Saturday, December 22, 2018

Joe Strummer Day 2018: Joe Strummer 001, Live Tracks and Soundtracks (Show # 754)

Since the end of The Clash, much has been written about and celebrated in terms of reissues and box sets, but in September 2018 the first collection compiling Joe Strummer’s solo musical output was released. Joe Strummer 001 comes in a variety of formats, but it is a 32-track collection of Strummer’s pre and post Clash output. The super deluxe edition of Joe Strummer 001, features vinyl, CDs, other ephemera and three additional recordings. Following his untimely death in 2002 at the age of 50, it was discovered that Strummer kept quite the collection of recordings, writings and other materials in a barn in Strummer and his wife’s barn in Somerset. Following his time with The Clash, Joe Strummer dived into soundtrack work and appeared in acting roles in several films. This collection shows how deep he went jumping musical styles and really shows that he was capable of a lot more than people may realize.

Joe Strummer 001 operates on two levels. The first CD in the collection compiles twenty tracks, ranging from his early pub rock beginnings with the 101’ers, to work with The Latino Rockabilly War, other soundtrack work, material recorded with The Mescaleros and other tracks from various now hard to find releases. On this first disc, highlights include “Love Kills” recorded for 1986’s Sid & Nancy soundtrack, “Tennessee Rain”, one of the many tracks that Strummer composed for the soundtrack to the 1987 film, Walker, “Burning Lights” from the 1990 soundtrack to I Hired A Contract Killer, “Trash City” recorded for the Permanent Record soundtrack in 1988, “Redemption Song” recorded with Johnny Cash and “Over The Border” recorded with Jimmy Cliff for his 2004 album Black Magic. Of the Mescaleros tracks included are the dubbed out “Yalla, Yalla”, “Come Girl” and “Silver and Gold” from 2003’s Streetcore and one of Strummer’s finest compositions, “Johnny Appleseed” from 2001’s Global A Go-Go. From Strummer’s overlooked 1989 solo album, Earthquake Weather, only one song is represented “Ride Your Donkey”, which was originally done by The Tennors. But, like most of this collection, it is a sampling of Joe Strummer’s solo musical output.

The second level found on Joe Strummer 001 is contained on the second disc. This is the reason many fans will be drawn to this release. The second disc is made of twelve unreleased recordings, some of which some diehard fans may not have been aware existed. The first track is an acoustic demo of the song “Letsagitabitarockin” recorded in 1975. Armed with just an acoustic guitar, this track shows Strummer in his earliest days putting down his musical thoughts for one of his first great songs. This track is then followed by two demos of songs that were recorded for The Clash’s 1985 album, Cut The Crap. For this album, Clash guitarist Mick Jones had been fired from the group and only Simonon and Strummer remained from the original lineup. But, in these two demos we have, an early dubbed up version of “This Is England” entitled “Czechoslovak Song/Where Is England” and a version of the song “Pouring Rain” that show a still energetic, determined band. The songs are credited as Strummer, Simonon & Howard, who were the only Clash members on these recordings. “Crying On The 23rd” and “2 Bullets” shows off rockabilly and blues influences. These two tracks recorded with Clash guitarist Mick Jones on guitar and intended for the Sid & Nancy soundtrack were never released. “Crying On The 23rd” is a sloppy rockabilly blues track, while “2 Bullets” is a country track sung by Pearl Harbour.

Three tracks are included from the unreleased When Pigs Fly soundtrack. “When Pigs Fly”, “Pouring Rain” (a different reworking of this song), and “Rose of Erin” are heard here in astonishing detail and quality. The soundtrack and this film have been surrounded by a bit of mystery. Released in 1993, the film directed by Sara Driver was a story about a down and out jazz musician, a bar owner, a haunted chair and two ghosts. Starring Alfred Molina and Marianne Faithful, the film failed to get distribution. Its soundtrack has been available in low quality, bootleg form for some time now. But, these three tracks show how different and detailed these songs were, showcasing elements of Celtic folk and another side of Strummer’s musical abilities. “The Cool Impossible” is a jazz based track, unreleased until now and recorded with the same musicians that played on the 1993 When Pigs Fly soundtrack. “U.S. North” ends Joe Strummer 001. A ten-minute track by Mick Jones & Joe Strummer, this track reflects a Big Audio Dynamite sound (Jones’ post Clash group). This was a track recorded for the 1988-film Candy Mountain that was never used.

