Friday, July 19, 2019

Light Bulb Alley - Lights and Shades Interview & Shows # 782 & 783

Lights and Shades is the latest release from Montreal’s Light Bulb Alley. Fronted by guitarist/vocalist Allister Booth, Light Bulb Alley’s origins go back to 2007. Since then, the band has changed band members several times, toured across Canada, the USA and in Mexico, but still retain a loose, wild rock and roll spirit. The current lineup of LBA features Allister on vocals/guitar, Pablo Garcia on drums, Jack White on bass (no relation to the Detroit/White Stripes front man), Max White guitar and Sean Cary-Barnard on guitar. Their first album, The Sound of Things, was released in 2011 on the Ricochet Sound label. The music reflected 60s garage and 70s punk influences. Bright Side of the Dumpster followed in 2016. It featured a raw, sleazy, loose atmosphere, but ventured deeper into their garage, 70s punk and blues influences. Lights and Shades arrived in June 2019. This 16-track album is their most experimental yet. The album embraces a psychedelic aesthetic, while still drawing on the band’s earlier influences. On Lights and Shades you will still hear elements of 60s garage, but you will also find swampy, less defined influences. Recorded at the Bottle Garden Studio in Montreal live off the floor on reel-to-reel tape, the band on this album unearths a raw, unfiltered chemistry.

“Corpus Lopus (Sink Like A Stone)” starts off Lights and Shades with a series of psychedelic sounds that echo and reverberate. The eerie intro is made up of piano, guitar and drum sounds before the song kicks in with a droning guitar riff. The song builds with a sound reminiscent of 60s bands such as the 13th Floor Elevators, amidst crunchy guitar riffs and captures a certain feeling of a character seemingly going through some sort of breakdown. “Problems” brings forth early rock n roll influences, with a touch of Johnny Thunders and a vocal attacking with a Nick Cave-like quality. “Solitude” starts off with surf guitar riffs as driving drums rise overtop distant sounding vocals, “Travelling Alone (I Lost My Mind)” is a slower, intense garage track. The song starts off with just guitar and vocals before the full band comes in to back up this lament over love lost.

Throughout the album there are short psychedelic interludes. “Did You Get What You Came For” is one of these interludes. It features overloaded reverse sounding effects before drifting into “What You Wanted (Is What You Get)”. This Rolling Stones influenced track, speeds up and down with a chorus of “What you wanted is what you get” that depicts the allure of the Montreal night life/underground scene in between cutting guitar solos and an unmistakable grittiness, “I Don’t Owe You A Thing” features heavy fuzz drenched guitar riffs and a psychedelic atmosphere, “Volunteer” sounds like it was lifted off the vinyl grooves of a long lost 1970s rock album. With its chaotic guitar and deep, soulful beat, this song, which is filled with abstract lyrical phrases such as “Those with loaded guns/Those who dig”, echoes the chaos once explored by Alex Chilton. “Fly Away (You Stupid Ghost)” is a slower song, featuring mainly guitar and reverb drenched vocals and is the only track that wasn’t recorded live off the floor. This haunting track propels itself at its own pace as lyrics such as “Watch the snakes in the grass/They will suck you in the past”, and a chorus of “Fly away you stupid ghost/Go to bed you demon child”, emphasize a cathartic exorcism of the past by removing these toxic elements from your life.

“Roads Must Part” is an electrified country song tinged with bittersweet harmonies. The song echoes a Rolling Stones country influence while also being inspired early outlaw country music. With words such as “The roads must part and I’m feeling like a broken down piece of art/The roads must part and I took it way too hard”, and “This heart so cold/It nearly froze your soul”, this song floats into a gritty tale of heartbreak, betrayal and melancholy. “How Far” simmers with hallucinogenic blues sparks, “Cut Me Loose” is a moving, mid-tempo garage track, while “Lazy” is a trippy Brian Jonestown Massacre induced song with muffled vocals, guitar, drums and bass pushed up in the mix. “Eat Your Vegetables” is an experimental track that is over three minutes long that features odd phrases spoken overtop of the music and effects for its duration. This song bookends Lights and Shades with a Twin Peaks-like sonic soundscape.

Musically, Lights and Shades draws on many influences, but pulls in a more gritty psychedelic groove. Lyrically, the words are often sparse, but they provide the listener with abstract visual sketches that are open to interpretation. The themes of the songs border on darker motifs, while also creating a duality that finds its way into many of the character driven songs found on this album. When all of these elements are combined together, Lights and Shades delves into a sonic landscape unlike any that Light Bulb Alley have explored before.

Check out my interview with Allister of Light Bulb Alley here:

Show 783 (originally Aired On July 13th, 2019)(Light Bulb Alley Lights And Shades Interview):

1. The Velvet Underground - Last Night I Said Goodbye To My Friend
2. Volunteers - Come On Through
3. Shotgun Jimmie - Hot Pots
4. Outrageous Cherry - Complicate Me
5. Graham Coxon - Standing On My Own Again
6. Guided By Voices - Twilight Campfire
7. Little You Little Me - Thinking It
8. Rolling Stones - High Heeled Sneakers
9. Light Bulb Alley - Problems
10. Light Bulb Alley - Solitude


11. Light Bulb Alley - Roads Must Part
12. Metz - Dirty Shirt
13. Mission of Burma - This is Not a Photograph
14. Generation X - No No No (Phil Wainman Version)
15. Cold Warps - I'm With You
16. The Jackets - What About You
17. The King Khan & BBQ Show - Ocean of Love
18. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Moonlight on Vermont
19. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - My Human Gets Me Blues
20. Iggy Pop - Baby
21. The Fall - In These Times
22. Devo - Love Without Anger
23. Kim Gray - Dream Like Tommy
24. Alan Vega - Kid Congo
25. Boys Next Door - Brave Exhibitions
26. New Order - Age of Consent

Download/stream this episode here!

Show 782 (Originally Aired On July 6th, 2019)(Canada Day Nardwuar Special):

1. The Evaporators - You Got Me Into This, Now You Get Me Out
2. The Evaporators - Sasquatch and Me
3. The Evaporators - Ogopogo Punk
4. The Gruesomes - What Am I Doing This For
5. Twink - Fear The Unknown
6. Black Mountain - Future Shade
7. Necking - Habbo Hotel
8. The Evaporators - Addicted To The Cheese
9. Partner - Long and Mcquade
10. Trout - Freelance Therapist (CJAM Session)
11. Of The Pack - What The Hell (CJAM Live Sessions 2019)
12. Light Bulb Alley - Corpus Lopus (Sink Like A Stone)
13. Your 33 Black Angels - Patient Love
14. Bloodshot Bill - I Don't Mind At All
15. The Evaporators - Ripple Rock
16. The Evaporators - I Can Be Shaved
17. Thee Headcoats - Louis Riel
18. The Evaporators - Crispy Space Bacon
19. The Evaporators - St. Roch
20. Nardwuar vs. Pierre Burton
21. Thee Headcoats - Don't Try and Tell Me
22. 49th Parallel - Citizen Freak
23. Chessmen - Love Don't Die
24. Orville Peck - Take You Back
25. Daniel Romano - Hard On You
26. Grapes of Wrath - Love comes Around
27. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - (Relax) You Will Think You Are A Chicken (Live: The CBC Tapes)
28. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Hunter S. Thompson's Younger Brother (Live: The CBC Tapes)
29. The King Khan Experience - Fa Fa Fa (Love Song)
30. Dumb - CBC Radio 3
31. The Evaporators - Oh Non

Download/stream this episode here!

Show 784 was a repeat of an episode that originally aired March in 2019. You can download/stream this episode here and view the playlist here.