo - Pale Moon Drifter
10. The Elite - My Confusion
11. The Ju Jus - Do You Understand Me
12. The Alarm Clocks - Yeah
13. The Rolling Stones - Down The Road Apiece
14. The Strokes - The Modern Age (EP Version)
15. The Strokes - Last Nite (EP Version)
15. The Strokes - Barely Legal (EP Version)
16. Saint Pe - Street Lights
17. The Feelies - The High Road
18. Rolling Blackouts C.F. - Bellarine
19. T. Hardy Morris - Homemade Blues
20. Zoom - Hollywood Babylon
21. Platinum Blonde - No Regrets
22. Alternative TV - You Bastard
23. The Flys - Love & A Molotov Cocktail
24. Papermaps - Iron Stove
25. Protomartyr - Wheel Of Fortune
26. The Psychedelic Furs - Soap Commercial
27. Public Image Limited - Memories
28. Public Image Limited - Mr. Suit

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for July 14.

Show 729 Play List (Originally Aired On July 7th, 2018)(Luau Or Die, La Luz, TOPS & Dion Lunadon):

1. Gold - No Parking
2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Third Stone From The Sun
3. The Stooges - Lost In The Future (Take 1)
4. Ty Segall - The Drag
5. Baby Giant - High Tide
6. Spaceslave - Brightside
7. Talking Violet - Beach Place
8. Luau Or Die - El Pauete Misterio
9. La Luz - California Finally
10. The Pixies - No. 13 Baby
11. Chad Vangaalen - Burning Photographs
12. The Buttertones - Midnight In A Moonless Dream
13. Jerry Jerry & The Sons of Rhythm Orchestra - Baby's On Fire
14. Nap Eyes - Don't Cry No Tears (Neil Young Cover - Laginappe Session 2018)
15. The Highest Order - Slip Away
16. TOPS - Dayglo Bimbo
17. Joy Division - Twenty Four Hours
18. The Smiths - Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
19. The Low Joy Ceiling - Minor Threat and Morrissey Walk Into A Bar
20. The Primitves - Carry Me Home
21. The Visitors - Patterns
22. The Garry's - Manitouna
23. Mission of Burma - Fame & Fortune
24. Crocodiles - Soft Skull (In My Room)
25. Dion Lunadon - Move

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for July 7.

Show 728 Play List (Originally Aired On June 30th, 2018)(The Strokes Is This It):

1. Bob Dylan & George Harrison - When's My Swamp Gonna Catch Fire?
2. The White Stripes - The Union Forever
3. David Lynch - Pinky's Dream Crazy
4. Enoch Smoky - It's Cruel
5. Dusty Mush - Happy Armpit (Demo)
6. Brian Eno - Third Uncle
7. The Strokes - Barely Legal
8. The Strokes - Trying Your Luck
9. Hot Hot Heat - No, Not Now
10. The Stolen Minks - Peppy Twist
11. Cub - Go Fish (Brave New Waves Session)
12. The Hives - Supply And Demand
13. Snow Geese - I'm Not For Sale, I'm Sold
14. Paul Jacobs - Story About Anything
15. Blessed - Endure
16. U.S. Girls - Pearly Gates
17. Priests - Suck
18. The Chills - The Oncoming Day
19. The Diodes - Mercenary Flight (1978 Alt Version)
20. The Strokes - Soma
21. The Strokes - Hard To Explain
22. The Libertines - Vertigo
23. The Strokes - Take It Or Leave
24. The Strokes - New York City Cops

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