Saturday, September 29, 2018

Parquet Courts Wide Awake! & Shows # 740, 741, 742

Brooklyn based post punk band Parquet Courts have been busy. Since 2016’s Human Performance, they released a collaborative album with Daniele Luppi and Karen O (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs) called Milano, they did a remix/single version of their song “Captive of the Sun” with rapper Bun B, singer Andrew Savage released a solo album called Thawing Dawn and 2018 saw a new album recorded with producer Brian Burton, otherwise known as Danger Mouse. Released through Rough Trade Records, Wide Awake! finds guitarist/vocalist Andrew Savage, Austin Brown (guitar/vocals), Sean Yeaton (bass) and drummer Max Savage reconvening for what many have been calling their strongest album to date. “Total Football” opens Wide Awake! Starting with a marching drum beat and ringing guitar and bass, it quickly picks up pace as the basslines run in between the guitar parts, drums and vocals in a graceful, yet energetic way. Lyrically, the song is based on the theory of “total football” that states any player on the field can play any role or position. Parquet Courts take this theory and apply it to a modern context. With lyrics such as “We are troubled by your soft curiosity/But delighted to be anti-everything you were taught” and “Collectivism and autonomy/Are not mutually exclusive” the song deals broadly with the duality of collectivism, individuality and clichéd American masculinity. This first song, as has been said in interviews serves as a sort of manifesto for the album, which tackles the current political climate among other things, with humour, wit and a new sense of anger.

“Violence” combines elements of funk, drawing part Funkadelic, part Gang of Four, with a combination of Andrew Savage’s Beastie Boys-like rant. The song tackles themes of American violence and the power imbalance that comes with it. With lyrics such as “A promise, an effect, a rejoice, a regret/Violence is daily life” and a creepy laughing voice that states, “Violence is so omnipresent/So ingrained in your daily reality/You forget to notice it happens every day”, Parquet Courts leave the listener with many things to chew on and think about (like the majority of the songs on this album) as a Ray Manzarek/Doors organ comes in at the end of the song. “Before The Water Gets Too High” brings down the pace, but simmers with lyrical unrest. Sung by guitarist Austin Brown, the song broadcasts a glum anti-apathy message, drawing on themes of climate change and potential apocalypses. The song is untraditional, even by Parquet Courts standards. It features an electronic instrument known as an Omnichord, as musically it combines psychedelic and dub music elements. “Mardi Gras Beads” is a contemplative, complex love song with hazy elements of psychedelia and punk, “Almost Had To Start A Fight/In And Out Of Patience” is indebted to 70s punk and questions the motives of anger with lyrics such as “What If I get tired of being polite/Why am I searching for reason”.

“Freebird II” is perhaps the strongest in the band’s already established catalogue. It deals with economic uncertainty, addiction, incarceration and mental instability. The song strikes a chord whether you realize these themes or not, and was described by Savage as “coming from dysfunction while not letting dysfunction define you” in an article on NPR’s website. It is an organ-driven, passionate song that also displays the band’s humour and wit, given its title. “Normalization” pulls in a Minutemen influence, “Back To Earth” takes on a cosmic aura. Sung by guitarist Austin Brown, the song combines elements of Townes Van Zandt and The Flaming Lips as lyrically it is about love and death, but appeals for bringing change through love and not violence, commerce or hate. The title track, delves directly into funk. With its funky bass grooves, triangle clangs, off kilter guitar lines and chanting-styled vocals, “Wide Awake!” is the furthest departure from Parquet Courts previous musical exploits. Despite the song’s extreme funkiness, it doesn’t feel out of place here. With lyrics which state “I’m wide awake/Mind so woke cause my brain never pushed the brakes” the song displays an awareness for of social uprisings and positive change. At the same time it provides the listener with catchy danceable rhythms.

