Thursday, August 29, 2019

Jon Spencer Interview & Show # 789

Spencer Sings The Hits! is the first solo album released by Jon Spencer. Having been in the bands Pussy Galore, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Boss Hog and Heavy Trash, Spencer has long been involved in styles of music that go by their own rules. While it is often in the garage and punk direction, his 2018 solo offering features a melding of his styles so to speak. Spencer Sings The Hits! sounds just as wild and raw as anything that Spencer has ever done. Armed with synth bass, distorted primitive guitar riffs and drums accented with metal percussion, this album creates a world of its own, not retreading past musical landscapes that Spencer has been known for.

The album had its beginnings with demos created by Spencer in his apartment in Manhattan when he didn’t really have a current band to play with. After writing and demoing songs on his own, he put together a new band for this record. He added Sam Coomes (from the band Quasi, Heatmeiser) on keyboards/synth bass and M. Sord (No Monster Club) on drums. All of the songs were recorded in Benton Harbor, Michigan at the Key Club Recording Company and produced/mixed by Jon Spencer and Bill Skibbe. “Do The Trash Can” starts off Spencer Sings The Hits! with the words “Fuck this orange piece of shit!” in between primitive drums and fuzzy overdriven synth bass and fuzzy guitars, “Do The Trash Can” operates with danceable garage punk grooves. The opening lines address the current US political climate in a humorous way, but also with the rest of the song, it releases a sense of anger and rage. Several of the songs on the album address political issues, the celebration of rock and roll, doing something new/looking at the past and other topics in a way only Jon Spencer can. “Fake” lyrically directs its anger outward calling out phonies with its stop and start guitar and bass riffs, “Overload” brings in blues and garage punk dynamics with lyrics that address elements of taking on too much, but the lyrics could also easily apply to the overload of media content we experience on a daily basis.

“Ghost” addresses the theme of aging as the music projects a horror movie sounding aesthetic, “Beetle Boots” features driving guitar and bass riffs and drums as lyrically it addresses the challenges and stereotypes and authenticities of being in a band. With lyrics “You wearing those fake Beetle Boots/You gonna need a new career/Imitation leather and plastic zipper” and “Wrong priorities/Misguided intentions/Ironic distance just reinforces convention” Spencer drives this point home. “Hornet” brings in funky rhythms as lyrically it buzzes about the craziness of one’s past and the freedom that it brings while looking at the present with words such as “Why would anyone want to tie you down/You should be free”, “Wilderness” with its garage and funky interlude features lyrics such as “Set the way back machine for never” and lines like “The noise, the noise, the noise” that finds itself in a world juxtaposed with the noise of being retro for retro’s sake without much else.

“Love Handle” comes in with pounding drums and distorted guitar and bass before a rockabilly styled riff floats into the mix as Spencer sings of the frustrations of long term relationships with a razor sharp wit, “I Got The Hits” is a tongue-in-cheek song that draws parallels to our current political and media climate amongst its soulful garage riffs, while “Cape” ends Spencer Sings The Hits! With its slithery Cramps like riffs alongside synth bass and primal drums, it addresses the frustrations of a male dominated world contrasting it with a desire for a more female centric outlook. The song ends with lyrics that list off female superheros “Calling out Batgirl, calling out Sue Storm, Calling out Black Widow, She Hawk, Starfire, Wonder Woman”. On the album cover of Spencer Sings The Hits! one of Jon Spencer’s hands isn’t a hand at all, it is a menacing looking monster hand. Like the monster hand that appears the album’s cover, the music on Spencer Sings The Hits! lurks with fuzzy guitar riffs, overloaded synthesizer bass and visceral, primal rhythms, creating something that when combined with the lyrical content claws at your subconscious.

Check out Revolution Rock's interview with Jon Spencer here:

Show 789 Playlist (Originally Aired On August 24th, 2019)(Jon Spencer Interview):

1. Jon Spencer - Do The Trash Can
2. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Shirt Jac
3. Heavy Trash - The Loveless
4. Boss Hog - Winn Coma
5. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Bellbottoms
6. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Burn it Off
7. Pussy Galore - NYC 1999!


8. Heavy Trash - That Ain't Right
9. R.L. Burnside - Snake Drive


10. Demolition Doll Rods - Fast One
11. Purlicue - Fire
12. Science is Fiction - Awkward Girl
13. Le Kidd & Les Marinellis - Camille
14. Le Kidd & Les Marinellis - Dis Moi
15. I.n. Baba - Dads
16. Smokey & the Feelings - The Worm
17. Chad VanGaalen - Weird Love
18. Cellos - Blight
19. Oh Seas - Snickersnee
20. Foggy Tapes - Here Comes the Fog
21. Nature Boys - No Subject
22. Dumb - Slacker Needs Serious Work
23. Jon Spencer - Beetle Boots
24. Jon Spencer - Ghost
25. Jon Spencer - Cape

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

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