When some of these tapes were discovered for Joe Strummer 001, there were many recordings on reel-to-reel and cassette tapes that contained hidden tracks, some of which were superimposed on top of each other. All of the tracks were restored and mastered by Peter J. Moore at the E. Room in Toronto. He was also able to separate the superimposed tracks. It has been said that there are a total of 20,000 items in the Joe Strummer archive. What makes up those 20,000 items is unclear, but with a title like Joe Strummer 001, it is hopeful that there will be another collection of recordings released from his archive at some point. After discovering these recordings it took about five years to clean them up and archive. Like the hidden tracks that were discovered when going through Strummer’s archive, Joe Strummer 001 offers exposure to another side of Joe Strummer’s post and pre Clash musical past to listeners. Joe Strummer 001 shows that Strummer was not just the singer of The Clash, it provides detail and evidence that he was so much more.

JSD 2018 Play List - Joe Strummer 001, Live Tracks & Soundtracks:

1. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Johnny Appleseed (Joe Strummer 001 - 2018/Global A Go-Go - 2001)
2. Joe Strummer - Pouring Rain (Joe Strummer 001 - 2018/When Pigs Fly - 1993)
3. Joe Strummer - Love Kills (Joe Strummer 001 - 2018/Sid & Nancy Soundtrack - 1986)
4. The Soothsayers - Crying on the 23rd (Outtake from the Sid & Nancy Soundtrack)(Joe Strummer 001 - 2018)
5. Joe Strummer - The Cool Impossible (Joe Strummer 001 - 2018)
6. Joe Strummer - Tennesse Rain (Joe Strummer 001 - 2018/Walker Soundtrack - 1987)
7. Joe Strummer - Sandstorm (Walker Soundtrack - 1987)
8. Joe Strummer - Matchete (Walker Soundtrack - 1987)
9. Joe Strummer - Unknown Immortal (Walker Soundtrack - 1987)
10. Joe Strummer - Tropic of No Return (Walker Soundtrack - 1987)
11. Joe Strummer - Straight Shooter (Walker Soundtrack - 1987)
12. The Pogues with Joe Strummer - If I Should Fall From The Grace of God (Live 1991)(Live In London - 2014)
13. The Pogues with Joe Strummer - London Calling (Live 1991)(Live In London - 2014)
14. The Pogues with Joe Strummer - Turkish Song of the Damned (Live 1991)(Live In London - 2014)
15. The Pogues with Joe Strummer - Dirty Old town (Live 1991)(Live In London - 2014)
16. The Pogues with Joe Strummer - The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn (Live 1991)(Live In London - 2014)
17. Joe Strummer & The Latino Rockabilly War - Police on my Back (Live The Fridge Brixton, South London 1988)
18. Joe Strummer & The Latino Rockabilly War - Trash City (Live The Fridge Brixton, South London 1988)
19. Joe Strummer - Burning Lights (Joe Strummer 001 - 2018/I Hired A Contract Killer - 1990)
20. Joe Strummer - Rose of Erin (Joe Strummer 001 - 2018/When Pigs Fly - 1993)
21. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Coma Girl (Joe Strummer 001 - 2018/Streetcore - 2003)
22. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Silver and Gold (Joe Strummer 001 - 2018/Streetcore - 2003)
23. Joe Strummer - Letsagetabitarockin’ (Demo) (Joe Strummer 001 - 2018)
24. Strummer, Simonon & Howard - Czechoslovak Song/Where Is England (Demo) (Joe Strummer 001 - 2018)
25. Joe Strummer & Mick Jones - U.S. North (Unreleased song recorded for the Candy Mountain Soundtrack)(Joe Strummer 001 - 2018)

Download this episode here!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

2018 Highlights & Shows # 752, 753

For their favourite releases of 2018, Dave & Adam of Revolution Rock each picked ten albums that they liked that were put out in 2018 and some selections from other albums as well. They did two episodes devoted to music that was released in 2018 and you can download these episodes under the playlists below. Each of their top 10 lists are included in this post, followed by a little write-up of each of their top five albums from 2018.