“NYC Observation” draws a sketch of witnessing poverty on a daily basis in New York. This can easily be applied to what is happening all over with widespread poverty issues. Musically, this song and the song that follows “Extinction”, bring forth comparisons to the UK post punk band Wire. Both songs are brief (less than two minutes), while “NYC Observation” takes a look at outside observations, “Extinction” looks inward towards self-improvement. “Death Will Bring Change” is another highlight on Wide Awake! This song written by Brown takes on a Rolling Stones “Can’t Get What You Want” like atmosphere as a children’s choir is featured in the song. Brown had this to say of the song to The Independent: "It's not about the death so much as how it affects – how it changes your personality; how it changes your life. Death is tragic and then the people who are left to deal with it, with grief, who are still around, have to deal with the emotional effect”. “Tenderness” ends the album. It is a piano driven ballad of sorts with soulful/funky guitar, bass and drums overlap the piano melodies. The song is conflicted. With lyrics such as “If what they say is true/Then you become what you chew/If it decays spit it out/Affectation is a drought” and “When you hate everything that you do/You wanna live outside the groove/Then fine/But it’s there like a flower blooming in your ears/Open up your mouth/Pollinate your peers”, it questions nihilism and how it is so easy to get caught up in it. The song calls for optimism, despite our nihilistic surroundings.

Produced by Danger Mouse, Wide Awake! shows Parquet Courts amplifying their characteristics, with a punk and funky aesthetic. The album is charged with an intensity and anger that is the opposite of 2016’s Human Performance. While it does address cultural and social contexts, it also comments on our current political climate. These points, however, aren’t forced down the listener’s throats. Like all of the band’s albums, lyrically there are many themes and ideas that can be drawn upon and looked at, not just the obvious. By looking inward and outward, Parquet Courts question everything and nothing at the same time. There is no fat left on this record, it flows seamlessly from track to track, however, Wide Awake! leaves the listener plenty to chew.

Show 742 (Originally Aired On September 29th, 2018)(Marc Ribot, Parquet Courts & Talking Heads):

1. The Holy Gasp - A Division of Assets
2. The Standells - Girl and The Moon
3. Jerry Lee Lewis - Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee
4. Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis - Round Too Long
5. The Stray Cats - Race With The Devil
6. Suckerpunch - Cool … Like A Lava Lamp
7. Idles - I'm Scum
8. Le Shok - TV In My Eye
9. Ramones - In The Park
10. Cold Warps - Stupid Tattoos
11. The Inbreds - Attitude
12. TUNS - When You're Ready
13. Tom Verlaine - Say A Prayer
14. Marc Ribot & Tom Waits - Bella Ciao (Goodbye Beautiful)
15. Mitski - A Pearl
16. Museum Pieces - Elvin Tower
17. The Jesus & Mary Chain - Sowing Seeds
18. The Donkeys - Radiation
19. Klaus - Fever
20. Parquet Courts - Wide Awake
21. Parquet Courts - Violence
22. Destroyer - Priests Knees
23. Paul The Tailor - She Said
24. Paul Jacobs - America
25. Hi-Fi's - I Don't Know Why (You Don't Love Me)
26. Talking Heads - 1-2-3 Red Light (Live At The Old Waldorf December 3rd, 1977)
27. Talking Heads - New Feeling

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for September 29.

Show 741 (Originally Aired On September 22nd, 2018)(Algebra Mothers, Parquet Courts, Nirvana's In Utero):

1. RVG - A Quality of Mercy
2. Pere Ubu - Dream The Moon
3. Algebra Mothers - Modern Noise
4. Algebra Mothers - Car Sick
5. The Government - Real Computer
6. Leonard Cohen - I'm Your Man
7. Parquet Courts - Mardi Gras Beads
8. Parquet Courts - Extinction
9. Parquet Courts - Freebird II
10. The Clash - The Right Profile
11. The Undertones - Crisis Of Mine
12. Mark Sultan - Coffin Nails
13. Bloodshot Bill & The Hick-Ups - Slewfoot Sue
14. The Cramps - How Far Can Too Far Go?
15. Marvin Pontiac - It's Always Something. It's Never Nothing.
16. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Cheese In The Fridge
17. Bad Vibrations - In My Mind
18. Not Of - Watch Him, They Said
19. Cellos - Delirium Tremens
20. Trout - US Wax
21. Pretty Matty - Show Me
22. Pony - I Don't Know
23. Sloan - Pictures Now
24. Meat Puppets - I Can't Be Counted On
25. Giants In The Trees - Sasquatch
26. Nirvana - Dumb (2013 Mix)
27. Nirvana - Very Ape (2013 Mix)
28. Nirvana - Milk It (2013 Mix)
29. Nirvana - Serve The Servants

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for September 22.

