Saturday, January 26, 2019

Mike Krol Power Chords & Shows # 758, 759

Drenched in fuzz driven guitars and power pop melodies, Mike Krol’s Power Chords echoes with introspective, witty lyrics that deal with the topics of heartbreak and disappointment. Released on Merge Records, Power Chords follows 2015’s Turkey and features eleven songs that also confront feelings of self-doubt that search for meaning and answers within themselves. Krol performs the guitar, drums and vocals on this album, but is accompanied by other musicians for the rest of the instrumentation. The music draws on influences such as Ramones, The Misfits, Jay Reatard, The Strokes, King Tuff and others that combine to create its own intense garage punk sound. All of this mixes in with a Midwestern grit that floats through the atmosphere that is created on Power Chords.

The title track starts off the album. Awash in fuzzy guitars and catchy, power pop melodies “Power Chords” chronicles heartache and a searching that discovers revenge could be better served through song with words such as “When that song begins to play/It brings back some feelings/That I cannot explain/And though it kills me/I wouldn't have it any other way”. “What’s The Rhythm” swings with a fuzzy, lo-fi aesthetic that pulls in a punk infused Strokes-like melody, “An Ambulance”, another strong song found on Power Chords rings with a distress signal that searches inward with lyrics such as “Can somebody call an ambulance/To save me from myself-offence”, while “Little Drama” is rich with primitive punk influences. Released as the first single from Power Chords, it was described by Krol in a short interview with Stereogum as: “Little Drama” summarizes my daily struggles. It has brash, over-the-top aggressive verses with a chorus that reveals all of the confrontation and toughness that was just described in the verses was internal and an imaginary scenario that’ll most likely never be carried out.”

“I Wonder” features vocals from musician Allison Crutchfield, as musically it encases itself in a woozy sound reminiscent of early Supergrass, “Nothing To Yell About” howls with a Ramones-meets-The Strokes groove as lyrically it finds itself in uncertainty, “Arrow In My Heart” slows down into a distorted ballad of sorts that musically finds itself in early King Tuff meets T.Rex territory. “The End” fittingly ends Power Chords in waves of garage punk guitars, organ, feedback and distortion. Throughout this album, Krol stretches his garage rock songwriting approach beyond the limits of 2015’s Turkey, which clocked in at about 18 minutes. A more mature Mike Krol is present here, but one that is balanced out with the humour and wit that presented itself across his previous releases. While the cover of this album shows a bruised and bloodied Krol, Power Chords rises above what may seem like just another garage rock album on the surface. Below the surface of these eleven songs, Mike Krol displays an angst that like many things in life can seem distorted at times. However the heavily distorted guitars and the many lyrical viewpoints merge with the songs creating a clarity that finds all the right chords.

Show 759 Playlist (Originally Aired On January 26th, 2019)(Mike Krol, The's, Wire, Minutemen, Talking Heads):

1. Mike Krol - Nothing To Yell About
2. Mike Krol - Locker
3. White Lung - Two Seen
4. The C.I.A. - Gutted
5. The's - Cat Fight Run
6. The's - I Walk Like Jane Mansfield
7. Tijuana Bibles - Deadly Weapons
8. Cawama - Hot Summer Nights
9. Shoobies - Flat Surf
10. Galaxie 500 - Strange
11. Jeff Tweedy - Bombs Above
12. Leonard Cohen - Story of Isaac
13. The Ding-Dongs - I Don't Care
14. Jon Langford & The Sadies - American Pageant
15. Jon Spencer - Beetle Boots
16. The Futureheads - Man Ray
17. The Leather Uppers - Sexy Wizard
18. The Evaporators - Milkshake Murder
19. The Brmitzvah Brothers - Rodeo Clown
20. Chad VanGaalen - Pine & Clover
21. Mudhoney - Oh Yeah
22. Dinosaur Jr. - Kracked
23. Priests - Puff
24. Flys - Can I Crash Here
25. Wire - It's The Motive (Demo)
26. Wire - Love Ain't Polite (Demo)
27. The Minutemen - The Process
28. Mission of Burma - The Enthusiast
29. Iggy Pop - Time Won't Let Me
30. Teenanger - Just Drop
31. The Psychic Alliance - Crystal Cage
32. Odonis Odonis - Blood Feast
33. The Scientists - Blood Red River
34. The Mahonies - Going Back To Dublin
35. Talking Heads - Paper
36. Talking Heads - The Big Country (Alternate Version)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for January 26.