Dave’s Top 10 Albums of 2018:

1. Parquet Courts - Wide Awake!
2. Nap Eyes - I’m Bad Now
3. Volunteers - I Wish I Was As Happy As John Denver
4. La Luz - Floating Features
5. Paul Jacobs - EASY
6. Preoccupations - New Material
7. Courtney Barnett - Tell Me How You Really Feel
8. Rolling Blackouts C.F. - Hope Downs
9. Ty Segall & White Fence - Joy
10. Mudhoney - Digital Garbage

Adam’s Top 10 Albums of 2018:

1. U.S. Girls – In a Poem Unlimited
2. Mount Eerie – Only Now
3. Low – Double Negative
4. Daughters – You Won't Get What You Want
5. Car Seat Headrest – Twin Fantasy
6. Idles – Joy as an Act of Resistance
7. Father John Misty – God's Favorite Customer
8. Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!
9. Mitski – Be the Cowboy
10. Rolling Blackouts C.F. - Hope Downs

A Few Write-ups From A Selection of Our Top 10 Lists:

Dave's Top Five:

1. Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!

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.

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.

2. Nap Eyes – I’m Bad Now

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. 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”.

3. Volunteers – I Wish I Was As Happy As John Denver

In the spring of 2018, Volunteers, a band based in Vancouver released a new album entitled, I Wish I Was As Happy As John Denver. This debut album appeared mysteriously, by a band consisting of Dave McMartin (guitar), John McMartin (drums), Fraser With (guitar) and Brad Felotick on bass/vocals. They have had their song “Who Needs A Girl Like You” featured as the theme song to the CraveTV series, Letterkenny. In addition to providing the title theme to the show, they also have other songs in the various episodes of the show, along with other Vancouver bands. The album was recorded by Andrew Wilkinson, who also plays in the band Dead Ghosts. It was recorded in a barn on the outskirts of Vancouver where the two bands share a rehearsal space. This location is also the same place where Dead Ghosts recorded their 2015 release, Love and Death and All The Rest. As a result, I Wish I Was As Happy As John Denver has a laid back feel, but also never loses its 60s garage/rock spirit. With a title inspired by an ad-lib from a live recording by Neil Young & Crazy Horse, I Wish I Was As Happy As John Denver, blends a country/garage musicianship with lyrics that are strong with rich, folk-like imagery. The album is a bit mysterious, but is also a mature reflection on the past and present, while creating something new. The sound of Volunteers is organic, but pulls its roots from different musical backgrounds. I Wish I Was As Happy As John Denver is homegrown, but never sounds dated. It leaves a lasting imprint on the listener that is hard to shake.

4. La Luz – Floating Features

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. “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.

5. Paul Jacobs - EASY

EASY is the latest album released by Paul Jacobs. Put out through UK label Stolen Body Records in October 2018, EASY shows Jacobs drifting out within his own lo-fi garage aesthetic, adding atmosphere with synthesizers that at times sound like they are coming from an old VHS tape. EASY follows a series of releases from Jacobs. Earlier in 2018, an EP was released on cassette called Story About Anything and in 2016, there were two albums released, I’m Into What You’re Into and Pictures, Movies & Apartments. Stolen Body Records released Pictures, Movies & Apartments on vinyl in 2017. The music on EASY still retains the chaotic, lo-fi element that has been present in Jacobs’ music since the beginning, but there is something else found in this collection of songs. The melodies are stronger, almost haunting, as they make their way into the listeners subconscious. Lyrically, EASY tackles everyday life with a slacker realization that is at times humorous and poignant. EASY offers something new for listener’s that may be familiar with music Paul Jacobs has created in the past, but it also doesn’t stray too far from the spirit that has been present in his earlier recordings. With EASY, Paul Jacobs delivers an album that grows at its own pace.