Show 740 (Originally Aired On September 15th, 2018)(South River Slim (Acoustic Session), The Sadies, Jesus Lizard):

1. Archie & The Bunkers - Pacemaker
2. The Modern Lovers - Government Center
3. Reigning Sound - Call Me
4. Phono Pony - Monkey Paw
5. Billy Moon - Dingus
6. Broken Social Scene - ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)
7. The Sadies - Starling Auto
8. The Sadies - Tried Not To
9. South River Slim (w/Dale D'Amore) - Blind Lemon Girl (CJAM Acoustic Live Session)
10. South River Slim (w/Dale D'Amore) - Girl Trouble (CJAM Acoustic Live Session)
11. South River Slim - Bang Bang
12. Angelo Badalamenti - The Pink Room
13. Idles - Never Fight A Man With A Perm
14. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - dang
15. Jesus Lizard - Mouth Breather
16. Jesus Lizard - My Own Urine
17. Pissed Jeans - Bathroom Laughter
18. OFF! - Legion of Evil
19. Platinum Blonde - No Regrets
20. Nap Eyes - Judgement
21. R.E.M. - Wolves, Lower
22. Josef K - Drone
23. The Soft Pack - Parasites
24. Dead Ghosts - You Don't Belong
25. The 427's - Victory City
26. B-52's - Party Out Of Bounds
27. The Mummies - Just One More Dance
28. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Jubilee Street (Live in Copenhagen)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for September 15.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

An Interview With Nigel Chapman of Nap Eyes & Shows # 738 & 739

Nap Eyes formed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2011. Fronted by vocalist/guitarist Nigel Chapman, Brad Loughead (lead guitar), Josh Salter (bass) and Seamus Dalton (drums), Nap Eyes musical style has drawn comparisons to bands such as The Velvet Underground, The Clean, The Go-Betweens, and Television, among others. Their style sometimes called “slacker rock” is different. It does have similarities to the above-mentioned bands, but at the same time it doesn’t. The music also lends itself to the indie rock world and also to other genres. Lyrically, the words operate on a different level being introspective, deadpan and sarcastic at times. I’m Bad Now, is the third full-length album release by this band. Released via You’ve Changed Records/Paradise of Bachelors, I’m Bad Now finds Chapman questioning relationships and life in general in philosophical, existential and cosmic contexts.

Recorded in June/July 2016 in Montreal at Hotel2Tango with Howard Billerman and Mike Wright, I’m Bad Now was the first Nap Eyes album to be recorded with overdubs. While all previous albums were recorded basically live off the floor, I’m Bad Now still resonates with a similar musical aesthetic to its predecessors, 2014’s Whine of the Mystic and 2016’s Thought Rock Fish Scale. “Every Time The Feeling” opens I’m Bad Now with its jangly rock guitars and rolling basslines. Lyrically, with lines such as “I can’t tell what’s worse the meaninglessness or the negative meaning/I’ve figured out a way to get on with my life and to keep on dreaming”, Chapman digs into a feeling and a sense of existential dread, while at the same time addressing outcast/outsider themes. “I’m Bad” questions the prospect of good versus evil in broad strokes, with elements of country music and alternative rock converging together musically, “Judgement” has lyrics asking “Please don’t ask me to throw my work away”, droning guitars, drifting basslines, subtle, yet aggressive drums as the band builds up to a musical jangle reminiscent of The Clean. The song ends anti-climactically, as the song questions the judgement of others and the prospect of everyday life. “Roses” arrives like a restless and impatient version of a Rolling Stones country song. With a bassline reminiscent of “Miss You” and sliding 70s country guitar licks, the song itself seems to question vanity, desire and unwanted attention.

“Follow Me Down” again makes its way into country, with rim shots on the drums and a powerful bassline, mixed with acoustic guitar and intense, but subtle electric feedback. Lyrically, the words are poetic with their landscape imagery and executed in a deadpan delivery drawing on a Lou Reed/Leonard Cohen influence. The song, like the character in it, seems to zone out as it contemplates internal contradictions. “Dull Me Line” enters a cosmic space lyrically with a chorus of “Dull me line/Running abandoned race tracks in my mind/Dull me heart/Heavy with bored and lazy disappointment art/Dull me head/Stubbornly trying to forget what you said/Dull me soul/Wandering restlessly without a goal”. Musically, it flows with an uneasy breeziness, likely influenced by Chapman’s Nova Scotia surroundings as well as drawing comparisons to early R.E.M. and The Modern Lovers. “Sage” is mellow bringing in elements of Wilco and Television, “Hearing The Bass” brings up the tempo. The song features lyrics by Danika Vandersteen, and an almost dream pop-like atmosphere, as it draws on nautical themes (which appear throughout the album) to paint a picture of its surroundings.