Show 758 Playlist (Originally Aired On January 19th, 2019)(Deerhunter, The Count Five, Teenanger):

1. Ramones - Spiderman
2. MYSTICS - Last Time
3. Actual Water - Floorboard Speculation
4. Big Joanie - Eyes
5. Jock Tears - Neil Young
6. Deerhunter - Futurism
7. Deerhunter - Greenpoint Gothic
8. Phew - Signal
9. Allergy - Joker
10. The Flesh Eaters - Pony Dress
11. Juliana Hatfield - All Right, Yeah
12. Cat Power - You Get
13. The Flaming Lips - Shaved Gorilla
14. Sharon Van Etten - Hands
15. Little Girls - Salt Swimmers
16. The Count Five - Pretty Big Mouth
17. The Roots - It's Been A Long Journey
18. Fever Feel - Who Are You?
19. Blacktop - Searchin'
20. Danny & The Darleans - Why?
21. Bloodshot Bill & The Hick-Ups - The Stranger
22. King Khan - It's Just Begun
23. The Shoobies - All Sunburnt, Lookin' Like A Boiled Lobster
24. PRIORS - Candy Station
25. Bad Sports - Don't Deserve Love
26. The D4 - John Rock
27. Thee Oh Sees - Wait, Let's Go
28. Nirvana - Dive
29. Teenanger - Think About It
30. Teenanger - The Sequel

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for January 19.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Paul Jacobs EASY: A Short Interview & Show # 757

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. It was recorded, written and performed all by Jacobs himself, and features backing vocals from Meagan Callen that pop up throughout various songs on the album. 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.

“Holy Holy” starts off the album with a collection of diverse instrumentation that includes haunting synthesizers, distorted guitar, cowbell, drumrolls and infectious vocals that float amongst the chaos in a psychedelic fashion. Lyrically, EASY tackles everyday life with a slacker realization that is at times humorous and poignant. “Expensive” the second track found on EASY features lyrics like “So much for the future I watch the years go by/Here’s to the ones who do favours for the people with nothing” and “Because I can count on you/I’ll always count on you/Because the things that you do/Are not like anyone else/Well I can’t wait for you to notice me”. This song seems to operate with a duality about commercialism and as a love song at the same time. Musically, “Expensive” has 80s influences with added distorted guitar, drum machine sounds and laser beam sounding synthesizers. The slow and warbley instrumental track “Coffee” filters in at track three before we are brought to the song “Easy (Warm Weather)”. This song arrives like a smoky synthesizer display at a dimly lit rock venue amongst deep cutting bass and drums. With lyrics such as “You want to quit your job and do something that you love/You don’t care about the folks at the bank and getting your shit together” and “It’s okay/You’ll find it easy to stay in warm weather”, the song juxtaposes the monotonous reality of working a boring job and doing whatever you want. It finds solace in its hazy realizations amid dizzying synthesizers that suck you into its musical landscape.

“Laundry” features more exotic song textures as lyrically it processes through the cycle of everyday responsibilities, “Life Lessons II” submerges itself in fuzzy bass, drums and distorted guitars, while “Sunday Morning II” bounces with a psychedelic garage dimensionality. One of the many strong songs found on EASY, “Sunday Morning II” grabs ahold of the listener in a nonchalant way with open ended, abstract lyrics. “Setting Sun” features a fuzzier garage sound. Taking on what sounds like a T.Rex influence, this song searches for something while not getting hung up on the past with lyrics such as “Lately I always wonder what you’re doing/I don’t know exactly where I’m going/But the futures bright for those who know they’ll never go back”. “Trouble (Last Song)” breaks out with a more psychedelic approach as sounds reverberate amongst the omnipresent drums, bass and distorted, reverb drenched vocals. “Roads” is a more abstract song that moves forward in a laidback direction with lyrics made up with elusive and cryptic phrases and a combination of synthesizers that layer throughout the song’s atmosphere.

“Cigarettes” ends EASY. With its acoustic guitar, catchy basslines that seem to glow and fiery, overblown sounding synthesizers, Paul Jacobs ends this album with one of his strongest pop hooks. With lyrics such as “You were not supposed to hurt me/How’s someone like you go on/There is nothing wrong with love and laughter/Time keeps us moving on” and “Well time holds all of the answers/Time holds all the pain/Well time don’t know what’s the matter with you these days”, “Cigarettes” lives in the moment while at the same time provides hauntingly poignant words. With eight full-length albums, and numerous EP’s and singles in his discography, 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.