Adam's Top Five:

1. U.S. Girls – In a Poem Unlimited

Stuck within the quagmire of insidious misogyny that pervades this culture (look no further than the sexist demagogue elected into office), women in 2018 had to face the bombardment of media re-enforcing ideas of female bodies being nothing more than commodities to exploit. This is the world Meg Remy combated on In a Poem Unlimited, the sixth album from the Toronto multi-instrumentalist's project U.S. Girls. While Remy's previous albums never shied away from the existential complexities of womanhood, this record's set of political pop was her most barbed and incisive collection yet. “Velvet 4 Sale” depicts a dystopian future wherein women and children are conscripted to fight the wars of the rich elite, “Mad As Hell” criticized the American military presence in the Middle East, while “Rage of Plastics” tells the story of a woman becoming infertile due to working in a chemical refinery. As dire as these narratives are, Remy could not even find respite in the afterlife, saving her most scathing critique of institutionalized sexism for the space-disco of “Pearly Gates”: “But like some roadside vet with a bag in hand/I could do anything St. Peter asked/For one chance to be an angel in his eyes/It seemed to be the safe bet, so I closed my eyes/And I opened my gates wide/And St. Peter came inside.” AND YET, as dark as the themes of this record were, In a Poem Unlimited also radiated hope. This was not only due to the hypnagogic pop of her assembled band, whose arrangements brought to mind a range of influences such as Bowie, Talking Heads, Blondie, and ABBA. It was also due to the tireless bravery of Remy tackling these themes, her ambition to call out to prevalent misogyny and corruption of the world around her, and the reassurances that as long as people like her continue this battle, love and righteousness may prevail. This is U.S. Girls' most complex and sprawling record, while also being their most immediate and grooving. It is political pop, protest music, full of revolutionary anger, while also being joyous and life affirming.

2. Mount Eerie - Now Only

Last year, Phil Elverum released one of the most emotionally cataclysmic records I have ever heard. The eulogistic A Crow Looked At Me explored the aftermath of losing a loved one (the songwriter's wife Genevieve Castree), with what amounted to less a collection of songs than an exercise of visceral catharsis. Now Only sees Elverum returning again to his grief, but resulting in a much different album. While the arrangements of Crow were sparse, barely even songs, the six tracks of Now Only are flushed out and complex. Arrangements shift and sprawl. Pleading acoustic laments suddenly break into feedback-laden squalls. Time signatures shift. The album even offers a bit of respite in humour, as Elverum recounts playing his “death songs to a bunch of young people on drugs” at a music festival. This isn't to say this record is any less devastating than its predecessor, but it seems time has given Elverum perspective. Now Only is the sound of a man healing after a major tragedy, and while it might be a stretch to claim this record as being “hopeful,” a bit of light has begun to break through the sombre clouds of Mount Eerie's world.

3. Low – Double Negative

Here's an accolade for you: I've never heard a record that sounded like Double Negative before in my life. While the Minnesota trio could have rode out their band's career producing yet another collection of slowcore indie rock, they decided instead to dabble in auto-tune, synths, and digital distortion. The resulting record is not exactly a rock record, nor a folk record, nor a pop record. I'm at my wit's end trying to find the right category for it to fit in (if such a thing even exists). Double Negative is akin too a polished indie pop record downloaded onto a digital drive, which has been dunked in water, thrown down a flight of stairs, and bludgeoned with a hammer. While soft comparisons have been made to Radiohead's Kid A and Bon Iver's 22, A Million, it really stands out on its own. Each digital clip, each wave of distortion seems specifically planned, meticulously orchestrated. Its the album of a veteran band refusing to be pigeon-holed, crafting a Dadaist masterpiece that is as haunting as it is unconventional.

4. Daughters – You Won't Get What You Want

Visceral. That is the word to describe this Rhode Island band's fourth release. This album is a nosedive into incessant paranoia and madness, as if Suicide's “Frankie Teardrop” were given a noise-rock makeover by Jesus Lizard. Listening to this LP is intense and brutal, with the icy guitar blasts of “Satan in the Wait” and cacophonous sea-shanty of “The Flammable Man” sheer peaks in this musical downward spiral. Add on some truly poetic lyrics by Alexis Marshall (just look to the chilling narrative told in “Ocean Song”) and Daughters have created the best heavy rock record of recent years.