“White Disciple” comes in as the second last track on I’m Bad Now. The song itself was written prior to the band’s first two albums. It is a long track that draws on a story of spiritual awakening. “White Disciple” features primarily bass that sounds like it was carved out of wood and a rhythmic drum pattern amongst guitar stabs and trailing guitar lead lines. “Boats Appear” ends I’m Bad Now. At almost seven minutes, it is the album’s longest track (not available on vinyl editions of the album). The track with lyrics such as “Boats appear on the water/Like the ones in the dream/I have seen the steam trails rising/From the sea/Like a dream”, questions things in a very open ended cosmic/existential way. Musically, the song pulls at the listener’s mind with a folk dynamicism. As a whole, it has been said that I’m Bad Now is loosely connected to their previous two albums to create some kind of trilogy. While there are similar themes that pop up and appear between the three albums, I’m Bad Now stands up by itself. The meanings that can be drawn from the songs here can be abstract, or not. The listener is not presented with everything spelled out for them, which causes repeat listens to reveal little subtleties that may not have been noticed before. With all its cosmic layers, drawing on everything from existential to philosophical themes, I’m Bad Now seems to ask more questions than it answers. However, as we are told in “Boats Appear”, ”It takes time to understand things/And the more you know/The more you don’t know”.

Check out Revolution Rock's interview with Nigel Chapman of Nap Eyes here:

Show 739 (Originally Aired On September 8th, 2018)(Nap Eyes Interview):

1. School Damage - Assimilate
2. School Damage - Meeting Halfway
3. Wild Billy Childish - You'll Be Sorry Now
4. Bob Seger & The Lost Heard - Persecution Smith
5. The Canadian Squires - Leave Me Alone
6. Them - Mystic Eyes
7. The Secrets - He Treats You Bad
8. The Clean - Tally Ho!
9. Nap Eyes - Everytime The Feeling
10. Nap Eyes - Hearing The Bass


11. Nap Eyes - 2 Cool To Be 4-Gotten (Laginappe Session)
12. Monomyth - Transmission
13. Modern Superstitions - Black Moon
14. The Mark Inside - Coming of Age At The End of Days
15. Wild Nothing - Letting Go
16. Grounders - Mickey Won't Move
17. Protomartyr - You Always Win
18. Nervous Exits - Annabel
19. Martin Van Ruin - On The Level
20. PRIORS - Grease
21. The Famines - The State of Music
22. Dragsville - That Girl
23. Volunteers - Don't Get Me Down
24. Neil Young - Mellow My Mind
25. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - An Air Conditioned Man

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for September 8.

Show 738 Play List (Originally Aired On September 1st, 2018)(Aretha Franklin Tribute, Archie & The Bunkers, Ancient Shapes, Daniel Romano):

1. Aretha Franklin - The House That Jack Built
2. Aretha Franklin - Niki Hoeky
3. Aretha Franklin - A Change Is Gonna Come
4. Condition - Caravan
5. F&M - Colmar
6. Mitski - Blue Light
7. Father John Misty - Date Night
8. Archie & The Bunkers - Fire Walk With Me
9. Archie & The Bunkers - Laura
10. David Lynch - Star Dream Girl
11. The Demics - The 400 Blows
12. Ancient Shapes - Giant Comma
13. Ancient Shapes - Teenagers (The Rats)
14. Daniel Romano - Nerveless
15. Daniel Romano - Blue Champagne
16. The Moths - Lightning Coyote
17. The Thirty Eights - The Drop
18. Gogo Loco - The Gogo Loco Twist
19. Adolescents - Amoeba
20. No Age - Drippy
21. Rock n' Roll Monkey & The Robots - Do The Rock n' Roll Monkey
22. Iggy & The Stooges - I Need Somebody (Instrumental)
23. Farewell Mourners - Always Eventually
24. US Girls - Mad As Hell
25. Underworld & Iggy Pop - Bells & Circles
26. Oh Sees - Enrique El Cobrador

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for September 1.