Continue reading for a short Q & A that I did with Paul Jacobs:

RR: When did you first begin work on your album EASY and how would you say it differs to your last full-length album Pictures, Movies & Apartments?

PJ: I started on EASY around January 2017 I’d say, just demoing and all that. I guess during the time my musical interests had changed a lot from the PM&A time. I was also playing my keyboard a lot more.

RR: What was the typical recording process like when making EASY?

PJ: Well I had my recording setup in my living room, so whenever I had a moment I’d just try to make something. The drums are electric and the guitars/keyboard are mostly DI so it’s pretty quick to get it going. I was living in an apartment while recording both albums (EASY and Pictures, Movies & Apartments) so I had to do what I could without getting any noise complaints.

RR: EASY was released through Stolen Body Records in the UK. How did you get connected with the label and what has it been like working with them?

PJ: Originally I was looking for anyone to re-release PM&A so I could do a tour. I hit up Al (of Stolen Body Records) after I saw he did releases for my friends in Dusty Mush. He liked the album and was down, he's a cool guy and I have a lot of respect for him and the label.

RR: You’ve played in Europe several times now. What is it like playing live shows in Europe as opposed to Canada? What were some of your more memorable experiences playing in Europe recently?

PJ: Europe just has a lot of places to play with short drive times. I also love how the culture changes in smaller distances. Shows are pretty much the same cuz people are people, but shows are only 1 hr of the day. It's the rest of the way you spend your time touring that makes or breaks it. I had a great time in Switzerland this year. It was also the end of the tour and the first 5 weeks became a blur haha.

RR: You did the music video for “Sunday Morning 2” off of EASY. How long did it take to put together the video and do you want to make more of your own videos in the future?

PJ: It took me a bit over a month to get it done. It was a lot of work but completing it was pretty rewarding. I'll do more again for sure.

RR: In 2018 you also released a limited edition cassette called Story About Anything. For this release, there were 100 cassettes made up of different covers that move like a flipbook. Can you tell us a bit about this release and why do you think independent musicians are still using cassettes?

PJ: I love cassettes because you can always find good albums at thrift stores. I released it just because I had the idea for the flipbook covers and wanted to get that done. I would do vinyl myself if I could afford it, but I can’t. Cassettes are great for people that just wanna get stuff out and have some merch for shows.

RR: How would you describe your music to someone that hasn’t heard it before?

PJ: I can't really answer that, they'd have to describe it to me.

RR: What’s next for you musically?

PJ: Same thing really, I'll just try to make music that I enjoy hearing.

Listen to EASY here: 

Grab a record from Stolen Body Records here.

Show 757 Play List (Originally Aired On January 12th, 2019)(Carbonas, Beastie Boys, Paul Jacobs):

1. Gene Carroll & The Shades - Red Devil
2. The Echo Tones - Inland Surfer
3. Outrageous Cherry - Last Nice Guy In Detroit
4. Jon Spencer - Time 2 Be Bad
5. Gary's House - The Past Does Not Confront Me
6. Tomorrows Tulips - Flaccid Guitars
7. Trout - Contrition & Disclosure
8. The C.I.A. - Pleasure Seeker
9. PRIORS - Sunshine
10. Carbonas - Blackout (Waiting To Happen)
11. Carbonas - (Your Love Is) Inside Out
12. The Polymorphines - Dirty Cop
13. Dead Ghosts - Roky Said
14. The Hives - Civilization's Dying
15. The Young and The Useless - Young and Useless
16. Beastie Boys - Egg Raid On Mojo (Demo)
17. Beastie Boys - Cooky Puss (Censored Version)
18. Beastie Boys - Jimmy James (Single Version)
19. Beastie Boys - Electric Worm
20. BS 2000 - The Scrappy
21. Country Mike - Country Mike's Theme
22. Country Mike - Don't Let The Air Out of My Tires
23. Luscious Jackson - Satellite
24. Volunteers - Ten In The Sky
25. Bad Sports - Gains and Losses
26. Hot Snakes - Plenty For All
27. Papa Ghostface - Lean Years
28. Paul Jacobs - Quarter To Eleven
29. Paul Jacobs - Holy Holy
30. Paul Jacobs - Expensive
31. Paul Jacobs - Sunday Morning II
32. White Fence - Lorelei
33. Young Rival - The Ocean

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for January 12.

Show 756 was a repeat of episode of 753 which originally aired in December of 2018. You can download that episode here and find the play list here.

Show 755 was a repeat of a horror/halloween themed episode that aired originally in October 2018. You can download that episode here and find the play list here.