5. Car Seat Headrest – Twin Fantasy (Face To Face)

A re-recording of Will Toledo's 2011 bedroom-rock project, this new version of Twin Fantasy is a vast improvement over its predecessor. Not only have the arrangements been fleshed out with a full band sound, but the previous record's propensity for navel-gazing has been removed in favour of greater confidence and Toledo's finely developed wry sense of humour. Of course, the subjects are just as personal and introspective as found on the previous version of this record, but the new arrangements provide much needed life into a record that otherwise was lost in the sea of laconic mope-rock permeating bandcamp. Twin Fantasy (Face To Face) is an emotional sprawling experience, and perhaps Toledo's most ambitious record to date.

Show 753 (Best of 2018 Part Two):

1. Double Winter - Oxen Eyes (Double Winter - Crystal Palace Records - 2018)
2. Flesh Rag - Just One Kiss (Inside Your Mind - Schizophrenic Records/Loose Lip Records - 2018)
3. Snake River - Let Us Be Something Seen (Tread On To The Unknown You - 2018)
4. Farewell Mourners - Always Eventually (Farewell Mourners EP - Must Be Nice Records - 2018)
5. Charles Bradley - Heart of Gold (Black Velvet - Daptone Records - 2018)
6. Fucked Up - Raise Your Voice Joyce (Dose Your Dreams - Merge Records - 2018)
7. U.S. Girls - Mad As Hell (In A Poem Unlimited - 4AD - 2018)
8. Rolling Blackouts C.F. - Bellarine (Hope Downs - Sub Pop - 2018)
9. Mudhoney - Next Mass Extinction (Digital Garbage - Sup Pop - 2018)
10. Mitski - Lonesome Love (Be The Cowboy - Dead Oceans - 2018)
11. Ty Segall & White Fence - Rock Flute/A Nod (Joy - Drag City Records - 2018)
12. Parquet Courts - Violence (Wake Up! - Rough Trade Records - 2018)
13. Rolling Blackouts C.F. - Talking Straight (Hope Downs - Sub Pop - 2018)
14. Father John Misty - Date Night (God's Favorite Customer - Sub Pop - 2018)
15. Courtney Barnett - Charity (Tell Me How You Really Feel - Mom + Pop Music - 2018)
16. Idles - Television (Joy As An Act of Resistance - Partisan Records - 2018)
17. Preoccupations - Espionage (New Material - Flemish Eye - 2018)
18. Car Seat Headrest - Sober To Death (Twin Fantasy (Face To Face) - Matador Records - 2018)
19. Paul Jacobs - Easy (Warm Weather) (Easy - Stolen Body Records - 2018)
20. Daughters - Guest House (You Won't Get What You Want - Ipecac Recordings - 2018)
21. La Luz - The Creature (Floating Features - Hardly Art - 2018)
22. Low - Poor Sucker (Double Negative - Sub Pop - 2018)
23. Volunteers - Don't Get Me Down (I Wish I Was As Happy As John Denver - Barn Records - 2018)
24. Mount Eerie - Tintin In Tibet (Now Only - P.W. Elverum & Sun - 2018)
25. Nap Eyes - Every Time The Feeling (I'm Bad Now - Paradise of Bachelors/You've Changed Records - 2018)
26. U.S. Girls - Velvet For Sale (In A Poem Unlimited - 4AD - 2018)
27. Parquet Courts - NYC Observation (Wide Awake! - Rough Trade Records - 2018)

Download This Episode Here!

Show 752 (Best of 2018 Part One):

1. Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen In Love (Love Bites - United Artists - 1978)
2. Buzzcocks - I Don't Mind (Another Music In A Different Kitchen - United Artists - 1977)
3. Buzzcocks - Love You More (Love Bites - United Artist - 1978)
4. Shoobies - Surfin' Surgeon (Nevermind The Hardcore, Here's Shoobies - 2018)
5. Baby Giant - High Tide (2 - 2018)
6. Urban Surf Kings - Slipstream (Astro Surf A-Go-Go - Surf Cookie Records - 2018)
7. Papa Ghostface - Every Angry Element (What We Lost In The Flood - Tosteestosta Music - 2018)
8. Papermaps - Iron Stove (Confessions: To Each Their Own Rapture - Sparks Music - 2018)
9. Peach Kelli Pop - Quiet (Gentle Leader - Mint Records/Bachelor Records - 2018)
10. Peach Kelli Pop - Crooked (Which Witch - Mint Records/Bachelor Records - 2018)
11. Outrageous Cherry - The Beginning of the End of the Night (Meet You In The Shadows - Burger Records - 2018)
12. Elvis Costello & The Imposters - Unwanted Number (Look Now - Concord Records - 2018)
13. School Damage - Isn't Easy (A To X - Chapter Music - 2018)
14. Archie & The Bunkers - Fire Walk With Me (Songs From The Lodge - Dirty Water Records - 2018)
15. The 427's - Bikini Thief (Stay Gold - Stingray Sounds - 2018)
16. Preoccupations - Solace (New Material - Flemish Eye - 2018)
17. Nap Eyes - Dull Me Line (I'm Bad Now - Paradise of Bachelors/You've Changed Records - 2018)
18. Courtney Barnett - Nameless, Faceless (Tell Me How You Really Feel - Mom + Pop Music - 2018)
19. Iceage - Catch It (Beyondless - Matador Records - 2018)
20. Jeff Rosenstock - Yr Throat (POST - Polyvinyl Record Co. - 2018)
21. Mark Sultan - Believe Me (Let Me Out - Dirty Water Records - 2018)
22. Bonny Doon - A Lotta Things (Longwave - Woodsist - 2018)
23. Mexican Knives - Social Diary (II - Jett Plastic Recordings - 2018)
24. Hot Snakes - Six Wave Hold Down (Jericho Sirens - Sub Pop - 2018)
25. Ty Segall - Main Pretender (Freedom's Goblin - Drag City Records - 2018)
26. Shame - Friction (Songs of Praise - Dead Oceans - 2018)
27. No Age - Cruise Control (Snares Like A Haircut - Drag City Records - 2018)
28. Jeff Tweedy - I Know What It's Like (Warm - dBpm Records - 2018)
29. Buzzcocks - Lipstick (Peel Session - October 23rd, 1978) (Love Bites (Deluxe Edition) - EMI Records - 2010)

Download This Episode Here!

Saturday, December 08, 2018

The Beatles White Album & The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society (50th Anniversary) & Shows # 749, 750, 751

Originally released on November 22nd, 1968, The Beatles White Album was the highly anticipated follow up to 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s and the Lonely Hearts Club Band. While Sgt. Pepper’s showed the band taking a more psychedelic, experimental approach to songs and the recording of the album, The White Album was the opposite. The recording sessions had their origins in Rishikesh, India. From February to April 1968, The Beatles were there to take part in a Transcendental Meditation course with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. During this time they came up with about forty new songs, several of which were demoed at George Harrison’s house in May of 1968 known as the Esher Demos. During the recording of this album, there were many aspects that caused turmoil and tensions within the group. Producer George Martin took a leave of absence during the sessions, engineer Geoff Emerick quit and drummer Ringo Starr left the group for about two weeks during the sessions before returning.

There are thirty songs on The Beatles. It should also be noted that the album is referred to as The White Album, but it is a self-titled album. Several of the songs have a fractured feel, but overall the album for all its styles and immediacy has an undeniable energy. From the opening moments of Paul McCartney’s “Back In the U.S.S.R”, which he wrote as a parody and pastiche at the time of a Beach Boys song, starts off with a heavy rock song that was seen as controversial by some due to the lyrical content. The song sets the tone as being both subversive and mischievous. “Glass Onion” is another hard-hitting rock track, written and sung by John Lennon that clouded up and addressed people who were looking too much into their songs for hidden meanings. “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” is a song that is comprised of three different sections comprising different song styles within the less than three-minute track length. It contains surrealist lyrics and different time signature changes. “Don’t Pass Me By” written by Ringo Starr strangely reflects tensions within the band at the time (Ringo quit the band, but returned during the sessions), allusions to people looking too much into Beatles rumours and has a violin added over top in a manic fashion. It eerily reflects the violin featured on The Clash’s “Lose Your Skin” on their 1980 album Sandinista, written by Tymon Dogg. George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” features lead guitar by guitarist Eric Clapton, who was brought in when Harrison felt that John and Paul were not giving his composition the needed attention that it deserved. “Long, Long, Long” is a song with spiritually inspired lyrics that are open to interpretation. With its acoustic guitar, organ, and Starr’s dynamic drum fills, it also provides a moment of calmness between the raucous and chaotic “Helter Skelter” and the politically charged “Revolution 1”.

With double albums, there is more content than a regular full-length album. Many people have issues with certain aspects of double albums, saying that they would operate better if they were a single album instead. Producer George Martin argued this point when The Beatles were finishing up with The White Album, but they still decided to go ahead with a double album of thirty tracks. The overall sound of the album can be looked at just by taking a glance at the album cover. There is nothing on the album’s cover, it is a blank cover with just the band name in the corner. This can be juxtaposed to 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s, which has a brightly coloured, psychedelic cover. The White Album is raw, straight to the point, but also branches out into different musical styles and sometimes experimentation. There are many layers that are only revealed upon repeated listens. The album subverts conventions, musically and socially and challenges listeners.

Also released on November 22nd, 1968 was The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society. It was an album that was recorded between November 1966 and October 1968. Village Green was also a concept album, the first of many that Ray Davies and The Kinks would explore. But, many feel this is one of the strongest and best. The concept of Village Green lies in theme of English life and the innocence of past times. At a time when being psychedelic was the new thing to do, Davies and the Kinks took a look back with a preservative attitude. Also, it was influenced by concepts from Dylan Thomas’s Under The Milkwood, many of the songs featured strong characters throughout. At the time of the album’s creation, The Kinks had been banned from performing in the USA (which occurred in 1965), they were surrounded by record company pressures and legal battles and of course turmoil within the band. Village Green was the last album to feature the original Kinks lineup of Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Peter Quaife and Micky Avory. Bassist Peter Quaife would leave the band in early 1969. If that wasn’t enough, at this time the band was also working on a solo Dave Davies album with The Kinks as his backing band and Ray was also working on material for a British TV show, all of which were recorded with The Kinks.

A version of The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society was released in parts of Europe in October of 1968 (France, Sweden and Norway). This version featured twelve tracks and featured variations in mixes and track listing to the version that would eventually be released in the UK and the US in November 1968. After the original twelve track version of the album was delivered to Pye, Ray Davies asked them to postpone the release of the album so that he could expand and make some changes. Initially interested in making Village Green a double album, Pye denied this request and it was decided that a fifteen-track version would be produced and released. The notable changes to the album were the addition of “Last of the Steam Powered Trains”, “Big Sky”, “Sitting By The Riverside”, and “All of My Friends Were There”. The songs “Days” and “Mr. Songbird” were removed from the track list order. “Days” was later released as a single in June of 1968.

The album starts off with the song “The Village Green Preservation Society” in which Ray states “Preserving the old ways from being abused/Protecting the new ways for me and for you”. Ray and The Kinks flat out state the ethos of this album in the opening moments. This all happens amongst acoustic guitars, electric guitar stabs leads provided by guitarist Dave Davies with organ flooding the background as drummer Mick Avory and bassist Peter Quaife propel the song forward with their driving rhythm section. Musically the album draws on the lyrical prominence that was emphasized on 1967’s Something Else. The album has been said to be very subdued compared to early Kinks songs, but it has layers. The songs are well constructed, featuring plenty of acoustic arrangements combined with electric guitars. In addition to this legendary session musician Nicky Hopkins is featured all over Village Green playing piano and a variety of other instruments, adding to its atmosphere. However, nothing sounds out of place. That’s not to say it’s an album that is not unlike The Kinks, there are moments such as the refreshing blast of blues smoke in “Last of the Steam Powered Trains” and the wicked fuzzed out electric guitar riffs in “Wicked Annabella”. “Do You Remember Walter?” paints the picture of one of the many character sketches that populate this album. Inspired by a run in with an old friend and how they were in very different places and worlds, Davies reflects in a humorous way before “Picture Book” attacks with its scaling guitar and bass riffs in a striking fashion. There are other more eccentric moments too, like the song “Phenomenal Cat” that has a Mellotron flute and there is the stunning orchestral arrangement in the song “Village Green”. The album ends with “People Take Pictures of Each Other” a song that is upbeat and nostalgic.

Referred to as “The most successful flop of all time”, The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society sold approximately 100,000 copies worldwide during its initial release. Compared to The Beatles White Album, which sold 3.3 million copies in the US alone within the first four days of its release, Village Green operated on a different axis at the time. Despite receiving good critical reviews, many felt that the music on Village Green Preservation Society was out of step with the times. It would later be embraced by an underground audience and gain a cult-like status. In 2018, it went gold in the UK. Both The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society and The Beatles White Album are often uttered in the same breath when discussing the time period that they were released. They both shed themselves of the psychedelic image popular during that time period and searched for something new. Whether that was through subversion of musical norms or through preserving a past innocence and looking forward.

Show 751 (Originally Aired On December 1st, 2018)(The White Album Vs. Village Green):

1. The Beatles - Long, Long, Long
2. The Beatles - Sour Milk Sea (Esher Demo)
3. The Beatles - (You're So Square) I Don't Care Studio Jam
4. The Beatles - Helter Skelter (Second Version - Take 17)
5. The Kinks - Last of the Steam Powered Trains
6. The Kinks - Creeping Jean
7. The Kinks - Misty Water (Mono Version)
8. Papa Ghostface - Rook
9. Papa Ghostface - Crawlspace Waltz
10. Elvis Costello & The Imposters - Mr. & Mrs. Hush
11. Charles Bradley - Stay Away
12. Ty Segall & White Fence - Body Behaviour
13. Faux Co. - Prozac Spaceman
14. Jeff Tweedy - Some Birds
15. Volunteers - Mother Nature's Blues
16. Fever Feel - Lose your Mind
17. Urban Surf Kings - Run From The Bear
18. Shoobies - All My Profs Are On Strike
19. King Khan & The Shrines - Land of the Freak
20. Screamin' Deal - One Small Death
21. Daughters - The Flammable Man
22. Jon Spencer - Do the Trash Can
23. Snake River - Then She Wrote A Letter
24. The Sadies (w Jon Spencer) Justine Alright (Live)
25. King Tuff - Lazerbeam
26. Low - Rome (Always In The Dark)
27. Joy Division - Colony (BBC Session)

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

Show 750 (Originally Aired On November 24th, 2018)(Daughters, The Jesus Lizard & Mudhoney):

1. Pyramids - Pressure
2. Shoobies - Monkey Eat Sandwich
3. The Byrds - Stranger In A Strange Land
4. The Thin Cherries - Follow The Sun
5. Ty Segall - Isolation
6. Undertones - Luxury (Demo)
7. Autogramm - Jessica Don't Like Rock 'n Roll Anymore
8. Women - Heat Distraction
9. Daughters - Ocean Song
10. Josef K - Pictures of Cindy
11. FRIGS - Chest
12. Chandra - Get It Out Of Your System
13. The Jesus Lizard - Seasick
14. The Jesus Lizard - Naked Dancing Ladies
15. Flesh Rag - Ballad of Nova
16. The Soft Pack - Pull Out
17. The Routes - Vendetta
18. Brazilian Money - Jive With The Killer Instinct
19. Gary's House - Punch Party
20. Prefab Sprout - Faron Young
21. Yardlets - UnModern Man
22. The Burnin' Sands - Revenge of the Putrid Slime
23. The Pursuit of Happiness - Food
24. Destroyer - Plaza Trinidad
25. Outrageous Cherrry - Creeps Retreat
26. The Aints - The Church of Simultaneous Existence
27. Mudhoney - Nerve Attack
28. Mudhoney - Oh Yeah

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 24.

Show 749 (Repeat of episode 748. An episode focusing on Bob Dylan's Blood On The Tracks). Download this episode here and view the play list here.